- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Times Books (6 Dec. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805090460
- ISBN-13: 978-0805090468
- Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.3 x 24.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 748,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America - and Spawned a Global Crisis Hardcover – 6 Dec 2010
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"Magnificently and heartbreakingly told. . . . What I appreciated most about this tremendous, well-documented book is that it shows vividly that really filthy, face-to-face fraud and hard-sell bullying are the original ingredients, the required counters, in the increasingly abstract financial instruments that brought the economy down around our ears."--"The Boston Globe""Whereas much of the reporting of the economic meltdown has been focused on Wall Street, Hudson has a talent for describing what was happening on the ground. He takes us on a tour of the financial carnival tent pitched by subprime factories like Ameriquest... Did some people borrow beyond their means? Certainly. But as Hudson demonstrates, the public was no match for an industry that lived off deceit fueled by Wall Street."--"Time""Magazine""As engagingly written as Michael Lewis' "The Big Short" (which chronicles the struggles the winners endured during the last bubble), as caustic and trenchant in its analysis of the dotty economic theories that underpin our bubble economy as Yves Smith's "ECONned"; and at least as cogent of the big-picture power politics as Simon Johnson's "13 Bankers", "The Monster" also does what those books don't: It reveals the inner lives of both the victims and the perpetrators of predatory lending."--"Baltimore City Paper""Hudson's book is a guide to the worst excesses of the mortgage business . . . [and offers] a deeper, truer understanding of the many-headed subprime monster. . . . ["The Monster"] succeeds by entertaining us with behind-the-scenes moments and personal stories from people trading their ethics for all-expenses-paid trips to Hawaii." --"The Seattle Times""Terrifically readable. . . . Hudson gives readers piercing insight into the booze, broads and cocaine that fueled the buccaneers in the mortgage game. . . . Though I thought myself too old to be shocked, the revelations here shocked me. Read it and weep."--"Chico News & Review""Michael W.
About the Author
Michael W. Hudson is a staff writer at the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit journalism organization. He previously worked as a reporter for the "Wall Street Journal" and as an investigator for the Center for Responsible Lending. The winner of a George Polk Award, Hudson has also written for "Forbes," "The Big Money," the "New York Times," the "Los Angeles Times" and "Mother Jones." He edited the award-winning book "Merchants of Misery" and appeared in the documentary film Maxed Out. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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# Only fraudulent home lenders made liar's loans
# Liar's loans were endemically fraudulent
# Lenders and their agents put the lies in liar's loans
# Appraisal fraud was endemic and led by lenders and their agents
# Liar's loans could only be sold through fraudulent reps and warranties
# CDOs "backed" by liar's loans were inherently fraudulent
# CDOs backed by liar's loans could only be sold through fraudulent reps and warranties
# Liar's loans hyper-inflated the bubble
# Liar's loans became roughly one-third of mortgage originations by 2006
It is also worth remembering that many of those fraudulently created securities were then sold throughout the world and in particular to Eurozone banks and municipalities.
We need more investigative writers like Michael Hudson.
Michael W Hudson gives details of many, many cases of loans made or forced on people, who could not afford the repayments because of little or no income, were charged exceptionally high front-end fees of anything up to 25% of the loan, against false company inflated property values, lied to about the interest rates, and inevitably lost their homes through foreclosure. The cheating, fraud, and downright criminality that many sub-prime lenders carried out was in epidemic proportions, condoned and indeed encouraged by the company owners and executives, and was ignored or received the 'nod' from politicians. Even Alan Greenspan, Chairman of The Federal Reserve Bank was to his eternal shame a supporter of not curbing the free-wheeling sub-prime rip-off.
The roll call of the most 'greed motivated' players included Roland Arnall of Ameriquest, Brian Chisick of First Alliance Mortgage Company and Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide, and Wall Street Banks such as Lehman Brothers and Citicorp. Roland Arnall, in particular fleeced billions of dollars personally from the poor and disadvantaged but because of generous political donations was not curbed by a hardening of anti sub-prime legislation, even though widespread media coverage of the criminality was available, and was can you believe it even honoured by President Bush with being appointed the USA Ambassador to The Netherlands?
Reading this excellent book makes one incredulous and sad as to how this was allowed to continue blighting the lives of millions of homeowners and becoming the touchpaper that ignited the catastrophic credit crunch inferno that very nearly brought the global monetary system to it's knees and has led to a worldwide recession with all its accompanying financial hardships and unemployment to pile on top of foreclosures and homelessness. These foolish, negligent and wholly inaccurate ratings were instrumental in inducing financial institutions, pension funds and the like, to buy Collateralized Debt Obligations by the $billions and, of course incur losses by the $billions, severely impacting on the shareholders, and investors, including millions of 'Joe-Public' hoping to build up their hard earned savings for health costs and retirement etc.
