Financial History Issue 121 (Spring 2017) - Page 24

dig deeper into a story . They all recalled his sense of idealism . “ He would say , ‘ Where is your sense of outrage ?’” said Mark Fogarty , the editor who replaced Strachan .
Friends and family of Strachan recalled his willingness to stand on principle . According to family legend , Strachan as a boy growing up in Brooklyn stood up to a local Mafia leader . The young Strachan complained to the mob boss , the tale goes , about local thugs selling drugs at a playground with his little brother watching , recalled Strachan ’ s daughter , Hillary Wilson . The Mafia leader agreed and the playground drug dealing stopped , Wilson said .
Strachan ’ s idealism is traced to his immigrant roots . Stanley Kenneth Strachan was born in Finsbury , England on August 22 , 1938 to working-class parents , George and Rebecca Strachan . When Strachan was eight , his family sailed on a passenger liner to New York , passed through Ellis Island and settled in Brooklyn .
“ He believed in the American dream and the standards that America was supposed to be built on , and he didn ’ t want to compromise those ,” Wilson said . “ When he saw those being compromised , it was outrageous to him .”
Strachan attended public schools in Brooklyn but did not attend college . His journalism career began as a copy boy for the New York Journal-American , an afternoon daily newspaper , and he worked at other newspapers before landing at the American Banker newspaper . Former American Banker editor Brad Henderson recalled Strachan was “ one of the most prolific reporters the paper ever employed .”
Strachan rose to become assistant managing editor at American Banker . He left the paper around 1971 and was an independent journalist and freelance writer before he was recruited to lead the National Thrift News in August 1976 .
The National Thrift News was the quintessential creature of the market . Founded in 1976 by John Glynn , an executive from Sperry Corp ., and Wesley Lindow , a
former president of Irving Trust Co ., the newspaper was aimed at reporting hard news on the savings and loan industry , while at the same time seeking to “ help build up the industry .” The newspaper began modestly in the fall of 1976 , with its first office in an apartment in New York ’ s West Side neighborhood . Back issues of the newspaper were filed in the bathtub .
Front page of the National Thrift News with breaking news on the Keating Five affair , September 28 , 1987 .
Glynn and Lindow found in Strachan a veteran journalist who also believed savings and loans could help society by allowing middle class families to buy a home . “ He saw the savings and loan industry as basically a good thing ,” said Stephen Kleege , a former National Thrift News associate editor . “ It was set up to allow people to save money and make loans to purchase houses .”
As an industry insider , Strachan would be applauded when he arrived at a savings and loan industry event and given a reserved seat in the front room . Strachan “ was friendly ” with businessmen , such as US League of Savings Institutions President William O ’ Connell ; several Wall Street executives sent heartfelt condolence letters to the Strachan family after the editor ’ s death .
Like many trade publications , the
National Thrift News saw its fortunes rise and fall on the mortgage industry . The paper exploded in size after President Ronald Reagan deregulated the thrift industry in 1982 , which set off a wave of merger and real estate activity . Before the 1982 deregulation bill , page counts ranged from 20 to 34 pages . After the 1982 bill , the paper basically doubled in size , with issues running between 37 and 66 pages through 1987 , the peak of the mortgage boom at that time .
The paper was stuffed with full-page advertisements from the largest institutions on Wall Street , including Merrill Lynch , Fannie Mae and Shearson Lehman Brothers . Total circulation peaked at 15,863 in 1985 ; as the industry ’ s crisis intensified and more savings and loans failed , circulation dropped to 9,057 in 1990 as Wall Street firms cut back on advertising .
The National Thrift News could be a classic trade journal that celebrated the industry . Take , for example , Strachan ’ s January 3 , 1980 editorial , entitled “ Hip Hip Hoorah ,” that praised developments in the industry . These industry-friendly editorials stand in contrast to the sterner tone in Strachan ’ s writing later in the decade as S & L executives were jailed for fraud . “ He saw that it ( the S & L industry ) had been perverted in some way ; it had been perverted by the deregulation of the 1980s ,” Kleege said . “ He felt that he was a defender of the industry . And if defending the industry means reporting that some savings and loan executive was being arrested and led away in handcuffs , you have to report that .
