Can't Keep Track of the Financial Meltdown? The St. Louis Fed is Here to Help

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The St. Louis Fed
  • The St. Louis Fed
When did it all begin? This financial mess we're in? And what were the major events that have defined it? 

A new timeline feature available on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis helps answer that.

The voyage begins in late February 2007 when Freddie Mac announces that it will no longer buy risky subprime mortgages. A month later one of the biggest lenders of subprime mortgages, New Century Financial Corporation, files for bankruptcy.

What follows is collapse after collapse of major financial institutions that bet heavily on subprime loans and other mortgage backed securities. A hemorrhaging Bear Stearns is gobbled up by a rival bank. Countrywide sells out to Bank of America. And Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 protection.

It's not pleasant reading for sure. But the Fed's use of primary documents and easy explanations help make sense of our current situation.

Now, if only the Fed could have seen this economic collapse coming say five years ago and prevented it from happening. That would have been something, too.

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