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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April 19, 2016

The Price Of Mortality: Cost-Of-Life-Insurance Cases

In this article published by Law360, Charles Platt outlines the most recent cases where plaintiff lawyers have challenged cost-of-insurance charges, with mixed results.

April 14, 2016

Department of Defense Revises Landmark Cybersecurity Rule, Extends Deadline for Some Compliance Requirements

An article by Benjamin A. Powell, Barry J. Hurewitz, Jonathan G. Cedarbaum, Jason C. Chipman and Leah Schloss, published in the May 2016 issue of Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Report, explores the new, amended Department of Defense interim cybersecurity rule that prescribes cybersecurity requirements, including mandatory cybersecurity-related contract clauses in all DoD contracts subject to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement. 

April 11, 2016

Federal Regulators Clarify Bank CIP Obligations for Prepaid Cardholders

Banks and credit unions that issue reloadable, general purpose prepaid cards must apply Customer Identification Program procedures to those cardholders, according to guidance issued by the federal banking regulators and FinCEN on March 21, 2016.  

April 8, 2016

DOJ Launches FCPA Pilot Program to Encourage Corporate Voluntary Disclosure and Cooperation

On April 5, 2016, the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice's Criminal Division issued an enforcement plan and guidance laying out three steps it is taking to intensify Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement.

March 14, 2016

OCC Revises CMP Policy

For the first time in over twenty years, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has formally changed its policy governing civil money penalties against national banks, federal savings associations, federal branches of foreign banks, and their service providers and institution affiliated parties.

March 8, 2016

Enhanced North Korea Sanctions Adopted

The United Nations Security Council approved a Resolution last week imposing new sanctions against North Korea in response to its recent nuclear and missile tests. This UNSC action follows the enactment of the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 by the United States in late February. 

March 8, 2016

Viewpoint: Ensuring a Level Playing Field for Federal Virtual Currency Regulation

An article by Elijah Alper and Katrina Carroll, published by Paybefore. FinCEN's March 2013 interpretive guidance on bitcoin and other virtual currency remains the key statement of federal regulatory policy on the topic.

March 4, 2016

German Cum/Ex-Trades: Enhanced Risks and Industry-Wide Challenges

The German and international financial industries and their advisors have come under new pressure to investigate so-called 'cum/ex' trades conducted between 2000 and 2012.

March 1, 2016

European Commission and U.S. Department of Commerce Release Legal Foundation of EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

On Monday, February 29th, the European Commission and U.S. Department of Commerce released a collection of documents summarizing actions taken on both sides of the Atlantic to implement the new Privacy Shield framework.

February 29, 2016

Ensuring A Level Playing Field For Federal Virtual Currency Regulation

An article by Elijah Alper and Katrina Carroll, published in FinTech Law Report (January/February 2016, Vol. 1, Issue 1), discusses FinCEN's regulation of Bitcoin and other virtual currency.

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