Wall Street is the target of Occupy Wall Street protesters for the role it played in the economic meltdown of 2008, say the activists, by engaging in risky lending practices of mortgage-backed securities. When several brokerage firms and financial institutions were bailed out by the government – and in some cases later handed out bonuses – a sense of propriety was breached.
Moody Investors Service and Standard and Poor's gave AAA ratings to hundreds of thousands of subprime mortgage securities that ultimately proved to be worthless.
Many of the protesters say that Wall Street blatantly and recklessly abused the credit default swap market. The protesters say that the unstable nature of the credit default swap market must have been known to those involved and that the guilty parties should be prosecuted.