By Felix Salmon
January 6, 2010

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If the poor can’t get credit from banks, they’ll end up in more trouble elsewhere? Empirics please! — McArdle

Nobody has a million followers on Twitter — Dash

If you asked a blue-suit solution provider to quote you on building Twitter — Tbray

The Polycentric Parking System — Reason

Denton moves from pageviews to uniques. Guess he’s maxed out the juice he can wrong from those commenters — Awl

Gorgeous photos of a visit to Sprial Jetty — Art Fag City

Michael Corkery’s list of buck-passers who refuse to take any blame for the financial crisis. Could be much longer — WSJ

The $177,000 tuna. That’s $345/pound — Yahoo

Brett Arends holds me up as an exemplar of deplorable financial blogging, and implies that I don’t do “real thinking” — Marketwatch

Edmund Andrews, who took a Times buyout, is now a blogger for Capital Gains and Games; is also joining the Fiscal Times — CG&G, Politico


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Payday loan shops exists, there’s your empirics. Are you seriously that dumb?

Posted by nyetter | Report as abusive

Felix is not dumb.

Posted by manoak | Report as abusive

Thanks, manoak. And nyetter, my question is whether there’s any evidence that the number or penetration of payday loans goes up as the availability of credit to the poor from more mainstream sources goes down. My guess is that in fact it’s the other way around: payday loan shops seem to thrive exactly in easy-credit environments. And similar lenders also pop up around microfinance institutions.

I wonder if there’s some sort of local, community-oriented option to payday loans. Say, churches or microfinance operations that can offer small loans to people in their community, but charge a reasonable rate like, 10%, instead of triple digit rate payday loan operators do.

The goal is not to make big profit, but to serve the community. It also doesn’t have to be charity, they can attract money from the same community by offering some return, like 5%, which beats putting money at checking or saving accounts. Am I being naive? Is this doable?

Posted by jian1312 | Report as abusive

It’s certainly possible to do this sort of emergency assistance as a charitable operation. I’d be skeptical of any attempt to make a profit or return deposits while doing so, given the difficulties that allegedly highly-skilled bankers have had in turning a profit from lending to subprime borrowers at high rates with very cheap funding. I don’t think any church or other local group of charitably-minded individuals wants to be in the business of trying to collect delinquent debts or having to tell well-intentioned depositors that their money is gone. There also are significant legal obstacles and costs to setting up a small depository/lending operation.

Posted by najdorf | Report as abusive