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The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees [Paperback]

Shane Ross
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Jun 2010

As recently as 2007, the Irish economy was still booming and the state coffers overflowing; by the end of 2008, the state faces an unprecedented crisis. The story of the Irish banking collapse is a tawdry tale of collusion, back-scratching and denial among bankers, developers, regulators and politicians.

This is the story Shane Ross - independent Senator, long-time champion of citizens against misbehaving corporations, and Journalist of the Year 2009 - tells in The Bankers, going behind the scenes and the headlines to explain what happened, how it happened and who made it happen. They're all here: Sean FitzPatrick, Michael Fingleton and the other bank bosses; Patrick Neary and his colleagues in Ireland's failed regulatory apparatus; the property developers, whose borrowings ruined the banks, and many of whom are now personally ruined; and the politicians, whose policies helped inflate the property bubble and who have allowed the banks to dictate the terms of their bail-out. Shane Ross knows the stories of these people and what they got up to, and in The Bankers he makes sense of a scandal that will haunt Ireland for years to come.

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The Bankers: How the Banks Brought Ireland to Its Knees + Anglo Republic: Inside the bank that broke Ireland + Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141044446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141044446
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 255,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Pleasingly indiscreet ... In particular it's his anecdotes about politics and business that ... differentiate it from the other chronicles of the collapse of the boom. (Sunday Times)

A hugely entertaining writer ... this is a serious book that is never boring, an engaging, personal account of the most tumultuous period in Ireland's economic history. (The Phoenix)

The book is littered with "you couldn't make it up" stories and gems. For anyone who really wants to know what happened, who let it happen, and how deep the rot really goes, this is a must. (Sunday Independent)

Read this super book. Cry, get mad and get even. (Irish Times)

Prose that sizzles on the page (Irish Examiner)

About the Author

Shane Ross is Business Editor of the Sunday Independent and an independent member of the Irish Senate.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A riveting account of the most stunning economic crises of our day and yet more reporting from the journalist and politician who was there first.
A rollicking good read, completely unputdownable.
As one of the most well respected and long-standing Independent politicians in Ireland, Shane Ross has the stories from behind the meeting room doors and he doesn't shirk from telling them. The writing here is fast paced and hugely accessible, without any of the patronising tone that has crept into too many of the other books out there on Ireland's banking crisis.
'The Bankers' is the most truthful and frank account of the Irish economic meltdown I have read. It is also the most revealing and the one from which I actually learnt the most about the whole situation. Informative and illuminating, I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially when it's such a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining read as well!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Annie
Ross covers all the bases in this tome on the death knell of Ireland's finances. Written in an engaging and highly readable style that will be familiar to patrons of the Sunday Independent, where Ross is business editor, this book is carefully researched and yet packed with narrative detail. The author, as an Independent senator and financial journalist, seems uniquely placed to comment on the Irish banking crisis. The book particularly shines where Ross includes his own personal asides and recalls conversations (and run-ins) with some of the big names of the crisis.

Along with surveying the mis-deeds of bankers, stockbrokers, developers, politicians (and more), Ross does not omit to include the ever-important global context for the crisis. Whilst never expunging the bankers of their guilt, this does provide useful background and ensures interest can be kept for those more interested in how Ireland's crisis fits in with the rest of the world.

Undoubtedly, this work will chime in well with the sentiments of many who, warily eyeing the forthcoming NAMA legislation, feel cheated by the banks. And yet in his narrative Ross ensures we recognise the culture that fostered such recklessness.

I will be recommending this book to anyone who has any interest in the current state of Irish economics, and slotting it in on the Christmas list for all those 'hard to buy-for' friends.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposed Corrupt Clowns 13 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Shane Ross has done the citizens of Ireland a great service.He has exposed the real LITTLE PEOPLE of Ireland. What a gang of cunning cute little people! We have Fingers, Fat Fill, Gleeson, Sheehy, Goggin,Seanai Fitz who wined and dined and manipulated themselves into position of greed on the backs of others. What a dunghill. The smell.Unpatriotic also comes to mind. There was a time when these people would not be free to walk the land.Of course I am mad as hell.
This book is well written full of facts. I just could not put it down.There is nothing left to be said after reading this book. The two people who come well out of this national disaster is Brian Linehan and Shane Ross. Than you Shane Ross. Wasters is my next read. Keep up the good work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Shane Ross, a Senator and also the business editor of Ireland's Sunday Independent, gives us the inside story of how Ireland's ruling class wrecked its economy. Property developers, regulators, auditors, Ireland's Central Bank, politicians, stockbrokers, banks' in-house economists, estate agents and auctioneers, really were `all in it together'.

