Sunday, September 19, 2010

New York Times Reviews 'Banktown' and City

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 9/19/2010 No comments
In the Sunday edition of The New York Times, the venerable newspaper reviews Banktown: The Rise and Struggles of Charlotte's Big Banks, a book released this month that was written by The Charlotte Observer reporter Rick Rothacker. The Times review is quite lengthy and you realize it's as much a book review as it is a business article and that this book is as much about Charlotte as it is New York. It was, after all, Charlotte that was home to two of the country's biggest banks, becoming an unlikely financial district that puzzled New Yorkers.

As is evident by the review, titled "Big Banking, Southern Style," the book contains a lot of what we in Charlotte have known for quite a while, such as how Bank of America and Wachovia's Tryon Street rivalry built their balance sheets while simultaneously building this city. And then there's the ugly reminders:

“Bank of America and Wells Fargo remain formidable corporate players in the city,” Mr. Rothacker says, and Charlotte also possesses a range of other financial firms. But it remains to be seen, he says, “whether or not the city can replace the salaries of high-paying bank jobs” that it has lost.

The Times review goes on to say that Banktown reveals a lot of details from court documents and securities filings, as well as provides great insight from Hugh McColl. But in the most stinging line of the review it states:

The “Banktown” saga has all the elements of a compelling tale of high finance. Unfortunately, the writing fails to rise to the drama of the occasion.

Banktown is available at many major bookstores and at


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