Let's review this financial crisis in a nutshell, shall we?
In the 1990's banks we were told by the government to allow otherwise unqualified people to purchase mortgages. Knowing that it could pose an enourmous risk, the banks balked at the idea. The government said, "oh don't worry, we'll just buy those loans from you". So they created Freddie Mac and Freddie Mae....full of bad loans....is it really a surprise that these companies fell and that we are in the crisis we are in today? Money (greed) is the root of all evil, folks. Just remember that.
In the '80's you couldn't purchase a house without putting at least 20% down and with a 13% interest rate. Now, not so much.
This is not necessarily the best article, but it gives good information on the crisis.