We can all remember the stunning headlines, market losses, and bailouts that resulted from the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September of 2008. As we approach the 15th anniversary of the collapse, it’s important to remember the impact of the collapse on both our financial system and Main Street, while also considering the role that Too-Big-To-Fail (TBTF) continues to play today.
To commemorate this anniversary, Better Markets held a virtual conference on Sept. 13 to discuss the causes, consequences, and ongoing impacts of that crash, too-big-to-fail generally, and all things finance and economics. The conference dove into the policy implications of the Lehman collapse and how TBTF continues to loom over our financial system and what policymakers and regulators can do about it. You can watch the full conference below:
9:30 AM | WELCOME
DENNIS M. KELLEHER
Co-Founder, President, and CEO, Better Markets
U.S. Senator, Massachusetts
KEYNOTE: What’s At Stake in Solving/Ending The Threat of TBTF?
Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM | PANEL DISCUSSION: What Has Changed/Not Changed From Bear Stearns/Lehman Brothers to SVB/First Republic?
WILLIAM D. COHAN
Writer and former senior Wall Street M&A investment banker
Assistant Professor of Law, Michigan Ross
Professor of Law, Berkeley Law School
Law Professor, Author
Economics Editor, New York Times
12:00 – 12:30 PM | LUNCH BREAK
12:30 – 1:15 PM | FIRESIDE CHAT: A Market Regulator’s View of Too-Big-To-Fail
Chairperson, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
U.S. Financial Editor, Financial Times
1:15 – 2:30 PM | PANEL DISCUSSION: Avoiding and Resolving Failures of Systemically Important Banks: Why Didn’t the Dodd-Frank Act Provide Satisfactory Answers for the Problems at SVB, Signature, and First Republic?
Professor, Global Economics & Management, MIT
Professor of Law, Boston College Law School
Professor of Law, Cornell Law School
Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
Economics Reporter, POLITICO
2:30 – 3:00 PM | KEYNOTE: Too-Big-To-Fail from a Financial Consumer’s Point of View
Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
3:00 – 3:15 PM | COFFEE BREAK
3:15 – 4:45 PM | PANEL DISCUSSION: Looking to the Future: What Reforms Are Needed to End TBTF?
Professor of Finance and Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business
Professor of Economics, Founding Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Former President, Kansas City Fed; Former Chair, FDIC; Distinguished Senior Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO, Coalition for Green Capital
Journalist and Media Executive
4:45 PM | CLOSING REMARKS
DENNIS M. KELLEHER
Co-Founder, President, and CEO, Better Markets
Better Markets Materials
Key Books on 2008 Financial Crash, the Dodd-Frank Act and its Implementation, and Financial Reform Generally
The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong With Banking and What to Do About It by Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig (New and expanded edition forthcoming January 2024) – Conference Participant
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahmed
Bull By The Horns by Sheila Bair
The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and its Aftermath by Ben Bernanke
House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street by William D. Cohan – Conference Participant
Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World by William D. Cohan – Conference Participant
The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins by Jeff Connaughton
The Handbook of the Political Economy of Financial Crises edited by Martin H. Wolfson and Gerald A. Epstein – Conference Participant
Busting the Bankers’ Club: Finance for the Rest of Us by Gerald A. Epstein – Forthcoming January 2024 – Conference Participant
Stress Tests: Reflections on Financial Crises by Tim Geithner
A Crisis Wasted by Reed Hundt – Conference Participant
13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson and James Kwak – Conference Participant
The Subprime Virus: Reckless Credit, Regulatory Failure, and Next Steps by Kathleen C. Engel and Patricia A. McCoy – Conference Participant
All The Devils Are Here: The Hidden History Of The Financial Crisis by Bethany Mclean, Joe Nocera
The Escape Artists: How Obama’s Team Fumbled the Recovery by Noam Scheiber
Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy by Joseph E. Stiglitz
Other People’s Houses by Jennifer Taub – Conference Participant
Fool’s Gold By Gillian Tett
The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism by Martin Wolf – Conference Participant
The Shifts And The Shocks: What We’ve Learned – And Have Still To Learn – From The Financial Crisis by Martin Wolf – Conference Participant
Taming the Megabanks by Arthur Wilmarth – Conference Participant
Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse by Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
Anat R. Admati is the George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics at Stanford University Graduate School of Business (GSB), a Faculty Director of the GSB Corporations and Society Initiative, and a senior fellow at Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. She has written extensively on information dissemination in financial markets, portfolio management, financial contracting, corporate governance and banking. Admati’s current research, teaching and advocacy focus on the complex interactions between business, law, and policy with focus on governance and accountability.