By all accounts , Strachan created a culture of investigative reporting that ran counter to norms in the trade press and was unusual
22 FINANCIAL HISTORY | Spring 2017 | www . MoAF . org
dig deeper into a story. They all recalled his former president of Irving Trust Co., the sense of idealism. “He would say, ‘Where newspaper was aimed at reporting hard is your sense of outrage?’” said Mark Fog- news on the savings and loan industry, arty, the editor who replaced Strachan. while at the same time seeking to “help Friends and family of Strachan recalled build up the industry.” The newspaper his willingness to stand on principle. began modestly in the fall of 1976, with its According to family legend, Strachan as first office in an apartment in New York’s a boy growing up in Brooklyn stood up to West Side neighborhood. Back issues of a local Mafia leader. The young Strachan the newspaper were filed in the bathtub. complained to the mob boss, the tale goes, about local thugs selling drugs at a playground with his lit- tle brother watching, recalled Stra- chan’s daughter, Hillary Wilson. The Mafia leader agreed and the playground drug dealing stopped, Wilson said. Strachan’s idealism is traced to his immigrant roots. Stanley Ken- neth Strachan was born in Fins- bury, England on August 22, 1938 to working-class parents, George and Rebecca Strachan. When Strachan was eight, his family sailed on a passenger liner to New York, passed through Ellis Island and settled in Brooklyn. “He believed in the American dream and the standards that America was supposed to be built on, and he didn’t want to compro- mise those,” Wilson said. “When he saw those being compromised, it was outrageous to him.” Strachan attended public schools in Brooklyn but did not attend college. His journalism career began as a copy boy for the New York Journal-American, an afternoon daily newspaper, and he worked at other newspapers Front page of the National Thrift News with breaking news on the Keating Five affair, September 28, 1987. before landing at the American Banker newspaper. Former Amer- ican Banker editor Brad Hender- son recalled Strachan was “one of the Glynn and Lindow found in Strachan a most prolific reporters the paper ever veteran journalist who also believed sav- employed.” ings and loans could help society by allow- Strachan rose to become assistant ing middle class families to buy a home. managing editor at American Banker. “He saw the savings and loan industry He left the paper around 1971 and was as basically a good thing,” said Stephen an independent journalist and freelance Kleege, a former National Thrift News writer before he was recruited to lead the associate editor. “It was set up to allow National Thrift News in August 1976. people to save money and make loans to The National Thrift News was the quint- purchase houses.” essential creature of the market. Founded As an industry insider, Strachan would in 1976 by John Glynn, an executive from be applauded when he arrived at a sav- Sperry Corp., and Wesley Lindow, a ings and loan industry event and given 22    FINANCIAL HISTORY  |  Spring 2017  | www.MoAF.org a reserved seat in the front room. Stra- chan “was friendly” with businessmen, such as US League of Savings Institutions President William O’Connell; several Wall Street executives sent heartfelt condolence letters to the Strachan family after the edi- tor’s death. Like many trade publications, the National Thrift News saw its fortunes rise and fall on the mortgage industry. The paper exploded in size after President Ronald Reagan deregu- lated the thrift industry in 1982, which set off a wave of merger and real estate activity. Before the 1982 deregulation bill, page counts ranged from 20 to 34 pages. After the 1982 bill, the paper basically doubled in size, with issues run- ning between 37 and 66 pages through 1987, the peak of the mortgage boom at that time. The paper was stuffed with full-pa ٕѥ͕́ɽ)ѡɝЁѥѥ́])MɕаՑ5ɥ1幍)5Mͽ1) ɽѡ̸Qхɍձѥ)Ѐ԰́쁅́ѡ̴)éɥͥ́ѕͥɔ)ͅ٥́́ɍԴ)ѥɽѼ܁)́]MɕЁɵ́Ё)ٕѥͥ)Q9ѥQɥЁ9)ձͥɅɹ)ѡЁɅѕѡ丁Q)ȁᅵMɅé)Յ(̰ѽɥѥѱq!)!!ɅtѡЁɅ͕ٕ)́ѡ丁Q͔)䵙ɥ䁕ѽɥ́х)ɅЁѼѡѕɹȁѽ)MɅéɥѥѕȁѡ)́L0ᕍѥٕ́ݕɔ)ɅՐq!ͅ܁ѡЁЀѡL0̴)䤁ٕѕͽ݅쁥)ٕѕѡɕձѥ)ѡ̳t-ͅq!Ёѡ)݅́ȁѡ丁)ѡ䁵́ɕѥ)ѡЁͽͅ٥́ᕍѥٔ݅)ɕѕ݅䁥ՙ̰)ԁٔѼɕЁѡиt) 䁅չ̰MɅɕѕձɔ)ٕѥѥٔɕѥѡЁɅչѕ)Ѽɵ́ѡɅɕ́݅́չՅ