Customer Reviews for

13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted June 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wall Street's Intellect -vs- Government Regulation; but who were these "13 Bankers"?

    I tip my hat to anyone brave enough to try to explain the multi-tiered derivative investments with sub-prime loans buried in them and stepped on several times before insurance companies insured what was uninsurable- or something like that. With great clarity we learn of the intellectual disparity between Wall Street financers and beltway regulators. Same for the legislators more concerned with financing their next campaign than the risks of financing sub-prime mortgages.

    I sensed a left-leaning viewpoint where Wall Street is taken to the woodshed (as of course it should be) while the government officials are let go with a wink and a nod. Criticism is piled on Wall Street while the government actions are related in a neutral, factual reporting style.

    The regulatory changes in 1999 during Clinton's administration that allowed banks to merge with and into other financial institutions and offer an array of products are discussed in detail. It seems to me that these changes in conjunction with the Community Reinvestment Act ("CRA") were the catalyst for the subprime crisis as many of the newly formed institutions fell outside the regulations as called for by the CRA.

    So why are the officials that created the environment for subprime lending not treated as villains the way the "13 Bankers" of the title are?
    I wanted to learn more about these 13 Bankers in a similar manner as the authors of "Barbarians at the Gate" offered in their book. A character expose within the financial details would make for a more compelling read. I found the title of this book to be misleading in that sense.

    The first half of the book is gripping but it bogs down and loses its forward motion toward the middle and ends more like a text book than a non-fiction narrative. Given the complexity of the bundled investments created by the evil investment bankers it was probably inevitable.

    In the wake of the crisis we are seeing a round of "angry parent grounding obstreperous child" regulations- yet the intellect at work on Wall Street is already beyond this and certainly has a new bundle of investments that Washington can't envision or ever understand.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A very enjoyable and informative book regarding the history of trusts and how the current financial crisis developed. It has part of the right solution in breaking up the big banks, but may miss or avoid some important underlying issues.

    An excellent and well researched history of what lead up to the current financial crisis. While the authors seem to have part of the right solution in breaking up the big banks by limiting them to a fixed percentage of GDP, they may miss or avoid two key points:

    1.) The Federal Reserve is a private banking cartel that acts in its own self interest, and any regualtion by it only serves the interests of those being regulated. Central banking, with fiat currencies, itself is a significant root cause of booms and busts. Bubbles and their deflation will continue as long as central banking drives the economy.

    2.) GDP is really a measure of spending, and measures consumption rather than production, and can be misleading in that standard of living is going down, even though GDP may be going up. Looking at the ratio of Debt or Bank Assets to GNP tells more of the real story regarding economic decline.

    The growing domination of the economy by the financial services industry gives a false sense of value and growth. If 60% of the S&P 500's earnings are financial services companies, the quality of its index and earnings are much weaker than those when industrial production were their bases decades ago.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2011

    Very much recommend this book.

    Now, this book is one that goes all the way back to the beginning of the financial system here in the United States. This is in our founding fathers' time.

    Now, I would say the authors have done their homework on how the financial system got started and seem to be very thoughtful on where we are headed if things don't change.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Valuable insight into the causes of the meltdown and what needs fixing

    This book makes this complex and often obfuscated topic understandable and clear. Agree or not with their suggested solutions, at least you can come away with a clear understanding of the facts surrounding this complex topic.

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