Since 2010, Admati has been active in the policy debate on financial regulations. She is the co-author, with Martin Hellwig, of the award-winning and highly acclaimed book The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It (Princeton University Press, 2013; bankersnewclothes.com). In 2014, she was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world and by Foreign Policy Magazine as among 100 global thinkers.
Admati holds BSc from the Hebrew University, MA, MPhil and PhD from Yale University, and an honorary doctorate from University of Zurich. She is a fellow of the Econometric Society, the recipient of multiple fellowships, research grants, and paper recognition, and is a past board member of the American Finance Association. She has served on a number of editorial boards and is a member of the FDIC’s Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee, a former member of the CFTC’s Market Risk Advisory Committee, and a former visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund.
William D. Cohan
William D. Cohan, a former senior Wall Street M&A investment banker for 17 years at Lazard Frères & Co., Merrill Lynch and JPMorganChase, is the New York Times bestselling author of five non-fiction narratives: three about Wall Street: Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World; House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street; and, The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co., the winner of the 2007 FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. His book, The Price of Silence, about the Duke lacrosse scandal was published in April 2014 and was also a New York Times bestseller. His new book Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon, about the rise and fall of GE, once the world’s most powerful, valuable and important company, was published in November 2022 by Penguin Random House. It was long-listed for the 2022 FT Business Book of the Year Award. It was a New York Times bestseller and on the best book of the year lists published by The New Yorker, The Economist, The Financial Times and the Dealbook section of the New York Times.
He is also the author of Why Wall Street Matters, which was published by Random House in February 2017. His book, Four Friends, about what happened to four of his friends of from Andover, his high school, was published by Flatiron Press, a division of Macmillan Publishers, in July 2019.
Cohan is also a founding partner of Puck, a digital publication owned and operated by journalists, and a writer-at-large for Air Mail. For 13 years, he was a special correspondent at Vanity Fair. He also writes, or has written, for ProPublica, The Financial Times, The New York Times, Institutional Investor, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Atlantic, Fast Company, The Nation, Fortune, Politico, ArtNews, and Barron’s. He previously wrote a bi-weekly opinion column for The New York Times, an opinion column for BloombergView, as well as for the Dealbook section of the New York Times. He is a non-staff, on-air contributor to CNBC and also appears on CNN, on MSNBC and the BBC-TV. He has also appeared three times as a guest on the Daily Show, with Jon Stewart, The NewsHour, The Charlie Rose Show, The Tavis Smiley Show, and CBS This Morning as well as on numerous NPR, BBC and Bloomberg radio programs. He was formerly a contributing editor for Bloomberg TV.
He is a graduate of Phillips Academy (Andover), Duke University, Columbia University School of Journalism and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts and now lives in New York City with his wife and, more occasionally these days, his two sons.
Gerald Epstein is Professor of Economics and founding co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has published widely on the political economy of central banks, macroeconomics and financial markets and regulation. His most recent books are The Political Economy of Central Banking; Contested Control and the Power of Finance, Edward Elgar, 2019 and Busting the Bankers’ Club: Finance for the Rest of Us, University of California Press, forthcoming, January 2024.
Thomas Hoenig is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Prior to joining the Mercatus Center, Mr. Hoenig served as Vice Chairman of the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 2012 until 2018. In that capacity, he oversaw FDIC operations and policy related to deposit insurance pricing, bank supervision, and financial stability and bank resolution. He served as Director of NeighborWorks America, which was established by Congress in 1978 to address housing issues nationwide. He also served as a member of the International Association of Deposit Insurers’ board from 2012 to 2017, and as the President and Chairman from October 2015 to October 2017.
