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To the brink and back: A financial crisis timeline

The financial crisis that struck a decade ago had its origins in the easy-to-get mortgages that fueled a housing market bubble beginning in the early 2000s. The crash in home prices when the bubble burst led to a cascade of events that ignited the Great Recession and nearly destroyed the financial system before U.S. officials took controversial steps to prevent an economic meltdown.

Oct. 18, 2006 | Early signs of trouble

The number of Californians sharply behind on their mortgages more than doubles in the third quarter, a new report shows, providing alarming evidence of weakness in the once-booming housing market.

California community hit hard by foreclosure epidemic
A dumpster is filled with furniture and personal property in front of a vacant home in Antioch in 2007. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

July 24, 2007 | Belongings at the curb

The housing market further sags, forcing Californians out of their homes in record numbers. Foreclosures soar to 17,408 in the three months ended Sept. 30, busting a record set a decade earlier during a severe downturn.

March 16, 2008 | Billions in worthless securities

J.P. Morgan Chase agrees to buy Bear Stearns Co. for a stunningly low $2 a share in a deal backed by emergency Federal Reserve funding to prevent the failure of the 85-year-old investment bank, which was dragged down by billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities that went bad.

Sept. 7, 2008 | Uncle Sam takes over mortgage giants

The federal government bails out and takes control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government-chartered but privately owned firms that reported billions of dollars of losses on some $5 trillion worth of mortgage debt they own or guarantee.

Wall Street reels as major financial companies face crisis
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City as financial markets tumble on Sept. 15, 2008. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Sept. 15, 2008 | Wall Street giants derailed

Lehman Bros., an aggressive underwriter of mortgage-backed securities, files for bankruptcy protection, and Merrill Lynch agrees to a $50-billion takeover by Bank of America — sending the Dow down 504 points the following Monday, the most since the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Oct. 3, 2008 | Banks get a big handout

Despite strong opposition, the House of Representatives approves a $700-billion fund to save Wall Street firms and other banks, setting in motion the biggest government intervention in the financial system since the Great Depression.

OBAMA-AUTO
President Obama announces plans for the struggling auto industry at the White House on March 30, 2009. Nancy Stone / MCT

March 30, 2009 | Obama in driver’s seat

President Obama maps out an aggressive plan that ultimately forces struggling automakers General Motors and Chrysler to restructure their businesses and seek bankruptcy protection. GM later emerges a leaner, profitable company while Chrysler is sold to Italian automaker Fiat.

Feb. 13, 2009 | Pumping up the economy

A $787-billion plan to breathe life into the American economy passes the House and Senate. The stimulus ranges from short-term cuts in workers’ withholding taxes to investments in the green economy that may not yield benefits for years.

Wall Street bull
People pass the statue of the bull near Wall Street in New York. Gregory Bull / Associated Press

July 15, 2010 | Taming the wild bull

The Senate passes the wide-ranging Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that gives the government new tools to avoid future corporate bailouts and prevent financial firms from gouging consumers on mortgages and other financial products.

Feb. 9, 2012 | Lending a helping hand

Major banks and state and federal officials reach a $25-billion settlement to help homeowners reduce their mortgage principal or refinance underwater mortgages, though only a fraction goes to foreclosed homeowners.

Jobs
A Now Hiring sign is posted in window of an O'Reilly auto parts store in San Rafael in 2014. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

June 6, 2014 | Help wanted, low pay

The nation finally recovers all 8.7 million jobs lost during the Great Recession. But economists warn that the labor market has failed to keep up with population growth and continues to struggle to create higher-wage jobs.

May 22, 2018 | Dodd-Frank gets tweaked

Bipartisan legislation easing regulations for small and midsize banks passes Congress but falls short of the sweeping roll-back of Dodd-Frank that most Republicans wanted. Community banks that make few mortgages are big beneficiaries.

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