The Lehman Brothers Crash And The Chaos That Followed – Everything You Need To Know

Today marks exactly a decade since the collapse of Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers.

The institution’s downfall triggered chaos among the world’s financial markets, resulting in the Great Recession and the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Measures taken to recover from the crisis, including a series of austerity policies introduced by the UK government – are still impacting lives of ordinary people today.

Ten years on, concerns remain about behaviour among the banks, stoking fears that we could be on the brink of another financial crisis.

Here, we take a look at how events unfolded leading to that fateful day on September 15, 2008, and the chaos it left in its wake.


A woman leaves Lehman Brothers’ Canary Wharf office carrying belongings on September 15, 2008

Who Were Lehman Brothers?

The US bank that crumbled with more than $600bn worth of assets began life as a cotton trading business in mid-19th century Alabama.

Brothers Henry, Emanuel and Mayer Lehman eventually established the company in New York City, engaging in commodity trading.

Over the decades the firm expanded into real estate, asset management and financial services.

What Happened To Lead To The Bank’s Demise?

Lehman Brothers, then the fourth-largest investment bank in the US, filed for bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, in what became the biggest corporate bankruptcy filing in the country’s history.

The bank’s 158-year-old legacy was wiped out, forcing out 25,000 of its employees – along with boxes of their office belongings.

The move triggered the largest drop in the Dow Jones stock market index in the US since the September 11 terror attacks.

As the first major investment bank to fall, financial markets around the world were left in turmoil, with the US government scrambling to rescue the financial system as the credit crunch hit the UK and Europe’s banking sector.

A $700bn bill was passed in…

Read Story

Share This Post