John Socknat
John Socknat

John D. Socknat

Tel 202.661.2253
Fax 202.661.2299
Washington, DC

John D. Socknat is the Practice Leader of Ballard Spahr's Mortgage Banking Group. Mr. Socknat uses his knowledge and breadth of the business issues affecting the residential and commercial mortgage banking industries and the legal landscape to advise clients on compliance and licensing matters under state and federal law.

Mr. Socknat's clients include mortgage and consumer finance companies, financial institutions, servicers, collection agencies, title companies, real estate brokers, and secondary-market investors. He focuses his practice in matters concerning regulations such as the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), financial privacy in Title V of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), state consumer credit and debt collection, and telemarketing-related issues, among others. He also counsels clients on e-commerce issues, including electronic signatures, electronic storage of records, and electronic delivery of credit-related disclosures. In addition, Mr. Socknat has represented clients in asset and stock transactions and joint venture arrangements.

Mr. Socknat performs regulatory compliance due diligence on lenders, servicers, and other settlement service providers; assists with structuring operations and developing compliance programs; and represents clients in state and federal enforcement actions.

Mr. Socknat is a member of the Advisory Council to the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR), and the SRR Industry Advisory Council. He is an editor of Mortgage Finance Regulation Answer Book 2011-2012, published by the Practising Law Institute, and author of its “State Law/Preemption” chapter.

Representative Matters  

  • Counseled a client on the regulatory and licensing obligations for a distressed asset disposition platform
  • Represented a client in connection with state Attorneys General actions related to advertising practices
  • Represented clients in connection with Notices of Violation issued by HUD's Mortgagee Review Board 
  • Counseled clients regarding compliance with Fair Labor Standards overtime issues for loan officers, processors, and underwriters
  • Advised a client in connection with regulatory and licensing obligations for an online short-sale platform
  • Advised third-party processors and underwriters regarding SAFE Act licensing obligations
  • Counseled various private equity and hedge funds regarding licensing and other compliance-related issues associated with the acquisition, servicing, and disposition of distressed assets, whole loans and mortgage servicing rights
  • Advised a client in connection with the consolidation and integration of various title agencies onto a single platform
  • Advised state and federal depository institutions regarding loan officer registration obligations imposed by the SAFE Act
  • Completed an operational and compliance review of a specialty servicer

Professional Activities

American Bar Association

District of Columbia Bar Association

Virginia Bar Association

American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR), Advisory Council

SRR Industry Advisory Council 

Recognition & Accomplishments

The Legal 500 US, financial services – regulatory, 2015

Named a Washington, D.C., Super Lawyer, 2013

Fellow, American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers


Author, 16.08 section of Chapter 16, The Law of Truth in Lending (an update of Truth in Lending by Ralph J. Rohner and Frederick H. Miller), published by the American Bar Association Business Law Section, July 2014

Editor, Mortgage Finance Regulation Answer Book 2011-2012, published by the Practising Law Institute, and author of the “State Law/Preemption” chapter 

Co-author, “Safe Act, Sound Solutions,” The MReport, October 2011 

Co-author, “Compliance Crossroads: Technology That Addresses New Regulations Has To Be Designed with the Help of Policy Experts,” Mortgage Technology, August 2011 

Co-author, “Mortgage Reg Problems, Tech Solutions,” American Banker, April 29, 2011 

Co-author, “Overtime Law Expands to Cover Mortgage Loan Officers,” The Banking Law Journal, June 2010

Recent Speaking Engagements

"State Regulatory Developments," MBA Legal Issues & Regulatory Compliance Conference, Denver, May 2, 2016

"What's Next in Marketplace Lending – Our Predictions for Regulation, Enforcement, and Litigation,"  Ballard Spahr webinar, April 29, 2016

"The Art of the Exam," NMLS Annual Conference 2016, Phoenix February 17, 2016

"RESPA Threat: The CFPB Challenges MSAs and More," Inside Mortgage Finance, October 29, 2015

"State Compliance Developments," Mortgage Bankers Association, MBA's Regulatory Compliance Conference 2015, Washington, D.C., September 21, 2015

"Mortgage Banking Litigation Update: Trends in the Western Region," Ballard Spahr webinar, July 16, 2015

"Mortgage Servicing Compliance," American Conference Institute, Dallas, June 25, 2015

"National Mortgage Licensing System; State Regulatory Update," MBA Legal Issues & Regulatory Compliance Conference, Chicago, May 5, 2015

"2014 in Review: Important Consumer Financial Services Developments Not Involving the CFPB," Ballard Spahr webinar, April 9, 2015

"Mortgage Banking Litigation Update: Trends in the mid-Atlantic Region," Ballard Spahr webinar, March 3, 2015

"The Legal ABCs of P2Ps," Ballard Spahr webinar, February 10, 2015

"How to Prepare Now for the Next Wave of Mortgage Servicing Litigation," Ballard Spahr webinar, November 19, 2014

"State Compliance Developments," Mortgage Bankers Association, MBA's Regulatory Compliance Conference 2014, Washington, D.C., September 30, 2014

"Other Relevant Regulatory Issues," Mortgage Bankers Association, MBA's Human Resources Symposium 2014, Washington, D.C., September 11, 2014

Industry Panel, American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators, AARMR 25th Annual Regulatory Conference, Seattle, August 8, 2014

"Cybersecurity: Best Practices for Financial Institutions," Ballard Spahr webinar, July 16, 2014

"Mortgage Servicing: An Update on the National Mortgage Settlement and Its Impact on the New Servicing Rules," Ballard Spahr and BDO Consulting webinar, June 26, 2014

"Beyond the Mortgage Industry: Licensing Frontiers for the NMLS," Ballard Spahr webinar, May 15, 2014

"Special Session: NMLS Update and Working with State Regulators," Mortgage Bankers Association, MBA's Legal Issues & Regulatory Compliance Conference 2014, San Diego, May 6, 2014

"CFPB Oversight of the Residential Mortgage Industry: Post-January 10 Developments, New and Emerging Regulatory Priorities, Lessons Learned from Recent Enforcement Actions, Broad UDAAP Standards Being Applied by the Bureau, and What To Expect Going Forward," American Conference Institute, 14th National Forum on Residential Mortgage Litigation & Regulatory Enforcement, Washington, D.C., April 24, 2014

"Mortgage Servicing Compliance," American Conference Institute, Bank and Non-Bank Forum on Mortgage Servicing Compliance, Washington, D.C., November 21, 2013

"State Policy Issues – 2013 Review: What To Expect in 2014," Mortgage Bankers Association, State & Local Workshop 2013, Washington, D.C., October 25, 2013

"Preparing for the CFPB," Corelogic's Mortgage Fraud and Valuation Consortium, New Orleans, September 25, 2013

"SAFE and NMLS Update, Mortgage Bankers Association Legal Issues and Regulatory Compliance Conference, Boca Raton, Fla., May 21, 2013

"The New Loan Servicing Standards," October Research/RESPA News webinar, March 21, 2013

"Enforcement Action Update: CFPB and State Agencies," RegList WorkShop 2013, Costa Mesa, Calif., March 14, 2013

"What Do the CFPB's Servicing Rules Mean for Your Business?" HousingWire webinar, March 4, 2013

"The New System of Dual Regulatory Supervision," NMLS Annual Conference and Training, San Antonio, February 27, 2013

The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law (J.D. 1995)

James Madison University (B.A. 1990, cum laude)

District of Columbia