Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 25, 2012 - Business & Economics - 415 pages
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The former FDIC Chairwoman, and one of the first people to acknowledge the full risk of subprime loans, offers a unique perspective on the greatest crisis the US has faced since the Great Depression.

“When Sheila Bair took over as head of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2006, the agency was probably better known for the ‘FDIC’ logo on the doors of the nation’s banks than for anything it did. Now Bair is at the center of the financial crisis, speeding the takeover of failing banks and pressing the mortgage industry to ease loan terms . . . winning praise from Democrats and Republicans.” —BLOOMBERG NEWS, October 3, 2008

Sheila Bair is widely acknowledged in government circles and the media as one of the first people to identify and accurately assess the subprime crisis. Appointed by George W. Bush as the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 2006, she witnessed the origins of the financial crisis and in 2008 became—along with Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Timothy Geithner—one of the key players trying to repair the damage to our 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.

A level-headed, pragmatic figure with a clear focus on serving the public good, Bair was often one of the few women in the room during heated discussions about the economy. Despite her years of experience and her determination to rein in the private banks and Wall Street, she frequently found herself at odds with Geithner. She is withering in her assessment of some of Wall Street’s finest, and her narrative of Citibank’s attempted takeover of Wachovia is a stinging indictment of how regulators and the banks worked against the public interest at times to serve their own needs.

Bair is steadfast in her belief that the American public needs to fully understand the crisis in order to bring it to an end. Critical of the bank bailouts and the Can. $29.99 lax regulation that led to the economic crash, she provides a sober analysis as well as a practical plan for how we should move forward. She helps clear away the myths and half-truths about how we ran our economic engine into the ditch and tells us how we can help get our financial and regulatory systems back on track.

As The New Yorker said, “Bair has consistently stood out for her skepticism of Wall Street and for her eagerness to confront the big banks. A Kansas Republican, she has become an unlikely hero to economic liberals, who see her as the counterweight to the more Wall Street–centric view often ascribed to Timothy Geithner, the Treasury Secretary” (July 6, 2009).
 

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User Review  - froxgirl - LibraryThing

I became fascinated by this topic as I watched and waited for SOME BANKER, ANY BANKER to get thrown in the pokey for the hideously deliberate destruction of the hopes and dreams of Americans wanting ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

First 70 pages are a great insight into what went wrong in our financial system 2007-2009 from a person who saw it from the inside.
Wonderful insight into how policies, personalities, and possibilities became reality.

Contents

Contents Prologue The Golden Age of Banking Turning the Titanic
21
The Fight over Basel II
27
The Skunk at the Garden Party
41
Subprime Is Contained
49
Helping Home Owners Round
59
The Audacity of That Woman
73
The Wachovia Blindside
95
Bailing Out the Boneheads
107
The Return to Basel
257
11
259
Too Small to Save
273
Squinting in the Public Spotlight
297
Farewell to the FDIC
311
21
367
27
368
59
392

Bailout Number
121
Helping Home Owners Round
131
The More Things Change Helping Home Owners Round Three The 100 Billion Club
155
Bailout Number Three
165
Finally Saying
175
Never Again
181
Its All About the Compensation
201
The Senates Orwellian Debate
213
1
225
The Final Stretch
231
or So I Thought RoboSigning Erupts
243
73
394
131
396
165
398
175
399
181
401
201
402
213
403
231
407
243
408
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About the author (2012)

Sheila Bair is the former Chairman of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). She has been covered—and lauded—everywhere from The New Yorker to The Washington Post to The Wall Street Journal, and in 2008 and 2009 Forbes named her the second-most powerful woman in the world. Prior to assuming her post at the FDIC, Bair served as assistant secretary for financial institutions at the US Department of the Treasury and as senior vice president for government relations of the New York Stock Exchange.

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