For more than a decade, innovative FinTech companies, as well as the financial institutions and nonbank firms that invest in them, have relied on our tech-savvy lawyers to navigate complex financial regulatory challenges.


FinTech companies and investors must traverse a complex web of state and federal requirements often designed for a pre-Internet age. They must also be prepared to interact with regulators, who themselves are struggling to address the risks posed by these technologies without stifling innovation and its potential to benefit consumers. Our lawyers have a deep understanding of the legal framework—with experience dating back to the first online banks—and the technology behind the FinTech revolution, including blockchain and distributed ledges, mobile payments and tokenization, and fast payment technology. This knowledge allows us to better understand our clients' products and services, find methods to mitigate legal risk, and effectively advocate on their behalf to regulators and potential investors.

Contacts

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Brown, Reginald J.

Reginald J. Brown

Chair, Financial Institutions Group

+1 202 663 6430 (t)

reginald.brown@wilmerhale.com

Gutierrez, Franca Harris

Franca Harris Gutierrez

Vice Chair, Financial Institutions Practice Group

+1 202 663 6557 (t)

franca.gutierrez@wilmerhale.com

Adegbile, Debo

Debo P. Adegbile

Partner

+1 212 295 6717 (t)

debo.adegbile@wilmerhale.com

Berkovitz, Dan

Dan M. Berkovitz

Partner

+1 202 663 6352 (t)

dan.berkovitz@wilmerhale.com

Brown, Reginald J.

Reginald J. Brown

Partner

+1 202 663 6430 (t)

reginald.brown@wilmerhale.com

Cohen, David

David S. Cohen

Partner

+1 202 663 6205 (t)

david.cohen@wilmerhale.com

Donovan, David

David Donovan

Partner

+1 202 663 6868 (t)

david.donovan@wilmerhale.com

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Gail Ennis

Partner

+1 202 663 6014 (t)

gail.ennis@wilmerhale.com

Goldblatt, Craig

Craig Goldblatt

Partner

+1 202 663 6483 (t)

craig.goldblatt@wilmerhale.com

Our Practice

As part of WilmerHale's multidisciplinary FinTech Group, our attorneys help clients understand and navigate the full range of financial regulatory challenges.

New Payment Technologies: We regularly advise growing companies and their established financial institution partners on how to identify and mitigate consumer financial compliance risks while maintaining their innovative payment solutions. Our attorneys help clients structure their products for consistency with federal and state money transmission laws, and ensure that clients properly understand and address any anti–money laundering obligations. We also provide compliance counseling regarding unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP), consumer credit, and other state and federal consumer financial laws.

Mobile Payments: As a national leader in consumer credit counseling, mobile payment platforms and their bank partners look to WilmerHale to ensure that their mobile payment systems and data flow comply with consumer credit laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and UDAAP.

Marketplace Lending: WilmerHale is a pioneer in marketplace lending. Since the emergence of the industry, the firm has guided marketplace lending clients in designing a compliance structure consistent with the securities, banking and other regulatory challenges posed by this innovative model. The compliance structure developed by our lawyers has become standard across the marketplace lending industry.

Digital Currency and Blockchain Technology: WilmerHale has many years of experience helping clients advance and adopt digital currency and, more recently, blockchain and distributed ledger products and services. By combining our existing regulatory capabilities with our understanding of emerging technologies, we have provided compliance advice on money transmission and consumer financial law, assisted companies under regulatory investigation, and represented both emerging companies and established financial institutions in blockchain investments. 

Experience

WilmerHale has extensive experience across a range of FinTech issues facing banks, nonbank financial institutions and emerging companies. 

Compliance Counseling 

Our attorneys counsel clients on many aspects of financial law compliance, including:

  • structuring (or restructuring) funds flows to lower compliance risk;
  • structuring of relationships with depository institutions;
  • structuring, negotiation and documentation of emerging payments and marketplace lending companies;
  • evaluating blockchain and digital currency proposals and providing strategic compliance advice to blockchain companies and their investors;
  • anti–money laundering and sanctions programs for money transmitters, prepaid programs and other money services businesses;
  • federal and state money transmission, payment instrument and lending license requirements, including specialized state requirements for blockchain and digital currency activities;
  • securities and commodities laws applicable to peer-to-peer and other marketplace lending, blockchain transaction settlements, and other FinTech ventures;
  • federal consumer financial law, including TILA, FCRA, ECOA, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and state-equivalent laws; and
  • UDAAP compliance, disclosures and customer-facing agreements.

Transactional

We assist clients with transactional engagements, including:

  • representing major credit card issuers in agreements permitting cards to be used with leading mobile payment platforms;
  • securing regulatory approvals and formulating documentation for the first bilateral bitcoin swap transaction and first bitcoin swap contract listed for exchange trading;
  • assisting major financial institution clients in negotiating and performing due diligence for investments in established digital currency and blockchain companies;
  • providing regulatory representation to companies seeking early- and late-stage funding or acquisition in discussions with investor and buyer regulatory counsel; 
  • providing clients with investor- and buyer-side regulatory diligence and counseling on potential marketplace lending, blockchain, payments and other FinTech targets, and identifying material issues relating to consumer financial law compliance, state licensing requirements, consumer disclosure concerns and anti–money laundering programs; and
  • structuring and negotiating thousands of FinTech commercial agreements regarding major joint ventures, co-branding and portal relationships, and strategic alliances.

Investigations and Enforcement

Leveraging longstanding relationships with state and federal regulators, we represent FinTech clients in investigations and enforcement matters, including:

  • counseling targets of federal enforcement investigations relating to bitcoin activities;
  • responding to inquiries and cease-and-desist letters from state regulators regarding money transmission and other state licenses;
  • representing an online payments company in a major data security and consumer compliance enforcement action;
  • helping clients avoid potential enforcement and investigations through proactive outreach to federal and state regulators regarding licensing and anti–money laundering issues;
  • representing innovative payments companies in negotiations with state regulators over money transmission licensing questions; and
  • counseling a digital currency provider in response to registration and anti–money laundering inquiries from federal regulators.