Four years ago today, Lehman Brothers -- a Wall Street investment bank that few people in the UK knew very much about -- collapsed. The shockwaves are still reverberating through the global financial system.
The eurozone's inherent weakness has been ruthlessly exposed, while here in Britain the crash ensured the death of a discredited regulatory architecture erected by Gordon Brown.
By the end of this year, a new regime will put responsibility for financial stability back in the hands of the Bank of England. When Lehman declared bankruptcy, after the then chancellor Alistair Darling vetoed a last-ditch rescue bid from Barclays, it was sitting on more than $600bn of assets.
And from the epicentre of its gleaming skyscraper office in New York, the tremors rippled around the world.
Financial institutions, each indebted to the next via complex financial products whose value outstripped that of the banks themselves, threatened to topple like dominoes.
Balance sheets were ravaged and in the UK both HBOS and Royal Bank of Scotland had to be bailed out with more than pounds sterling 65bn of taxpayers' money just weeks after Lehman's fall from grace.
As Lehman staff filed out of their Canary Wharf tower for the last time, any sympathy soon evaporated at the sight of their office gear stuffed into boxes stamped with the logos of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Cristal champagne.
Within six months, thousands of protestors overran the City of London, staging furious protests targeting London's once-proud financial sector. Bankers, or at least their caricatures, became pariahs. To a degree, they remain so to this day.
But with public opprobrium came political intervention and today's banking landscape, at least in Britain, looks very different. Lenders must hold much higher cash buffers to absorb future financial shocks, while the boardroom beasts of the City have been forced to rein in executive pay.
The Independent Commission on Banking is considering some form of split between investment and retail banking to accompany the regulatory shake-up.
As far as the safety of Britain's banks goes, Investec analyst Ian Gordon thinks we're on the right path.
"Although low interest rates mean low returns, the banking industry, at least within the UK, is much safer than it was, if not more profitable."
Most Popular Stories
- SEO Traffic Lab Celebrate Wins at Digital Marketing Event 'Internet World 2013' in London
- Social Media Initiatives Should Follow Customers' Lead
- Apple CEO: Offshore Units Not a 'Tax Gimmick'
- U.S. Senate Accuses Apple of Large-scale Tax Avoidance
- UTEP Water Recycling Project Wins Venture Titles
- Marketo Makes a Mint in IPO: Stock Shoots Up More than 50 Percent
- Bieber Booed at Billboard Awards
- Crude Oil Up, Gasoline Down
- Austin Startup Compare Metrics Raises $3.5 Million for Expansion
- Why So Many Top 'Car Guys' Are Actually Women