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I was interested in the history of Citigroup, as I wanted to understand how one of the oldest and biggest banks in the USA managed to get on the verge of going bust. The book is fairly well written, the first century and half of Citi's life is thoroughly illustrated, although it kind of lacks detail about the bank's story in the second half of the twentieth century - this may be due to the information not being available. The book is highly critical of the management in the thirty years leading to the bailout, when poor risk control and excessive leverage brought Citi in a very perilous position. If you want to learn about an example of how not to run a bank in a sustainable way, this is an enlightening read.
A clever and entertaining book about the history of the US banking system told through the founding and evolution of the original too-big-to-fail bank, Citigroup, and all of its previous incarnations. Extremely well-researched and well-written, this book puts the 2008 crisis and the role Citi played in historical context. It serves as a sobering reminder that cozy relationships between banks and their government are nothing new in the US and always end badly. When will we ever learn? Sheila Bair, FDIC Chair, 2006-2011
I found this book to be immensely informative and entertaining. This is much more than a book about the history of Citi and the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. It is really a history of banking and finance over the last 200 years. And if you think that sounds boring, a reading of Borrowed Time will put that notion to rest. Never would I think that "bank examinations" and balance sheets could be exciting but this book keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole read. The financial crisis has already faded into memory and while many books tried to uncover the causes of the crisis or simply its shear mayhem, Borrowed Time takes the long view and allows you to understand current events in a much broader, historical perspective. Well done.
This book is long, and contains a lot of information. The story definitely provides a lot of background on how the Fed came in to existence, and how banking has worked (and or failed to work) in the US. The most important finding: It was not really planned, it just grew like topsy! You could say that City Bank set the highest standard (at first), but then gradually became more and more lax. No one had reined that bank in to this very day. All the seeds for another 2007-09 fiasco are still there. "To big to fail" still prevails. The federal government does not tell the big banks what to do (or not do).
This is a boring, densely written book, with occasional tidbits exposing the writers’ political biases. One will only be satisfied with the book if one has an intense interest in Citibank. Otherwise there are many more, better written books on American banking history
Very readable history. Two favorite aspects were the perspective on the evolution of moral hazard from the founding of the Fed in the early 1900's and a view into the origins of the Glass Steagall Act. Absolutely worth the time to read.
BEING SVP CORP GOV MGR FOR TOP 13 LARGE BANK FOR 23+ YEARS TRYING TO FIGHT FOR OUR CONSUMERS, COMMUNITIES AND THE TRUTH/RIGHTS WHILE MAKING SURE THE BUSINESS I LOVED AND CHERISHED HELPING OUR CONSUMERS AND COMMUNITIES FOLLOWED ALL THE REGULATIONS, ETC UNFAIRLY PLACED ON CONSUMERS...CFPB=ANTI-AMERICAN SET UP - WHERE IS THE $. CLINTON "ALL AMERICANS NEED A HOME", GREED, POWER, CORRUPTIONS ARE NOW LARGER TO BE UNVEILED THAN IN OUR FS INDUSTRY-"IFOUGHT THE LAW AND THE LAW WON" - THIS BOOK WILL OPEN YOUR EYES TO SO MANY THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW -- BIG KUDOS FOR THE AUTHORS MAKING THIS BOOK EASILY READIBLE FOR ALL INTELLECTUAL CAPACITIES TO UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEXITIES INVOLVED YET NOT FULLY VISIBLE AROUND THIS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT INDUSTRY FOR OUR COUNTRY -- YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU READ THIS BOOK, NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE!!! LOVE IT AND FLYING THROUGH IT LIKE IT IS A ROMANCE NOVEL OR SOMETHING WHICH IS WEIRD FOR A "BUSINESS TYPE BOOK" -- THAT IS WHY I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ALL ADULTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN...WAKE UP CALL!