Litigation Defense & Compliance Lawyers for Banks
Our Bank Lawyers Help Institutions of All Sizes Maintain Compliance, Mitigate Risk, and Achieve Favorable Outcomes in Federal Investigations and Litigation
Operating a bank is rife with legal risks. From financial regulations to consumer protection laws, banks face extensive compliance obligations, and failure to meet any of these obligations can lead to federal enforcement action or private civil litigation involving the bank’s clients.
At Oberheiden P.C., our bank lawyers represent institutions of all sizes in all legal matters. Whether your bank is in need of outside general counsel or you need defense counsel for a federal investigation or legal dispute, we can offer a custom-tailored solution focused on adequately protecting your bank. We can help your bank establish and maintain compliance, and we can use your bank’s compliance documentation to avoid unnecessary consequences in enforcement proceedings or civil litigation.
About the Bank Lawyers at Oberheiden P.C.
Banks face extraordinary compliance burdens. They are subject to a laundry list of federal statutes and regulations, and they are subject to oversight by an alphabet soup of federal agencies. As a result, to mitigate their legal risk effectively, banks need to rely on the advice and representation of highly experienced legal counsel.
The bank lawyers at Oberheiden P.C. bring a highly level of experience to the table. Our lawyers represent banks across the country regarding compliance, enforcement, and litigation matters. In doing so, they rely on the insights gained as former U.S. Attorneys, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and trial lawyers with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Several of our lawyers spent time at the DOJ, where they oversaw the investigation and prosecution of white collar financial crime cases.
Our lawyers also work alongside bank compliance consultants who previously served as Supervisory Special Agents and Special Agents-in-Charge with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS CI), and other federal agencies. As a team, our bank lawyers and consultants offer a wealth of knowledge and practical insights that they leverage to offer comprehensive advice and strategic representation to our banking industry clients.
How We Serve Clients in the Banking Industry
We provide a comprehensive suite of legal services to banks in the United States. This includes providing advice and representation in the areas of:
While banks need to have an internal compliance officer or compliance department, they also need to work with experienced outside compliance counsel on a regular basis. Maintaining compliance with the myriad federal laws and regulations that govern the banking industry is a key element of effective risk management, and it needs to be a priority.
Our bank lawyers and consultants provide comprehensive compliance representation for banks of all sizes. We craft custom-tailored compliance programs for our clients, and we provide ongoing representation to help ensure that our clients are managing compliance effectively. The following is just a small sampling of the federal laws banks need to address in their compliance programs:
- Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws
- Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)
- Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA)
- Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)
- Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
- Truth-In-Lending Act (TILA)
When it comes to managing bank compliance, documentation and systems are both critical. Banks need to generate and store documentation of their compliance efforts on an ongoing basis, and they need to adhere to systems that are designed to facilitate compliance as a matter of course. We guide our clients through every step of the process, and we can take as much of a hands-on or hands-off approach as your bank’s leadership team desires.
Corporate & Transactional
Along with compliance, we also represent banks in corporate and transactional matters. On the corporate side, our lawyers are able to assist with everything from establishing new affiliates and subsidiaries to spinning off entities and closing mergers and acquisitions. We provide assistance with management and control issues, capitalization issues, and other entity-level issues as well. On the transactional side, our lawyers draft and negotiate contracts for all types of consumer, consumer, and financing agreements—including agreements for:
- Commercial lending
- Derivative transactions
- Disposition of troubled assets
- Mortgage lending and securitization
- Syndicated finance
- Troubled debt restructuring
- Vendor and supplier relationships
Internal Audits and Investigations
Internal audits and investigations are key tools for managing compliance and mitigating banks’ risk of facing federal enforcement action or litigation. Banks should conduct regularly scheduled audits of their compliance programs, and they should duly investigate all actual and potential compliance failures. This is true not only with regard to banking compliance specifically, but with regard to cybersecurity and other general areas of compliance as well.
Our lawyers and consultants regularly conduct and oversee internal audits and investigations for our banking clients. We work with our clients to assemble an appropriate internal team and identify all sources of relevant information, and then we rely on our experience to thoroughly assess our clients’ risk. If an audit or investigation uncovers issues that need to be addressed, we work alongside our clients to help them come into compliance as quickly as possible.
Federal Investigations & Enforcement
A significant portion of our practice is devoted to representing banks and other clients in federal investigations and enforcement matters. We have experience representing clients in matters involving all federal agencies that have oversight of the banking industry. This includes (but is not limited to):
- Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB)
- Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
- Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
We also have significant experience representing clients that are facing scrutiny from the DOJ. The DOJ regularly works alongside the agencies listed above to build civil and criminal cases for prosecution. Avoiding civil or criminal charges during a federal inquiry requires a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved as well as insights into how the DOJ and these other agencies operate. With our bank lawyers’ and consultants’ prior experience working inside the DOJ, FBI, IRS, and other agencies, we are well-positioned to help our clients avoid unnecessary consequences during federal banking investigations and enforcement proceedings.
We also represent banks in civil litigation. Banks can face civil litigation on multiple fronts, from individual-plaintiff and class action consumer claims to commercial disputes with borrowers, vendors, and other third parties. In all cases, avoiding unnecessary costs and risks requires a proactive and strategic approach, and it requires the advice and representation of experienced litigation counsel.
Our bank lawyers regularly represent banks and other institutions in civil litigation in federal courts across the country. We handle mediation and arbitration proceedings as well. While we will litigate disputes through trial (and on appeal) when necessary, we work to leverage the facts at hand to secure favorable pre-trial results for our clients whenever possible.
FAQs: What Does It Take for Banks to Maintain Compliance and Mitigate Risk in Today’s Environment?
What Are the Key Elements of a Bank Compliance Program?
An effective bank compliance program will have several key elements. These include comprehensive written policies and procedures, effective training and implementation, ongoing monitoring and auditing, and mechanisms to enforce compliance as necessary.
Does My Bank Need to Have a Compliance Officer or Compliance Department?
All banks should have a compliance officer or compliance department. The number of personnel necessary will depend on the bank’s size, its specific risks, and various other factors. All compliance personnel should have a clear understanding of the bank’s compliance obligations, and the bank’s compliance officer should remain in close contact with the bank’s outside compliance counsel.
How Can Banks Document Their Compliance to Withstand Scrutiny from Federal Regulators?
In addition to adopting written compliance policies and procedures, banks should also generate and store documentation of their compliance efforts on an ongoing basis. This includes (but is not limited to) conducting regularly scheduled compliance audits and documenting the results. With this documentation in hand, banks will be well positioned to withstand scrutiny during DOJ, FBI, IRS, and other federal agency investigations.
What Should Banks Do When Faced with Compliance Failures?
When banks uncover internal compliance failures, they should act quickly to determine the root cause of the problem and implement a resolution. Depending on the nature of the failure, some form of voluntary disclosure may or may not be necessary. In any case, banks should work with their outside compliance counsel to ensure that they are mitigating their risk effectively.
What Are the Risks of Non-Compliance for Banks?
For banks, non-compliance at the federal level can lead to substantial fines and other penalties. Investigations into banks’ compliance failures can also lead to negative publicity and loss of good will. When we represent banks that are dealing with compliance issues, we take a swift and comprehensive approach focused on protecting our clients to the fullest extent possible.
Speak with a Senior Bank Lawyer at Oberheiden P.C. Today
If you would like to know more about our firm’s banking law practice, we invite you to get in touch. To schedule a complimentary consultation with a senior bank lawyer at Oberheiden P.C., please call 888-680-1745 or request an appointment online today.