Financial institutions and other financial service providers face growing challenges on many fronts. New front- and back-office technologies are expanding the range of financial services delivery opportunities and risks. Increasingly sophisticated businesses and consumers seek new and innovative financial services. Ever-increasing regulation and oversight puts a premium on regulatory compliance.
Our lawyers are on the frontlines every day, providing financial service providers with legal advice and tools to thrive as they meet these challenges head-on. Our aim is to be a trusted partner, assisting credit unions, banks, and other financial service providers with legal solutions to achieve their business objectives.
Here are some of our key areas of financial services expertise:
One of the biggest challenges financial service providers face has been and will continue to be state and federal regulations. We advise our financial institutions and related financial service providers in all aspects of state and federal regulatory matters affecting their business, operations, and financial product delivery. We regularly provide comprehensive compliance programs and compliance audits, draft and review consumer documents, prepare policies, and advise our clients on a day-to-day basis in advertising, deposit accounts, consumer and real estate lending; insurance and securities. With our help, clients satisfy regulatory compliance and other legal issues long before the examiner arrives or the customer dispute arises.
We solve our clients' legal business and operational problems because we understand their business goals and needs. A large part of our practice involves counseling clients in daily operations, deposit account issues, real estate transactions, and other business matters. We meet regularly with clients to provide guidance on various aspects of operations, planning, and lending. In conjunction with our financial institution practice, we assist institutions with the review and drafting of all forms of contracts, corporate documentation, and trademark and copyright registration. We also provide advice about executive compensation, retirement plans, stock option programs, and deferred compensation systems.
Moving money is more than just check processing. Our lawyers are well versed in the legal issues involved in ACH transactions, wire transfers, electronic check conversions, Check 21, and of course paper checks. We work every day to help clients navigate the rules of Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Articles 3 and 4, 4A, the Federal Reserve check processing regulations and operating circulars, ACH rules, and other applicable law. Our knowledge helps clients provide effective service to account owners, avoid unnecessary losses, and recover losses promptly and efficiently when they do occur.
Technology has far outpaced the law for bringing opportunities in delivering financial products and services electronically. While the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN) was a significant step in providing financial institutions stronger legal authority to deliver services online, the entire legal landscape is still evolving. Farleigh Wada Witt has been a leader in helping clients design and deliver financial services online. In addition, we regularly counsel clients on all aspects in implementing new third-party technologies.
In addition to developing standard loan forms for commercial and consumer transactions, we regularly document commercial lending and leasing transactions for financial service providers. Because of our broad experience in documenting these loans, we are an extremely cost-effective resource for lenders and can help institutions minimize the risk of costly documentation errors.
Financial institutions are increasingly outsourcing technology functions to third-party providers and depend heavily on vendors for many critical services such as data processing, lending support, voice and data communications, and facilities maintenance. Contracts with these vendors are a critical piece of the business plan. In addition, vendor contract management is coming under increased regulatory scrutiny. We draft, negotiate, and review contracts that protect financial institutions and help achieve quality vendor relationships.
Sarbanes-Oxley has brought an awareness of corporate governance and responsibility that affects all financial institutions and service providers, public or nonpublic. We assist our financial institution clients in a wide range of corporate governance matters including chartering and bylaw changes, corporate reorganizations, corporate governance policies, advising at board and member/shareholder meetings, corporate governance planning, and education.
We take an active role in assisting our clients in planning and forming operating subsidiaries and credit union service organizations (CUSOs) to meet their competitive goals. We regularly advise clients on entity structure, selection of chartering authority, licensing, organization and formation, and operational and regulatory issues related to their financial and product service delivery through their operating subsidiaries and CUSOs.
The relationship between a financial institution and its regulator is complex and not always easy. We help financial institutions obtain required regulatory approval for corporate actions such as mergers, market expansions, and other matters. We also help institutions anticipate and respond to special regulatory actions when needed, including cease and desist orders, documents of resolution, and supervisory agreements.