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The Megabanks Mess

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Herb Allison builds a powerful case for breaking up the megabanks and overhauling regulation and oversight of the financial industry so that the public interest can prevail over the self-interest of bankers...and another financial crisis can be avoided. Allison draws upon his own exceptionally broad experience in the financial industry to cut through the outrage and finger Herb Allison builds a powerful case for breaking up the megabanks and overhauling regulation and oversight of the financial industry so that the public interest can prevail over the self-interest of bankers...and another financial crisis can be avoided. Allison draws upon his own exceptionally broad experience in the financial industry to cut through the outrage and finger pointing at America’s largest banks for their roles in the financial crisis, and reveal why those institutions have become addicted to risk, how their deep-seated conflicts of interest harm the public and, most importantly, what should be done now to reform them. During Allison’s 40-year career, he has managed the investment banking and trading divisions and then served as president of Merrill Lynch in the 1990s; led TIAA-CREF, one of America’s most respected investment companies, from 2002-2008; assumed leadership of Fannie Mae at the request of Treasury Secretary Paulson when that company was placed into conservatorship during the mortgage crisis; and directed the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability in the Obama Administration. He also coordinated the group of banks that bailed out Long Term Capital Management in 1998. Readers of The Megabanks Mess can discuss the book on Twitter: @bankmess


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Herb Allison builds a powerful case for breaking up the megabanks and overhauling regulation and oversight of the financial industry so that the public interest can prevail over the self-interest of bankers...and another financial crisis can be avoided. Allison draws upon his own exceptionally broad experience in the financial industry to cut through the outrage and finger Herb Allison builds a powerful case for breaking up the megabanks and overhauling regulation and oversight of the financial industry so that the public interest can prevail over the self-interest of bankers...and another financial crisis can be avoided. Allison draws upon his own exceptionally broad experience in the financial industry to cut through the outrage and finger pointing at America’s largest banks for their roles in the financial crisis, and reveal why those institutions have become addicted to risk, how their deep-seated conflicts of interest harm the public and, most importantly, what should be done now to reform them. During Allison’s 40-year career, he has managed the investment banking and trading divisions and then served as president of Merrill Lynch in the 1990s; led TIAA-CREF, one of America’s most respected investment companies, from 2002-2008; assumed leadership of Fannie Mae at the request of Treasury Secretary Paulson when that company was placed into conservatorship during the mortgage crisis; and directed the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability in the Obama Administration. He also coordinated the group of banks that bailed out Long Term Capital Management in 1998. Readers of The Megabanks Mess can discuss the book on Twitter: @bankmess

30 review for The Megabanks Mess

  1. 5 out of 5

    Marieke

    this rating is temporary; it might change. i admit to being totally distracted by House Hunters International while reading this. plus, it's not super easy to read. Even with a future re-read, i fully expect some things to go over my head.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Mace

    Excellent book, but no one listened This book is no longer available even been on Kindle. Herb Allison was head of TARP and he saw what was coming, but no one listened.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    This author wants to jettison the Volcker Rule for the concept of "Using approved models of risk". Well, who approves the models? The banks? Pretty funny really. How about we just reestablish Glass Steagall. It was voted out because American banks wanted to compete with German banks. Now German banks are leveraged to their eyeballs 50 to one and worse! We can't have more of that can we? And here is a little secret, German banks aren't allowed to lend ponzi loans to German citizens. Home ownershi This author wants to jettison the Volcker Rule for the concept of "Using approved models of risk". Well, who approves the models? The banks? Pretty funny really. How about we just reestablish Glass Steagall. It was voted out because American banks wanted to compete with German banks. Now German banks are leveraged to their eyeballs 50 to one and worse! We can't have more of that can we? And here is a little secret, German banks aren't allowed to lend ponzi loans to German citizens. Home ownership is low in Germany. But German banks can ravage the world with toxic loans, even on US soil! And then Bernanke applies QE2 to bail out these German banks! Yes the author wants a watered down reconstitution of Glass Steagall, but there are all kinds of ways to get around ownership laws. Why not just separate insurance from investment banks from commercial banks? Then a mole could regulate it. Complexity is what the bankers want. You accomplish nothing by just getting banks to spin off companies that are still bonded by culture. Why is Glass-Steagall outmoded? Is it because the German banks will out compete us? Let them, and then stop the Fed from bailing them out! Here is the bottom line folks. You cannot stop investment bank speculation without stopping banks from writing insurance and by using deposits of commercial banks to gamble with. Anything less is just pie in the sky. This little ebook is worth reading as a means of seeing if others have your back. This author does not have main street's back. Watch for another ponzi lending scheme coming to your neighborhood as soon as the bankers can figure out how to get past Foreclosure-gate. The Volcker Rule is all we have stopping the ponzi predatory lending machine. It is not Glass-Steagall, but it slows the bankers down. How about we do like Germany and pass a law making a 20 percent down payment mandatory. Then if these TBTF banks want to go abuse some other country it will be up to that country to stop them in the same way. If they care about their people, the leaders will stop the banks, just like Germany does for her own. While the author does not mention German banks, he does mention the need for being competitive globally as a reason for getting rid of Glass-Steagall. The senate vote was 90 to 8. Sad indeed.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sagar Jethani

