Visa Charges On

If this is the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, why can the credit-card giant plan the biggest IPO ever?

Justin Sullivan / Getty

Over the past few months, we have heard banker after Wall Streeter after mortgage lender declare that market conditions are the worst since they got into the business. Some go even further. "The worst market crisis in 60 years," pronounced investor George Soros. "The worst financial crisis since 1931," declared a top German regulator. "We have not seen a nationwide decline in housing like this since the Great Depression," said the CEO of Wells Fargo.

Not the best time, you might think, to sell shares in the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in Wall Street history. Especially not a financial IPO....

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