DEFINITION of 'Lehman Brothers'
A firm that was once considered one of the major players in the global banking and financial services industries, but declared bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, after a catastrophic collapse caused by a mix of subprime mortgage exposure as well as negative rumors and alleged short selling in the market. The fall of Lehman Brothers marked the beginning of the public's awareness of the forthcoming credit crisis and recession of the late 2000s.
BREAKING DOWN 'Lehman Brothers'
The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers was, at the time, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. Although the stock market was in modest decline prior to these events, the Lehman bankruptcy, coupled with the earlier collapse of Bear Stearns, greatly eroded confidence and led to a precipitous declines across the major U.S. indexes in late September and early October 2008.