Financial Institution Attorneys
Our Financial Institution Lawyers Provide Full-Service Representation in the Areas of Compliance, Internal Audits and Investigations, Federal Investigations, Litigation, and Risk Management
From compliance issues to allegations of consumer fraud, financial institutions face legal risks in all aspects of their operations. Managing these risks effectively requires a proactive and strategic approach, and it requires a commitment to compliance that is on par with the institution’s commitment to financial success.
At Oberheiden P.C., our financial institution lawyers help clients nationwide maintain compliance, avoid litigation risks, and favorably resolve federal inquiries. In doing so, they rely on notable relevant experience—both in the private sector and as former white collar financial crime prosecutors for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). We work with financial institutions of all sizes and in all sectors, and we provide strategic advice and representation focused on protecting our clients’ interests as efficiently as possible.
Our Areas of Representation for Financial Institutions
Financial institutions face an extraordinarily broad range of compliance obligations. To mitigate their risk of facing litigation or federal enforcement proceedings, and to withstand federal scrutiny when necessary, financial institutions must duly address all of their compliance obligations effectively. Within our financial institution practice, we assist clients with matters including (but not limited to):
- Accounting and Financial Reporting – For financial institutions that are subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”), compliance with the statute’s accounting and financial reporting requirements is paramount. But, even those that aren’t subject to SOX need to ensure that they are maintaining compliant books and records capable of withstanding federal scrutiny.
- Anti-Money Laundering (AML) – The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and various other federal laws work together to establish comprehensive and stringent anti-money laundering (AML) requirements for financial institutions. While most financial institution executives are at least generally familiar with the federal know-your-customer (KYC) and Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) requirements, these are just two of numerous aspects of AML compliance.
- Antitrust and Securities Law – Financial institutions must be careful to address all pertinent antitrust and securities law requirements when pursuing mergers, acquisitions, and other large-scale transactions. While many transactions qualify for exemptions from securities law disclosure and registration requirements, financial institutions must thoroughly document their efforts to remain within the confines of the law.
- Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Workouts – We represent financial institutions in bankruptcy proceedings as debtors and creditors. Along with navigating the judicial bankruptcy process as necessary, we assist our clients with negotiating out-of-court restructurings and workouts focused on maximizing their financial returns.
- Consumer Protection – Financial institutions must comply with myriad federal consumer protection laws. Our financial institution lawyers assist clients with implementing and enforcing compliance programs in accordance with the Consumer Leasing Act (CLA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA), and other pertinent federal laws.
- Offshore Financial Accounts – The BSA and Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) establish reporting requirements for financial institutions that hold foreign accounts. We help financial institutions maintain BSA and FATCA compliance so that they can avoid unwanted scrutiny from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
- Underwriting, Securitization, Derivative Transactions, and Other Matters – Complex financial transactions require careful planning and thorough documentation. We work alongside our financial institution clients to help them effectively manage underwriting, securitizations, derivative transactions, and other complex financial matters.
- Tax Planning and Compliance – Financial institutions must carefully address multiple aspects of federal tax law compliance. We help our clients navigate all pertinent withholding, reporting, payment, and other tax law requirements while also implementing effective tax mitigation strategies.
- Troubled Assets and Debts – While troubled assets and debts can present significant financial risks for institutions of all sizes, institutions also have a variety of options for unloading troubled assets and dealing with distressed debtors. Our financial institution lawyers are well-versed in the options that are available, and we work with our institutional clients to help them make informed and strategic decisions with their long-term financial interests in mind.
What We Can Do to Help
Within these and other areas, we provide comprehensive advice and representation focused on helping our clients maintain compliance and effectively manage their institutional risk. This includes providing advice and representation regarding:
Compliance & Internal Audits
We develop comprehensive compliance programs for financial institutions that address matters including, but not limited to, those listed above. When developing their compliance programs, financial institutions must take a custom-tailored approach that reflects their unique obligations and risks. With our lawyers’ and consultants’ experience in the financial services sector, we are able to identify and address our clients’ specific compliance needs, and we are able to help our clients implement their compliance programs and maintain compliance on an ongoing basis.
