Felix Salmon

The underwhelming Irish bailout

Color me underwhelmed by the Irish bailout. By all accounts it’s going to be less than €100 billion — probably in the €80 billion to €90 billion range — and that sum has to cover the country’s entire borrowing needs for the next three years. The NYT has a breakdown:

Egregious bank fee of the day, Banco Popular edition

Commenter Engels has a bank account at Banco Popular. Checking his account online he found these weird charges:

Can legal due process move online?

Sam Glover has a great pair of blog entries up about due process in class-action lawsuits.

Should Ireland default and devalue?

Mohamed El-Erian weighs in on Ireland today, and is blunt:

What is most desirable is not feasible given the path Europe is embarked on; and, to make things even more complicated, what appears feasible to Europe is not necessarily desirable. As a result, Ireland finds itself stuck in an unstable muddled-middle.

Can you patent financial innovations?

Time’s Stephen Gandel says that Loan Value Group’s Responsible Homeowner Reward program is one of “the 50 best inventions of 2010″:

Rating munis

When Meredith Whitney released her magnum opus on America’s municipalities in September, there was lots of grumbling about why an expert in financial stocks should be listened to on the subject of municipal bonds. But she’s serious about this: building on the work that she did for that 600-page report, she’s now formally setting herself up as a credit rating agency in direct competition with Moody’s and S&P.


“I’d – I’d really prefer to live in a doggy-dog world” — Dinosaur Comics

The three monkeys of mortgage bonds

Have you forgotten about the mortgage-bond scandal yet? I’m sure a lot of bankers are hoping that you have. But Adam Levitin hasn’t, and his written testimony today to the House Financial Services Committee is well worth reading in full. He concludes:

Book pricing datapoints of the day

When a big new book comes out, the publisher has two choices. It can allow Amazon to sell the Kindle edition at a much lower price than the hardback, increasing the number of copies sold but possibly cannibalizing hardback sales. Alternatively, it can force Amazon to charge a high price for the Kindle edition, garnering a passive-aggressive note on the website saying “This price was set by the publisher.”