Meredith Whitney Knew Bear Stearns Was Going Under But Was Too ‘Scared’ To Say It

She told clients in London. She also typed up a note. She even emailed it to herself. But she didn’t send it to anyone else, because after seeing how she’d moved markets with her Citi call and the magnificence of her influence, the idea of being responsible for putting Bear out of business made her hesitate.

The weekend before Bear Stearns collapsed, UBS Chairman Marcel Ospel was in New York trying to sell PaineWebber. They were desperate to raise cash. I started to hear that people were also demanding higher collateral from Bear. They didn’t have the revenues to cover their expenses, and they were so highly leveraged. All of the factors pointed to the abyss. On Wednesday, I was in London, telling several clients that I believed, with certainty, that Bear could go under. I remember calling someone I respect and asking, “Is it possible that Bear goes the way of Drexel?”

The market is a faith-based system, and this could have turned into a run on the bank. I didn’t want to be responsible for accelerating a wave of panic. I was just too scared. I remember not being able to sleep on Wednesday night. You have to be so careful about what you say if you’ve got the microphone. I wrote a note—but I sat on it.

Have any of you ever been scared? Do share with the group. This is a safe space.

Meredith Whitney On Her Bear Stearns Call [BW]

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52 Responses to “Meredith Whitney Knew Bear Stearns Was Going Under But Was Too ‘Scared’ To Say It”

  1. Guesticles says:


    – D. Gartman

  2. Anonymous says:

    Those who can , trade; those who can’t, are sellside.

  3. Guest says:

    I know everyone must be thinking, “oh, that poor note.” But really, she wasn’t as heavy back then.

    –The note she sat on

  4. CoveredLong says:

    I feel sorry for that note.

    -John Layfield’s face

  5. Afpk says:

    I was going to tell Ron Goldman it was not a good idea to go to Nicole’s house that night…but he left while I was taking a piss.

  6. Barry_O says:

    I knew the stimulus and QE2 wasn’t going to work, there are no shovel-ready projects.

  7. in love with pmco avatar says:

    Jimmy Cayne was too scared as well

  8. BigFatSlob says:

    hindsight is 20/20

  9. Dennis Gartman says:

    Predicting a bankruptcy is easy, talk to me when you can predict earthquakes (or at least say “thats what I was eluding to” after one occurs

    • Pedant says:

      So, that’s why you weren’t in Northeastern Japan?  Cunning.

      -Guy who knows what “eluding” means

    • Old Salty says:

      I already knew I was going to make comment before I knew I was going to make this comment.

      /D. Gartman

  10. PasteSpecialFormats says:

    I was scared once….then I said the ‘safe word’ and Meredith turned off the sybian.

  11. Lil Jimmy Cameron says:

    I would do her and Bartiromo at the same time with the lights on, Maria spanking me with a catcher’s mitt with Clickclack and Yimyam filming the entire spectacle on an HD camcorder.

  12. MD says:

    One time I just knew that the Treasury was going to stop issuing 30 year bonds.  That really scared me, because, well – It was my job to trade those things.  So, I bought $5billion of them and felt much better ten minutes later.

    – Former Goldman 30 Year Trader.

  13. NakedShort says:

    I’m so excited, sooooo excited……..I’m so scared!!!!!!!!

    -J. Spano

  14. Longpond says:

    I am scared of her chin.

  15. Guest says:

    Meredith sweetie, it’s Friday morning, not Monday morning.

  16. TS says:

    I wouldn’t be talking about my calls to the psychic hotline for insights in a possible bankruptcy, but that’s just me I guess.

  17. Raj says:

    I am scared…wonder if my bunk mate has Hep C

  18. mk says:


  19. Guest says:

    I knew the world was going to end on 5/21/11, effectively advising the Street to go short long dated options big time, and I wasn’t afraid to say. Man up, Meredith.

    -H Camping

  20. Anonymous says:

    I call bull shit, there was no fat blonde in Too Big To Fail. If it wasn’t in the movie (I also heard they made a book out of the movie) it never happened.

  21. Golden Boy says:


  22. Lion's Claw says:

    Lights off, music blaring, in a wrestling ring, her dressed as a lucha libre, me wearing Randy Savage undies, in a cross face hold, sobbing uncontrollably, holding a fist full of IOU’s.

  23. Guest says:

    No, meredith…that’s not right to keep silent. You have such great pedigree…..maybe not nyu, but not bad. In the future, make sure people know that and express yourself with conviction. Btw, did you know I went to nyu?
    Also, don’t ride the metro north.
    -Hermon Raju

  24. AmericanBandersnatch says:

    “I believed, with certainty, that Bear could go under”. 
    I believe, with certainty, that after several beers, I could find her hot and credible.

  25. Guest says:

    “I believed, with CERTAINTY, that Bear COULD go under”LOLZ!

  26. tracy jordan says:

    you all act like you don’t worship all her womanly assets and that you’d only go for it drunk with the lights off. But you’re all full of shit. Every single one of you would go all pre-jaculation if she offered herself up to you on all fours, cheeks spread and telling you to go to town on her round mound of profound

  27. Guest says:

    She just gave her former clients a reason to sue her.

  28. Anon says:

    14:59 . . .

  29. Frank says:

    Meredith Whitney: Finance’s version of Chicken Little.

  30. UADsKe I think this is a real great article post.Much thanks again. Cool.

  31. KFLBYw I loved your blog.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.