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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 astonishingand should make us not just afraid but very afraidare 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 legerdemaina 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.
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About 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
Table of Contents
Cast of Characters
The Cost of Doing Business
1 Gluttony 1
Size: Sherry Hunt and the Champions of Responsible Finance
2 Wrath 33
Secrecy: Mark Pittman and the Patron Saint of Goldman Sachs
3 Envy 69
Capture: Jamie Dimon and Going Long Risk Some Belly Tranches (Especially Where Default May Realize)
Four Pride 95
The Myth of Competence: Deniz Anginer and Conjectural Government Guarantees
5 Lust 111
Complexity: Saule T. Omarova and the Phantom Waiver
6 Sloth 133
Impunity: Walter Lacey, Marianne Miller-Lacey, and Slapstick Tragedy
7 Greed 159
Class War: Rebecca Black and the Pneumatic Tube
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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.