Bradley’s Banking and Financial Services Practice Group counsels finance clients on their unique and particularly complex legal needs, whether these pertain to litigation, regulations and compliance, or other corporate matters. Representing a broad range of banks, lenders, and financial services institutions across the United States, we provide experienced, proactive guidance on a broad spectrum of legal issues, including regulatory compliance, governmental investigations, risk assessments, audit and exam support, business transactions, litigation, and multi-state settlements.

Bradley counsels clients on laws and regulations that affect AML and economic sanctions compliance, including the Bank Secrecy Act, USA Patriot Act, FinCEN regulations, OFAC sanctions, and criminal money-laundering statutes. Our experience in regulatory agencies gives us the insight to help create structures and policies that keep clients in compliance while supporting their operational priorities.

We work closely with clients on prophylactic action to avoid scrutiny or investigation by regulatory bodies, including designing, developing, reviewing and monitoring AML and economic sanctions compliance programs, as well as drafting and improving AML compliance policies and procedures, conducting compliance audits and providing training. We can also help implement technical solutions for transaction monitoring and suspicious activity detection. Our team has a mix of prosecution and defense experience, allowing us to identify and resolve potential trouble spots before they cause a problem.

Clients rely on Bradley for a thorough review of their various business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, trade financing, and other specialized transactions, to assess the risk of those transactions and to meet AML and economic sanction regulations.
In the event that our clients face government scrutiny, we work tirelessly to defend them and mitigate potential damages, including from public fines or penalties, non-public action such as matters requiring attention (MRA), deferred prosecution agreements (DPA) or criminal prosecution. We represent clients in connection with internal investigations and enforcement actions by federal and state regulators. We also provide assistance in matters involving money laundering, accounting irregularities, securities fraud, insider trading, government contracts, export controls, economic sanctions, and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Our experienced attorneys have spent their careers advising clients in this niche sector as the current legal and regulatory environment has evolved and intensified. For banks, bank holding companies, and other nonbank financial institutions of all sizes, we advise on:

  • Every aspect of operations, from transactional and corporate issues to lending, compliance, and working with government programs
  • All aspects of capital market activities
  • Chartering and formation of new banks, including de novo banks
  • Public and private methods to raise capital, such as bank note offerings and other activities relating to the creation of regulatory capital
  • Acquisition and sale of financial institutions, with one of the country's most active M&A practices for banking and financial services
  • Tax credits, particularly Low Income Housing Tax Credits, New Market Tax Credits, and Tax Increment Financing
  • Lending, with particular emphasis on healthcare and mortgage warehouse matters
  • State and federal regulatory compliance matters, including the many related laws and issues that affect banks and other financial services companies
  • The sale and purchase of distressed debt
  • Identifying and managing environmental risks related to lending as well as branch acquisitions and sales

The members of Bradley’s Banking and Financial Services Practice Group have demonstrated their preeminence and leadership in a number of prominent professional organizations.

  • American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA). Six Bradley attorneys are Fellows in this prestigious organization, which consists of more than 400 lawyers in North America who are leaders in the mortgage law industry. Our ACMA attorneys have distinguished themselves as practitioners in the field of real estate mortgages through bar association activities, lecturing, writing articles and program materials, participating in the legislative process, writing briefs, and arguing cases that are significant to mortgage transactions.
  • Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Bradley enjoys a longstanding relationship with the MBA:
  • Robert M. Couch is a former chair and member of the board of directors of the MBA. 
  • Robert Maddox, Christy Hancock, Brian O’Dell, Jon Patterson, and Preston Neel routinely lecture at the MBA’s School of Mortgage Banking I and II – four-day schools held three times a year around the country.
  • Robert Maddox and Brian O’Dell routinely teach regulatory compliance, ethics in the financial services industry, quality control, nontraditional mortgages, and laws affecting the mortgagee’s interest in property.
  • In 2014 and 2015, Bradley’s Birmingham and Nashville offices hosted MBA’s School of Mortgage Banking I and School II. In 2012 and 2013, Bradley hosted the MBA’s School I at its Birmingham offices.
  • Robert Maddox was a speaker at the MBA Chairman’s Conference in 2014.
  • Haydn Richards and Michelle Canter are regular speakers at MBA conferences.
  • American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers (ACCFSL). Robert Maddox is an ACCFSL Fellow. He has made repeated, substantial contributions to consumer financial services law through teaching, lecturing, and published writings.
  • AllRegs. Bradley has a long and close history with AllRegs, which offers training on mortgage compliance. Our attorneys routinely teach classes and training seminars across the country on all aspects of the mortgage industry for the AllRegs Academy and lead webinars, continuing education programs, and full-day in-person training sessions for banks and mortgage servicers.
  • American Bar Association, Title Insurance Litigation Committee. Bradley is involved heavily in this committee. Attorneys Robert Maddox, Hall Eady, and Spencer Mobley are all past or present members of the ABA’s Title Insurance Litigation Committee.
  • American Financial Services Association (AFSA). AFSA is the primary trade association for the consumer credit industry, providing direction and positions on a broad range of public policy issues that affect the industry. 
     