Any sympathy that remained with me for the demise of Lehman Brothers has been well and truly booted out the window as the revelations in this book clearly and unarguably show that this bank was up to it's armpits in the sub-prime mire, and allowed its thirst for profits at any cost without any moral circumspection to pave the way for massive losses for it's shareholders and creditors, and ultimately bankruptcy. That it served the bank right, is no consolation to the thousands of loyal, hard working staff, who were not part of the sup-prime 'muggings' , who lost their jobs and accrued share incentives.
The Author has a unique 'journalistic' talent for recent economic history and I look forward to his next book - which I hope will not be too long in being published. Perhaps an expose of the scandalous role played by the Credit Rating Agencies for the cretinously high ratings given by them to vast quantities of Collateralized Debt Obligations that contained absolutely toxic and obviously 'bound-to-default' loans?
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This is one of the top 5 books written on the financial crisis. Researched big time. Well done; loved reading it.
Whilst it focuses on the sub-prime mortgage crisis - who caused it, how and why - it is also a damning indictment of the direction in which capitalism has headed. It is not enough to work hard for your wealth these days - you should also lie, cheat, forge documents and carefully target your 'marks' who will be the weak in society and therefore those least likely to be abe to defend themselves. But as a precaution you will anyway try to buy off any organisations which might try to come to their aid and ensure that you have sufficient political backing that you are never brought to account for your actions.
I finished this book in as angry a mood as I have ever been - you will too, if you have any sense of justice or shame.
"The Monster..." is the page-turning expose of the subprime mortgage business. Award-winning reporter Michael W. Hudson narrates a fascinating web of deception that was infuriatingly targeted against the most vulnerable of our society. It describes the scoundrels and their methods. This 384-page book is composed of the following fifteen chapters: 1. Godfather, 2. Golden State, 3. Purge, 4. Kill the Enemy, 5. The Big Spin, 6. The Track, 7. Buried, 8. Boil, 9. The Battle for Georgia, 10. The Trail, 11. Feeding the Monster, 12. Chimera, 13. The Investigators, 14. The Big Game, and 15.Collapse.
1. A top-notch book that is well-researched and well-written.
2. An accessible book for the masses. It's not a technical book, the stories, narrations drives this book.
3. Reads like a very good novel in which the criminals and victims lives are intertwined by events. The characters and their roles comes to light.
4. This book totally changed my perception of how predatory lending went down. Fascinating and upsetting at the same time.
5. Predatory business model illustrated.
6. Wall Street's main villain, Lehman. Their role and impact.
7. The subprime abuses of Roland Arnall of Ameriquest.
8. The impact of politics in the deregulatory business.
9. The essence of the subprime business explained. Educational indeed.
10. Mr. Hudson makes it fairly clear, first of all, predatory lending was a crime that was perpetuated against the most vulnerable of our society. Secondly, it was mainly refinancing loans. In other words, they targeted the elderly and minorities who already owned homes and had enough equity to make the crime work. Sickening!
11. The book contains so many interesting and sad stories of victims of predatory loans.
12. Predatory lending was not just limited to loans with bad terms but outright fraud to get the approval of said loans in the first place. The book relays how one manager figured that $75 million out of the $90 million in mortgages he sold contained some sort of "material fraud".
13. Prudential's role in the subprime business.
14. The role of "securitization" in the subprime business.
15. Thought-provoking quotes, "If you don't believe in the product you're selling, he thought, you're just a con artist".
16. The stories of the rise and fall of many subprime institutions: FAMCO, Keystone to name a few.
17. The Federal Trade Commission was the only federal agency that showed concern about mortgage lending abuses.
18. The fascinating inside look at the investigations of predatory lenders and the outcomes.
19. The realization that in the banking industry, crime may in fact pay...
20. Fascinating facts throughout book. The dollar amounts are mind-blowing.
21. The fact that the lenders portrayed in the book seldom lowered people's rates and almost always put them in worse positions.
22. The rise and fall of Alan Greenspan.
23. Mr. Hudson makes the compelling argument backed by strong examples that the main blame of the subprime crisis falls on Wall Street and the institutions that designed the evil schemes that defrauded millions of borrowers.
24. How the subprime predatory practices impacted us all.
25. The main culprits of the subprime mortgage catastrophe.
26. How Richard Fuld and other top executives of Lehman represented the predatory lending fraud and paid themselves handsomely while their companies deteriorated.
27. A where are they now closing chapter that neatly ties everything up at the end.
28. An interesting read throughout.
1. Notes are not linked!
2. With so many players involved, it's easy to get lost at times.
3. Charts or illustrations would have added value.
4. I would have liked a little more on CRA and the political blame game.
In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It provided much needed education on this important topic of subprime mortgages and in doing so changed my perception on who was mainly to blame. A very accessible and enlightening book, I highly recommend it!
Further suggestions: "Perfectly Legal..." by David Cay Johnston, "War on the Middle Class..." by Lou Dobbs, "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class" by Thom Hartmann, "The Fifteen Biggest Lies About the Economy" by Joshua Holland, and "The Looting of America..." by Les Leopold.
-great american stickup
-all the devils are here