Lessons from Lehman

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    Mellody Hobson talks about fall of investment bank, Lehman Brothers, and what we can learn from it, five years later.

    This past weekend marked the fifth anniversary of the fall of Lehman Brothers. As we know all too well, the leading financial firm’s bankruptcy is credited for triggering a global financial crisis. I think five years is a great marker to take a look back and try to digest some of the eye-popping numbers associated with the behemoth investment bank’s fall and consider some lessons learned. Let’s start by reviewing some of those numbers.

    We’ll start with the biggest and the most mind-boggling: $639 billion. That was the total assets Lehman Brothers reported in their final quarterly report, and it earned Lehman the dubious distinction of being the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

    To put that in just a little bit of perspective, General Motors had just $89 billion in assets before filing for bankruptcy, (it has $163 billion today).

    Now let’s take a look at the smallest number: 18 cents. That’s how much Bloomberg estimates creditors of the Lehman estate will receive in 2016. That’s eighteen cents on the dollar.

    And this next one is somewhere in between: $34 million.

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