The Financial Services Industry Service Group represents the complete spectrum of financial institutions — from international and national financial organizations to non-regulated lenders to community banks. From our start over 100 years ago to today, we have represented the banking industry and proudly still do so today. We understand this industry's unique and complex needs and relationships.
We have many dedicated client service teams that work across legal practices to counsel banks and financial institutions on a variety of financing transactions, asset securitizations, workouts, debt restructures, Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) issues, bankruptcy cases and regulatory compliance matters. We also regularly represent financial institutions in mergers and acquisitions, corporate and securities law, the creation of new financial products and services, lender-related litigation, Internet banking issues, collections and creditors rights cases.
We provide clients with timely, cost-effective solutions to every kind of transaction, including:
- Asset securitizations.
- Loans to finance leveraged acquisitions.
- Investment funds.
- Tax-exempt bond financings.
- Commercial real estate loans.
- Tax credit financings.
- Working-capital lines of credit.
- Equipment loans.
- Asset-based loans.
- ESOP loans.
- Multi-layered debt financings.
- Leveraged-lease transactions.
- Municipal lease financings.
- Mortgage warehouse financings.
- Letter of credit-backed transactions.
- Mezzanine financings.
- Syndicated and single-lender commercial loans.
- Swaps and other interest rate protection agreements.
- Capital markets transactions.
- Project financings.
- Loans to limited partnerships (both public and private offerings).
Securities and Corporate
Our attorneys provide the skills and depth of understanding to handle securities and corporate matters, including public and private offerings of stock and debt, mergers and acquisitions, trust preferred securities and broker-dealer arrangements.
In addition, we have extensive experience in designing and implementing dividend reinvestment and stock option plans. Section members have frequently represented clients organizing de novo or start-up financial institutions, with attorneys providing assistance in crafting executive compensation and employee benefits plans and handling compliance and examination issues. Other services include:
- New bank formations.
- Representation of bank holding companies in the acquisition of additional banks.
- Investment advisory affiliates formations.
- Preparation of periodic reports, proxy materials and beneficial ownership reports required by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
In today's complex regulatory environment, Williams Mullen attorneys are routinely called on to counsel clients regarding provisions in the Truth in Lending Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act, as well as other federal credit laws.
We keep abreast of regulatory developments, continuously track legislation and maintain excellent working relationships with state and federal regulators to ensure constructive resolution of client initiatives or regulatory inquiries.
Section members routinely represent financial institutions before various regulatory bodies such as the State Corporation Commission, Federal Reserve Bank, Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision and the FDIC.
Workouts and Creditors' Rights
The firm's Financial Services Section has extensive experience handling workouts and creditors' rights cases. We have created skilled teams of attorneys to re-negotiate and restructure loans for creditors of all sizes and types.
Specifically, our Creditors' Rights Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights Practice works with clients to successfully recast debt, secure additional collateral, postpone actions and resolve bankruptcy and collection issues. Our attorneys draw on their experience to provide early intervention and focused representation for creditors. Some examples of the firm's services include:
- Significant experience in chapters 7, 11, 12, and 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
- Informal debt restructures, forbearance agreements and non-bankruptcy reorganizations.
- Bankruptcy litigation in all areas of creditor representation, including challenges to discharge of debt, defense of trustee's claims to avoid liens such as preferences and fraudulent conveyances, use of cash collateral, DIP financing, recovery of assets, stay litigation, objections to plans and motions to convert or dismiss.
Our firm has comprehensive experience in representing and advising national and state banks on all aspects of bank operations, including ACH/Clearinghouse rules, Federal Reserve Bank operations procedures, electronic payments and check truncation, The Bank Secrecy Act, general check processing issues and issues arising out of creditor process against deposit accounts.
The Intellectual Property Section counsels financial institutions of all sizes about the commercial exploitation of intellectual property assets, management of contractor and strategic partnering agreements, telephony agreements and compliance with statutory and regulatory privacy requirements, such as the Graham-Leach Bliley Act. Areas of proficiency include portfolio prosecution and analysis; software and internet law; litigation and infringement disputes; licensing, contractor and strategic partnering agreements; and other transaction-related services such as patent prosecution and trademark and copyright registration.
Labor, Employment & Immigration
The majority of the labor and employment work that we do with banks involves advice on preventive employment practices — including management training, audit of wage and other employment practices — and assistance in developing policies and procedures and advising management on employment issues — including how to investigate and respond to complaints of harassment — FMLA, termination and discharge issues. We also draft employment agreements, assist in the development of affirmative action plans and defense of OFCCP audits and defense of employment-related claims and lawsuits.
Because we have worked with so many banks of various sizes, we are familiar with issues commonly facing banks, such as teller overage and shortage policies, the legal impact of fiscal responsibility policies, the use of financial history as hiring criteria and the increased threat of union organizing for banks that have opened branches in grocery stores. We have successfully defended banks, as well as executives that have been sued individually, in all types of employment-related actions. Because of the particular community relations issues facing banks, we are proponents of alternative dispute resolution in appropriate cases.
Williams Mullen represents bank trust departments and trust companies, as well as individual executors, administrators and trustees regarding both complex and routine issues arising in the context of a fiduciary relationship. We also advise bank executives and directors, as well as other fiduciaries, in matters involving fiduciary obligations. We handle claims involving breach of fiduciary duty, malfeasance or mismanagement.
We defend corporate and institutional executors and trustees in matters involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, including failure to adhere to the prudent investor rule, improper distribution to beneficiaries, and breach of duty of loyalty and impartiality. We advise bank clients with respect to best practices to minimize and avoid fiduciary liability. Section attorneys handle trust construction, reformation suits and rescission suits, as well as tax controversy matters before the Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities. We also represent corporate fiduciaries in tax-related litigation in Federal Court (including U.S. Tax Court) and state courts. On a regular basis, we handle matters involving charitable trusts and tax-exempt organizations, and substitution of trustee matters.
Our Financial Services Section is a leader in internet technology and online banking issues. In conjunction with our technology law and e-commerce teams, we offer clients an array of services related to internet banking, compliance issues and other online matters.
Litigation and Lender Liability
Attorneys in the Financial Services Section work with the firm's trial teams to represent clients with civil litigation needs in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies at all governmental levels. We have significant experience in a wide variety of commercial, banking and finance issues, including contracts, construction, secured transactions, creditors' rights, bankruptcy, defense of lender liability claims, eminent domain and regulatory matters.
What to Do if Your Suppliers Are in Distress
In our What to Do if Your Suppliers Are in Distress video series, we describe how to identify your critical suppliers that might be in jeopardy, provide suggestions on how you can help them, and share how you can protect your business’s interests at the same time.