The Fall of Lehman Brothers

The Fall of Lehman Brothers

2009, Economics  -   43 Comments
Ratings: 7.34/10 from 41 users.

The Fall of Lehman BrothersOn September 15, 2008, the firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following the massive exodus of most of its clients, drastic losses in its stock, and devaluation of its assets by credit rating agencies.

The filing marked the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The following day, the British bank Barclays announced its agreement to purchase, subject to regulatory approval, Lehman's North American investment-banking and trading divisions along with its New York headquarters building.

On September 20, 2008, a revised version of that agreement was approved by Judge James Peck.

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6 years ago

Every rise has a fall

Wade Cox
7 years ago

The treasury was behind the GFC and the banksters. They lent so much money at cheap rates to the banks they created the GFCII for 2016. This years will be worse than ever. I told everyone that would listen that the GFC I was coming from 2006-2007 and I have told the world this was coming from 2013. It is planned and they wont listen because there is a fortune to be made out of the middle and lower classes.

Joshua Morrison
9 years ago

Sweet jesus America please stop voting Republican. This will never get fixed with cronies in government who have been bought by Big Business. Forget about immigration and gay marriage. It's the economy stupid!

9 years ago

The Secret of the Fall of the Global Financial Empire.......I believe that was the title of the best doc I've ever seen about these banking monsters. I'm sure I saw it in Top Documentary Films. Wish I could find it again.

11 years ago

This film misses a major opportunity to pose the most serious questions:
a) How is it legally possible for a bank to be leveraged 44 to 1 or even 30 to one?
b) What happened to the post 1929 reforms to banking legislation that were designed to prevent banks from failing?
c) Why isn't this guy facing jail time like Enron and Worldcom executives?

12 years ago

I'm happy to see that many people found someone to blame [/irony]

There are a couple of things I don't understand. Among the first things my grandmother taught me were the following: nothing in life is for free, from nothing nothing comes, and be careful about incredibly good offers, cause they are usually a fraud.

Everybody who was involved in any way was just far away from reality.

Why do people buy a house in the first place, when they can't afford it? And how could they sell these contracts to obviously stupid people in such a massive amount - on purpose??? I just CAN'T believe how stupid they all were!

I do believe, however, that in the end, Dick didn't realize what went wrong. Not only he believed in this fairy tale that he himself had made up, he literally lived in it for many years. Yes, people always tend to believe in what might give them profit in any way, financially, socially and whatever else, especially if it works well for such a long time. As they said, risk was not a (negative) factor anymore, because it was just neglected.

All those people fooled themselves in the first place. That Lehman Brothers fooled everybody around was just the small tip of the iceberg. But everyone could (and should) have known that gambling cannot go on forever without huge losses of money. When it comes to Vegas, people are usually aware of this, even if they neglect it to some extend. Well, there is one difference though: in the case of Lehman brothers, the bank did not win in the long run.

12 years ago

well Dick you should wake up every night. You will be remembered for eternity for being one greedy and ignorant bast$rd who almost caused the world financial system to totally collapse because you were so ignorant.

His arrogance in climbing the ladder is partly to blame. He had no fear only greed. Greedy pigs get slaughtered. Choke on it Dick.

12 years ago




"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson."
- U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a letter written Nov. 21, 1933 to Colonel E. Mandell House

Bankers own the earth; take it away from them but leave them with the power to create credit; and, with a flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again... If you want to be slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers control money and control credit.”
- Sir Josiah Stamp, Director, Bank of England, 1940.

“The money power preys on the nation in times of peace, and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces, as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes.” - Abraham Lincoln

“A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the Nation and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the world - no longer a Government of free opinion no longer a Government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men.... Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the U.S., in the field of commerce and manufacturing, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.” –
Woodrow Wilson - In The New Freedom (1913)

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them, will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” - Thomas Jefferson

“The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland; a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.”
- Prof. Carroll Quigley in Tragedy and Hope

12 years ago


Kind of rude to say people don't know what they're talking about when you spill out common sense like its a new theory.

That being said I don't take ANY comments on here as fact. I research anything I want to know.

