Bank attorneys who practice banking and finance law will only handle disputes and complaints that stem from the banking law they are ensuring compliance with. Banking law attorneys assist banks with several services such as:
- Bankruptcies, Foreclosures, Short Sales,
- Loan Modifications, Distressed Property, Estate Loans,
- Loan Negotiations and Asset Protection.
It's no secret that banks must adhere to a significant amount of regulation and regularly consult with legal counsel before making important decisions. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, for example, contains more than 1,500 separate provisions, including nearly 400 rule mandates.
Banks can be regulated at the state or federal level and, depending on where they're chartered and whether or not they operate across state lines, my answer to one or more of these agencies.
In the current regulatory environment, banks must prioritize compliance. This can involve an expensive and labor-intensive process that will affect everyone within the organization. The first step is to identify applicable rules and regulations and evaluate them in order of risk associated with non-compliance. This evaluation will often require input from an attorney familiar with the bank's operations. The next step will be creating and implementing a plan to comply with these rules.
An effective compliance plan must be comprehensive and multi-step. The bank must integrate the new efforts with existing compliance systems to produce a complete, streamlined approach. The bank's compliance efforts should be subject to rigorous monitoring and oversight by management, and they should be documented.
Since most banks make money by lending to others, it's not surprising that bank officers often get questions from credit customers about how they stack up against their competition. This is why you must treat your credit customers with the same level of care as all other customers. Customers get a wrong impression when treated poorly, so you'd be doing yourself a favor by keeping your customers informed.
Defending Enforcement Actions
Of course, if a bank is already the subject of a regulatory investigation or enforcement action, the goal becomes to defend against inaccurate allegations and protect individuals within the organization who have been singled out. There are many examples of overzealous regulators abusing their authority to the detriment of innocent directors, officers, and employees. Imprudent enforcement actions can harm a bank's reputation and disrupt day-to-day operations.
Regulators can impose strong sanctions on the bank, including termination of deposit insurance, issuance of "cease and desist" orders, and imposition of civil fines. Monetary penalties can also be issued to individuals within the organization. In extreme cases, individuals may even be targeted for criminal prosecution. In addition to taking immediate remedial action concerning the non-compliance issue, banks should consult with legal counsel about the possibility of settling the enforcement action informally through direct negotiations with the regulators.
Assistance with legal transactions is critical. Proper contracts must be executed in a certain way; if not, they can come back to bite companies in the future. So many companies leverage technology to expedite this process and adequately protect themselves.
Banking law also involves the various transactions that arise when a bank serves its customers and grows its business. Legal documents may need to be drafted to address individual accounts, such as a workout agreement for a customer who wants to avoid the repercussions of default. On a larger scale, a bank may need to develop standardized customer agreements in conjunction with new products or lending programs. Transactional matters can also involve the establishment of a de novo charter, selling or purchasing a branch, or creating a new holding company.
In each instance, the bank must avoid potentially conflicting regulations regarding consumer protection laws and avoid breaking the law.
Choosing the right banking attorney can take time. It would be best if you considered a variety of points before deciding on the best law attorney for your case. Some of the factors to consider are outlined below:
If financial regulators launch enforcement action against your bank, you need experienced legal counsel to help guide you through the process. Many law firms have past banking executives or government regulators on staff, which means they can provide valuable industry insight and real-world experience.