Felix Salmon


September 22, 2009

The Epicurean Dealmaker describes an “almost diffident” vampire squid. Is that even possible? — TED

Yodlee’s take on the Mint acquisition

September 22, 2009

On Friday, Mike Arrington noted the overlooked player in the Mint-Intuit deal: Yodlee, the company which powers Mint’s backend and which competes directly with Intuit. I spoke to Yodlee’s Joe Polverari today, and he was very unimpressed with the Mint acquisition. He characterized Mint as essentially being a Yodlee service with a pretty user interface layered on top, and said that the natural place for people to go for online personal financial management was the bank. Mint, he said, had done a very good job of attracting “a niche of early adopters and tech-savvy people”, but they have now woken the sleeping giants (the banks), and indeed are already smaller than some of the big online-banking sites.

The sensationalist WSJ

September 22, 2009


The front page of Friday’s WSJ was not its finest hour. Along the top was the headline “Bankers Face Sweeping Curbs on Pay” — something which occasioned Justin Fox to note that “in the pre-Murdoch era that would have been a 600-word story on page A24, headlined ‘Fed Mulls Pay Guidelines’.”

Why aren’t women more financially literate?

September 22, 2009

Annamaria Lusardi, Olivia Mitchell, and Vilsa Curto find:

There is now fairly robust evidence confirming that women do not do well in financial calculations and do not have a firm grasp of inflation and risk diversification.

No-money-down lender of the day

September 22, 2009

What year is this? 2005?

Ashley-Gayle Boothe and her husband Scott have applied for a USDA-backed loan to buy their first home, a three-bedroom house 30 minutes north of Tampa, for $127,500. “We didn’t want to put anything down,” says Ashley-Gayle Boothe. “We figured we’d have to buy appliances.”

Argentina update: Don’t hold your breath

September 22, 2009

After all the excitement yesterday, precipitated by a WSJ report, sell-side analysts have been pouring a bit of cold water on the idea that Argentina is about to reopen its 2005 debt exchange.

Leverage datapoint of the day

September 22, 2009

Remember the crazily-leveraged acquisition of Procter & Gamble’s drugs business by Warner Chilcott? Well, it turns out that demand for all that Warner Chilcott debt is even stronger than the bankers had anticipated. To the point at which they’re seriously considering giving up the loan part of the deal in order to bump up the bit of it designed to be sold to — wait for it — CLOs.

How to replenish the FDIC’s coffers

September 22, 2009

Why shouldn’t the FDIC borrow funds to replenish its reserves from healthy banks, rather than from Treasury? After all, the banks will end up repaying the money, with their insurance premiums, in one form or another, and this solution gives them a bit more of a financial interest in each others’ health.


September 21, 2009

A profile of Paul Holdengräber, bouncy polymath — Times

Alphaville vs Wells Fargo! — FT

Surowiecki on rationalizing the student-loan system — TNY

Regulatory overhaul: learning from bacteria — New Scientist

Anderson Valley Pinot: “The more ambitious the pricing…the more likely the glop” — SF Gate