12 years ago

Wow, reading all of these comments makes one realize how little even those who are paying attention actually know the Basic Facts of the financial system we live with today. With a few exceptions, notably Waldo and Joey, most of the commenters have alot of facts wrong and also seem unaware of some of the other major factors impacting our global economy. Not one person mentioned the huge role inflation plays in this financial farce. Waldo came close in his explanation to Adaro of the "Federal" Reserve. Every time new money is printed and enters our economy it lowers the value of all the other money that is already in circulation.
This essentially creates another "hidden Tax" on everyone who holds this currency. So Joe The Plumber with his money "safely" in the bank (or in a shoe box in the attic) is paying for all of these Bailouts and other financial crimes without his consent or knowledge. Inflation caused the german people after the war to pay for a loaf of bread with a shopping bag full of bills, and eventually some started burning them for warmth (it's true google it). I certainly dot not hold all the answers either, but it goes to show the decades of deliberate misinformation and obfuscation of the truth that even 2 students of Penn State couldn't agree on how it all exactly works. And thats exactly the way "they" want it.

12 years ago

All that wealth destroyed by not bailing them out. What wealth? A bunch of bips and bleeps on digital memories backed by nothing but the promises of scoundrels and dreamers? It's a collective hallucination that needs to be tamed, because for too long it has led us (some of us) to believe that things are all dandy with this system. Financial bankruptcy is an omen; how about ecological or energetic bankruptcy? Who's gonna bail us out of that? Also, when the layman (Joe D. Plumber on Main street) defaults on his mortgage it's eviction time, so for him wealth was destroyed anyway, Nasdaq or not. From where can the values we need for the next millennium emerge? What types of consciousness shifts will allow us to reward healthier socialization and ecologic integration instead of settling for greed or even worse an authoritarian paradigm? We ( not "they") need to evolve. Fast.

12 years ago

Films like "Inside Job" should be released the same way Zeitgeist is released. First distributed to theatres for a week or two, then viral for EVERYONE to see. If you really believe the message why would you only allow a select few to watch? Obviously making the money back they put into the film is important but there are various ways to do this, also documentaries don't typically hold a huge budget.

guess we'll just have to wait for Inside Job and those who are interested will pay to see it, those who could go either way will most likely not watch due to the low accessibility.

12 years ago

Good documentary, interesting interviews, well edited. Somehow I think that the BBC agenda was revealed by the 'loveofmoney' tag at the end, but the docco was an interesting review.

12 years ago

greedy arrogant criminal ****

12 years ago

you are a perfect example of irony, you give all the right solutions for all the wrong reasons :)

12 years ago

@ riley

I looked for this documentary you referred to, "buy it, rent it, steal it" but could not find it any where on line, google doesn't even return a hit for it. What are you talking about? Did I misunderstand? Perhaps you were talking about the above documentary about Lehman Bros.?

12 years ago

@ MIT, MrT, squid, and Ilsa

You guys are missing the point here. The problem was not the fact that they misinterpreted the risks of these loans. The problem is that we have banks selling their responsibility to other financial institutions, as long as they can shirk their own responsibility (for a profit even), they have no incentive to be fiscally responsible. The whole point of responsibility is that you face the consequences of your actions, not so you can sell the consequences at a profit. And, saying the tax payer is not on the line for this mess is ridiculous. We (the tax payer) have to pay down the debt in the end, whether the money comes from the Federal Reserve, China, or whoever. The bail out that took place under Bush has never been repaid nor audited, this is true. However, lucky for us, much of the bailout money that went out under Obama has been repaid with interest. As far as tax money securing the interest on the invented money, it did not directly secure this interest. But, the fed was betting on the fact that the economy will rally and recover and they as a result will get their precious interest back, otherwise they would have refused the loan to the government. Our government is nothing but another corporation, and they borrow money like any other corporation. Those that lend to them do so with the expectation that the US government will make enough profit to repay them, and how does the government make profit- by taxing the citizens of course, how else. They don’t make anything to sell, nor provide any service for profit, they tax tax and tax.

We must move to a manufacturing based earn and save economy and get away from this services based borrow and spend economy. All financial institutions must take responsibility for their own actions, even if it means failure. Never again can we let anyone get “to big to fail”. And above all, no matter what happens, we must stop printing money like it is just another piece of paper with no consequences attached.

@ Adaro
Sorry no one tried to answer you, it can be confusing. America operates on what is called a fiat currency, meaning it is not backed by gold or silver or any other physical substance. Instead the value of each dollar is determined by how many dollars are in circulation, i.e. the more you print the less each dollar is worth. These dollars are created with interest attached by the Federal Reserve, which is not a federal entity. It is a privately owned bank that makes its profit by attaching interest to every dollar it creates. Our government has to borrow money from the Federal Reserve and use tax dollars to repay the interest. And to answer your other question, no one checks them. This is why many people fear that the Federal Reserve engineers financial crisis in order to bring about political change desirable to the banking community. Many also feel that this system that leaves us in perpetual debt, as under this system being out of debt is impossible, is detrimental to progress and stability. Think about it, if every dollar is created with interest attached, how would you ever pay off that interest without printing more dollars and gaining more debt. This is why many advocate a return to debt free money creation, either by a return to the gold standard or by printing debt free fiat currency.

