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Funny Money
Mark Singer
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Funny Money

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  73 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
From New Yorker writer Mark Singer comes this cautionary tale of the Penn Square Bank, the oil and gas broker in an Oklahoma City shopping mall whose collapse in 1982 staggered America's banking industry. Recounting the whole story and its colorful characters, Singer makes clear what actually happened and why it had to happen in boom-time Oklahoma. Nowhere else did money f ...more
Hardcover, 221 pages
Published May 12th 1985 by Knopf (first published 1985)
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Rishi Prakash
Jun 24, 2011 Rishi Prakash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark Singer has given the real picture behind the bankruptcy of the Penn Square Bank, whose collapse in 1982 staggered America’s banking industry. It is still considered to be the biggest learning for the entire US banking industry. Crazy, un-believable, staggering are the few words which comes instantly to my mind after reading this book...a must read for all those who are in anyway connected to banking industry.
Paul J
Jan 08, 2008 Paul J rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though it was written in the 1980's, its subject matter is entirely relevant to today's energy (and real estate) markets. Those who have no knowledge of Penn Square bank and its influence on the collapse of several other institutions will find this read enlightening--and I'll bet you a buck that you'll LOL at least a few times.
Clare Fitzgerald
So, I just finished reading Funny Money, by Mark Singer, and I am embarrassed to admit that I did a thing I almost never do, which is I read half of it and then didn’t finish it for several months.

It wasn’t a bad book! It was, in fact, a pretty good book, but it appears it didn’t engage my attention quite enough to prevent me from being distracted by other things, because I am more easily distracted when I don’t entirely understand what I’m reading, and Funny Money is primarily about three thing
Jul 12, 2016 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not, of course, a funny book. Rather, yet another episode in that eternally saddening entertainment that is human folly, this time, once again, in the financial sector. Singer does not go deeply into the personalities of the main sources of malfeasance, but he provides plenty of anecdotes involving frat boy hijinks, old-boy banking networks, and workplace atmosphere at Penn Square Bank that you wonder how the thing was not shut down much sooner. The Feds come across as imprudently slow and toler ...more
Julian Walker
Jan 06, 2015 Julian Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chasing the dream always has the potential to be a roller-coaster and this is a curious tale of a bank which did just that - written in a fast-paced style which, were it not true, would make great fiction

This book makes a very readable story as you see the bank fall from grace and, like several corporate failures since, what is interesting is the social culture around it. The author doesn't go into too much detail about the financial complexities, but gives you enough to make the read (and ride)
Sharon Anne Beers
Hilarious and maddening nonfiction about Continental Illinois Bank, Penn Square and the many S&Ls that would regularly and repeatedly cold call any two landmen with a pickup truck between them, to loan them a minimum of a million dollars to set up a fancy office and to (maybe) drill for oil in the late '70s and '80s. The mania for financial deregulation during the Reagan administration accelerated this wild west, anything goes, culture that caused the collapse of many S&Ls, the need for ...more
Description of the early-1980s collapse of Penn Square Bank in Oklahoma City, partly as the result of the oil bust and partly as a result of unrestrained idiocy. Interesting to read, especially in light of our recent economic woes and banking irregularities. The author is an Oklahoma native and a New Yorker writer, so the prose is finely tuned and not (that) condescending. How many Ultrasuede jackets does one need? At least twenty-nine. What about airplanes? Well, owning three isn't necessarily ...more
Ken St. Onge
Jul 23, 2010 Ken St. Onge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: reporter, writers, documentary buffs
As a reporter, I love this book. The level of detail and information is unbelievable — at times I find it impossible to believe the level of access Singer had to the participants in the implosion of a bank in boom-years' era Oklahoma. This book is considered one of the high points of new journalism from the 1980s, and the storytelling is very good.

That being said, there are more than a few points where I was lost in the milieu of characters, deals and details of how the upstream banking system
Jul 05, 2011 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finances
A quick read about the natural gas boom in Oklahoma in the 70's and 80's, focused one one shopping mall bank, and how when left unwatched by regulators, it almost blew up itself and 5 other much larger banks. Midwesteners take note, this is the story behind the story of Continental Illinois (then the largest commercial lender in the country) and how it end up being forced onto some other big bank (I think BoA).
The author has a casual style that helped keep the subject interesting.
Chris Ramirez
Apr 17, 2013 Chris Ramirez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good funny book about the oil and gas boom in Oklahoma in the early 80s. These guys were selling their lousy loans up the chain YEARS before mortgage backed securities started doing the same thing. Some of the talk of the oil business had me confused at times but the characters in the book were larger than life making it a fun and enjoyable read.
Sep 28, 2008 Kennedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2008
Interesting and relevant given today's bank problems. Surprisingly, when you make bad loans from no documentation and sell them up the banking ladder, the dominoes keep falling... (sarcasm). Some interesting parallels to today's economy.
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Mark Singer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional and the author of "The Changing Landscape of Retirement—What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You". He has been The Retirement Guide to thousands of investors for close to 25 years and is the creator of the Retirement Roadmap and the Financial Organizer System, both of which contribute to a solution to investors’ greatest concerns—properly coordin ...more
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