Wall Street Journal
Seeking retail: Marketplace lenders, rebuffed by institutional investors who stopped buying their loans, are hoping retail investors will provide a more permanent source of capital. Several new funds allow retail investors to buy into the business. Investors are attracted by loans that yield over 6%. But there's a catch, warns the Wall Street Journal: "They might find themselves locked into loans due to the illiquid structure of these funds, even as they shoulder fees that are high relative to other investments."
Next phase: Several countries — including the United Kingdom, Russia, Canada, Australia and China — are researching how to mint their own digital currencies and put money on the blockchain. While research is still at an early stage, most observers agree on one thing: "The world is moving towards use of digital currencies," the Financial Times says. "It's inevitable there will be a government digital currency, eventually," says Kenneth Rogoff, a professor at Harvard. While he believes cash will never totally disappear, "eventually, there will be government digital currencies that ordinary people have access to at very low cost."
New York Times
Cashless country: Many people dream of a cashless society. Zimbabwe is "hurtling toward a plastic future" but not by choice: It is running out of cash. "Anxious about their nation's political and economic troubles, many Zimbabweans have been hoarding dollars or taking them out of the country. Banks have slashed daily withdrawal limits. ATMs now sit empty." People have had to turn to debit cards and electronic payments. "Debit card machines are proliferating in Zimbabwe's cities — not only in churches but also in supermarkets, betting parlors, nightclubs, parking areas and every other business happy to accept paper cash but unable to dispense it. If there are no card-reading machines around, many shoppers now text payments on their cellphones."
Merger mania: European investment banks have had to sit idly as their Wall Street counterparts win most of the fees from the world's biggest corporations and investment managers. One way they could fight back is to merge. "A Credit Suisse-Deutsche Bank duo, for instance, would have challenged JPMorgan as the leading underwriter of global equity and equity-linked securities, raising $47 billion for clients, year to date," the Times figures. "If the banks were able to maintain their respective market share positions under one roof, they would vault up the rankings."
"The real problem with Elizabeth Warren is that there are not enough Ms. Warrens. If all those bankers had been doing their duty, the American taxpayer would not have had to bail out their industry to the tune of $700 billion. As one taxpayer, I say thank goodness for Elizabeth Warren: Somebody has to mind the store, and I don't mean a banker." – New York Times reader Sylvia Hack of Kew Gardens, Queens, responding to a recent op-ed piece by Roger Lowenstein critical of the Massachusetts senator.