We believe in taking proactive measures to avoid investigations, enforcement, and litigation whenever possible. Our attorneys advise automotive lenders regarding compliance with a litany of state and federal consumer credit statutes to shield their exposure to harmful fines and penalties.

Bradley’s regulatory and compliance services for automotive finance clients include:

  • Advising clients on day-to-day compliance with all applicable federal consumer protection laws, including the Truth in Lending Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Electronic Funds Transfer Act, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and Consumer Leasing Act.
  • Helping clients with compliance with state repossession noticing statutes, installment contract requirements, state regulatory guidance, and federal consumer protection statutes
  • Providing services related to maintaining compliance with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Dodd-Frank regulations, such as conducting risk assessments, gap analyses, mock audits, and other reviews of account records, policies, procedures, forms, and all levels of operation
  • Assisting clients in responding to state and federal regulatory inquiries
  • Helping clients develop more robust compliance and best-practice programs, often under the guidance of pending consent orders or regulatory directives

When a dispute lands our clients in a courtroom, Bradley lawyers have the skills to successfully defend litigation, from initial assessment all the way through trial and appeal, if necessary. Our attorneys are trusted to defend the most sensitive cases, including class action matters with significant business and reputational risks to our clients. At the same time, our attorneys also assist automotive lenders with a variety of smaller state and federal court litigation matters.

Among the litigation services we provide our clients are:

  • Defending automotive lenders against claims brought under the Truth in Lending Act and Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
  • Litigating consumer claims brought against clients concerning data furnisher reporting and reinvestigation
  • Litigating disputes concerning dealer fraud, title releases, and consumer fraud claims on behalf of automotive lender clients
  • Advising clients concerning disparate impact issues and defending lawsuits brought in the context of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act
  • Providing other litigation support involving financial services, privacy and information security, bankruptcy, and appellate work
The firm's licensing attorneys assist clients in all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C., and relevant U.S. territories. Our licensing attorneys advise clients concerning dealer floor plan financing, state installment contract requirements, and other state and federal lending statutes. Bradley attorneys also are regularly engaged to assist in strategic acquisitions of licensed entities and work with relevant regulatory agencies to secure the necessary approvals to allow strategic acquisitions to take place.
Bradley attorneys have decades of experience in providing sophisticated representation on automobile insurance matters. Our lawyers are well-equipped to provide advice on Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) insurance offerings, federal and state insurance regulations, and on GAP insurance risk transfer transactions.
We represent lenders in wide range of inventory and accounts receivable–based financings in industries, including healthcare, energy, construction, and manufacturing. In a recent transaction, Bradley represented a Tennessee state-chartered bank in connection with a syndicated $34 million credit facility to a middle-Tennessee–based energy company, which included a $22 million asset-based revolving facility.
Bradley represents lenders in connection with leveraged ESOP financings. On these transactions, we work closely with our ESOP attorneys to provide comprehensive service, including the financing itself, along with all ESOP-specific matters, such as review of all plan documents and opinions. We recently represented of a Tennessee state bank in connection with a single-bank $11 million ESOP-leveraged credit facility to a north Georgia–based commercial construction company.
We represent lenders providing financing to the entertainment industry, with borrowers ranging from individual entertainers to music publishing companies. Often secured with intellectual property collateral, these transactions require cross-practice group collaboration. Recently, Bradley represented a Tennessee bank in connection with a $13.5 million loan to finance the acquisition of an international music catalog.
Our attorneys represent lenders in connection with a wide range of healthcare finance transactions, including real estate, provider, and device and pharmaceutical transactions. We have extensive experience in both taxable and tax-exempt transactions, along with direct and sponsor-backed transactions. With more than 36 full-time healthcare attorneys, the firm draws upon a wealth of experience in healthcare finance to provide a truly unique knowledge base and level of service. In a recent transaction, we represented an Ohio state-chartered bank in connection with a syndicated $150 million credit facility to a national behavioral healthcare company based in Memphis, with operations in more than 10 states.
We represent lenders in connection with development and construction loans to hospitality companies. Recently, we represented a Tennessee state-chartered bank in connection with a syndicated $70 million credit facility for development and construction of both a Hilton and a Marriott hotel in Nashville.
Bradley represents a wide range of mezzanine lenders and private equity funds in connection with mezzanine finance transactions and has extensive experience in negotiating inter-creditor and subordination agreements related to such transactions. Among our recent transactions in this area is representation of a Nashville-based mezzanine fund in connection with a $20 million mezzanine credit facility to a California-based construction industry manufacturer, which included a complex warrant purchase component and included multiple borrowing entities, locations, and inter-creditor agreements layering four tranches of debt.
Bradley attorneys assist facility providers (lenders/buyers) and mortgage companies (borrowers/sellers) in connection with bilateral and syndicated master repurchase agreements, lines of credit, and participation agreements for warehousing residential mortgage loans before their sale to investors in the secondary market.
We regularly serve as bond counsel on general obligation securities, hospital revenue bonds, special tax obligations, utility revenue obligations, industrial development bonds, and many other types of structured debt transactions. Our client base includes numerous state-level authorities; municipalities; counties; pool-bond issuers; public schools, colleges, and universities; healthcare authorities and special care facility-financing authorities; boards of education; industrial development boards; airport authorities; water, sewer, and utility boards; and other issuers of tax-exempt and taxable securities.
We represent lenders in connection with a wide range of acquisition, development, and construction real estate finance transactions. With more than 50 full-time real estate attorneys, Bradley has a wealth of experience in real estate finance and provides exceptional service, along with a breadth and depth of knowledge that is deep and unique. We represented Wells Fargo Bank in connection with two construction loans in the amounts of $35 million and $33 million, respectively, for senior housing communities located in Tennessee and Georgia.

