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, online firms and other financial services providers. We have extensive experience in 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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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

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 US 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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February 11, 2016

Changes to US Treasury Market Structure and Request for Comments

The dramatically changing market for US Treasury securities raises questions and concerns for the public and regulators alike.

February 2, 2016

Global Anti-Bribery Year-in-Review: 2015 Developments and Predictions for 2016

Among other significant developments, 2015 saw the U.S. Department of Justice (the “DOJ” or the “Department”) document a policy priority of holding individuals accountable for corporate wrongdoing. This policy was laid out in the “Yates Memorandum”—announced by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates—and related changes the DOJ made to the U.S. Attorney’s Manual.

January 26, 2016

2015 CFTC Year-in-Review, and a Look Forward

CFTC continues to bring high-profile, large-penalty enforcement cases; begins bringing cases to enforce Dodd-Frank Act implementing regulations; and embarks on post-Dodd-Frank Act regulatory initiatives.

January 26, 2016

OFAC and BIS Announce Further US Sanctions Authorizations and Export Licensing Policies for Cuba

The US Departments of the Treasury and Commerce are taking further action to implement President Obama's initiatives to normalize US-Cuba relations and to “engage and empower the Cuban people.”

January 21, 2016

AML Litigation and Individual Liability: FinCEN's Landmark Haider Case Moves Forward 

A federal district court in Minnesota recently held that the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) permits the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to bring suit against individuals for willfully violating the BSA's AML program requirement. 

January 21, 2016

FinCEN Sets Its Sights on Luxury Real Estate  

On January 13, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued Geographic Targeting Orders that will temporarily require title insurance companies to report the identities of the natural persons behind companies paying cash for high-end residential real estate in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County. 

January 19, 2016

Iran Nuclear Sanctions Relief Implemented: New Opportunities Await Non-US Companies, but Comprehensive US Transaction and Export Restrictions Remain in Effect 

On January 16, 2016, the United States, its negotiating partners and Iran announced the arrival of Implementation Day for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to which the parties agreed on July 14, 2015 with respect to the Iranian nuclear program. 

January 13, 2016

FTC Report Examines Legal and Policy Considerations for Big Data Analytics, Promises More Enforcement

The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) recent report, Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?, released on January 6, warns businesses engaged in big data analytics that the practice poses liability risks. While the FTC does not propose new law or policy, the report advises that existing laws-including the FTC Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)-already can reach certain uses of big data

December 22, 2015

OCC Proposes Recovery Plans for Large Banks

On December 17, 2015, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) proposed guidelines establishing enforceable standards for recovery planning by certain large national banks, federal savings associations and insured federal branches with average consolidated assets of $50 billion or more.

December 21, 2015

SEC Proposes New Framework for Regulating Funds’ Use of Derivatives and Leverage

On December 11, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission) proposed a rule that, if adopted, would rescind nearly 30 years of Commission and staff guidance that is currently relied upon by most mutual funds, closed-end funds and business development companies or “BDCs” (collectively, funds) when entering into derivatives, short sales or other transactions that create conditional or unconditional future payment obligations on a fund. [Also published by Law360].

Recognition

  • Our Financial Institutions Group received nationwide rankings in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Compliance) and Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance & Litigation) categories. Clients stated: "It's a treat to work with them on anything; they're outstanding. One of the top financial services practices in the country." Partner Franca Harris Gutierrez is noted individually for her skill in banking and consumer finance compliance matters.
  • 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." Partner Franca Harris Gutierrez are recognized individually as leaders in their respective practice areas.  
  • Partner Franca Harris Gutierrez was 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 includes Chair 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 Vice Chair 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