I need an idiom, phrase, or word that describes someone/entity who acts carelessly based on success.

I am trying to write a paper on the US 2008 financial crisis.

Quick overview: Banks handed out mortgage loans, then sold those loans. These loans were sold repeatedly to investors. When the money was paid to the banks, it was sent along to those who bought it. This was practically risk-free and gave profit. The banks started giving mortgage loans to those who usually couldn't afford it and were considered 'high-risk' to sell more loans and earn more money. Later, the mortgages couldn't be paid and investors lost money.

My paper is trying to point out how the banks' careless handing-out of loans led to the crisis. I tried to think of something that described the moment when they weren't thinking of the consequences because they were too successful. For instance,

Because the banks were too adj, they were carelessly handing out loans.

I thought of maybe 'blinded by success'...

Blinded by success, the banks careless handed out loans.

I'm not looking for careless, but rather a word that could also describe the part that they were overly confident from their success.

  • 1
    You are describing greedy lenders, but you have missed a contributing factor. The US government forced banks to write mortgages in poorer zones to offset the appearance of bias, but without regard for the higher risk. Is redlining racist by definition? Jun 8, 2022 at 22:28
  • From Merriam Webster, redlining is defined as : to withhold home-loan funds or insurance from neighbourhoods considered poor economic risks. So I guess it isn't? Rather, the banks withheld the loans because they had higher-risks.
    – HappyJoy
    Jun 8, 2022 at 23:08
  • Look up complacent
    – Jim
    Jun 9, 2022 at 2:22
  • 1
    You are missing the point. They were neither careless not ignorant. The lenders interviewed said they new of the dangers but there was nothing else to do but sell into the demand. Thomas Sowell wrote the definitive book on this subject. The Housing Boom and Bust. Objective and fair but sad.
    – Elliot
    Jun 9, 2022 at 4:09
  • The lenders were confident that the loans would be good because of increasing housing prices, and the loans would soon be sold in any case.
    – Xanne
    Jun 9, 2022 at 8:53

4 Answers 4


As user Jim pointed out in the comments, 'complacent' seems to be what you're looking for (my emphasis):

pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied


hubris which per Oxford Languages and Google means:

excessive pride or self-confidence.

"the self-assured hubris among economists was shaken in the late 1980s"

Thus, in this context, with slight rephrasing, one could say:

As a result of the banks' hubris, they were carelessly handing out loans.


They were too short-sighted.

They irresponsibly gave out riskier and riskier loans.

MacMillan definition of short-sighted:

dealing with things that are happening now but failing to consider what will happen in the future

Collins definition of irresponsible:

If you describe someone as irresponsible, you are criticizing them because they do things without properly considering their possible consequences.


COCKY conceited or arrogant, especially in a bold or impudent way.

Or Emboldened give (someone) the courage or confidence to do something or to behave in a certain way.

  • 3
    The words are not yours, you did not write this definition. Plagiarism? Please cite and add a link to your source.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 17, 2022 at 16:35

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