Over the past few years, fintech — the confluence of financial services, technology, and the law — has created a boom that has reverberated from Silicon Valley to Wall Street to Main Street, reshaping customer expectations and demand for convenient and less expensive access to financial products and services, providing new opportunities for investors while driving innovation into virtual banking, cloud-based lending, and all forms of digital payments.
Buckley has a deep knowledge of the laws, regulations, innovative business models, and technology and market standards necessary to help:
- Companies develop and launch new products and services, including advising on the use of technology to resolve issues regarding regulation
- Investors identify, quantify, and manage risks when investing in the fintech marketplace
- Various eco-system participants structure electronic financial services transactions and create, preserve, and transfer billions of dollars of assets, including through the sales of loans, participations, and receivables
- Companies and service providers develop and implement successful strategic partnering and outsourcing arrangements, including bank partner, servicing, and other critical third-party relationships
- Companies creating regulatory-compliant structures for novel technology advances
With a full service practice group dedicated to electronic and mobile technology platforms, Buckley is strategically positioned to meet client demands. Our work in this area covers a diverse array of practices and disciplines.
We are nationally recognized authorities on the laws, regulations, and industry standards that impact the delivery, presentation, management, and execution of electronic signatures and records. We advise clients on requirements affecting the entire life cycle of electronic records and their underlying transactions, and in all electronic mediums. Our team members played key roles in the development of the laws enabling e-commerce transactions, including the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) Act and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). We also were instrumental in the creation of the broadly adopted Standards and Procedures for Electronic Records and Signatures manual (SPeRS) and are the authors of The Law of Electronic Signatures and Records (Thomson Reuters), which is in its 8th edition.
Buckley regularly assist clients, non-banks, and chartered institutions with issues relating to mobile disclosure delivery and e-contracting, advertising and marketing compliance, risk management, strategic partnerships and other transactions, data ownership, licensing, and compliance with consumer protection statutes and regulations. We also provide guidance on all aspects of the laws governing payment processes, including electronic fund transfer, remittances, Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions, remote check creation, remote deposit capture, and compliance with payment network requirements and industry standards for payments.
We represent leading and emerging consumer and commercial marketplace lenders and other alternative credit providers, as well as investors in their companies and loan products, on a range of regulatory, transactional, structuring, and product development matters. We also advocate for our clients in the context of supervisory and enforcement actions as well as civil litigation. Our comprehensive knowledge of underlying products, statutes, regulations, and market standards, combined with our experience in electronic payments systems, mobile commerce, data security, vendor management, and related transactions makes us uniquely positioned to advise clients in this innovative industry.
Our team advises issuers and providers of prepaid access (e.g., gifts, payroll, flexible spending, health spending, rebates, rewards, travel, or for prepaid cards general use) on the application of state and federal money transmitter laws, compliance with Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) laws and regulations, and structuring and negotiating critical third-party relationships. We work with businesses at the beginning stages of program development and continue to guide them through the full product life cycle, advising along the way on marketing and consumer protection strategies, state licensing, federal registration, required disclosures, privacy issues, strategic partnerships, and many other areas.
We review unique and sophisticated payments platforms and advise on the best strategy for achieving money transmitter licensing compliance and obtaining licenses or exemptions to licensing. We assist payment innovators, investors, and businesses involved in virtual currency enterprises with the development of Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) policies, procedures, training programs, licensing, registration, implementation of assessment reviews in connection with Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and state law requirements, and various transactions, including critical third-party relationships and acquisitions.
We advise companies on the issues germane to the regulatory regimes applicable to virtual currencies, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain. We assist clients in applying for and obtaining the necessary state money transmitter licensing and/or structure various partnerships with other eco-system players. As this is a rapidly evolving industry, we closely monitor developments impacting virtual currency companies and their compliance initiatives, such as proposed or adopted state and federal regulatory and legislative developments.
