Financial Services INDUSTRIES

WilmerHale has played a leading role in shaping the rules that govern the financial services industry in the United States. We have extensive experience across all sectors of the industry, including banks, thrifts and other financial institutions. In each sector, our thorough understanding of the industry and its regulatory environment helps our clients achieve their objectives in all four major areas of our practice: regulatory, litigation, transactions and securities.

Highlights

  • In the United States Supreme Court we won two cases for financial institution clients: Beneficial National Bank and Beneficial Tax Masters Inc. v. Anderson, (establishing "complete preemption" basis to remove cases challenging interest charges by national banks); and Pfennig v. Household Credit Services, Inc (holding that over-limit fees are not "finance charges" under the Truth in Lending Act).
  • Represented Bank One in its acquisition of Circuit City's credit card portfolio and the related infrastructure for $1.8 billion.
  • Assisted a major card issuer in the negotiation of a core dedication agreement with one of the major bankcard systems.
  • Helped to shape anti-money laundering regulations and drafted anti-money laundering compliance programs for numerous banks, broker-dealers, and several other types of financial institutions.
  • Represented clients on sensitive compliance and internal investigation matters, and in formal and informal enforcement actions brought by or before several agencies, including the Federal Reserve Board, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, and the Federal Trade Commission, and in areas such as accounting matters and anti-money laundering.

WilmerHale has played a leading role in shaping the rules that govern the financial services industry in the United States. We have extensive experience across all sectors of the industry, including banks, thrifts and other financial institutions. In each sector, our thorough understanding of the industry and its regulatory environment helps our clients achieve their objectives in all four major areas of our practice: regulatory, litigation, transactions and securities.

Highlights

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Brown, Reginald J.

Reginald J. Brown

Chair, Financial Institutions Practice Group

+1 202 663 6430 (t)

reginald.brown@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 U.S. 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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May 6, 2015

In Warning to Bitcoin and Other Virtual Currency Businesses, FinCEN Issues First Enforcement Action for Virtual Currency Activity

The US government took its strongest step yet in its oversight of other virtual currency yesterday, fining prominent "Bitcoin alternative" company Ripple Labs Inc. $700,000 for what the government called a willful violation of the anti-money laundering laws.

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.

January 27, 2015

Global Anti-Bribery Year-in-Review: 2014 Developments and Predictions for 2015

The year 2014 witnessed several notable developments in the enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In Global Anti-Bribery Year-in-Review: 2014 Developments and Predictions for 2015, WilmerHale attorneys discuss notable trends and developments in 2014, and look ahead to possible trends in 2015.

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.

October 3, 2014

The Legal 500 UK Honors WilmerHale with Top Rankings in 2014 Edition

The Legal 500, the United Kingdom's guide to outstanding lawyers, has again selected WilmerHale as a top-tier law firm in dispute resolution - international arbitration, and highly recommends the firm in nine other categories. The guide also names three lawyers to its "leading individuals" list, and recognizes a total of eight of the firm’s London-based lawyers

October 1, 2014

Sentencing of Corporate Offenders in the UK: A Practical Guide

On 1 October 2014, the Sentencing Council's Definitive Guideline for Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Offences came into force, providing for the first time a framework for the sentencing of corporate offenders in the UK.

July 31, 2014

FinCEN Releases Long-Awaited Proposal on Customer Due Diligence (CCD) and Beneficial Ownership

On July 30, the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued proposed regulations that would formalize certain financial institutions’ Customer Due Diligence (CDD) requirements and expand the degree to which those institutions must look beyond the nominal account holder to identify the natural persons who own or control certain legal entity customers.

July 2, 2014

DC Circuit Issues Major Ruling Affirming Broad Applicability of Attorney-Client Privilege to Corporate Internal Investigations

On June 27, 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued a major decision clarifying the scope of the attorney-client privilege as applied to corporate internal investigations.

June 9, 2014

US Supreme Court Resolves Executive Benefits on Narrow Grounds, Leaving Unresolved Many Important Questions About Bankruptcy Court Authority

The US Supreme Court earlier today issued its much anticipated decision in Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison, No. 12-1200 (June 9, 2014), a follow-on case to the Court's landmark decision in Stern v. Marshall, 131 S. Ct. 2594 (2011), regarding the scope of bankruptcy courts' authority under Article III of the Constitution.

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.