Financial Institutions REGULATORY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

Clients look to our Financial Institutions practice for assistance with complex, challenging federal regulatory and legislative, litigation, enforcement, and business transaction matters that impact them as banks, card issuers, insurance companies, broker dealers, mortgage lenders, database operators, on-line firms and other financial services providers. We have extensive experience in particular areas including retail financial services, privacy and information security, international banking, and anti-money laundering matters. Our lawyers are at the forefront of complex issues that impact financial institutions and providers of financial services here and worldwide.

Many of our attorneys gained valuable expertise and insights serving in major roles at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, the Treasury Department, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Commerce, and the White House before joining the firm. The depth and experience of both the department as a whole and its individual lawyers have been acknowledged by a number of esteemed publications, including Chambers USA and the Wall Street Journal.

Contacts

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Bruemmer, Russell J.

Russell J. Bruemmer

Chair, Financial Institutions Practice Group

+1 202 663 6804 (t)

russell.bruemmer@wilmerhale.com

Brown, Reginald J.

Reginald J. Brown

Vice Chair, Financial Institutions Practice Group

+1 202 663 6430 (t)

reginald.brown@wilmerhale.com

Experience

We help our clients achieve their business objectives efficiently and cost-effectively. Over the past 30 years, we have built a practice of extensive breadth and depth in regulatory, transactional, litigation and enforcement matters for banks and other financial institutions. In the past two years, we have:

  • Represented banking institutions and insurance companies in dozens of class action matters and other key litigations at all levels of the federal and state court systems. In the last two terms of the U.S. Supreme Court, we won two cases involving retail banking activities for financial institution clients: Beneficial National Bank and Beneficial Tax Masters Inc. v. Anderson; and Pfennig v. Household Credit Services, Inc.
  • Handled two of the largest recent credit card portfolio transactions: (1) we represented Bank One in its acquisition of Circuit City's credit card portfolio and the related infrastructure for $1.8 billion, and (2) we represented another major issuer in the sale of a $1.5 billion tranche of a portfolio co-branded with a major electronics retailer
  • Assisted a major card issuer in the negotiation of a core dedication agreement with one of the major bankcard systems
  • Advised Citigroup in negotiating for acceptance of its Diners Club cards within the MasterCard system
  • Helped lead industry efforts that successfully shaped proposed amendments to the principal federal consumer lending regulations
  • Counseled financial institutions on sensitive compliance and internal investigation matters, on related dealings with regulators, and on the development of corporate compliance programs
  • Helped to shape anti-money laundering regulations and drafted anti-money laundering compliance programs for numerous banks, broker-dealers, and myriad other types of financial institutions
  • Represented clients in formal and informal enforcement actions brought by or before several agencies, including the Federal Reserve Board, the Comptroller of the Currency, the SEC, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight and the Federal Trade Commission and assisted clients with anti-money laundering investigations.

Publications & News

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November 21, 2014

CFPB Calls for Changes to Mortgage Servicing with Proposed Rule

On November 20, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed changes to the rules governing mortgage servicing and foreclosures—Regulation X, which implements the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and Regulation Z, the implementing regulation for the Truth in Lending Act.

November 17, 2014

CFPB Releases Long-Awaited Proposal on Prepaid Account Products

On November 13, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued a proposed rule to extend certain federal consumer protections to the prepaid market.

November 17, 2014

Proposed Prepaid Rule Unlikely To Stem Growth

An article by Franca Harris Gutierrez, Bradford Hardin and Maury Riggan, published by Law360 on November 17, 2014.

November 4, 2014

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Release 2015 “Best Law Firms” List, Names WilmerHale International Arbitration “Law Firm of the Year”

The 2015 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" list includes WilmerHale being named a first-tier law firm in 24 national and 62 metro-area rankings. In addition, the firm boasts more than 20 second- and third-tier rankings in several national and metro-area rankings.

November 4, 2014

FINRA to Intensify Scrutiny of Cybersecurity Practices at Brokerage Firms

Reuters recently reported that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) "plans to intensify its scrutiny of cybersecurity practices at brokerage firms in 2015 and is hiring technology savvy examiners to help boost its efforts."

October 24, 2014

Partner Mary Jo Johnson Recognized Among Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Top Women of Law

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly has named Partner Mary Jo Johnson to its annual list of Top Women of Law, which honors women in the legal industry who have made inspiring contributions in their fields.

October 16, 2014

Stephanie Evans Recognized Among Diversity Journal's Women Worth Watching

Diversity Journal has recognized Partner Stephanie Evans to its 13th annual list of Women Worth Watching, which honors executive trailblazers for their passion, potential and positive influence both inside and outside the workplace.

October 1, 2014

Sentencing of Corporate Offenders in the UK: A Practical Guide

On 1 October 2014, the Sentencing Council's Definitive Guideline for Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Offences came into force, providing for the first time a framework for the sentencing of corporate offenders in the UK.

September 25, 2014

Arbitration of False Claims Act Cases May Bind the United States

An article written by Dino LaVerghetta published in Bloomberg BNA's Daily Report for Executives on September 25, 2014.

September 15, 2014

US and EU Escalate Russia Sanctions

Last week, the United States and European Union (EU) significantly escalated financial and trade sanctions against the Russian Federation in response to what US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew described as Russia’s “blatant efforts to destabilize Ukraine.”

Recognition

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business hailed our financial institutions group with a nationwide ranking in 2014. Clients say, "they are the smartest, best people out there on financial services regulation matters," and laude them as "very smart, very knowledgeable and very client service-oriented. A pleasure to deal with." Practice Chair Russell Bruemmer and Partner Franca Harris Gutierrez are recognized individually as leaders in their respective practice areas.  
  • WilmerHale Partner and Group Chair Russell Bruemmer received individual recognition in the 2013 edition of Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business. Clients cited him as "very knowledgeable about the ways of Washington, and he knows all about how the SEC and other regulatory authorities work."
  • WilmerHale Partners Russell Bruemmer and Franca Harris Gutierrez were both selected to the 2013 list of The Best Lawyers in America for their work in banking law.
  • In 2013, IFLR100: The Guide to the World's Leading Financial Law Firms, recognized WilmerHale as a top firm in their financial services regulatory category.
  • The Wall Street Journal lauds the "quiet, behind-the-scenes approach" of our group, which is led by Russell Bruemmer, former Chief Counsel-Congressional Affairs for the FBI, Special Assistant to the Director of the FBI, Special Counsel to the Director of Central Intelligence, and General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency. The group includes Reginald Brown, former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and White House Counsel liaison to the Treasury Department and independent financial services agencies; and Franca Harris Gutierrez.

Volcker Rule Resources

On December 10, 2013, the Federal Banking Agencies, together with the SEC and CFTC, adopted a Final Rule to implement Section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act (the Volcker Rule), which was added by Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Our Securities and Financial Institutions teams have compiled for you these relevant resources to help reinforce your understanding of the Volcker Rule.

WilmerHale Publications and Presentations

Statutory and Rule Text

Agency Statements

Federal Reserve Statements on the Volcker Rule, December 10, 2013

FDIC Statements on the Volcker Rule, December 10, 2013

OCC Statement on the Volcker Rule, December 10, 2013

SEC Statements on the Volcker Rule, December 10, 2103

CFTC Statements on the Volcker Rule, December 10, 2103