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 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

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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

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 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, Senate Banking Committee, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and 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 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 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 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

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May 23, 2018

8-in-8 Recent Trends in European Law and Policy Alert Series—The EU’s Data Protection Regulatory Big Bang: The GDPR Comes Into Force

This is the inaugural issue of WilmerHale's 8-in-8 Recent Trends in European Law and Policy Alert Series. Over the next eight weeks, our attorneys will share insights on current and emerging issues affecting companies doing business in Europe and across the Atlantic. In this first issue we discuss some of the background to the General Data Protection Regulation and its relevance to companies in all sectors that do business in or with Europe.

May 22, 2018

EU to Reactivate 1996 Blocking Regulation Against US Sanctions on Iran

On Friday, May 18, the EU Commission launched the formal process to reactivate a 1996 trade defense law in response to the US withdrawal from the JCPOA on Iran's nuclear program.

May 16, 2018

Banking Regulators' Examination Authority Does Not Override Attorney-Client Privilege

Notwithstanding the venerable status of the attorney-client privilege and the important purposes it serves, the federal banking regulators and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have taken the position that they have the legal authority to override the privilege and compel supervised institutions to produce information protected by the privilege.

May 3, 2018

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2018 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2018 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, with WilmerHale listed among the nation's best in 50 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 95 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

May 2, 2018

Chambers USA Names WilmerHale to 2018 Awards Shortlist

WilmerHale has been shortlisted for the 2018 Chambers USA Awards for international trade, privacy and data security, and securities and financial services regulation.

April 19, 2018

Infrastructure Series: Momentum Builds for Offshore Wind Energy Development in the United States

The beginning of 2018 has offered signs of a renewed push to expand development of offshore wind generation along the US Atlantic coast. This client alert was also published by Law360.

April 10, 2018

FinCEN Releases Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Customer Due Diligence and Beneficial Ownership Requirements

Last week the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued much-anticipated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that provide additional guidance to financial institutions relating to the implementation of the new Customer Due Diligence Rule (CDD Rule), set to go into effect on May 11, 2018. This client alert was also published by New York University School of Law's Compliance & Enforcement Blog.

March 8, 2018

The #MeToo Movement: The Critical Role of the Board in Preparing for, Responding to and Avoiding Sexual Misconduct Allegations

As the #MeToo movement gains momentum, companies in nearly every major industry are dealing with allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment or even sexual assault—including allegations of widespread misconduct and inappropriate behavior within the upper echelons of the corporate structure.

February 6, 2018

2017 CFTC Year-in-Review and a Look Forward

In 2017, under the leadership of new Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or Commission) adopted a notable shift in its enforcement priorities and regulatory agenda.

January 17, 2018

SEC's Fixed Income Market Structure Advisory Committee Discusses Bond Market Liquidity in Its Inaugural Meeting

On January 11, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Fixed Income Market Structure Advisory Committee (FIMSAC) held its inaugural meeting.

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.”
  • IFLR1000: 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, 2016 and 2017 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 BTI Industry Power Rankings 2017 recognized WilmerHale for its strong client relationships in the banking industry.
  • 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.