So my new book, The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America--and Spawned a Global Crisis, is now out and about. (Sorry for the long subtitle. Needed to be said.)
I wanted share some quotes from the book. They give the flavor, I think, of the corruption that fueled America's mortgage frenzy and helped produced the greatest financial disaster since the Great Depression.
Given the current robosigning, document-backdating foreclosure crisis, it's worth thinking about what happens when fraud and recklessness go unchecked.
"I became a thief. And unfortunately, I found I was a very good thief."
"We are all here to make as much fucking money as possible. Bottom line. Nothing else matters."
"Anything that benefited production -- that benefited me and benefited my wallet-- I'd do it."
"It's hard to have a guilty conscience if you don't have a conscience."
"Roland could be the biggest bastard in the world and the most charming guy in the world. And it could be minutes apart."
"He fucked me. But within reason."
"Deep down inside he was a good man. But he had an evil side. When he pulled that out, it was bad. He could be extremely cruel."
"People don't need access to predatory lenders. That's like saying people need access to poison, or children need access to mumps."
"If you don't find the true pain, you won't write the loan."
"Imagine what happens if the housing bubble bursts."
"These people, you had all the confidence in the world in them."
"Tell him to do what ever it takes to close that loan or it's his ass."
"Let's compare W-2s. I made over two million dollars. What did you do?"
"There's nothing in the world more dangerous than a sales presentation in the hands of a salesman."
"Your people find too much fraud!"
And, finally, subprime billionaire, mega-political donor and one-time U.S. ambassador Roland Arnall, explaining, in testimony before Congress, why his company, Ameriquest, engaged in widespread predatory lending:
Michael Hudson is a staff writer with the Center for Public Integrity and author of The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America--and Spawned a Global Crisis.
An excerpt from The Monster can be found here.