Eugene Cho

the credit crunch crisis, the economic downturn, and you?

Take a few minutes and check out this video that is, thus far, one of the better visual explanations of how we got into the credit crunch crisis that was the catalyst to the national and global financial downturn.   I’ll be writing couple posts next week on the matter but wanted to share this resource with you.  

We are in a historic time right now – more than we can imagine or possibly understand right now.  But I do want to ask you couple simple questions and I really hope that as many people will respond:

How have you or your family been affected by the economic downturn/recession?

How has your church been affected?

How has your NGO, org, or company been affected?

I’ll share my answers next week.  Stay tuned.  

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15 Responses

  1. Steve K says:

    Thanks for the video. I got laid off three months ago and haven’t been able to find another job. It’s very discouraging right now but trying to enjoy the free time to do some relationship building.

  2. Matt says:

    Going along with this I would also recommend checking out IOUSA. It is something every American should watch.


  3. Sue says:

    We’ve really cut down our costs because even before the credit crisis, gas and food prices shot up so much.

    As for our church, our leadership board notified the church that giving has gone down about 30% in the past year. They are needing to make adjustments.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Thankfully my husband still has his job…but late paychecks are the norm now. The check that should have come on Feb 14 actually came on Feb 24.

  5. Corrine says:

    I think that for many people in my demographic (early 20’s, recent university grad), the recession has not changed our lives on a grand scale (besides the lack of available jobs).

    I think for many, the recession has given us an excuse not to spend money on charitable concerns. I am one of the founders of an NGO called The Afri-Can Connection (we work with communities in Ghana, West Africa), and many of my student contacts are hesitant to support the work we are doing “because of the recession”. But I have yet to see any of these students cut back on activities (drinking, taking cabs, stop driving their cars, cut back on travel etc).

    My personal finances have not been affected, because we didn’t have much money before the credit crunch happened. You had to have investments, or the money for a down payment on a large purchase (house, car etc), in order for the current credit crunch to really affect you.

    However, people’s attitudes towards what they “can afford” has affected our ability to earn funding for our projects. People may still be spending hundreds of dollars on Wii games, but they are not spending $10.00 on development programs.

  6. Ann says:

    Asset-backed securities have been around for decades, and when I worked in that area of the financial markets (late 70’s to late 80’s) the only “bad” asset-backed securities were those issued by GMAC, bundled loans for GM cars (which depreciated faster than the loans decreased). Although the clip does a decent job of explaining some of the problems, it neglected to mention one of the key problematic areas. There was/is a complete lack of accountability and transparency in credit default & other swap agreements and derivatives. Simplistically, Wall Street’s traders and institutional investors got involved in off-the-books investing and risk-mitigation based on “known” factors. (Swaps are called swaps, not “insurance” as the clip named them to escape regulation.) Deregulation, too easy credit, and some legislative mis-steps by Congress escalated the speed of the train. While our family hasn’t suffered except in our yet-untouched retirement accounts, we note the heightened anxiety and helplessness around us. My background in economics, asset-backed securities and then working for a prominent swaps trader in NYC helped us to avoid many of the mistakes that others made, yet all of us — in churches, neighborhoods with unsold homes, and in corporations need lines of credit — are affected. Transparency in and re-regulation of Wall Street activities are necessary to protect the integrity of the economy and the capital markets; just as transparency and accountability in our churches to the Word of God protect the members of the Body from ungodly ambitions that naturally surface in us.

  7. Tyler says:

    I haven’t been affected yet, other than my wife making a little less money.

    That said, my church is announcing cuts in the next few days. I believe I’m definitely at risk.

