Locke Lord is a recognized leader in financial services litigation. For decades, our clients — ranging from regional and community banks to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to some of the biggest financial institutions in the world — have relied upon us to handle their litigation needs. Our clients trust us to help them avoid litigation, too. By understanding their business needs and goals, we identify risks and trends to help design processes and procedures for our clients to better serve customers and avoid legal pitfalls.
We don't stop at handling cases or deals for our clients.
When financial services companies choose Locke Lord, they quickly realize our capabilities go beyond 100 dedicated litigators in offices from coast to coast. Our corporate and regulatory colleagues bring unparalleled business acumen and experience navigating the corporate regulatory landscape and evaluating portfolio risk. Our value-added approach includes customized in-house training and continuing legal education training, industry alerts, on-site visits, and attorney and paralegal secondments.
Your goals are our goals.
Consumer Financial Services Litigation
For decades, Locke Lord has enjoyed a reputation as one of the preeminent firms representing the mortgage industry. We handle high-volume work in over 40 states.
Our team helps financial institutions navigate the broad range of U.S. federal and state laws impacting their operations. We are skilled in all aspects of financial services litigation, including early resolution through motions to dismiss, summary judgment, opposition to class certification, related bankruptcy issues, arbitration as well as trial and appellate work. We frequently handle appeals with industry-wide implications, including cases we were hired to take over and “fix” a bad result in the lower court.
We have unmatched experience in the “alphabet soup” of regulatory regimens that have generated waves of litigation in recent years.
We regularly handle a multitude of individual and class action claims across the country that attack financial services companies, including mortgage lenders and servicers, student loan lenders and servicers, credit card companies, consumer finance companies and other financial institutions.
Our litigators defend national and regional consumer lending and servicing clients in individual and class action lawsuits brought under a variety of state and federal consumer protection statutes, including cases involving mortgage fraud, predatory lending, elder abuse, and unfair and deceptive acts and practices statutes.
We provide comprehensive counseling, advice and representation to domestic and international financial institutions on transactional, legislative, regulatory and litigation-related matters. We closely monitor the activities of the CFPB, FTC, HUD, House Financial Services Committee, Federal Housing Authority and state regulators in implementing and enforcing consumer financial laws. Our lawyers are well versed in relevant statutes and regulations, including RESPA/Reg X, TILA/Reg Z, FCRA/Reg V, ECOA/Reg B, and state statutes and regulations governing forward and reverse mortgage loan products.
Enforcement and Investigations
We help clients avoid enforcement actions by educating them on federal and state regulatory requirements, performing due diligence and quality control reviews, and working with lenders and servicers to address regulatory compliance concerns. Our objective in regulatory compliance counseling is to assist clients in operating in accordance with legal obligations and regulatory guidance through practical advice on structuring policies, procedures and business processes.
In today’s aggressive enforcement environment, it is not always possible to avoid critical examination findings or a government enforcement action. When that happens, we represent our clients in all stages of enforcement proceedings — from advising companies on whether to self-disclose a suspected violation to responding to and resolving government inquiries. We have extensive experience leading high-profile internal investigations. Our lawyers have represented financial service providers in complex matters, including CFPB and state supervisory examinations, Department of Justice (DOJ) defense, FTC actions as well as in state enforcement action. We work with our clients to ensure compliance with federal and state prohibition against unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices.
Our financial services team works closely with our white collar defense colleagues to conduct internal investigations on behalf of public companies, special committees, hedge funds, Multilateral Development Banks and financial services companies. When confidentiality is important, our clients rely on us to competently and expeditiously handle non-public investigations to uncover and resolve issues, such as insider trading, financial statement fraud, accounting fraud, violation of director or trustee fiduciary duties, whistleblower claims and other regulatory requirements.
Class Action Litigation
We represent clients in “bet the company” class action cases. Our lawyers have defended claims based on allegations of:
Our practice is always driven by our clients’ needs and goals. We have been able to obtain early dismissal or nuisance-value settlements through exhaustive early case assessments and vigorous motion practice. One putative class action case class counsel voluntarily dismissed their case after we sent an early position letter explaining why the claims had no merit. And while we love opposing class certification, we evaluate each case to determine if it is a more prudent course of action to use class settlement as a tool to mitigate risks and move forward.
Our bankruptcy and financial services lawyers work together to represent lenders with loan workouts, debtors in possession, financing, bankruptcy protection planning and debtor bankruptcies. We represent our clients as both secured and unsecured creditors. We also represent institutions serving as trustees for bonds and other debt instruments when users or borrowers have defaulted and sought protection under bankruptcy laws.
Our team has vast experience representing Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM, more commonly known as a “reverse mortgage”) originators, investors, servicers and other mortgagees across the country. We counsel our clients on the numerous complex issues they face with these loans as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) related regulatory requirements for reverse mortgages. We represent reverse mortgage companies during CFPB reverse mortgage examinations and, more recently, the growing state investigations into HECM servicing practices.
In a ruling that has industry-wide significance, a Locke Lord team led by Daron Janis (Boston), Scott Hastings (Dallas) and David Foster (Austin) obtained a judgment in favor of Freddie Mac before the Texas Supreme Court, which preserved equitable subrogation for Texas home-equity loans.
Hugh Balsam (Chicago), Tom Cunningham (West Palm Beach) and Tara Trifon (Hartford) obtained a judgment in favor of their client U.S. Bank in an appeal from a dispute over whether a bank was required to conduct a face-to-face meeting with a mortgage borrower before initiating foreclosure proceedings.
A Locke Lord team successfully obtained an order in a Florida trial court denying a borrower’s request for an award of attorneys’ fees following an argument that the plaintiff lacked standing to foreclose.
In 2012, our Financial Services and Litigation lawyers in Hartford obtained a dismissal of all claims asserted against a bank in a federal court matter involving student loans.
On behalf of our client, a bank that has brought a loan default action, Edwards Wildman lawyers in Providence and Boston defeated defendants’ two motions to dismiss filed on jurisdictional grounds in the US District Court for the District of Rhode Island.