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Consumer Financial Services: Post-Election Update 2021

Speaker(s): Amy Teng, Andra J. Shuster, Beth E. Terrell, Bret Ladine, Brian P. Larkin, Christopher J. Willis, Jane M. Azia, Jeffrey P. Ehrlich, John J. Roddy, John McNamara, Julia B. Strickland, Karla Gilbride, Lauren Saunders, Malini Mithal, Neil K. Sawhney, Peggy L. Twohig, Shennan A. Kavanagh
Recorded on: Mar. 23, 2021
PLI Program #: 313082

Chris is the co-leader of the Consumer Financial Services Regulatory practice at the firm. He advises financial services institutions facing state and federal government investigations and examinations, counseling them on compliance issues including UDAP/UDAAP, credit reporting, debt collection, and fair lending, and defending them in individual and class action lawsuits brought by consumers and enforcement actions brought by government agencies.

Chris also leverages insights from his litigation and enforcement experience to help clients design new products and processes, including machine learning marketing, fraud prevention and underwriting models, product structure, advertising, online application flows, underwriting, and collection and loss mitigation strategies.

Chris brings a highly practical focus to his legal advice, informed by balancing a deep understanding of the business of consumer finance and the practical priorities of federal and state regulatory agencies.

Chris speaks frequently at conferences across the country on consumer financial services law and has been featured in numerous articles in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington PostAmerican BankerNational Law JournalBNA Bloomberg, and Bank Safety and Soundness Advisor.

John is a partner in Bailey & Glasser’s Boston office. His practice is devoted to representing consumers in class actions, challenging unfair and deceptive business practices, and serving as relator’s counsel in qui tam “whistleblower” actions. In the last two decades the settlements in cases he has litigated have returned more than a billion dollars to consumers harmed by marketplace misconduct. John regularly writes and speaks on class action practice and consumer financial services law, and has published dozens of articles on these topics. He is a fellow of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers, and serves on the Consumer Financial Services Law Report Board of Advisors, the Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Appleseed Foundation, and the National Consumer Law Center Partners Council. He is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the Volunteer Lawyers Project. John has co-chaired PLI’s Annual Consumer Financial Services Institute for the past 24 years.

Amy is an assistant attorney general in the Washington Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Protection Division. In this role, Amy has handled investigation and lawsuits related to mortgage servicing practices, financial fraud, and debt collection. She also serves as the appellate advisor for the Consumer Protection Division.

Amy received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College in 1999, and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 2003. Prior to joining the Washington Attorney General’s Office in 2015, Amy was a deputy attorney general in the California Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Law Section (2007-2015).

Andra Shuster is a Senior Counsel in the Bank Advisory group, part of the Chief Counsel’s Office at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).  Ms. Shuster joined the OCC Chief Counsel’s office in 1999.  Ms. Shuster works primarily on matters concerning preemption and visitorial powers, international banking, international information sharing, and data privacy.  Prior to joining the OCC, Ms. Shuster was in private practice, representing clients in bank regulatory and transactional matters.

Ms. Shuster received a B.A. in Economics and Business in 1987 from Lafayette College and a J.D. and M.B.A. in 1991 from Georgetown University.  She is a member of the New York and District of Columbia bars.

Beth E. Terrell is a founding member of Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, a Plaintiff side law firm in Seattle, Washington. With over twenty years of experience, Beth concentrates her practice in complex litigation, including the prosecution of consumer, defective product, and wage and hour class actions.  Beth has served as co-lead counsel on multi-state and nationwide class actions, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements for consumers and workers.  A member of the State Bar of California and the Washington State Bar Association, Beth Co-Chairs PLI’s Consumer Financial Services Institute, and frequently presents on a wide variety of topics, including class actions, consumer protection, legal ethics, gender equity, and electronic discovery. Beth is President of the Public Justice Foundation Board of Directors, serves on the Equal Justice Works' Board of Counselors, and is Chair of both the Northwest Consumer Law Center and the Washington Employment Lawyers Association.

