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The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis
     

The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis

4.5 2
by Bob Ivry
 

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We all know that the financial crisis of 2008 came dangerously close to pushing the United States and the world into a depression rivaling that of the 1930s. But what is astonishing—and should make us not just afraid but very afraid—are the shenanigans of the biggest banks since the crisis. Bob Ivry passionately, eloquently, and convincingly details the

Overview


We all know that the financial crisis of 2008 came dangerously close to pushing the United States and the world into a depression rivaling that of the 1930s. But what is astonishing—and should make us not just afraid but very afraid—are the shenanigans of the biggest banks since the crisis. Bob Ivry passionately, eloquently, and convincingly details the operatic ineptitude of America's best-compensated executives and the ways the government kowtows to what it mistakenly imagines is their competence and success. Ivry shows that the only thing that has changed since the meltdown is how too-big-to-fail banks and their fellow travelers in Washington have nudged us ever closer to an even bigger economic calamity.
Informed by deep reporting from New York, Washington, and the heartland, The Seven Sins of Wall Street, like no other book, shows how we're all affected by the financial industry's inhumanity. The transgressions of “Wall Street titans” and “masters of the universe” are paid for by real people. In fierce, plain English, Ivry indicts a financial industry that continues to work for the few at the expense of the rest of us. Problems that financiers deemed too complicated to be understood by ordinary folks are shown by Ivry to be financial legerdemain—a smokescreen of complexity and jargon that hide the bankers' nefarious activities.
The Seven Sins of Wall Street is irreverent and timely, an infuriating black comedy. The Great Depression of the 1930s moved the American political system to real reform that kept the finance industry in check. With millions so deeply affected since the crisis of 2008, you'll finish this book asking yourself how it is that so many of the nation's leading financial institutions remain such exasperating problem children.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/17/2014
Size, secrecy, pride, greed, impunity, complexity, and immunity from adequate regulation: these are journalist Ivry's cardinal sins of Wall Street. Ivry believes that U.S. banks have been allowed to swell into financial behemoths considered "too big to fail," entitling them to cheap money and massive government bailouts. Big banks have prospered in the wake of the Great Recession. JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo had $5.2 trillion in assets on their books at the end of 2006; in 2012 they had $7.8 trillion. Meanwhile, ordinary Americans (unemployed, underpaid, and foreclosed upon) continue to suffer. Over several chapters, Ivry effectively contrasts the fate of a single mother foreclosed out of her Memphis home with that of a Wall Street trader who maintains multiple mansions that go unoccupied. Florid reportage of events override explanations of complex financial topics, sacrificing clarity and balance along the way, such as when Ivry compares the controversy surrounding derivatives to "the plot outline for a Billy Wilder film noir." Contrary to the title, the next financial crisis is never fully explored, except in a foreboding sense of impending doom should things not change. While well-informed proponents of the Occupy Wall Street movement will likely enjoy this emotionally-charged expose, ultimately it tell only one side of the story. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

“Ivry writes with high indignation punctuated by occasional light touches, and he has a talent for deconstructing financial jargon. Yet his intent is utterly serious, and his book ought to become a standard text for the Occupy Wall Street and similar movements… To judge by this angry book, the denizens of Wall Street are doing all they can to obstruct this—and it's high time to return the favor.”—Kirkus

“An indispensable guide for tracking down live villains and unburied bodies. By the time you reach the end, all the sheer fury anyone with the merest flutter of a moral pulse felt back in 2008 and 2009 at the sight of bankers and their apologists blaming the cratering of the global economy on “people buying houses they couldn't afford” wells up again, white hot.”—Harper's Magazine online

