Financial Business Review: Visa and MasterCard Get Slammed, Wells Fargo Catches a Break

‘Talk amongst yourselves’ says a federal judge to Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) and the SEC in regards to their standoff over the SEC’s September 2011 subpoena requests for the bank’s documents related to an investigation of the sale of mortgage-backed securities. The ruling, which orders the parties to resolve the issue themselves, dashes SEC hopes for a court mandate forcing Wells Fargo obey the subpoena.

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Hartford Financial (NYSE:HIG) investor John Paulson is pressuring the company to reduce risk by selling its annuity unit and to agree to other potential deals to that effect. Seeming amenable, Hartford CEO Liam McGee notes that “There are the beginnings of markets that are appearing to be receptive to transactions on annuity, particularly U.S. books. The phones are ringing off the hook.”.

It appeared earlier Friday that hackers had gained access to the U.S. based credit card processors of Visa (NYSE:V) and MasterCard (NYSE:MA), as alerts were reported to have been sent to banks late last week of a “massive security breach, which possibly compromised certain cards. However, the Wall Street Journal reported later that the breach has apparently been traced to credit card processor Global Payments (NYSE:GPN), which shares remain halted mid-afternoon. Reports say that “some 50,000 cardholders” might be at risk, but whether they have been hit by fraudulent transactions is unknown. Meanwhile, MasterCard and Visa maintain that their own systems are not compromised, but their shares are down nonetheless.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lawson at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at