This is another gem of a book from Arthur Hailey about Banking and how Banks function. When I read this book, Banks were just boring place for me where you go to put your money or take it out. In his usual style and very well researched book “The Moneychangers” he opened my eyes to functioning of Banks. The story has all the drama and feel of a thriller but at the same time teaches you a lot.
The protagonist of the book is running for the top position at the Bank and has to fight a rival to get there. The story revolves around this fight between two ambitious individuals and takes us into murky politics of power in Banking industry. But the beauty of book for me was not in the main story. There were many sub-plots and details about various functions of Bank which made it more interesting for me. There are two specific things which are still fresh in my mind about this book.
There is a depiction in the story about how a rumour can ruin a Bank if suddenly all the depositors come to the Bank to withdraw the money. The Banking industry works on the basis of taking money from people and then investing it to make more money. If everybody comes to ask their money back at the same time, no Bank would be able to return it and would go bankrupt. Banking works on trust of depositors and if that is lost, Bank is gone. Much later I had read a short story to the similar effect but more about that some other time. In this book, the protagonist saves the Bank by making sure that all the people who turned up to get their money got it, but in reality it will most likely result in bankruptcy.
Another incident is about a teller who is able to keep track of her cash to the last penny while doing all the transactions and how her ability saves her from the accusation of theft.
Overall, a great book. I am able to remember so much even after 20 years. I wish I could remember my text books like that.