"Washington had better read this book. Bill Isaac is absolutely on target in his acute analysis of what he rightly calls the ′Senseless Panic of 2008.′ He was at the center in preventing what could have been an even worse banking debacle back in the 1980s but it didn′t happen, thanks to his level–headed leadership. If Washington politicians ignore Isaac′s insights, we will pay a fearful price."
Steve Forbes, Chief Executive Officer, Forbes, Inc.
"Bill Isaac has dedicated his life to the public policy arena. He thinks straight, and he talks straight. Washington must read Senseless Panic to learn the lessons of the past and set the course for the future."
Lawrence Kudlow, host of CNBC′s The Kudlow Report
"Bill Isaac throws down the gauntlet to Bush, Paulson, Obama, and Geithner. Their fixes and bailouts, he argues persuasively, were wrongheaded and very expensive. Learn from past crises and prevent the next collapse, says this experienced and outspoken former bank regulator. Let the real debate within the establishment begin."
Ralph Nader, lawyer, author, and political activist
"I would respectfully urge President Obama: Read this book. Emulate success. Spend time debriefing this real–world financial expert. What other effective bank regulator, besides Paul Volcker and Bill Isaac, do you know who fixed our broken financial system for two presidents Carter and Reagan? Nothing speaks louder than success."
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D–OH)
"If our national leaders had listened to Bill Isaac over the past two decades, particularly when the crisis hit in 2008, we would have avoided the enormously costly financial meltdown. This book is must reading for students of financial history."
Dr. Arthur Laffer, Chairman, Laffer Associates
"In the 2008 debate over TARP, Bill Isaac came to Washington and presented over 200 members of Congress with an alternative to the government bailout. His arguments helped convince a skeptical House to stunningly reject and vote down the bailout proposal. Although the administration, leaders of both parties, and Wall Street drove a panicked stampede toward government intervention, Bill delivered a forceful case that still counters the myth that Washington had only one viable option to address the financial crisis. Bill′s book is must reading for all who care about financial and economic reform."
Rep. Darrell Issa (R–CA)
Part One: No Calm Before the Storm 1
Chapter 1 Home Alone 3
Chapter 2 The Early Years (1978 1981) 13
Chapter 3 The Savings Bank and S&L Crises 22
Chapter 4 Penn Square Fails 29
Chapter 5 The Butcher Empire Collapses 47
Chapter 6 Deposit Insurance Reform/Tackling Wall Street 53
Chapter 7 Continental Illinois Topples 64
Chapter 8 Preparing to Leave 86
Chapter 9 Lessons Learned 92
Part Two: Here We Go Again 99
Chapter 10 Policy Mistakes 1989 through 2007 101
Chapter 11 The Subprime Mortgage Problem 113
Chapter 12 SEC and FASB Blunders 118
Chapter 13 Schizophrenic Failure Resolution 131
Chapter 14 The $700 Billion Bailout 148
Chapter 15 Never Again 161
Authors Notes on Sources 208
About the Authors 209
William M. Isaac is Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Institutions for FTI Consulting and Chairman of Fifth Third Bancorp. Both are positions he assumed after this book was published in its hardcover edition. He served as Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation during the banking and S&L crises of the 1980s, when some 3,000 banks and thrifts failed, including nine of the ten largest Texas banks as well as Continental Illinois, then the nation′s seventh largest bank. Isaac writes frequently for the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Washington Times, Washington Post, New York Times, American Banker, and other leading publications; testifies before Congress; and makes regular appearances on leading radio and television programs.