Complementing our extensive practice in the purchase of real estate, we also counsel our lending clients on the multifaceted legal issues that are specific to real-estate financing. We have demonstrated experience in acquisition, construction, and development, as well as with loans for a vast array of commercial properties, including for refinancing.
We represent lenders in connection with a wide variety of syndicated loans, covering all industries, including both agent and syndicate lender representation. We handle matters ranging from nationally syndicated transactions to local “club deals” with community banks coming together on transactions that are above any individual lender’s legal lending limit.

In addition to syndications, we regularly represent lenders in connection with sales of portions of loans via participation agreements. A recent participation transaction is representation of a Mississippi state-chartered bank in connection with a $15 million credit facility to an operator of senior living facilities in which $7.5 million was sold to an Alabama state-chartered bank via a participation agreement. For some of our other syndicated transactions, see those described under the sections for other services on this page.

Bradley attorneys have extensive knowledge of all CFPB regulations and extensive experience in advising financial services clients on all phases of their operations, including:

  • Formation of mortgage lending entities
  • Qualification
  • Licensing
  • Interpretation and compliance with CFPB rules and guidance

Since the enactment of new state and federal rules, we have worked regularly with clients to:

  • Develop disclosures, forms, and procedures that comply with the complex landscape of CFPB regulations
  • Assist clients in implementing new products with both product disclosures and system implementation to develop strategies for compliance
  • Develop and implement any necessary corrective action plans for system and disclosure errors

Bradley attorneys are familiar with the numerous regulatory changes applicable to the financial services industry and take a proactive role in advising clients on necessary changes to disclosures, operations, and products. Our clients in this area include a number of large and medium-sized lenders, mortgage servicers, and other financial institutions.

We have advised some of the nation’s largest financial institutions in response to state and federal examinations and investigations – and all aspects of CFPB examinations. In 2014–2015 alone, we assisted several large financial services clients as they prepared for and underwent examination by the CFPB.

Since the CFPB began to examine and exert authority over certain financial services entities, Bradley has been involved at all stages of the examination process and offers our clients extensive guidance and assistance in this area. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • General guidance and insight into the examination process and advising on privacy concerns, self-disclosure strategies, and related matters
  • Working with clients’ compliance and internal legal departments to respond to supervisory information requests
  • Verifying that our clients tailor their responses to the CFPB appropriately and respond to the bureau in a timely manner
  • Developing more robust compliance and “best-practice” programs, often under the guidance of pending consent orders or regulatory directives
  • Providing assistance and support during the onsite portion of a CFPB examination
  • Responding to CFPB Reports, MRAs, and PARRs

We also perform risk assessments and mock audits to prepare clients for CFPB examinations. These engagements prepare clients for each step of the CFPB examination process. In this regard, we:

  • Provide insight about responding to the CFPB’s initial document request and supplemental requests
  • Advise on how to prepare for the CFPB’s onsite employee interviews
  • Conduct interviews of company personnel
  • Review, analyze, and provide feedback on policies, procedures, training materials, etc.
  • Provide an assessment of the client’s readiness to be examined by the CFPB
  • Assist in developing solutions to concerns found during the audit

Bradley represents financial services entities in CFPB civil investigative demands (CIDs) and enforcement actions affecting all areas of operations. This work includes, but is not limited to:

  • Conducting meet-and-confer conferences with the CFPB
  • Drafting formal requests for CID modifications
  • Facilitating large-scale electronic document productions
  • Responding to CFPB interrogatories and written reports
  • Preparing company personnel for investigative hearings
  • Attending and defending company personnel in investigative hearings
  • Negotiating proposed settlements with the CFPB

When clients face internal compliance concerns or government inquiries into company conduct, Bradley conducts confidential internal investigations to identify noncompliance and determine its root cause. We act efficiently and cost-effectively to assess our clients’ physical and electronic documentation, identify relevant information, and respond appropriately to government requests.

Our role in these investigations is to act on behalf of our clients in light of the potential violations of consumer laws and associated consequences. Our activities extend to:

  • Conducting detailed investigations into any allegations, including interviewing witnesses and preparing appropriate documentation
  • Developing criteria to audit existing documentation and correspondence (including electronic) and implementing those audits
  • Presenting findings of fact in reports and recommending corrective action, which may involve liaising with government agencies on procedures and remediation, as well as advising on policy and procedures

In the last several years alone, we have handled cases involving regulators in multistate banking, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), federal banking, and – most recently – CFPB examinations and investigations.