    Instead of providing any fresh insights on the causes of the financial crisis, Herbert Allison offers a children's narrative filled with now-familiar villains: the banks, lackadaisical regulators, and complicit ratings agencies. Everything contained in this slim volume can be found elsewhere, with greater clarity. (In particular, Matt Taibbi's "Griftopia" and Robert Scheer's "The Great American Stick-Up" do a particularly effective job laying out the causes of the crisis to the uninitiated.) Alli Instead of providing any fresh insights on the causes of the financial crisis, Herbert Allison offers a children's narrative filled with now-familiar villains: the banks, lackadaisical regulators, and complicit ratings agencies. Everything contained in this slim volume can be found elsewhere, with greater clarity. (In particular, Matt Taibbi's "Griftopia" and Robert Scheer's "The Great American Stick-Up" do a particularly effective job laying out the causes of the crisis to the uninitiated.) Allison laments the erosion of shareholder power over Wall Street banks, yet fails to account for the fact that if shareholders truly feel dispossessed, they need simply cast their dollar-votes elsewhere. Instead, the reader is subjected to a series of unimaginative prescriptions to reform Wall Street, including breaking up the big banks, strengthening the role of government regulation, and insisting that banks measure performance not through traditional profit metrics, but through subjective designations such as employee and customer satisfaction. In doing so, he fails to explain why presumably dissatisfied customers and employees appear to continue working for the banks today, and why they are contributing to a profit-making environment. Are we to believe that all of the banks' profits are the result of accounting tricks? Unfortunately, Allison's book contributes little to the growing corpus of historical examination and policy recommendation surrounding the events of the past several years. The wholly derivative nature of this text and its Pollyanna conclusions are just enough to give the reader an idea of what a more thought-provoking epistle would look like.

  5. 4 out of 5

    C is for **censored**

    The star rating given reflects my opinion within ‘the official goodreads rating system’. 1 star: Didn’t Like it 2 stars: It’s Okay 3 stars: Liked it 4 stars: Really Liked it 5 stars: It Was Amazing I don’t really give a rat-fuck that there are some who think I ‘owe’ an explanation for my opinion. Nope, nada, and not sorry about it. Sometimes I may add notes to explain what my opinions are based on, and sometimes I don’t. I do this for me, on my books, in my library and I don’t ‘owe’ any special snowfla The star rating given reflects my opinion within ‘the official goodreads rating system’. 1 star: Didn’t Like it 2 stars: It’s Okay 3 stars: Liked it 4 stars: Really Liked it 5 stars: It Was Amazing I don’t really give a rat-fuck that there are some who think I ‘owe’ an explanation for my opinion. Nope, nada, and not sorry about it. Sometimes I may add notes to explain what my opinions are based on, and sometimes I don’t. I do this for me, on my books, in my library and I don’t ‘owe’ any special snowflakes a thing. Fuck off if you don’t like it and stop reading my shit. Particularly given the ‘modifications’ to reader’s personal content going on (and outright censorship), unless particularly motivated I will not comment in detail. It would help if GR was forthcoming in the new ‘appropriate’ and would make a site-wide announcement delineating the new focus from a reader-centric site to one that is now for authors and selling.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Roman

    Not really sure about this one. First it's totally worth your 0.99$. The first part, mapping the reasons and actions that led to the financial crisis, is somehow unique as it takes a look from a wider perspective and adds some additional, not well known facts. The second part, proposal of disbanding current megabanks into smaller, client-centered ones is a bit different story. I had serious issues with reading this part of the book and I'm no rookie with financial non-fiction, I just didn't like Not really sure about this one. First it's totally worth your 0.99$. The first part, mapping the reasons and actions that led to the financial crisis, is somehow unique as it takes a look from a wider perspective and adds some additional, not well known facts. The second part, proposal of disbanding current megabanks into smaller, client-centered ones is a bit different story. I had serious issues with reading this part of the book and I'm no rookie with financial non-fiction, I just didn't like the style of this part. As of the author's proposals, they all make perfect sense, which is their biggest problem - 'too simple to be true' comes to my mind. Even though sometimes the easiest things work the best.. I can surely recommend this book to anyone more interested in the financial crisis, as it's a valuable view on the whole event, plus adding the 'what's next' part.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shelly

    I thought this book had a wealth of information and I'll re-read. Actually, I primarily listened to this using the Kindle text-to-speech feature so I'll re-read one day to actually digest a little better and to bookmark and take some notes.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Larry Larsen

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aser Rodriguez

  11. 4 out of 5

    Øystein Nygård

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eric Mikhail

  13. 5 out of 5

    Devon

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan Pinette

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  17. 5 out of 5

    Isac Burstein

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kent

  19. 5 out of 5

    Enrico Pangan

  20. 4 out of 5

    thomas flinn jr

  21. 4 out of 5

    Antonio Ingles

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

  23. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  24. 4 out of 5

    Armando

  25. 4 out of 5

    David

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emil

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janko

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ravi Krishna

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tom Davis

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