After Lehman - Most Commented
Financial crisis sends the Fed to the ATM
The most significant lasting effect of the Lehman Brothers collapse and the subsequent financial crisis may be the ballooning of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet. The Fed pumped billions of dollars into the economy, using a process called "quantitive easing" to swell its balance sheet to $3.6 trillion today from roughly $800 billion in the summer of 2008. Rico Gagliano took a tongue-in-cheek look at where all that money comes from.
Malaise spreads from Wall Street banks to Main Street pocketbooks
Perhaps the most significant component of the fallout from the collapse of Lehman Brothers and other big banks: fear. Anyone and everyone involved with the financial system suddenly became a lot more conservative, worrying about whether consumers would be able to pay their bills, and what investments would turn out to be junk. As in the housing market, credit card lenders had handed out plastic to anyone with a pulse. Now, frightened by the prospect of holding a bunch of useless receivables that no-one would ever be able to pay, lenders decided to tighten up their standards again. That slowed the flow of cash into peoples' pocketbooks and began to strangle an already stuttering economy.
Bank failures, bailouts strike fear and anger into the heartland
It was immediately clear that the ripple efects from the collapse of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch and Wachovia weren't going to stop at shores of Manhattan. So Marketplace sent senior reporter Amy Scott and Marketplace Money host Tess Vigeland across the country to see how Americans felt about what had just happened on Wall Street. At the end of their journey, in St Louis, Amy and Tess talked with Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal about the people they met, the anger they expressed, and their fear about what was still to come.
Countrywide, and the home loans that pushed America over the edge
Lehman Brothers collapsed in large part because it invested in bad mortgages: home loans that were taken out by Americans who simply couldn't afford to make their interest payments.
But banks like Lehman and Bear Stearns never actually did business with Joe and Jeannie Public: that was the job of companies like Countrywide, whose salespeople convinced so many Americans that they grab a slice of the American Dream, regardless of their ability to pay for it.
Countrywide executives were generally reluctant to talk to the press, so when one former executive published a book defending the company's excesses, Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal jumped at the chance to talk to him.
When the music stopped -- voices from Lehman Brothers
On Sept. 15, 2008, Sally Herships went to Lehman's glitzy headquarters on 7th Avenue to talk to some of the employees who had just learned that their employer was bankrupt.
It seemed an impossible task: the street outside the bank's offices was crammed with reporters from all the big media outlets brandishing recorders, cameras and microphones. The employees, most of whom looked shell-shocked, weren't talking to anyone. Sally decided to pop around the back of the building, to see if anyone was taking a smoke break. She found several young bankers, who were relaxed enough by their nicotine intake to talk for a few moments.