We also assist clients in responding to both informal and formal inquiries by:

  • State attorneys general (both individual state subpoenas and multistate CIDs)
  • The Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • HUD’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
  • U.S. Attorneys’ offices

As in related areas, we resolve the majority of these investigations before the filing of any lawsuit and have seen a high percentage be resolved through direct meetings with the government.

Since the collapse of numerous high-volume foreclosure legal service providers, we have played an active role in helping our clients respond to regulators, who have become increasingly focused on servicers’ oversight of third-party vendors. This comes into play especially with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and Federal Reserve System, including the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB), which now require servicers to certify that default legal service providers are in compliance with applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations, judicial requirements, and other work standards.

Bradley also handles matters with regard to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Our lawyers have worked within federal regulatory agencies and leverage that experience to help create structures that keep our clients in compliance with regulatory requirements. We review a variety of business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, debt financing, fund formation, and other specialized transactions for compliance with securities rules and regulation.

Our attorneys also have experience in the drafting and approval process for securities rules, and we maintain a close eye on the latest developments so we can provide our clients with the most up-to-date advice regarding new rulings, laws, and regulations. Bradley lawyers work closely with our clients to gain a deep understanding of their businesses and effectively tailor our advice to match their most important goals and priorities. Our team advises clients on a wide range of legal, regulatory, and compliance matters, including broker-dealer and investment advisor registration, equity and options trading rules, sales practices, short sales, Regulation NMS, Regulation SCI, investment adviser and investment company regulation, FINRA Rules, conflicts of interest, issuer repurchases, statutory disqualifications, information barriers, Regulation S-P, soft dollars, insider trading, prime brokerage, subordinated loan agreements, and anti-money laundering.

Bradley works with businesses to design, develop, review, monitor, and test compliance programs that can identify and mitigate any potential issues before they require intervention from a regulatory body. Our legal team helps draft or revise policies and procedures to remain compliant with exchange trading rules, federal rules, and other regulatory rules, and conducts mock audits and gap analysis, as well as providing employee training and preparing clients for regulatory examinations.

In the event of an investigation, our team works closely with our clients to help them at every step of the process to bring the matter to a resolution and limit the potential financial, operational, and reputational damage. Our mix of prosecution and defense experience gives our team keen insight into how to take proactive measures to avoid falling outside compliance, and how to mitigate potential exposure in the event clients do end up the subject of investigation or litigation. Our attorneys defend clients against all civil and criminal accusations related to the securities industry including fraud, suitability, negligence, trading errors, selling away, breach of contract, trade secrets, sales practice violations, ERISA investment standards, failed asset securitizations, defaulted syndicated loans, accounting irregularities, money laundering, insider trading, FCPA violations, and corporate raiding. We defend clients against litigation brought by all state and federal regulatory bodies, including the SEC, DOJ, FINRA, NYSE Regulation, Congress, and state attorneys general, and have arbitration experience in front of FINRA, the American Arbitration Association, and other venues.

Bradley is a go-to firm for clients seeking both national and regional appellate representation, with one of the country’s strongest and most active appellate litigation practices. When a case goes on appeal, the stakes go up, and we have been there – in the U.S. Supreme Court, every federal appellate court, and a number of state supreme courts.

We have briefed, prepared, or consulted on countless appeals; argued four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court; and represented clients in many more, as both parties and amici curiae. Our legal team includes five attorneys who clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court and dozens more who clerked for federal and state appellate courts around the country. This level of experience enables us to provide invaluable insights into the procedures, personalities, and inner workings of the appellate system.

With an understanding that substantial challenges pose high stakes in terms of exposure and repetitive claims, Bradley’s Financial Services Litigation and Compliance Practice Group attorneys represent clients in a variety of complex class action cases. Because these matters can threaten business reputations, day-to-day operations, and finances, we advise clients carefully, given the potential for such litigation to adversely affect the landscape of an entire industry.

We have defended hundreds of class actions and mass actions in more than 30 states, in both state and federal courts. In many cases, our Class Action practice has successfully obtained dismissals – or defeated certification – in actions at the trial level and on appeal. Bradley is also nationally recognized for its coordinated mass action, mass tort, multidistrict litigation (MDL), CAFA, and appellate experience. Our skilled Class Action defense attorneys quickly identify the unique risks of each case and then mobilize multidisciplinary teams of lawyers from throughout the firm to craft a trial-ready defense strategy.

Bradley offers comprehensive legal services to clients in the mortgage banking industry, such as mortgage lenders, brokers, insurers, and trade associations, as well as consumer finance firms and broker-dealers. We advise on the impact of all legislation in this area, including the HOEPA, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Homeowners Protection Act, and RESPA. We also focus on civil rights matters concerning truth in lending, fair housing, opportunity for equal credit, and fair credit reporting.

Our attorneys have written numerous articles about these substantive areas, including the leading treatise on consumer financial services. They speak frequently on these topics as panelists at bar association and other professional organization events throughout the United States.