Previously, Mr. Hoenig was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and a member of the Federal Reserve System’s Federal Open Market Committee from 1991 to 2011. Mr. Hoenig was with the Federal Reserve for 38 years, beginning as an economist and then as a senior officer in banking supervision. As President and Chief Executive Officer, he led the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City during the Great Recession and the banking crisis of 2008 and 2009.
During his time with the Federal Reserve, Mr. Hoenig chaired several key committees including the Conference of Presidents, the Committee on Bank Supervision, Regulation and Legislation, and the Information Technology Oversight Committee. Also, during his tenure Mr. Hoenig organized and hosted the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Jackson Hole economic symposium for global central bankers.
Mr. Hoenig is from Fort Madison, Iowa and received a doctorate in economics from Iowa State University.
Reed Eric Hundt (born March 3, 1948) is the chairman, CEO and co-founder of the Coalition for Green Capital. The idea of a national green bank came from work Hundt did for the Obama Presidential Transition Team in 2008-9, on which he was responsible for reviewing economic agencies of the federal government. The first champions of this new institution were then Congressmen Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass). Legislation launching the national green bank was incorporated in ACES, the cap-and-trade bill enacted in the House, and also was passed on a bipartisan basis from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. A national climate bank bill was introduced by the same two Congressmen in 2019, after they had become senators; was passed in the House in 2020 and 2021; became part of the Inflation Reduction Act enacted in August 2022. During these years CGC created more than three dozen state and local green banks to lay the groundwork for the national entity.
Hundt, an attorney, was a senior adviser to Covington and Burling from 2014 to 2019, to Skadden Arps from 2009 to 2014; to McKinsey, the consulting firm, from 1998 to 2009. He has served on many corporate boards, including Intel Corporation from 2001 to 2020, and helped start four firms, including two nonprofits, CGC and Making Every Vote Count. He has served as an adviser and venture partner to private equity and venture capital firms, including GTCR from 2006 to 2016.
Hundt served as chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission from November 29, 1993, to November 3, 1997. He was a partner and associate at Latham & Watkins from 1975 to 1993, clerked for Judge Harrison L. Winter of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1974 to 1975, and graduated from Yale Law School in 1974, where he was a member of the board of the Yale Law Journal. He graduated from Yale College in 1969.
He has written five books, including A Crisis Wasted: Barack Obama’s Defining Decisions (2019); Zero Hour: Time to Build the Clean Power Platform (2013); The Politics of Abundance: How Technology Can Fix the Budget, Revive the American Dream, and Establish Obama’s Legacy (2012, co-written with Blair Levin); In China’s Shadow: The Crisis of American Entrepreneurship (2006); You Say You Want A Revolution: A Story of Information Age Politics (2000).
Hundt is married to Betsy Katz. They have three children and two grandchildren and live in Chevy Chase, MD, and Portola Valley, CA.
Jeremy Kress is an Assistant Professor of Business Law at Michigan Ross and Co-Faculty Director of the University of Michigan’s Center on Finance, Law & Policy. His research focuses on bank regulation, systemic risk, and financial stability.
Before entering academia, Professor Kress was an attorney in the banking regulation and policy group at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. In that capacity, he drafted rules to implement the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III, and he advised the Board on the legal permissibility of bank mergers and acquisitions. In 2023, Professor Kress served as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for bank merger policy at the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.
Professor Kress has testified before Congress and serves as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Education and Industry Forum on Financial Services Culture. He frequently comments on financial regulatory matters in the press. Professor Kress has been featured in media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg News, NPR’s Marketplace, Politico, Yahoo Finance, and American Banker. The Financial Times has recognized Professor Kress’ work on bank merger regulation as “highly commended” academic research with real-world impact in its Responsible Business Education Awards.
Professor Kress teaches Legal Issues in Finance & Banking at Michigan Ross, and he has taught Financial Regulation at Michigan Law School. He was named one of Poets & Quants’ “Top 50 Undergraduate Professors of 2020” and won Michigan Ross’ Neary Teaching Excellence Award in 2019.
