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, on-line firms and other financial services providers. We have extensive experience in particular areas including 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 Practice 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 15, 2015

Congressional Panel Approves Legislation on Iran Nuclear Deal

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed legislation that would allow Congress to review—and potentially block—any final deal reached with Iran over its nuclear program.

April 13, 2015

Report Highlights Bank Vendor Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

On April 9, the New York State Department of Financial Services released a report on bank vendor cybersecurity that highlights the risk that hackers will use third-party service providers to gain access to bank data.

April 6, 2015

Parameters of Iran Sanctions Relief Announced

On April 2, 2015, the United States and its P5+1 negotiating partners, together with Iran, announced the key parameters of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

April 3, 2015

Executive Order Creates Cybersecurity Sanctions Framework

On April 1, 2015, President Obama issued an Executive Order authorizing the imposition of sanctions against designated individuals or entities found to be engaged in malicious cyber activity, including various forms of commercial espionage and trade secret theft.

March 23, 2015

Former CFPB Senior Counselor Michael Gordon Joins WilmerHale

WilmerHale is pleased to announce that Michael Gordon, senior counselor to the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is rejoining the firm in April as a partner in the Washington DC office.

March 19, 2015

WilmerHale Attorneys to Participate in 2015 ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting

Several WilmerHale attorneys will speak at the 2015 ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting, taking place April 16–18 at the San Francisco Marriot Marquis and InterContinental San Francisco in San Francisco, CA.

February 27, 2015

SEC Probes Corporate Interactions with Whistleblowers

According to a February 25, 2015 Wall Street Journal report, in recent weeks the SEC has sent requests to a number of companies seeking years of nondisclosure agreements, employment contracts and other documents as part of an agency probe into the potential silencing of corporate whistleblowers.

February 19, 2015

Ten Major Financial Institutions Sign Up to Share Information on Suspicious Activity with UK Authorities

Keith Bristow, Director General of the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), has announced a far-reaching information sharing agreement between 10 major financial institutions and the NCA aimed at tackling money laundering within the UK financial services industry.

February 13, 2015

CFPB Analysis of Consumer Complaints on Reverse Mortgages

The CFPB’s February 2015 report entitled “Snapshot of Reverse Mortgage Complaints” highlights the key trends in the 1,200 complaints made to the CFPB about reverse mortgages from December 2011 through December 2014.

February 3, 2015

The CFPB’s Enforcement of the Prohibition on Abusive Acts and Practices

An article by Eric J. Mogilnicki and Eamonn K. Moran published in Bloomberg BNA's Banking Report on February 3, 2015.

Recognition

  • 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." Senior Counsel Russell Bruemmer and Partner Franca Harris Gutierrez are recognized individually as leaders in their respective practice areas.  
  • WilmerHale Senior Counsel Russell Bruemmer received individual recognition in the 2013 edition of Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business. Clients cited him as "very knowledgeable about the ways of Washington, and he knows all about how the SEC and other regulatory authorities work."
  • WilmerHale Senior Counsel Russell Bruemmer and Partner Franca Harris Gutierrez were both 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 Russell Bruemmer, former Chief Counsel-Congressional Affairs for the FBI, Special Assistant to the Director of the FBI, Special Counsel to the Director of Central Intelligence, and General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency. The group also 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