EXPERIENCED COUNSEL

Consumer Financial Services

LEADERSHIP: Gary Apfel

Pepper Hamilton LLP offers counseling and litigation services in all aspects of the federal and state regulation of consumer financial services, including mortgage lending, credit card and consumer lending, private banking, insurance, broker-dealer/’40 Act questions and the distribution of securities products, electronic banking, including issues relating to the Internet, and auto finance and leasing.
 

Regulatory Compliance

A primary area of our practice is regulatory compliance and new product development, with special emphasis on residential mortgage lending. We counsel financial services clients on issues involving fair lending and fair credit reporting, the Truth-In-Lending Act and Regulation Z, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Regulation X, Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B, Electronic Funds Transfer Act, Community Reinvestment Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, state insurance laws, state and local predatory lending laws, and the myriad of other federal and state laws affecting consumer financial services. Our lawyers have signfficant experience with federal and state regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) - in fact, one of our partners literally wrote the book on CFPB compliance -- he is the co-author of “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Reporter,” a four-volume treatise published by CCH/Wolters Kluwer on Titles X and XIV of the Dodd-Frank Act and the regulatory framework they establish. Other partners on our team bring deep regulatory knowledge gained after decades of practice experience and previous stints at the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, U.S. Senate and House Legislative positions, Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Offices, state banking regulatory agencies, and more.

We deal with issues relating to federal preemption, interest rate exportation and the offering of consumer financial services nationally, including issues involving state laws that may affect such programs. We often are called upon to survey and analyze the state laws involved in offering new consumer products across the country, including through direct mail or other third parties, and have built a substantial national database.

Such engagements involve new product design and implementation, and the preparation of documentation, disclosures and procedures for various types of mortgage products, as well as open- and closed-end secured and unsecured credit programs, insurance programs, and auto and recreational vehicle finance and leasing programs.

These programs range from more traditional products, such as standard adjustable-rate mortgage loans and home equity lines of credit, to innovative reverse-annuity mortgage products and price-level-adjustable mortgages, asset-management accounts and financial products delivered over the Internet. We conduct audits of the forms and procedures used by lenders, and assist clients in complying with applicable federal and state laws.

This service involves the review of consumer-credit forms, loan applications, adverse-action notices, commitment letters, interest rate lock-in agreements, notes, mortgages and deeds of trust, security instruments, Truth-in-Lending and ARM disclosures, home equity line-of-credit agreements and related materials, advertisements, compliance and procedures manuals, and written internal memos of instructions to loan officers. In certain states, we also represent clients in government relations regarding proposed and existing statutes and regulations.

Litigation

Pepper represents clients in state and federal courts throughout the nation. Our philosophy of litigation is to advocate our clients’ cause vigorously and cost effectively. In addition to trial and appellate practice for individual cases, we have defended numerous state and federal class actions, and we have been recognized for our work defending clients in multi-district litigation. We frequently represent clients in arbitration and mediation, and we litigate to enforce arbitration clauses.

We represent some of the largest consumer financial services companies in class action and individual lawsuits throughout the country alleging violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Truth-in-Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, RESPA, and other federal and state laws. We represent these same clients faced with inquiries and investigations by various state attorneys general. We defend claims under the federal statutes and regulations that govern consumer financial services and under state consumer finance laws including the Uniform Commercial Code, motor vehicle sales finance laws, and unfair and deceptive trade practices laws.

Secondary Market/Servicing Transactions

We represent clients in a variety of secondary-mortgage-market transactions, including asset sales and purchases, and servicing arrangements. We represent clients in mortgage transactions, correspondent arrangements, the bulk purchase and sale of mortgages, mortgage-warehouse transactions and custodial arrangements. In addition, we develop and negotiate servicing, master servicing and subservicing agreements. We develop programs and related model forms and procedures, as well as deal-specific forms for related transactions.

Securitization

Pepper’s financial services lawyers, working with lawyers from the firm’s corporate and securities, real estate, taxation and bankruptcy practice groups, represent clients in complex securitization transactions and structured financings, including public offerings and private placements. We have represented clients in numerous asset-backed transactions, including securitizations of student loans, credit card and trade receivables, consumer loans, small-business loans, consumer auto leases, equipment leases, cash servicing for non-bank automated-teller machines, government receivables, noninsured medical procedure receivables, and mortgages and mortgage-servicing rights.