Friday, February 28, 2014
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With attorneys and staff worldwide, Bryan Cave attorneys are often quoted in the news.  Recent mentions of Financial Institutions group attorneys include:

BankBryanCave.com in Banking and Finance Law Daily

Three recent blog posts from BankBryanCave.com were prominently featured Feb. 13 in Banking and Finance Law Daily. The publication’s “Blog Tracker” column, which highlights the week’s “most insightful, intriguing or entertaining blog posts from the banking and financial services community,” included our recent posts “Will 2014 be the year of UDAP and UDAAP?” by DC Partner John ReVeal and Associate Seyi Iwarere; “Should your bank do business with Bitcoin?” by DC Associate Courtney Stolz; and “Five practical tips to manage your vendor risk…,” by Atlanta Associate Karen Neely Louis  Click the post titles to read more.

Klingler in American Banker

Atlanta Partner Rob Klingler was quoted Jan. 28 by American Banker concerning Broadway Financial, which has struggled in recent years but managed to restructure its debt and recapitalize by bringing together the federal government, private equity, nonprofits and local banks. Today, the U.S. Treasury owns 52 percent of Broadway, or about $8.8 million in common stock. Broadway is one of five companies with common stock held by the Treasury as a result of a Tarp exchange, and is the only one majority owned by the government. Klingler said the Treasury typically moves quickly to cash out of such holdings. He said the stake is unlikely to scare off investors (the Treasury has vowed to be hands-off and vote along with the majority) but the government could have trouble finding investors to buy such a large block of shares.

Shumaker in Bank Safety & Soundness Advisor

Atlanta Associate Michael Shumaker was quoted at length in two front-page articles Feb. 17 in Bank Safety & Soundness Advisor concerning third-party vendor risk. Regulators are pushing for higher third-party due diligence standards, particularly the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which now requires banks to manage what it calls the full “life cycle” of a vendor relationship. “The regulators’ expectations are on a sliding scale,” Shumaker said. “The level and depth of risk management and vendor management for a $50 billion bank is not going to be expected necessarily for a $100 million bank.” A small community bank, he explained, may only have one or two material contracts that it needs to be on top of, such as for data processing and a credit or prepaid card program. Still, he said, having a “rational and structured” approach for entering those contracts not only keeps regulators happy but makes business sense.

Friday, January 31, 2014
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With attorneys and staff worldwide, Bryan Cave attorneys are often quoted in the news.  Recent mentions of Financial Institutions group attorneys include:

Rob Klingler in Bank Safety and Soundness Advisor

Atlanta Partner Robert Klingler was quoted Jan. 27 by Bank Safety and Soundness Advisor concerning an eagerly awaited amendment to the Volcker Rule, which will exempt most bank-issued Trust Preferred Securities (or TruPS). The interim final rule, however, does not exempt insurer or REIT-backed TruPS. Klingler said the exemption does not include insurer and REIT TruPS because the Collins Amendment didn’t either, and regulators modeled the Volcker exemption after the Collins Amendment. “They were looking to the Dodd-Frank Act itself for the statutory authority,” he said. “They used the Collins Amendment to form the basis for why they’re able to exempt [these TruPS]. They don’t have a statutory basis for excluding insurer-backed TruPS. They probably wanted to make sure the final rule wasn’t going to be challenged. The way to do that was to lock in the $15 billion bank asset threshold.”

Judith Rinearson in Multiple Outlets

New York Partner Judith Rinearson was quoted a number of times recently in connection with hearings in New York on the future of virtual currency, including the popular Bitcoin. She was quoted Jan. 28 by The Verge, Inc. magazine and IDG News Services (in an article that ran in IT World and CFO World) and Jan. 27 by Upstart Business Journal. Rinearson acted as an expert witness at the hearings, which could lead to the creation of “BitLicenses” to allow the introduction of Bitcoin ATMs and other Bitcoin-related startups in New York. “New York has always been one of the lead states when it comes to money transmitter licenses,” said Rinearson, who is also regulatory counsel for the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association and serves as chair for the association’s Government Relations Working Group. “But I think a lot of other states are going to be watching and a lot of states will be waiting to see what happens.”  Click here to read the full Upstart Business Journal article.