As blockchain technology continues to evolve as a transformative force in the global economy, Buckley is uniquely positioned to provide leadership and guidance regarding the myriad legal and regulatory issues that have arisen along with the technology. Increasingly, blockchain/fintech companies are providing services that traditionally have been highly regulated, resulting in many regulatory agencies indicating interest in developing relevant licensing frameworks. Our services in this area include independent testing and gap analysis to determine compliance, assistance with vendor selection, policy and procedure design and implementation, chartering and licensing assistance, risk assessment, exam preparation, due diligence for onboarding and investment, and outsourced general counsel assistance.
We advise banks and non-banks, including fintech companies, on compliance with AML laws and regulations of the BSA and state money transmitter laws. We often assist clients with development of BSA/AML policies, procedures, and training programs, as well as performing implementation assessment reviews in connection with Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and state law requirements, and bank reviews. We also provide training from the business line to the board, as well as compliance testing and audit.
Buckley advises entities that collect, process, store, and transfer sensitive personal information on matters involving the full spectrum of privacy and data risk issues affecting their business operations, including board governance matters. We perform gap analysis and risk assessments, develop information and cyber security programs, and draft policies and procedures. We also draft affiliate marketing plans and public statements involving privacy and information security. We advise clients on legal requirements and regulatory expectations on third-party selection oversight issues involving data ownership, use, and sharing.
We regularly advise and assist fintech companies and financial institutions in connection with various corporate and transactional activities, including mergers and acquisitions, strategic investments, corporate governance and corporate structuring issues and agreements, critical third-party relationships (including bank partner, servicing agreements, and network participation agreements), consumer-related agreements, and asset purchase and sale agreements, involving related issues such as "true lender" risk.
Expertise in e-commerce, fintech, regulatory examinations, and investigations, and FTC compliance in particular.Legal 500
"Compliance considerations after OCC ups fintech scrutiny" by Jon David D. Langlois, Max Bonici, and Marisa Perfetti (Law360)
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently noted bank-fintech partnerships as a key element of its fiscal year 2023 bank supervision operating plan, putting both OCC-supervised depository institutions and fintech companies looking to partner with them on notice that their relationships...Articles
"Expect greater regulatory scrutiny of crypto-asset activities" by Kathryn L. Ryan, Gordon L. Miller, and Max Bonici (Law360)
In mid-August, the Federal Reserve issued guidance on crypto-asset and related activities, joining the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in alerting their supervised entities that they must provide written notice before engaging in this space...Articles
Special Alert: New Fed guidelines clarify, but do not transform, master account and payment services access
The Federal Reserve Board recently issued final guidelines for the Reserve Banks to use in reviewing requests from a range of financial services providers for access to Federal Reserve master accounts and payment services. Master account and Federal Reserve services allow institutions to transfer...Special Alerts
On June 21, the United States Department of Justice announced that it had secured a “groundbreaking” settlement resolving claims brought against a large social media platform for allegedly engaging in discriminatory advertising in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The settlement is one of the...Special Alerts
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an advisory opinion at the end of November that could compel specialty-finance companies — including those offering income-share agreements, litigation funding, merchant cash advances and earned wage access products — to take a fresh look at whether...Articles
The sudden rise of Compound Labs Inc.'s COMP governance token in recent months pushed decentralized finance into the headlines, raising the profile of blockchain-based finance systems to a more mainstream audience. This article provides a short primer on decentralized finance and discusses some of...Articles
Financial services providers are increasingly combining delivery of products and services with advice designed to help consumers make better-informed financial decisions. Fintech companies, which typically rely upon data and analytics as fundamental components of their business proposition, should...Articles
On Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks’ first day in that role, the OCC issued a final rule designed to effectively reverse the Second Circuit’s 2015 Madden v. Midland Funding decision.  As published in yesterday’s Federal Register , the rule, titled “Permissible Interest on Loans...Special Alerts
Regulators, consumer groups, academics and private litigants are grappling with the fair lending implications of the credit models powering the explosive growth in online lending by banks and financial technology firms. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in late March concluded...Articles
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
Special Alert: The Fed’s Main Street Lending Program: Fitting relief for fintechs and nonbank lenders?
