Hello, View readers. Here is some of what I've been reading this morning.
Hank Paulson speaks to Andrew Ross Sorkin
The former Treasury secretary said large U.S. banks showed “a colossal lack of self-awareness” when they paid out large bonuses after receiving federal bailout money in 2008. He said he kept his views on this to himself until now because he didn’t want to appear to be piling on. His most compelling quote: “It’s hard to punish and save the banks at the same time. I was much more concerned with stability.” That could explain a lot. It looks like prosecutors and financial regulators were acting under the same philosophy for much of the past several years.
The latest hot new thing in lending
Ari Levy and Dakin Campbell of Bloomberg News take a look at LendingClub Corp., the peer-to-peer lender whose board includes former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers: “The new debt category’s high returns have brought Wall Street money managers running, along with pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and family offices desperate for higher yields at a time when 10-year U.S. Treasuries generate less than 3 percent. They’ve offered to take over all of the loans the peer-to-peer lenders can gather in.”
China’s ever-expanding debt bubble
Simon Rabinovitch of the Financial Times travels to one of China’s fastest-growing cities for an in-depth look at the country’s dependency on credit, which he says has put China at a dangerous crossroads: “If the government is serious about containing financial risks, growth may slow sharply as it weans the country off debt, burdening the global economy. Yet that prospect is less frightening than the alternative. If the government loses its nerve, the debt bubble will continue to expand, raising the specter of economic turmoil.”
Business Insider on Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer
Nicholas Carlson and Business Insider did a superb job with their “unauthorized biography” of Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer. It took me a while to get to this because it’s so long. And it’s definitely worth the read. Lots of behind-the-scenes detail and drama, without the sense that the writer was engaging in access journalism. It’s a compelling narrative showing Mayer’s life from childhood through present-day.
Back-to-school tax tips
It’s that time of year again.
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)