The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One

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The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry

The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One is an expert insider’s account of the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s. It lays bare the strategies that corrupt CEOs and CFOs use to defraud companies for their personal gain. It also authoritatively links the S&L crash to the business failures of 2008 and beyond, showing how CEOs then and now are using the same tactics to defeat regulatory restraints and commit the same types of destructive fraud. The book drives home the larger point that control fraud is a major, ongoing threat in business that requires active, independent regulators to contain it. It is is a wake-up call for everyone who believes that market forces alone will keep companies and their owners honest.

Recommended reading by Jim Chanos

"Persons interested in the economics of fraud, the S&L debacle, the problems of financial regulation, and microeconomics more broadly will find this book to be very important. It is a marvelous combination of insider experiences, well-grounded generalizations, and the foundations of a broader research agenda. It merits a wide readership and, one hopes, sustained reflection on its arguments and conclusions."

Journal of Economic Issues

"This is an extraordinary book. . . . No other account gives a complete picture of the control fraud that occurred in the S&L crisis. . . . There is no one else in the whole world who understands so well exactly how these lootings occurred in all their details and how the changes in government regulations and in statutes in the early 1980s caused this spate of looting. . . . This book will be a classic."

George Akerlof, University of California, Berkeley, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics

"This book is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand one of the darkest chapters in financial history in America. As Black clearly and expertly shows, the lessons we never learned are still important. . . . His book more than stands on its own against any other published on the S&L crisis and is the most definitive account available."

Henry Pontell, University of California, Irvine, coauthor of Profit Without Honor: White-Collar Crime and the Looting of America

"Bill Black has detailed an alarming story about financial and political corruption….the lessons are as fresh as the morning newspaper. One of those lessons really sticks out: one brave man with a conscience could stand up for us all."

Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve