We advise clients, including regulated financial institutions, mortgage lenders, and other specialty consumer and commercial lending companies on various consumer credit issues. For example, we counsel clients on exporting interest rates and fees on loans and on the practical implications and limitations of this exportation power; we review client compliance with federal and state consumer credit laws, including the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and undertake risk assessments of these areas; we structure lending programs to be compliant with the consumer lending laws; we defend clients that are sued for alleged violations of the consumer credit and consumer protection laws; and we advise clients regarding the agencies' published standards and statements of policy relating to lending practices in the consumer credit area.
In the fair lending area, we regularly assist clients in successfully resolving allegations of violations of the fair lending laws brought by the federal agencies in the earliest stages of the process, thereby avoiding costly and onerous settlements. We also advise clients on the rapidly changing area of subprime and "predatory" lending, and in providing affordable lending products consistent with the fair lending laws. We work with clients whose novel activities do not fit within the traditional banking model to develop innovative strategic plans to satisfy their Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) responsibilities and have advised investors in and organizers of community development-focused banks and CDCs. We are also experienced in addressing CRA protests raised against clients by parties challenging merger and acquisition transactions.