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Austin Brown

Austin Brown

Partner
About

Austin advises institutions regarding consumer protection compliance, enforcement, and litigation issues. His practice focuses on investigations and enforcement proceedings, class action litigation, compliance advice, examination support, internal corporate investigations, and transactional diligence.

Austin handles matters involving compliance with a broad range of consumer protection statutes and regulations affecting financial services providers, including those relating to: unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP); fair lending (ECOA and FHA); credit reporting (FCRA); debt collection (FDCPA); consumer disclosures (TILA); electronic fund transfers (EFTA); loan servicing; mortgage lending (RESPA and HMDA); student lending; and unsecured lending. He defends institutions in investigations and enforcement actions brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), state attorneys general, and federal and state bank regulatory authorities. He also has extensive experience advising institutions on compliance and examination issues and defending clients in class action and government enforcement litigation. 

He has assisted clients in matters covering all types of financial services issues, including product development, sales and marketing, banking services, pricing and underwriting, credit reporting and servicing and collection activities. Austin also regularly assists institutions with developing and revising compliance and risk management systems.

Bar admissionsDistrict of ColumbiaMaryland

EXPERIENCE

Austin's notable representations include:

  • A consumer lender in resolving a CFPB investigation relating to compliance with the FCRA, TILA and UDAAP.
  • A consumer lender in defending several class action lawsuits, attorney general investigations, and a lawsuit by the CFPB relating to UDAAP.
  • A Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lender in an FTC investigation.
  • An FDIC-regulated bank in successfully appealing material supervisory determinations before the FDIC's Supervision Appeals Review Committee.
  • A large national bank in conducting UDAAP risk assessments of all of the bank's consumer products and services.
  • BancorpSouth Bank in resolving a CFPB and DOJ fair lending investigation.
  • Commonwealth, Inc., in obtaining the first-ever approval under the CFPB's Compliance Assistance Sandbox Policy.
  • A digital payment service in responding to a CFPB civil investigative demand relating to compliance with the EFTA and UDAAP.
  • Capital One in connection with a federal lawsuit relating to branch closures.
  • Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings in its merger with consumer finance company SoFi.
  • Mortgage lenders and auto finance companies in fair lending testing of their pricing and underwriting data.
  • A bank director in resolving an investigation by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
  • A large regional bank in connection with a CFPB redlining investigation.
  • A consumer reporting agency in responding to a Potential Action and Request for Response (PARR) by the CFPB.
  • A mortgage loan servicer in responding to a CFPB investigation regarding loss mitigation practices.
  • A large bank in the non-public resolution of an investigation by the CFPB and the FRB relating to overdraft practices.
  • Several banks and other financial institutions in preparing for CFPB, FDIC, OCC and FRB examinations and responding to supervisory concerns.

Austin frequently speaks and writes on financial services enforcement, litigation and enforcement trends.

Education
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
    magna cum laude
  • B.A., Vassar College

Awards

  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Recommended, Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense (2022)

Seminars

  • “UDAAP, CRA and Fair Lending,” Fair Lending Colloquium, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 15, 2022.
  • "On the Fair Lending Forefront: Enforcement Trends and Emerging Risks," Wolters Kluwer CRA and Fair Lending Colloquium, November 16, 2021
  • "Women in Housing and Finance Brown Bag Lunch: Fall 2021 Fair Lending Update," WHF, September 23, 2021
  • "Fair Lending Compliance and Defense Strategies:  Challenges in Underwriting, Redlining, and Equitably Implementing Relief Programs," American Conference Institute, Residential Mortgage Regulatory Enforcement & Litigation Conference, November 2020
  • "Emerging (and re-emerging) Fair Lending Issues in Pricing, Underwriting, Marketing and Servicing," Marquis Virtual User’s Conference, September 14-15, 2020
  • "Telling Your Story," QuestSoft Lending Compliance & Risk Management Virtual Conference, October 2020
  • "Consumer Compliance Hot Topics," Skadden’s 28th Annual Conference on Fair Lending and Consumer Financial Protection, Washington, D.C., April 20, 2020
  • "Due Process in Supervision," ABA Banking Law Committee, January 2020
  • "Responding to Internally Identified Compliance Concerns," Skadden’s 27th Annual Fair Lending and Consumer Financial Protection Conference, April 2019
  • "Forecasting Litigation and Settlement Trends in the Mortgage Servicing and Fair Lending Context," American Conference Institute, Residential Mortgage Regulatory Enforcement and Litigation Conference, Dallas, Texas, October 22-23, 2018
  • "Is Your Examiner Always Right?  Adjusting to the New Regulatory Regime," ABA’s National Conference for Community Bankers, February 2016

Media Mentions

  • "Consumer Protection Policy and Cases To Watch In 2023," Law360, January 2, 2023
  • "New UDAAP Guidance is Relevant to OCC-Regulated and Nonregulated Institutions Alike," September 25, 2020
  • "Special Purpose Credit Programs – Taking a Second Look at a Familiar Tool," July 29, 2020
  • "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Launches Advisory Opinion Process," June 19, 2020
  • "Managing Compliance Risks for Income Share Agreements," Law360, July 2019
  • "Is Your Fair Lending CMS Up-to-Date?" Mortgage Compliance Magazine, September 2017
  • "CFPB Pursues Aggressive Enforcement Agenda and Arbitration Restrictions," NY Business Law Journal, Summer 2016

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