Photo of James Stevens

James Stevens provides general corporate and regulatory advice to our clients. James has substantial experience in the representation of public and private companies, including financial institutions, marketplace lenders and other FinTech and financial services companies, in mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings and regulatory reporting and compliance. He often serves as the principal outside counsel for these clients.

In a keynote address at the Consumer Federation of America’s 2022 Consumer Assembly, CFPB Deputy Director Zixta Martinez squarely took aim at “rent-a-bank schemes” in some of the first (if not the first) such comments by a senior CFPB official. Historically, the CFPB has confined itself to “true lender” litigation against participants in high-rate

On April 7, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released a letter, requiring all FDIC-supervised institutions that intend to engage in, or that are currently engaged in, crypto-related activities to notify its FDIC Regional Director. The FDIC also encouraged institutions to notify their state regulator. The FDIC provided an initial noncomprehensive list of activities

Several recent events highlight the expanding effort by the federal government to address the growing digital currency marketplace and the government’s role in it.

According to recent reporting, the Biden administration is preparing an executive order that will outline a comprehensive strategy for cryptocurrencies and ask federal agencies to assess the potential risks and

On January 26, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) announced its request for the public to share its input on “exploitative junk fees charged by banks and financial companies” to form its rulemaking and guidance agenda, along with its enforcement priorities. The CFPB’s press release included a link to its “Request for Information

On January 10, the Federal Trade Commission’s final rule, amending the Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information (Safeguards Rule) under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), became effective. We wrote about the final rule when it first published in October 2021 (see here). As a practical matter, the amendments will likely require many financial institutions to

Will 2022 be the year of comprehensive digital asset legislation in the U.S.?

In 2021, Congress waded into the digital asset policy waters through its inclusion of expanded cryptocurrency and digital asset rules as part of the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (HR 3584), which was signed into law by President Joe Biden

On January 18, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) conditionally approved an application by Social Finance Inc. (SoFi) to acquire Golden Pacific Bank, National Association, so long as the new bank does “not engage in any crypto-asset activities or services.”

SoFi’s application allows for the creation of SoFi Bank, National Association (SoFi

On December 16, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued orders to five companies offering buy now, pay later (BNPL) products. BNPL programs are designed to allow consumers to purchase goods and to defer payment over a short term with little to no interest, but with the potential for fees in the event of nonpayment.

On December 1, Freddie Mac issued Bulletin 2021-36 to update lenders on changes in loan eligibility requirements. While it is not unusual for Freddie Mac to issue such bulletins, this bulletin contained changes pertaining to cryptocurrency.

Specifically, the bulletin stated that Freddie Mac updated its Seller/Servicer Guide (the Guide) to address “the use of cryptocurrency

Introduction

On November 18, federal banking agencies[1] issued the long-awaited final rule,[2] establishing data security incident response notification requirements for “banking organizations” and “bank service providers” (terms defined below). Included in this rule is a headline-grabbing 36-hour regulatory notification requirement for banking organizations. This final rule is set to take effect on April