A little over a decade ago, public confidence in financial institutions was, quite rightly, rocked, as the financial system came close to collapse.
The Global Financial Crisis saw vast sums of public money used to prop up banks after what would ultimately be seen as reckless lending.
A period of excess private profit led to heavy socialised losses.
• Government hints at help for 'very large' companies as it unveils $6.25 billion loan guarantees
• Covid-19 coronavirus: The Government is poised to make a stunning move into lending
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Australian stimulus approach is futile, NZ on the right track - Westpac economist
• Covid-19 coronavirus: Air New Zealand Dreamliner flight with just four passengers
New Zealand saw much less of the excess and distress than Europe and the US, but banks required guarantees, finance companies collapsed and the dairy sector still carries pockets of debt which make the Reserve Bank uncomfortable.
Today's crisis is different. It is a health crisis for which corporate New Zealand is entirely blameless.
Sign up to our daily Covid-19 newsletter for essential advice and a full summary of the day's news and developments. Register or sign in here and select Top News Stories
Yet the economic impact of Covid-19 will probably be far greater than the GFC. It certainly will if we let the chips fall where they may.
That is why the case for the Government to intervene through the provision of loans and other support is compelling, even though it will amount to bailouts to thousands of businesses. Even though we can be almost certain some will never be paid back.
NZ shares rally on US stimulus; beat-up stocks recover
Trump, Congress agree on $2 trillion coronavirus rescue bill
Although there will be businesses that borrowed too much in the past few years, the scale of the disruption, including near total loss of revenue for a period of months, is something even the most prudent businesses could not prepare for.
No business could start out, let alone obtain credit, on that basis. If they did, New Zealand's economy would be far smaller and its population far poorer.
Tuesday saw Finance Minister Grant Robertson announce a business loan guarantee scheme worth up to $6.25 billion. For every dollar the banks are willing to lend businesses with up to $80 million in revenue, the Government could lend $4, up to a maximum of $500,000.
The scale of the programme suggests the Government expects more than 12,000 businesses will take part.
Separately, Air New Zealand has been provided with a generous loan guarantee and Robertson has hinted that deals with other major companies are coming.
Banks will have at least some skin in the game, so they will not lend to companies they would not otherwise take a risk on, but the Government top-up means much more working capital than would otherwise be on offer.
Hard decisions lie ahead for banks telling employers with pre-existing problems that they will not be included.
Like any business endeavour, some of the recipients of the loans will ultimately fail and the money will not be repaid.
But the idea is to keep otherwise viable businesses intact, more for the sake of employees than shareholders.
Dealing with the financial cost of major corporate collapses would be large, even before the social cost of even higher unemployment is considered.
Moreover, there is extremely strong community good which comes from reducing the pressure on businesses to continue operating in the weeks of lockdown, in any way we can.
Beyond essential workers, we want all but the most essential workers to be staying home this autumn.
Anything which can be done to relieve pressure on businesses to want to try to operate during this period is welcome.