03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Are Banks In Danger?

Things must be pretty bad if the next company to falter because of exposure to subprime loans isn't a bank, per se, but an online brokerage devoted to helping ordinary people invest their spare change.

And yet E*Trade Financial (nasdaq: ETFC - news - people ) found its shares down nearly 60% Monday after an analyst used the "b" word about the firm. Though the company says it can weather a $1 billion hit, investors aren't buying it. The company faces unspecified write-downs on a $3 billion portfolio of mortgage securities and credit derivatives. E*Trade has a bank unit, with $36 billion of deposits, all but $15 billion of them covered by federal deposit insurance.

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