So what were the big financial players thinking the day Lehman Brothers fell?
One year later, Fortune got some answers about who thought what as chaos came to the U.S. financial system. Highlights:
- Mohamed El-Erian: Hit the ATMs “On the Wednesday and Thursday after Lehman filed for Chapter 11, I asked my wife to please go to the ATM and take as much cash as she could. When she asked why, I said it was because I didn’t know whether there was a chance that banks might not open.”
- Lloyd Blankfein: Battlefield decisions “This decision-making was made under battlefield conditions, in a fog of war. Some things might have been done differently, but if you look at the constellation of the things done, it was very effective.”
- Neel Kashkari: A real-life, terrifying experiment “We were now forced to live a real-life, terrifying, financial-markets experiment: Would the failure of a major investment bank really lead to the catastrophe that we feared?”
- Ken Griffin: Felt like the boy who cried wolf “What was set in motion was an underwater earthquake. There would be rumours in the days following that Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Citadel would be next to fall. I credit my team for doing everything possible to make sure we were prepared for the worst.”
- Meredith Whitney: Shouldn’t have let Lehman fail “Little did most people on the street that day appreciate how much panic was going on behind the scenes. After all, we hadn’t addressed the fate of Washington Mutual and Wachovia yet.”
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