Professor Kress graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and from the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Presidential Scholar. He holds a BBA from Michigan Ross.
Patricia A. McCoy
Patricia A. McCoy is the Liberty Mutual Insurance Professor at Boston College Law School. Her research interests focus on the nexus among financial services, consumer welfare, and systemic risk. In 2010-2011, the Treasury Department appointed her as the first Assistant Director of Mortgage Markets at the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C., where she oversaw all of the Bureau’s mortgage policy analyses and initiatives. She has also served on the Consumer Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board, the Advisory Council on Economic Inclusion of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Federal Reserve’s Insurance Policy Advisory Council.
Ms. McCoy received her J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Industrial Relations Law Journal. Later, she clerked for the late Hon. Robert S. Vance on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Before entering academe, Ms. McCoy was a partner at the law firm of Mayer, Brown in Washington, D.C., where she litigated failed bank cases. Later, she spent the 2002-2003 school year as a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Economics Department. Ms. McCoy has three books to her credit, including The Subprime Virus, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2011 and written with Kathleen C. Engel. Currently, she is writing a new book on improving the financial security of low-wage households.
Saule Omarova is the Beth and Marc Goldberg Professor of Law at Cornell University and a Senior Fellow at Roosevelt Institute. Her scholarship focuses on systemic risk regulation, financial technology, and structural trends in global financial markets. Prior to joining academia, she practiced banking law at a premier New York law firm, and served at the U.S. Treasury Department as Special Advisor for Regulatory Policy to the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance. In 2021, Professor Omarova was President Biden’s nominee for the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency. She holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a J.D. from Northwestern University.
Frank Partnoy is the Adrian A. Kragen Professor Law at the UC Berkeley School of Law and Affiliated Faculty at the Berkeley Haas School of Business and the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing. He has written several books, dozens of scholarly articles, and more than sixty pieces in The New York Times, Financial Times, and The Atlantic. Partnoy has appeared on 60 Minutes and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and has testified before both houses of Congress. He has been an international research fellow at Oxford since 2010. He co-founded the International Institute of Law and Finance, with the mission of putting academic work in front of regulators.
Deborah is the Economics Editor in the Washington Bureau of the New York Times where she oversees coverage of economic policy, tax, trade, and the Federal Reserve, among other financial matters. Previously, she was a director at Brunswick Group in Washington, where she provided strategic advice to senior executives on crisis situations, litigation, and regulatory matters. From 2000 to 2015, Deborah was at The Journal, where she oversaw the financial regulatory and law enforcement teams as a news editor in the paper’s Washington bureau. As a reporter, Deborah led The Journal’s coverage of Washington’s response to the 2008 financial crisis and was a finalist, along with several colleagues, for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. She was also part of a team that won the 2009 Gerald Loeb Award for “The Day That Changed Wall Street.” In 2003, Deborah was a member of a team of Wall Street Journal reporters awarded the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting for the paper’s coverage of the WorldCom scandal, as well as a 2003 Gerald Loeb Award. She has worked at a range of media outlets, including Bloomberg View, USA Today and The San Francisco Chronicle.
Louise Story is a longtime journalist, media executive and filmmaker. She was a leading reporter at The New York Times covering the financial crisis in 2008. Previously, Louise was a masthead editor at The Wall Street Journal, where she ran all news coverage strategy and also the Journal’s product and technology teams. Prior to that, at The New York Times, Louise ran the live video unit and co-authored The Times’ digital transformation plans. For much of Louise’s career, she has been an investigative reporter, and, in that capacity, she uncovered three of the most notable fraud cases of the past 15 years. She also produced and wrote “The Kleptocrats,” a feature-length documentary that aired on the BBC, in festivals worldwide and is now on Amazon and Apple.
Louise teaches an M.B.A. course on race and economics at The Yale School of Management, and recently completed work with her co-author journalist Ebony Reed on a forthcoming book about the Black-white wealth gap to be published in 2024 by HarperCollins. For updates on her book, sign up here: lande.substack.com.