Bret Ladine was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom as General Counsel at the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation in 2020 after serving as Assistant General Counsel and in other acting capacities since 2016.  He provides legal and strategic advice related to the state’s regulation of financial institutions, financial services, and securities, with a focus on emerging policy issues, and played a lead role in shaping the California Consumer Financial Protection Law.  Previously, Ladine was a securities litigator and investigations attorney at Hogan Lovells and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.  Prior to becoming a lawyer, he was the communications director for Congressman Dennis Cardoza of California and reported for the Boston Globe and Times-Picayune.  He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and B.A. from Yale University.

Brian Larkin is an Associate General Counsel in the Legal Department of Capital One in McLean, Virginia. He advises senior management on legal and regulatory matters in the areas of artificial intelligence/machine learning, fair lending, and community reinvestment. Prior to Capital One, Brian practiced law in the Financial Services practice group of Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, DC. Brian is a graduate of Columbia Law School.

Jane Azia has been the Chief of the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection in under Attorney General Eric Schneiderman since May 2011.  From April 2007 through April 2011, she served as the Director of Consumer Protection for the New York State Banking Department where she was responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable consumer protection laws and that consumers have access to and receive financial products and services that are fair and not predatory.  Prior to joining the Banking Department, Jane worked for nearly twenty-five years as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the New York Attorney General in the Consumer and Internet bureaus.  Jane has worked on a wide range of consumer issues, including predatory lending, credit and financial services, advertising, retail sales, health care, insurance, product safety, housing, telecommunications, telemarketing, food and drugs, privacy and online services.  Jane also spent five years as a legal services attorney in Brooklyn and Poughkeepsie.  Jane is a graduate of NYU Law School. 

Jeff Ehrlich joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in July 2011 and manages investigations and litigation in the Bureau’s four regional offices. Jeff also serves as an adjunct professor at the law schools of St. Thomas University and Florida International University.

Before joining the Bureau, Jeff served as a trial attorney at the United States Department of Justice; an assistant county attorney for Miami-Dade County; and an associate at Sidley & Austin in Washington, D.C. Jeff began his career as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable James Lawrence King, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Jeff received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan.

John McNamara is the Principal Assistant Director of Markets and the Assistant Director for Consumer Credit, Payments, and Deposits Markets in the Research, Markets and Regulations division of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He leads a team of subject matter experts and analysts covering the credit card, payments, deposits, student, auto, small dollar, marketplace, and installment lending markets, as well as credit reporting, debt collection, debt relief, fintech and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in consumer financial services. He also manages budgeting, staffing, and administration of the Bureau’s Markets Office.

Prior to joining the CFPB, John was Chief Marketing Officer for LiveVox, a leading provider of cloud contact center solutions and director/co-founder of Fidelis Recovery Solutions, Inc., a debt collector. He has over 30 years of experience in the accounts receivable management (ARM) and call/contact center industries, in addition to all phases of collections, recovery and call center operations with deep focus on technology, process improvement, compliance management systems and five years of experience as a federal consumer financial protection regulator.

McNamara also served as COO for Asset Management Outsourcing, Inc., SVP of Banking and Retail Operations for First Data Corporation’s ARM unit, Nationwide Credit/ACB, and VP of Operations for United Recovery Systems, LP.

John is a frequent speaker/panelist/consultant and author, addressing key issues and trends in the financial services industry. In 2012, John chaired both the National Collections and Credit Risk conference and the Financial Services Collections and Credit Risk symposium. In 2011 John was named an ACA International Scholar and Fellow. He also is the 2009 winner of the ACA Kurt Swersky award for leadership. In 2007, John was appointed Vice President and Board Member of the Georgia Collectors Association. John was named to Collection Advisor magazine's list of the Top 50 Most Influential Collection Professionals for 2006.

John has served as Chairman of the ACA Affiliate Committee, and member of the Debt Buyers Association Education Committee. John also served on both the Technology and Compliance Committees for TRMA.

John is a summa cum laude graduate of Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance. In 2014, John received his MBA from Kennesaw State University, where he was named a University Scholar.

Karla Gilbride is the Cartwright-Baron Senior Attorney at Public Justice, working out of its Washington, DC office, where she specializes in litigating challenges to the use of pre-dispute, mandatory arbitration provisions in contracts with employees and consumers. Karla has successfully briefed and/or argued such cases before the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Fourth, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and eleventh Circuits, as well as before state appellate courts in New Jersey and Maryland. She has also testified on the topic of pre-dispute arbitration clauses before the state legislatures of California and New York.

