Thomas Sung '64 Shares Story Behind Oscar-Nominated Documentary Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
THOMAS SUNG ’64, founder and chair of Abacus Federal Savings Bank, returned to Brooklyn Law School in April to discuss the critically acclaimed film about his family’s bank, the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. As shown in Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, directed by Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and now available on Netflix, the indictment and subsequent trial forced the Sung family to defend themselves—and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community—in a five-year legal battle, which ultimately resulted in a full acquittal.
“I started the bank to help the community,” said Sung during his remarks at the event. “So I decided that if something was good for the community, we would do it, even if it wasn’t good for the bank.”