Last week, former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Enforcement Counsel Nicholas Smyth joined Reed Smith’s Financial Industry Group, bringing expertise on the CFPB’s approach to mortgage lending, auto lending, student lending, debt collection, credit reporting, and military lending.

Smyth brings an insider’s knowledge of the federal government’s fastest-growing and increasingly feared agency.  He was one of the longest-serving attorneys at the CFPB prior to joining the Firm, and he helped build the agency’s Office of Servicemember Affairs and Office of Enforcement.

In addition to being one of the first five attorneys hired by the CFPB, Smyth played a key role in helping to draft Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which created the CFPB and established its broad and sweeping powers over providers of consumer financial products and servicesAs a member of the Treasury Department’s Office of Consumer Protection, the precursor to the CFPB, Smyth was intimately involved in developing the structures and functions of the Bureau, from which he has developed a keen understanding of the CFPB’s statutory authorities.

“I’m thrilled to join Reed Smith,” Smyth said. “I was attracted to Reed Smith because its Financial Industry Group provides a unique integration of financial services litigators, regulatory counsel, and transactional attorneys.  As a litigator, being part of this integrated approach will enable me to better serve the Firm’s clients and ensure that litigation strategies are balanced with an institution’s compliance and transactional goals.”

Smyth participated in a wide range of CFPB enforcement activities during his tenure as an Enforcement Counsel, including conducting investigations at every stage, pre-trial litigation, and providing legal support to supervisory examinations. Among the key matters in which Smyth played major roles within the Bureau’s Office of Enforcement were:

  • A high-profile investigation and litigation against a national for-profit college involving student loans, one of the CFPB’s first actions in U.S. District Court.
  • An investigation and multimillion dollar settlement between the CFPB and a subprime auto lender involving debt collection and credit information furnishing, prior to which he led the team that designed the Enforcement Office’s strategy for auto finance investigations.
  • The supervisory examination of a large financial institution and its marketing partner that led to consent orders for millions in refunds to a large number of military personnel, including representing the CFPB Enforcement Office on a Pentagon Working Group following the settlement; and
  • The representation of the CFPB Enforcement Office at strategic planning meetings with state prosecutors nationwide.

Smyth is the latest edition to Reed Smith’s growing powerhouse of consumer financial services litigation and regulation attorneys.  In addition to Smyth, Reed Smith’s team also includes a former Associate General Counsel from the Federal Reserve Board, former Enforcement Counsel from the OCC, former Deputy Commissioner of Banking for New Jersey, former Assistant Counsel from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, former federal prosecutors, several seasoned trial attorneys, and former general counsels and assistant general counsels from some of the country’s leading financial institutions.