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Geithner warns of Europe's risk to global markets

Oct 17, 2011 Walt Wojoiechowski

Excessive risk taking was at the helm of the 2008 financial collapse that left millions of Americans out of work, in debt and discouraged. Now, with Europe teetering on the brink of financial turmoil, analysts are pointing to further negligence in risk management practices as contributing to what may be another global recession. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who has been chiding U.S. banks and financial institutions for meeting needed regulatory reforms with consumer-directed fees, has also been encouraging eurozone nations to rein in their debt at all costs. "Our direct financial exposure to those governments and their financial institutions is quite small," Bloomberg quotes Geithner as telling the Senate Banking Committee Thursday, "but Europe is so large and so closely integrated with the U.S. and world economies that a severe crisis in Europe could cause significant damage by undermining confidence and weakening demand." However, Geithner added, risk-taking should not be curbed absolutely - just managed. Institutions need to be taking risk in order to secure capital, and currently few investors are doing so.