Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016)
September 19, 2018 9:29 PM - Subscribe

This Oscar nominated documentary tells the story of the only company criminally indicted in the wake of the United States' 2008 mortgage crisis: A small family owned bank serving the Chinese American community.

NY Times Review
Was the government giving a pass to big fish and picking on a small one — perhaps with a tinge of racism in its motives? Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the district attorney who oversaw the case, called the accusations of cultural bias “entirely misplaced and entirely wrong.”

In a moment that seems unintentionally revealing, he adds, “I felt that our handling of the bank was consistent with how we would have handled the bank if we were investigating a bank that serviced a South American community or the Indian community.”
(As of this posting it's available streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime.)
posted by mark k (3 comments total)
I first heard about this via a To the Best of Our Knowledge interview but I'm not a big documentary fan and it took me a while to get to this.

I liked this documentary and was infuriated at all the places the filmmakers wanted me to be.
posted by mark k at 9:32 PM on September 19, 2018

I saw a bit of this and it does not seem like the government handled it right or there was a deeper undercurrent that the docus were not able to investigate, but and a very large but, is if the cash only family connections style lending went wrong somehow it was outside local legal system so what recourse would the borrowers have (other than a Tong war)?

Buy clearly there should be some kind of anti-jerk oversight applied to prosecutors.
posted by sammyo at 7:48 AM on September 20, 2018

I'm not sure what you mean Sammyo? There was family lending mentioned (in the cultural approach to allowing "gifts" to make the down payment). But it sounds like you're talking the bank itself, which seems to me a very traditional bank that took deposits, made loans, documented them and sold them to Fannie Mae. Or are you talking about something else?
posted by mark k at 7:22 AM on September 21, 2018

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