Mayer Brown announced today that Melissa L. Richards has joined the firm in Northern California as a partner in the Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement practice and Consumer Financial Services group. Ms. Richards most recently served as the chief legal & risk officer at national mortgage banking firm CMG Financial.

“Melissa has cultivated an outstanding reputation in California and nationwide for handling compliance, licensing, regulatory examination and enforcement defense work across the mortgage and consumer financial services industries, which will further enhance our reputation as a go-to firm in this space,” said Steve Kaplan, a co-leader of Mayer Brown’s Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement practice. “Her deep knowledge of California and federal law, together with her significant experience advising on state licensing work and solid background in Fintech, will immediately bolster our capabilities. In addition, Melissa’s arrival on the west coast and the recent addition of Mike McElroy in DC, both formerly general counsel of a leading independent mortgage company, solidify our overall strength in the mortgage lending market.”

As the chief legal & risk officer of CMG Financial for over five years, Ms. Richards actively managed all legal and corporate governance and real estate matters, as well as enterprise risk management. Before joining CMG Financial, Ms. Richards was in private law practice for nearly two decades. She spent 16 years as a practice group leader managing a nationwide client base and specializing in federal and multistate regulatory compliance and licensing for the financial services industry.

Ms. Richards previously served as outside general counsel to the California Mortgage Bankers Association and as a member of its board of directors. Ms. Richards was awarded her Certified Mortgage Banker designation by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America in 2009. This designation is the highest award given in the real estate finance industry, reflecting her proficiency in residential mortgage banking matters.

“Mayer Brown has one of the finest financial services regulatory practices in the country in my estimation,” said Ms. Richards. “I am honored to have this opportunity to work alongside them, and to elevate my own practice as a team member.”

In 2016, an industry-leading consumer financial services team joined Mayer Brown in Washington DC, Northern California and Texas to service the real estate finance and consumer credit markets.

“Melissa’s experience advising on California’s complicated regulatory environment, through impressive in-house and private law roles, will be tremendously beneficial to our clients in the consumer financial services and Fintech industries,” said Ward Johnson, the partner-in-charge of Mayer Brown’s Northern California offices. “Melissa’s a great addition to our capabilities in California.”