FOXNews – MR. LENO: Tell people what happened. I know people have been over it, just —
MR. OBAMA: Well, look, here’s what happened. You’ve got a company, AIG, which used to be just a regular, old insurance company. Then they insured a whole bunch of stuff and they were very profitable and it was a good, solid company.
Then they decided — some smart person decided, let’s put a hedge fund on top of the insurance company and let’s sell these derivative products to banks all around the world — which are basically guarantees or insurance policies on all these sub-prime mortgages.
And this smart person said, you know, none of these things are going to go bust; this sub-prime thing, it’s a great deal, you can make a lot of profit. So they sold a whole bunch of them — billions and billions of dollars. And what happened is, is that when people started going bust on sub-prime mortgages you had $30 worth of debt on every dollar worth of mortgage — and the whole house of cards just started falling down.