During the most dizzying days of the financial crisis, Washington Mutual, a bank with hundreds of billions of dollars in its coffers, suffered a crippling bank run. The story of its final, brutal collapse in the autumn of 2008, and its controversial sale to JPMorgan Chase, is an astonishing account of how one bank lost itself to greed and mismanagement, and how the entire financial industry - and even the entire country - lost its way as well.
Kirsten Grind’s The Lost Bank is a magisterial and gripping account of these events, tracing the cultural shifts, the cockamamie financial engineering, and the hubris and avarice that made this incredible story possible. The men and women who become the central players in this tragedy - the regulators and the bankers, the home buyers and the lenders, the number crunchers and the shareholders - are heroes and villains, perpetrators and victims, often switching roles with one another as the drama unfolds.
Written as compellingly as the finest fiction, The Lost Bank makes it clear that the collapse of Washington Mutual was not just the largest bank failure in American history. It is a story of talismanic qualities, reflecting the incredible rise and the precipitous collapse of not only an institution, but of trust, fortunes, and the marketplaces for risk across the world.
About the author: Kirsten Grind has received more than a dozen national awards for her work, including a Pulitzer Prize finalist citation for her work covering the collapse of Washington Mutual. A reporter for the Wall Street Journal, she lives in New York City.
“The transformation of Washington Mutual from folksy community lender to reckless 2000-branch behemoth is one of the epic stories of American finance…Grind tells this boom-bust story without lapsing into melodrama or malice, and her tale is all the more powerful for that.” (Sebastian Mallaby, New York Times best-selling author)
“Kirsten Grind has written a first-rate accounting of the spectacular collapse of Washington Mutual and how behemoth JPMorgan Chase picked over its carcass. Thanks to Grind’s winning narrative, what was previously one of the less-well known financial disasters of September 2008 is now fully - and entertainingly - explicated.” (William D. Cohan, New York Times best-selling author)
“Lucid, entertaining…One of the best accounts yet…of the Great Crash as it played out on a human scale.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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Sad and Angry by Turn
Wamu was my banks for over 25 years after they acquired a small Washington Savings and Loan where I had my account. I was both stunned and saddened by the demise of the bank. After this reading, I was also very angry. This is the story of how a marginal little financial institution became a good little financial institution became a questionable big financial institution became an evil, out of control institution! This gives great insight into the people behind the bank both honorable and not as well as some great insight into the financial misdeeds that led to our nationwide financial collapse. Strongly recommend the read.
- Johnnie Walker
Great Financial Crisis Book
Not since the Enron books have I listened to such a good book about a corporate culture going from conservative and respectible to gambling and money-only oriented. Great story with good lessons for corporate America.
- M Kathleen Thorson