Felix Salmon

How to make mortgage relief work

September 8, 2011

One of the problems with mortgage modifications, the way the big banks do them, is that they tend not to work very well. Borrowers who were underwater stay underwater; often their total amount outstanding goes up rather than down. The amount of time and effort expended by both borrower and lender is enormous, much of it duplicated due to bad document management by the banks, and policies requiring borrowers to get at least two modifications — one for a “trial period” and then a second, permanent one. Redefault rates are very high.

When fractured politics kills economic solutions

September 8, 2011

Michael Cembalest’s note explaining the EU Mess with lego seems to have touched a nerve, and while a part of that is due to the lego, I like to think that some of it is due to the fact that actually the diagram does very well what few other explanations have done — which is explain just how messy and multipolar the euro crisis really is.

When digital ads pay for local news

September 7, 2011

In the world of regional newspapers, Journal Register Company and MediaNews Group are very big fish; they’re now merging, and the merged entity to be called Digital First Media, will be run by John Paton. Who writes that already he’s reaching an important milestone:

Why Sallie Krawcheck had to leave BofA

September 7, 2011

Here’s how best to explain what happened to Sallie Krawcheck yesterday: Krawcheck was the head of Merrill Lynch’s Thundering Herd, reporting directly to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan. But Merrill Lynch’s Thundering Herd is no longer particularly important to Bank of America. When Krawcheck was offered a position commensurate with the importance of her team to the bank, she quit — as Moynihan knew she would.

Counterparties

September 7, 2011

Despite the launch today of Counterparties.com — which you really should check out, if you haven’t already — we’ll continue doing a (near) daily Counterparties post here. This will consist of some of the links from Counterparties.com, organized into paragraphs and themes, plus perhaps a few unique to this blog. Or perhaps we’ll do something different; we’re still experimenting. What do you think we should do?

Counterparties.com arrives

September 7, 2011

Counterparties.com launched today, and was met with great articles from Megan Garber at Nieman Journalism Lab and Jason Del Rey at AdAge, as well as many congratulatory tweets. I know this because if I visit the “All Sources” page for Counterparties.com on Counterparties.com, I find a long list of people and blogs who have linked to the site today, all powered by the fabulous people at Percolate.

When journalists encounter statistics, music-downloading edition

September 6, 2011

The NYT’s Janet Morrissey, this weekend, had a long profile of a music-download service which as far as I can else no one else has even so much as thought about for about three years. The story itself is not particularly noteworthy, but there’s one paragraph near the beginning which encapsulates very neatly a lot of what can go wrong when journalists encounter statistics. Here it is:

JP Morgan explains the euro crisis with lego

September 6, 2011

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This chart comes from a Michael Cembalest’s research note today. The key is in there too. I’m not making this up:

Europe’s lethal uncertainty

September 6, 2011

As markets plunge again today, ostensibly on existential worries about the eurozone, you might want a plain-English explanation of what the root of the problem is. And John Lanchester is a great place to turn for such things: