Weil on Finance: Banker on Crack

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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Welcome back to another linkfest, View fans. On to your Monday morning reads.

Here's a banker who really was on crack -- crystal meth, too

Many times I have heard investors say things like "those people must be on crack" when talking about executives at dying companies who are in denial about their bleak prospects. Now we have the real deal. The U.K.'s Daily Mail broke the story over the weekend of perhaps the most incredible caught-on-tape video of a drug buy since Marion Barry was mayor of Washington: "The chairman who oversaw the near-collapse of the Co-operative Bank has been caught buying and using illegal drugs including crystal meth, crack cocaine and ketamine. The Rev. Paul Flowers, a Methodist minister, was filmed buying the substances just days after he was grilled by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee over the bank's disastrous performance." He apologized.

Bad loans at Spanish banks getting worse

Last month Bank of Spain declared that the country had emerged from its recession, and maybe that will prove to be correct. But the loan books at Spanish banks keep deteriorating. The central bank said 12.7 percent of loans at Spanish banks were non-performing, compared with 12.1 percent in August and 10.7 percent a year earlier. Unemployment in Spain is 26 percent.

News you can use (if you're old enough )

See this New York Times article from over the weekend by Tara Siegel Bernard on the benefits of waiting until age 70 to begin collecting Social Security benefits, for those who can afford to. It beats buying an annuity from an insurance company hands down, especially with interest rates as low as they are.

Good advice on crowdfunding

Now that the Securities and Exchange Commission has issued its proposed rules on crowdfunding for comment, Andy Kessler, a former hedge-fund manager, has some sage words of wisdom: "Once you're allowed to invest in private startups, my advice is: don't. Success is much harder than you might think."

Still haven't finished writing that Volcker rule

The Financial Times reports that the Federal Reserve may delay the rule again, whatever it winds up saying. Surprise, surprise.

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