11 Largest Bankruptcies of All Time

Source: Getty Images / Stuart Ramson

3. Worldcom
> Date of filing: July 21, 2002
> Type of filing: Chapter 11
> Asset value: $103.91 billion

At one time, Worldcom was the second-largest telecom provider in the United States. In 2000, however, then-CEO Bernard Ebbers ran into some difficulty when presented with a margin call on his personal investments. One thing led to another, Ebbers was replaced and an accounting scandal eventually led to Worldcom’s demise.

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2. Washington Mutual
> Date of filing: September 26, 2008
> Type of filing: Chapter 11
> Asset value: $327.91 billion

Washington Mutual was a savings bank and savings and loan association until a 10-day bank run saw depositors withdraw more than $16 billion in June of 2008. That forced the federal government to put the bank in receivership, which resulted in JPMorgan’s purchase of most of the bank’s branches. The savings bank was founded in 1889.

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1. Lehman Brothers
> Date of filing: September 15, 2008
> Type of filing: Chapter 11
> Asset value: $691.06 billion

The first — and largest — of bank failures, the once-mighty investment bank invested heavily in subprime mortgages, and when the value of those assets went to zero, Lehman had no choice but to close the 158-year old bank. Bits and pieces of the company remain among other financial firms like Barclays and Nomura Securities. The bank’s failure was the subject of a book and movie both titled “Too Big to Fail.”

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