Bradley attorneys provide a range of services regarding loan repurchases, including Pooling and Servicing Agreements (PSAs). We:

  • Advise clients on responding to charges of breach of representations or warranties in credit enhancement agreements for purchased loans
  • Represent trustees, bond insurers, and mortgage lenders in litigation related to loan repurchases brought by investors with regard to market expectations, loan sale transactions, and mortgage lending operations
  • Analyze each loan with regard to requests for repurchases and offer counsel in response to repurchase demands made by private investors and government-sponsored enterprises

Bradley has represented and defended debt collectors and other companies in matters associated with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and related state statutes. Our clients range from debt collectors, debt buyers, and banks to creditors and loan servicers, including those involved with individual and class action cases. We advise regarding many types of alleged violations, such as disclosure of identity and debt; harassment; misrepresentations in affidavits, character, or legal status of debt; discrepancies in collection amounts; collections with respect to bankruptcy; and threats of illegal action.

Bradley advises clients with regard to the cost-savings of P2P lending and loan originations, which connect borrowers directly with investors or lenders. We handle matters for P2P lending related to credit card refinancing, the consumer lending market (including student loans and small-businesses), and mortgages.
Our licensing practice also assists our HUD, FHA & GNMA Approval, Compliance, and Enforcement Support practice. You can read more about our work in that area here.

Bradley handles licensing for a variety of credit products, such as home, consumer, commercial, and automobile loans. Our clients include large and small financial institutions, ranging from mortgage lenders, brokers, and servicers to secondary market investors; state- and federally chartered banks; real estate brokers; and consumer finance companies.

We closely monitor federal and state laws and regulations, including the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act), Truth in Lending Act (TILA), FDCPA, and Regulations G and H of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). For licensing-related projects, we assist with:

  • Analyzing business plans and regulatory implications
  • Strategic and structural considerations
  • Risk audits for compliance
  • Amendments and changes to licenses
  • Renewal applications and related reports
  • Regulatory enforcement proceedings
  • License applications, certificates of authority, and Secretary of State filings
  • Federal agency approvals of government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)
  • Litigation and other administrative events
We handle matters in which the bank holding company also engages in real property management or real estate brokerage. These are complex legal issues, given that Title I of the Dodd-Frank Act dictates that a company engaged in asset management may be predominantly engaged in financial activities even if it conducts business as a real estate broker business. We also advise clients on the terms of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (BHC Act), which restricts a bank holding company from activities related to the development of property for which it is arranging commercial real estate equity financing.

Bradley advises clients in connection with student debt, an area coming under increasing regulatory scrutiny. For example, we have helped our clients analyze and understand the CFPB’sreport on student loan servicing and also applicable regulatory oversight of the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Education. With regard to companies offering student lending, we assist with fundamental issues such as:

  • Drafting model loan agreements
  • Conducting compliance audits and due diligence reviews
  • Obtaining licensing and authority to lend, broker, service, or collect
  • Developing policies and procedures related to establishing loan collections, servicing, and enforcement
  • Ensuring compliance with state and federal laws

Bradley’s consumer finance attorneys also support student-lending clients with matters involving litigation, regulatory issues, and enforcement.

Numerous Bradley attorneys are members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), the industry’s primary trade organization. Our practice group members routinely speak at MHI events, and a Bradley attorney serves on the Board of Governors of MHI’s Financial Services Division. Our manufactured housing practice includes a former HUD general counsel, former senior attorney in HUD’s Program Compliance Division, and former administrator of HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs.

Bradley’s Payment Systems team has assisted a variety of institutions in “remaking” themselves to comply with the myriad of regulatory regimes covering this industry. Bradley has also acted in an advisory capacity, assisting clients in responding to regulatory inquiries, as well as in developing more robust compliance and “best practice” programs, often under the guidance of pending consent orders or regulatory directives. These efforts include:

  • Performing comprehensive internal risk assessments
  • Developing comprehensive compliance management systems
  • Developing appropriate action plans to improve practices and remediate known issues
  • Providing general and targeted compliance training for various industry personnel, including boards of directors, legal and compliance personnel, and line-level employees.
  • Developing programs for the supervision of third-party vendors and law firms
  • Reviewing and developing policies and procedures for essential business functions
  • Advising clients about disclosures, advertising, and marketing practices under existing regulations, including those related to the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act
  • Handling day-to-day compliance issues, including those involving unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP), the CARD Act, the Prepaid Card Rule, the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), as well as various other federal and state laws
  • Advising credit card issuers and other financial services companies on consumer bankruptcy laws, including developing best practices when their customers file for bankruptcy
  • Advising on regulatory implications of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency trading
  • Providing guidance on PCI DSS compliance and broader data security issues related to handling payment card transactions
  • Advising on privacy and regulatory implications of implementing emerging technologies in payments and transactions
  • Advising on Automated Clearing House transactions

Please see Bradley’s Regulatory Compliance page for additional information regarding the depth of our regulatory compliance experience.

Bradley’s Payment Systems team has considerable experience handling licensing matters in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and relevant U.S. territories. Whether it is strategic acquisitions of licensed entities or procuring or renewing licenses, we put our strong relationships with each state’s trade associations and our familiarity and experience with dealing with specific regulators to work for our clients in resolving licensing issues.

