Bloomberg LP visits George Mathewson, who made Royal Bank of Scotland (owner of Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, among other things) the world's largest bank, only to watch it get taken over by the UK government after his handpicked successor, Sir Fred "the Shred" Goodwin, a man who intimidated his would-be critics, made one deal too many at the wrong time. Story here.

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For a less coherent but vastly entertaining view of RBS and other bank calamities by novelist John Lanchester in the London Review of Books, read here.