Weil's View on Finance, Afternoon Edition

a | A

It's late Wednesday afternoon, which means it's time for more links to cool stuff about finance and such. Here we go.

German tax dodgers stashing money in odd places

After the international crackdown against tax evasion at Swiss banks, German customs officials are catching their fellow citizens smuggling lots of cash back home and hiding it in funny spots. Like the "72-year-old man wearing a woman's corset with 150,000 euros stuffed inside" or another guy who had on "two incontinence diapers with nearly 140,000 euros in between." Fun stuff from Catherine Bosley of Bloomberg News.

This columnist has some blunt advice about Wall Street

From Mark Hulbert of Market Watch: "You’re a sucker to believe Wall Street’s current mantra that another Lehman Brothers-like collapse is not in the cards." It isn't that he believes another collapse is imminent. Rather, "the reason I say we shouldn’t believe Wall Street is that they were also telling us not to worry five years ago, right before Lehman declared bankruptcy." That reminds me of what Michael Lewis wrote in a September 2008 Bloomberg column: "Never buy anything an American investment banker is selling."

Good news inside the Fed's beige book

The latest reports from the 12 Federal Reserve districts "suggest that national economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace during the reporting period of early July through late August." Good times for now. Click for the rest of the text.

It's hard to believe banks had to be told this

There's an amusing line in this notice yesterday by the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The regulators told banks they should "not rely on the provision of extraordinary support by the United States or any other government" when drafting their so-called living wills. Those are the documents that describe how they could be dismantled if necessary in a crisis. In other words, when writing up the plans that assume they will die, they're not allowed to assume that they won't. Go figure.

High costs in low finance

Paul Kiel of ProPublica writes about clever ways some big lenders have devised to get around city ordinances in Texas aimed at curbing short-term, high-cost loans to poor people. It's a revealing look at the underbelly of consumer finance.

(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)