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When it comes to the subprime debacle, CFOs are pretty certain they know who is to blame. In the 2007 third-quarter CFO Outlook Survey, conducted by Financial Executives International (FEI) and BaruchCollege’s Zicklin School of Business, about 86% of the 224 CFOs responding identified brokers and lenders as the prime culprits behind the recent wave of defaults on high-risk mortgage loans and the credit crunch that is currently disrupting the markets. The second most culpable group was the credit rating agencies, which 40% cited in the poll that allowed them to choose all groups that applied. “We are experiencing a challenging market environment characterized by uncertainty and turbulence around interest rates and credit markets, the value of the dollar and employment and, therefore, increasing anxiety about recession and/or inflation,” explains John Elliott, dean of the Zicklin School of Business, in interpreting the results. “CFOs face real and perceived challenges in coming quarters.”

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