Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Working Group REGULATORY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

We have exceptional knowledge and broad experience in dealing with CFPB issues in the regulatory, examination and enforcement contexts.


WilmerHale has one of the leading Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) practices in the nation. By bringing together seasoned attorneys from our Litigation, Regulatory and Securities Departments to focus on the CFPB, we have been able to assist our clients with the many new challenges posed by the CFPB's broad regulatory, examination and enforcement authority.

Regulatory—We have helped clients anticipate and comply with the enormous number of new and revised regulations issued by the CFPB. We are also closely following the issues that will be the target of future CFPB rulemaking, including debt collection, deposit advance products and prepaid cards.

Examination—We have assisted banks and nonbanks prepare for and respond to CFPB examinations. These efforts have included conducting mock examinations to identify and remedy issues prior to CFPB examinations, working closely with clients during examinations to assist them in dealing with particular requests and issues, and drafting responses to examination findings.

Enforcement—We have represented a host of financial institutions that find themselves subject to the scrutiny of CFPB Enforcement. Our experience spans the lifecycle of enforcement actions including:

  • Initial informal or formal requests for information;
  • Petitions to set aside Civil Investigative demands;
  • NORA submissions;
  • Consent Order negotiations; and
  • Compliance with Consent Orders.

We have represented many of the largest banks in the United States in both public matters and, more often, in finding ways to resolve CFPB concerns without a public disposition.

Contacts

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Gordon_Michael

Michael E. Gordon

Chair, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Practice

+1 202 663 6214 (t)

michael.gordon@wilmerhale.com

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

Brown, Reginald J.

Reginald J. Brown

Partner

+1 202 663 6430 (t)

reginald.brown@wilmerhale.com

Gordon_Michael

Michael E. Gordon

Partner

+1 202 663 6214 (t)

michael.gordon@wilmerhale.com

Lesser, David

David Lesser

Partner

+1 212 230 8851 (t)

david.lesser@wilmerhale.com

Levine, Noah A.

Noah A. Levine

Partner

+1 212 230 8800 (t)

noah.levine@wilmerhale.com

Martin, Lori A.

Lori A. Martin

Partner

+1 212 295 6412 (t)

lori.martin@wilmerhale.com

Perla, Timothy J.

Timothy J. Perla

Partner

+1 617 526 6696 (t)

timothy.perla@wilmerhale.com

Bernstein, Gail C.

Gail C. Bernstein

Special Counsel

+1 202 663 6155 (t)

gail.bernstein@wilmerhale.com

Experience

WilmerHale's CFPB Working Group combines the diverse areas of legal experience necessary to help clients navigate this new regulatory regime. This practice brings together our experience with bank and financial services regulatory, enforcement and litigation matters with our unparalleled understanding of Washington DC and the federal government.

The CFPB Working Group's in-depth knowledge of financial institutions, corporate governance, and regulatory compliance and enforcement provides our clients with the strategic counsel they need to successfully navigate this new approach to consumer protection. Our clients also benefit from the bipartisan government experience of more than 100 WilmerHale lawyers, who have served in the CFPB, the Treasury Department, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the White House, on Capitol Hill, and in the Department of Justice (DOJ), among others.

Regulatory Issues

Our experience spans the full range of regulatory issues relating to banks, thrifts, bank and thrift holding companies, and other financial institutions operating in the United States, as well as other businesses falling within the jurisdiction of the Bureau, including, among others, credit card issuers, mortgage brokers, finance companies, card and payment processors, debt collectors, credit bureaus, and various other non-bank providers of financial services.

We assist these institutions in all aspects of their relationships with federal and state regulators, including reporting requirements, requests for interpretive and exemptive relief, preparing for examinations and responses to Reports of Examination. We advise on compliance with all consumer protection statutes, including the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Fair Credit Billing Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as well as payment system network rules and state consumer protection and credit laws.

Our practice also covers a wide variety of issues relating to unfair and deceptive practices under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act and its many state counterparts, as well as matters related to advertising of credit and leases, exportation of usury rates, insurance, and similar topics. Additionally, we regularly advise clients on regulatory and other issues relating to new products as well as counseling on significant matters involving their relationships with payment systems organizations.

