By: Amrutha Lakshmi
Power struggle inside a bank even as shenanigans in the banking industry are detailed for the reader to get an inside view of how the bank works.
The story is set in the backdrop of a major American bank, and revolves around the events occurring in that bank.
On a Wednesday morning, Ben Roselli, the CEO of the First Mercantile American, announces that he is retiring as he is diagnosed with terminal illlness. Roselli occupied a key position as it was his grandfather who founded the bank.
Two high profile executives are in line for succession. The first is Alex Vandervoort: sauve, sincere, genuine, and determined. His one point agenda is the growth of the bank’s retail operations by marrying the evolving technology. The other is Roscoe Heyward: diplomatic, deceitful, dodgy and an impeccable player in boardroom politics. He prioritises business over customers, and is more focused on the bank’s growth, by whatever means.
One day, Edwina D’Orsey, manager of FMA’s main branch, comes face to face with the serious issue of cash embezzlement in her branch. The prime suspect is Juanita Nunez. But soon investigations reveal that she is innocent and that one of the bank’s officers Miles Eastin is the culprit. He has been cheating the bank for sometime now, by milking dormant accounts.
While proof of his involvement is available, clinching evidence is obtained after the Head of Security tricks Eastin into giving in writing his involvment in the bank. Eastin is sacked, is found guilty by the court and is imprisoned. In the jail he faces the trauma of being abused sexually. His expertise in falsification helps him get acquainted with a group of credit card forgers. On being released on bail, he meets and apologises to Nunez and seeks a job with the bank. The Head of security turns offers him the role of an informer whose job would be bust the fraudulent credit card racket.
Vandervoort plays the role of the protagonist. His wife is institutionalized and Vandervoort gets into a relationship with Margot Bracken, a brave advocate who takes up social causes at the drop of a hat. Their affair is known to the bank and her professional activities come in direct conflict with his role in the bank. She leads novel protests in the Anna Hazare mode. Meanwhile, Roscoe Heyward, the antagonist, strives hard to maintain an ardent personality but in the long run his ambition to become the CEO leads him to compromise on his personal integrity, with disastrous consequences.
Even as Hailey documents their struggle to power, many concerns regarding insider trading, credit card frauds, cash embezzlement and inflation are discussed. Roscoe Heyward hunts for corporate business for the banks and queues up before George Quartermain, the CEO of a multinational conglomerate. The latter expects a large loan which is way beyond the bank’s permissible limits. All members of the Board, except for Vandervoort, are excited about doing business with Mr. Q.
The resultant scandal leads to a run on the bank with prospects of possbile bankruptcy, creating anxiety among the stakeholders. Meanwhile, Q’s conglomerate collapses and Heyward commits suicide. Vandervoort takes over as CEO.
It is a feel good book as the story deals with a lot of drama with thriller. http://iandbooks.wordpress.com
The story keeps the reader on the move. Anyone having a mind for analysis, interest in money, should not miss reading this. http://www.goodreads.com
Racy; worth reading to get an insight into the banking industry.