Western governments bailed out their large troubled banks in the credit crisis in order to protect the financial system. The following chart shows the government bailout funds for recapitalization of banks as a percentage of GDP in 2008:
Source: The Wall Street Journal
The US government spent the most amount of money to save the financial system by bailing out troubled banks such as Citibank (NYSE:C) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). 5.2% of 2008 GDP was spent on saving the banks. The UK spent 3.9% of GDP. Italian banks were the most stable and did not require large government bailouts. So just 0.7% of GDP went into bailouts. Unlike British and American banks, Italian banks were very conservative and did not indulge in exotic derivatives trading or sub-prime lending.