Archives: Financial Services Regulation – U.S.

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Travis Nelson to Speak on BSA/AML Enforcement and Cannabis Banking at NJ Bankers Conference

On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, Travis Nelson, a partner in Reed Smith’s Financial Services Regulatory Group, will present a lecture at the 2018 New Jersey Bankers Association’s Compliance University on two hot topics in bank regulation.  In the area of Cannabis Banking, the current political and regulatory environment has left many banks and their legal … Continue Reading

Travis Nelson Re-Elected Chair of New Jersey Bar Association’s Banking Law Section

At the recent Annual Meeting of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Travis Nelson was re-elected Chair of the Banking Law Section. Travis, a partner in the firm’s Princeton and Philadelphia offices, previously served as Vice Chair and Secretary of the Banking Law Section.  Upon his re-election, Travis noted: “Over the course of the past … Continue Reading

State Attorneys General Zero in on Elder Abuse, Financial Exploitation

The 2018 National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Presidential Initiative, “Protecting America’s Seniors: Attorneys General United Against Elder Abuse,” has come to a close with a summit held April 17-18 in Manhattan, Kansas, capping off an eight-month campaign during which state AG offices have augmented and sharpened their tools for investigating exploitation of this vulnerable … Continue Reading

Proposed TRID Title Insurance Clarification: Senator Warren Cries Wolf

Recently, I came across an article written by Senator Elizabeth Warren entitled “Don’t Make Bad Bill on Bank Deregulation Worse.”  In this article, the Senator warned against efforts by the House to add additional deregulation measures to the bill that was approved by the Senate (S-2155, “The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act”), … Continue Reading

New Jersey AG Attempts to Fill Perceived Void Left By CFPB Retrenchment

On March 27, 2018, the New Jersey Attorney General, Gurbir S. Grewal, announced the appointment of Paul R. Rodriguez to be the new Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.  Mr. Rodriguez, a New Jersey native, previously served as Acting Council for New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, and a member of … Continue Reading

California City to Explore Blockchain-Based Financing

The City of Berkeley, California will be the first U.S. city to explore blockchain-based financing to tackle social issues such as affordable housing.  Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilmember Ben Bartlett are collaborating with the UC Berkeley Blockchain Lab and San Francisco-based financial startup Neighborly for the Berkeley Blockchain Initiative (“BBI”) to develop a tokenized municipal … Continue Reading

With States Stepping Up Enforcement, Mulvaney Offers CFPB’s Partnership and Deference

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) Director Mick Mulvaney spoke to the National Association of Attorneys General winter meeting in D.C. on February 28, addressing the agency’s priorities under his leadership. He emphasized the different role that the CFPB will be playing under the Trump Administration, focusing mostly on targeting clearly illegal acts rather than making … Continue Reading

Statement Released That Multiple Crypto Exchanges Warned by Hong Kong Securities Commission

On February 9, 2018, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (“SFC”) released a statement which, among other things, informs the marketplace that the SFC sent letters to seven Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchanges warning against listing instruments that qualify as “securities” under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (“SFO”) without a required license.[1]  Additionally, the SFC … Continue Reading

Treasury Secretary Suggests Greener Pastures for Marijuana Banking

On Tuesday February 6, 2018, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in a speech before the House Financial Services Committee, offered some insights into how the Treasury Department may respond the growing area of marijuana banking. As we reported in a January 5th client alert, the Justice Department rescinded Obama-era policies that provided guidance to federal … Continue Reading

More Enforcement Action Taken by the SEC on Crypto Sales

On January 30, 2018, dissatisfied crypto token purchasers filed a class action lawsuit against Paragon Coin, Inc. (“Paragon”) and founders Jessica VerSteeg and Egor Lavrov, alleging that the Paragon initial coin offering (“ICO”) violated the federal securities laws.[1]  This lawsuit follows those filed by plaintiffs against Centra, Tezos, ATBCoin, BitConnect, and Xunlei in connection with … Continue Reading

SEC Taking Action Against Companies Hyping Blockchain-Related Trading

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is continuing to increase its scrutiny of companies that might be taking advantage of investor excitement for blockchain and cryptocurrency (ICO) deals to inflate their share prices and raise funds.  On January 8, 2018, the SEC suspended trading in the securities of Hong Kong-based UBI Blockchain Internet, Ltd. … Continue Reading

Senators Announce Bipartisan Deal to Ease Banking Regulations

On November 13, 2017, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, along with several Democratic senators, announced an agreement on bipartisan financial reform legislation. The proposed legislation aims to lower the number of banks considered “systemically important” and thus subject to enhanced bank supervision rules.  The legislation also contains provisions aimed at easing the regulatory burdens … Continue Reading