“Over several chapters, Ivry effectively contrasts the fate of a single mother foreclosed out of her Memphis home with that of a Wall Street trader who maintains multiple mansions that go unoccupied… well-informed proponents of the Occupy Wall Street movement will likely enjoy this emotionally-charged expose.”—Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-03
A reporter for Bloomberg News, no enemy of capitalism, reads a fiduciary riot act to the bankers and hedge fund managers of the world. A bank that's too big to fail, by Ivry's account, is far too big. Yet they were responsible for the near collapse of the world financial market in 2007–2008, through a combination of "stupidity, poor oversight, and more than anything, a neighbor-versus-neighbor waging of financial warfare." In the aftermath, banks have been posting record profits. It may be that theology and economics don't mix, but the overall sin of a system so rigged is its simple unfairness. More specifically, Ivry calques the seven sins of theology onto Wall Street, finding it guilty of such things as secrecy, pride, regulatory capture—that is, when regulators identify more with the institutions they're supposed to regulate than with the society that employs them—and "a predatory greed weaponized for the war fought by the rich against the poor and middle class." Ivry's larger message is to show how these sins fuel a scheme in which risk is socialized, spread out among the taxpayers, while profit is most definitely privatized, kept out of the hands of the people who made it possible. Ivry writes with high indignation punctuated by occasional light touches ("As I tried to find the switch on my own bullshit meter, which I had on vibrate and which was now rattling my molars…"), and he has a talent for deconstructing financial jargon ("Think of derivatives as side bets made between two gamblers"). Yet his intent is utterly serious, and his book ought to become a standard text for the Occupy Wall Street and similar movements. "America needs strong banks," writes Ivry. "But banks need a strong America too." To judge by this angry book, the denizens of Wall Street are doing all they can to obstruct this—and it's high time to return the favor.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781610393652
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
03/11/2014
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
459,526
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author


Bob Ivry is an editor and investigative reporter for Bloomberg News. His articles have won many awards, including the George Polk Award in 2009 and the Gerald Loeb Award in 2008. Ivry has been a regular contributor to Esquire, Popular Science, Maxim, and the Washington Post Book World, and has published short fiction in Esquire and Ploughshares. Follow him on Twitter: @bobivry

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The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Vietnam1968 More than 1 year ago
This book explains why we had a financial crisis and it shows how Wall Street controls the Federal Government to acquire favorable laws to allow them to make money and if the system fails, make sure to blame it on the government and their failure to regulate or the laws they passed. This is and has been their modus operandi. They also make sure they explain their version of what caused the crash, by having friends write books. "Too Big to Fail" came out closely after the crash and "Hidden in Plain Sight" just recently, are two that come to mind for me. To claim that nobody saw this crisis coming is not truthful, as the Fed and the Wall Street banks knew household mortgage debt grew $ 1 trillion dollars a year from 2003-2007. These are the wizards of finance and they knew what was coming and that is why they bought credit default swaps, an insurance to back their MBS's and CDO's. Sherry Hunt a supervisor for 65 mortgage underwriters at Citi-Mortgage found flaws or fraud in 60% of mortgage loans they checked in an industry where 5% is the norm. When her supervisor went to Citi executives, he was demoted. Sherry Hunt eventually filed a whistleblower complaint. The complain never went to trial, but Citi paid $ 158.3 million, which was 1.4% of its 2011 net income of $ 11.2 billion to settle the charges. Another modus operandi is violate the law and worry about the problem if you get caught, because you can make billions illegally and when you get caught, you pay a measly fine, a small percentage of your earnings, and above, all you do not have to admit you violated the law. Sheila Blair, the former Chairman of the FDIC from 2006-2011, said the TARP bailout was to save Citigroup and the other banks were "mere window dressing to camouflage the insolvency of Citi. Bob Ivry also explains how the Federal Reserve failed to crack down on the predatory and fraudulent mortgage lending, failed to acknowledge the housing bubble they clear knew about, failed to prevent investment banks combining with commercial banks, and failed to regulate the derivatives market of MBS, CDO, CDS which was the real cause of the crash when the credit markets among the banks froze, because nobody could trust each others paper claims. This was a $ 500 trillion market that crashed and still has lingering effects today. It was the $10 trillion mortgage market that was filled with fraud that eventually bled over to the derivatives market which amplified to trillions of dollars in losses and extended beyond the U.S. boundaries. Then after the crash, banks tried to fraudulently steal homes with their Robo-signing mortgage documents for foreclosures, until some smart lawyers started to appear in court to challenge the foreclosure process. These are just a teasing of what Ivry explains are the sins of Wall Street. After you read this book you will understand why the banks need friends to write propaganda, otherwise the hate for them would never stop and more outrage would continue to grow as to why nobody has received any convictions and jail time. The Fed and Wall Street control Congress, our economy, and its people. Once you control the money, the others are slaves to the system. And now the financial world revolves around when the Fed will raise interest rates. Interest rates are the cost of money, just ask the borrowers and the savers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book deals with the ins and outs of our recent financial crisis....that continues despite media telling us how great everything is getting. Ivry doesn't mince words and cuts right to the heart of what was and is going on. Interesting reading the will make your blood boil and maybe cause you to get active.