Consumer Financial Services

Venable attorneys assist consumer financial services providers in navigating an increasingly complex and highly regulated marketplace while effectively and efficiently managing their own sophisticated operations.

Venable's consumer financial services group was one of the first law firm practices to focus on all aspects of consumer financial services regulation and enforcement, including practicing before the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), banking regulatory agencies, state attorneys general, and state regulators. Our team has handled and continues to handle some of the most important precedent-setting enforcement, litigation, and supervisory matters in the CFPB’s history.

Our interdisciplinary team includes former members of the very agencies that regulate this industry, leading to an unparalleled reputation and relationships in Washington that provide our clients with access to an extensive network of contacts on Capitol Hill and throughout the executive branch. Venable has decades of experience advising clients on consumer financial services and banking regulation, law enforcement investigations and actions involving consumer protection laws, advertising and marketing laws, privacy and data security, legislative and government affairs, and class action defense.

We also regularly represent private equity firms and investors in connection with regulatory due diligence of consumer financial services and lead generation companies. Our work includes diligence of lead generation platforms and relationships, advertising and marketing, bank loan program agreements, consumer loan documents, and compliance programs. We routinely assist with drafting deal documents to account for the evolving legal and regulatory landscape.

While we represent all types of consumer financial services providers, below are some of the industry’s subsectors that we routinely advise.

Marketplace Lenders

We counsel banks and direct investors on compliance with consumer financial services laws, product development, state licensing, advertising and marketing, and receivables management strategy, including enforceability analysis of loans and banking relationships, “true lender,” risk retention, and related matters.

Fintech

We assist clients with the full spectrum of regulatory compliance matters relating to digital banking, new product development, investments, and partnerships and joint ventures. Various fintech companies have engaged Venable to assist with comprehensive regulatory audits, undertake fair lending audits, manage state attorneys general investigations, and work with licensing agencies to ensure legal compliance. We are also active in the policy space, where we recently formed a trade association for three of the largest marketplace lenders.

Mortgage Banking

We regularly counsel mortgage broker and mortgage bank clients on compliance with mortgage lending laws, including the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), Ability-to-Repay/QM, Loan Originator rule, the Department of Defense’s amendments to the Military Lending Act, and other federal and state statutes and regulations. We also design terms and disclosures for mortgage products and features and help clients through examinations, investigations, and enforcement actions by the CFPB, FDIC, and other state and federal regulators.

Payment Processors

We represent card networks, banks, nonbank financial institutions, fintechs, processors, merchant service providers, gateways, independent sales organizations (ISOs), payment facilitators, independent software vendors (ISVs), marketplaces, industry trade associations, online lenders, digital and mobile wallet providers, and merchants. Our client list spans the breadth of worldwide leaders in payments, from established players to start-ups and entrepreneurial market disrupters. Many of our clients are providing or servicing cutting-edge platforms in new markets, and we provide practical, creative legal advice to help our clients manage risk and reach their business goals. We have also represented payment processing companies and their trade association before the CFPB and FTC. 

Credit Counseling and Debt Services

We work with both long-established companies and start-up companies that provide credit counseling services, housing counseling, debt management plan services, and credit and debt negotiation services, as well as those creating new products and services for consumers in need. For those clients we have provided advice and counsel related to federal tax-exempt status, state debt-adjusting laws, bankruptcy, debtor education, banking and financial services regulation, advertising and marketing, privacy, and litigation. We are very familiar with the CFPB’s initiatives related to debt buying and collection, including the CFPB Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) for debt collection, supervision examinations, enforcement activity, consumer engagement, and education.

Experience
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  • Handle numerous nonpublic state attorney general investigations, including multistate investigations for consumer financial services companies
  • Represent companies and individuals in public enforcement actions and handle related crisis management issues
  • Represent companies and individuals in litigation brought by law enforcement and private parties in the Consumer Finance sector
  • Represent numerous banks and nonbanks in multistate examinations and CFPB-led examinations; handle appeals from CFPB examination findings and from state examination findings
  • Handle all aspects of state licensing for consumer financial products and services
  • Develop and perform compliance reviews, gap analyses, and audits of compliance management systems for banks and “larger participant” nonbanks, in preparation for CFPB supervision and examinations
  • Review new and existing consumer financial products and services for compliance with federal and state consumer financial laws, including compliance with the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s prohibitions against unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) and state law equivalents
  • Regularly meet with CFPB staff from different agency offices, including the Rules, Markets, Supervision, and Consumer Engagement and Education offices, on behalf of our clients
  • Help clients respond to agency rulemakings and policy initiatives, in such areas as mortgage, debt collection, “larger participant” nonbank supervision, credit reporting, prepaid cards, furnishing, consumer complaint handling, and financial education and literacy

Government Experience
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Experience Working for

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
 

Recognition
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  • Recognized by Law360 as the 2017 "Consumer Protection Group of the Year"
  • Ranked among the nation's top firms, Financial Services: Regulatory, in Legal 500
  • Ranked in U.S. News-Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" for Financial Services Regulation Law, 2012 – 2017
  • Attorneys with top rankings by
    • Best Lawyers in America
    • Chambers USA
    • Martindale-Hubbell