Week Ahead in Banking: Sept. 13, 2021


(Reuters) - Here are some events of interest to the Banking and Finance Law community this week. All times are local unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, Sept. 12

12:30 p.m. - The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Regulatory Compliance Conference gets under way in Washington, D.C. This year’s conference provides three days of programming divided into several tracks, including a five-hour Litigation Forum Track on Sunday that focuses on recent cases involving data breaches, the federal TCPA, FDCPA, and FCRA, state-law litigation and more. Plenary sessions starting Monday offer updates on the MBA’s advocacy efforts in Washington, key trends in fair-lending law enforcement and other agency actions, and a luncheon address by Damon Smith, general counsel for the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. For the full agenda, visit https://bit.ly/3hiC35q

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Monday, Sept. 13

8:30 a.m. - A U.S. banking regulator on Monday will proceed with a civil trial in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, against three former Wells Fargo executives over the bank's unauthorized account scandal. Claudia Russ Anderson, the bank's former community bank group risk officer, David Julian, its former chief auditor, and Paul McLinko, its former executive audit director are fighting the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's 2020 attempt to levy multimillion dollar fines on each of them for their alleged roles in the scandal.

The case is In the Matter of Tolstedt et al., U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, No. 20-001. For the OCC: Jason Friedman. For Anderson: Doug Kelley of Kelley, Wolter & Scott. For McLinko: Timothy Crudo of Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass. For Julian: Tim Perla of WilmerHale.

9:30 a.m. – The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions opens its three-day 2021 Congressional Caucus with a Q&A session between NAFCU President Dan Berger and political commentator James Carville, covering the state of the industry, congressional gridlock, and “navigating a 50-50 Senate.” Morning sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will feature more than a dozen speakers from the Biden Administration and Congress, including Acting FHFA Director Sandra Thompson; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH); U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Ranking Member of House Financial Services Committee. Attendees will meet with lawmakers on the Hill on Monday and Tuesday afternoon. For details, go to https://www.nafcu.org/caucus

Wednesday, Sept. 15

10 a.m. – The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments over a potential class action filed by investors in the 2018 HelbizCoin Initial Coin Offer, who sued last year for breach of contract, conversion, and violation of New York state laws banning deceptive acts and practices after the company sought to redeem their shares for a microscopic fraction of the ICO price and destroy the Ethereum blockchain contract to which the cryptocurrency was attached. U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan dismissed the complaint in January for failure to state a claim, finding that HelbizCoin was clearly a security that was not traded on any U.S. exchange, and for which the ICO expressly barred investment by any “U.S. citizen, resident or green card holder.” The investors argue that Stanton abused his discretion by not allowing them to amend the complaint, and by dismissing the state-law claims, which they say were properly before the court under the Class Action Fairness Act.

The case is Ryan Barron et al. v. Helbiz Inc. et al., 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals No. 21-278. For Barron et al.: Michael Kanovitz of Loevy & Loevy. For Helbiz et al.: Robert Heim of Tarter, Krinsky & Drogin.

12 noon (ET) – Bryan Klein of Waymaker LLP introduces the American Bar Association’s Blockchain & Digital Currency National (Virtual) Institute 2021, a half-day program with panel discussions on four emerging issues. Jai Massari of Davis Polk moderates Panel I, “What the Future Holds for NFTs.” Panel II, “The Coming Dominance of Stablecoins,” is led by Meghan Spillane of Goodwin Procter, followed by Stephen Wink of Latham, moderating “Key Enforcement Actions.” Marco Santori of Kraken wraps up the session with “The DeFi Revolution,” a look at the implications of the growing popularity of decentralized finance platforms. For more information, go to https://bit.ly/3z4PUCI

2 p.m. – Stefan He Qin, the 24-year-old Australian crypto hedge fund founder who pleaded guilty in February to one criminal count of securities fraud, faces sentencing by U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni in federal court in Manhattan. Prosecutors alleged that Qin used the $90 million Virgil Sigma Fund “as his own piggy bank” and ran it in a “brazen” and “Ponzi-like fashion” through December 2020, when he tried to cover investor demand by stealing $1.7 million from a second fund, VQR Multistrategy. The single count carries a maximum 20-year term; however, in recognition of Qin’s voluntary return to the U.S., his guilty plea, and his significant cooperation with the receiver appointed to locate and recover assets of Virgil Sigma and VQR, the government on Sept. 1 recommended a term of 96 months (8 years) and a forfeiture order of $54.8 million.

The case is USA v. Qin, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York No. 21-cr-00075. For the U.S.: U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss and AUSA Daniel Tracer. For Qin: Sean Hecker and Louis Fisher of Kaplan Hecker & Fink.

Thursday, Sept. 16

8:30 a.m. (CT) – The University of Texas at Austin School of Law goes virtual for its 55th Annual William W. Gibson, Jr. Mortgage Lending and Servicing Institute, a two-day conference offering 14 hours of CLE on real estate lending, commercial finance, title issues and ethics. In addition to updates on Texas cases, legislation, and regulation, the institute addresses several areas of national concern, including congressional and administration priorities affecting mortgage counsel; updates on enforcement priorities at the CFPB, FHFA, the House Financial Services Committee, and Senate Banking Committee; an overview of recent developments in the transition away from the London Interbank Offered Rates (LIBOR) for variable rate loans; emerging risks in fraud detection; bankruptcy issues affecting commercial leases, and more. CLE credit is pre-approved for Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, and may be available for other states. For details, including the full agenda, go to https://utcle.org/conferences/ML21

(Additional reporting by Jody Godoy)

Know of an event that could be included in Week Ahead in Banking? Contact Jody Godoy at Jody.Godoy@thomsonreuters.com.

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