Jennifer Taub is a legal scholar and advocate, devoted to making complex business law topics engaging inside and outside of the classroom. Her research and writing focuses on corporate governance, banking and financial market regulation, and white collar crime. Similarly, her advocacy centers on “follow the money” matters — promoting transparency and opposing corruption. She is host of the podcast Booked Up with Jen Taub. She is a graduate Yale College and Harvard Law School.
Her most recent book, Big Dirty Money: The Shocking Injustice and Unseen Cost of White Collar Crime (Viking) was published in 2020. She is a professor of law at the Western New England University School of Law where she teaches Civil Procedure, White Collar Crime, and other business and commercial law courses, and was the Bruce W. Nichols Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School during the fall 2019 semester.
An authority on the 2008 mortgage meltdown and related financial crisis, Taub is also an emerging expert in white collar crime. In addition to Big Dirty Money, she is co-author with the late Kathleen Brickey of Corporate and White Collar Crime: Cases and Materials. In the area of banking and financial market regulation, Taub’s book Other People’s Houses: How Decades of Bailouts, Captive Regulators, and Toxic Bankers Made Home Mortgages a Thrilling Business was published in May 2014 by Yale University Press. Recognized as accessible and informative, OPH was honored by the Massachusetts Center for the Book as one of the 2015 finalists in the nonfiction category. Other People’s Houses was favorably mentioned by Nobel Laureate, Robert Shiller in his 2015 edition of Irrational Exuberance. Taub testified as an expert before the United States Senate Banking Committee and a United States House Financial Services Subcommittee. She also co-organized a conference and co-lead a panel discussion at the Financial Stability Law Workshop at the U.S. Treasury Department, hosted by the Office of Financial Research.
In addition to Other People’s Houses, Taub has written extensively on the financial crisis. Her publications include “The Sophisticated Investor and the Global Financial Crisis” in the peer-reviewed Corporate Governance Failures (UPenn Press, 2011) and a case study on AIG in Robert A. G. Monks and Nell Minow’s fifth edition of Corporate Governance (Wiley, 2011). In response to Roberta Romano, she presented and wrote “Regulating in the Light: Harnessing Political Entrepreneurs’ Energy for Post-Crisis Sunlight Hearings” (St. Thomas L. Rev. 2015). Additional works include the chapter “Delay, Dilutions, and Delusions: Implementing the Dodd-Frank Act” in Restoring Shared Prosperity (2013) and “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Banking,” in the Handbook on the Political Economy of the Financial Crisis (Oxford, 2012). She wrote entries on “Shadow Banking” and “Financial Deregulation” for the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Business, Labor and Economic History (Oxford, 2013) and the chapter “Great Expectations for the Office of Financial Research,” in Will it Work? How Will We Know? The Future of Financial Reform (2010). In addition, she has published Reforming the Banks for Good in Dissent (2014). Her article, “The Subprime Specter Returns: High Finance and the Growth of High-Risk Consumer Debt,” was published in the New Labor Forum (2015).
Professor Wilmarth was a member of the faculty of George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. from 1986 to 2020. He joined GW Law School’s faculty after spending 11 years in private law practice, including as a partner in Jones Day’s Washington office. He served as Executive Director of the Law School’s Center for Law, Economics & Finance from 2011 to 2014.
Professor Wilmarth is the author of Taming the Megabanks: Why We Need a New Glass-Steagall Act (Oxford University Press, 2020), and co-editor of The Panic of 2008: Causes, Consequences, and Implications for Reform (Edward Elgar, 2010). He has published more than 40 law review articles and book chapters in the fields of financial regulation and American constitutional history. In 2005, the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers awarded him its prize for the best law review article published in the field of consumer financial services law during the previous year.
Professor Wilmarth has testified on financial regulatory issues before committees of the U.S. Congress and the California legislature. In 2010, he was a consultant to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the body established by Congress to report on the causes of the financial crisis of 2007-09. He is a member of the International Advisory Board for the Journal of Banking Regulation (Palgrave Macmillan).
Professor Wilmarth received his B.A. degree from Yale University and his J.D. degree from Harvard University. Many of his publications can be downloaded free of charge through the Social Science Research Network at http://ssrn.com/author=292185.