Financial Institutions REGULATORY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

WilmerHale is at the forefront of the most challenging litigation, enforcement, compliance, regulatory and transactional issues in banking and financial services.


Clients look to our Financial Institutions Group for assistance with complex matters that impact them as banks, card issuers, insurance companies, broker-dealers, mortgage lenders, student loan servicers, database operators, FinTech firms or investors in the financial sector. We have extensive experience in banking controversies, retail financial services and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), prudential and foreign bank regulatory advice, financial technology, and business transactions. 

Many of our attorneys gained valuable insights serving in major roles at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Treasury Department, the CFPB, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the White House before joining the firm. The depth and experience of our practice as a whole and its individual lawyers have been acknowledged by a number of esteemed publications, including Chambers USA, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Legal 500 and IFLR100.

Contacts

Sort By
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

Experience

With our help, clients achieve their business objectives efficiently and cost-effectively, prevent or resolve their regulatory issues and investigations, and litigate their highest stakes cases to favorable outcomes. 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 recent years, we have:

  • represented financial institutions in dozens of internal and DOJ investigations, and represented clients in numerous formal and informal enforcement actions brought by or before several agencies, including the CFPB, OCC, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Office of Foreign Assets Control, Federal Housing Finance Agency, FTC, SEC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and agency inspectors general;
  • assisted domestic and foreign banking entities in all aspects of their relationships with federal and state bank regulators, including charter, license and other applications, reporting requirements, requests for interpretive and exemptive relief, and responses to examination reports and supervisory correspondence. We also frequently counsel foreign banks on issues under the US banking laws;
  • represented many of the world's leading financial firms in investigations by the House Financial Services Committee, the Senate Banking Committee, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission;
  • counseled banks on entering into and renegotiating outsourcing and other services agreements. We have represented clients in acquiring and divesting credit card portfolios (bankcard and private label), and in establishing long-term strategic alliances for private label card programs and card association relationships. We have also advised both issuers and merchants on the preparation and negotiation of co-branding agreements, and have assisted financial institutions in raising capital through various types of complex debt and equity offerings;
  • represented banking institutions and insurance companies in dozens of class action matters and other key litigation at all levels of the federal and state court systems. Before the US Supreme Court, we have represented financial institution parties in recent terms on preemption, jurisdictional and substantive banking matters, and represented financial institution trade groups as amici in multiple additional cases;
  • advised numerous players in FinTech, from early-stage startups, to major banks developing new technology-driven platforms and products, to leading venture capital firms in the investor community;
  • played a role in nearly all of the largest anti–money laundering investigations to date, either as client counsel or as regulators and prosecutors, including all stages of enforcement actions brought by the DOJ, FDIC, Federal Reserve, FinCEN, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, New York Department of Financial Services, OCC, SEC and others;
  • represented plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation and class actions arising under anti-discrimination and fair lending laws, including defending an investment bank in ongoing litigation brought by a purported class asserting disparate impact and discrimination claims relating to the investment bank's purchase and securitization of mortgage loans. We also represent clients, including large financial institutions, in fair lending inquiries, examinations, investigations and enforcement matters conducted by the CFPB, DOJ, and other federal and state regulators;
  • played a leading or supporting role in nearly every CFPB enforcement action since the bureau's inception. We have also advised numerous clients on compliance with new and revised regulations issued by the CFPB, and we have helped banks and nonbanks prepare for and respond to CFPB examinations; and
  • in the area of retail finance, counseled banks, credit card issuers, finance companies, auto lenders, mortgage lenders, originators and servicers, retailers, payment processors, debt collectors, consumer reporting agencies, consumer finance companies, mortgage lenders, and small business lenders on a wide range of issues arising from applicable statutes, rules and regulations.

Publications & News

View

November 30, 2016

Regulators Implement Enhanced Oversight and Propose Transparency for the Treasury Market

On October 24, 2016, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York held a conference on "The Evolving Structure of the US Treasury Market."

November 22, 2016

Brexit: Implications for State Aid/Control of Subsidies

A future Brexit is likely to have significant potential impact on the monitoring and control of subsidies or other forms of aid granted by the UK and/or the remaining EU-27 to individual companies or entire sectors of industry, or to promote specific policies.

November 7, 2016

Life and Annuity Series: Focus on 403(b) Annuity Sales Practices

The New York Times has been running articles sharply critical of annuities, especially 403(b) annuities sold to teachers.

October 20, 2016

Banking Regulators Release Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Enhanced Cyber Risk Management Standards

The agencies are considering establishing two tiers of enhanced standards—basic enhanced standards for all covered firms and even more stringent enhanced standards for systems that are "sector-critical."

October 14, 2016

DC Circuit Delivers a Major Setback to the CFPB

On October 11, the DC Circuit issued a major decision holding the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) unconstitutional and sharply limiting the CFPB's enforcement powers.

October 12, 2016

District Court Judge Rejects CFTC Manipulative Intent Standard

On September 30, 2016, Judge Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York issued an order resolving competing motions for summary judgment in the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's ongoing action against Donald R. Wilson and his firm, DRW Investments LLC, for allegedly manipulating and attempting to manipulate the settlement price of certain interest rate futures contracts.

September 29, 2016

Brexit and Data Protection: The Impact on GDPR Compliance

As we wait for the UK to decide what arrangement it will seek with the European Union when it leaves, it may be useful to focus on what Brexit may mean for data protection.

September 15, 2016

New York Law Journal Selects Sharon Cohen Levin as a Top Women in Law

Levin joins 29 other lawyers who were chosen to the New York Law Journal's first Top Women in Law list.

September 12, 2016

Federal Civil Penalties Set to Increase Significantly, Many Present Retroactivity Concerns

Matthew Martens, Reg Brown and Daniel Kearney discuss rules adopted by many federal agencies that significantly increase the maximum civil monetary penalties they can potentially impose in this article published by the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.

September 9, 2016

Scope of the Jury Trial in Civil FIRREA Actions

In this article published by Law360, Matthew Martens, Sharon Cohen Levin and Reginald Brown detail the scope of the jury trial right in civil Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act actions.

Recognition

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business: Consistently recognized on a national level in the Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Compliance) and Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance & Litigation) categories. In recent editions, sources stated: “It's a treat to work with them on anything; they're outstanding. One of the top financial services practices in the country,” and “They are by far the most knowledgeable when it comes to the regulatory requirements for regulated firms.”
  • IFLR100: The Guide to the World's Leading Financial Law Firms: Recognized as a top firm in the financial services regulatory category every year since 2013.
  • The Legal 500 United States: Recommended as a top-tier firm for financial services litigation in the 2015 and 2016 editions.
  • U.S. News - Best Lawyers®: Recognized as a leader in banking and finance law, both nationally and in the Washington DC area, in the 2012-2017 "Best Law Firms" lists.
  • The Wall Street Journal: Applauded the “quiet, behind-the-scenes approach” of our group, which includes Chair Reg Brown, former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and White House Counsel liaison to the Treasury Department and independent financial services agencies, and Vice Chair Franca Harris Gutierrez, former attorney at the OCC.
  • Financial Institutions Group Co-Chair Franca Harris Gutierrez has been recognized by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2012-2016), Who's Who Legal: Banking – Finance (2016), Washington DC Super Lawyers (2013-2016), and Best Lawyers in America (2012-2016) for her work in banking law.