Our team looks for pragmatic solutions to the complex compliance challenges impacting financial service providers in all areas of consumer lending—mortgage, auto, student, and peer-to-peer. We advise originators, servicers, other service providers, and secondary market participants on the applicability and interplay of federal and state laws—and are there to defend them if things go astray.
In today’s consumer financial services world, staying in compliance with the ever-expanding web of statutes and regulations is a daunting challenge. Alston & Bird’s Consumer Financial Services Group is a preeminent team of lawyers who are focused on the regulation of consumer credit and real estate, with a broad emphasis on origination, servicing, and secondary mortgage market transactions. Every day, this team addresses the compliance challenges of major Wall Street financial institutions, federal- and state-chartered depository institutions, hedge funds, private equity funds, national mortgage lenders and servicers, mortgage insurers, due diligence companies, ancillary service providers, and others.
Unparalleled Breadth of Experience
Our comprehensive approach and practical experience in regulatory and compliance matters include:
Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and Regulation X
Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z
Fair Credit Reporting Act, including FACTA and Regulation V
Consumer Leasing Act and Regulation M
Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act and Regulation Z (Section 32)
Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B
Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act and state privacy laws
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and Regulation C
FHA, VA, and GSE rules and regulations
Homeowners Protection Act
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the Military Lending Act, and related state laws
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and state debt collection laws
State and local anti-predatory lending laws
State appraisal, appraisal management, and real estate laws (including alternative valuation products (AVMs and BPOs))
National Flood Insurance Act
State licensing, registration, notification, and doing-business statutes (including NMLS)
Unfair and deceptive trade practices laws and various other consumer protection laws
Appraisals and Alternative Valuation Products
We assist appraisal management companies (AMCs), appraisal firms, other service providers, and mortgage lenders and servicers with compliance issues and enforcement responses that arise in appraisal and valuation matters, including licensing and compliance with the Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines, TILA appraisal independent requirements, and state licensing laws.
Consumer Credit Products
Our experience includes nearly every type of consumer credit product in the market today: mortgage loans (forward and reverse), student loans, auto finance, credit cards, installment loans, payday loans, and boat/yacht loans, as well as money transmission, check cashing, and other licensed financial services.
Examinations and Enforcement
We assist regulated entities (including mortgage lenders and servicers, auto and consumer lenders) with managing the examination or investigation life cycle at the state and federal levels. We regularly assist clients with examinations or enforcement matters before state financial regulators and attorneys general, as well as before federal agencies including the CFPB, Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and others. We prepare entities for examination and assist them in responding to examination inquiries, findings, and civil investigative demands and other formal investigations and enforcement matters.
FHA, VA, and GSEs
We help clients obtain approvals required to navigate FHA, VA, and GSE lending programs. We have routinely represented clients before HUD and the various other federal agencies for mortgagee approvals, examinations, and various other issues. We frequently work with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac approved sellers and/or servicers and Ginnie Mae issuers to help them navigate the regulatory obstacles in the GSE space.
Our lawyers are supported by a veteran team of industry licensing professionals who obtain and maintain state licenses for a number of players in the financial services arena, including mortgage originators, purchasers of loans, loan servicers, student lenders, and early wage access clients. Our licensing experience includes obtaining de novo licenses for various financial services participants and advising and licensing entities that purchase companies through stock or asset acquisitions.
Acquisition and Loan-Level Due Diligence
Alston & Bird’s regulatory and compliance lawyers also routinely counsel our corporate clients, as well as the nation’s leading due diligence companies, in conducting regulatory diligence for potential acquisition targets and the valuation of whole loans and various other financial products, whether unsecured or secured by real estate or personal property.
We advise clients on all aspects of origination compliance for unsecured, personal-property secured, and first- and subordinate-lien forward and reverse residential mortgage loans, including applicable federal and state disclosure obligations, marketing, affiliated business arrangements, loan originator compensation, branch arrangements, wholesale lending, and usury and fee requirements.
We also manage the legal issues governing federal and state bank regulations, including rate exportation issues, first-mortgage preemption, alternative mortgage transactions, and agency powers and procedures regarding professional liability claims. Furthermore, we have been instrumental in obtaining favorable opinions from federal bank regulators preempting state banking and consumer laws, including anti-pass-through taxes, hazard insurance, loan-related fees, and escrow account requirements.
Servicing and Debt Collection
We advise mortgage servicers on federal, state, and local requirements resulting from the Dodd–Frank Act and the enactment of the national servicing standards, including fees, disclosures, loss mitigation requirements, other substantive restrictions, and the interplay between the FDCPA and other laws.
Full-Service Firm Capabilities
Our team is closely aligned with the firm’s full interdisciplinary resources, including:
Legislative and Regulatory Affairs: We collaborate with our preeminent Legislative & Public Policy Group to provide sophisticated legislative and regulatory strategy advice. We prepare and submit comment letters, draft legislative proposals, work with policymakers to implement legislative and regulatory changes, and recognize opportunities to educate regulators on business practices and the need for coordinated regulatory oversight.
Litigation: We represent leading banks, financial institutions, CMBS special servicers, and investment funds and advisers in a cross-section of high-stakes litigation, from consumer finance to the capital markets.
Mergers and Acquisitions: We counsel entities on various mergers and acquisitions, helping to structure the transactions and ensuring that all regulatory hurdles are cleared.
Privacy: We advise the financial services industry in all aspects of federal and state privacy and data security laws with the support of our Privacy, Cyber & Data Strategy Team.
Secondary-Market Transactions: We are the leading counsel to some of Wall Street’s largest secondary-market players, advising them on the regulatory aspects of various transactions, including whole-loan purchases and sales, securitizations, master servicing rights and agreements, subservicing rights and agreements, and warehouse lending transactions.
Alston & Bird Adds Consumer Finance Partner John Redding in Los Angeles
Alston & Bird has expanded its consumer financial services capabilities with the addition of John Redding as a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Arriving from financial services boutique Buckley LLP, he brings more than 25 years of in-house and private practice experience advising clients on consumer finance investigative, regulatory, and enforcement actions by the federal government and state attorneys general.
Press ReleaseFebruary 25, 2020
CFPB Deputy Director Brian Johnson to Join Alston & Bird as Partner in Washington, D.C.
Alston & Bird is expanding its consumer financial services and public policy capabilities with the addition of Brian Johnson, deputy director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), who will join the firm in March as partner in Washington, D.C.