Digital Assets Have Existing Laws Applied by SEC and CFTC

Nine years after Satoshi Nakamoto circulated his whitepaper and introduced the world to bitcoin, regulated bitcoin derivatives are about to be introduced in the United States. CME Group recently announced that it will begin to offer bitcoin futures based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate later this year[1] and the Chicago Board Options Exchange … Continue Reading

Financial Institutions’ IT Systems Receives New Regulatory Requirements from BaFin

On 3 November 2017, the German regulator for the financial sector, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (“BaFin”), published a new circular titled Rundschreiben 10/2017 (BA) vom 3. November 2017 – Bankaufsichtliche Anforderungen an die IT (in English: Circular 10/2017 – Regulatory Requirements for IT-Systems – “BAIT”). The BAIT is available in German language at the BaFin’s website. The … Continue Reading

NJ Governor-Elect Murphy Has Businesses Prepared for Change

Democrat Phil Murphy has been elected as the next Governor of the State of New Jersey. Murphy comes into the office with a double-digit victory over departing lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno (R), and the backing of a state legislature controlled by Democrats.  Governor-Elect Murphy, who has never served in elected office, promises to take the … Continue Reading

Digital Currency Company Receives SEC Complaint After Bitcoin Conversion Scheme

On October 30, 2017, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a complaint in federal court against a day trader for allegedly committing fraud and market manipulation during which the trader utilized a digital currency exchange in a supposed attempt to cover his tracks. The SEC claims that defendant’s associate obtained unauthorized access to … Continue Reading

Prize-Linked Savings Laws Spread Across States

With Americans’ saving habits in the news as the federal government considers caps on retirement contributions, financial institutions should be aware that many states are passing laws making it easier to incentivize saving. To date, 26 states have enacted legislation that liberalizes their approaches to games of chance in support of good consumer saving practices. … Continue Reading

Banks, Fintechs and Consumer Data: The CFPB Weighs In

On October 18, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) entered  into the long simmering debate over consumer-authorized data sharing.  This debate pits mainstream financial institutions, which are typically reticent to share customer data with third parties, against data aggregators and other fintechs.  Those newer companies provide services directly to consumers—or to enhance the … Continue Reading

Senate Nullifies Arbitration Rule in Huge Setback to CFPB

Late Tuesday evening the Senate voted to nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (“CFPB” or “Bureau”) controversial Arbitration Agreements Rule (“Rule”).  All but two Senate Republicans supported a resolution to repeal the Rule pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.  While there were rumors that one or two Democrats might also lend their support, none ultimately … Continue Reading

Treasury Report Takes Aim at CFPB Arbitration Rule

The CFPB’s Arbitration Agreements Rule (“Rule”), which was finalized on July 18, 2017, came under fire today in a report released by the U.S. Department of Treasury (“Treasury”).  The 18-page report details the “extraordinary costs” the Rule will impose if implemented—more than $500 million in additional legal defense fees, $330 million in payments to plaintiffs’ … Continue Reading

Educational Tool on Virtual Currencies released by CFTC

On October 17, 2017, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (“CFTC”) LabCFTC released a primer on virtual currencies, available here.  The primer is an “education tool” that provides an overview of the virtual currency landscape and is “not intended to describe the official policy or position of the CFTC, or to limit the CFTC’s current … Continue Reading

Blunt Talk on Marijuana Banking in New Jersey

On Wednesday, October 11, 2017, Reed Smith Princeton attorneys Travis Nelson and Kristy Keiser will lead a discussion at the quarterly meeting of the Banking Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. In addition to the meeting’s regularly scheduled agenda items, including planning for future CLE programs, and discussion of recent and pending … Continue Reading

Final Payday Lending Rule Released by the CFPB

On Thursday October 5, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a long-awaited final rule governing certain short-term loans and longer term loans involving balloon payments, better known as the payday lending rule. The rule is expected to dramatically impact the short-term loan industry, imposing numerous new restrictions on both short-term lenders (including “payday” lenders … Continue Reading

Crypto Token Cyber Crimes the New Focus for SEC

September 28, 2017 Two months after its Investor Bulletin stating that U.S. securities laws may apply to digital token sales, the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced Monday two new initiatives to address cyber-based threats and protect retail investors.  The SEC’s press release outlined the creation of the Cyber Unit (“Unit”) and the Retail Strategy Task … Continue Reading
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