Dan Wheeler in Financial Services Publications

San Francisco Partner Daniel Wheeler authored an article for the January edition of Western Independent Bankers’ Lending & Credit Digest on common regulatory errors in making a commercial loan. Lenders often ignore or misunderstand several regulations and other laws that affect the origination of a commercial loan. Wheeler’s article discussed some surprising aspects of bank regulations and laws that can catch a commercial lender by surprise and result in a compliance violation.  Click here to read the Lending & Credit Digest article.  Dan authored an article for the January edition of Western Independent Bankers’ Directors Digest regarding current opportunities and regulatory issues related to common non-interest income opportunities, including overdraft protection.  Click here to read the Directors Digest article.  Dan also authored a lengthy article for the December edition of Banking & Financial Services Policy Report on basic interest rate swaps, which he said remain a viable and necessary tool for small community banks.  “Despite Congress’ and the regulators’ enactment of thousands of pages of burdensome and frequently counterproductive swap regulation, community banks still have compelling reasons to offer swap capability to their customers,” he wrote.  “Community bank management need not become experts in swap accounting or regulation; they merely need to understand the risks and strategy involved in the swaps they offer.”

Monday, April 1, 2013
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Although service to clients will always remain more important than peer reviews, we are proud to announce that partners Walt Moeling, Kathryn Knudson and Jim McAlpin were each selected for inclusion as bank regulatory attorneys in Georgia Super Lawyers 2013.  In addition, partner Rob Klingler was named to the Georgia “Rising Stars” list for 2012.

Super Lawyers lists the top 5 percent of attorneys in a state or region who have attained a high level of recognition and professional achievement. Honorees are identified through peer surveys, independent research and a blue-ribbon panel review.

“Rising Stars” are chosen by their peers as being among the top up-and-coming lawyers (40 years old or younger, or in practice 10 years or less). Only 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state were selected.

In total, 27 Bryan Cave lawyers in the Atlanta office were named Georgia Super Lawyers and an additional seven were named “Rising Stars.”  A complete list of Bryan Cave’s Super Lawyers and Rising Stars is available here.

Friday, September 28, 2012
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With attorneys and staff worldwide, Bryan Cave attorneys are often quoted in the news.  Recent Media Mentions of Financial Institutions Group attorneys include:

Andreassen in Paybefore Update

DC Attorney Kristine Andreassen was noted as contributing to an article in the July edition of Paybefore Update concerning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed policy statement for disclosing consumer complaint information about financial products and services other than credit cards.  The bureau’s handling of a consumer complaint database for non-credit card products would closely mirror how it currently discloses credit card complaint data, a process that has drawn criticism. Among objections, the current credit card complaint database publishes “unverified claims” that name the banks, but not any specifics regarding the complaints.  Andreassen is a contributing editor to Paybefore.

Atkinson in American Banker

Charlotte partner B.T. Atkinson was quoted August 15 by American Banker regarding election year uncertainty, and how it is affecting M&A work.  “The election is more likely to come up in the more red states.  They are looking at the election with hope that things will get better, because they believe that it can’t get any worse,” Atkinson said.  “The current administration isn’t looking to do much about regulatory relief, and they hope that the new administration will.”  Atkinson noted that the Obama administration’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, signed into law in April, has been a boon for many smaller banking companies that will no longer have to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  “The JOBS Act is tremendous because deregistering saves real money,” he said.  “That is one thing that has happened.”

Klingler in The Deal, Law360

Atlanta Partner Robert Klingler was quoted at length July 13 in The Deal and July 23 by Law360 concerning banks holding TARP funds and recent auctions by the U.S. Treasury of its stakes in these banks.  The Treasury on July 23 started an auction process involving the sale of preferred stock and subordinated debt positions it acquired in 12 banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, under which it invested $245.1 billion in 707 financial institutions.  The auction will be the fourth of its kind this year.  After the current sale, the Treasury still will hold positions in 325 banks.  Klingler told The Deal the preferred and sub-debt sale involving the 12 banks is happening now both because market conditions are right and because of the overarching idea that the government was never in the business of investing in private companies.  Political motives could be in play, too, he added.  “From a Washington outsider’s point of view, I think everything is political,” Klingler said.  “The fact that an election is rapidly approaching helps play into that.  The fact that the government has received a profit on the portfolio creates additional flexibility for them to say, ‘OK, let’s get out as soon as possible.’”  Click here to read the Law360 article.

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Monday, August 20, 2012
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On Wednesday, August 22, 2012, the SEC is meeting to consider rules to implement a critical component of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act).  Specifically, the Commission will be considering rules to eliminate the prohibition against general solicitation and general advertising in securities offerings conducted pursuant to Rule 506 of Regulation D under the Securities Act and Rule 144A under the Securities Act, as mandated by Section 201(a) of the JOBS Act.

On Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 2:00pm Pacific time, Partners Robert Klingler and Dan Wheeler will be presenting a webinar for the Western Independent Bankers on the impact of the JOBS Act on community banks. The title of the webinar is “Capital Relief and New Opportunities: The Impact of the JOBS Act on Community Banks.”

