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Full Faith and Credit: The Great S & L Debacle and Other Washington Sagas Paperback – September 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Beard Books (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893122492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893122499
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

A jauntily opinionated memoir of government service from the resilient septuagenarian who was chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Resolution Trust Corp. at the height of the crises that convulsed the domestic banking industry during the 1980's. An accountant by trade, Seidman first went to Washington toward the end of the Nixon Administration, staying on when Gerald Ford assumed the presidency. He returned as head of the FDIC near the start of Ronald Reagan's second term. Casino capitalism had gathered a full head of steam by then, and Seidman's hitherto sleepy fiefdom was soon in the eye of many fiscal storms. Commercial banks were among the first casualties of laissez-faire's excesses and, here, Seidman offers behind-the-scenes accounts of how the FDIC helped deal with major failures in New England as well as in the Southwest. Also covered are the varied battles that appointed agency chiefs must wage with bureaucrats, lawmakers, politicos, and the press if they are to maintain their clout. The author goes on to provide a savvy, often witty, rundown on the roots of the S&L disaster, which burst into full bloom on his watch, albeit only after George Bush had secured a four-year lease on the White House. Among other matters, Seidman evaluates the RTC's role in the $200-billion bailout, as well as its record in running history's largest fire sale (i.e., its liquidation of the assets of seized institutions) and in seeking to make recoveries from the white-collar crooks who ran hundreds of thrifts deep into the red. Notwithstanding a less-than-graceful departure at the end of his term, the author took fond memories with him when, late in 1991, he departed Washington, convinced that the system works in the public interest. An informative briefing on the big-money games played on the banks of the Potomac. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

The author, a former FDIC/RTC chairman under Presidents Reagan and Bush, Sr., presents a colorful, irreverent, insightful Washington memoir. Chosen by Congress to lead the S & L cleanup, he describes how the debacle was created and nurtured, and the lawsuits against Charles Keating, Michael Milken, and Neil Bush that it spawned. Included are lively anecdotes of confrontations with heavy-weight White House chief of staff John Sununu, an interview with a wild-eyed Wyoming purchaser of FDIC property from a liquidated bank who arrived in Seidman's office armed with a gun to register his displeasure with the purchase, and an ambush by Secret Service agents who converged on Seidman as he opened his window and leaned out to watch the President's helicopter take off.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Ginensky on February 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
Seidman uses the above quote in the chapter where he apportions blame for the S&L fiasco. This book contains a lot of entertaining passages, and considering it is a book about finance written by an accountant, that in itself makes the book unusual.
I found the book to be well written, and very up-front about the authors biases. It was refreshing that the hidden agenda was right out in the open for everyone to inspect, just the way the author maintains that good government should operate. As Seidman states in his introduction:
"Why write about these experiences?" Of course, I share the goals of most memoirists: to immortalize my contribution to society; even scores with my enemies; provide financial security for my old age, confirm the taxpayers worst suspicions about their government; and generally leave a record of my adventures for the benefit of future historians".
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bachelier on September 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Now that the USA is starting up RTC II (named TARP), this treasure is sure to rise on AMAZON's sales list (those who know nothing of the past are doomed to repeat it). Sure to be on every Beltway Wonk's bedside shortly.

Seidman's excellent explication of the S&L crisis and the activities of the Resolution Trust Corporation are filled with wonderful wry observations, like this:

"My friends, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the full faith and credit of the FDIC and the U.S. government stands behind your money at the bank. But the bad news is that you, my fellow taxpayers, stand behind the U.S. government."

The whole RTC game was simply a duration play, unwinding short (less than 30 years) and borrowing long (issuing 30 year US bonds), and Seidman walks us through the technicals of that obvious play.

Seidman is not as bad as Larry Summers in the smug-self-satisfied brilliant observer, but at times he is pretty close. He is certain of his analysis, but truth is the daughter of time and some of his observations have since been proven to be opinion, not fact.

Still, an excellent read in these bizarre times.
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3 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
Thinks he knows everything. Full of hot air.
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