The Federal Reserve Board’s recently announced the Main Street Lending Program, intended to provide financing for a range of small and mid-sized businesses, may provide much needed federal relief for fintech firms and nonbank lenders that has otherwise been lacking. These firms generally have not...Special Alerts
"Financial regulators’ dilemma: Administrative and regulatory hurdles to innovation" by Jeremiah S. Buckley and Sasha Leonhardt (George Washington University Law School: Business & Finance Law Review)
Developments in financial technology hold great promise to enhance the quality, delivery, and reach of consumer financial services. However, many of the laws dictating the operations of financial regulators are more than 50 years old, and in drafting these laws Congress understandably did not...Articles
On March 31, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issued bulletins updating and clarifying their respective requirements for remote online notarizations as they seek to reduce in-person notarizations during the Covid-19 pandemic. Remote online notarization allows a notary to use electronic tools — typically...Special Alerts
Cryptocurrency advocates have long argued that cryptocurrencies are not securities, and therefore not subject to state and federal securities laws. But a district court in California just shed light on whether advocates’ desired outcome also carries a substantial downside: application of state and...Articles
On November 18, 2019 the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) issued a proposed rule to clarify that when a national bank or savings association sells, assigns, or otherwise transfers a loan, the interest permissible prior to the transfer continues to be permissible following the...Special Alerts
"Alternative data and fair lending face off: The relationship is complicated" by Caroline M. Stapleton (Mortgage Compliance Magazine)
Thinking of getting into a relationship with alternative data? You're not alone. Use of "alternate data," a term broadly used to describe consumer information gathered from non-conventional sources, is becoming increasingly attractive to mortgage lenders, their service providers, and even consumers...Articles
Financial technology companies’ entry into the payment, money transmission, consumer and commercial finance, and virtual-currency markets has spotlighted byzantine state money-transmission laws. State regulators are generally responsible for licensing and supervising the activities of money...C-Suite Review
Special Alert: OCC announces it will accept fintech charter applications, following the release of Treasury report on nonbank financial institutions
On July 31, the OCC announced that nondepository financial technology firms engaged in one or more core banking functions may apply for a special purpose national bank (SPNB) charter. The announcement follows a report released the same day by the Treasury Department, which discusses a number of...Special Alerts
"Improving your odds on the gambling frontier" by Andrew R. Louis, Kathryn L. Ryan, and Tim Lange (SportsBusiness Journal)
The Supreme Court has laid the groundwork for sports betting in any state that wants it, but those predicting an imminent land grab by betting houses may not fully appreciate the deliberate and occasionally painstaking process that most states will likely implement. Careful planning now to...Articles
Adrienne Harris, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) issued an update on the VOLT initiative , an ongoing project to enhance DFS’s role as a virtual currency regulator. Superintendent Harris published proposed guidance adopting enhanced criteria for...InfoBytes
On September 5, the FDIC released the list of nonmember banks examined for compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which is intended to “encourage insured banks and thrifts to meet local credit needs.” Included in the list was a fintech bank that the FDIC rated as “Needs to Improve”...InfoBytes
On August 29, the D.C. Circuit overturned the SEC’s denial of a company’s application to convert its bitcoin trust into an exchange-traded fund (ETF). In October 2021, the company applied to convert its bitcoin trust to an ETF pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (...InfoBytes
On August 28, the SEC entered an order against a Los Angeles-based media and entertainment company charging them with conducting an unregistered offering of crypto asset securities in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). According to the order, the company offered and sold different tiers of...InfoBytes
On August 21, the SEC announced charges against a New York-based fintech investment adviser for using hypothetical performance metrics in misleading advertisements, compliance failures that led to misleading disclosures, and failure to adopt policies concerning crypto asset trading by employees,...InfoBytes