A great documentary to watch and gain a better understanding of this situation is, The Secrets of Oz. You can do a search here on TDF and find it. I hope you will get involved and try to understand this situation. It is imperative that the US citizen become educated as to how our economy and government operates, and then goes votes accordingly. For too long our politicians and the elite rich have run things by simply making things so complicated and stressful for the average citizen that they have no time to be proactive about learning how the system works. They distract us with issues pertaining to morality and religion or patriotism, keeping our eye off the true matter at hand- the economy and our civil rights. If the media asks the wrong questions the government simply cuts off their access to important peoples and institutions, effectively shutting them down. As a result we never hear the truth nor gain any true understanding of how it all works, and this way we have no idea who to vote for except the guy that we like for whatever insignificant reason. This is precisely how people like George Bush get elected, how fear is used to gain support for the whole sale slaughter of innocent peoples, how the rich get richer and the poor get blamed.

12 years ago


Finally greed took over compounded with ego and the feeling of untouchable in Lehman Brother CEO.

Bankers playing with people’s money.

From Addis Abeba Ethiopia

12 years ago

@Justin - Collapse was absolutely great, realistic and informative. No hollywood light show. Just Michael Ruppert passing on very pertinent information. I agree. Everyone should watch that film

12 years ago

the doc which puts a lot, or most of the pieces together, including: local banks, investment bankers, credit-rating agencies, credit insurers, regulatory oversight (SEC, FannyMae, oversight congressional commitees, congress at large, the fed, , the legion of economists in pay to the financial sector, which extolled every step of the way to disaster, is

Inside Job

buy it, rent it, steal it - twill likely win the academy award for best documentary this year. it should.

lehman bros. were just the first over the cliff. goldman sachs, merril lynch, credit suisse, et al - doing the same thing.

ok, now i'm going to watch THIS one...

12 years ago

The Fed also works as a profit organization in that every year it must pay dividends to its shareholders (various large banks) and whatever is left over from making the large banks larger is then distributed to the US Treasury.

Make no mistake the Federal Reserve was founded by bankers such as J.P. Morgan and Rockefeller, do you really think they are not in the business of making money and obtaining power? Controlling the money supply and amount of loans that can be given should never be in the hands of a private entity....

Arnold Vinette
12 years ago

This was a great documentary on how the excesses of greed and arrogance can really ruin your day and next years pay check.

I feel absolutely no remorse for the former CEO of Lehman Brothers. This man comes across as so lofty, arrogant, rude, and better than anyone else not only in his company but the world.

That no one wanted to come to his aid is of no surprise at all. He was just so arrogant and full of himself. I'm just happy that he is no longer in business and making $500 million a year off the poorer American people he exploited and millions of others around the world.

A lot of people were hurt and destroyed during this crisis. Millions of families lost their homes because of the rampant greed not only at Lehman Brothers but at other investment banks and regional banks all across America.

When money becomes more important than people, then your society collapses. And the US society collapsed in 2008 and 2009 due to excessive banking greed. Greed that completely devalued the existence of the US human population. Investment Bankers need to be limited to maximum incomes of $500,000. No bonuses, no extras. $500,000. This is the only way to remove excessive greed from the system and have these individuals focus on doing what is best for the people and not their bank accounts.

Can this type of financial collapse happen again?

You can bank on it!

The worst financial crisis is still to come for the United States and world economy.

Between 2020 and 2030 oil supplies for the United States are going to be running dry. When oil prices begin to spike in 2020 people are going to see the same financial institutions going bankrupt but on an unprecedented scale around the world.

The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy is nothing compared to what is coming in the next 10 to 20 years.

Mark your calendar for the years 2020 - 2030. The American people have not seen anything yet. Much, much worse is coming in only 10 years time.

This event will effect every industrialized country in the world when there is no longer sufficient oil for transportation, shipping, agriculture, and other oil based businesses. Projected time frame is 2020 to 2030.

If the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy was 10 times larger than Enron. Then the complete collapse of the US and world financial markets between 2020 and 2030 will easily be 1000 times worse.

Is there a way around this future worldwide economic collapse?

