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

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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 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

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February 24, 2017

Form SHC Deadline Approaching for Investment Advisers and Other Reporters

Investment advisers should take note that they may be required to file Treasury International Capital Benchmark (TIC) Form SHC by Friday, March 3, 2017.

February 13, 2017

WilmerHale Adds Former Congressional Aide Timothy Martin to Public Policy and Legislative Affairs Group

With a focus on transportation, financial services, natural resources and agriculture, among other issues, Martin will help the firm's growing list of clients address their complex policy and regulatory challenges in the nation's capital.

February 7, 2017

Global Anti-Bribery Year-in-Review: 2016 Developments and Predictions for 2017

The past year was consequential for FCPA enforcement in numerous respects, including blockbuster penalties, new policy initiatives, and the SEC's first DPA with an individual for FCPA violations.

February 6, 2017

Treasury Department Imposes New Sanctions Against Iran and Clarifies Russia Cyber Sanctions

Last week saw the first action by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control under the new administration, including two notable developments.

January 31, 2017

False Claims Act: 2016 Year-in-Review

In 2016, the Department of Justice continued to give high priority to False Claims Act investigations and prosecutions.

January 24, 2017

CFTC Proposes Greater Flexibility for Electronic Record-Keepers

In a move that affects everyone required under its rules to maintain records, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's is proposing to permit greater flexibility in the technology used for electronic record retention and production, to remove the requirement that records be stored in their “native file format” and to no longer require use of a third-party technical consultant. If adopted, the proposed rule will enable record-keepers to update and potentially streamline their current record storage technology and systems.

January 23, 2017

2016 CFTC Year-in-Review and a Look Forward

In 2016, the CFTC continued to pursue high-profile enforcement cases and to test its new enforcement authority under the Dodd-Frank Act. This WilmerHale Client Alert was republished by the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.

December 30, 2016

President Obama Sanctions Russia Over Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities

President Obama amended a previously-issued executive order designed to address cyber-enabled activities yesterday in response to “Russia's cyber activities [that] were intended to influence the election, erode faith in US democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the US government.”

December 21, 2016

Anti-Money Laundering Enforcement: The Rise of Individual Liability for Compliance Professionals

Partner Sharon Cohen Levin, Counsel Elizabeth J. Hogan and Senior Associate Tamar Kaplan-Marans, in an article published by The Review of Securities & Commodities Regulation, highlight the increased individual liability risks faced by anti-money laundering compliance officers.

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."

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 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.