Please see Bradley’s Licensing and Examinations page for additional information regarding the depth of our licensing experience.

Bradley’s Payment Systems team routinely represents clients in a wide range of government enforcement actions and investigations, including actions brought by federal or state regulators and state attorneys general, as well as investigations and enforcement actions by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). We have successfully resolved the majority of these investigations before lawsuits were filed, and we resolved a high percentage of these matters through direct meetings with the government. As part of this practice, our efforts include:

  • Conducting confidential internal investigations to identify noncompliance and determine root cause
  • Assessing physical and electronic documentation, identifying relevant information, and responding appropriately to government requests
  • Interviewing witnesses and preparing employees for questions from regulators
  • Self-disclosing issues to regulators
  • Working with examiners during on-site reviews
  • Challenging examination and investigation findings
  • Responding to Proposed Action and Request for Response (PARR) letters and supervisory letters
  • Responding to investigatory subpoenas
  • Handling multi-state litigation or administrative actions
  • Crafting creative solutions to facilitate amicable resolutions while aggressively defending against the underlying allegation
  • Developing and implementing remediation action plans

Please see Bradley’s Examinations and CIDs page for additional information regarding the depth of our examinations experience.

Bradley’s Payment Systems team represents clients on a nationwide basis. For years, Bradley attorneys have defended cases brought against banks, lenders, credit card issuers, finance companies, payment processors, and other institutions in connection with a broad array of business practices. These matters – involving both individual claims and class actions – arise from claims related to a variety of consumer protection statutes, including the CARD Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and other federal and regulatory schemes.

Where We Have Assisted Clients

Litigation Map

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Please see Bradley’s Litigation Practice Group page for additional information regarding the depth of our litigation experience.

Bradley’s Payment Systems team incudes corporate and securities attorneys who advise investors and companies in corporate and transactional payment systems and emerging payment matters. Our corporate and securities attorneys cover the entire life cycle of a business, from formation and early-stage start up to emerging growth and developed businesses.

Whether it is a start-up or a large, high-profile corporation, our corporate and securities attorneys provide legal guidance related to M&A, corporate governance, regulatory filings, and contract negotiations. Our services address a wide range of payment system provider needs, including:

  • Data collection and privacy terms and conditions
  • Data security
  • Software platforms
  • Cloud services
  • Emerging payment technologies
  • Prepaid access
  • Mobile payment technology
  • End user terms and conditions
  • Establishing and implementing rewards and gift card programs
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency payments and exchanges

Please see Bradley’s Corporate and Securities Practice Group page for additional information regarding the depth of our corporate experience.

For many companies, their most valuable asset is their intellectual property. Bradley’s Payment Systems team demonstrates the skills and tenacity needed to protect and defend the valuable IP rights of our clients. Bradley’s attorneys help payment systems clients acquire, keep and enforce their IP rights. We have counseled clients ranging from startups and technology incubators to mid-sized companies and large multinational corporations on a variety of IP issues, including:

  • Patent prosecution, maintenance, litigation and licensing
  • Trademark prosecution, maintenance, litigation and licensing
  • Trade secrets
  • Brand development
  • Payment technology development and commercialization issues
  • Patent and trademark landscape and freedom to operate searches

Please see Bradley’s Intellectual Property Practice Group page for additional information regarding the depth of our intellectual property experience.

Since 2010, Bradley has assisted servicing and lending clients with performing comprehensive internal risk assessments that are now required by their primary regulators (Office of the Comptroller and the Federal Reserve Bank). These activities include developing appropriate action plans to improve practices within the companies’ respective servicing platforms. The firm’s role has been essential, given that these reviews became the subject of consent orders from the regulatory bodies, which demanded that clients develop and implement action plans that address issues from the evaluations.

To this end, we assist clients in self-evaluations and in addressing any shortcomings that are identified. These efforts include:

  • Performing risk assessments
  • Developing programs for the supervision of third-party vendors and law firms
  • Reviewing and developing policies and procedures for essential business functions
  • Developing single-point-of-contact programs for loss-mitigation programs

The firm has broad experience with assisting with the chartering and formation of new banks, including de novo banks. We guide clients through all stages of this process, from formation to establishing an organizational structure. In addition, with respect to de novo charters, our attorneys:

  • Review bank policies and procedures
  • Assist with business plans
  • Prepare and submit charter applications (both federal and state), including the Federal Deposit Insurance Application
  • Draft documentation to address state and federal securities laws
  • Negotiate agreements with third-party providers
  • Counsel board members on fiduciary duties and how to minimize personal liability
  • Establish corporate governance best practices
  • Draft employment agreements, as well as stock option and grant plans

Bradley works closely with managers and board directors to navigate the climate of increased liability exposure and assists in the development of robust compliance management systems. Our services extend to:

