“Lucid, entertaining…One of the best accounts…of the Great Crash as it played out on a human scale.”

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)


“The Lost Bank stands beside The Big Short and Too Big to Fail as required reading for students of the Great Recession”
Amazon, named Best Book of The Month for June 2012

“Wall Street Journal reporter Kirsten Grind deftly restores the “lost bank” to its rightful place in the annals of financial disasters. And the overarching themes are familiar: the bank wrote billions of dollars of bad mortgages, which blew up in the financial crisis and caused it to fail. If this were just another account with a portentous description of a chief executive’s gravel driveway or accounts of his grandiose thoughts at critical mom­ents, this would not be worth adding to a reading list. But the clarity and humility of the writing is refreshing.”
Financial Times

“For anyone who still believes the banking industry’s fantasy that it was only Wall Street sharpies who caused the financial crisis, the refutation can now be found in Kirsten Grind’s “The Lost Bank,” which chronicles the rise and fall of Washington Mutual. As a reporter for the Puget Sound Business Journal, Grind spent the better part of two years covering the demise of the giant Seattle savings and loan and building a network of sources inside the organization. Expanding on that reporting, Grind, now at the Wall Street Journal, has produced a compelling case study of corporate incompetence and of how regulators are politically captured by the businesses they are meant to oversee.”
Washington Post

“What does seem to have been truly extraordinary about WaMu was the sheer brazenness of the pyramid scheme at the heart of its business model. The mortgage division did everything within its power not to originate traditional fixed-rate mortgages—pretty much the only non-predatory home loans on the market—preferring the fatter profits that came with catering to house-flippers, professional con artists, and naive first-time buyers that other lenders (even in 2004-05!) had turned away.”

“In ‘The Lost Bank,’ Grind achieves the best of the business journalist’s calling, not only reporting the WaMu disaster in clear, compelling prose for the general reader, but also offering new information and details that may surprise those who think they know the story.”
The Seattle Times

“This is no tedious, dry retelling of a story we’ve heard hundreds of times in the last four years—Grind masterfully explains even the most complex financial concepts and has a natural talent for ferreting out tiny but humanizing details. Grind has already received numerous awards for her coverage of WaMu’s mighty fall, and The Lost Bank stands beside The Big Short and Too Big to Fail as required reading for students of the Great Recession.”
Amazon, named Best Book of The Month for June 2012

“Hubris and greed break the bank in this absorbing saga of the housing bubble. In her first book, Wall Street Journal reporter Grind chronicles the rise of Washington Mutual from a sleepy Seattle-based thrift to America’s biggest savings and loan bank, its reckless plunge into the can’t-lose subprime mortgage market, and its 2008 failure. As the honest, avowedly “nice” WaMu succumbs to the lure of easy money, an almost Shakespearean boardroom melodrama unfolds, featuring vivid personalities like Kerry Killinger, WaMu’s conquering hero-turned-vacillating nebbishy CEO, and Jamie Dimon, the ruthless JPMorgan leader who swallowed WaMu. (Grind raises disturbing questions about how JPMorgan benefited from the FDIC’s forcing a possibly salvageable WaMu into receivership.) Even more revealing are the bit players—the WaMu salespeople peddling extortionate adjustable rate mortgages to impecunious borrowers who didn’t understand what they were signing. Grind pens a lucid, entertaining guide to the delusions and frauds powering the debacle, from Fed chief Alan Greenspan’s rose-tinted economic forecasts down to the falsified documents that put people with no income, assets, or perhaps even pulses into mortgages they could never repay. Hers is one of the best accounts yet of WaMu’s demise—and of the Great Crash as it played out on a human scale.”
Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“A detailed, instructive account of a bank failure far away from the power centers of New York City.”
Kirkus Reviews

“…an apocalyptic story in which the hard work and strong principles of Main Street are overcome by personal ambition, sloppy business practices, federal policy and the appetites of Wall Street investors.
Shelf Awareness

“An eye-opening book.”

“If indeed this book had been fiction, it would have been branded unrealistic, outlandish, and out of the realm of reality… It is an incredible story.”
ABA Banking Journal

“Kirsten Grind’s dogged reporting lays bare a tale of out-of-control salesmen and executive-level gamblers who transformed one of America’s most respected banks into a weapon of mass financial destruction. ‘The Lost Bank’ is a page-turning read that exposes the Wild West banking tactics that harmed customers, workers and the nation as a whole.”
— Michael W. Hudson, author of “The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America—and Spawned a Global Crisis”

“An exhaustively researched and well written account of one of the widely ignored chapters of the great financial crisis. Grind does an excellent job of bringing the complex story to life, and capturing the sense of drama and the impact on peoples’ lives. It also casts a spotlight on the role of the FDIC, which has not received as much attention as it should have done. An insightful and well written book.”
— Gillian Tett, U.S. Managing Editor for the Financial Times  and author of  “Fool’s Gold”

“Journalist Kirsten Grind has written a first-rate accounting of the spectacular collapse of Washington Mutual and how behemoth JPMorganChase picked over its carcass. Thanks to Grind’s winning narrative, what was previously one of the less-well known financial disasters of September 2008 is now fully—and entertainingly—explicated.”
— William D. Cohan, author of Money and Power and House of Cards

“The transformation of Washington Mutual  from folksy community lender to reckless 2000-branch behemoth is one of the epic stories of American finance. The bank that banned pot plants to save money in the 1980s became the bank that hired white-suited “evangelists” to praise its go-go mortgages with screams of “WaMu-lujah.” Grind tells the story without lapsing into melodrama or malice, and her tale is all the more powerful for that.”
— Sebastian Mallaby, author of “More Money Than God, Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite”

“The Lost Bank is a superbly written, insider account of the collapse of Washington Mutual, among the more surprising downfalls of the financial crisis. It’s a story of hubris, ambition and poor judgment that entertains but also is a disturbing coda to the difficult period, providing enduring lessons about how a group of executives who predicted the housing collapse were somehow felled by it.”
— Gregory Zuckerman, author of The Greatest Trade Ever

“What a marvelous book this is, so well-reported and so well-told by a writer who really threw herself into telling her story. And what an incredible tale that turns out to be, a once-beloved bank felled by greed, hubris, and a shocking disregard of all the obvious warning signs portending the financial disaster that was about to hit all of us. The life-savings of shareholders go up in smoke, a long-standing institution is done in by a new breed of short-sited executives, and meanwhile there was the havoc caused by all those subprime mortgages Washington Mutual, one of the country’s more aggressive and reckless lenders, pushed through the financial system. The Lost Bank would be a joy to read if not for the Greek tragedy that unspools vividly and painfully before your eyes. A first-rate job by a first-rate journalist.”
— Gary Rivlin, author of Broke, USA