Four years ago, on an evening in March 2008, I received a call from the CEO of Bear Stearns informing me that they planned to file for bankruptcy in the morning.
Bear Stearns was the smallest of the major Wall Street institutions, but it was deeply entwined in financial markets and had the perfect mix of vulnerabilities. It took on too much risk. It relied on billions of dollars of risky short-term financing. And it held thousands of derivative contracts with thousands of companies.