Wall Street Journal
More sales at Barclays: Barclays is ready to announce three separate asset sales as it trims its balance sheet. The British bank is expected to announce the completion of the sale of its Italian retail business in the next few days, followed soon after by its Iberian credit cards unit and its Egyptian franchise.
Hiring techies: Why can't banks attract the best and brightest techies? One reason is pay, at least in Europe. BBVA, the big Spanish bank, has asked the European Commission for a waiver for tech employees from bonus-restriction rules that were intended to rein in risk-taking by overly aggressive traders.
Blame it on the Fed: Looking for a scapegoat for the rise of populism and distrust of U.S. institutions? Look no further than the Federal Reserve, writes Jon Hilsenrath, the Journal's chief Fed watcher. "Once admired globally for their command of the economic system, central bankers now are blamed by the left and right for bailouts during the financial crisis and for failing to foresee and manage forces suffocating the global economy in its aftermath," he says in a long essay. "After more than a decade of economic disappointment, the central bank confronts hardened public skepticism and growing self-doubt about its own understanding of how the U.S. economy works."
Ban the Benjamin: Harvard Professor Kenneth S. Rogoff argues "paper currency lies at the heart of some of today's most intractable public-finance and monetary problems" and that getting rid of most of it – starting with the $100 bill — would help. "There is little debate among law-enforcement agencies that paper currency, especially large notes such as the U.S. $100 bill, facilitates crime," he writes, in an excerpt from his upcoming book, "The Curse of Cash," noting that almost 80% of the cash circulating outside financial institutions is in $100 bills. He would also gradually phase out $50 and $20 bills.
Rollover waiver: The IRS is granting a waiver to IRA and 401(k) owners who unintentionally exceed the 60-day limit when switching an account from one institution to another. Rollovers of retirement money that take longer than 60 days are subject to income tax, plus an additional 10% penalty for those younger than 59½. The change, which is effective immediately, allows those that missed the deadline for any of 11 reasons to fill out a waiver form.
Contrarian Canseco: A pariah to the baseball world, Jose Canseco has achieved cult status on Twitter for his savvy financial predictions. "He's been pretty much spot on with the macro picture," said one of his 510,000 followers, a San Antonio stock and commodities trader. The former baseball slugger and steroid proponent, who filed for bankruptcy six years ago, correctly predicted the Brexit vote and its aftermath and called the gold rally early this year, his fans say.
More trouble for online lenders: Marketplace lending volume "collapsed" in the second quarter, dropping by more than a third, as loan delinquencies rose, loan buyers pulled back, and regulators increased their scrutiny. Online platforms promised to provide affordable credit "with a speed and efficiency unmatched by the big banks," but have run into one problem after another in recent months. "The number one question this industry has not answered, is how to resolve the tension between volume and quality," one money manager said.