Consumer Financial Protection Bureau SECURITIES

As one of the preeminent CFPB practices in the United States, our team helps leading banks and financial services companies resolve CFPB issues and public enforcement actions.


WilmerHale's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Practice is consistently recognized as one of the leading CFPB practices in the nation by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers and other leading publications. We represent banks, nonbank financial institutions, card issuers, mortgage and student loan servicing companies, consumer reporting agencies, emerging payments companies, and other financial services providers subject to the CFPB's oversight in public enforcement matters. Our attorneys advise clients in nonpublic CFPB examinations, provide guidance on the interpretation and application of CFPB regulations, and counsel funds that invest in the consumer finance sector.

Clients come to our seasoned team for assistance with many challenges presented by the CFPB's broad regulatory, examination and enforcement authority. Our practice leaders include former senior CFPB personnel who helped design, build and set priorities for the CFPB during and after its inception. The unique insight they provide is crucial when addressing matters with an agency that has a short history, a complex set of laws to enforce, and a mission that has led to increased scrutiny of every corner of the financial services industry.   

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

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Gail Ennis

Partner

+1 202 663 6014 (t)

gail.ennis@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

Our Practice

Regulatory Advice: Clients depend on us to anticipate and guide compliance with new and revised regulations issued by the CFPB, and we closely follow issues that will be the target of future CFPB rulemakings. In addition to providing regulatory advice, our attorneys also conduct privileged reviews of compliance with laws and regulations within the CFPB's jurisdiction, draft policies and procedures, and advocate with the CFPB for future rulemakings and regulatory changes to existing rules. 

We also advise both investors and investor targets regarding CFPB regulatory risks in major transactions. For more information, please visit our Retail Financial Services page.

Supervision: We help 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 address particular requests and issues, drafting responses to examination findings, and preparing successful Potential Action and Request for Response (PARR) letter responses on high-risk issues. Our advocacy has led to supervisory resolutions rather than public enforcement actions in several cases.

Internal Investigations: Whether responding to an internal detection of issues or simply preparing for the CFPB's next areas of focus, we help clients stay ahead of emerging regulatory and legal issues prior to government investigations by identifying and addressing potential issues and remediating customers impacted by those issues. Internal investigations include email and other document review and interviews of employees, resulting in findings, suggested corrective action and customer remediation to ensure clients are prepared for regulatory scrutiny.

Government Investigations and Enforcement: WilmerHale leads the industry in representations before the CFPB for both large financial institutions and newly regulated financial services companies. In fact, WilmerHale has played a leading or supporting role in nearly every CFPB enforcement action against a large national bank since the bureau's inception. Our representation has expanded beyond large banks to include industry leaders in mortgage origination and servicing, student loan origination and servicing, midsized financial institutions, and financial technology companies.
  
We have handled matters raising allegations of unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP), and violations of federal law including the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Military Lending Act. Our experience spans the lifecycle of enforcement actions, including:

  • initial informal or formal requests for information;
  • petitions to set aside civil investigative demands;
  • Notice and Opportunity to Respond and Advise submissions;
  • consent order negotiations; and
  • compliance with consent orders.

Litigation: Should supervision and enforcement settlement negotiations not lead to a desirable outcome, our Litigation/Controversy Department, with its in-depth knowledge of governmental and regulatory litigation and long track record of success litigating against the government, is well equipped to litigate against the CFPB. Our litigation attorneys provide litigation risk analyses to clients with respect to any ongoing CFPB investigations, and are prepared to strengthen clients' positions in negotiations with the CFPB. 

Experience

We have handled a variety of CFPB matters for a wide range of clients, including:

  • numerous financial institutions in supervisory matters that were resolved during the nonpublic supervisory process;
  • several major financial institutions in connection with CFPB inquiries regarding its new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rules;
    multiple large mortgage servicers in connection with CFPB investigations relating to mortgage servicing, loss mitigation and mortgage insurance arrangements;
  • a large mortgage servicer in front of the CFPB's Enforcement Division to the point that the CFPB ceased its investigation without taking action;
  • a large bank and card issuer in a CFPB enforcement investigation and enforcement proceeding related to debt sales and debt collection;
  • several major card issuers in separate CFPB enforcement matters concerning add-on products, and we have provided ongoing consent order implementation and compliance counseling;
  • a midsize depository institution in parallel CFPB, FDIC and OCC enforcement actions relating to deposit account products;
  • multiple major leading student loan servicers in CFPB and multistate Attorney General investigations and proceedings in connection with supervisory findings and PARR letters, and we have provided ongoing regulatory advice;
  • major national consumer reporting agencies in connection with the CFPB inquiries; 
  • a large short-term lender in connection with a CFPB inquiry regarding debt collection practices, and we have provided compliance counsel to others in the consumer lending industry;
  • a structured payments company in connection with a CFPB enforcement inquiry raising novel issues of CFPB jurisdiction;
  • emerging FinTech companies in bet-the-company CFPB investigations; and
  • a number of financial institutions in the fair lending context in both enforcement and supervision matters (for more information, visit our Anti-Discrimination and Fair Lending page).

Publications & News

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August 8, 2016

BNA Insights: Statute of Limitations for Disgorgement Claims in SEC and CFPB Enforcement Actions

This article co-written by Matthew Martens and Benjamin Neaderland, published by Bloomberg BNA's Securities Law Daily, discusses why a landmark decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit could significantly decrease the financial exposure faced by targets of SEC enforcement actions.

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.

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.

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.

November 17, 2014

Proposed Prepaid Rule Unlikely To Stem Growth

An article by Franca Harris Gutierrez, Bradford Hardin and Maury Riggan, published by Law360 on November 17, 2014.

October 28, 2014

What is the Statute of Limitations for a UDAAP Claim Under the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Act?

An article by Matt Martens, Jamie Dycus and Daniel Kearney, published in the October 28, 2014 edition of Bloomberg BNA's Banking Report, Vol. 103, No. 891.

November 1, 2013

WilmerHale Among U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” and Again Named International Arbitration “Law Firm of the Year”

The 2014 edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list names WilmerHale as “Law Firm of the Year” in International Arbitration—this is the second consecutive year that the firm has won this honor—and honors WilmerHale as a first-tier law firm in 27 national and 60 metro-area rankings.