Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

After retiring from a 37-year career as a Wall Street bond salesman, Paul Luscombe ’60 began writing books. His third book, Howard Powerless: The Rise & Fall of the Howard Savings Bank, describes the collapse of what was once the largest savings bank in New Jersey when CEO Donald McCormick overinvested the institution in East Coast commercial real estate.

According to Luscombe, McCormick was heavily influenced by Reagan-era economic theories. He set up subsidiaries whose main focus was on loans financing commercial real estate construction. In just a few years, Howard went from no holdings in this category to more than $700 million — an amount that exceeded the bank’s 130 years of accumulated surplus. But when the real estate market soured, almost all of the Howard’s loans became “non-performing assets” that essentially wiped out its surplus accounts.

Luscombe’s previous books include Play the Game Right, a biography of Butch van Breda Kolff, the Los Angeles Lakers coach who clashed with player Wilt Chamberlain and served as Lafayette head basketball coach from 1951-55 and 1984-88. Luscombe also wrote Give Dad a Mulligan!, a collection of short stories about golf. Luscombe’s books are available through bookstores and his web site (

Writing, says Luscombe, is a long-mothballed interest that dates to his Lafayette days. After starting out as a “cub reporter,” he became managing editor of The Lafayette.

“Drawing up the layout, assigning stories to reporters, editing, writing an occasional editorial — all these functions were a wonderful part of my Lafayette experience,” he says.

As important, he learned to write as he typed, an unusual skill for a college student at the time.

“Writing on the ‘machine’ helps you think in print and leads to more interesting writing,” says Luscombe, a philosophy graduate. “As a fast (about 96 wpm) typist, I could write as fast as I could think. Writing long-hand always seemed to result in lost ideas.”

Luscombe '60

Paul Luscombe ’60 has published several books, including Howard Powerless: The Rise & Fall of the Howard Savings Bank, and Pills, Bills, & Parkinson’s Disease: Coping with the On-Off Syndrome.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles