David Beam is . . . known for his expertise in handling digital payment regulatory matters and for his counsel to a number of large financial institutions, often handling licensing and product structuring matters. . . Clients say: "David knows the space inside out. He is a really solid negotiator - he not only has the sort of assertiveness that you need and the ability to be a hired gun, but he also has tremendous competence and experience around how these agreements come together. His memory is prodigious. He remembers where you have been, what changes have been in your position, and is able to use that skill very effectively for us."Chambers Fintech 2021
David Beam is a partner in Mayer Brown’s Washington, DC office. He is a co-leader of the firmwide Fintech practice, and member of the Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement group. David's practice focuses on payment systems and credit products, with an emphasis on legal issues that arise from the innovative use of technology in financial services.
David is consistently recognized as one of the top fintech lawyers in the United States by leading lawyer rating services. Every year since its inception, Chambers Fintech has ranked David among the top lawyers in the United States in the area of Payments & Lending. Legal500 has ranked David in the top tier of Leading Lawyers in its US fintech rankings each year since 2019, noting that he is “praised for his ‘deep expertise’ in this area.” In 2021, Business Insider named David as one of the “top 11 lawyers helping big-name fintechs,” and Who’s Who Legal included David in its list of foremost legal practitioners in the blockchain area. In September 2018, The National Law Journal included David on its inaugural list of Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Fintech Trailblazers for his work at the intersection of finance and technology.
David’s clients range from startups to some of the world's largest financial institutions. They comprise a broad spectrum of the financial services industry, and include banks and bank affiliates; fintech companies; money service businesses; investment banks; non-bank commercial and consumer lenders; and payment system providers.
His practice includes:
- Providing clients with regulatory compliance and related business-planning advice;
- Representing clients in connection with investments and acquisitions related to financial services companies;
- Defending companies in federal and state governmental audits, investigations, and enforcement proceedings;
- Conducting regulatory due diligences of investment and acquisition targets;
- Structuring joint ventures and other business arrangements;
- Obtaining approvals, licenses, and regulatory guidance from US federal and state financial regulators;
- Preparing terms and conditions for financial products and services; and
- Assisting in litigation matters, including putative class action proceedings.
Substantive Areas of Focus
Some substantive areas in which David focuses are:
- Payment Systems and Products: David has extensive experience advising both major financial institutions and fintech startups on the regulation of payments in the United States and globally. He is deeply familiar with all the major federal and state laws that regulate payments in the United States. These include the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and Regulation E; the credit card provisions of the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z; the Bank Secrecy Act and FinCEN rules (and other federal and state laws related to money laundering and terrorist financing); state money service business laws (discussed further below); and the participant rules for the major payment networks and clearing houses.
- Credit Products: David represents companies that provide credit and alternative financing to both consumers and businesses. He has particular experience advising lenders that use nontraditional underwriting tools. He also advises payment companies that integrate credit and financing products into payment services. David has advised on or negotiated dozens of bank partnership arrangements for credit programs. He has represented both banks and program managers in these arrangements.
- Emerging Technologies in Financial Services: Across product categories and industry segments, a large part of David’s practice focuses on helping innovative clients navigate the complex legal issues that arise when revolutionary technologies are integrated with heavily-regulated financial activities. Some technological innovations on which he has advised clients most recently include blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies; smart contracts; the use of “big data” in decisioning systems; artificial intelligence and machine learning; and the integration mobile and wearable computing devices into financial services.
- Money Service Business Regulation: David has an extensive background in the regulation of money transmitters and other types of money service businesses. He regularly advises several of the largest MSBs in the United States on these requirements. He also has helped dozens of fintech startups navigate these rules at various stages of their business evolution. He also advises established companies in non-financial industries on the application of MSB laws to incidental payment services that they provide to their clients and customers. He works with clients to structure operations to stay outside of MSB laws where possible, to explore partnerships with banks or licensed money transmitters as an alternative to getting licensed (and negotiating and preparing the contracts for those partnerships when that is the course the client decides to take), and helps clients obtain MSB licenses when necessary.
- Federal Preemption: Federal preemption of state financial laws has been a primary area of focus for David’s practice since the start of his career. He advises financial institutions—particularly national banks and federally-chartered thrift institutions, and their business partners—on complex federal preemption questions in connection with state laws relating to a variety of product categories (including payments, credit, and financial advisory services) and substantive topics (including consumer protection, prudential standards, and approval requirements). He has extensive experience negotiating and structuring bank partnerships for a variety of different product categories.
Other Professional Activities
David presents and publishes extensively on matters affecting the financial services industry. He is a regular speaker at seminars and conferences on a wide range of topics, including fintech, payments, credit (both commercial and consumer), and investigations and enforcement actions by the CFPB and other agencies. He is active in the American Bar Association's Consumer Financial Services Committee and is the chair of the Deposit Products and Payment Systems Subcommittee. He is also a past chair of the committee's Preemption and Federalism Subcommittee.
- Represented American Express in connection with the restructuring of its reloadable prepaid and gift card products business, which included the sale to InComm of the Serve technology platform and other assets related to the American Express business, together with the appointment of InComm as the program manager, issuer processor, and exclusive distributor of American Express prepaid reloadable and gift card products.
- Advised numerous clients in connection with examinations and supervisory proceedings by federal and state financial regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Reserve Board.
- Represented a credit card company being investigated by the FDIC for its practices related to add on products.
- Defended numerous companies being investigated for operating as unlicensed money services businesses by state financial regulators.
- Defended a money services business being investigated by federal and state financial regulators for allegedly engaging in unauthorized banking practices.
- Advised Goldman Sachs on regulatory issues in connection with its Series C investment in Circle Financial, Inc.
- Advised a major global financial institution on a broad range of regulatory issues in connection with its prepaid card and emerging payments business.
- Represented several banks in connection with the development of tax refund anticipation loan programs and other tax-related financial services.
- Conducted numerous regulatory due diligences of fintech companies and other financial service providers for potential investors and business partners.
- Advised a bank in connection with the acquisition of a credit card portfolio.
- Advised numerous federally-chartered banks on a broad range of federal preemption issues.
- Solicited guidance on the application of money service business laws from state regulators for several fintech startups with unique business models.
- Advised numerous clients on the application of various federal and state financial laws to cryptocurrencies and other blockchain technologies.
- Served as regulatory counsel for a global financial services organization in connection with the development of an alternative to checking accounts to be offered through Wal-Mart stores.
Emory University, BA
University of Maine School of Law, JD, magna cum laude
Articles editor, Law Review
- District of Columbia
- ABA Consumer Financial Services Committee (chair, Preemption and Federalism Subcommittee)