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
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
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
"Will it be safe for fintechs to play in Arizona’s new regulatory sandbox?" by Jonice Gray Tucker and Christopher Robins (Payments & FinTech Lawyer)
On 22 March 2018, Arizona’s Governor signed H.B. 2434, establishing the first state-level regulatory ‘sandbox’ for FinTech companies in the US. The Arizona regulatory sandbox is designed to reduce regulatory burdens by creating an environment in which participants can develop and test innovative...Articles
"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
Special Alert: OCC Issues Supplement to Third-Party Oversight Guidance, Emphasizes Bank Responsibilities in Managing Risks in Fintech Relationships
On June 7, 2017, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued Bulletin 2017-21 as a supplement to Bulletin 2013-29 , the OCC’s 2013 risk management guidance related to third-party relationships. The OCC’s latest release answers 14 frequently asked questions (FAQs) and marks the second...Articles
Elizabeth E. McGinn, Antonio J. Reynolds, and Jessica M. Shannon Authored a Bloomberg BNA Article, "Consumer Privacy Should Be Top-of-Mind for FinTech Firms to Avoid Scrutiny"
With many people underserved by traditional lending institutions, including the close to 45 million adults in the U.S. who the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates are “credit invisible” or have had past credit challenges, emerging FinTech lenders and online lending platforms (FinTech...Articles
On April 26, 2017, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) initiated a lawsuit against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the OCC’s statutory authority to create a special purpose national bank (SPNB)...Articles
Special Alert: OCC Issues Highly-Anticipated Guidance for Evaluating Charter Applications from Fintech Companies
On March 15, 2017, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued further guidance regarding how it will evaluate applications by fintech companies to become Special Purpose National Banks (SPNBs). In its release, the OCC summarized the more than 100 comments it received in response to...Articles
Special Alert: District Court Confirms Telephonic Consent to Preauthorized ACH Debits Complies with ESIGN and EFTA
On February 17, a U.S. District Court in Nashville, TN found that a creditor complied with both the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act  (“ESIGN”) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act  and its implementing regulation, Regulation E  (collectively “EFTA”) when it...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
On April 10, NYDFS announced that it denied a company’s applications to engage in virtual currency business and money transmission activity in New York due to the company’s alleged deficiencies in BSA/AML and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) compliance requirements, capital requirements, and...InfoBytes
On April 11, the FTC announced that a payment processing company and its owner agreed to a $1.8 million settlement resolving allegations that the company repeatedly violated a 2009 court order . That order found that the payment processer knowingly or consciously avoided knowing that debit card...InfoBytes
On April 3, the SEC issued a no-action letter to a Delaware-based airline chartering services company not recommending enforcement action for offering and selling “tokens” without registration under the SEC Act. According to the letter, the SEC relied upon the company’s counsel’s opinion , which...InfoBytes
On April 2, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) spoke before the American Bankers Association’s Washington Summit to discuss several priorities and emerging issues, including comprehensive housing reform, diversity in financial services, fintech regulation, cannabis...InfoBytes
On March 26, the Utah governor signed SB 213 , which, among other things, defines and clarifies blockchain technology-related terms and exempts from the state’s Money Transmitter Act certain persons who facilitate the “creation, exchange, or sale of certain blockchain technology-related products.”...InfoBytes
On April 1, the Arizona governor signed HB 2177 , which modifies the state’s Regulatory Sandbox Program (RSP). As previously covered by InfoBytes , in March 2018, Arizona became the first state to create a regulatory sandbox for companies to test innovative financial products or services without...InfoBytes
On March 25, the West Virginia governor signed SB 603 , which adds exemptions from the currency exchange licensing requirements. Among other things, the bill exempts from the state’s currency exchange licensing requirements a person or persons operating a payment system that provides processing,...InfoBytes
On March 25, the Utah governor signed HB 378 , which creates a state regulatory sandbox program through the state’s Department of Commerce (Department) that allows participants to temporarily test innovative financial products or services on a restricted basis without requiring a license or...InfoBytes
On March 19, the Virginia governor signed HB 2690 , which requires money transmitters to be licensed through the National Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLS). The bill also (i) amends the definition of a “member” subject to the law’s requirements to include a person who owns or controls...InfoBytes
On March 22, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (New York Fed) announced the launch of its Fintech Advisory Group, which is designed to offer “views and perspectives on the emerging issues related to financial technologies, the application and market impact of these technologies, and the...InfoBytes
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
Buckley Sandler Adds Depth to FinTech Capabilities with Addition of Jeffrey S. Hydrick to Corporate Transactional Practice
WASHINGTON, DC (August 5, 2015) Buckley Sandler LLP is pleased to announce that Jeffrey S. Hydrick has joined the firm’s Corporate Transactions practice as Counsel in our Washington, DC, office, effective August 3, 2015. An experienced practitioner and noted expert on mobile payments and bank-...Press Releases
WASHINGTON, DC / LONDON, ENGLAND (September 8, 2014) – Buckley Sandler LLP , a leading financial services and criminal & civil enforcement defense law firm, announced today the opening of its first international office, located in London. James T. Parkinson has relocated from the firm’s...Press Releases
Our Fintech Team
Quick Reference Guide: U.S. Regulation and Enforcement of Digital Assets
C-Suite Financial Services Review: Navigating state money-transmission laws
Recent Blog Posts
April 17, 2019
NYDFS denies virtual currency license for BSA/AML compliance deficiencies
April 17, 2019
FTC permanently bans payment processor
April 5, 2019
SEC issues no-action letter, permitting offering and selling of “tokens” without registration
April 5, 2019
Waters says housing finance reform and diversity are top priorities
April 5, 2019
Utah says blockchain tokens are not money transmissions