Receiving Wide Coverage...
Here Come the Lawyers: What did you expect, Home Depot would get a free pass from lawyers on its massive data breach? The floodgates have opened as the first of what could be many lawsuits filed against Home Depot after 56 million credit and debit cards were compromised. In federal court in Atlanta, two credit unions Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union in New York and First Choice Federal Credit Union in Pennsylvania claim they lost millions from the breach, according to the Daily Report. Southern Chautauqua makes the highly intriguing assertion that a private data security firm hired by Home Depot in July warned the retailer that its malware-detection systems were outdated and that its data was vulnerable to hackers. Other financial institutions have also sued Home Depot in various districts, including First NBC Bank in New Orleans, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported. One unanswered legal question is whether retailers owe a duty of care to banks on how they handle payment card information, Law360.com notes. Meanwhile, a potential class action lawsuit on behalf of plaintiffs was filed against Home Depot in Canada this week, Bank Info Security reported. Outside the courthouse, federal security officials have warned retailers that the malware used to attack Home Depot was previously unseen, the Wall Street Journal reported. They're calling the malware Mozart and say it was designed specifically to penetrate Home Depot's systems.
Scotch Sale: Royal Bank of Scotland's IPO of its Citizens Financial unit may have been priced lower than planned. But the securities sale nevertheless "quiet[ed] some skeptics," as the share price rebounded during the day and closed Wednesday at $23.08, within the initial range the bank had told investors to expect, according to the "Heard on the Street" column. Perhaps most importantly to RBS, the company should, at the shares' current price, be on pace to bolster its capital ratios by about two percentage points, an unnamed source told the Journal. RBS plans to sell another 25% stake in Citizens Financial as early as March, the FT reported. Separately, Philip Hampton has said he will stand down as RBS chairman next year, the Times said.
Wall Street Journal
Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of New York Mellon have joined the Goldman Sachs-led talks to acquire Perzo, an instant-messaging startup. The move is seen as a way for the banks to do an end-run around Bloomberg LP's messaging service, and as a way to potentially pare costs by dumping Bloomberg's $20,000-per-year terminals on which its messaging service is delivered.
New York Times
Auto lenders may finally have their own version of the eviction notice. The industry is in the early stages of adopting so-called starter interrupter devices, which allow lenders to disable the ignition of cars on which payments are late using a mobile app. The app also lets lenders track the location of its cars, and is designed to be used to monitor primarily subprime borrowers. The CEO of First Castle Federal Credit Union in Covington, La., told the Times he once disabled a delinquent borrower's vehicle while the CEO was shopping inside Wal-Mart.
Doral Financial in Puerto Rico has hired a battalion of lobbyists, flacks and crisis managers in Washington to help it in trying to obtain a $230 million tax refund it believes it's owed by the Puerto Rican government, Politico reports. Doral may also push to have Congress investigate. The $7.8 billion-asset Doral has warned there could be a loss of 1,000 jobs on the island if it doesn't get its tax refund.