Consumer Financial Services
BakerHostetler’s consumer financial services attorneys counsel and represent mortgage lenders, banks, credit unions, insurers, loan servicers, retailers, and other credit issuers in high-stakes litigation, regulatory, and compliance matters relating to a variety of operating procedures and lending practices throughout the country. The right solution for every company hinges on a wide array of factors, and our attorneys are dedicated to respond to each challenge with the same commitment and client responsiveness that have built our firm’s national reputation in this area.
Litigation and Class Action Defense
BakerHostetler’s consumer financial services team helps clients navigate disputes in both state and federal court, managing consumer finance cases ranging from mortgage lending and insurance to bankruptcy and class action matters. We often serve as national coordinating counsel defending litigation for Fortune 500 consumer financial services providers. Named by Law360 as 2014 Class Action Practice Group of the Year, our attorneys are skilled in providing swift and effective response to some of the nation’s largest class action matters.
Compliance Legal Services and Regulatory Readiness
Our team counsels financial services institutions on federal and state regulatory and compliance matters. We draft front-end financial services documents including, but not limited to, federal and state disclosure statements as well as consumer agreements. We also advise companies in connection with their marketing materials, vendor contracts, investment and operating strategies, and management agreements. Additionally, we help compliance managers and staff identify compliance issues relating to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) readiness for lenders, banks, and specialty financers, and provide training and compliance counseling related to state and federal lending laws.
Regulatory Examinations, Investigations and Enforcement Proceedings
We represent financial services companies in CFPB, Department of Justice, Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority examinations, investigations, and enforcement proceedings throughout the country. We often assist individuals and firms that receive Wells notices to avoid SEC enforcement actions. Many of our lawyers are former regulators and government attorneys, who have gained personal experience, relationships, and knowledge regarding the legal tactics of government regulatory agencies. This allows us to proactively chart the appropriate course of action for clients under investigation.
- Counseled a publicly traded financial services client regarding a CFPB investigation through resolution. Engaged in risk assessment counseling and utilized regulatory experience to achieve the best result for the client concerning state and federal regulations.
- Represent banks and other publicly held companies and their officers in securities class actions and derivative cases, including a series of Employee Retirement Income Security Act “stock drop” cases involving a large financial institution’s stock fund that lost considerable value during a two-year period. Obtained a dismissal based on standing grounds in the district court, a judgment that was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Subsequently obtained a dismissal of the remaining cases on the merits.
- Successfully moved to dismiss a statewide class action in which the plaintiffs alleged that the client charged and collected improper fees in connection with the automobile purchase and lease transactions it financed in Ohio and that it paid improper referral fees to Ohio automobile dealers on these transactions. This matter involved claims under federal antitrust law, the federal Truth in Lending Act, the Ohio Retail Sales Installment Act, and aiding and abetting the automobile dealer’s alleged breach of fiduciary duty.
- Represent a federally insured bank in a matter involving a novel banking product being offered to consumers. Represent the bank in five parallel putative nationwide class action lawsuits initially filed in federal courts, now consolidated in a single action that challenges the product, compares the bank to a payday lender, and seeks to shut down the line of business. The lawsuit is the first of its kind and raises complicated issues of first impression in a highly regulated area of banking law overseen by a number of agencies.
- Represent clients seeking exemptions, interpretive guidance, and “no action” relief concerning novel securities issues, and the creation and distribution of products or services proposed by our clients.