List of 2008 Bank Bailout ebooks

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Bailout
by Neil Barofsky

In this account of his stranger-than-fiction baptism into the corrupted ways of Washington, Neil Barofsky offers an irrefutable indictment, from an insider of the Bush and Obama administrations, of the mishandling of the $700 billion TARP bailout fund. In behind-the-scenes detail, he reveals proof of the extreme degree to which our government officials bent over backward to serve the interests of Wall Street firms at the expense of the broader public–and at the expense of effective financial reform. During the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Barofsky gave up his job as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York City, where he had convicted drug kingpins, Wall Street executives, and perpetrators of mortgage fraud, to become the special inspector general in charge of oversight of the spending of the bailout money. From his first day on the job, his efforts to protect against fraud and to hold the big banks accountable for how they spent taxpayer money were met with outright hostility from the Treasury officials in charge of the bailouts. Barofsky discloses how, in serving the interests of the banks, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his team worked with Wall Street executives to design programs that would funnel vast amounts of taxpayer money to their firms and would have allowed them to game the markets and make huge profits with almost no risk and no accountability, while repeatedly fighting Barofsky’s efforts to put the necessary fraud protections in place. His investigations also uncovered abject mismanagement of the bailout of insurance giant AIG and Geithner’s decision to allow the payment of millions of dollars in bonuses–including $7, 700 to a kitchen worker and $7,000 to a mail room assistant–and that the Obama administration’s “TARP czar” lobbied for the executives to retain their high pay. Providing details about how, meanwhile, the interests of homeowners and the broader public were betrayed, Barofsky recounts how Geithner and his team steadfastly failed to fix glaring flaws in the Obama administration’s homeowner relief program pointed out by Barofsky and other bailout watchdogs, rejecting anti-fraud measures, which unleashed a wave of abuses by mortgage providers against homeowners, even causing some who would not have lost their homes otherwise to go into foreclosure.

The Power of Inaction
by Cornelia Woll

Bank bailouts in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the Great Recession brought into sharp relief the power that the global financial sector holds over national politics, and provoked widespread public outrage. In The Power of Inaction, Cornelia Woll details the varying relationships between financial institutions and national governments by comparing national bank rescue schemes in the United States and Europe. Woll starts with a broad overview of bank bailouts in more than twenty countries. Using extensive interviews conducted with bankers, lawmakers, and other key players, she then examines three pairs of countries where similar outcomes might be expected: the United States and United Kingdom, France and Germany, Ireland and Denmark. She finds, however, substantial variation within these pairs. In some cases the financial sector is intimately involved in the design of bailout packages; elsewhere it chooses to remain at arm’s length.Such differences are often ascribed to one of two conditions: either the state is strong and can impose terms, or the state is weak and corrupted by industry lobbying. Woll presents a third option, where the inaction of the financial sector critically shapes the design of bailout packages in favor of the industry. She demonstrates that financial institutions were most powerful in those settings where they could avoid a joint response and force national policymakers to deal with banks on a piecemeal basis. The power to remain collectively inactive, she argues, has had important consequences for bailout arrangements and ultimately affected how the public and private sectors have shared the cost burden of these massive policy decisions.


Borrowed Time
by James Freeman, Vern McKinley

The disturbing, untold story of one of the largest financial institutions in the world, Citigroup—one of the ” too big to fail” banks—from its founding in 1812 to its role in the 2008 financial crisis, and the many disasters in between.

During the 2008 financial crisis, Citi was presented as the victim of events beyond its control—the larger financial panic, unforeseen economic disruptions, and a perfect storm of credit expansion, private greed, and public incompetence. To save the economy and keep the bank afloat, the government provided huge infusions of cash through multiple bailouts that frustrated and angered the American public.

But, as financial experts James Freeman and Vern McKinley reveal, the 2008 crisis was just one of many disasters Citi has experienced since its founding more than two hundred years ago. In Borrowed Time, they reveal Citi’s history of instability and government support. It’s not a story that either Citi or Washington wants told.

From its founding in 1812 and through much of its history the bank has been tied to the federal government—a relationship that has benefited both. Many of its initial stockholders had owned stock in the Bank of the United States, and its first president, Samuel Osgood, had been a member of the Continental Congress and America’s first Postmaster General. From its earliest years, Citi took massive risks that led to crisis. But thanks to private investors, including John Jacob Astor, they survived throughout the nineteenth century.

In the twentieth century, Senator Carter Glass blamed Citi CEO “Sunshine Charlie” Mitchell for the 1929 stock market crash, and the bank was actually in violation of the senator’s signature achievement, the Glass-Steagall law, in the late 1990s until then U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin engineered the law’s repeal. Rubin later became the chairman of the executive committee of Citigroup, helping to oversee the bank as it ramped up its increasing mortgage risks before the 2008 crash.

The scale of the financial panic of 2008 was not, as the media and experts claim, unprecedented. As Borrowed Time shows, disasters have been relatively frequent during the century of government-protected banking—especially at Citi.