Yes and it is the new financial concept of “Work Credits”.

American President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have the details. The white paper on “Work Credits” is now in circulation around the world and all major governments have it.

Implementation of the “Work Credit” financial strategy will completely avoid a new global financial meltdown between 2020 and 2030.

12 years ago

there is many documentaries on federal reserve, just use this site's search engine.

Fraud is when you take a loan or credit, which you very well understand you can not possibly back with any real assets of yours. The banks just suffered from greed, and covered it all up at expense of fed's reputation. Everyone were pigs in this situation. What I'm saying is that investment banks were not necessarily the blame end of the story. You may go on to speculate that this crisis was engineered in the government. Because for over 10 years this has building up,and hundreds of well educated people were ringing bells, yet there was no legislation at all to improve the situation, more over it was the opposite. Freddie mac and fannie mae used to control the bigger bulk of the us property, and are now owned by the government, biggest estate property nationalisation ever?

12 years ago

Now that MrT, Mit, squid and especially Ilja have confused me pretty successfully, who will be kind enough to put things right?
What puzzles me most is: who are the Fed Reserve guys?? (Central Bank?????) What + how do they work & who checks them?

12 years ago

Ilja, before you go telling people to get a clue get one yourself. I understand quite well how this crisis exploded. People were buying houses in record numbers, even those that couldn't afford them. The value of property just kept rising as a result of so many people buying houses. All was fine and dandy and the people making money off all these loans kept pressuring for more and more loans so they could take them bundle them together and sell them off. What really caused the "crisis" was the fact that loans were getting labeled as low risk when they were clearly very high risk and that by it's nature is fraud.

To compound the issue companies did credit default swaps when they did not have (NEVER HAD) the actual assets to cover it should it come to that. These people labeled high risk investments as low risk and gave insurance (credit default swaps) on the deals they had no way to cover. Tell me how that translates to anything besides fraud?

12 years ago

The Fed, is not making profit, it's sole purpose is not business, but economic prosperity. They'r not there to make money, but to stabilise and control the system. The means by which they do it, and the result, is of course another question. And you got it wrong yourself if you think the money track was fed>gov>corps. It was fed>corps. Government is yet to audit that whole monstrosity of a deal. Also, interest on those money can't possibly be secured by taxes, that's just non sense. This two things are not connected in any way. That's the whole problem of moral hazard, frankly what happened was the too-big-to-fails committed to huge risk, and it hit them hard, so hard they couldn't withstand it themselves. So they ran to the fed and the gov asking for help, backing it up with an argument that if they fail, ie go bust, they whole world financial system will, everything will die rot and whatever. And gov with fed bought this idea, and bailed them out, in essence just gave them free cash out of nowhere, some free margin to keep some deals running and close the losses on the others. The government by itself has been as much hustled in all this, as have been the main street people who lost their savings, jobs etc. What most of those investments banks did in reality, was, in a good market they made huge profits. In a bad market, when they were ment to take losses, the persuaded fed to provide them with huge amount of money, and at the end of they day they won, during a bad market. Imagine a football game with two sides. One sides scores, ok everyone is happy, than the other side scores, and the first side just says, fine but if you score, we'r out of the match, and without us, you can't have your football league up and running. And the second goal is just taken off like it never happened, moreover, it's added to their score so it's now 2-0.

12 years ago

should be interest on all bailout money*

12 years ago


I think you watch the news too much, and you are caught up the shit storm that is the media! The federal reserve did not bail anyone out. The Fed lends money to government at interest in order to bail out there corporations and buy back toxic assets. The tax payers are the people who ultimately pay the bill as well as the tax on all bailout money. The only thing you have right is that the fed prints the money out of nothing. You have to remember that the fed is a privately owned company that relies on debt as there source of income, as long as the interest is secured by a nations taxes.

