Mayer Brown’s Fair & Responsible Lending practice includes defending clients in enforcement matters and major litigation; handling examinations and other supervisory matters; providing strategic regulatory advice; developing compliance management systems, bias testing and monitoring programs; and performing compliance reviews and risk assessments.
We provide fair and responsible lending advice to a diverse range of clients, including large global financial institutions, national and regional banks, credit unions, fintech companies, mortgage lenders and servicers, consumer and small business lenders, secondary market investors, payment processing companies, insurance companies, online advertising platforms, iBuyers and homebuilders, among others.
Mayer Brown has extensive experience defending institutions in federal and state fair and responsible lending enforcement actions involving a variety of issues, including sales and marketing practices, loan pricing and underwriting, product placement (steering), market penetration (redlining), mystery shopping (customer service), mortgage servicing, REO management, reasonable accommodations and so-called predatory lending practices. We handle investigations by the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), federal banking regulators, state attorneys general and state banking departments.
Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of federal and state anti-discrimination laws and the government agencies that enforce them. We have considerable experience with the statistical analyses used to allege and defend fair lending claims. We handle complex document production and discovery issues efficiently and are adept at building and presenting compelling defenses. We are also skilled at structuring and negotiating settlements.
Mayer Brown has significant experience representing lenders in fair lending lawsuits across the country that allege claims under various federal and state laws. We represented a global financial institution in lawsuits brought by several different municipalities alleging claims under the Federal Fair Housing Act and state unfair competition laws. In the class action context, we have represented mortgage lenders in putative class actions and individual actions involving claims under the Fair Housing Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), civil rights statutes and various state laws. We have represented captive auto companies in putative class and individual actions alleging lending discrimination under ECOA, civil rights statutes and related state laws. We have litigated putative class actions under the foreclosure and interest rate provisions of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) on behalf of entities including a mortgage servicer and a student loan company. We also have handled individual actions brought by service members for purported violations of various provisions of the SCRA.
Mayer Brown represents clients in examinations by the CFPB, Federal Reserve Board, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and state banking regulators in connection with issues of fair and responsible lending. We assist clients in responding to Notice and Opportunity to Respond and Advise (NORA) letters, Potential Action and Request for Response (PARR) letters, examination findings and proposed Matters Requiring Attention (MRA). We also assist clients in preparing for examinations, responding to examiner inquiries, and formulating strategies and managing the examination process. Our lawyers also have prevented threatened DOJ “pattern or practice” referrals for numerous institutions.
Fair Lending Compliance Management Systems, Monitoring Programs and Risk Assessments
Mayer Brown develops fair lending compliance management systems to help institutions minimize risk and satisfy regulatory expectations. We have assisted numerous clients with developing and implementing bias testing and monitoring programs to evaluate potential discrimination risk in connection with the use of models and other decisioning processes. Our lawyers also have experience developing special-purpose credit programs for lending institutions. We create fair lending policies and procedures and develop and present fair lending training programs. In addition, we perform fair lending compliance reviews and risk assessments.
Strategic Compliance Counseling
Mayer Brown also provides sophisticated, cutting-edge counseling on fair and responsible lending matters involving a wide array of issues. In addition to staying abreast of current legal, regulatory and market developments, our lawyers excel at collaborating with in-house counsel and business executives to develop innovative solutions to difficult fair lending compliance challenges, including issues arising from the use of models, machine learning, artificial intelligence and non-traditional data in lending and other decisions. We assist trade associations and clients in submitting comment letters on important fair lending issues. Our depth of experience in fair lending enforcement, litigation and compliance—combined with our understanding of how our clients operate—enables us to provide effective advice that balances practical business considerations with risk mitigation.