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
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
"Educational tools may bring regulatory risk for fintech cos." by H Joshua Kotin, Michelle L. Rogers, and Kathryn R. Goodman (Law360)
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
"Ruling on anti-hacking law may guide fair lending tests" by Jeffrey P. Naimon, H Joshua Kotin, and Frida Alim (Law360)
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
"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
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
"Closing the loop on prepaid access: Complying with FinCEN's prepaid access rule in a digital environment" by Jonice Gray Tucker and Brendan Clegg (FinTech Law Report)
Prepaid access vehicles have become pervasive in today’s world. Among other things, such devices provide consumers with the ability to load and store funds to be used for future purchases of products and services at various vendors, facilitating efficient and convenient cashfree, and even card-free...Articles
"Alternative data and fair lending face off: The relationship is complicated" by Jonice Gray Tucker and 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
"Will it be safe for fintechs to play in Arizona’s new regulatory sandbox?" by Jonice Gray Tucker (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
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
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 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
On September 21, the OCC released Interpretive Letter 1172 , stating that national banks may hold stablecoin in reserve accounts as a service to bank customers and may engage in activity incidental to receiving the deposits. According to the OCC, issuers of stablecoins—a type of cryptocurrency...InfoBytes
On September 21, the California Department of Real Estate issued FAQs on licensing processes during Covid-19. The FAQs respond to questions regarding, among other things, how to determine whether an exam has been cancelled and how to reschedule the exam, the best way to complete a renewal of an...InfoBytes
On September 16, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation voted 14-12 to approve S. 4159 (the “E-SIGN Modernization Act”), sponsored by Senator Thune, the majority whip. As previously covered by Infobytes , the E-SIGN Modernization Act would amend E-SIGN to remove the...InfoBytes
On September 15, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) announced the launch of a single, streamlined examination for money transmitters operating nationwide (i.e., in 40 or more states), known as “MSB Networked Supervision.” The single exam—which will apply to “78 of the nation’s largest...InfoBytes
On September 11, the CFTC filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas against four individuals accused of operating a purported multi-level marketing scheme involving the solicitation of nearly $100,000 in customer funds that were to be used to speculate in...InfoBytes
On September 11, the California Department of Business Oversight (CDBO) initiated the formal rulemaking process with the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for the proposed regulations implementing the requirements of the commercial financing disclosures required by SB 1235 (Chapter 1011, Statutes...InfoBytes
On September 2, NYDFS Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell announced the regulator’s opposition to the OCC’s proposed “true lender” rule. As previously covered by InfoBytes , the proposed rule would amend 12 CFR part 7 to state that “a bank makes a loan when, as of the date of origination, it (i) is...InfoBytes
On September 1, the CFPB issued new details on its first Tech Sprint, which will cover innovative approaches to adverse action e-disclosures. As previously covered by InfoBytes , the CFPB announced in September 2019 its intention to use Tech Sprints—which had been used by the U.K.’s Financial...InfoBytes
On August 27, the Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner extended its remote work guidance , previously covered here and here , for mortgage companies, mortgage loan originators, supervised loan licensees, credit services organizations, money transmitters, and credit notification registrants...InfoBytes
Jeffrey P. Naimon quoted in bobsguide article, “US fintechs could look “seriously” at banking charters amidst OCC uncertainty”
Jeffrey P. Naimon was quoted extensively on August 21, 2020, in a bobsguide article, “US fintechs could look “seriously” at banking charters amidst OCC uncertainty,” which explored how a charter issued to digital bank Varo might signal an industry shift. Naimon noted, “It is unclear whether the...In The News
“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
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
"Budding decentralized finance industry comes with risks" by Ali M. Abugheida (Law360)
"Educational tools may bring regulatory risk for fintech cos." by H Joshua Kotin, Michelle L. Rogers, and Kathryn R. Goodman (Law360)
Recent Blog Posts
September 24, 2020
OCC: Banks may hold stablecoins in reserve accounts
September 21, 2020
California Department of Real Estate issues FAQs regarding licensing process
September 18, 2020
E-SIGN modernization bill passes Senate committee
September 17, 2020
CSBS announces single exam for money transmitters
September 16, 2020
CFTC charges multi-level cryptocurrency marketing scheme