Financial Institutions Advisory | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice

Financial Institutions Advisory


As increasing globalization continues to create greater complexity for financial services companies, financial institutions are constantly challenged to understand a wide range of issues and developments. Banks and other financial firms must stay informed of new regulatory initiatives while at the same time implementing any program modifications and reforms required by regulators, monitoring and responding to new risks, and continuing to explore strategic opportunities in emerging markets.

The regulatory landscape can be daunting, and even seemingly straightforward issues can involve significant complexity. These matters require skilled legal counsel that can make the difference in avoiding or overcoming legal obstacles. We have extensive experience across a full spectrum of domestic and cross-border services, including:

  • Bank Regulatory and Compliance
  • Nonbank Financial Services
  • Derivatives, Securities, Funds and Capital Markets Advisory
  • M&A and Transactional Advisory
  • Enforcement, Investigation and Supervisory
  • Consumer Financial Services
  • Payment Systems and Activities
  • FinTech and RegTech
  • Data Privacy and Cybersecurity
  • Employment, Compensation and Board Advisory


A comprehensive solution across multiple jurisdictions

We serve the needs of financial institutions in the US, UK, EU, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Clients include:

  • Commercial Banks and Depository Institutions 
  • Investment Banks
  • Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers
  • Investment Funds, REITs and Public Funds
  • Private Equity and Hedge Funds
  • Securities and Insurance Firms  
  • Sovereign Wealth Funds and Government-owned Banks
  • Third-Party Service Providers
  • Nonbank Lenders and Servicers
  • FinTech Firms and Payments Companies


A dedicated, experienced and skilled global team

Our global Financial Institutions Advisory team members have worked in this field for many years and include many leaders in the private bar as well as former senior regulators of financial institutions, including:

  • General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • Chief Counsel of the UK Financial Services Authority
  • Special Counsel, Managing Director of External Affairs and Director of Congressional Affairs of the US Treasury Department’s former Office of Thrift Supervision
  • Staff Attorney of the former US House Banking Committee
  • Senior Counsel of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Supervision and Regulatory Staff Attorney of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System


First-ever mainland China-based bank to secure Federal Reserve Board approval to acquire a US bank
Representation of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the largest bank in the world by assets, in its significant US expansion transaction in 2012 involving the acquisition of an 80 percent interest in The Bank of East Asia (USA) National Association.  The successful outcome of the transaction enabled ICBC to become the first-ever mainland China-based bank to acquire and own a US bank by, among other things, meeting the standard for “comprehensive supervision or regulation on a consolidated basis” under US banking law.  The transaction was featured as one of the “Most Innovative M&A Transactions in the United States” by The Financial Times (2012).  

Representation of retail banks in high-stakes consumer financial services litigation
Representation of top banks in lawsuits brought by municipalities alleging discriminatory origination and foreclosure practices that violated the Fair Housing Act and caused harm to the municipalities.

Representation of banks and nonbanks in fair lending and other consumer law-related examinations, investigations and lawsuits from bank regulators, CFPB, DOJ and HUD, including advising multiple nonbank lenders in a nationwide NAACP-led class action lawsuit alleging “reverse redlining” violations of the FHA, ECOA and Civil Rights Act, and advising a bank in a DOJ investigation, FDIC examination and joint enforcement action regarding SCRA compliance.

Representation of a large nonbank mortgage servicing company in connection with an investigation by the CFPB into the company’s mortgage servicing practices and, in particular, its compliance with the CFPB’s then, newly promulgated mortgage servicing rules.

Anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance
Representation of a diversified financial services company responding to an OCC notice of a proposed enforcement action regarding alleged BSA/AML deficiencies. Our advice led to the successful resolution of the matter between the bank and its supervisor without an enforcement action.  

Representation of a major non-US bank in investigations into alleged US sanctions violations with the successful result of no OFAC enforcement action being brought; and advised a major European-based financial institution in connection with an OFAC investigation and US litigation concerning alleged breach of US sanctions.

Negotiation of high-stakes enforcement actions; responding to regulators’ concerns
Representation of a state bank at risk of receivership and its holding company in managing effective communications with the state banking regulator, the FDIC and the FRB.

Representation of a non-US bank in successfully avoiding remedial action by the Federal Reserve Board and another in deflecting a potential enforcement action by state banking authorities relating to deposits in the bank’s home country.

Representation of a non-bank financial services company in responding to an inquiry from a state regulator regarding application of state law.  Our advice to the client and responsiveness to the regulator’s concerns resulted in no further inquiry or action by the regulator.  

Expansion/contraction of US banking activities
Representation of several large European Union and Asian banks in obtaining regulatory approvals to establish or expand their US banking presence through the opening of branch or agency offices and the acquisition of a US bank, and on “debanking” in the United States through closure of their US offices.

Financial product UDAAP review
Representation of a large subprime credit card issuer with respect to a UDAAP review of its consumer credit product offerings.

Strategic plan review and execution
Representation of a large diversified financial services company regarding the development and implementation of an enterprise-wide strategic plan that included proposed novel solutions for compliance with Community Reinvestment Act obligations for an online bank with a limited physical branch footprint.