12 years ago

Before you go flaming around, please get a clue first. You don't quite understand how this crisis exploded. In runner up years to it, there was a lot of cheap credit in america, it was government's policy to provide people with cheap money, which was supposed to fuel economy, which it did. However, cheap credit comes at a price, namely, you have to pay interest on it at some point. Also take into the account now that in most cases, sub-prime mortgage deals were made in kitchen, clients would be visited at their actual work, with papers ready to sign, just to sell that to them, they would be visited where they lived, whatever, they were given money at stupendous interest ( without knowing about it themselves), in large number of cases they wouldn't even be able to repay it anyway (no assets no job NINJA deals). And than those kitchens would pack up these deals they sold, and move it on to larger banks (like lehman), and say, hey here's a gold mine product we have for you, there's this amount of people in this package, this interest on their mortgages and blabla (and at the time , the numbers did show gold mines). and before you go berserk on how they (banks) should have been checking those deals, I assure you, if you had any idea how this system works, what you need to price these packages, to evaluate and really look into them, you would know that it was more impossible and less relative, to the banks, at that point of time. The simple matter of fact is, if you take even 100 mortgages, give it a price, and interest, even then you would have a ridiculous amount of possible outcomes, so when we talk about millions of those, the number of possible outcomes and the actual maths required to analyse them, is simply not available to us, to our technology, or to anyone in this world. It just doesn't exist, no one has enough time, or computer power to calculate it.
I don't mean to say that this shouldn't have happened to them, in fact I mean to say that markets are markets, you loose money, you take your loss, you get margin call? you back out. This is what happened to lehman. What i am completely against however, is what then happened to the rest of the wall street. Ie AIG bailout, or quantitative easing, or huge complex bailout of the other BIGGER banks. Which by the way, no one has legal authority to check. Literally no one in this world, can possibly ask or check, hey where did all those printed (in reality, not even printed) money go to?
The simple matter of fact is, the case of Lehman brothers is like a tiny lightning bolt in a huge financial storm, that is nowhere near finished and only is picking up pace judging by recent movement in commodities and all sorts of stock and bond indexes.
And also, when people say that's tax payer's money, that's just silly. Tax payer does not have enough money to do all those bailouts, in fact it would take the us taxpayer, over 100 years to simply pay out the treasury bills that were printed, let alone the rest of this mess. The money that the us government used to bail out all those companies, did not come out of fort nox or the world bank or the tax payer. It came from federal reserve, the people that make money, out of thin air. They don't take the money that already existed before, they just MAKE new money. Just to cover up the mess and the losses. What happens next? well all this new money gets dumped into trade, and you get huge rallies for no good reason. New bonuses, new cars whatever. The actual worker, who in day to day life creates something, sells something will probably never see those money, he will be at the end of the line to ever see them. And that is the problem, those who actually make products, make material things, for who this whole banking, insurance and investment systems were built, are not at the steering will any more. The people that don't create any material value in this world, are the ones running it. And that is what's so very wrong about it. The show is not run by it's producers, the show is run by it's public.

Mo Akoush
12 years ago

Totally, I think China is over the wall with many other laws, but that one should be implemented here! So many poor people suffer while this douche bag probably has already bought an island getaway in the Carribean. I vote too

12 years ago

@jonathan denver roseland
here here ...i'll vote for that law!!

12 years ago

Fascinating documentary - There's a law in china that if you do over $10M in financial damage you will be executed. I wish we had that standard here

Mo Akoush
12 years ago

awesome documentary.. thank you so much!.. That guy belongs in jail.

12 years ago

There are several films on this specific topic - but all in all, Lehman Brothers had nothing to do with this setup that is about to unfold full tilt, and soon.

If any of you truly want to understand what is happening in our world right now and why, watch the film 'Collapse'.

Share the knowledge. Share 'Collapse'.

Nigel from New Zealand
12 years ago

I'm afraid I didn't even get as far as 2 minutes into this doco. As soon as I saw Gordon Brown teling us they needed to do something I felt sick in my stomach. Do something? you mean like pretend we never knew there was a problem in the first place? Grrrrrrrrrrrrr, lying bastards the lot of em!

12 years ago

The people who assessed these bundles of mortgages as "low risk" should all go to prison for fraud. There is no way possible they could have accidentally overlooked the building danger of these toxic assets. I also imagine if a criminal investigation was launched against the assessors of these bundles, you will find they were getting cash under the table to keep putting a low risk stamp on the bundles.

What scares me even more is there are "Libertarians" (actually ashamed republicans most of the time) that still want no government oversight of these large financial institutions. We desperately need a competent watchdog over these "too big to fail" institutions. They are holding enough chips that left to their own devices can rig the game. This free market can manage it's self B.S. is nothing but a delusional pipe dream and a dangerous one at that.

I have to laugh when they mention how risk was "eradicated". All wall street did was simply find a way to put the risk on the taxpayers of not only the US but many other foreign nations. They should not have been allowed to do it in the first place and many should be in jail for it right now. It was quite simply fraud on a scale never before seen fueled by greed. To call it anything less is a outright LIE.

Mad at the world
12 years ago

The recession was basically caused by Lehman

12 years ago

Great documentary.