Share your 2007-2008 story

Hey guys,

I've been curious about what it was actually like to work for Lehman Brothers and Bear and Wachovia and I-Banks in general during the financial crisis. Anyone that worked at these places or knew people that were there willing to share their story and tell us a little about what it was like?
Did any of you guys see this crisis coming, did you lose a job and how did you get back into the game?
Thanks in advance.

Comments (19)

Aug 9, 2012

crazy to think that was 4 years ago...you shoudl have heard monty's story @ the WSO Conference :-)

Aug 9, 2012
WallStreetOasis.com:

crazy to think that was 4 years ago...you shoudl have heard monty's story @ the WSO Conference :-)

Hopefully I'll be able to make it to the next one

Aug 9, 2012

^^ That was exactly what I thought of when I saw the thread title. Definitely a crazy story...

Also interested in hearing some others...

"That dude is so haole, he don't even have any breath left."

Aug 9, 2012

ugh...I want to forget it. I remember the the day the FDIC bumped up the limit to $250,000. The way capital outflows were going, it was projected that it would be game over for the entire financial system by close of business. Completely changed my worldview.

Aug 9, 2012

Worked at a large BB in PWM that got hit real hard during the crisis. This was at the end of 2008 so LEH, BSC and MER were already gone but you had no idea what to expect each day walking into the office. We kept waiting to be sold off or just fail and had no confidence.

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Aug 9, 2012

I was at both in 2008... crazy time and also the turning point in my career

Aug 9, 2012
monty09:

I was at both in 2008... crazy time and also the turning point in my career

So don't leave us hanging, Monty. Tell us the story.

Aug 9, 2012
monty09:

I was at both in 2008... crazy time and also the turning point in my career

Please continue.

Aug 9, 2012

i was born in 2008 so I hardly remember it

Aug 9, 2012

I was at Bear Energy and turned down Goldman Sachs for Lehman Brothers in 2008

Aug 9, 2012
monty09:

I was at Bear Energy and turned down Goldman Sachs for Lehman Brothers in 2008

Jeeeeeesus. First round's on me, next time we meet.

Aug 9, 2012
kyleyboy:

Hey guys,

I've been curious about what it was actually like to work for Lehman Brothers and Bear and Wachovia and I-Banks in general during the financial crisis. Anyone that worked at these places or knew people that were there willing to share their story and tell us a little about what it was like?
Did any of you guys see this crisis coming, did you lose a job and how did you get back into the game?
Thanks in advance.

My story, for what it's worth.

Early 2007, BB investment bank. All is fine and sunny: big deals, big money, happy senior bankers, new lucites popping up on desks every day. One day, a colleague and I were asked to step in and do some work on a deal involving a major mortgage lender (not my usual area).

I remember thinking, after a couple of days, that it was slightly odd that we were having so many meetings internally and so few with the client. Another odd thing: where was the lead analyst on the deal? Plenty of MDs, plenty of D's, but no official primary analyst or associate. Another odd thing: it was made clear to us that we were not to touch or question valuation.

We were like, "So why the fuck are we here? To twiddle our thumbs, turn minor changes, provide our group's rubber stamp on someone else's valuation without being able to kick the tires?" Answer: "Pretty much, yeah." We were footsoldiers, so of course we did what we were told.

Turns out that we had stepped right into a major internal political shitstorm.

I'm not 100% clear on what went down, but it was very clear that some coalition of big MDs was trying to use all their power to railroad the deal through the greenlight process as fast as possible before it got shut down. There were two tense meetings: one with risk, one with our good old buddies in lev fin. Little chill in the air, especially around CDOs. Was definitely not feeling the usual IBD/lev fin love.

Then they started holding meetings offline, and the colleague and I built materials for those meetings but weren't permitted to attend. I do know that one of these offline meetings involved the firm's top executive leadership (which was very unusual).

It was at around this time that we started going home early, multiple days in a row, due to there being nothing to do on the deal. We could guess what that meant: the deal had flatlined, but no one was willing to declare it dead yet.

I did a little digging on my own and eventually intuited what had been going on with the valuation. My take at the time was, "Wow, sucks for that industry. The guys in that group are fucked when this sees the light of day."

The deal was finally pronounced dead shortly thereafter, the colleague and I were restaffed to separate projects, and regular life resumed for a little while. Some months later the Bear Stearns credit funds ran into a little bit of trouble. The rest, as they say, was history.

So in short, I suppose I was in the right place at the right time to forecast the first link in the chain. I definitely didn't foresee the rest of it.

