For investors across the globe, most
would agree that 2008 was an annus horribilis. Anyone with a vague recall of Latin will arrive at the translation of "horrible year."
Stock markets fell, jobs disappeared, and the outlook for the economy seemed to grow grimmer by the week in 2008. Banks, real estate developers, retailers and manufacturers took some of the worst hits, but all types of businesses in central
Indiana felt the pain.
New car dealers, usually among the most resilient of all small businesses in weathering economic downturns, are hanging on
for dear life this time around, portending a shakeout among Indiana’s 520 dealers.
While many banks were getting drunk on loose lending in the last few years, most credit unions stuck to conservative lending
and other plain-vanilla banking practices.
Local companies that rely on credit have seen their borrowing power shrink and in some cases disappear as a deep freeze
in the nation’s credit markets drives fears of a broad economic slowdown. A handful of businesses, including
a Greenwood security firm and an Indianapolis contractor, already have shut down after credit dried up,
and others are on the ropes as troubled banks seek to limit their loan exposure.
ITT Educational Services Inc. and other for-profit schools are facing a maelstrom of financial threats that analysts say could
hurt student recruiting and profit margins–and already has driven stock prices down sharply. ITT shares are off 61 percent
since hitting an all-time high of $131.82 in November.