Valerie L. Hletko is a Partner in the Washington, D.C., and Chicago offices of Buckley LLP, representing a variety of financial services industry participants in complex civil litigation, as well as in investigations and administrative enforcement actions initiated by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB/BCFP), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and state bank regulatory agencies and state attorneys general. She has assisted clients with pre-enforcement matters relating to a broad array of consumer financial products and services, including responding to Proposed Action and Request for Response (PARR) letters, Notice and Opportunity to Respond and Advise (NORA) letters, and managing issues relating to self-disclosure.
She also counsels clients in connection with regulatory examinations and governance and risk management matters implicated by consumer financial laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and related state laws, the Military Lending Act (MLA), and prohibitions on unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices in Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act: Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP) and Section 1036 of the Consumer Financial Protection Act: Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP). Ms. Hletko further advises clients on a variety of laws and regulations that touch the financial services industry, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and escheatment processes.
Ms. Hletko’s recent representations include:
- Representing HSBC in lawsuits filed in the Northern District of Georgia and the Northern District of Illinois alleging violations of the FHA arising out of the foreclosure crisis
- Representing Avant in a lawsuit filed by the Administrator of the Colorado Uniform Consumer Credit Code, which challenges federal preemption under Section 27 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and the valid-when-made rule
- Represented First National Bank of Omaha in a CFPB enforcement action alleging UDAAP violations relating to credit card add-on products
- Represented General Information Services and an affiliate in a CFPB enforcement action alleging violations of the FCRA
- Represented HSBC in a settlement with the DOJ over alleged violations of the SCRA relating to automobile repossessions
- Represented multiple nonbank mortgage lenders in CFPB investigations resulting in closing notices
- Represented banks in HUD investigation of alleged violations of the FHA resulting in a closure letter
An acknowledged authority in her field, Ms. Hletko has been ranked by Chambers USA Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Litigation), by Legal 500 for Financial Services: Litigation, and by Super Lawyers in Consumer Law, Civil Litigation, and Banking, and frequently lectures and publishes on a range of subjects of interest to financial institutions, including fair and responsible banking practices, specialty finance, vendor management, and regulatory enforcement trends. In 2017, Ms. Hletko co-authored the “Fair Lending Litigation” chapter of the Litigation Services Handbook: The Role of the Financial Expert. She is active in the American Bar Association, where she is Chair of the Retail Banking and Consumer Law Subcommittee of the Banking Law Committee. She is also a member of the Governing Committee of the Conference on Consumer Finance Law, serves on the Out in Law Leadership Committee, and as a Trustee for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
Prior to joining Buckley at its inception in 2009, Ms. Hletko was an Associate with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. She holds a J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School, an M.T.S. from Harvard University, and a B.A. from Kenyon College.
A brilliant lawyer with an unwavering work ethic who understands that the client's overall business is as important, if not more so, than the thorny regulatory issues which may confront it. If I could only have one lawyer for the rest of my career, it would be her.Chambers USA
“Buckley attorneys are incredibly responsive while providing top quality legal services,” is how respondents described the firm in the 2020 edition of Legal 500, which ranked Buckley as a top law firm and recognized it in six categories:
- Corporate Investigations and White ...
Buckley recognized by Chambers USA as a “top-notch” firm in financial services and white collar work
Buckley has once again received top recognition in financial services regulation, white collar crime/government investigations, and fintech from Chambers USA, which ranks the country’s leading firms and lawyers in a range of practice areas based on research and client interviews....Announcements
The Legal 500 once again ranked Buckley as a top law firm and recognized it in five categories:
- Corporate Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense: Corporate – Tier 4
- Corporate Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense: Individuals – Tier 2 ...
Buckley recognized by Chambers USA as a “first-rate firm” in financial services; “crème de la crème” for White Collar practice
Buckley has once again received top recognition in financial services regulation and white collar crime/government investigations from Chambers USA, which ranks the country’s leading firms and lawyers in a range of practice areas based on research and client interviews.
Buckley Sandler LLP again has been noted as one of the nation’s top law firms by The Legal 500 in its 2018 rankings, with recognition in five practice areas:
- Financial Services: Litigation
- Financial Services: Regulation
- Corporate ...
Buckley Sandler recognized by Chambers USA as “an excellent firm” with “a fine stable of expert attorneys”
Buckley Sandler once again has received top recognition in financial services regulation and white collar crime/government investigations from Chambers USA, which ranks the country’s leading firms and lawyers in a range of practice areas by researching the firms and interviewing...Announcements
Valerie L. Hletko was profiled on January 11, 2018 by HuffPost in an article “The New Supermodels 3.0 — LGBT+ Women in Charge.” She was one of only 15 women recognized by the news site as one of the country’s top out women in business, naming her “The Financial Services Expert.” Click here to read...In The News
Valerie L. Hletko Quoted in American Banker Article, “Large Banks Uncertain of Path Forward on Small-Dollar Loans”
Valerie L. Hletko was quoted on November 1, 2017, in an American Banker article, “Large Banks Uncertain of Path Forward on Small-Dollar Loans,” which examined how banks are eyeing a return to the deposit advance business. The article noted, “Banks generally had exited the business to avoid running...In The News
Buckley Sandler Recognized by Chambers USA as an “Exceptional” Financial Services Regulation and White Collar Firm
Buckley Sandler has continued to receive top recognition in the areas of financial services regulation and white collar crime/government investigations from Chambers USA , which ranks the country’s leading firms and lawyers in a range of practice areas based on in-depth client interviews and peer...In The News
Buckley Sandler’s Representation Noted in Law360 Article, “HSBC Says High Court Ruling Ends Predatory-Lending Suit”
Buckley Sandler’s representation was noted in an August 8, 2017 Law360 article, “HSBC Says High Court Ruling Ends Predatory-Lending Suit.” The article discussed HSBC’s request to dismiss a suit in which the company could be held accountable for discriminatory lending in Cook County Illinois, saying...In The News
Valerie L. Hletko Quoted in The New York Times Article, “How a Home Bargain Became a ‘Pain in the Butt,’ and Worse”
Valerie L. Hletko was quoted on July 7, 2017 in The New York Times article, “How a Home Bargain Became a ‘Pain in the Butt,’ and Worse,” which discussed the City of Cincinnati’s suit against Harbour Portfolio Advisors, a Dallas-based investment firm that sells contracts for deed, high-interest self...In The News
Buckley Sandler has again been cited as one of the nation’s top law firms by The Legal 500 in its 2017 rankings, with the recognition of four practice areas:
- Financial Services: Litigation
- Financial Services: Regulatory
- Cyber Law (Data Protection and ...
Valerie L. Hletko Quoted in The New York Times Article, “Housing Regulator is Pushed to Crack Down on Sales of Foreclosed Properties”
Valerie L. Hletko was quoted on May 11, 2017 in The New York Times article, “Housing Regulator is Pushed to Crack Down on Sales of Foreclosed Properties,” which discussed a letter written by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, of Maryland, who sits on the House Committee on Oversight and Government, to Vision...In The News
Valerie L. Hletko Quoted in Law360 Article, “Cities Could Be Limited In FHA Cases After High Court Ruling”
Valerie L. Hletko was quoted on May 1, 2017 in a Law360 article, “Cities Could Be Limited In FHA Cases After High Court Ruling.” The article discussed a US Supreme Court decision, which allows the city of Miami to sue Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. under the Fair Housing Act (FHA)...In The News
Valerie Hletko was quoted on November 8, 2016 in a Law360 article regarding Bank of America and Wells Fargo’s joint attempt to overturn an Eleventh Circuit decision in front of the Supreme Court. The article reported that the Eleventh Circuit decision determined “that cities have the right to sue...In The News
Valerie Hletko Quoted in U.S News & World Report Article, "If the Payday Lending Industry Goes Out of Business, What Will Replace It?"