We conduct institution-wide audits of regulatory compliance, address issues arising from the acquisition of loan portfolios from other lenders, and advise clients on contractual provisions, including the use of arbitration provisions as an alternative to litigation.

Enforcement Issues

We have long been active in defending financial institutions and individual officers and directors who are threatened with enforcement action by federal and state regulators. We also represent financial institutions in connection with regulatory examinations of retail lending and related operations, and in connection with responses to Congressional and DOJ inquiries. We have a broad range of experience, and a demonstrated track record of success, in obtaining the best possible outcomes for our clients in such matters.

Our attorneys regularly appear before the Federal Reserve Board, the OCC, the FDIC, the DOJ, the FTC, the US Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. This experience gives us both an understanding of the procedures involved in regulatory review and examination and substantive experience with the issues Bureau-governed entities potentially face. We have also represented clients in connection with high profile state Attorney General investigations.

Our interdisciplinary group includes lawyers from our Securities and Litigation Departments who advise on investigations and enforcement actions brought against financial institutions concerning potential violations of consumer protection statutes, the federal securities laws, securities disclosure issues (which may arise at the bank or thrift regulatory agencies as well as at the SEC), accounting issues, allegations of fraud and self-dealing by insiders and others, and other areas where the securities laws are implicated. We have also advised banks facing SEC enforcement action on the collateral consequences of those proceedings, including the impact on the institutions' relationships with their primary federal banking agencies.

Legislative and Regulatory Solutions

Clients regularly turn to us when seeking counsel with respect to the application of regulations, including help with rule amendments, no-action positions and exemptions. We cover federal legislative developments involving consumer credit matters on a regular basis, analyzing legislative proposals and preparing legislative materials, and we are actively involved in federal rulemaking matters involving consumer credit. We advise financial institutions on legislative and regulatory proposals, including drafting comment letters and meeting with senior representatives of the relevant agencies. Since before its enactment, we have been assisting many clients in understanding the implications of the Dodd-Frank Act and monitoring its implementation.

Publications & News

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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 16, 2016

The CFPB And Data Security Enforcement

In this article published in BNA's Banking Report, Michael Gordon, Leah Schloss and former Counsel Elijah Alper 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 3, 2016

CFPB Examinations and Investigations: Defense Strategies and Best Practices

In this Practical Law Journal cover feature, Michael Gordon, Franca Harris Gutierrez and Bradford Hardin address new challenges for entities that provide consumer financial products and services as a result of the CFPB's recent pursuit of examinations and enforcement actions.

May 27, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2016 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2016 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 47 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 82 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

May 20, 2016

Supreme Court Vacates Ninth Circuit Decision in Spokeo, Remands for Analysis of Concrete Harms

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Spokeo v. Robins, which posed the question of whether Article III standing requires a plaintiff to have a concrete injury when alleging a statutory violation under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). 

May 20, 2016

The Future of CFPB Small Business Lending Regulation

In this article published by Law360, Michael Gordon and Franca Harris Gutierrez highlight the role played by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in regulating small business lending.

May 6, 2016

CFPB Releases Long-Awaited Proposal on Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements

On May 5, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a proposed rule to prohibit the use of pre-dispute arbitration agreements to block consumer class actions.

June 15, 2015

CFPB Finalizes Automobile Finance Larger Participant Rule and Publishes Examination Procedures

On June 10, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a final rule that will allow it to supervise larger nonbank automobile finance companies.

November 21, 2014

CFPB Calls for Changes to Mortgage Servicing with Proposed Rule

On November 20, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed changes to the rules governing mortgage servicing and foreclosures—Regulation X, which implements the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and Regulation Z, the implementing regulation for the Truth in Lending Act.

November 17, 2014

CFPB Releases Long-Awaited Proposal on Prepaid Account Products

On November 13, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued a proposed rule to extend certain federal consumer protections to the prepaid market.