A key element of maintaining compliance is conducting regular internal audits. We manage our clients’ internal compliance audit programs, thoroughly documenting the process so that we can assist our clients with demonstrating their good faith compliance efforts to federal authorities when necessary.
Corporate & Transactional Matters
We assist financial institutions with corporate and transactional matters ranging from the establishment of affiliates and subsidiaries to negotiating contracts with vendors and other third parties. These transactions often involve compliance aspects as well, and we ensure that our clients’ corporate and transactional documents contain all provisions that are necessary for compliance purposes. On the deal side, we help our clients make informed and strategic decisions, and we draft and negotiate agreements that provide our clients with adequate rights, remedies, and protections.
Federal Investigations & Enforcement Matters
Our financial institution lawyers have significant experience on both sides of federal investigations and enforcement proceedings. If your financial institution is facing federal scrutiny, taking a prompt and proactive approach to your institution’s defense will be critical to avoid unnecessary consequences. We represent financial institutions in federal investigations and enforcement matters involving agencies including (but 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. Department of Justice (DOJ)
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Federal authorities rely on various investigative tools and strategies to gather information in support of their law enforcement efforts. These include target letters, civil investigative demands (CIDs), and subpoenas—among many others. Each type of inquiry requires its own unique approach, and financial institutions must take a measured approach to complying with federal investigative demands while executing an overarching defense strategy.
Civil & Commercial Litigation
We represent financial institutions in all types of civil and commercial litigation at the federal level. This includes individual-plaintiff and class action consumer claims as well as litigation arising out of commercial lending relationships, vendor relationships, mergers and acquisitions, and complex financial transactions. When facing litigation, financial institutions need to make informed decisions, and they need to be able to rely on their outside counsel to efficiently target a favorable resolution.
Financial Institution Risk Management
From implementing effective compliance programs to avoiding unfavorable outcomes in federal investigations and litigation, financial institutions need to take a comprehensive approach to risk management. By helping our clients understand their risks, their options for addressing these risks, and the potential consequences of ineffective risk management, we give our clients the tools they need to do business with confidence.
FAQs: Compliance and Risk Management for Financial Institutions in the U.S.
What Does It Take for Financial Institutions to Maintain Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliance?
Operating within the confines of the United States’ AML laws is among the most important aspects of financial institution compliance. It is also among the most complicated. Numerous federal laws apply, and financial institutions must address these laws’ requirements within the unique context of their operations. Along with the Bank Secrecy Act, other AML laws that apply to financial institutions include (but are not limited to) the Money Laundering Control Act, Money Laundering Suppression Act, Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act, Corporate Transparency Act, and PATRIOT Act.
What Are the Risks of Non-Compliance for Financial Institutions?
For financial institutions, non-compliance with federal AML laws (or any other laws that govern financial institutions’ operations in the U.S.) can lead to substantial fines and other penalties. While most federal enforcement proceedings targeting financial institutions are civil in nature, the DOJ will not hesitate to pursue criminal charges in appropriate cases.
Do Financial Institutions Need Outside Compliance Counsel?
Due to the complexities of financial institutions’ compliance obligations, engaging outside counsel is critical for effective risk management. Financial institutions’ compliance officers should maintain close working relationships with their outside counsel, and they should not hesitate to seek legal advice when necessary. The closer compliance officers work with their institutions’ outside counsel, the better able counsel will be to anticipate issues and offer proactive advice focused on preventing compliance failures.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation with a Financial Institution Attorney at Oberheiden P.C.
If you would like to speak with a financial institution lawyer at Oberheiden P.C., we encourage you to contact us for a complimentary initial consultation. Please call 888-680-1745 or inquire online to schedule an appointment today.