Chapter 9. Day of Deliverance

We as an industry cannot avoid the simple fact that we caused a lot of damage, and we have to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America

August 15, 2008.

It was one of my mad-as-hell mornings. The moment I opened my eyes, I was prepared to turn on the computer and wade through the usual stream of e-mails from ARS victims. Despite the ever-increasing volume of mail, their stories still resonated, still had the power to inflame the senses. Scattered among these stories, also per usual, would be the glut of financial web sites. Their challenged syntax, dubious analysis and prognostications, mixed with the never-ending police blotter of white-collar crimes, made for a potent cocktail of emotions, especially first thing in the morning.

"Lighten up," said Sandy. The collective energy has to go somewhere. Energetic matter, the physicists claim, is indestructible. "Keep pushing but keep your cool. Drink your coffee!"

I had an enemies list of ARS fraudsters. It was taped to the wall beside my desk. Anyone looking at it might remark that it was a list of the very best financial institutions in the United States. Super blue-chip outfits. Each played a key role in the ARS crash and the broader economic meltdown. Each had engaged in an arrogant game of Leveraged Monopoly with shareholder and client money, and they had moved their individual game pieces closer than ever to that square on the board that proclaimed: "Go to Jail." There was ...

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