The financial services industry is one of the most sophisticated, globally integrated, and highly regulated industries. MoFo understands how to help our clients navigate this complex marketplace and how the ever-changing regulatory reform landscape will impact their businesses.

Working across borders, we provide thoughtful, creative, and practical solutions to address our clients’ most pressing concerns regarding: regulatory issues, transactions, disputes, and investigations, as well as providing legal assistance with their day-to-day operations.

With an acute understanding of the cross-cultural differences in regulatory and business environments, we help our clients around the globe with their growth strategies. We represent banks in establishing, conducting, and expanding their U.S. businesses, including counseling international banks in connection with acquiring both U.S. banks and non-bank companies, providing guidance on both compliance and regulatory challenges. We advise retailer and non-bank consumer financial services participants on global strategic ventures, including merchant acceptance and local co-brand and commercial payment card transactions.

Working closely with our clients, often acting as an extension of their own legal teams, we offer pragmatic and comprehensive legal advice with flexibility, specializing in:

We have deep knowledge in all aspects of the financial services spectrum, working with clients in a broad range of areas, including:

  • Consumer and wholesale financial services
  • Corporate, capital markets
  • Debt trading
  • Derivatives
  • Financial product structuring
  • Investment management
  • Business restructuring and insolvency
  • Financial technology and outsourcing
  • AML/Sanctions
  • Privacy

Consumer Financial Services

We advise clients on all aspects of lending/credit card, deposit, and other retail financial products and services. This includes helping clients adapt to sweeping changes to payment card laws and assisting them with reviewing and restructuring their credit card and prepaid card portfolios, disclosure documents, and change in terms notices. We also provide regulatory and legislative advice to leading payment card issuers on developing payment card laws and work with regulators to obtain clarifications of these laws. We also help clients with the development of creative banking and mortgage products, and the expansion of financial activities by non‑traditional financial service companies.

Additionally, we bring deep experience in regulatory issues, capital markets, and restructurings, working with clients in the mortgage industry, including:

  • Non-bank mortgage originators
  • Servicers
  • Providers of private mortgage insurance
  • Mortgage REITs
  • Specialty finance companies (credit card, equipment financing, and receivables financing companies)

We also advise on fair lending examinations and enforcement matters across the spectrum of financial services products and services.

Back to List

Bank Regulation

We advise on issues arising under all principal U.S. federal and state statutes affecting the enterprise‑wide regulation and supervision of financial institutions, including the organization and chartering of financial institutions, their funding and capital-raising activities, regulatory capital compliance, bank holding companies and non U.S. banking organization powers, federal deposit insurance including bank resolutions, trading and investment-related matters, affiliate transactions, compensation, governance and disclosure matters, derivatives, securitizations, domestic and global asset management, custody and administration matters, and new financial products. Our practice is a market leader in the area of institutional payment and settlement systems, including cross-border payments.

International banks turn to us for advice on the effect of U.S. laws on their global businesses, including:

  • Permissible activities and product expansion
  • Enterprise-wide regulation and supervision
  • Funding and capital-raising activities, including regulatory capital compliance
  • Trading and investment, including the Volcker rule
  • Compensation
  • Governance
  • Derivatives
  • Securitizations
  • Domestic and global custody and asset management

We represent global banks in supervisory and enforcement matters before a full range of U.S. financial regulatory authorities, such as the Federal Reserve, the OCC, the FDIC, the CFPB, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), and the California Department of Business Oversight (CDBO), and on financial crime matters before other enforcement agencies, such as FinCEN, OFAC, and state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Our experience ranges from advising clients on discrete BSA/AML compliance questions to supporting clients in regulatory examinations and enforcement actions. We routinely advise clients on a day-to-day basis with regard to BSA/AML questions they face in the course of their business; provide assistance in the investigation and decision-making processes related to suspicious activity reporting and other regulatory reporting; support clients in enhancing and updating their BSA/AML compliance programs; advise clients on the most recent statutory and regulatory changes (such as FinCEN’s Customer Due Diligence Rule or the NYDFS’s transaction monitoring and filtering program requirements under the NYDFS’s Part 504) and how they affect a client’s BSA/AML and OFAC compliance; provide training on all BSA/AML-related issues; and assist clients with regard to BSA/AML and OFAC due diligence on potential investments. We also regularly advise financial institutions, including banks, trust companies, and money service businesses, on the permissibility of providing financial services to marijuana-related businesses (MRBs).