In addition to her work on mandatory arbitration, Karla litigates cases on behalf of low-wage workers and against predatory lending schemes. Before coming to Public Justice in 2014, she pursued employment discrimination and wage and hour cases at Mehri & Skalet PLLC in Washington, DC and class actions on behalf of people with disabilities at Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley, CA. She graduated from Georgetown Law School in 2007 and clerked for Judge Ronald Gould on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lauren Saunders is Associate Director of the National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit organization that works for economic justice for low-income and other disadvantaged people through policy analysis, advocacy, publications, litigation, and training. Lauren manages NCLC’s Washington, DC office and directs its federal legislative and regulatory work.  Lauren is a recognized expert in consumer protection areas including small dollar loans, prepaid cards, fintech and payment systems.  She testifies regularly before Congress and is the lead author of Consumer Banking and Payments Law, a contributing author of Consumer Credit Regulation, and the author of numerous reports and white papers. Lauren previously directed the Federal Rights Project of the National Senior Citizens Law Center; was Deputy Director of Litigation at Bet Tzedek Legal Services; and was an associate at Hall & Phillips.  She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, was an Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Review, and holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from Stanford University.

Malini Mithal is the Associate Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Financial Practices. In this capacity, she supervises investigations and enforcement actions challenging unfair or deceptive practices in the provision of non-bank financial services, including in the areas of FinTech, lead generation, short-term loans, debt collection, student loan debt relief, mortgage relief, and automobile advertising and financing. Under her leadership, the Division has also engaged in significant policy initiatives, including hosting workshops or issuing reports on marketplace lending, blockchain, artificial intelligence, peer-to-peer payments, crowdfunding, lead generation, mobile payments, and mobile cramming.

Ms. Mithal has held numerous positions at the Commission, including Counsel to the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. Prior to joining the FTC in 2005, Ms. Mithal served as a law clerk for the Honorable Alan S. Gold of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She received her law degree from Columbia Law School and her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University.

Neil K. Sawhney is an associate at Gupta Wessler PLLC, based in the firm’s San Francisco office, where he represents plaintiffs and public-interest clients in appellate, constitutional, and complex litigation. In 2015, Neil was selected as the firm’s first Fellow in Appellate and Constitutional Litigation, between his clerkships with the Honorable Marsha Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Honorable Goodwin Liu of the Supreme Court of California.

During his time at the firm, Neil has served as the principal author of briefs filed at every level of the federal and California state judiciary. Neil’s work involves a diverse range of legal issues, including consumer class actions, immigrants’ and prisoners’ rights, the Federal Arbitration Act, data privacy, the Second Amendment, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, California wage-and-hour laws, commercial speech, and qualified immunity. Neil recently argued and briefed a successful challenge on behalf of Montana Governor Steve Bullock to the Trump Administration’s unlawful appointment of William Perry Pendley as acting director of the Bureau of Law Management. He has also played a key role in the firm’s legal advocacy, in the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals, aimed at preserving courts’ personal jurisdiction over nationwide and multistate class actions.

Before rejoining the firm, Neil was a Senior Staff Attorney in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Economic Justice Project in New Orleans, where he litigated impact cases on behalf of low-income communities throughout the Southeast. He was part of the legal team that successfully prevented the Trump Administration from allowing Arkansas and Kentucky to implement unprecedented Medicaid work requirements, preserving hundreds of thousands of individuals’ access to medical care. In addition, he worked on a groundbreaking federal class action representing New Orleans consumers against predatory for-profit bail companies and their underwriters, and he developed litigation challenging the constitutionality of the federal government’s wealth-based detention of immigrants in Georgia. At SPLC, Neil also advocated outside of court for systemic policy reform to protect consumers and low-income communities, by testifying at the state legislature and submitting comments on behalf of SPLC to state and federal agencies.

Neil graduated from Stanford Law School, where he spent two quarters in Stanford’s Supreme Court Clinic and received the Thelton Henderson Prize for Outstanding Performance in Supreme Court Clinic Practice. During law school, Neil worked at the ACLU of Northern California, Arnold & Porter LLP, and the Office of the Prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the Hague. He also served as a senior editor of the Stanford Law Review, a board member of Stanford’s American Constitution Society chapter, and a co-founder of the Iraqi Legal Education Initiative. Neil received his B.A. in Social Studies and Near Eastern Languages & Civilization, magna cum laude, from Harvard University.