    • 1
Aug 9, 2012
bankerella:
kyleyboy:

Hey guys,

I've been curious about what it was actually like to work for Lehman Brothers and Bear and Wachovia and I-Banks in general during the financial crisis. Anyone that worked at these places or knew people that were there willing to share their story and tell us a little about what it was like?
Did any of you guys see this crisis coming, did you lose a job and how did you get back into the game?
Thanks in advance.

My story, for what it's worth.

Early 2007, BB investment bank. All is fine and sunny: big deals, big money, happy senior bankers, new lucites popping up on desks every day. One day, a colleague and I were asked to step in and do some work on a deal involving a major mortgage lender (not my usual area).

I remember thinking, after a couple of days, that it was slightly odd that we were having so many meetings internally and so few with the client. Another odd thing: where was the lead analyst on the deal? Plenty of MDs, plenty of D's, but no official primary analyst or associate. Another odd thing: it was made clear to us that we were not to touch or question valuation.

We were like, "So why the fuck are we here? To twiddle our thumbs, turn minor changes, provide our group's rubber stamp on someone else's valuation without being able to kick the tires?" Answer: "Pretty much, yeah." We were footsoldiers, so of course we did what we were told.

Turns out that we had stepped right into a major internal political shitstorm.

I'm not 100% clear on what went down, but it was very clear that some coalition of big MDs was trying to use all their power to railroad the deal through the greenlight process as fast as possible before it got shut down. There were two tense meetings: one with risk, one with our good old buddies in lev fin. Little chill in the air, especially around CDOs. Was definitely not feeling the usual IBD/lev fin love.

Then they started holding meetings offline, and the colleague and I built materials for those meetings but weren't permitted to attend. I do know that one of these offline meetings involved the firm's top executive leadership (which was very unusual).

It was at around this time that we started going home early, multiple days in a row, due to there being nothing to do on the deal. We could guess what that meant: the deal had flatlined, but no one was willing to declare it dead yet.

I did a little digging on my own and eventually intuited what had been going on with the valuation. My take at the time was, "Wow, sucks for that industry. The guys in that group are fucked when this sees the light of day."

The deal was finally pronounced dead shortly thereafter, the colleague and I were restaffed to separate projects, and regular life resumed for a little while. Some months later the Bear Stearns credit funds ran into a little bit of trouble. The rest, as they say, was history.

So in short, I suppose I was in the right place at the right time to forecast the first link in the chain. I definitely didn't foresee the rest of it.

I smell a series of blog posts..."The 2008 Crash"

Aug 10, 2012

I love hearing stories from my bosses of the "good old days". People buying PS250m of mezz without even reading the loan agreements (you could see by the data room not being accessed), 26 year old guys with no clue given PS1bn to start up funds - my boss was interviewed by him and he, the interviewer, ended up taking notes as my boss told him how to run his fund - rife bribery.

Aug 9, 2012

2007-2008? hmm let me think.

the girl I asked to homecoming rejected me. she was the only one I wanted to go with so I didn't go.

I got kicked out my world of warcraft guild for not maintaining the required 90% raid attendance rate. We raided 6 nights a week.

i laughed for 30 minutes straight in my high school biology class when the teacher tricked some people into thinking water dowsing was real.

oh and my grandma died of a stroke :\ she lived across the country my whole life so I only saw her about once every two years, but still she was a nice lady

    • 4
Aug 10, 2012

In 2007 I was a strategist in a prop trading group at a large dealer. The crisis ended up launching my career as a portfolio manager due to working closely with some guys who did well and promoted me and then in 2008 the crisis ended up making me alot of money as it deepened. In terms of specific stories there are a million but I remember some of the panic days in markets so well...like they were yesterday...some that come immediately to mind going chronoligically are the day of Bear Stears' disastororus conference call in summer of 2007 when Jimmy Cayne left in the middle (this was the first time I really thought a major financial institution was going to end u going bust), the day pretty soon thereafter when the Fed did a surprise, intermeeting discount rate cut to start the easing cycle, the day bear was bought for 2 bucks a share (i was at the office the sunday night when the headline hit and assumed it was a typo since the talk was 20/share), the sunday night of the lehman bankrupcy (that one really felt like the end of an era and their offices were right around the corner from ours so i walked by that night and watched the media frenzy...that was one of the few nights where it was really apparent you were watching a big moment in financial history), many many sunday evenings waiting for details of various plans to save fannie, frieddie, AIG, etc before the Asia open, October/November 2008 which were the best two months of my trading career as European and UK interest rates collapsed, the first TARP vote in the house when everyone was watching the count on CSPAN and the stock market crash when it became clear they didnt have the votes to pass it...i could go on and on...was really a crazy crazy couple of years.

Aug 10, 2012

Responding to come back later when I'm not so tired. Have some stories- was working with mortgages at the time.. Crazy shit when money was growing on trees.

Aug 10, 2012
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