Bender: A Story of Subprime Finance/Toxic Credit in the Global
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The Times (London)
April 15, 2004, Thursday
SECTION: Business; 27 HEADLINE: Novel approach BYLINE:
Matthew Lee, the New York public interest lawyer who gave HSBC such a hard time over
its $ 14 billion acquisition of Household International, the sub-prime lender to America's
poor, has penned a novel.
The book, Predatory Bender (a pun on predatory lender), has a cast of colorful characters,
not least Sandy Vyle, chairman of EmpiGroup, the world's largest bank. Vyle is a
foul-mouthed monster, determined to screw the best terms out of his so-called customers.
Under no circumstances is Vyle to be confused with Sandy Weill, chairman of Citigroup, the
non-fictional world's biggest bank. "This is a creative work. Resemblances to
non-public figures, locales or institutions are coincidental," goes the blurb.
The Washington Post
March 15, 2004 Monday
SECTION: Financial; E01 HEADLINE: A Novel Approach to Predatory Lending
The annual Washington meeting of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition isn't
usually a load of laughs: Last week's meeting, "Bringing Economic Justice Home,"
had speakers such as Jesse Jackson and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and featured
discussions of predatory lenders and competition-threatening bank mergers. But the opening
reception offered a lighter side: New York activist lawyer Matthew Lee hawking
"Predatory Bender,'' which he says he believes is the first novel about predatory
lending. (It is subtitled, "A Story of Subprime Finance.") In it, a sleazy loan
shark for a big New York bank finds a conscience. Turn the book over and you get another
100 pages of an essay on real-life predatory lending.
"In the last 12 months, the term has become much more a part of the national
conversation," Lee said in an interview. "You can't always be dry. People's eyes
He sold out his 12 books at $19.95 each the first day and had another box shipped in.
"Critics' Choices for Christmas," by Paul Elie, in Commonweal magazine, December 5, 2003
"In our time, the equivalent of the Dickensian novel is the
well-wrought thriller, and it is through such a book that Matthew Lee now seeks to upbraid
corporate society. A one-time Catholic Worker in New York, Lee left St. Joseph's House to
'homestead' abandoned apartments in the South Bronx for the working poor; he went on to
earn a law degree, using it first to defend the rights of the people in the neighborhood,
then to file lawsuits charging Citigroup and other banks with 'predatory lending.' Now, in
his storefront office, he was written a novel featuring a lawyer-agitator much like
himself. Predatory Bender is as vivid an account of life in the Bronx as you are
likely to read; more than that, it is a brilliant act of subversion, for within the
thriller plot is found a dramatic account of the ways corporations prey on the poor while
the rest of us aren't looking."
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City Paper of Dec. 11, 2003, says that the "novel Predatory Bender: A Story of
Subprime Finance may, in fact, be the first great American lending-malfeasance
novel... which simultaneously helps us understand why predatory lending goes on, and why
theres hope that it might be curbed." (Click here for that review).
The American Banker
December 1, 2003, Monday
SECTION: WASHINGTON; Pg. 4 HEADLINE: Washington People
A Novel Dig at Citi
Who says there's no drama in financial services? Matthew Lee,
general counsel of Inner City Press/Community on the Move, has published a novel titled
"Predatory Bender: A Story of Subprime Finance."
Though the work is fiction (except for a 90-page afterword to the 360-page
tale), Mr. Lee draws from his years of challenging bank mergers and lending practices, and
appears to blend the images of companies such as Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp.
One section reads: "While ostensibly the fruit of three decades of community
struggle, the land beneath the mall was owned by Anguilla-based EmpiBank. The anchor
tenant, too, was a part of Empi's empire: a storefront office in the high-rate lender
EmpiFinancial. Jack Bender had worked for EmpiBank on the outskirts of Charlotte, North
Carolina, the so-called Queen City."
Hitting his favorite target again, Mr. Lee said Tuesday that his group
would fight Citigroup's deal, announced last week, to buy Washington Mutual Inc.'s
consumer lending unit.
LOAD-DATE: November 28, 2003
Predatory Bender / Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City
ISBN 0-9740244-1-4, 456 pages, endnotes
Library of Congress Control Number: 2003111283
Price: $19.95, trade paperback, 6 x 9
Available for sale on AtlasBooks.com,
Distributed by Ingram Books Contact: 718-716-3540, firstname.lastname@example.org
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