In a time of ever increasing regulation, Congress passed the JOBS Act in April 2012, a significant piece of deregulation of the federal securities laws.  Public and private offerings are both impacted, and likely to be permanently changed.  New flexibility has been introduced relaxing reporting requirements and allowing community banks to raise capital more easily.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012
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With attorneys and staff worldwide, Bryan Cave attorneys are often quoted in the news.  Recent Media Mentions of Financial Institutions Group attorneys include:

Achenbach in American Banker

Ken Achenbach was quoted in a July 2 article in American Banker regarding the decline in FDIC Loss-Sharing Deals for failed-bank buyers as the economy improves. Achenbach said “If the FDIC loss share backstop is there, it certainly mitigates the risks involved in taking the portfolio . . . Given the limited amount of diligence you’re able to do in these deals, and particularly earlier in the economic cycle where there was much more price uncertainty in the real estate markets, people actively wanted that safety net. Over time, however, bidders may be becoming more comfortable with asset pricing and may be assigning less value to the protections of loss-sharing. In addition, the FDIC is now encouraging banks that are comfortable doing so to make non-loss share bids.”

Hightower in Bank Safety & Soundness Advisor

Jonathan Hightower was quoted July 2 by the Bank Safety & Soundness Advisor concerning new Basel III capital rules, and how community bankers might need to prepare for the changes sooner rather than later.  Hightower said the new rules probably won’t change acquisition, development and construction (ADC) lending behavior now, when so few banks are making ADC loans.  But he said it will impact future lending plans.  “Where you’ll really see a difference is when the market  comes back and banks get more comfortable thinking about reentering this market,” he said.  “there are lenders out there who know the business and have done this kind of lending for a long time.  But now, unless those loans meet some focused requirements, they’ll be subject to those higher risk weights.”

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Thursday, May 17, 2012
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On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, Atlanta partners Jim McAlpin and Rob Klingler will be presenting at Porter Keadle Moore’s CFO Peer Group meeting.

Jim will present “Risk Management from a Legal Perspective.”

The regulators are raising the bar for enterprise risk management at community banks. Bank boards and senior management need to be thinking of how to satisfy these requirements within the context of the limited resources that community banks can deploy.  One more area of focus is being added to an already crowded Board agenda.

Rob will present “The Impact of the Jobs Act on Community Banks.”

In a time of ever increasing regulation, Congress has passed the Jobs Act, a significant piece of deregulation of the federal securities laws. Public and private offerings are both impacted, and likely to be permanently changed. Capital is still hard to raise, but at least a few obstacles have been relaxed.

Please click here for more information or to register for the event.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
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With attorneys and staff worldwide, Bryan Cave attorneys are often quoted in the news.  Recent Media Mentions of Financial Institutions Group attorneys include:

Blanchard in ABA Banking Journal, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta partner Jerry Blanchard authored an article April 13, in the ABA Banking Journal regarding recent cases that could spur review of “tried and true” loan contracts.  Blanchard gave an overview of the recent $75 million judgment against Delta Community Credit Union in Georgia.  Click here to read the full article.  He was quoted April 8 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding the FDIC’s decision to seek penalties against certain officials of failed Georgia banks in instances where alleged malfeasance, not failed strategies, led to the bank’s failure.  Speaking in general about failed bank litigation, Blanchard said he expects most cases to be settled  before ever reaching trial.  “Most failed Georgia banks collapsed because of betting too heavily on a housing and commercial real estate bubble that burst, not because of intentional wrongdoing,” Blanchard said.  Click here to read the full article.

Hightower in Bank Safety & Soundness Advisor

Atlanta attorney Jonathan Hightower was quoted April 2 in the Bank Safety & Soundness Advisor regarding plans by the FDIC to implement enforcement actions in Georgia, the effect of which would be to make public a number of previously unpublished consent orders from regulators demanding improvements at various community banks.  “The publicity of the orders at a time like this is unfortunate to say the least,” Hightower said.  “The public’s perception of a consent order can be much worse than the reality.  It’s troubling when a bank working successfully for a period of time gets new publicity for the same consent order.  The public perception may be that its ability to survive is in question.”

