Co-Chair, Consumer Financial ServicesFinancial Services and Banking email
Co-Chair, Consumer Financial ServicesFinancial Services and Bankingemail
Co-Chair, Global PaymentsCo-Chair, Consumer Financial ServicesFinancial Services and Bankingemail
Helping Clients Navigate a Sea of Change
In the wake of a worldwide economic slowdown—blamed in large part on ineffective regulatory oversight of the mortgage loan and credit card industries, resulting in consumer defaults—financial regulation has grown dramatically, with a focus on consumer protection. Financial institutions, as well as nonbank providers of consumer financial products and services, now face increased scrutiny and an expanding universe of new regulations and laws. This expansion is expected to continue unabated for the foreseeable future, as new rules are adopted under the Dodd-Frank Act and as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) begins to exercise its powers. Aggressive investigations and enforcement campaigns by state attorneys general, along with plaintiffs’ attorneys taking advantage of regulatory changes with a spate of class action lawsuits, will further challenge the financial services industry.
Manatt’s Consumer Financial Services group can help you navigate this rapidly evolving regulatory environment. Our interdisciplinary team of lawyers and government and regulatory advisors has extensive experience in—and an in-depth understanding of—the laws and regulations governing consumer financial products and services. We can assist you in developing and implementing compliance programs, as well as defending consumer litigation and regulatory enforcement actions.
Experience Across a Broad Spectrum of Financial Services and Products
Manatt provides practical, sophisticated and comprehensive advice to a wide range of institutions offering financial services and products. Distinguishing our team is our substantial experience representing both traditional sources of consumer financial products and services—such as community banks, global financial institutions, mortgage lenders and payment card companies—and nonfinancial companies offering similar products and services or engaging in billing and collection practices that fall within the scope of the new regulations. Examples include:
Our practice’s offices in Washington, D.C., and throughout New York and California allow our attorneys to stay on top of current developments, trends and regulations affecting clients’ business objectives and priorities.
In today’s heightened regulatory environment, the CFPB scrutinizes and regulates credit products extensively. Our consumer financial services practice closely monitors developments at the CFPB and regularly works with its staff attorneys, providing advice regarding the large and growing number of laws that regulate the extension of credit to consumers and assisting clients in submitting comment letters on proposed regulations. Much of our work concerns the increasing overlap between products and services offered by financial and nonfinancial institutions, and attempts by regulators and plaintiffs lawyers to bring them within the jurisdiction of consumer financial protection laws.
The federal and state consumer credit laws on which we regularly provide guidance include:
Deposit Products and Operations
Our lawyers are recognized leaders in assisting banks, prepaid card issuers and others offering deposit products through the vast and complex laws and regulations that govern accounting and operational issues. A particular strength and focus of our practice is the structuring of cash management arrangements.
We offer insight and advice on the full array of federal and state laws governing consumer finance activities and operations, including:
We represent many credit, debit and prepaid card industry members, including issuers, acquirers, payment card networks, processors, independent sales organizations, affinity and cobrand partners, and merchants. Our attorneys can advise you on a broad range of matters related to payment cards and services, including:
Our team can provide advice regarding “prepaid access” products, mobile payments, alternative payment mechanisms (such as Internet, carrier billing and peer-to-peer payments) and other new developments in this space. In addition to our regulatory strengths, we have a great deal of experience in negotiating contracts in the payments space, including sponsorship and processing agreements among industry participants, as well as in advising our clients on industry updates and trends. We also represent our clients with respect to transactions among strategic and other buyers interested in joining this burgeoning industry.
UDAAP in Advertising and Marketing
In addition to the consumer financial services industry itself, marketing and advertising for the industry’s products and services are also facing closer scrutiny and tighter regulations. Our practice includes several nationally recognized lawyers in advertising, marketing and sales promotion law who regularly review the marketing and advertising campaigns of some of the world’s leading providers of consumer goods and services, including financial-related services.
Our lawyers regularly work with the FTC, CFPB and state attorneys general offices. Our extensive dealings with these enforcement bodies provide keen insight into how, for example, the CFPB is likely to exercise its broad rulemaking and enforcement authority to prevent UDAAPs. With that insight, we can advise you as to what representations, omissions, acts or practices the CFPB likely deems unfair, deceptive or abusive, particularly in regard to the marketing of products through social networking websites and mobile platforms, such as cell phones, apps, e-readers, location-based services and QR codes.
We regularly provide advice on the full range of marketing laws and regulations, including:
Firsthand Experience With Government Relations
Manatt’s bipartisan federal government relations team has been significantly involved in the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act on behalf of our clients. We monitor issues of interest at the congressional and agency levels, and work with a coalition of interest groups that share similar legislative and regulatory goals.
Our team includes former members of Congress and former congressional committee staff members. Our deep and extensive relationships in the House of Representatives and Senate enable us to advocate for legislative changes, work to block problematic bills and ask members of Congress to weigh in with respect to matters involving the CFPB. We have also assisted a number of clients in drafting comments to proposed rules, guidance and other agency proposals published by the CFPB and other financial services regulatory agencies.
Manatt also has significant relationships with state legislators and regulators nationwide through our state government relations practices, based in our Sacramento, Los Angeles and Albany offices. Our state regulatory attorneys can help you stay abreast of developments on the state law front, particularly as they relate to the partial rollback of federal preemption in the Dodd-Frank Act.
Defending Against Enforcement Actions
Our consumer financial services practice includes lawyers with a strong track record of success defending clients in enforcement actions brought by federal banking agencies, the FTC and state attorneys general. We also have a growing base of experience advising clients on issues arising during CFPB examinations.
Litigation Experience Clients Can Rely On
More than half of Manatt’s professionals are litigators, including some of the most respected trial lawyers in the country. Among them are those who have substantial experience defending actions involving consumer financial products and services, leveraging the knowledge of our consumer compliance attorneys to develop an effective response strategy. A particular area of experience and focus for our team is the drafting and implementation of effective arbitration clauses in the consumer context.
We have successfully represented banks, finance companies, insurance companies, hedge funds and other institutional lenders, as well as nonfinancial companies offering products and services that fall within the sphere of consumer financial protection laws, including brick-and-mortar and online retailers, publishers and subscription services, telecommunication and satellite television service providers, TV networks and affiliates, and production companies. Matters have ranged from individual consumer and class action suits to civil actions initiated by state attorneys general and regulatory agencies.
Our litigation experience includes matters asserting claims under a variety of laws, including:
Deposit Products and Operation
UDAAP/Advertising and Marketing
Ranked Nationally in Tier 1 for Financial Service Regulation Law for 2015
© 2015 Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. All rights reserved.