Monthly Archives: December 2012

Why Does It Take Two Days for an E-Payment to Move Between Two Big US Banks?

When I use online banking to instruct Very Major National Bank #1 to send a payment to my credit card run by Very Major National Bank #2 at a future date, the website at VMNB#1 tells me it will be sent by “electronic payment”. Yet it takes two days for the e-payment to show up as received at the credit card account run by VMNB#2. 1 This is not much of an advance over writing a paper check.

Can inter-bank electronic payment really be that slothful? VMNB#2 says I should ask VMBN#1 why it takes so long. And indeed, VMNB#1’s web site does say, in a well-buried FAQ, that

If the payment is electronic, you should allow at least 2 business days for it to be received and processed.

So this is a feature, not a bug. VMNB#1 debits my account the day after I instruct it to send the payment — that is, one day before VMBN#2 credits it. Are they just splitting the float?

  1. Update: Just to clarify–On Day one I instruct VMNB#1 to send a payment to VMNB#2 on Day 10. On Day 11 VMNB#1 debits my account. On Day 12 VMNB#2 shows a payment to my credit card account. The point of mentioning the advance directive is that there’s nothing last-minute or surprising about the payment instruction that could explain the delay.[]
Posted in Econ & Money | 7 Comments

And the Winner Is Boring

The Buzz has the story on Florida’s license plate design competition. All four choices were pretty boring.

Then again, having the winner be the least bad of lousy choices does make the outcome somewhat better than the average Florida state election.

Posted in Florida | Comments Off on And the Winner Is Boring

Public Participation in State Rate Setting

Eye on Miami has a great letter from a citizen who tried to participate in state electric power rate-setting. Putting FPL on the spot should be required reading for anyone interested in energy law, state administrative law, or more general questions of public participation in government.

Here is just a small taste:

My first stop on my adventure was the public service hearing held in Sarasota on May 31, 2012. Here I first saw the most shocking thing about the public hearing process. In the lobby of the hearing site (Sarasota City Hall) were numerous FPL customer service representatives wearing FPL shirts who are greeting members of the public arriving to speak to the rate increase proposal. And FPL seems to have their own dedicated room. Which made no sense at all. It’s like a court hearing but one of the parties to the case gets to have their own room in the courthouse and a staff to lobby everyone, judges, jurors and the public as they walk by as to why their side is right. FPL also gets to have a table handing out literature. Nobody else gets to have a room or a table or representatives right outside the hearing room. There is no Audubon Society, no Environmental Defense Fund, no Florida Public Interest Research Group in the lobby lobbying (I guess that is where the term comes from!) against the rate increase or against the proposals or actions of FPL.
The importance of this cannot be overstated. I had not yet intervened in the case but when I did subsequently intervene and speak from the stage as a party at the four Miami area public service hearings, I found that FPL gets a special room at every public hearing. They get to intercept members of the public who come to the hearings with complaints, before those members of the public enter the hearing room, and redirect them to the special FPL room and give them whatever it takes to “resolve their complaint”. The evidence indicates they are much more generous in achieving customer satisfaction in the special FPL rooms at the public hearings than they are in the normal course of their business. Essentially they run bribery rooms at every public hearing site with FPSC blessing.

Posted in Florida, Law: Administrative Law | Comments Off on Public Participation in State Rate Setting

Really Something

The gizoogle version of Jotwell is really quite something. The gizzogle version of has its own virtues.

Is this another sign of Ali G’s comeback?

Posted in Completely Different | 1 Comment

Counter-Cyclical Law School Application Strategies

Every couple of years David Bernstein writes a blog post I agree with:

the best time to buy real estate, or really any investment, is when “everyone” is saying it’s a terrible investment. …

If we’re not as this stage with regard to demand for law school, we are damn close, with applications running about half the level of six years ago. Law school certainly isn’t for everyone, and how worthwhile economically it might be for anyone in particular has to start with that individual’s opportunity cost and where he gets admitted…

But there hasn’t been a better time to apply to law school in a long time, if ever. Worried about going into debt? Go to a law school school somewhat below where your credentials would allow, and they will shower you with aid… Always dreamed of going to a top 10 law school? You may never have less competition than now. Want to keep your current job and go part-time, but got rejected a few years from the only law school in town with a part-time program? This year, they will probably take you.

Whether law school makes sense for you still depends enormously on what you want to do in the long run, and what your alternatives are. Even if this is the ‘new normal’ for applicant numbers — and I’ll bet that numbers will rebound substantially from this trough within five years even if they don’t go back to old peaks — it’s clear that for now law schools as a class are only making partial adjustments to the new state of things, part of which involves competing aggressively by offering scholarship money and/or lower admissions standards. Thus it’s a buyer’s market from the potential student’s point of view.

Posted in Law School | 6 Comments

Citizens Insurance Won’t Be Making Sweetheart Loans to Dodgy Insurance Companies After All

Citizens Insurance planned to use our premiums to make GIFTS to private insurance companies. Well, it seems the bright boyos at Citizens paid Goldman Sachs a great deal of money to explain how it would work, and they explained that it wouldn’t work as none of the potential participants were solvent enough to be trusted with any money, so the plan is off the table at least for this year. See The Buzz for the details, Citizens to abandon loan program for private companies, floats new ‘clearinghouse’ idea. (How do I know Goldman Sachs was paid a lot of money when the article doesn’t say? Simple: it’s Goldman Sachs.)

This of course has nothing to do with the increasing ethical quicksand gradually engulfing the management at Citizens in which we’ve learned that Citizens fired all four members of its “integrity team” while they were investigating allegations of sexual harassment, indecent drunken behavior in public, questionable payments and falsified documents. Things got so bad that Gov. Rick Scott said he wants Citizens Insurance to have an inspector general — think about it: there’s a state body so corrupt that Rick Scott thinks it needs investigating and cleaning up! That’s a scary concept. But do not fear, the earth still revolves around the sun: the Governor is in no hurry to do anything. So that’s alright then.

Posted in Econ & Money, Florida, Politics: The Party of Sleaze | Comments Off on Citizens Insurance Won’t Be Making Sweetheart Loans to Dodgy Insurance Companies After All