Former Bear Stearns Executive: Collapse Unavoidable

May 6, 2010 Updated: May 6, 2010

Bear Stearns Cos. executives testified on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that the firm’s fall and eventual fire-sale to JPMorgan Chase & Co. was “due to overwhelming market forces that Bear Stearns … could not resist,” former CEO Jimmy Cayne said.

Cayne was speaking to officials and lawmakers in a special investigative panel into the causes and effects of the 2008 financial crisis. Bear Stearns was the smallest of the five major U.S. investment banks and was the first one to fall due to the subprime mortgage crisis that assailed the U.S. economy over the past three years.

Wednesday’s testimony was Cayne’s first appearance in public since the firm’s collapse. Cayne called the media and the market’s loss of confidence in his bank a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” according to his prepared testimony.