  • Board training, obligations and “better practice” governance requirements
  • Designing governance frameworks
  • Assessing board and audit committees
  • Advising on Sarbanes-Oxley (for SEC registrants)
Under an evolving set of laws and regulations, and the increasingly active CFPB, our financial services attorneys are able to anticipate potential impediments to a business with regard to debt collection. These services range from resolving legal disputes and compliance with consumer finance regulations to managing operational concerns. Our team includes experienced and accomplished attorneys who have held senior positions at state and federal agencies.
Having worked in all areas of the financial services industry, Bradley attorneys provide counsel to banks and other financial market participants regarding the regulatory reform that has changed the mortgage market. From regulations issued under the Dodd-Frank Act to the Basel III capital rules, we advise and protect our bank clients and non-bank servicers, hedge funds, and private equity investors. We also have assisted mortgage originators in restructuring their businesses and operations, and counseled on bankruptcy proceedings. Bradley also advises clients on the impact of the CFPB and its authority to enforce substantive regulations regarding mortgage origination, servicing, and related activities.

On a day-to-day basis, we help clients to ensure compliance with regulations, including:

  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)
  • Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA)
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
  • Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
  • Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA)
  • Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA)
  • National Flood Insurance Protection Act (NFIP)
  • Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
  • Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
  • Truth in Lending Act (TILA), including Know Before You Owe TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID)
  • Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)
  • Flood Disaster Protection Act (FDPA)]

We also assist clients in establishing programs to comply with:

  • Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering rules (BSA-AML)
  • USA Patriot Act
  • privacy rules implementing the Right to Financial Privacy Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)

In light of the CFPB’s heighted focus on detecting discriminatory practices, including Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP)/Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP), we regularly work with clients to establish or enhance fair lending and fair servicing programs to meet business objectives, while maintaining compliance with the Fair Housing Act (FHA), ECOA, HMDA, and predatory lending laws.

In the secondary market, we assess current loan origination programs and servicing operations for compliance with investor guidelines, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the FHA, Veterans Affairs (VA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations. We assist GNMA issuers, servicers, and document custodians in meeting the requirements of the Ginnie Mae Guide.

We have considerable experience with M&A transactions, especially with regard to:

  • Accessing public and private capital markets
  • Assisting financial holding companies with corporate reorganizations
  • Advising private equity investors on regulatory aspects of investing in banking organizations
  • Integrating newly acquired companies or business lines

Large and medium-sized lenders, mortgage servicers, and financial institutions rely on Bradley to provide legal support in reviewing, revising, and creating policies and procedure frameworks to ensure that their servicing and bankruptcy-related operations comply with federal and state regulations such as the Dodd-Frank Act. We do substantial work with regard to the Mortgage Rules of the CFPB, including:

  • Conducting platform-wide risk assessments and gap analyses for clients seeking to determine the level of their compliance with existing requirements before impending audits by regulatory and enforcement bodies.
  • Revising and restructuring our clients’ policies and procedures to meet regulatory requirements and to ensure industry standards are met
  • Providing broad training to our clients’ staff and leadership regarding updated policies and procedures

Strict adherence to all relevant rules and statutes is more important than ever in an environment where small dollar lenders are a target of state and federal regulatory bodies. We have helped clients overhaul their policies and practices to achieve compliance with Dodd-Frank and the new regulations imposed by the CFPB, including interpretation and implementation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) as implemented by Regulation Z; the Electronic Fund Transfers under Regulation E; the Mortgage Rules in Regulations X and Z; and the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s prohibition on unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices.

The firm also helps ensure compliance with regulations, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-Money Laundering rules (BSA-AML), and USA Patriot Act, as well as privacy rules implementing the Right to Financial Privacy Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA).

Our team also conducts risk assessments and bolsters compliance by reviewing account records, policies, procedures, forms, and all levels of financial services operations. We act in an advisory capacity, assisting clients in responding to regulatory inquiries as well as in developing more robust compliance and best practices programs, often under the guidance of pending consent orders or regulatory directives. Our legal services extend to origination and servicing, as well as action plans related to the CFPB, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Federal Reserve System.

Examinations and Enforcement

Bradley attorneys assist banking and other financial services clients in preparing for and managing examinations and enforcement actions from the civil investigative demand stage through settlement or trial. We work closely with clients to review policies and procedures throughout all phases of their operations, develop compliance management systems, and conduct mock CFPB exams, so that clients are ready when regulators initiate examinations or enforcement investigations.

Licensing and Examinations

We provide financial services licensing and examination for state licensure and federal approvals to companies engaged in small dollar lending activities. Many of the licensing projects our clients undertake facilitate public or private offerings, complex reorganizations, restructurings, and stock or asset purchase transactions. We also handle nationwide licensing and renewal projects involving all manner of professional licenses with regard to consumer credit.

Bradley attorneys have defended cases brought against banks, small dollar lenders, credit card companies, finance companies, mortgage servicers, and other financial services institutions in connection with a broad array of business practices, including unsecured small dollar and title lending operations. The firm defends claims of improper credit reporting and debt collection practices, including alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and Automatic Stay in Bankruptcy. In addition, we defend claims alleging predatory lending, fraud, identity theft, and RICO violations, as well as those alleging violations of state and federal consumer protection statutes, including the Truth in Lending Act (TILA).

