Franca Harris Gutierrez is Vice Chair of the Financial Institutions Practice Group. She leads one of the country’s preeminent banking and financial services practices from the firm’s Washington DC office, where she advises domestic and international banks, mortgage servicers, student loan servicers, consumer lending companies, and emerging financial services providers on complex regulatory, enforcement, and transactional issues.
Ms. Harris Gutierrez is an active member of the firm’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Working Group and the FinTech Group. She joined the firm in 1999 from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Ms. Harris Gutierrez maintains an active enforcement practice and defends banks, card issuers, mortgage servicers, auto finance companies, student loan servicers, and other financial services providers before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the federal banking agencies, and other federal and state enforcement bodies including the New York Department of Financial Services.
Ms. Harris Gutierrez has been involved in nearly every enforcement action the CFPB has taken against a large national bank and in numerous enforcement actions taken by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Reserve, and the FDIC since the financial crisis.
She has deep experience with the most complex and high-stakes enforcement actions, often defending parallel proceedings by two or three federal regulators and numerous state regulators or attorneys general.
Ms. Harris Gutierrez is also a leader in the areas of retail financial services and consumer protection. She has advised large banks and newly regulated entities on adapting to the CFPB since its inception.
She has counseled clients in preparing for and responding to some of the CFPB’s first supervisory matters, and she provided strategic and technical advice on the rulemakings mandated by Dodd-Frank.
Ms. Harris Gutierrez regularly advises consumer financial services clients on a wide variety of legal issues, including the federal consumer financial protection laws, mortgage servicing rules, the Fair Housing and Equal Credit Opportunity Acts, state consumer protection and licensing laws, and data security and privacy laws.
Ms. Harris Gutierrez has long represented financial institutions in their highest priority and most challenging regulatory issues and manages all aspects of her clients’ regulatory relationships.
Her work before the Federal Reserve, the OCC, and the FDIC, spans charter, license, and other applications; bank capital and affiliate transactions; bank powers and activities; controlling and non-controlling investments; anti-money laundering compliance; responses to supervisory examination issues; and preparation of comment letters, analyses, and strategies for agency rulemakings.
Since helping to launch the first online bank during the dot-com era, Ms. Harris Gutierrez has provided regulatory counsel to some of the most innovative and successful financial services ventures, including new product development for prominent peer-to-peer, mobile, and online-only lending and payments platforms.
She regularly advises clients on the complex regulatory, transactional, outsourcing, and vendor management issues raised by cutting edge financial innovations. Ms. Harris Gutierrez also maintains an active transactional practice, representing financial institutions in the negotiation and documentation of acquisitions and divestitures, reorganizations, joint ventures, and technology transactions.
Prior to joining WilmerHale, Ms. Harris Gutierrez was an attorney in OCC. As part of the Office of the Chief Counsel, she handled special projects on top priority policy issues for the agency. Before working in the Chief Counsel’s Office, Ms. Harris Gutierrez served in the OCC’s Northeastern District in New York, where she handled a broad range of regulatory and enforcement matters.
Ms. Gutierrez is a member of the American Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and is on the Executive Council of the Federal Bar Association’s Banking Committee.
- Represented multiple prominent student loan servicing companies in CFPB investigations into debt collection practices.
- Represented a large national bank in CFPB, FDIC and OCC enforcement actions concerning deposit reconciliation practices.
- Represented several large banks and card issuers in CFPB enforcement actions relating to add-on products.
- Represented a large bank in OCC and Federal Reserve enforcement actions relating to foreign exchange trading.
- Represented multiple large banks in enforcement actions relating to collections litigation and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
- Represented a large bank in review of its flood insurance practices and revision of flood insurance policies and procedures.
- Drafted comment letters on the OCC “heightened expectations” proposal, proposed capital requirements, proposed mortgage servicing rules and numerous other issues.
- Represented multiple large card issuers and large banks in the development of mobile prepaid-based products and other novel online-only products.
- JD, Columbia Law School, 1994
- MBA, Columbia University, 1994
- BA, Columbia University, 1990
ADMISSIONS : District of Columbia, New York
GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE : Department of the Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Attorney.
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