Scully said she sees mortgages again that allow consumers to borrow 110 percent of the value of the home. And some commercial banks, she said, once more are lending to small businesses without personal guarantees of repayment.

And that worries her.

John Linehan, head of U.S. equity division at T. Rowe Price

At the time of the collapse, Linehan was portfolio manager of Price's Value Fund.

"The worst fear and panic was that September-through-November time frame," he recalled.

Linehan said it was a mistake to let Lehman fail.

"It created a crisis of confidence of the whole system," he said. "It became a question of who was next."

During this time, money continued to flow into Linehan's fund from 401(k)s. His strategy was to stay fully invested in companies undervalued by the market.

"The difficulty was trying to stick to your philosophy," he said. Stocks he bought at a huge discount continued to decline day after day like "a melting ice cube."

The Value Fund that year lost 39.76 percent, the worst performance in Linehan's career. The fund gained 37.15 percent the next year, however, nearly twice its benchmark.

"There is still skepticism among the public about the financial system and, in general, the stock market," he said.

Linehan is not ruling out another crisis, although it most likely will be different.

"We need to be careful that we don't get so comfortable believing risk has been removed from the system," he said.

Robert Hagstrom, chief investment strategist, Legg Mason Investment Counsel

In nearly 30 years in the business, Hagstrom said he never saw more nerve-racking days than those after Lehman's collapse.

"There was a sense that the financial system itself was under stress and could fail," he said. "Each day that the system didn't crash, you were less afraid."

At the time, Hagstrom was a Legg stock portfolio manager. "You were constantly on the phone, reassuring clients."

Even now, investors have not fully recovered confidence or trust in the system, Hagstrom said. One theory for that, he said, is that investors never saw anyone go to jail for their role in the crisis.

"We have made great strides in trying to prevent something like this from happening again," he said. "Yes, there is more than can be done probably, but we are in better shape today than five years ago."

eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com

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