A crisis that brought the markets to the depths of despair, when the future of capitalism itself came to be doubted by many in Britain. Abundant credit in a liberalised financial system with a domestic economy led by government hell-bent on growth had provided a hot-house atmosphere for a breed of self-styled financial entrepreneurs. Often arriving from a background in property or stock market activity many of these players joined the ranks of the newly-established Secondary Banks. Their reign was brief, foundering in a volatile mix of political chaos, currency crises, rebounding interest rates, over-investment in property and the inevitable and dramatic change in that most fickle of ingredients ? confidence. Thus the banking system as a whole was called into question and decisive action required from the Bank of England. Reid's book is the definitive account of this crisis and crucial role of the Bank of England in diffusing it. Since it seems that periodic crises and mania are a fixture of the financial markets, if not human nature, it remains essential reading for bankers and investors both in the UK and overseas.
"The mid-1970s are now depicted, invariably in near-apocalyptic brushstrokes, as the time of Britain?s most severe political, social and economic peacetime crisis since the immediate aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, if not earlier. The oil shock, the three-day week, the Heath government brought down by the miners, the plunging stock market, the hyper-inflation, the IMF called in these well-known jolts to national pride all feature prominently on the lurid historical canvas. Yet one episode, arguably just as important and pregnant with possibilities as at least most of the others, has gone strangely missing from our collective memory: the secondary banking crisis. This welcome reprinting of Margaret Reid?s meticulous, penetrating and deservedly classic account may do something to redress the situation." - from the introduction by David Kynaston.