Herb Sandler

Herb Sandler

Herb Sandler together with his wife Marion Sandler purchased Golden West Savings and Loan from the founder ('Mr Jacoby') in Oakland California and created Golden West Financial Corp, the parent company of World Savings Bank, one of the largest S&Ls in the US with assets of almost $80 billion, deposits of $46 billion, and 9,300 employees as of 30 November 2003. Under the Sandler's management Golden West generated a 20 percent average annual compound growth over a 35 year period. This prompted Jason Jennings, author of "Less is More", to describe their company as "one of the most efficient and productive money machines on the planet". [ [http://www.amazon.com/Less-More-Jason-Jennings/dp/1591840309 "Less is More"] ]

The Sandlers were known for their thriftiness as business managers. In an interview in 2002, Marion Sandler explained why the company has no receptionist at its executive offices: [ [http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2002/12/23/tidbits.html "Author gets money's worth from tight-lipped bankers"] ]

"I can't imagine paying someone to sit out there all day doing nothing but smiling and greeting people."

Golden West was sold in 2006 for $24 billion to Wachovia Bank. The merger was completed in October 2006. The Sandlers owned about 10% of the company at the time of the sale, making their share of the sale price worth about $2.4 billion. Of this the Sandlers gave $1.3 billion to the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation. [ [http://www.philanthropy.com/stats/donors/detail.php?ID_Gift=1975 "America's most generous donors"] ]

Political and other causes supported by the Sandlers

According to New York Times reporter Matt Bai, the Sandlers, along with Democratic donors George Soros and Peter Lewis established America Votes "to coordinate various get-out-the-vote drives during the 2004 election". The Sandlers also sent their son-in-law Steven Phillips as their representative to the October 2005 meeting of the Democracy Alliance at the Chateau Elan near Atlanta Georgia. [ [http://www.mattbai.com/argument-book "The Argument: Billionaries, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics"] ]


In November 2007 Sandler announced that he had taken on the task of helming the board of the new organisation ProPublica and that his family foundation would be giving $10 million a year to support the group. [ [http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-propublica19nov19,0,1537334.story?coll=la-home-business "Putting their money into the right to know"] ]

Slate journalist Jack Shafer raised questions about ProPublica's ability to provide independent nonpartisan journalism given the nature of Sandler's other political donations which include "giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic Party campaigns." [ [http://www.slate.com/id/2175942/ "Investigating Herbert and Marion Sandler"] ]

Predatory Lending

On October 4th, 2008, NBC's Saturday Night Live ran a skit which caricatured the Sandlers as predatory lenders who had scammed unsophisticated borrowers into purchasing homes that they could not afford. This skit stemmed from criticism that the Sandler's Savings and Loan had accumulated billions of dollars in sub-prime mortgages during the sizzling home markets of the 1990's and early 2000's. When the Sandler's sold Golden West to Wachovia in October 2006, these unstable loans would become the basis for Wachovia's meltdown in September 2008 [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/05/09/BUGBRINUJT1.DTL&type=business] "Why Sandlers sold their S&L - Wachovia's deal for Golden West called a good fit"]

Organizations funded by the Sandlers

* American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
* Moveon.org
* ProPublica
* America Votes
* Center for American Progress
* Human Rights Watch
* Oceana


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