WilmerHale’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Working Group was assembled in response to the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau). The purpose of the CFPB Working Group—consisting of seasoned attorneys from our Litigation, Regulatory and Securities Departments—is to work with clients affected by the Bureau’s regulation, examination and enforcement initiatives.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act), the newly formed Bureau is a consumer watchdog whose purpose is to implement and enforce federal consumer financial laws that will affect a wide range of financial products and services.
The Bureau has enforcement jurisdiction over most non-bank providers of consumer financial products and services, as well as supervisory authority over the nation's largest banks.
The Bureau consolidates consumer protection powers from a variety of agencies. This increases the likelihood and range of regulatory enforcement actions related to the offering of consumer financial products or services, including mortgages, credit cards and other retail financial products.
WilmerHale’s CFPB Working Group combines the diverse areas of legal expertise necessary to help clients navigate this new regulatory regime. This practice brings together our experience with bank and financial services regulatory, enforcement and litigation matters with our unparalleled understanding of Washington DC and the federal government.
The CFPB Working Group’s in-depth knowledge of financial institutions, corporate governance, and regulatory compliance and enforcement provides our clients with the strategic counsel they need to successfully navigate this new approach to consumer protection. Our clients also benefit from the bipartisan government experience of more than 100 WilmerHale lawyers, who have served in the Treasury Department, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the White House, on Capitol Hill, and in the Department of Justice (DOJ), among others. WilmerHale’s CFPB Working Group is led by Chair Russell Bruemmer and Vice Chairs Andrea Robinson, Eric Mogilnicki and Doug Davison. Other members include Reginald Brown, Jonathan Cedarbaum, Gail Ennis, Franca Harris Gutierrez, Noah Levine, Lori Martin, Gail Bernstein, Melissa Malpass, Tim Perla, Jonathan McKernan, Elijah Alper and Seth Moskowitz.
Our experience spans the full range of regulatory issues relating to banks, thrifts, bank and thrift holding companies, and other financial institutions operating in the United States, as well as other businesses falling within the jurisdiction of the Bureau, including, among others, credit card issuers, mortgage brokers, finance companies, card and payment processors, debt collectors, credit bureaus, and various other non-bank providers of financial services.
We assist these institutions in all aspects of their relationships with federal and state regulators, including reporting requirements, requests for interpretive and exemptive relief, preparing for examinations and responses to Reports of Examination. We advise on compliance with all consumer protection statutes, including the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Fair Credit Billing Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as well as payment system network rules and state consumer protection and credit laws.
Our practice also covers a wide variety of issues relating to unfair and deceptive practices under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act and its many state counterparts, as well as matters related to advertising of credit and leases, exportation of usury rates, insurance, and similar topics. Additionally, we regularly advise clients on regulatory and other issues relating to new products as well as counseling on significant matters involving their relationships with payment systems organizations.
We conduct institution-wide audits of regulatory compliance, address issues arising from the acquisition of loan portfolios from other lenders, and advise clients on contractual provisions, including the use of arbitration provisions as an alternative to litigation.
We have long been active in defending financial institutions and individual officers and directors who are threatened with enforcement action by federal and state regulators. We also represent financial institutions in connection with regulatory examinations of retail lending and related operations, and in connection with responses to Congressional and DOJ inquiries. We have a broad range of experience, and a demonstrated track record of success, in obtaining the best possible outcomes for our clients in such matters.
Our attorneys regularly appear before the Federal Reserve Board, the OCC, the FDIC, the DOJ, the FTC, the US Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. This experience gives us both an understanding of the procedures involved in regulatory review and examination and substantive experience with the issues Bureau-governed entities potentially face. We have also represented clients in connection with high profile state Attorney General investigations.
Our interdisciplinary group includes lawyers from our Securities and Litigation Departments who advise on investigations and enforcement actions brought against financial institutions concerning potential violations of consumer protection statutes, the federal securities laws, securities disclosure issues (which may arise at the bank or thrift regulatory agencies as well as at the SEC), accounting issues, allegations of fraud and self-dealing by insiders and others, and other areas where the securities laws are implicated. We have also advised banks facing SEC enforcement action on the collateral consequences of those proceedings, including the impact on the institutions’ relationships with their primary federal banking agencies.
Legislative and Regulatory Solutions
Clients regularly turn to us when seeking counsel with respect to the application of regulations, including help with rule amendments, no-action positions and exemptions. We cover federal legislative developments involving consumer credit matters on a regular basis, analyzing legislative proposals and preparing legislative materials, and we are actively involved in federal rulemaking matters involving consumer credit. We advise financial institutions on legislative and regulatory proposals, including drafting comment letters and meeting with senior representatives of the relevant agencies. Since before its enactment, we have been assisting many clients in understanding the implications of the Dodd-Frank Act and monitoring its implementation.