The Lost Bank by Kirsten Grind
The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History

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Synopsis

During the most dizzying days of the financial crisis, Washington Mutual, a bank with hundreds of billions of dollars in its coffers, suffered a crippling bank run. The story of its final, brutal collapse in the autumn of 2008, and its controversial sale to JPMorgan Chase, is an astonishing account of how one bank lost itself to greed and mismanagement, and how the entire financial industry—and even the entire country— lost its way as well.

Kirsten Grind’s The Lost Bank is a magisterial and gripping account of these events, tracing the cultural shifts, the cockamamie financial engineering, and the hubris and avarice that made this incredible story possible. The men and women who become the central players in this tragedy— the regulators and the bankers, the home buyers and the lenders, the number crunchers and the shareholders—are heroes and villains, perpetrators and victims, often switching roles with one another as the drama unfolds.

As a reporter at the time for the Puget Sound Business Journal, Grind covered a story set far from the epicenters of finance and media. It happened largely in places such as the suburban homes of central California and the office buildings of Seattle, but Grind covered the story from the beginning, and the clarity and persistence of her reporting earned her many awards, including being named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Gerald Loeb Award. She takes readers into boardrooms and bedrooms, revealing the power struggles that pitted regulators at the Office of Thrift Supervision and the FDIC against one another and the predatory negotiations of investment bankers and lawyers who enriched themselves during the bank’s rise and then devoured the decimated bank in its final days.

Written as compellingly as the finest fiction, The Lost Bank makes it clear that the collapse of Washington Mutual was not just the largest bank failure in American history. It is a story of talismanic qualities, reflecting the incredible rise and the precipitous collapse of not only an institution but of trust, fortunes, and the marketplaces for risk across the world.
 

About Kirsten Grind

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Kirsten Grind has received more than a dozen national awards for her work, including a Pulitzer Prize finalist citation. A reporter for The Wall Street Journal, she lives in New York City.
 
Published June 12, 2012 by Simon & Schuster. 401 pages
Genres: Business & Economics. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Lost Bank

Kirkus Reviews

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A welcome new addition to the increasingly crowded shelf of books about banking failures during the past five years.

May 29 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lost Bank: The Story of W...

Publishers Weekly

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Hubris and greed break the bank in this absorbing saga of the housing bubble. In her first book, Wall Street Journal reporter Grind chronicles the rise of Washington Mutual from a sleepy Seattle-based

Mar 05 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lost Bank: The Story of W...

Christian Science Monitor

Instead of situating Washington Mutual within a broader context, Grind spends much time detailing the company’s increasingly extravagant and bizarre culture.

Jun 13 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lost Bank: The Story of W...

Christian Science Monitor

Kirsten Grind tells us in her illuminating book, The Lost Bank, which gives a detailed account of the bank’s trajectory from being a company known for “borrower-friendly loans” with a concentration on “human value” to becoming a symbol of the subprime mortgage madness.

Jun 13 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lost Bank: The Story of W...

The Finance Professional's Post

The details of the epic failure have been covered, but never in the humanizing manner we see in The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History.

Sep 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lost Bank: The Story of W...

With the U.S. economy still struggling from the Great Recession, this story of the history

Dec 06 2012 | Read Full Review of The Lost Bank: The Story of W...

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