Before the fall of 2008 eager business school grads would have killed for a job at Lehman Brothers Holdings. It was the 4th largest bank in the country, and anybody who had a Lehman Brothers job on their resume seemed to be set for life. People dreamed of walking down Manhattan’s Seventh Avenue and going to work in the bank’s beautiful 32 story skyscraper, but after September 15th 2008 any dream anybody had about Lehman would have been a nightmare. Lehman Brothers set the record for the largest bankruptcy filing in US history, and the financial damage is startling.
Here’s a quick refresher on the figures the company is dealing with:
$635 billion- The total assets Lehman claimed before filing for bankruptcy, $576.9 billion were in marketing securities
$613 billion- The amount of debt Lehman held as of May 2008
$398 billion- The estimated amount that Lehman’s liquidation could recover
Lehman officially came out of bankruptcy in March, nearly three and a half years after they declared. Lehman may have helped tank the global economy, but despite everything the company still exists today and has around 340 employees scrambling to return money to creditors. The company plans on gracefully bowing out of the financial scene by 2017, but before then the company has a lot of work to do.
Even though the company is out of bankruptcy they still have an awful stigma to shake. When many people hear about Lehman’s recent work they first think, “Wait, I thought that bank went under?”, but after that confusion passes many wonder why they’re still even allowed to function after what happened. Lehman’s PR team employees aren’t the only ones upset over the backlash. According to a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article the new company bigwigs are sick of people questioning their existence. They’re sick of the Frankenstein and zombie jokes, and they wish that people would treat the company with a little more respect.
To be fair it is a little hard for people to have confidence in a business that nearly obliterated the world’s economy, but if you think about it “zombie bank” is a pretty spot on way to describe the current state of Lehman. They used to be alive and vibrant, but they’ve spend the past few years dead and buried under their own debt. Now they have a little bit of life back in them, and they’re slowly shambling along with an all-consuming need to right their wrongs. It almost seems like they’re taking on a futile task. There’s no hope of breathing new life into Lehman, and a lot of people wish they never resurrected.