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Bad Banks: Greed, Incompetence and the Next Global Crisis Paperback – 17 Jul 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business (17 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847941133
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847941138
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.6 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 300,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Grimly fascinating... This is a pacey accessible and astute summary of what has gone wrong with the banks, and what the banks have done wrong... It is a sobering narrative in which Brummer's judgements are nuanced and reliable." (Oliver Kamm The Times)

"Like a surgeon at his operating table, Brummer dissects each British, American and European scandal of the last 10 years. He spares nobody, but his demolition job is made all the more powerful by the sparing language he deploys towards his targets. This is controlled menace at its best." (John Kampfner Observer)

"[Brummer] is a doyen of British financial journalism and it shows in the maturity of his judgments and breadth of his knowledge... It is all skilfully woven together by a writer who knows when to fly high and when to swoop low." (Financial Times)

"Through and expansive." (Management Today)

"An informed, riveting and ultimately disconcerting read." (Business Life)

Book Description

Written by a man with inside knowledge of all the major players, this is the story of how the economic crisis continues to haunt us, and why the unchecked recklessness of some banks is still a threat to our financial future.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dancingbear on 18 Aug. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before writing my review I must declare an interest; I started my working life in a small merchant bank in the early 1970's and finished my career before retiring as a manager of a retail bank Business Centre, having previously been an old style branch manager before they were culled. I am also a shareholder of the same retail bank. Additionally, I am an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (the recognised banking qualification), which is more than can be said for some recently well reported banking Chief Executives and Chairmen.

I have been a reader of Mr Brummer's regular columns in the Daily Mail for many years. He is clearly well connected with the top echelons of the business community; his pieces are insightful, authoritative and, when necessary, highly critical of those who have failed to live up to the expectations of the markets and shareholders alike.

The book begins with a chronological review of the circumstances building up to the financial crash, continues with an excoriating description of the roles played by bankers, regulators and governments, covers the LIBOR scandal in detail, and explores the PPI and other dubious practices unearthed in the retail banking sector. I thought I had a good understanding of what had happened over the past 20 years or so but, to be honest, the book contained a lot of information that had passed me by or I had simply forgotten.

This book is a must for any student of banking, economics, accountancy and politics.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By DOPPLEGANGER TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How many times have we heard or read a Banker, Politician or Regulator spouting forth the hackneyed utterance “ We have learned a lesson” in connection with the meltdown in the World’s Banking System following the 2008 Credit Crunch?

Well has the lesson been assimilated, understood, and acted upon ensuring a non-repetition of the disastrously inept management of the banking system that came within a hair’s breadth of bringing the Global Monetary Structure crashing down causing unimaginable economic hardship across the spectrum?

Alex Brummer’s excellent, well researched and succinctly argued book “Bad Banks” deals initially with the causes, and various fire fighting responses by the USA, UK, and Europe to the crisis. However, he goes on to detail areas where it is quite clear that the Banks had not ‘learned the lesson’ and were continuing to manipulate and/or milk the system with an ever increasing voraciousness.

In depth analysis and commentary is given on the scandalous and perhaps criminal Libor and Interest Rate Rigging, the ever increasing use of casino type derivative trading, the widespread participation by major banks in Money Laundering, the willful mass mis-selling of Personal Protection Insurance, the pressure selling to small and medium sized businesses of complex Interest Rate Hedging products, and other scandals. This together with many examples of incompetence, unwillingness to accept that the level of banker’s overall remuneration is obscene particularly bearing in mind that it is other people’s money they are using to ‘play’ with not their own, and dogged reluctance to voluntarily embrace increased capital requirements and regulatory measures, demonstrates loud and clear that all is not well and there is a serious ongoing undermining of our future economic security.

A very good but extremely worrying book.
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By Phil O'Sofa on 20 Aug. 2015
Format: Paperback
This book is a kind of summary of many of the things banks have done wrong over the last decade or so, relating to the crash and other recent scandals that were all covered in the news at the time.
On the minus side, the writing isn't great: it could have done with a lot fewer clichés and a lot more commas, and I spotted several significant mistakes, (eg, from page 15: `In June 2010 Flowers resigned ...' should be June 2013. And from page 114: `... profit plunged to 681 billion euros from 1.1 billion euros ...')
On the plus side, the book gives a useful summary to anyone interested in the subject, and explains why banks shouldn't be trusted, covering a good range of British, US and European bank failures. Different chapters cover RBS, JP Morgan's London Whale, among others, and there's a lot about rate-rigging and miss-selling, mostly from a British angle.
If you need a handy reminder of bad-banking practices, this book does the job, though it would obviously be a lot better without the errors.
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Format: Paperback
Brummer has real insights, writes clearly and he never exeggerates. That makes him different from other authors writing about the banking crisis. Here there is no screaming, no end-of-the-world rethoric, so when Brummer concludes that things have not changed for the better, that the risks is still as great, maybe even greater of a new bust with worse consequences, then that is a reasonable person talking and we should be worried.

In my mind regular banking has to be seperated from casino banking at once, and banks should not be allowd to create their own money, but shoould borrow directly from central banks what they cannot get in from customers. All central banks should be directly state run and casino banking strictly regulated. Those who have broken laws should be put in jail. It's really not more difficult than that. But the political will is so far away, probably first of all because the public does not know enought of what is happening.
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