Klingler in Bank Safety & Soundness Advisor

Atlanta partner Robert Klingler was quoted April 2 in the Bank Safety & Soundness Advisor concerning the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act.  The bill will impact community banks by dramatically increasing the number of shareholders a company can have before it is required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) — which brings with it numerous costly and time-consuming reporting requirements.  “If passed, this could cause a significant number of community banks to reconsider whether SEC registration is an appropriate cost for their shareholders, and may enable a significant number of public bank holding companies to ‘go dark’ without engaging in a ‘going private’ transaction, while also increasing the possibility of larger institutions that may exceed the new 1,200 trigger considering a going private transaction,” Klingler is quoted as writing in a client alert.

Moeling in American Banker

Atlanta partner Walt Moeling was quoted April 13 by American Banker regarding the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, which President Obama signed into law earlier this month.  It allows companies to deregister from the Securities and Exchange Commission if they have 1,200 or fewer shareholders, compared to the previous threshold of 300.  Industry observers say more than 500 banking companies could take advantage of the change.  Moeling said deregistration could be a good thing for many banks.  “I’ve always considered the proxy statements for reporting companies to be a major impediment to getting information to shareholders,” he said.  “It takes too long and is artificial.  You have to be so cautious about what you say.”  Moeling said while the fighting might be juicier without SEC oversight, it won’t necessarily be nastier.”  I don’t think it will rise to the level of presidential campaigning,” he said.  “Even without the SEC review, it will still be fairly civilized.”

Friday, March 23, 2012
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With attorneys and staff worldwide, Bryan Cave attorneys are often quoted in the news.  Recent Media Mentions of Financial Institutions Group attorneys include:

Klingler in American Banker

Atlanta Partner Robert Klingler was quoted March 15 in American Banker regarding an agreement reached between the U.S. Treasury Department and Pacific Capital.  UnionBanCal has agreed to buy Pacific Capital for $1.5 billion in cash, with the Treasury getting about $165 million in exchange for its 11 percent stake.  That would be about 90 cents on the dollar of the bailout money the Treasury invested in Pacific Capital through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.  Klingler said the deal is probably a good one for the Treasury.  “The ability to recoup an investment that is stressed at its face value is extremely difficult,” Klingler said.  “If the bank goes into receivership, the Treasury is looking at pennies — and that might be generous.  So the Treasury has shown a willingness to strike a deal that makes it more likely for the company to either find new capital or someone willing to acquire it.”

Moeling in SNL

Atlanta Partner Walt Moeling was quoted March 8 by SNL Financial regarding the fact that the FDIC increasingly has asked those bidding on failed banks to up their offers in order to help stem losses to the deposit insurance fund.  The practice is called “the best and final round” and has been used in 14 failed-bank transactions since July 2011.  The best and final round of bidding is a case of the FDIC acting like a “businessperson,” Moeling said.  “They’re charged with getting the best price.  They’ve done this some all along.  I don’t think it’s truly exceptional but I think they’re very focused on the fact that they have a deposit insurance fund valuation issue here.”  Click here to read the full article.

Blanchard in Safety and Soundness Report

Atlanta Partner Jerry Blanchard was quoted extensively March 5 in The Safety and Soundness Report regarding Pearson v. Delta Credit Union.  Delta Credit Union in Atlanta was hit with a $75.4 million damage award in a lawsuit filed by a Florida developer.  The two sides disagreed over what various terms of the loan documents meant, including whether the promissory note in question constituted a demand note.  Commentators suggested that some of the problems could have been adverted by more artful contract drafting.  Blanchard pointed out that if a note is called a demand note but contains terms and conditions that more closely resemble a term note there is a substantial risk that a court might conclude the parties entered into a term loan rather than a loan payable on demand.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012
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Although service to clients will always remain more important than peer reviews, we are proud to announce that partners Walt Moeling, Kathryn Knudson and Jim McAlpin were each selected for inclusion as bank regulatory attorneys in Georgia Super Lawyers 2012. Walt was further honored as one of the Top 100 attorneys in Georgia, while Kathryn was selected as one of the Top 50 female attorneys in Georgia.  In all, attorneys in Bryan Cave’s financial institutions practice constituted half of the bank regulatory attorneys identified as Super Lawyers in Georgia. In addition, partner Rob Klingler was named to the Georgia “Rising Stars” list for 2012.

Super Lawyers lists the top 5 percent of attorneys in a state or region who have attained a high level of recognition and professional achievement. Honorees are identified through peer surveys, independent research and a blue-ribbon panel review.   “Rising Stars” are chosen by their peers as being among the top up-and-coming lawyers (40 years old or younger, or in practice 10 years or less). Only 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state were selected.

In total, 28 Bryan Cave lawyers in the Atlanta office were named Georgia Super Lawyers and an additional 11 were named “Rising Stars.”  A complete list of Bryan Cave’s Super Lawyers and Rising Stars is available here.