The Big Bank Theory

AND WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF MONEY

Hugh McColl is what southerners call "a firecracker of a man." He is a tiny stick of dynamite: 5 ft. 6 3/4 in. tall, with a big mouth and a short fuse. Once, deep into a negotiation to grab a billion-dollar bank, he waited for words until an idea materialized somewhere out of that Marine Corps (1957-59) mind, and he unloaded over the phone at the poor gentleman on the other end: "My board is meeting, and we've gone too far. I've got to launch my missiles!" (The not-so-gentlemanly reply, reported later in the press: "Go the hell back to North...