The bankruptcy filing of Lehman Bros. Inc. and the pending sale of Merrill Lynch & Co. to Bank of America Corp. threaten to hit Chicago's battered financial sector hard.
Lehman has about 550 local employees, and Merrill Lynch employs hundreds as well. Both firms are based in New York.
"Ultimately, it's going to have a very devastating impact on the region," says Laleen Doerrer, a Lehman vice-president in Chicago who deals with hedge-fund customers. "There just aren't the big employers to pick up the slack. We've watched our financial services industry get cannibalized by New York and Europe."