Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: The Greatest Ever Bank Robbery

Note:  Not to be confused with William Black's book of a similar name.

The Greatest Ever Bank Robbery.

The Greatest-Ever Bank Robbery, the Collapse of the S. & L. Industry,

The story of the late-80s savings and loan fiasco foreshadowed much of the economic crisis of our time. 

Financial journalist Martin Mayer highlights one particular problem: FDIC insured deposits. This leads savings and loans to overextend themselves with loans to go-go builders and oftentimes in bizarre things like currency speculation. But the unlimited government FDIC backstops means all will be made well.

See where this is going?

This book has very useful details about specific kinds of accounting fraud, especially in the land development business. 

In another troubling sign of things to come, Mayer discusses the conspiracy of corruption that included regulators, land appraisal, bank officials, and others that should have been ethical but instead knowingly looked the other way or invented metrics to mask the problem.

No comments: