The financial crisis of 2008 has left few fond memories by those who lived through it. Precipitated by the reckless lending practices of financial institutions desperate for “product” to sell as bundled securities, it led to a meltdown of the U.S. economy, caused millions to lose their jobs and the greatest housing market slump since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
And the first real sign there was severe trouble brewing came with a bankruptcy filing. On September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers, a storied investment house, filed for bankruptcy. And that filing would launch millions of bankruptcy filings made by ordinary people, trapped in underwater mortgage loans and forced out of work by the collapse of the business practices that gave rise to the real estate bubble and, in the process, destroyed much of the economy.
This was a game to the large Wall Street investment firms, in which the object was to vacuum up as many mortgage loans as possible and sell them as AAA-rated bonds to investors.
In the early 00’s, U.S. Treasury bonds were paying negligible interest rates, and investors worldwide were looking for something that would earn better interest rates, but with at a low risk, similar to that of U.S. Treasuries.
Bonds created with U.S. mortgage loans seemed like a safe substitute, as 30-fixed mortgage loans had very low default rates. There was just one problem. After a short time, the investment houses had drained all of those mortgages from the pool.
In essence, everyone who wanted a 30-fixed mortgage had one. But the global market for this product was insatiable. And Wall Street investment banks, which were earning billions in commission on the sale of this product, could not say no.
And with that came the development of the NINA loans, the consequences of which would virtually drive the world into a very deep economic depression.
Source: thenation.com, “September 15, 2008: Lehman Brothers Files for Bankruptcy and American Finance Collapses,” Richard Kreitner, September 15, 2015