This book tells the untold story of how JPMorgan became a universal bank in the 1980s-1990s and the events leading to it being acquired by Chase in 2000. It depicts the challenges Morgan's leaders, Lew Preston and Dennis Weatherstone, confronted when the firm's business model was disrupted by the developing country debt crisis, up to its current management with Jamie Dimon.
This first-hand account explores whether Morgan could have stayed independent had its leaders pursued the strategic plan that called for it to make targeted acquisitions in areas where it had well-established businesses. Instead, in the mid-1990s, it went from being the hunter to the hunted. Rival banks that had been burdened by bad loans to developing countries and commercial real estate capitalized on rising share prices during the tech boom to acquire other institutions. Meanwhile, Morgan's profits and share price lagged, which left it vulnerable.
During this time, all of the leading financial institutions struggled to change their business models. In the end, no US money center bank was able to become a universal bank on its own. What ensued was a growing concentration of financial assets in a handful of institutions that was the precursor to the 2008 financial crisis, which is explored further using Morgan as a lens, in this must-listen book.
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