There have been many financial crashes throughout the course of history; however, none have been so significant or globally damaging as the financial crash that occurred in 2008. Not only did it impact the United States and millions of American families, but the world economy and financial sectors shook under the weight of banks falling on their swords.

When the housing market crashed, the writing was on the wall. After years of bad business practices, banks across the globe were finally meeting their maker and paying the consequences for their actions. While many financial leaders claimed there was no way to predict the fall of the wholesale money market, all you have to do is look at the way loans were handled to spot the warnings signs.

For starters, the early 2000s saw a boom in subprime mortgage lending, as well as offering mortgage loans to applicants without income verification. Banks and other financial institutions would continue to expand their loan acquisitions, knowing the risks and the possibility that the loans could eventually turn into “toxic debt.” Although the banks are definitely to blame, it’s the financial leaders who are solely responsible for allowing such business practices continue.

There have been several financial leaders identified around the world who have contributed to the collapse of 2008 in many different ways. While it’s easy to generalize blame, it’s important to call out these men and women who took advantage of borrowers with false promises that would eventually end in insurmountable debt and foreclosure.

We’ve done our research and have identified 20 bankers and financial executives who were directly (or indirectly) responsible for a significant part of the financial crisis. Once you’ve read these stories, you’ll agree that not only could the 2008 crash have been prevented but all of these individuals had it coming to them.


20. Angelo Mozilo

Image: The New York Times

Angelo Mozilo was the son of a butcher and came from very humble beginnings before co-founding Countrywide and building it into the largest mortgage lender in the United States. He was one of the main contributors to the housing crash of 2008 by establishing the notion that anyone could handle a large mortgage. By allowing individuals to take out a mortgage that they had no chance of paying back, the crash destroyed Countrywide. Recently, Mozilo took a hefty pay package and resigned from the company after its rescue-sale to Bank of America.