The sudden, tragic end of a banking icon sent shudders through a shocked nation yesterday as the depth of the current mortgage crisis hit home, even to millions who have so far been unaffected.
George Bailey was, for over 60 years, the ‘kind face’ of the mortgage industry. His story inspired three generations following the success of the 1946 Frank Capra movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”, the bio-pic that told the story of Bailey’s early life and his struggle, against seemingly insurmountable odds, to save his beloved Building & Loan during a much more localized lending crisis in the small town where his father had founded the bank when Bailey was a small child.
- Bailey in happier times, with wife Mary and daughter Zuzu.
After receiving the news that the Building & Loan would not be allocated any emergency funding from the $700 billion set aside by the Federal government, Mr. Bailey reportedly jumped off of a local bridge into the frigid river below. His lifeless body was discovered some time later, ironically by local sheriff Bert Steward, III whose grandfather, ‘Officer Bert’ Steward (portrayed by Ward Bond in the Capra film) once helped to rescue Bailey from a similar attempt.
“Unfortunately, nobody was there to intervene this time,” Bailey’s daughter Zuzu told reporters through a family spokesman. “This time, the bell will be ringing for daddy.”
Even before the news of Bailey’s death became known, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson came under heavy fire from all quarters when they announced that there would be no lifeline for the struggling Building & Loan. Continue reading Bailey a Suicide After Fed Rejects Bailout for Building & Loan