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Editor’s note: Nearly five years ago, on Sept. 15, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for Chapter 11, the largest bankruptcy in the nation’s history. The move set off a series of dramatic actions in Washington, D.C., and on Wall Street as bankers and regulators sought to avoid a shutdown of the global economy. The third in a three-part series on what has happened since the meltdown.

By Lauren Kyger, Alison Fitzgerald and John Dunbar, Center for Public Integrity bearstearns

On March 11, 2008, Christopher Cox, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said he was comfortable with the amount of capital that Bear Stearns and the other publicly traded Wall Street investment banks had on hand.

Days later, Bear was gone, becoming the first investment bank to disappear in 2008 under the watch of Cox’s SEC.

Editor’s note: Nearly five years ago, on Sept. 15, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for Chapter 11, the largest bankruptcy in the nation’s history. The move set off a series of dramatic actions in Washington, D.C., and on Wall Street as bankers and regulators sought to avoid a shutdown of the global economy. To mark the anniversary, the Center for Public Integrity is publishing a three-part series on what has happened since the meltdown. In this story, we focus on the Wall Street bankers who fed the subprime mortgage machine, without regard to risk.

By Alison Fitzgerald, Center for Public Integrity lehmanbros

Five years after the near-collapse of the nation’s financial system, the economy continues a slow recovery marred by high unemployment, hesitant consumers and sluggish business investment.

Many of the top Wall Street bankers who were largely responsible for the disaster — and whose companies either collapsed or accepted billions in government bailouts — are also unemployed. But since they walked away from the disaster with millions, they’re juggling their ample free time between mansions and golf, skiing and tennis.