Reducing Foreclosures
by Christopher Foote

Abstract: This paper takes a skeptical look at a leading argument about what is causing the foreclosure crisis and distills some potential lessons for policy. We use an economic model to focus on two key decisions: the borrower’s choice to default on a mortgage and the lender’s subsequent choice whether to renegotiate or “modify” the loan. The theoretical model and econometric analysis illustrate that “unaffordable” loans, defined as those with high mortgage payments relative to income at origination, are unlikely to be the main reason that borrowers decide to default. In addition, this paper provides theoretical results and empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis that the efficiency of foreclosure for investors is a more plausible explanation for the low number of modifications to date than contract frictions related to securitization agreements between servicers and investors. While investors might be foreclosing when it would be socially efficient to modify, there is little evidence to suggest they are acting against their own interests when they do so. An important implication of our analysis is that the extension of temporary help to borrowers suffering adverse life events like job loss could prevent more foreclosures than a policy that makes mortgages more “affordable” on a long-term basis.

Too Big to Fail
by Gary H. Stern, Ron J. Feldman

The potential failure of a large bank presents vexing questions for policymakers. It poses significant risks to other financial institutions, to the financial system as a whole, and possibly to the economic and social order. Because of such fears, policymakers in many countries—developed and less developed, democratic and autocratic—respond by protecting bank creditors from all or some of the losses they otherwise would face. Failing banks are labeled “too big to fail” (or TBTF). This important new book examines the issues surrounding TBTF, explaining why it is a problem and discussing ways of dealing with it more effectively.

Gary Stern and Ron Feldman, officers with the Federal Reserve, warn that not enough has been done to reduce creditors’ expectations of TBTF protection. Many of the existing pledges and policies meant to convince creditors that they will bear market losses when large banks fail are not credible, resulting in significant net costs to the economy. The authors recommend that policymakers enact a series of reforms to reduce expectations of bailouts when large banks fail.


The Fed and Lehman Brothers
by Laurence M. Ball

The bankruptcy of the investment bank Lehman Brothers was the pivotal event of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed. Ever since the bankruptcy, there has been heated debate about why the Federal Reserve did not rescue Lehman in the same way it rescued other financial institutions, such as Bear Stearns and AIG. The Fed’s leaders from that time, especially former Chairman Ben Bernanke, have strongly asserted that they lacked the legal authority to save Lehman because it did not have adequate collateral for the loan it needed to survive. Based on a meticulous four-year study of the Lehman case, The Fed and Lehman Brothers debunks the official narrative of the crisis. It shows that in reality, the Fed could have rescued Lehman but officials chose not to because of political pressures and because they underestimated the damage that the bankruptcy would do to the economy. The compelling story of the Lehman collapse will interest anyone who cares about what caused the financial crisis, whether the leaders of the Federal Reserve have given accurate accounts of their actions, and how the Fed can prevent future financial disasters.

Bailout
by Irvine H. Sprague

During the high interest times in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the banks and the savings and loan associations were under heavy financial pressure. Hundreds of them failed. The Home Loan Bank Board permitted the savings and loan associations to treat goodwill as capital, thereby allowing them to remain open and to build up enormous losses that eventually cost the taxpayers billions of dollars. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took a different approach. It closed the banks or sold them, all at no cost to the taxpayers. Bailout is the engrossing story of how the FDIC handled four of these failures. Book jacket.

The Value Impact of Bank Bailouts During the Financial Crisis 2008
by Katharina Schade

This book analyses bank rescue measures implemented after Lehman Brothers Inc. went bankrupt in autumn 2008, both theoretically and empirically in the context of Myers’ debt overhang theory (1977). After having deduced theoretically how a debt overhang situation might have arisen due to an external shock in the banking sector, the author examines the impact of different forms of government intervention on the book and market values of individual debt and equity positions as well as CDS contracts used to hedge the credit risk of the bank in the context of the aforementioned model. A distinction is made between banks initially suffering from debt overhang or not and whether the bailout measure employed resolved their debt overhang or not. The results are then tested empirically by means of an event study. While the effects on a bank’s equity value are approximated based on share price reaction, the impact on its debt position is tested by the development of CDS spreads surrounding the bailout measure.

Bull by the Horns
by Sheila Bair

NEW YORK TIMES and WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER

The former FDIC chairwoman, and one of the first people to acknowledge the full risk of subprime loans, offers a unique perspective on the financial crisis.

Appointed by George W. Bush as the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 2006, Sheila Bair witnessed the origins of the financial crisis and in 2008 became—along with Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Timothy Geithner—one of the key public servants trying to repair the damage to the global economy. Bull by the Horns is her remarkable and refreshingly honest account of that contentious time and the struggle for reform that followed and continues to this day.


The Ascent of Money
by Niall Ferguson

The 10th anniversary edition, with new chapters on the crash, Chimerica, and cryptocurrency

In this updated edition, Niall Ferguson brings his classic financial history of the world up to the present day, tackling the populist backlash that followed the 2008 crisis, the descent of “Chimerica” into a trade war, and the advent of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, with his signature clarity and expert lens.
 
The Ascent of Money reveals finance as the backbone of history, casting a new light on familiar events: the Renaissance enabled by Italian foreign exchange dealers, the French Revolution traced back to a stock market bubble, the 2008 crisis traced from America’s bankruptcy capital, Memphis, to China’s boomtown, Chongqing. We may resent the plutocrats of Wall Street but, as Ferguson argues, the evolution of finance has rivaled the importance of any technological innovation in the rise of civilization. Indeed, to study the ascent and descent of money is to study the rise and fall of Western power itself.


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