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Financial Services Operations

The compliance and legal issues which arise in the day-to-day operations at financial institutions require constant attention. Even routine traditional consumer financial services can throw a financial institution curve balls. Any time a deposit account is opened, there can be issues from the ownership of the account and its documentation, beneficiaries of accounts, and responses to civil or criminal court requests for information. Loan accounts similarly involve.

Beyond product specific concerns, operations themselves can cause complications — what happens when physical and electronic records don’t match up? Effective implementation of policies and processes can help to significantly decrease the occurrence of operational issues, which can thereby assist with reducing the potential for liability and/or drain on financial institution resources. SW&M can assist in drafting and advising on operational issues, and if your financial institution has already run into a concern, can assist in its resolution. Some issues SW&M frequently assists financial institutions with include:

  • Responding to document production requests such as subpoenas and account levies
  • Elder abuse
  • Power of attorneys, Trusts, and Decedent accounts
  • Unclaimed property and escheat laws (and responding to escheat audits)
  • Tax information return reporting.

Beyond traditional account services, modern financial institution services involve constantly changing electronic and mobile services that are affected by a number of laws, regulations, and operational concerns. The interrelation between financial regulation, software systems, and payment network systems can cause operational difficulties if not carefully vetted. SW&M advises financial institution clients on establishment and maintenance of electronic services, payment systems and networks, including:

  • Payment systems and funds transfer issues
  • Debit and credit card merchant processing matters
  • Network agreements (including Visa and Mastercard branding and processing agreements) and related interchange income issues
  • Information security and privacy
  • ESIGN compliance
  • Marketing and website compliance
  • Electronic documentary delivery
  • Records retention

Business lending, particularly for credit unions, further carries with it numerous restrictions and regulations which can affect the available structuring for such loans, and limits to concentrations of business loans.  SW&M regularly advises financial institutions about individual business loans, as well as in purchase and sale of participation interests and applications for waivers or forbearance from regulatory limitations.