Consumer financial services providers face an increasingly complex regulatory landscape. Innovative new technologies have emerged to deliver products and services and the roles of federal and state regulators are evolving. Our nationally recognized Consumer Financial Services Group helps clients chart a course to achieve their business objectives in these changing, challenging times.


The attorneys in our Group—more than 120 across the country—advise on regulatory matters, assist in the design and documentation of credit products, and represent clients in class actions, government regulatory enforcement proceedings, and other lawsuits nationwide.

We represent traditional and non-traditional financial services providers, from the largest financial institutions to smaller enterprises and internet-based providers. Our clients  include depository institutions; credit, debit, and prepaid card issuers; mortgage lenders and servicers; student loan lenders and servicers; retailers; auto finance companies and servicers; payday, auto title, and installment lenders; payment processors; consumer reporting agencies and resellers; debt collectors and buyers; equipment lessors; marketplace lenders; Fintech; and other technology companies. Our clients also include companies acquiring or investing in consumer financial services providers and products.

Chambers USA consistently ranks us in the highest tier nationally in the category of Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance and Litigation). They quote our clients who say, "They give definitive answers and I trust their advice" and "it is the only firm that I will go to for guidance because I can get an answer quickly and I'm confident it's right." The Group was named a 2018 Practice Group of the Year in the banking category by Law360. It includes 11 members of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers, including the College's first president, and two recipients of the College's Lifetime Achievement Award.

LITIGATION AND ARBITRATION

The attorneys in our pre-eminent consumer financial services litigation practice defend banks and other financial institutions throughout the United States in class actions, government regulatory proceedings, and other complex litigation.

We often act as sole counsel or national coordinating counsel in defending litigation for major consumer financial services providers. Our litigators have handled class actions and other lawsuits involving:

  • Enforcement of arbitration provisions in consumer credit contracts
  • Challenges to interest rates, fees, and other contract terms
  • Compliance with the full range of federal and state consumer financial services laws, including challenges to clients' TILA, HOEPA, ECOA, FCRA, FDCPA, RESPA, and EFTA compliance
  • Claims of credit discrimination and reverse redlining
  • Marketing and advertising practices
  • TCPA compliance
  • Privacy and data security issues
  • Insurance matters
  • Claims against unlawful arbitration and fraudulent debt management companies

PRODUCT GUIDANCE

Drawing on their understanding of the constantly changing array of state and federal laws and regulations that apply to financial services, we assist clients in the development and documentation of new or complex financial services products and in the acquisition of technologies, product issuers, and product portfolios.

Our attorneys have considerable experience representing marketplace lenders and other financial technology companies, advising both start-ups and firms expanding well-established businesses into marketplace lending. We have assisted clients of all sizes with the development, launch, and maintenance of technology-driven financial products and services, including mobile and web-based tools, payment systems, and fund transfer and tracking products.

Our experience includes:

  • Consumer and small business finance products, including secured and unsecured loans; credit cards, home equity lines of credit, and other open-end products; auto and other retail installment sale agreements, consumer leases, and layaway agreements; government-insured and private student loan programs and tuition payment plans; higher-risk products typically directed to subprime customers; litigation funding; and merchant cash advances and small business loans repaid through credit card receivable remittances or recurring ACH authorizations.
  • Payment card products, including payroll and other stored-value cards and gift cards, as well as more traditional deposit products and certificates
  • Credit insurance products, debt cancellation and suspension products, and ancillary products
  • Blockchain products, including virtual currency, mobile wallets, pre-paid cards, and other internet-based services
  • Implementation and enforcement of pre-dispute arbitration programs, including the most novel and consumer-friendly programs in the market today
  • Compliance with advertising and marketing requirements
  • Compliance with state and federal statutes that prohibit unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices
  • Compliance with federal and state military lending laws
  • Compliance with anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act requirements
  • Use of the internet, electronic payment systems, social media, and mobile phone technology
  • Federal preemption, Commerce Clause, and conflict of law issues
  • Privacy and data security, data mining and aggregation, credit reporting, and debt collection practices
  • Electronic records storage and electronic delivery of credit-related disclosures
  • The use of artificial intelligence

REGULATORY ASSISTANCE

Our attorneys assist in the development, implementation, and audit of compliance programs and policies, including those dealing with third-party due diligence and oversight, as well as provide day-to-day compliance advice. We guide clients in responding to compliance and safety and soundness examinations, administrative investigations, enforcement proceedings, and other dealings with government regulatory authorities.

Our experience encompasses the full range of federal and state banking and consumer finance laws. We regularly deal with federal and state banking agencies, state attorneys general, and other state and local agencies both within and outside of our geographic footprint.

We conduct regulatory due diligence for clients acquiring or investing in consumer financial services businesses and products, including private equity companies and investment banks. That diligence often includes working with financial advisors, communicating with regulatory authorities, negotiating and drafting commercial agreements with third parties, and assessing applicable federal and state laws and judicial decisions.

We counsel clients who are concluding loan purchase/sale and account servicing arrangements and customer transactions. Our attorneys advise on the structure of acquisitions and strategic alliances with other industry players, draft consumer and small business agreements and disclosures, and design and improve compliance systems and controls.

We regularly assist clients in obtaining state licenses for companies engaged in consumer finance-related activities. Our licensing work frequently is done in connection with our representation of clients acquiring or investing in consumer financial services businesses and products. We have considerable experience with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry—the on-line system through which a growing list of state license types, in addition to those related to the mortgage industry—are obtained and maintained.

We assist clients with a wide range of payment systems matters, including product development and marketing, business and consumer agreements, regulatory compliance and third-party risk management, data security and privacy, litigation and regulatory investigations, and mergers and acquisitions. Our clients include financial institutions, non-bank financial services companies, and payment processors.

Our Mortgage Banking Group provides regulatory compliance advice to clients in both the residential and commercial mortgage banking industries. Attorneys in the Group also handle issues related to repurchases, state and federal licensing, transactions, due diligence and audits, litigation, and administrative enforcement. They also advise industry service providers, such as document preparation companies, telemarketers, loan fulfillment companies, and trade associations.

contact

Alan S. Kaplinsky
Practice Leader
Tel 215.864.8544
kaplinsky@ballardspahr.com

Jeremy T. Rosenblum
Practice Leader
Tel 215.864.8505
rosenblum@ballardspahr.com

Christopher J. Willis
Practice Leader, CFS Litigation
Tel. 678.420.9436
willisc@ballardspahr.com