Attorneys in Morrison & Foerster’s cross-disciplinary Financial Services Enforcement Practice regularly represent domestic and foreign depository and non-depository financial services companies in a wide array of inquiries, investigations, administrative proceedings, and lawsuits initiated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Reserve Board, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and state financial regulators and attorneys general. Our clients recognize that the current financial and regulatory environment makes all the more valuable the Firm’s unmatched combination of sophisticated financial regulatory capabilities, industry-specific enforcement, and litigation expertise, in-depth understanding of financial markets, and wealth of experience with financial services regulators. Should an inquiry, examination, or investigation give rise to an enforcement or supervisory action, we draw on our deep substantive and procedural knowledge to provide pragmatic assessments of downside risks and prospects for acceptable and efficient resolution. If necessary, we aggressively litigate enforcement matters in administrative and judicial proceedings, as well as in appeals.

Financial services companies increasingly face the need to get ahead of potential violations before regulators initiate action. Our clients look to us to assist them in identifying potential risks and remediating those risks in advance of government action. We regularly work with in-house compliance and legal professionals to review policies and procedures, prepare gap analyses, and conduct unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) reviews. We also assist management, audit committees, and special litigation committees with enterprise, product, or business-line specific risk assessments and internal investigations.

Agency actions can create special issues for public companies, and our securities regulatory and litigation lawyers assist companies with the disclosure obligations and regulatory and litigation exposure that may arise. In addition, the expansion in civil regulatory enforcement has led to an increased risk for individual executive liability and for criminal prosecution referrals. We represent corporate and individual clients in all stages of federal and state civil and criminal proceedings, and have resolved numerous complex and highly visible matters through out-of-court advocacy and negotiation with authorities.

Another focus of our practice is to advise and represent clients with regard to a wide range of matters relating to the anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) rules under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and applicable state AML laws. We also regularly counsel our clients on compliance matters under OFAC’s sanctions programs. We are often called on to assist financial institutions with large and complex matters, including responding to grand jury investigations and subpoena inquiries; conducting cross-border internal investigations; and representing financial institutions or individuals in regulatory and/or criminal and civil enforcement actions in front of various federal and state law enforcement agencies and bank regulators (including federal and state prosecutorial entities, FinCEN, OFAC, the Federal Reserve, the OCC, the New York Department of Financial Services, the California Department of Business Oversight, and other state regulators). These matters allow us to combine our award-winning white-collar and litigation practice with our internationally-renowned bank regulatory and financial services practice, and our deep expertise in trade sanctions and BSA/AML. Our lawyers not only master the legal issues but also have a deep knowledge and understanding about the financial industry, and its products and players. Handling such matters with a multidisciplinary team across legal disciplines and across the globe allows us to provide the most effective representation for our clients.

We represent and advise clients on a full range of matters, including:

  • Banks and non-banks in government agency investigations and examinations conducted or initiated by the CFPB, FTC, OCC, FDIC, HUD, SEC, U.S. Treasury (including FinCEN and OFAC), DOJ, Federal Reserve, and various state regulators.
  • Non-bank financial services providers in significant regulatory and enforcement actions brought by state financial regulators and attorneys general across the U.S.
  • U.S. and international banks and their officers or directors in connection with BSA/AML and economic sanctions-related investigations initiated by federal or state banking regulators or law enforcement agencies.
  • Lending and settlement services respondents in HUD and CFPB investigations and enforcement actions involving the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), and similar consumer credit laws and regulations.
  • Financial and non-financial clients in False Claims Act proceedings, including proceedings initiated by inspectors general.
  • Mortgage lender and servicer clients in appeals, challenges, and resolution of demands or claims levelled by the Fair Housing Administration (FHA), Department of Veterans Affairs, and other governmental agencies.
  • Vendors and financial institutions in state and federal examinations, administrative investigations, and proceedings related to third-party vendor and service provider management.
  • Financial services trade groups and industry organizations on common regulatory risk mitigation strategies and interpretations of new and novel remedies.

Our attorneys, including several veteran bank regulatory lawyers and litigators, have represented financial institutions before the government and in private litigation for more than 50 years. Our team includes attorneys who formerly held senior positions with the DOJ, the CFTC, the SEC, the Federal Reserve System, and the FTC.

Representing a major bank in one of the highest profile CFPB enforcement settlements in the credit card area.
Representing an independent mortgage company in an enforcement action brought by the CFPB involving the loan originator compensation rule in Regulation Z. 
Assisting a major bank with “foreclosure lookback reviews” and other actions dictated by OCC and Federal Reserve enforcement actions.
Representing short-term small dollar lenders in a series of examinations and investigations by the CFPB and the New York Department of Financial Services, and defending threatened criminal actions against related defendants.
Representing a mortgage origination and servicing client in investigation and enforcement proceedings brought by the New York Department of Financial Services.
Representing top-20 lender in FHA Inspector General subpoena response involving lending practices in government-insured loans.
Represented bank-affiliated mortgage company in HUD fair lending investigation and administrative action.
Lead counsel for industry respondents in state Commissioner of Banks administrative action against nation's largest payday advance lender.

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Law Firm of the Year 
Litigation - Banking & Finance (2019)
Financial Services Regulation Law (2018 and 2014)

Legal 500 US 2018
Financial Services: Litigation
Financial Services: Regulatory

Chambers USA 2018
National: Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance & Litigation)
National: Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Compliance)
California: Litigation: General Commercial
New York: Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded

Chambers Professional Advisers: FinTech 2019
Global-wide (Legal)
U.S. (Legal)
Hong Kong (Legal: Hong Kong-based) 
Singapore (Legal)

U.S. News – Best Lawyers®
Litigation - Banking & Finance – Law Firm of the Year 2019
Financial Services Regulation Law – Law Firm of the Year 2018 and 2014
Information Technology Law – Law Firm of the Year 2018 and 2013

IFLR1000 2019
United States: Financial Services Regulatory

Women in Compliance Awards
Best Regulatory Law Firm of the Year, 2015 and 2016

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms 2019
National: Financial Services Regulation Law (Tier 1)
National: Banking and Finance Law (Tier 1)
National: Litigation – Banking & Finance (Tier 1)
Los Angeles: Financial Services Regulation Law (Tier 1)
Los Angeles: Banking and Finance Law (Tier 1)
New York City: Financial Services Regulation Law (Tier 1)
New York City: Litigation – Banking & Finance (Tier 1)
New York City: Banking and Finance Law (Tier 2)
San Francisco: Financial Services Regulation Law (Tier 1)
San Francisco: Banking and Finance Law (Tier 1)
San Francisco: Litigation – Banking & Finance (Tier 2)
Washington D.C.: Financial Services Regulation Law (Tier 1)
Washington D.C.: Banking and Finance Law (Tier 1)
Washington D.C.: Litigation – Banking & Finance (Tier 2)

BTI Litigation Outlook 2015
Ranked as a “Standout” in securities and finance litigation

Operational Risk & Regulation Awards 2013
Law Firm of the Year

MoFo Re Enforcement
The Enforcement Blog

“…first-class legal services in a responsive, time-sensitive manner.”
(Chambers USA)

“…seamlessly able to mesh its regulatory, litigation and enforcement capability to provide a compelling proposition for clients engaged in high-profile consumer finance disputes.”
(Legal 500)

“It’s very helpful to have a firm like it that has our interests at heart as well as I do. They understand what the end game is for the business even before we do.”
(Chambers USA)

"Clients describe Morrison & Foerster as ‘totally tied in’ to what’s happening in Washington and around the world.’"
(Operational Risk & Regulation Awards)

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