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Exile on Wall Street: One Analyst's Fight to Save the Big Banks from Themselves Hardcover – November 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118115465
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118115466
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews




Mike Mayo is an old-style bank analyst—thorough, independent, honest—who never pulls his punches, whatever icons, public or private, may be wounded."
Paul A. Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve

"Exile on Wall Street offers Wall Street's rarest commodity: the truth about our nation's largest banks and how they almost toppled capitalism. If you want to know the sickening truth about the largest banks, read Mike Mayo's exposé."
Harry Markopolos, author of No One Would Listen

"Mike Mayo is one of the best financial analysts on Wall Street. He brings clarity to a world full of uncertainty."
Maria Bartiromo, leading financial commentator

“Mike has long advocated for the investor. If only directors of business corporations with the legal and moral obligation to their shareholder base would emulate his diligence on their behalf, then good corporate governance would be restored. Every public company director ought read his book!”
—Thomas Garrott, ex-CEO of National Commerce bank and an ex-director of SunTrust

More About the Author

Mike Mayo is one of the top-ranked banking and finance analysts of the past twenty years. Mayo was the only analyst to testify during Senate Banking Committee hearings in 2002 on conflicts of interest on Wall Street, and in 2010, he testified again, this time as the first analyst to speak on the causes of the crisis. He has worked at Wall Street firms including UBS, Lehman Brothers, Credit Suisse, Prudential Securities, and Deutsche Bank. He currently serves as Managing Director at Credit Agricole Securities, which provides services in the United States for CLSA, a global boutique brokerage firm. In 2008, Fortune named him one of "Eight Who Saw the Crisis Coming."

Customer Reviews

His modesty and self-effacing anecdotes are a welcome pleasure, as well.
Floating Apex
Mike Mayo writes a very detailed but also very readable account of the severe problems in the banking system that caused the financial crisis of 2008.
Joseph R. McFaul
Perhaps this is true, but you could never really make this conclusion as a reader based on the information contained in the book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Alan F. Sewell on November 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is important because it goes to the heart of one of the great tragedies of our generation, the financial collapse of 2008. The big "money center" banks were the epicenter of the financial meltdown. If the government had not infused these banks with nearly a trillion dollars of public money the financial system would have failed and we would have regressed to a stone age economy.

Most of the TARP money has since been repaid, but the wreck and ruin the big banks inflicted on this country lingers. Eight million jobs were destroyed in 2008. Even now three years later we are creating only 1/3rd as many jobs as are needed to absorb the entry of young workers into the labor force. The banks spread their toxic web of mortgage derivatives across the financial markets, wiping out tens of millions of retirement accounts. The banks enticed non-creditworthy customers to take out mortgages and home equity loans that were impossible to service after the economy went bust, wrecking the housing market with a flood of foreclosures.

The big banks caused tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs, their pensions, and their homes. They have devastated our economy as surely as would a nuclear war. They have stolen the wealth of a generation.

Author Mike Mayo, who made a career as a Fed regulator and financial analyst, identifies three primary causes of the financial collapse.

First is the incestuous relationship between the big banks and the political parties. Both political parties have tried to sweep the financial fiasco under the rug because both were complicit in enabling it. The big banks provide much of the funding for both parties' political campaigns.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By David Merkel on November 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Why do you do what you do? Do you do it for money? Many do. Do you do it because you love it? Some get to do that. Do you do it because you think you have the truth, and want to make it known? Few do that.

Mike Mayo seems to be one who works for the latter two reasons, and that made him unusual on Wall Street. As an analyst of bank stocks on Wall Street, Mike Mayo was not always right, but he was right more often than not. He had a strong desire to tell what he saw to be the truth, which did not win him friends amid general overleverage in the banking sector (the banks lent too much).

Wall Street does not exist to make the buyers of the securities rich, rather, Wall Street exists to help companies get financing; the large profits of Wall Street come from the creation of stocks, bonds, and other securities to institutions and individuals.

There may be a question, though: if Wall Street does not exist to enrich the buyers of securities, then why do they employ analysts who try to point out value to potential buyers? Even today, it is because Wall Street wants to make money off of the underwriting of future securities. After all there is no money to be made in the secondary trading of ordinary securities anymore.

That is why the opinions of analysts still remain roughly 65% bullish, 30% neutral, and 5% bearish. Their posture reflects the way Wall Street positions itself for those they make money from: securities issuers, not securities buyers.

And similar to rating agencies, it has to be that way, because only the securities issuer has a concentrated interest in the issuance of a security, and for bonds, the rating.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark F. Pfeifer on April 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Exile on Wall Street is an easy reading introduction to the world of the (sell side) Wall Street analyst over the past twenty years, both for those starting out (or wanting to) in the business and for readers interested in a valuable `how the world really works' addition to their investment reading. I would not recommend it for industry professionals who are already all too familiar with the issues and challenges at hand.

As a risk manager and analyst who has been evaluating financial institutions for twenty years, I found the book a welcome addition to a wide body of work, from Liar's Poker and Barbarians at the Gates to The Big Short. On the other hand, I was hoping for a wider range of anecdotes and incidents supporting Mike's underlying thesis: how difficult their employer makes it for a sell side analyst to be professional and objective in evaluating a company for investors, especially where bad news is concerned. In particular the underlying revenue driven reasons why and the complexity and contradictions of the business model. As an internal cop who rarely had to bother with placating the management of companies I was analyzing my approach is more reflective of Steve Eisman's adage: Always assume they are lying to you.

Perhaps because of his early experience he describes working at the Fed, Mike has what I view as an overly evolved regard for regulators and the Fed. In particular, like a previous reviewer I would remind Mike that the Too Big To Fail doctrine was first established by the bailout of Continental Illinois in 1984, with the approval of then chairman Paul Volcker, a man some of us refer to as the General Grant of central bankers. It's not meant as a compliment.
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