Valerie L. Hletko was quoted on October 14, 2016 in a U.S. News & World Report article regarding the changing consumer and legal landscape of the Payday lending industry. The article discussed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) moves to regulate the payday lending industry, as...In The News
Valerie Hletko and Sasha Leonhardt’s article, “ Corporations May Be People, But They Are Not Servicemembers ,” was highlighted in Richard Hoffman’s blog post on Thomson Reuter’s Legal Solutions Blog on September 6, 2016. Click here to read the full blog post.In The News
Valerie Hletko Quoted in Law360 Article, "Supreme Court Could Cut Cities Out of Fair Lending Fights"
Valerie Hletko was quoted in Evan Weinberger's Law360 article, "Supreme Court Could Cut Cities Out of Fair Lending Fights," on July 8, 2016. An upcoming battle before the U.S. Supreme Court between the city of Miami and two of the world’s largest banks could go a long way toward determining whether...In The News
Valerie Hletko was quoted in Evan Weinberger's Law360 article, "High Court To Review Miami Big Bank Fair Lending Suits," on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a petition from Bank of America and Wells Fargo seeking to overturn a lower court decision allowing...In The News
Valerie Hletko was quoted in Evan Weinberger's Law360 article, "Data Will Be Key in Evaluating CFPB Payday Proposal," on May 31, 2016. The federal government’s consumer finance watchdog is expected to face tough scrutiny of the data it used to write first-of-their-kind rules for payday, auto title...In The News
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations. We are proud...In The News
Valerie Hletko was quoted in Evan Weinberger's Law360 article, "High Court Split in Lending Bias Case 'Anticlimactic'," on March 22, 2016. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Tuesday limiting discrimination claims that can be brought by spouses under a fair lending law further defined the statute’s...In The News
Valerie Hletko Quoted in Bloomberg BNA Article, "U.S. Supreme Court, In 4-4 Split, Upholds Bar on ECOA Claims by Spousal Guarantors"
Valerie Hletko was quoted in Chris Bruce's Bloomberg BNA article, "U.S. Supreme Court, In 4-4 Split, Uploads Bar on ECOA Claims by Spousal Guarantors," on March 22, 2016. The U.S. Supreme Court March 22 affirmed a 2014 federal appeals court ruling that said a loan guarantor is not an ‘‘...In The News
Valerie Hletko was quoted in Chris Bruce's Bloomberg BNA article, "Deadlocked Justices Back Bank on ECOA, Guarantors," on March 22, 2016. The U.S. Supreme Court March 22 affirmed a 2014 federal appeals court ruling that said a loan guarantor is not an “applicant” for purposes of marital-status...In The News
Buckley Sandler LLP hosted its eighth annual Fair Lending Today conference in Washington, DC on March 13-14, 2016. The two-day event featured an evening of interactive roundtable discussions on fair lending issues, followed by a full day of seminars. The sessions were led by Buckley Sandler...In The News
Valerie Hletko Quoted in PaymentsCompliance Article, "Consumer Finance Watchdog To Increase Focus On U.S. Credit Card Market"
Valerie Hletko was quoted in Mark Taylor's PaymentsCompliance article, "Consumer Finance Watchdog To Increase Focus On U.S. Credit Card Market," on January 13, 2016. Government enforcement expert Valerie Hletko of Buckley Sandler’s Washington, D.C. office said emerging priorities for the CFPB...In The News
Valerie Hletko Quoted in Dallas Morning News Article, "Dallas Fair Housing Case Raises Questions About Bias Suits"
Valerie Hletko was quoted in Julia Chiquillo's Dallas Morning News article, "Dallas Fair Housing Case Raises Questions About Bias Suits," on Monday, November 30, 2015. “They’re [plaintiffs] put through their paces at a much earlier stage,” said Valerie Hletko, an attorney who represents financial...In The News
Washington, DC (November 18, 2015) – Buckley Sandler LLP , a leading national financial services and criminal and civil enforcement and complex litigation law firm, has received a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). A national...Press Releases
Buckley Sandler LLP hosted its second annual CFPB Today conference in Washington, DC October 25-26, 2015. The two-day event featured an evening of interactive roundtable discussions on CFPB trends, followed by a full day of seminars and breakout sessions. The roundtables and seminars were led by...Press Releases
Valerie Hletko Quoted in Bloomberg BNA Article, "Justices Weigh Potential for Bias Claims By Guarantors Under Equal Credit Law"
