Mayer Brown lawyers have substantial experience counseling and representing bank and non-bank consumer financial services providers in a wide variety of matters involving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Our extensive experience working in the regulatory, enforcement, litigation, and public policy arena generally, coupled with our lawyers’ specific experience working at, and appearing before, the CFPB, render us uniquely qualified to help banks, finance companies, marketplace lenders, servicers, retailers, and others subject to the CFPB’s jurisdiction navigate the CFPB’s rules, bulletins, examinations, and enforcement actions, as well as related private litigation. Our team of lawyers, including a former deputy enforcement director from the CFPB, is well positioned to help clients:
- Understand their obligations pursuant to the various federal consumer financial laws the CFPB implements and enforces, including the Dodd-Frank Act’s prohibition on unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices (UDAAP);
- Adapt to new regulations and other informal guidance issued by the CFPB through bulletins, the supervisory process or enforcement actions;
- Prepare for CFPB examinations and respond to PARR letters;
- Pursue no-action letters from the CFPB;
- Respond to CFPB enforcement investigations, including responding to civil investigatory demands (CIDs) , advocating before the agency, negotiating settlements, or litigating when necessary;
- Defend against follow-on private litigation, including consumer financial services class actions; and
- Shape regulatory and legislative policy through advocacy before the CFPB, other key regulatory agencies and key congressional committees and offices.
We provide sophisticated advice and practical guidance on the full array of federal and state laws governing consumer financial services. This advice covers the design of innovative products and services, delivery methods, advertising, telemarketing, licensing, origination, servicing, usury, privacy and other critical business issues, such as significant challenges presented to all consumer financial services providers by the CFPB’s UDAAP authority.
Our lawyers have advised banking and financial services companies on the regulatory issues associated with mortgages, student loans, auto loans, unsecured consumer lending, marketplace lending, payment products (including credit and debit cards, electronic payments, virtual currency, smart cards, gift cards and Internet-based payment systems), debt collection, servicing, credit reporting and privacy. We have deep experience with issues such as consumer-disclosure requirements, fair lending, interest-rate exportation, collection practices, and marketing restrictions. This includes counseling financial services companies and their service providers on compliance with UDAAP prohibitions, the use of pre-dispute arbitration clauses, the Truth-in-Lending Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Electronic Fund Transfer Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, as well as the implementing regulations issued by the CFPB and other agencies.
We also regularly advise investors and secondary market participants on the CFPB’s supervisory and enforcement authority and the regulatory and enforcement landscape applicable to consumer financial services. As part of this regulatory counseling, we perform due diligence in connection with investments in financial services companies, review loans, origination and servicing platforms, and compliance policies and procedures as part of acquisitions, mergers and similar transactions.
Examinations, Investigations and Enforcement
Our lawyers have extensive experience counseling clients facing supervisory examinations or enforcement investigations by the CFPB and other financial regulators. Our experience includes assisting companies in preparing for CFPB examinations, responding to supervisory requests for information, responding to PARR letters indicating that enforcement action is possible, and implementing corrective actions.
We also have substantial experience representing a broad array of companies in all aspects of CFPB investigations, including responding to CIDs, preparing for testimony, advocating before the agency, preparing NORA responses and negotiating favorable settlements. Both from representing numerous clients in CFPB enforcement investigations and from our lawyers’ prior experience working at the agency, we have extensive experience appearing before the agency and an in-depth knowledge of how the agency and its office of enforcement approach enforcement matters, which allow us to develop responsive strategies that are anticipatory rather than simply reactive. In this way we are well positioned to protect our clients’ interests in complex, serious and often novel investigations.
Mayer Brown clients also benefit from our having handled a broad spectrum of consumer finance enforcement matters for banks and service providers before the federal banking regulators. In matters ranging from straightforward local issues to complex, multijurisdictional investigations involving not only the CFPB but also other federal regulators and state attorneys general, we draw on our comprehensive familiarity with issues that drive government investigations and the factors that influence prosecutorial decision-making, as well as our substantial experience with how enforcement investigations are likely to be resolved at trial.
Mayer Brown’s highly experienced teams also conduct thorough, insightful and discreet internal investigations to help companies anticipate and preempt enforcement activity. We identify the internal policies, procedures and practices relevant to the events, detail the steps that the company could take to prevent future occurrences, and recommend appropriate remedial actions.
We also counsel companies about possible self-disclosure of potential legal violations to the CFPB and other agencies and, where appropriate, assist in preparing and delivering such self-disclosures.
New regulations and enforcement actions routinely spawn private class-action litigation and the CFPB’s activity is no different, as many plaintiffs’ lawyers have already made clear. Mayer Brown’s lawyers stand ready to respond.
Collectively, we have defended hundreds of consumer class actions in federal and state courts relating to financial services—including many that have been prompted by or relate to governmental investigations. We frequently defeat these lawsuits by achieving early dismissals or summary judgments. We have successfully opposed class certification and—when necessary—have tried such cases to verdict.
Mayer Brown’s Government Relations practice contains a number of high-profile former government officials. Thanks to their insight and experience, the practice is able to provide clients with reasoned and authoritative advice on a broad range of consumer financial services regulatory and legislative policy issues, including the use of pre-dispute arbitration clauses by the financial services industry. Our lawyers and lobbyists were closely engaged in the legislative debate around the Dodd-Frank Act, and subsequently have helped clients present a variety of priority issues and concerns to the CFPB through various methods including regulatory comment letters, congressional testimony and timely advocacy in both formal and informal processes. Our deep understanding of the goals, practices and processes of the CFPB, as well as our experience working with the prudential regulators and the Federal Trade Commission, allows us to help companies and industry organizations monitor, assess and shape market-shifting policies that the CFPB has proposed, is contemplating or has begun to pursue through enforcement actions.
The Mayer Brown Team
Whether you are an established industry participant caught in the cross-hairs of a CFPB investigation or a start-up company seeking to launch a new consumer financial product or service, we can help. With a mix of highly experienced regulatory, enforcement, litigation and policy professionals, Mayer Brown can bring to bear the right mix of legal experience to help companies navigate the challenges posed by the CFPB.