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Best of the Web, Financials edition


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Best of the Web, Financials edition

Embarrassing bankingglitches; banks discourage dreaming on the job; and the varying economicoutcomes of coups d'état.

CoupsDon't Depress Economic Growth

Accordingto Erik Meyersson, an assistantprofessor at the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, history showsthat GDP growth in democracies that face, and foil, a coup d'état tends not tobe greatly affected by the event over the following 10 years, Bloomberg Newscolumnist Tyler Cowen reports after the failed coup in Turkey. In such a scenario,"the numbers give us no clear reason to be worried," Cowen says,adding that the failure of a coup in a democracy indicates that "thenormal institutions for transitions of power" are still working well.Successful coups in autocracies, meanwhile, "often improve economicperformance," although those take succeed in democracies tend to heraldchange that is "not usually for the better."

Insurershighlight Pokemon No Go's

Last week was bookended by speculation about the future of acat(as well as stories about its attendant prime minister) and the aforementionedmilitary coup in Turkey, but the Association of British Insurers (ABI) focusedon the U.K. launch of Pokémon Go. The smash-hit augmented-reality game places avirtual creature within the real-life surroundings shown on the player'smobile-phone screen. This Pokémon needs to be hunted and caught, prompting theABI to warn that "there is a risk that people make themselves vulnerableto accidents and even crime while playing." The association's policyadviser for general insurance, Ross Penstone-Smith, says "insurers will bethere to help customers … [but] it's best for everyone if risks are avoided inthe first place."

Meanwhile, Russian banks have embraced the game as amarketing tool. PAO Sberbank ofRussia's life insurance unit gives Pokémon Go players freeinsurance cover for injuries sustained while using the app, RT reports,citing newspaper Kommersant. The CEOof the division, Maksim Chernin, reportedly hopes that this initiative, whichrequires customers to share their personal details, will help "the youngergeneration … to learn about insurance instruments while playing the game."Meanwhile, rival JSC VTBBank is offering clients the chance to win money if they take apicture of a Pokémon next to a VTB card, RT adds.

Thebiggest banking glitches

In the wake of an embarrassing at unit , which enabled some2 million customers to view other people's bank accounts, Germany's Handelsblatt looks at similar issueselsewhere. These include a Frankfurter Volksbank eG employee who accidentally transferred€222,222,222.22 to a pensioner after briefly falling asleep at his desk;Bank of America Corp.stopping an unemployed single mother from accessing her bank account aftererroneously setting her balance at negative $3 million; a customer fromNew Zealand and his girlfriend being caught by police two years after settingoff with NZ$10 million the bank had accidentally transferred to him; and aperennial favorite, KfW Bankengruppe transferring about €300 million to Lehman Brothers a fewhours after the latter had folded.

Bigbanks hire sleep experts to stop workaholics dozing off at their desk

Financial institutions such as hope to increaseproductivity by offering their overworked London-based employees lessons ingetting a good night's kip, the DailyMail reports. According to the British tabloid, the "sleep coachingcraze" involves physiologists and psychologists from London's The SleepSchool teaching "those who have to take late-night conference calls orreceive emails at all hours, as well as workers on more normal shifts" howto improve the quality and the quantity of their sleep.