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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July 21, 2016

NYDFS Issues Final Rule Requiring Certification of Compliance With AML Transaction Monitoring and Filtering Program Requirements 

The New York Department of Financial Services recently finalized a regulation that mandates detailed elements of the anti-money laundering transaction monitoring and sanctions filtering programs of covered institutions. The rule, published on June 30, 2016, also requires directors or senior officers to certify their institutions' compliance with these new standards. 

July 15, 2016

Life and Annuity Series: Class Certified in an ERISA “Unreasonable Compensation” Case

The Colorado federal court concluded last summer, in Teets v. Great-West Life & Ann. Ins. Co., that an insurer could be subject to ERISA liability for receiving unreasonable compensation in connection with a stable value fund, and that the fund was not exempt from ERISA as a “guaranteed benefit policy.”

July 13, 2016

Civil Fines Jump Across Agencies Under Inflation Adjustment Act

Civil fines across federal agencies have recently been increased dramatically under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (2015 Act) (Sec. 701 of Public Law 114-74), with some more than doubling. Companies violating the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Improvements Act, the Securities and Exchange Act, or the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), among others, could soon face civil monetary penalties that are up to 150% higher than the existing levels. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the 2015 Act would increase the federal government's revenue by $1.3 billion over the next ten years. 

June 30, 2016

WilmerHale Partner Anjan Sahni Elected to The American Law Institute

WilmerHale Partner Anjan Sahni, a member of the firm's Investigations and Criminal Litigation and Securities Litigation and Enforcement Groups, is one of 41 newly elected members of The American Law Institute.

June 24, 2016

Brexit – Major Upheaval and Change

As the UK leaves the EU, in light of the seismic result of the recent United Kingdom referendum, there will be an immense amount to do, for the UK and the remaining EU, and for companies that are either based in, or have interests in the UK.

June 16, 2016

Supreme Court Upholds Implied Certification Liability, While Emphasizing Materiality Requirement

In Universal Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the “implied certification” theory of liability under the False Claims Act (FCA), while emphasizing that only material misrepresentations are actionable.

June 16, 2016

The CFPB And Data Security Enforcement

In this article published in BNA's Banking Report, Michael Gordon, Elijah Alper and Leah Schloss examine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's foray into data security enforcement by assessing how the bureau's data security authority compares with that of other federal regulators.

June 13, 2016

The Global Implications of the EU's New Civil Market Abuse Regime

On 3 July 2016 the EU Market Abuse Regulations will come into force, replacing the previous civil market abuse regime as set out in the Market Abuse Directive. Given its extra-territorial effect, the changes brought in by MAR are likely to have implications for market participants located outside the EU. [Also published on the WilmerHale W.I.R.E. UK blog.]

June 9, 2016

David Ogden Calls for DOJ to Return to a Punishment-Fits-the-Crime Settlement Approach

David Ogden warned in a recent and important speech that the Department of Justice's current tendency to use its vast power to extract disproportionate monetary penalties from many companies that fall under its prosecutorial glare is actually counterproductive.

June 3, 2016

CFIUS Actions Highlight Focus on Critical Technologies and Infrastructure

In its latest report to Congress, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the US government's interagency body that vets foreign investment with national security implications, reported that it reviewed a record 147 notices in 2014, a 52% increase from 2013.

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