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 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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June 21, 2017

Treasury Report Proposes Revamping Post-Crash Financial Regulation

On June 12, 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department released a 150-page report that recommends revamping many of the rules for banks and other financial services firms put in place after the 2008 financial crisis through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

June 20, 2017

The Brexit Negotiations (1): What is the EU's Opening Position?

The Brexit negotiations started yesterday. After months of speculation as to what will be their focus, it may be useful to recall the European Union's opening position and the United Kingdom's opening position.

June 20, 2017

President Trump Announces New Cuba Restrictions

On June 16, 2017, President Trump announced new sanctions restrictions under the US embargo against Cuba.

June 13, 2017

Supreme Court Substantially Reduces Government's Ability to Seek Criminal Forfeitures

On June 5, 2017, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Honeycutt v. United States (No. 16-142), holding that a criminal defendant can be held liable to forfeit only crime proceeds the defendant personally obtained, and cannot be made jointly and severally liable for proceeds acquired by a co-conspirator. This WilmerHale Client Alert was republished on NYU Law's Compliance & Enforcement blog.

June 13, 2017

WilmerHale Represents Hilton in Exclusive Co-Branded Credit Card Partnership Agreement With American Express

WilmerHale client Hilton announced that American Express has been selected as the exclusive issuer for Hilton Honors co-branded credit cards in the United States, beginning January 1, 2018.

May 26, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2017 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2017 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 86 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

May 18, 2017

Uncertain Future For CFPB Small Business Data Rule

An article by Daniel Kearney, Skye Perryman and Daniel Hartman, published by Law360, discusses the uncertain future for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau small business data rule.

May 4, 2017

CFPB Insights on Alternative Data Use in Credit Scoring

An article by Michael Gordon and Vaughn Stewart, published by Law360, provides Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) insights on alternative data use in credit scoring.

April 27, 2017

AML and Sanctions: 2017 Trends and Developments

This report reviews recent trends and developments impacting financial institutions with respect to the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering and economic sanctions regulatory landscape.

April 24, 2017

US Announces Review of Iran Nuclear Deal

On April 18, 2017, the State Department certified to Congress that Iran was in compliance with its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the United States, Iran, and the P5+1 nations.

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.