What’s the buzz on Banktown?

Our offices aren’t far from Charlotte, N.C., where two of the big banks involved in our national financial crisis–Wachovia and Bank of America–are headquartered. So we’ve been feeling the hit they took  in 2008–and the hits that keep coming. And even if you aren’t near Charlotte, I bet you’ve been feeling it too.

Next month, we’ll officially release Banktown: The Rise and Struggles of Charlotte’s Big Banks by Rick Rothacker. (And if you can’t wait for it to hit store shelves, the book and ebook are available at online booksellers now.) Had enough of the banking crisis, you say? Well this book is different. In it, you’ll get a glimpse into the blazing success and collapse of these two banks and the personalities behind them.

As the Charlotte Observer‘s banking reporter for nearly a decade, Rick has had a front-row seat to the banking crisis as it unfolded. The ground-zero insights he reveals in Banktown take readers behind closed doors, allowing them to be flies on the wall during the handshake that sealed the merger of First Union and Wachovia and at the press conference at which Ken Lewis announced his retirement. Vivid details and anecdotes humanize the tale, from sleep-deprived bankers analyzing a $50 billion deal in less than 24 hours to Wachovia customers realizing that their mystifying adjustable rate mortgages resulted in their owing more after they made their monthly payments than before. With a cast of ambitious CEOs, brash traders, and powerful government officials, Banktownis poised to become the definitive account of how our national crisis played out in Charlotte and how its aftermath bruised the economy and the pride of one of the New South’s brightest skylines.

But don’t take my word for it. See what Rick Rothacker has to say about his upcoming new book on WCNC’s “Charlotte Today,” which aired this morning. Then take a sneak peak inside the book before its official release date below. According to the review in the current issue of Charlotte Magazine, “sitting down with this tale of two banks is an investment worth making.”

Find details on Rick’s upcoming book signings here. You can also catch another Q&A with Rick, this time with the Wall Street Journal’s blog.


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