Peggy Twohig is currently the Assistant Director for Supervision Policy at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Office of Supervision Policy is responsible for developing supervision strategy across bank and nonbank markets and ensuring that policy decisions are consistent across markets, charters, and regions.

Prior to her work at the CFPB, Ms. Twohig was Director of the Office of Consumer Protection at the Department of the Treasury, where she worked on the proposal to create a new consumer agency as part of financial regulatory reform. Immediately before joining Treasury, Ms. Twohig served as Associate Director of the Division of Financial Practices at the Federal Trade Commission. Her 17-year tenure at the FTC focused on enforcement and policy issues related to consumer financial services.  Ms. Twohig’s career also included work as a litigator with the firm of Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Twohig received her law degree from the New York University School of Law and a Master’s degree in public policy from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1983. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable William K. Thomas in United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Shennan Kavanagh is the Chief of the Consumer Protection Division at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. She is engaged in the day-to-day work in a variety of the Division’s core consumer finance investigations and litigation, including matters involving predatory lending, student loan servicing, automobile sales and financing and debt collection.

Ms. Kavanagh’s entire legal career has been devoted to representing low-income consumers and public service. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, Ms. Kavanagh was a co-founder and partner at Klein Kavanagh Costello, LLP, a mission-driven consumer finance class action firm that litigated cases nationwide.  Her areas of concentration included predatory and discriminatory mortgage lending, unfair mortgage servicing, unfair debt collection and creditors’ violations of the bankruptcy code. Ms. Kavanagh practiced in the areas of consumer finance litigation and class actions as an associate at Roddy Klein & Ryan before starting her own firm.

In addition to complex class action litigation, Ms. Kavanagh has handled dozens of pro bono cases during her time in private practice, successfully preventing foreclosures for individuals, obtaining home loan modifications, and stopping harassing debt collectors.

Recognized as one of the best litigators in the country, Julia Strickland leads a broad national practice that focuses on the defense of class actions and other complex actions. Julia is regularly called by world-renowned financial services companies and others when they are confronted with issues that put them at substantial economic and reputational risk. She is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, Managing Partner of the Los Angeles office, head of the firm’s national Financial Services Litigation, Regulation and Enforcement Group, and co-chair of Stroock’s national litigation practice.

In addition to her vast experience successfully representing clients through dispositive motion practice, trial and/or appeal, Julia has a deserved reputation for negotiating and structuring settlements of complex and class actions. She is versatile and creative in addressing settlement considerations, both legal and business, and in developing settlement structure options tailored to the client’s unique needs. She also routinely represents companies in compliance counseling, regulatory proceedings and responding to claims by federal and state regulators and enforcement authorities. Julia’s client list is a “Who’s Who” of financial companies, including American Express, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Discover, Citigroup, BMW Financial Services and Synchrony Bank, among others.

Julia repeatedly has been recognized as a leader in the field. Julia once again received top honors in Chambers USA 2021 with a Band 1 ranking in the Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance Litigation–Nationwide category.  She is one of only five attorneys across the country to receive this recognition. In addition, for more than 15 years running, the Los Angeles Daily Journal has continuously named Julia one of California’s “Top Women Lawyers.” She also was selected by Law360 as a Banking MVP, joining an elite slate of only six lawyers nationally who have distinguished themselves from their peers. The Los Angeles Business Journal recently honored Julia as a "Women of Influence" in 2021, recognized her as one of its “Leaders of Influence: Top Litigators & Trial Lawyers” in 2019 and 2020, named her one of the “Top Women Attorneys in Los Angeles” in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and featured her in its “Leaders in Law,” where she was awarded the publication’s “Lawyers of the Year” honors in 2016 and 2017. Julia was recognized by leading corporate counsel as a member of the BTI Consulting Group’s “Client Services All-Stars” for her “uncanny ability to anticipate opposing counsel,” as well as being “very customer focused and practical.” She additionally has been repeatedly recognized by Super Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation, the Los Angeles Times and The Best Lawyers in America.