200 Years of American Financial Panics

A Unique Analysis of America’s Financial History & How Technology Will Impact the Future

The Story

From 1819 to COVID-19, 200 Years of American Financial Panics offers a comprehensive historical account of financial panics in America. Through a meticulous dissection of historical events and the benefit of his experience handling many of the country’s largest bank failures, Thomas P. Vartanian, whom clients label as “one of the best financial services lawyers in America,” reveals why so many more devastating financial crises have occurred in America than nearly every other country in the world.

Vartanian provides extensive evidence of how the collision of policy-driven government actions and profit-oriented business performance has disrupted market equilibrium and made the U.S. system of financial oversight less effective and more susceptible to missing the signs of future financial crises, including government policies that:

  • Imposed tariffs and chartered dozens of poorly regulated, uncapitalized state banks that facilitated panics in the 19th century;
  • Created ambivalence over whether gold, silver, or paper money should be the preeminent form of payment, creating the perfect conditions for the depression of 1893;
  • Kept interest rates low to assist the central banks in England, Germany, and France, allowing an overheated U.S. stock market to shift into overdrive and crash in 1929;
  • Planted the seeds of the S&L crisis more than 20 years before when Congress imposed artificial limits on deposit interest rates and the states capped mortgage interest rates to increase homeownership;
  • Pressured banks in the 1990s to offer mortgages using reduced credit standards while the Fed engaged in loose monetary policies, adding fuel to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

200 Years of American Financial Panics dissects financial crises in a way not attempted before, concluding that the pyramid of governmental oversight intended to foster economic safety and stability has been turned on its head to its detriment. Vartanian provides readers with a unique list of practical solutions. Most importantly, his analysis of financial technology, from artificial intelligence and Big Data to cryptocurrencies and quantum computing, forecasts how financial markets and government regulation will change. “200 Years of American Financial Panics” is a must-read for anyone that wants to understand their money, financial markets, and how they are going to change in the future.









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200 Years of American Financial Panics.

200 Years of American Financial Panics

Crashes, Recessions, Depressions, and the Technology that Will Change it All

By Thomas P. Vartanian

Questions and Answers

When we were handling The S & Ls crisis in the Reagan administration, it struck me that all 4,500 S&Ls could not have been failing because of executive fraud and neglect. It was a systemic collapse, which had to have systemic causes. If government decisions could cause the collapse of the S&L industry and send a $200 billion bill to the taxpayers, I wondered how many other times that had happened in our history.

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Jessica Kastner at Rowman & Littlefield [email protected]

Thomas P. Vartanian [email protected]

Editorial Reviews by the Experts

William M. Isaac,

Co-chairman of the Isaac-Milstein Group, former chairman of the FDIC and Fifth Third Bancorp, and the author of “Senseless Panic: How Washington Failed America”

“200 Years of American Financial Panics’ is a definitive history of financial crises in America and how government oversight prevents and creates them. Vartanian uses his experienced legal and business eye to unravel the conventional wisdom and identify the enormous positive and negative impacts that technology will likely have on the U.S. economy in the future.”

Craig Phillips,

Former counselor to the secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury

“Vartanian uses his unparalleled experience as a regulator, lawyer, educator and technology futurist to decipher the past, explain the present and predict our financial future. He provides critical insight on the role technology can play in identifying and averting potential future financial panics.”

Sarah Bloom Raskin,

Former deputy secretary of the Treasury and former governor of the Federal Reserve Board

“In ‘200 Years of American Financial Panics,’ Vartanian uses his years as a preeminent federal banking regulator to give us a riveting and detailed account of the crashes, recessions and from the depression of 1819 to the chaos of COVID-19, this comprehensive historical account tells the story of 200 years of financial panics in America. Thomas P. Vartanian’s approach is unique, given that he has been at ground zero in every financial crisis since the 1970s and has been involved in 30 of the 50 largest bank failures in America. Armed with this perspective, in a fair-minded and nonpartisan way, he painstakingly dissects financial panics, revealing how, at their core, a combustible mixture of government policies and market forces all too often interacted to distort market equilibrium and distract regulators. 2 depressions that have rocked our country's fragile financial ecosystem, and why if nothing changes we should expect more. In an account both lively and analytically sharp, we see a financial sector that could be made more resilient through a real-time system of technology-driven oversight. A gripping read for those many Americans wondering why they have experienced the pain of two deep economic crises in but one lifetime."

J. Christopher Flowers,

CEO of J.C. Flowers & Co.

“Vartanian brings it all together: historical perspective, fascinating personal experience from the center of events, and sensible proposals for improvement of regulation. Citizens and decision-makers have the guide they need right here.”

Greg Baer,

President and CEO of Bank Policy Institute, former managing director and head of Regulatory Policy at JPMorgan Chase, and former assistant secretary for Financial Institutions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury

“‘200 Years of American Financial Panics’ is an incredibly readable and understandable analysis of financial regulation and its relationship to American financial crises. It learns from the past to point a smarter way forward for financial regulation”

Dr. Oonagh McDonald CBE,

Former UK member of Parliament and former board member of the UK Financial Services Authority

“‘200 Years of American Financial Panics’ is a fascinating, well-informed critique by someone who has seen financial regulation in the USA from every angle. Vartanian convincingly demonstrates that the faults lie not solely with greedy bankers, but with a whole range of executive and political decisions. Above all, he rightly focuses on the impact of technology, such as the use of Big Data, AI, and quantum computing, all of which should be harnessed to facilitate a financial sector which not only benefits its citizens but protects them as well. This is a timely and thoroughly researched call to action.”