  8. The economic crisis brings good…

    I work for a Christian NGO and this crisis has brought some good to our organization.
    1. We held our annual fund raising banquet last November (the time of the first massive wave of lay-offs in Hong Kong) and raised more than any previous year. This reminded us to aim big and trust God will supply all the resources to fulfill His dreams.
    2. We’re right in the middle of our budgeting phase and most years the budget gets increased a bit but the vision and structure doesn’t really change. This crisis doesn’t allow an organization to just keep doing what “we’ve always been doing”. The restructuring isn’t finalized yet, but I’m 100% certain our organization won’t look the same start our new budget year. The ideas that are on the table now would allow us to serve almost twice the number of current areas and, God willing, have a much deeper impact.
    3. A 17 year old organization doesn’t like change and there’s usually always resistance from some. Having an “excuse” of a financial crisis can be helpful to persuade others.

    So far my personal support hasn’t been reduced or cut…if that happens…I might be posting some other ideas🙂

  9. Tom says:

    I always enjoy your ‘huevos,’ Eugene.

    Sorry you don’t get more responses on posts like this one and the stuff you do on global poverty and your new organization.

    @ Ann. Many evangelicals–in my experience–don’t have much of a clue about the way the real economy works. Probably better to say, ‘many people.’

    We need someone with your experience to write a book/do a documentary that helps us get a grip.

  10. Risa says:

    Personally, on one level, nothing has changed. Don’t own a home, credit balance is low, we can still buy food. However, it’s been frustrating as we can finally buy a home due to falling prices but the loan is MUCH harder to obtain. It’s like dangling a carrot in front of a starving rabbit who can’t. quite. reach it.

    My company is a manufacturing plant. Our sales have dropped to levels that we had 5 years ago, which wouldn’t be so bad if we had maintained the same number of people. So far we’ve had 2 waves of layoffs trying to avoid a third. For the month of February, we worked 4 days a week rather than 5 (except for salaried). For a the reduction of hours, we were able to send some, not all, to collect unemployement for those lost hours. Morale is low. With the low number of orders, people are working more slowly, trying to “create” more working hours for themselves. However, they don’t realize that working those extra hours without hitting our needed sales quota (because of slow production) hastens that 3rd layoff. Plus a slow turnaround (compared to the norm) loses us repeat work. But people are afraid and they want the money NOW. Plans are being made to move out of CA and into AZ to cut expenses.

  11. I took a pay cut at work so we could extend how long our startup would be able to last. It’s been tough but I can’t avoid seeing that I’m in the lucky generation. We don’t own a house yet, we don’t have a retirement account, etc. and we have plenty of time still to do both.

    My heart is with anybody who has to raise funds for their organization. Hopefully you can find the right supporters to get you through the rough years ahead.

  12. rk says:

    i have good news to share. our church collected 18 million in one sunday for it’s building fund. that was just 2 weeks ago. it was only announced to us 2 weeks in advance that such a collection would be taken. we also saw our highest number of attendence that week. it seems to us that people went specially to give. just thought it’s pretty amazing considering the time we’re in right now. personally, after reading several posts sometime last year from various people (eugene included)about simplicity and strategic living, i felt convicted and have since started positioning myself to free up more money in order to sow into God’s kingdom. i thank god that i still have a job. like corrine mentioned above, the economic crisis has not changed our life on a grand scale because we have always been living on modest income. just that now there is more reason to put our money where it really matters.

  13. randplaty says:

    good video… it only explains one aspect of this recession, but does a good job of it.

  14. Edoma says:

    I see two issues here that relate to me as fairly small player in this in this large and complex economy, one is to do with how, what and why happened what happened to bring the economy to this state, and it is important to understand even if somewhat academic. The other issue is what it means here and now to me personally, the small component, and regarding this I need to understand how it is all affecting me currently and what do I need to do now to weather this economic storm.

    Understanding what brought this crisis upon the big players and as a result on us too, I find is really helping me better understand what it is that I should do now to weather this storm with minimum impact, and no doubt my motto now is living responsibly financially speaking, and not living beyond my means. To that effect I have recently embraced personal budgeting to help me make sure that I indeed am living withing my means. I opened a budgeting account at the Out Of The Dark OOTD free online budgeting website ( and discovered almost instantly how irresponsible I used to be financially.

    Taking personal responsibility now makes me feel strong with confident that I can weather the storm, and I can only hope that banks and other large financial institutions will also start to act more responsibly.

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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