Bad Banks: Greed, Incompetence and the Next Global Crisis by Alex Brummer

Alex Brummer chronicles in fascinating detail the excesses committed by unscrupulous and greedy bankers at the cost of the ordinary tax payer even post the roiling financial crisis of 2007-09. “Bad Banks” concentrates on all the major financial institutions in the United Kingdom which engaged in murky banking practices, consummated shaky deals and exhibited unrestricted profligacy when it came to doling out bonuses euphemistically termed “employee compensation”.

Even though not vitriolic or polemical in his denouncement, Alex Brummer spares no details and takes no prisoners in an unbiased indictment of the mavens of High Street. This renowned chronicler of the world of finance dissects each major scam of the likes of the manipulation of the London Inter Bank Offer Rate (“LIBOR”); mis-pricing of Private Property Insurance (“PPI”), manipulation of the foreign exchange markets and the infamous London Whale scandal that had JP Morgan scurrying for cover, courtesy its notorious investment banking arm. But the icing on the cake in so far as the litany of unethical woes go, is reserved for the top brass of the City Co-op Bank. This so called ethical set up was led by Rev Flowers a Methodist practitioner who was ultimately embroiled in a shameful scandal involving homosexuality, addiction to veterinary drugs such as ketamine and financial flagrancy.

“Bad Banks” has in its list of characters irascible and megalomaniac chief executives who set up a Director’s kitchen in a sprawling set up so that scallops could be delivered unfailingly and on the dot at the working table, spineless authorities whose toothless organisation was sarcastically known as the “Fundamentally Supine Organisation” instead of Financial Services Authority; investment bankers who armed with PhDs in applied Mathematics wreaked havoc from the cozy shelters of glass and steel investment banking structures and hapless taxpayers who saw their wealth erode and sacrificed at the altar of banker’s greed.

“Bad Banks” is both an eye opener as well as a timely warning to every concerned stakeholder to keep in check the untrammeled appetite for destruction of reckless, immoral and egregious bankers.

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