We handle a diverse array of both individual claims and class actions, drawing on the firm’s litigation experience to achieve favorable outcomes for our clients. The team also represents clients as plaintiffs in disputes with vendors or other businesses, and offers one of the country’s strongest and most active appellate litigation practices.

Our Governmental Affairs Practice Group focuses primarily on advocacy and compliance for individual companies and state and national trade associations. The practice includes a full range of services that focuses on issues affecting small dollar lenders, and helps our clients solve problems and capitalize on opportunities. We have addressed issues such as Operation Choke Point, the CFPB small dollar rule, legislation establishing annual percentage rates, and other restrictions on the industry. On behalf of our clients, we have also worked closely with White House officials, senior administration officials, members of Congress and their staff, attorneys general, governors, state legislators, and state banking officials.

Since 2010, Bradley has been at the forefront of efforts to develop and implement comprehensive, sustainable, and effective vendor management programs. Combining experience developed through conducting internal investigations for clients and unparalleled knowledge of the financial services industry, the firm has participated in and managed hundreds of vendor compliance interviews across the country for our clients. Bradley identifies and assesses risks associated with vendors, evaluates and monitors compliance with applicable laws, and provides centralized governance and consistency in managing service providers.

Student debt is an area facing growing regulatory scrutiny. Bradley attorneys help our clients analyze and understand Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) activities related to student loan servicing and applicable regulatory oversight of the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Education, as well as state laws and regulations. We also offer clients assistance with fundamental issues such as:

  • Drafting model loan agreements
  • Developing comprehensive policies and procedures to ensure compliance with regulations related to establishing student loan collections, servicing, and enforcement
  • Ensuring compliance with state and federal laws
  • Assisting clients in responding to regulatory inquiries

Members of the firm’s financial services licensing group assist clients in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and relevant U.S. territories with a wide range of projects, such as business plans and analysis of regulatory implications, compliance audits and due diligence reviews, license applications, and related certifications and filings, among others.

Bradley attorneys have the skills and experience to successfully defend consumer financial services clients in all stages of litigation and appeal against a wide spectrum of state and federal claims. Among the litigation services we provide are defense against claims brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA); claims of Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices; and state law claims related to loan origination, servicing, and debt collection.

Bradley has an extensive practice dedicated to Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) transactions that is designed to help clients leverage the tax credits under Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code. We work closely with state and local bond issuers and various state housing authorities and prepare:

  • Construction and investment agreements
  • Credit applications
  • Financing documents
  • Acquisition and partnership agreements, along with related negotiations

The attorneys on our Affordable Housing team have deep knowledge of the housing bond market’s financing structures. We handle matters involving HUD programs, development projects involving tax-exempt bond-financed transactions, and LIHTC syndications. Bradley also handles tax-exempt financing and programs involving tax advantages, subsidies, or credit.

In our HTC practice, we represent investors in and developers of historic rehabilitation projects. We also have experience with projects that rely upon financing through state HTCs, advising developers, owners, lenders, and investors.

Bradley is equipped to tackle the complex legal, tax, and regulatory issues our clients face in these transactions, such as:

  • Providing tax opinions for tax credit investors, bridge and construction lenders, and borrowers
  • Documenting equity investments made by federal tax credit investors 
  • Structuring transactions, using all available incentives and sources of financing, risk minimization, and strategies for monetizing allocations of state HTCs
  • Requirements for federal and state reporting and compliance, including working with the state historic preservation office and state departments of revenue to ensure qualification and monetization of state HTCs

We have represented qualified businesses, community development entities, leverage lenders, and tax credit investors since the NMTC programs were adopted at the federal and state levels. With regard to the need for working capital, as well as construction and renovation, we structure and close investments that qualify under these programs.

Bradley is equipped to tackle the complex legal, tax, and regulatory issues our clients face in these transactions, such as:

  • Preparing allocation applications and qualifyied equity investments
  • Providing tax opinions for tax credit investors, community development entities, and borrowers
  • Documenting investments and loans made by community development entities
  • Structuring transactions, using all available incentives and sources of financing, risk minimization, and obtaining NMTC allocation
  • Certifying community development entities
  • Requirements for federal and state reporting and compliance, as well as credit provisions and compliance

Since 2010, our legal team has taken a proactive role with our financial services clients in developing and implementing effective, sustainable, and comprehensive vendor-management programs. With an unparalleled knowledge of the financial services industry, our attorneys have conducted hundreds of internal investigations and participated in hundreds of default firm reviews across the country.

Bradley leverages our familiarity with FDIC and OCC guidance – such as CFPB Bulletin 2012-03, FIL-44-2008, and OCC 2003-29 – to our clients’ advantage. To facilitate efficient management of law firms and trustees, we work collaboratively with external consultants to construct vendor-management programs and state-of-the-art assessment tools.

To empower clients as the first to respond to national trends, Bradley has created internal screening and reporting protocols that identify potential areas for default firm risk. Clients have found these proprietary processes to be so integral that they have formally adopted them in submissions to government regulators.

Where We Have Assisted Clients

Financial Service Map