Three days before the rescue of Bear Stearns, Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, had lunch with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Lehman Bros. CEO Richard Fuld, Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain and other chief executives of major financial institutions. Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz was not listed as attending the lunch. The meeting gave Bernanke the opportunity to hear from financial-industry leaders about the turmoil in the markets.

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