On August 11, a split U.S District Court of the Southern District of New York partially granted and partially denied a crypto platform’s (defendant) motion to dismiss most charges for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Four months after plaintiff opened an account with...InfoBytes
On August 1, the SEC settled for $4.4 million with an investment adviser and entities he founded (collectively, the “respondents”) on charges that they breached both their duty of care and duty of loyalty to their client, an exchange traded fund (ETF), in violation of the Investment Advisers Act...InfoBytes
On July 26, the SEC issued proposed rules under the Securities Exchange Act of 1924 and the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 to address certain conflicts of interest associated with the use of predictive data analytics, including artificial intelligence (AI) and similar technologies, “that optimize...InfoBytes
On July 20, participants in the U.S.-EU Joint Financial Regulatory Forum, including officials from the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve Board, CFTC, FDIC, SEC, and OCC, issued a joint statement regarding the ongoing dialogue that took place from June 27-28, noting that the matters discussed...InfoBytes
On July 18, Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr delivered a speech on adjusting the Fair Housing Act and ECOA in response to the increasing relevance of artificial intelligence. Barr explained how the digital economy offers many great utilizations, such as accessing the...InfoBytes
“They treat their clients better than any other law firm I’ve experienced,” is what one respondent said about Buckley LLP to Legal 500, which ranked the firm as a top law firm in five categories and recognized 18 of its attorneys for its 2022 edition.
The publication recognized...Announcements
Buckley recognized by Chambers USA for consumer financial services, white collar, and fintech practices
Chambers USA named Buckley LLP a nationwide Band 1 firm in all consumer finance categories in its 2022 rankings, recognizing six of its partners in those practices. The firm received top recognition in Consumer Finance Compliance, Consumer Finance Litigation, and Consumer Finance...Announcements
“While some firms will provide lengthy and expensive legal analysis, Buckley’s team relies on their depth and breadth of expertise to provide useful guidance from various team members quickly and efficiently,” a respondent told Legal 500, which ranked Buckley LLP as a top law firm and...Announcements
Chambers USA named Buckley LLP a nationwide Band 1 firm in all consumer finance categories in its 2021 rankings, recognizing nine of its partners in those practices — more than any other firm in the country. The firm received top recognition in Consumer Finance Compliance, Consumer...Announcements
“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
Buckley Sandler has been highly ranked in the area of Fintech by Chambers USA, a well-regarded ranking agency of law firms and lawyers.
Chambers placed the firm in its Band 2 ranking and commended it for “an impressive depth of ready...Announcements
WASHINGTON, DC (August 13, 2018) – Buckley Sandler LLP announced today that banking regulatory lawyer Gordon L. Miller has joined the firm as a Senior Counsel in its Washington, D.C., office. Miller brings more than three decades of public- and private-sector experience in bank regulation,...Press Releases
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 7, 2018) – Buckley Sandler LLP today formally announced the launch of APPROVED , a new approach to licensing for financial services companies. Buckley Sandler is building upon years of financial services experience and licensing know-how to offer APPROVED, a technology-...Press Releases
WASHINGTON, DC (January 9, 2018) – Buckley Sandler LLP today announced the opening of an office in San Francisco, expanding the firm’s California presence to meet the demands of its growing base of fintech, regtech, and technology clients. The firm also has offices in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles...Press Releases
Our Fintech Team
Quick Reference Guide: U.S. Regulation and Enforcement of Digital Assets
Recent Blog Posts
September 22, 2023
NYDFS updates criteria for virtual currency regulation
September 7, 2023
FDIC’s CRA evaluation rates fintech bank “needs to improve” for alleged FTC Act violations
September 1, 2023
D.C. Circuit overturns SEC rejection of an investment company’s Bitcoin ETF
September 1, 2023
SEC conducts its first-ever NFT enforcement again
August 25, 2023
SEC charges fintech investment adviser for misleading advertising