The crisis's aftershocks can still be felt
It's now been five years since the investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection, weighed down by billions of dollars' worth of losses due to the mortgage market, touching off a panic that continues to have wide-ranging implications for the financial industry and American consumers.
"The markets were shocked by that because they assumed it couldn't happen," says Richard Sylla, a professor of economics and financial history at New York University. "That was really the worst part of the crisis."
Stock values plunged, eventually falling to half what they had been at the peak, followed soon after by a crash in housing prices. Financial institutions reacted to their losses in the mortgage markets by drastically cutting back on loans to consumers and businesses to protect the capital they had left.
"There was a definite pullback in lending," Sylla says. "It became very much harder to get loans, and, of course, this contributed to the recession and the rise in unemployment."
The government response to the crisis also has had significant aftereffects. It started with massive bailouts and so-called quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, and led eventually to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and a host of new regulations and requirements for financial firms.
Taken together, these aftershocks from the crisis are still affecting financial services Americans use every day. Here's a breakdown.