Ten years after the bankruptcy, the documentary The Crash – The Investment Bank Lehman Brothers charts the risky rise and ruinous fall of a global financial services giant.
On September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in New York after more than 150 years in the banking business. At the time, the company had accumulated over $600 billion in debt. It did not just hit the US financial system hard: global networking sent companies around the world into a tailspin. How could that happen? And above all, could it happen again?
The documentary tells of the risky rise and ruinous collapse of former global investment bankers Lehman Brothers. The bank had sensed a killing when the US Federal Reserve massively cut interest rates at the beginning of the millennium. "Cheap money" gave many Americans the feeling that they too could fulfill the dream of owning their own homes. Loans were made without anyone asking if customers were really solvent.
These mortgages were then bundled and offered for sale as "safe bonds." But real estate prices in the US fell and those so-called safe bonds turned into liabilities, sending shockwaves around the world. More than 500 investors in Singapore suddenly faced bankruptcy in 2008. They had bought into so-called mini-bonds - innovative products that specifically targeted private investors, promising them high profits and maximum security.
But most people did not understand what was actually behind them. Many of these bonds were linked to American banks such as Lehman Brothers. In the end, Lehman Brothers had to file for bankruptcy, leaving thousands of small investors around the world facing ruin.
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