CaptionDetective Robert Kole of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office enters a home, following mortgage foreclosure and eviction. He needs to check that the owners have vacated the premises, and that no weapons have been left lying around. Officers go in at gunpoint as a precaution, as many houses have been vandalized or occupied by squatters or drug addicts. Towards the end of 2007, the severity of losses to US banks incurred over sub-prime mortgages was beginning to emerge. In the first months of 2008, rising interest rates together with increasing unemployment and a slowdown in the housing market, meant that many borrowers could no longer afford payments on their homes. Banks involved heavily in such debts were threatened with collapse. In the following months the financial crisis spread worldwide.