New York, Chicago, IDFA, Palm Springs, True/False, Cleveland, Full Frame, Dallas, Hong Kong, Montclair
A small Chinatown bank becomes the only institution to face criminal charges as a result of the 2008 financial crisis.
While America’s financial institutions were bailed out following the economic meltdown of 2008 because they were deemed “too big to fail,” the Abacus Federal Savings Bank, it is argued in Steve James’ latest film, became the sacrificial lamb for the industry. Founded by Thomas Sung, a Chinese lawyer and American immigrant, and run by two of his daughters, Abacus prided itself on serving New York’s Chinatown community with mortgages and small business loans. When evidence arises that a loan officer was engaging in fraud, the family reports the crime, only to find the bank under siege by an ambitious DA, with the Sungs’ reputation on the line. James crafts a compelling legal and family drama as Abacus seeks vindication in the courts.