Tuesday, June 16, 2009

PBS Frontline: "Breaking the Bank": about TARP and the nationalization of banks after the 2008 collapse


Tonight, PBS Frontline World presented the one hour documentary “Breaking the Bank”, which started out (like “Inside the Meltdown”) with the emergency meetings at the New York Fed on Sept 12 2008, attempting to keep Lehman Brothers from failing. But we know what happened, and by Sept. 18 the Treasury was pushing Congress into a TARP bailout, lest we have no economy at all.

The film goes on to talk a lot about the merger between Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, with the clash of cultures, with Merrill employees making three times as much on average as the associates at the more “conservative” BofA. The film traces the history of the Bank of America through NationsBank in Charlotte.

The main link is here.

The film also discusses the Monday afternoon meeting at Treasury where nine bank CEO’s were told that their companies would be partially nationalized.

The film puts the heat on Bank of America’s Ken Lewis (who thought he was “patriotic”) and Merrill’s John Thain, who is compared to Clark Kent on red kryptonite!

PBS allows embedding of the entire one hour video, here.

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