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The Financial Crisis: Five Years Later

A Subprime Analyst's Tribute to the Talking Heads

Oct. 22, 2008: The heads of the major credit rating companies are summoned to Capitol Hill

Internal communications unearthed in lawsuits against the credit rating companies contradict their claims that they didn’t know the securities they evaluated were far riskier than the AAA ratings they assigned to them. One gem is a March 2007 e-mail from a Standard & Poor’s employee—and apparent Talking Heads fan—identified in court papers as “Analyst D.”

Watch out, Housing market went softer
Cooling down, Strong market is now much weaker
Subprime is boiling over
Bringing down the house.

Hold tight, CDO biz has a bother
Hold tight, Leveraged CDOs they were after
Going—all the way down, with
Subprime mortgages

Own it, Hey you need to downgrade now
Free-mont, Huge delinquencies hit it now.
Two-thousand-and-six vintage.
Bringing down the house.

A follow-up message to colleagues read: “For obvious professional reasons please do not forward this song. If you are interested, I can sing it at your cube ;-).”

Barrett is an assistant managing editor and senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek. His new book, Law of the Jungle, tells the story of the Chevron oil pollution case in Ecuador.

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