From Publishers Weekly
The son of a famous Midwestern academic, Wriston stumbled into the banking business shortly after returning from WWII, when he joined First National City in Manhattan. He was a major force in transforming not only National City but the entire American banking industry, from a heavily regulated, tradition-bound field into an aggressive player in international markets. A staunch believer in free markets, technology and overseas lending, Wriston oversaw the growth of National City into the first bank holding company, Citicorp, which has interests in a variety of financial areas. During his career, capped by a 17-year reign as CEO, there was virtually nothing that occurred in the world of banking?ranging from the bailouts of Mexico and New York City to the spread of banking deregulation and the use of credit cards?that Wriston and Citibank were not heavily involved with. Zweig (Bellyup: The Collapse of the Penn Square Bank) artfully blends Wriston's personal and business lives, along with the American banking scene in the 1940s through the mid-1980s, into a compelling story. Although there is more detail here about banking practices than the casual reader will care to know, this is an absorbing biography of one of the most influential men in recent banking history. Wriston and his family and friends were among Zweig's hundreds of sources.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Walter Wriston may not be known to the average person, but he has had a profound impact on American life. He headed Citibank, which pioneered many financial practices?e.g., automated teller machines (ATMs), certificates of deposit (CDs), and a wider availability of credit cards?that we take for granted today. Zweig (Belly Up: The Collapse of Penn Square Bank, 1984. o.p.) has written an exhaustive, overlong account of Wriston's life as well as a chronicle of the forces at work in the United States that would enable Citibank to become the largest and most powerful American bank in the world. The book also shows that the recent spate of banking consolidation and mergers was set in motion largely by what Wriston accomplished. While Citibank has been the subject of previous books (notably Richard B. Miller's Citicorp: The Story of a Bank in Crisis, LJ 4/15/93), this work is just about as authoritative and satisfying as one could hope for. Recommended for larger business collections.?Richard Drezen, Washington Post News Research Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.