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The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual - The Biggest Bank Failure in American Historyby Kirsten Grind
Synopses & Reviews
An award-winning reporter chronicles the calamitous story of Washington Mutual, the single-largest bank failure in American history, in a fast-paced, compelling, and gripping saga of greed and excess.
In late 2009, Kirsten Grind wrote a groundbreaking series of investigative stories for the Puget Sound Business Journal about Washington Mutual’s collapse. Even though WaMu—an institution with holdings of hundreds of billions of dollars—was the largest bank failure in US history, it had gone largely unexamined by other journalists because of the many other companies that failed during the financial crisis. Grind’s series garnered an enormous amount of nationwide attention and critical accolades, including being named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Gerald Loeb Award.
Grind focuses on the actions of the bank’s executives and employees, from WaMu’s visionary first chief executive to his successor whose hunger for growth led him to take the bank down a dangerous path to an attorney who championed subprime lending until it all came crashing down around her. Grind’s compelling account of the people and events surrounding the failure underscores the shady financial engineering and the hubris and greed that made this unbelievable story possible.
Reading more like a tick-tock thriller in which the characters’ behavior plays out more like a Shakespearean tragedy, The Lost Bank has been called “Lucid, entertaining” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), “A first-rate job by a first-rate journalist” (Gary Rivlin, author of Broke, USA), and “eye-opening” (Booklist). It is a story of epic proportion, tracing not only the meteoric rise and precipitous collapse of an American institution but of trust, fortunes, and marketplaces around the world.
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—even the entire country—lost its way as well.
Written as compellingly as the finest fiction, The Lost Bank introduces readers to the regulators and the bankers, the home buyers and the lenders who together created the largest bank failure in American history. The result is a magisterial and gripping account of 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. A reporter for The Wall Street Journal, she lives in New York City.
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