1. a period of economic uncertainty in which financial institutions are less willing to lend money
I can't get a loan due to the credit crunch
This expression refers to an economically challenging period in which financial institutions, like banks, are wary of lending money due to a fear that the borrower(s) will default. A 'credit crunch' typically occurs as an extension of a recession, and/or after a period where lenders have been overly generous in providing credit. It can be used in both a social and professional context as it can have a pervading impact on people's lives.