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The Bankers: The Next Generation The New Worlds Money Credit Banking Electronic Age Hardcover – January 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525938656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525938651
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,226,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Twenty-two years after his bestseller, The Bankers, Mayer returns with another kaleidoscopic look at the world of banking. While much is interesting here, the zigzag narrative can be tough to follow and seem oddly chatty. First, Mayer discusses the nature of money, the rise of checking?and perhaps its demise, because Europeans pay most of their bills through a central agency such as the post office?the emergence of credit cards and the potential for cash-value "smart cards." Then he reaches back to chart the history of banks and their civic role, the recent wave of bank mergers and banks' dicey ventures into computer-based trading, devoting a chapter to the demise of the British bank Barings. Next he examines the role of government, focusing on the S&L fiasco, in which banks were free to make bad loans while deposits were insured. Finally, Mayer looks at the future, where he sees traditional banks cutting jobs as they consolidate, relying on computers and plastic, and an increasing number of nonbanks (brokerage houses, etc.) performing banking duties. He suggests reforms to aid the poor, who are now shunned by banks, and predicts that new finance companies will take over some of banks' traditional lending roles; yet he does not offer specific proposals for regulation of banks' investment practices.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Mayer, a noted financial journalist, revisits the banking industry, which he covered over 20 years ago in a seminal book that was also called The Bankers (LJ 2/1/75). The world has changed since then, and Mayer acknowledges that the role of banks has likewise altered. Now banks offer myriad nonbanking services ranging from insurance to mutual funds. Technology has dramatically affected banks, so much so that Mayer questions why we even need them, when an automated teller machine (ATM) can dispense cash and even loans, and a computer allows for transactions in cybercash over the Internet. Still, Mayer cogently argues for the need for banks and their role as an intermediary that can help Americans with simple or complex financial transactions as we enter the 21st century. Mayer's useful, carefully researched guide is recommended for large business or financial collections.?Richard S. Drezen, Washington Post News Research Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By S. Schneider on May 16, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The financial services industry has always been something of an enigma to me. After reading THE BANKERS, it still is. Perhaps the lush reviews garnered by this book instilled unrealistic expectations: I expected a carefully researched, scholarly treatment of the banking business past-to-present. For better or worse, this book reads more like a quirky monologue by someone who knows the banking business well, but who prefers to deliver his knowledge by free association rather than by cogent and orderly description. The anecdotes are sometimes very entertaining, and the reader does pick up some valuable insights. But the return on effort extended is less than excellent. What's especially ironic is the book's chapters ARE cogently organized...it's only the follow-through that's lacking.
The book's high point is Chapter 3 (Paying Bills). Here the author does an admirable job of describing the excruciatingly convoluted process of check clearance. It would seem to be the dullest subject imaginable, but Mayer brings it to life -and I suspect he does such an admirable job because he has a flair for showing the quirkiness in any subject under the sun. The biggest disappointment of the book is how Mayer is compelled to entangle his journalistic prominence with whatever other point he wants to make ("A team of television journalists came from a Japanese network to visit me in Washington..."). Once again, there are some terrific insights, and some entertaining one-liners. It's just that the perspective one receives seems indulgently biased, and not particularly comprehensive.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Tucher on April 20, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The scope of this book is fantastic. I wanted to enjoy it, but Mayer plays too fast & loose with the facts. His descriptions of banking principles is muddy, leaving me to wonder if he's a sloppy writer, a bad economist, or so presumptuous to think his readers all have finance PhD's and don't need clear explanations. Among his factual errors: He mistakenly put Citicorp's card processing center in Fargo, North Dakota (instead of Sioux Falls, SD) and Reno. First Chicago was bought by National Australia Bank; it did not merge with Michigan National. Midlantic was bought by PNC, not City National of Cleveland. What happened to editors?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
I run with a crowd of i-bankers, and I bought this book to try to better understand what they do all day. However, this book is a LOT of history, and the entire first Part of the book is VERY basic information relating to what "money" is.
If you learn well through anecdotes, you will find this book both informative and easy to read. If, on the other hand, you are considering this book thinking it will be information about the modern banking industry given in a straightforward way, you're out of luck. In order to understand the industry (or what pieces of it this book explores, anyway) you have to extrapolate larger themes from nearly 500 pages of amost exclusively history and anecdotal examples. In addition, Martin has a habit of describing people in the industry, e.g., "Mr. X, a swarthy fellow I knew while still a fencer at Penn and something of a womanizer besides..." For some, I'm sure this keeps the book from being too dry. I, on the other hand, found these descriptions annoying and diversionary.
In sum, if you're looking for information about the modern banking industry, just read chapters nine and ten, which are well-written, relatively complete, and exceptionally easy to understand. If, instead, you are looking for the story of how banking has evolved, or you just like to read businessmen's tales, then this is the book for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very readable book for just about anyone interested in money, banking, financial risk management, and electronic methods of payment - although I'd imagine that professional bankers and money managers would find much of the information and ideas presented to be "old hat". Speaking as a former corporate financial executive with relatively little treasury experience, I found the book both entertaining and informative. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me - adamleft@webspan.net.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lois J Hudson on January 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
First I believe this book should be a ten star. I am a crinimal justice major @ I.U. and also a victim of white collar crime. I have read three other books written by Mayer and have found them all useful for an independent study that I am doing on banking crime by insiders. I fell that if a person wanted to ask a banking question and get an educated answer Mayer is the person to ask.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 16, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Martin Mayer's book, The Bankers, has served as a basic
text for an introduction to banking in the United States for
over twenty years. Required reading in this author's Law
School the 1975 edition of Mayer's book provided a clear
and insightful overview into the banking system before
plunging into the Banking Law coarse offered by the school.

Twenty years later the new edition of this book reads like a
a new book even to those readers who have read previous
editions. So much new material has been added one
scarcely finds any familiarity with prior edtions of the book.
This is a sign of the immense changes that have occurred
in the economy of the nation and the world over the last
twenty years. In this respect a new edition of the book was
long over due.

Mayer's writing style is such that it draws the reader into a
complex subject and walks you around briefly until the
reader is familiar with the jargon and then leads you to his
particular point easily. In this way the new edition retains all
the original value of the prior editions as a primer on
banking procedures for a wide audience of readers.

Nonetheless, there were times during the reading of the
new edition that this author wished we could have spent
more time on particular subjects to thoroughly answer all
questions on that subject before moving on to the next
topic. This author is still looking for a more comprehensive
explanation of the role of cash cards and ATMs in the
economy as a whole. Perhaps we will have to wait until the
next editions of this book to be published.

Brian W.Wells

Attorney at Law

Charleston, West Virginia
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