Chain of Blame: How Wall Street Caused The Mortgage and Credit Crisis

Chain of Blame: How Wall Street Caused The Mortgage and Credit Crisis

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by Paul Muolo, Mathew Padilla
     
 

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Americans are losing their homes at a rate not seen since the Great Depression. Prices continue to fall sharply despite the reassurances of just a few years ago that all was rosy on the housing front. Many factors have been blamed for this crisis, but who is really responsible? And perhaps more importantly, why was everyone so taken by surprise?

In Chain of Blame

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Overview

Americans are losing their homes at a rate not seen since the Great Depression. Prices continue to fall sharply despite the reassurances of just a few years ago that all was rosy on the housing front. Many factors have been blamed for this crisis, but who is really responsible? And perhaps more importantly, why was everyone so taken by surprise?

In Chain of Blame, acclaimed financial reporters Paul Muolo and Mathew Padilla go behind the headlines to tell the inside story of why Wall Street's established investment banks bear much of the blame for the events that have cost millions of Americans their homes. They show in detail how, from 2000 to 2007, executives from Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and others financed non-bank mortgage lenders that eagerly sold their mortgages to consumers through loan brokers. Wall Street then sold bonds backed by subprime mortgages to overseas investors in Europe and Asia—which led to financial difficulties there as well.

The authors build their compelling story around the key players in this tragedy, first and foremost being Angelo Mozilo, founder and CEO of Countrywide Financial, America's largest home mortgage lender. From Mozilo's July 2007 conference call with a group of top Wall Street equities analysts—which marks the true beginning of this fiasco—to his congressional rebuke in 2008, Chain of Blame chronicles the crisis in detail, showingreaders what happened, who is responsible, and what lies ahead.

As the dust settles around these life-shattering events, the blame game has begun. But as Muolo and Padilla show with stunning clarity, there is really no single entity or individual to point the finger at. It was a mix of factors and participants—the world's largest investment banks, homeowners, lenders, credit rating agencies and underwriters, and investors—that precipitated the current subprime mess.

Chain of Blame ultimately reveals how human behavior and greed drove the demand, supply, and the investor appetite for these types of loans—and how Wall Street was all too willing to satisfy the desires of those who should have known better.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Chain of Blame is one of the first books to delve deeply into the central role that big banks played in the mess…for a juicy, name-dropping read, Muolo and Padilla’s book is hard to beat."—BusinessWeek

"Muolo and Padilla examine just who was to blame for the crisis and find that it is not just cowboy operators." (CEO Middle East, September 2008)

“…a level-headed book…the anecdotal style is easy-going...much the best book on the mortgage industry”.  Fund Strategy 1 September 2008

“…a ripping piece of reporting… The authors know their stuff.”Bloomberg News Monday 28 July 2008

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470292778
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
07/08/2008
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

What People are saying about this

"Two of the smartest, most entertaining investigative reporters alive, describe one of the most important financial stories of our time. If you had any skin at all in the housing boom, you've got to read the story of exactly how that boom went bust. As Paul Muolo did with the S&L crisis of the '80s, he and Mathew Padilla have now become the chief chroniclers of the subprime crisis."
—David Asman, Host of America's Nightly Scoreboard on Fox Business Network and Forbes on Fox on Fox News Channel, and former op-ed editor of the Wall Street Journal

"Paul Muolo and Mathew Padilla display their deep knowledge of the mortgage industry and all its players. Chain of Blame is a comprehensive examination of a crisis that affects us all."
—Scott Cohn, Senior Correspondent, CNBC

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