Homebuilder and Lender CEOs Cashed in When Writing Was on the Wall

Right before the housing bubble burst, fat cats paid themselves billions

By David Hogarty
|  Thursday, Nov 20, 2008  |  Updated 12:35 PM PDT
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Homebuilder and Lender CEOs Cashed in When Writing Was on the Wall

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Bank and home lending execs profited greatly while building a tinderbox of financial disaster for the U.S. economy.

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The housing market created a bubble that burst, tipping the world economy into an epic crisis. And what about the top execs who actually built the Potemkin village of prosperity? They walked off with a fortune.

The Wall Street Journal reports that 15 executives at homebuilding and home financing firms collected at least $100 million--each!--in salary and stock proceeds over the past five years, before home sales, the banking industry, and the economy went into the tank.

That's $1.5 billion--a mere trifle in comparison to the $9 trillion the U.S. stock market has surrendered in value since its peak last year.

While it may seem as if the banking and home building industry has been run by fools over the last decade, it's the fools and their money who have since departed with bags of money. The WSJ study shows that "top executives and directors of the firms cashed out a total of more than $21 billion during the period."

Many of those firms have since filed for bankruptcy. Four of the largest banks on Wall St. have lost 90% of their equity value from their peak.

Thanks, guys.

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