We also advise and represent locals with supervisory issues and enforcement matters before U.S. and state agencies, such as the NYDFS and CDBO, and banking regulators. Our strong presence in New York and California allows us to fully represent clients that are regulated and supervised at federal and state level.

Back to List

Strategic Partnerships

Having worked extensively with many large co-branded and private label partners, our team regularly drafts and negotiates co-branded and private label credit card agreements. We have worked with both bank and non-bank partners, including retailers, airlines, hotel and lodging companies, Fintech companies and other merchants, and financial institutions, providing us with insights that are essential regardless of the side of the table we are sitting on.

We are frequently involved in negotiating other payment card program agreements, as well as agreements between acquirer banks and merchants and other joint ventures involving banks, retailers, and other non-bank financial services providers, including complex processing agreements, portfolio purchase and sale agreements, bank-origination agreements, network incentive agreements, mobile and e-commerce and POS-financing agreements, and stored value card programs agreements.

Back to List

Privacy & Data Protection

Our cross-disciplinary practice spans across our global offices. We advise on how local privacy laws may limit how financial institutions may use and share data both within and outside the enterprise across multiple jurisdictions. We support our clients when they are looking to move data across borders, to market new products on a cross-border basis, to centralize key functions across multiple jurisdictions, and to store data in cross-border back-up centers.

We also advise financial institutions on compliance with various U.S. privacy laws, including:

  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
  • The Right to Financial Privacy Act
  • The Telephone Consumer Protection Act
  • The Electronic Communication Privacy Act
  • The California Consumer Privacy Act

We also help clients develop and implement privacy policies and training programs designed to comply with the rapidly changing online, mobile, and social media privacy landscape.

Back to List

Compliance & Investigations

Clients regularly turn to us for global compliance related advice and when they need to conduct internal investigations relating to their consumer or wholesale businesses or in the area of financial crimes. We advise boards of directors on critical strategic questions. We also provide hands-on advice to the offices of general counsel and compliance officers on day-to-day questions.

Our global compliance offering includes:

  • Conducting internal investigations into cases of potential wrongdoing and offering advice on investigations conducted by government authorities, as well as related communication with key stakeholders
  • Pursuing damages claims resulting out of compliance violations and supporting in the implementation of appropriate corporate and employment law measures, including coverage by D&O insurance
  • Advising financial institutions on the development of comprehensive compliance programs
  • Assisting with change management processes

Back to List

Financial Services Litigation

We are at the forefront of consumer class action litigation in the financial services industry, representing clients, such as banks and other financial services companies, around the globe, in suits involving deposit and checking accounts, credit cards, real estate, mortgage transactions, consumer loans, loan-related fees, mortgage insurance, auto loans, ADR clauses, and other consumer relationships.

We have extensive experience in all aspects of financial services class action litigation, including opposition to class certification, early resolution through motions to dismiss or for summary judgment based on preemption, exportation, or substantive grounds, constitutional and other challenges to class actions in bankruptcy courts, and, where necessary, the organization and retrieval of extensive documents, mediation, settlement administration, and fairness hearings, as well as trials and appeals.

Back to List

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
Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Compliance): Nationwide
Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance & Litigation): Nationwide


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


Financial Times: US Innovative Lawyers
One of five firms ranked “Highly Commended” in the category of Enabling Business Growth, 2017
Overall winner of the Innovation in Social Responsibility category, 2016
One of four firms ranked “Standout” in the category of New Products and Techniques, 2016
One of four firms ranked “Standout” in the category of Enabling Clients Business, 2015
One of five firms ranked "Standout" in the category of Finance, 2012


IFLR1000 2019
United States: Financial Services Regulatory
United States: Banking


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


Operational Risk & Regulation Awards 2013
Law Firm of the Year


Thomson Reuters Accelus Compliance Awards 2012, 2014
One of Four Firms Shortlisted for Best Regulatory Law Firm of the Year


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)

Email Disclaimer

Unsolicited e-mails and information sent to Morrison & Foerster will not be considered confidential, may be disclosed to others pursuant to our Privacy Policy, may not receive a response, and do not create an attorney-client relationship with Morrison & Foerster. If you are not already a client of Morrison & Foerster, do not include any confidential information in this message. Also, please note that our attorneys do not seek to practice law in any jurisdiction in which they are not properly authorized to do so.

©1996-2019 Morrison & Foerster LLP. All rights reserved.