Valerie Hletko was quoted in Chris Bruce's Bloomberh BNA article, "Justices Weigh Potential for Bias Claims By Guarantors Under Equal Credit Law," on October 6, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court Oct. 5 heard arguments on whether a loan guarantor may allege marital-status discrimination as an ‘...In The News
Valerie Hletko Quoted in Bloomberg BNA Article, "U.S. Solicitor General's Office Will Join SCOTUS Argument on ECOA and Guarantors"
Valerie Hletko was quoted in Chris Bruce's Bloomberg BNA article, "U.S. Solicitor General's Office Will Join SCOTUS Argument on ECOA and Guarantor," on September 14, 2015. Valerie L. Hletko, a partner with Buckley Sandler in Washington, D.C., Aug. 31 said the case is important on several levels...In The News
Valerie Hletko Quoted in Law360 Article, "CFPB Suits Bring Some Clarity to Its Definition of 'Abusive'"
Valerie Hletko was quoted in Evan Weinberger's August 21, 2015 article, "CFPB Suits Bring Some Clarity to Its Definition of ‘Abusive’," on Law360. The two complaints also may show how the CFPB intends to use its expansive reading of abusiveness and what constitutes material terms to evade a bar...In The News
"Navigating digitized mortgage processes during Covid-19" by Valerie L. Hletko and Edward W. Somers (Law360)
The risks presented by the coronavirus pandemic have forced innovation in executing consumer contracts — and fast. Not least affected is the mortgage industry, which typically relies on in-person interactions for document execution to satisfy legal requirements and investor guidelines. Office...Articles
The centuries-old, common-law principles by which sovereign entities take unclaimed or abandoned property are coming under renewed scrutiny in the United States, as states pursue different policies that threaten to trigger legal disputes. Companies whose businesses give rise to these types of...Articles
A recent report by the New York State Bar Association ’s commercial and federal litigation section found that female attorneys fill only about 25 percent of lead counsel roles in New York courtrooms and even less in complex cases. Coincidentally, the report was released around the same time as the...Articles
On December 2, 2016, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) announced its plans to move forward with developing a special purpose national bank charter for financial technology (“fintech”) companies. Accompanying the Comptroller of the Currency, Thomas J. Curry’s announcement, the...Articles
As a result of last Tuesday’s election, Republicans will control the White House and both houses of Congress in 2017. It is likely there ultimately will be some significant changes affecting financial services regulation and enforcement, but they will take time to implement. The President-elect has...Articles
Recent attention in Congress on retail incentive compensation, goal-setting and cross-selling of consumer financial products and services is remarkable for its ferocity and its direction at banks and regulators alike. During a Sept. 20, 2016, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs...Articles
After what seems to be an extended season of heavy weather for marketplace lending, a federal district court in California unleashed a late-Summer lightning storm in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. CashCall, Inc. In a CFPB action leveled against the so-called “tribal model” of online...Articles
Special Alert: Department of Defense Issues Interpretive Rule Regarding Compliance with the Military Lending Act
Today, the Department of Defense (“DoD” or “Department”) published in the Federal Register an interpretive rule regarding compliance with its July 2015 amendments to the regulations implementing the Military Lending Act (“MLA”). The July 2015 amendments will extend the MLA’s 36% military annual...Articles
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act enables servicemembers “to devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the Nation” by deferring or suspending certain obligations during active duty and for certain periods after the end of active duty. The SCRA’s core protections include interest-rate...Articles
On June 23, the Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court judgment holding that a non-bank entity assisting consumers obtain loans from an out-of-state bank and then repurchasing those loans days later qualifies as a “credit service business” under the Maryland Credit Services Business Act (...Articles
On June 2, 2016, the CFPB published its proposed rule (the “ Proposed Rule ”) addressing payday loans, vehicle title loans, and certain other installment loans (collectively “covered loans”). This alert summarizes the Proposed Rule and compares the Proposed Rule to the CFPB’s March 26, 2015 outline...Articles
