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Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Director:  Steve James
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  2.5

Abacus Federal Savings, a small bank that was started in Chinatown that's supposed to serve its minority population and help out the community by providing loans "big banks" would not comes under attack from Cyrus Vance's New York County District Attorney's Office for fraud (selling bad mortgages to Fannie Mae) in what would be the only financial institution brought to trial in the wake of the 2008 Subprime Mortgage Crisis. I like how James sides with the "underdogs" - the Sung family is tight-knit and come across as warm, engaging people - in what was a case blown out of proportion (you never did see AIG or Goldman Sachs get in trouble, did ya?) ... however, there is this lingering feeling of some degree of 'guilt' that looms over the case: the court dismissed the charges, but how does a bank hire so many unscrupulous personnel? Didn't they do background checks? Wasn't there oversight? There may have been not enough evidence to prosecute the bankers, but there is definitely evidence of (at the very least) sloppiness and "creative accounting" - innocent people generally don't need $10 million worth of legal counsel. Still, the Sung daughters are diligent and will definitely carry on Pop's legacy ... with hopefully a better HR department.

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