Weil on Finance: Bank Earnings Hit

Jonathan Weil joined Bloomberg News as a columnist in 2007, and his columns on finance and accounting won Best in the Business awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2009 and 2010.
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Litigation woes hurting bank earnings

JPMorgan Chase isn't the only one. Deutsche Bank said third-quarter earnings fell 93 percent to 51 million euros ($70.2 million), driven by 1.2 billion euros of litigation-related expenses, much of which stemmed from sales of U.S. residential mortgage bonds years earlier. Elsewhere, UBS cut its 15 percent return-on-equity goal for 2015 after its Swiss regulator demanded it boost capital because of litigation risks.

Goldman Sachs to young bankers: Get a life

Here's a story I never expected to see. Goldman Sachs is discouraging investment-banking analysts from working weekends. Says David Solomon, Goldman's head of investment banking: "We want them to be challenged, but also to operate at a pace where they're going to stay here and learn important skills that are going to stick. This is a marathon, not a sprint."

The causes of U.S. political polarization

Stanford University economics professor John Taylor writes in the Wall Street Journal: "It is a common view that the shutdown, the debt-limit debacle and the repeated failure to enact entitlement and pro-growth tax reform reflect increased political polarization. I believe this gets the causality backward. Today's governance failures are closely connected to economic policy changes, particularly those growing out of the 2008 financial crisis." The upshot: The economy is far more dependent on government intervention than it was a decade ago, and we haven't figured out how to reverse the trend.

Twiddling thumbs in M&A land

Andrew Ross Sorkin says deal-making may not be coming back anytime soon. The New York Times columnist wonders: "What if the slowdown in merger activity isn't cyclical, but secular? What if corporations have learned the lessons of so many companies before them that the odds of a successful merger are no better than 50-50 and probably less? Is it possible that the biggest deals have already been done?"

The college-rankings racket

Nora Caplan-Bricker of the New Republic, in an article titled "The College Rankings Ranking," asks: "Which bogus list of universities is the best?" She says "the 30-year tyranny of the U.S. News & World Report rankings may be coming to an end." And not a moment too soon.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Weil at jweil16@bloomberg.net