As legislation governing the mortgage banking industry evolves and government scrutiny intensifies, clients will need counsel with broad experience and strong industry relationships to help them navigate uncharted territory and develop strategies for success.
Having worked with a wide range of clients in both the residential and commercial mortgage banking industries, our attorneys are at the forefront of rapidly changing regulatory developments. Our Mortgage Banking Group is part of Ballard Spahr's nationally recognized Consumer Financial Services Group. We combine broad regulatory experience with formidable skill in litigation and depth in enforcement actions and transactions.
Our team represents clients from start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations, including financial institutions; mortgage lenders, brokers, and servicers; secondary-market investors; insurance companies; investment bankers; settlement service providers; auction platforms; and homebuilders. We also advise industry service providers such as technology vendors, collection agencies, document preparation companies, telemarketers, loan fulfillment companies, and trade associations.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and its establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have expanded compliance requirements, made compliance more complex, and greatly enhanced penalties for noncompliance.
Our attorneys counsel a variety of market participants on issues such as loan originator compensation and steering restrictions, loan originator overtime requirements, risk retention, repayment ability requirements, lending standards and restrictions, and disclosure requirements.
We have experience assisting clients with the ever-expanding range of federal laws, including the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Fair Housing Act (FairHA), the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA).
In addition, our team regularly advises clients on applicable state laws and requirements, including those involving licensing, permissible fees, unfair practices, disclosures, advertising, and telemarketing.
State and Federal Licensing
We assist clients in acquiring and maintaining the state licenses necessary to finance, broker, and service mortgages or engage in consumer credit finance activities. We also advise clients on SAFE Act requirements; help them meet branch, loan officer, trade name, and renewal or recertification requirements; and identify and obtain licenses and approvals related to stock and asset acquisitions. In addition, we work with clients to secure approvals from federal agencies, including Ginnie Mae, FHA, and VA, and the GSEs.
Transactions, Due Diligence, and Audits
Clients frequently call upon us to oversee transactional matters such as mergers and acquisitions, liquidations of distressed assets, purchases and sales of mortgage loans, servicing rights and other assets, formation of joint ventures and strategic alliances, and the establishment of warehousing and other credit facilities.
We assist investors with due diligence, conduct audits to ensure compliance, and develop procedures when corrective action is necessary. Our attorneys have experience reviewing operations for compliance with applicable state and federal law, as well as emerging industry trends. Our attorneys have provided counsel in review of a servicer’s compliance with the OCC’s Consent Order related to foreclosure practices.
When mortgage lending and servicing disputes escalate and require litigation, we have clients well covered. Ballard Spahr is home to a pre-eminent financial services litigation practice. We defend clients nationwide in class actions, single-plaintiff claims, regulatory proceedings, and other complex mortgage litigation.
We often act as national coordinating counsel in defending litigation for major financial service providers, and we have handled class actions and other lawsuits involving the enforcement of contracts, challenges to contract terms, compliance challenges, insurance issues, and cases concerning RESPA, TILA, ECOA, FairHA, FCRA, FACTA, HMDA, GLBA, and state consumer protection acts.
We also defend clients in administrative enforcement proceedings and investigations, including state and federal audits, fair housing and fair lending complaints and investigations, HUD RESPA enforcement actions, inspector general investigations, and Mortgagee Review Board actions.
Our Mortgage Banking Group maintains strong industry relationships in both the private and public sector, and its presence in Washington, D.C., benefits clients who require experienced representation before federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Justice Department.
We also represent clients before a variety of state agencies, including state attorneys general and state agencies charged with enforcing a variety of consumer finance laws.
Repurchase, Coverage, and Recovery
Loan repurchases are a critical issue for the mortgage and financial services industries. We help limit our clients' exposure to loss stemming from repurchase issues, from evaluating repurchase demands and calculating risk to evaluating insurance coverage, and examining any available protections.
Richard J. Andreano, Jr.
John D. Socknat