On March 22, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a split decision (4-4) in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore. The court’s one-sentence affirmance was a notable anti-climax in a case that had been viewed as likely to elicit guidance regarding limitations on deference to agency statutory...Articles
The last few weeks of 2015 saw two important legislative developments relating to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). First , in November, the Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted a legislative package to Congress with proposed revisions to several existing laws that protect service...Articles
The past year has seen heightened CFPB interest in the following areas: (i) deferred interest and rewards, (ii) limited English proficiency consumers, and (iii) the recent revisions to the Military Lending Act (MLA). Pursuing simplicity in the design of product features and closely following...Articles
With evolving regulatory expectations and increased enforcement exposure, financial institutions are under more scrutiny than ever. Nowhere is this more evident than in the management and oversight of service providers. When service providers are part of an institution’s business practice,...Articles
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C.A. § 3901, provides certain protections to military servicemembers regarding their financial obligations. The act applies to virtually every type of debt that a service member may obtain. It provides benefits such as an interest rate cap and procedural...Articles
As President Obama slows the drawdown of troops overseas — and as the nation expands its fight against ISIS — a growing number of service members will seek the benefits and protections of a nearly century-old law that protects them on the homefront while they serve on active duty: the...Articles
On June 25, 2015, the Supreme Court announced its highly anticipated opinion in Texas Dept. of Housing and Comm. Affairs v. Inclusive Comm. Project, Inc. The question presented to the Court was whether plaintiffs bringing suits under the Fair Housing Act (the “Act”) would be permitted to continue...Articles
The fifth edition of the Practising Law Institute’s Consumer Financial Services Answer Book was published this month, with 29 Buckley Sandler attorneys contributing to this leading desk reference. The 2016 edition of the Consumer Financial Services Answer Book continues to provide practitioners...Articles
On July 22, 2015, the Department of Defense (“Department”) released its final rule amending the regulations that implement the Military Lending Act (“MLA”), which means that a wider range of credit products—including open-end credit—offered or extended to active duty service members and their...Articles
Awards & Recognitions
- Chambers USA 2020: Band 2, Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Litigation)
- Legal 500 2020: Recognized in Financial Services: Litigation
- Super Lawyers 2020: Consumer Law, Civil Litigation: Defense, Banking
- Chambers USA 2019: Band 3, Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Litigation)
- Legal 500 2019: Recognized in Financial Services: Litigation
- Super Lawyers 2019: Consumer Law, Civil Litigation: Defense, Banking
- Chambers USA 2018: Band 3, Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Litigation)
- Legal 500 2018: Recognized in Financial Services: Litigation
- Super Lawyers 2018: Consumer Law, Civil Litigation: Defense, Banking
- Legal 500 2017: Recognized in Financial Services: Litigation
- Chambers USA 2017: Recognized Practitioner, Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Litigation)
- Super Lawyers 2017: Consumer Law, Civil Litigation: Defense, Banking
- Super Lawyers 2016: Consumer Law, Civil Litigation: Defense, Banking
- Super Lawyers 2015: Consumer Law, Civil Litigation: Defense, Banking
- Super Lawyers 2014: Consumer Law, Civil Litigation, Banking
- Alternative Finance
- Bank Counseling & Compliance
- Class Actions
- Complex Civil Litigation
- Congressional Investigations
- Consumer Finance
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Credit, Debit & Prepaid Cards
- Enforcement Actions & Investigations
- Fair Lending
- Federal Trade Commission
- Military Lending
- Private Banking
- Pro Bono
- State Attorneys General
- Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices
- Vendor Management
- Workplace Cultural Compliance
- J.D., University of Chicago, 2001
- M.T.S., Harvard University, 1998
- B.A., Kenyon College, 1995 (magna cum laude)
- District of Columbia
- New York
- U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana
- U.S. Supreme Court