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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. This is the second in a series on what has happened since the meltdown.

By Daniel Wagner, Center for Public Integrity foreclosure1

Andy Pollock rode the last subprime mortgage wave to the top then got out as the industry collapsed and took the U.S. economy with it. Today, he’s back in business.

Pollock was president and CEO of First Franklin, a subprime lender whose risky loans to vulnerable consumers hastened the downfall of Merrill Lynch after the Wall Street investment bank bought it in 2006 for $1.3 billion. He was still running First Franklin for Merrill in 2007 when he told Congress that the company had “a proven history as a responsible lender” employing “underwriting standards that assure the quality of the loans we originate.”

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.