British firms too exploited the Irish. Anglo's blind auditors Ernst & Young got 2.2 million euros in fees in 2008. PricewaterhouseCoopers audited the Bank of Ireland in 2001, for a fee of 15.4 million euros.

When Ireland adopted the euro, it created an inflationary bubble. The capitalist class put no limits on banks' lending to property, inflating this bubble, and put no limits on bankers' pay and bonuses. The Bank of Ireland and the Allied Irish Bank competed in a lending frenzy: "The two big banks ran their own rackets." As Ross writes, "The black economy was entrenched in the financial system and underpinned the mortgage market."

Before the 2002 election, Fianna Fáil claimed, "no cutbacks are being planned." After the election it at once imposed what the Economist called `the country's toughest Budget in years, raising taxes, cutting spending in real terms'. As a result the Green Party, Fianna Fáil's partners in government, was crushed in 2009's elections (LibDems, note well).

Professor Morgan Kelly warned in The Irish Times of 28 December 2006 that housing could go into freefall, "There is an iron law of house prices. The more house prices rise relative to income and rents, the more they subsequently fall."

The government fixed a 440 billion euro bailout, which gave the bankers all the taxpayers' money they wanted, with no obligation to lend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BIG ISSUE? 17 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
At the nadir of the banking meltdown one of the Irish banking chiefs said in a television interview that from now on he was going to concentrate on only the big issues. A short time later he was selling copies outside of Boots! This 'smart-arsed' comment primarily whilst only the result of me trying to inject some humour into this sorrowful saga, turns out to be ironic as many bankers, their fellow 'dippers into the tax payers honey-pot' the Developers, and the 'see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, thanks-for-the-political-donation' Politicos, came to a personal financial meltdown of their own. Although the financial deprivation was no where as great as the benefits personally stacked up during the years of wild, unbridled, unregulated recklessness and dishonesty.

In his book "The Bankers" Shane Ross, once a stockbroker and now an independent Senator, examines the events that triggered the near collapse of Ireland's banking system and with it the economy of the nation itself. He reveals that a privileged 'golden clique', caught up in a frenzy of greed and naked opportunism, had gambled in the most harebrained way with the deposits and pensions of the Irish people and had to be bailed out with massive injections of taxpayers money.

Fuelled by bankers who threw the rule book and the most elementary of common-sense out of the window, aided and abetted by reckless tax breaks from the politicians, and egged on by avaricious Property Developers, resulted in a titanic over-inflated property bubble - and the same ending befell the property bubble as befell the Titanic....sunk with barely a trace!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Irish Banks did it.
Here are the details and the proof about how big bankers and their banks fleeced everyone else. I gave this book to the Copenhagen Business School library, to be read by their... Read more
Published 15 months ago by David Christopher Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars BANKERS
Jaw dropping revelations.

Shane Ross worked as a Stockbroker and knows where the bodies are buried. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Jet Lagged
4.0 out of 5 stars ....but everyone was also to blame
Good read. Interesting analysis and written in an easy to read journalistic manner. Pity Ross hasn't brought it up to date for the Irish EU bailout.
Published 16 months ago by Mikael
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book by shane ross
shane ross gives a brilliant insight to the carry on in the banks a brilliant man and a pity there's not more like him
Published on 10 Mar 2011 by Mr. Patrick Mcnamara
5.0 out of 5 stars misfits
thank you for my order. i received in good time prior to christmas despite the problems with post due to snow etc. Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2011 by annieb
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read but dry in areas.
I liked this book as it seems very real as to what really happend behind the scenes. Hats off to Ross as he is thorough and honest.
Published on 28 Mar 2010 by A reader
5.0 out of 5 stars If this book doesn't make you cross, nothing will.
Christmas bought us a raft of books on the recent collapse of the Irish economy, one of which was "The Bankers: How the Banks Ruined the Irish Economy". Read more
Published on 10 Jan 2010 by J. Cronin
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