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Tracking Legislative Processes in Financial Services

Editor's Note: This feature originally appeared in the September issue of DS News, out now.

After graduating from the University of San Diego, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Spanish, Andrew Boylan received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of San Diego School of Law and his MBA from the University of San Diego Graduate School of Business Administration. Boylan has spoken on regulatory and legal compliance issues at numerous mortgage industry events. Boylan has also received the highest possible AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell by members of the Bar and Judiciary in both legal ability and ethical standards. He is licensed to practice law in the States of California and Washington. Boylan spoke to DS News during the Legal League 100 Servicer Summit in Dallas, Texas.

What would you say is the most critical aspect of the Legal League Summits?

With the wide array of panels available, you can get out of it what you want. It’s good to hear about evolving trends regarding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and make sure we stay ahead of any potential other issues. Even if something is only affecting one part of the country at the moment, it’s often inevitable that you will eventually see it in your jurisdiction as well.

Legal League events are an excellent way for firms, servicers, banks, GSEs, and everyone to come together as an industry and talk about issues, talk about trends, get ahead of things, and ensure we are keeping the lines of communication open. We can learn a lot from each other, and it's definitely worth the time and travel.

What are some of the trends that are affecting the way you do business this year?

Our firm operates in nine states. That makes for nine different sets of laws with which we have to ensure compliance, as well as regulations from the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and other government agencies. There's great value in tracking that and knowing your states’ legislative processes, knowing what bills are out there, and knowing how they will affect your operations. Our firm is part of many different groups where we attend advocacy days, work with lobbyists, and even meet face-to-face with legislators to discuss the industry. It’s a chance to educate them on what we do, what issues we see, and to help prevent legislation from passing that could have an adverse impact on our firm, our clients, or our industry.

Could you tell us about some of the legislation you’ve been tracking in recent months?

In California, there's a pending law that's looking to bring back the Homeowner Bill of Rights. It sunset at the end of 2017, but now there's a law that's looking to bring it back. It’s important to stay involved and see what version of it is being put forward and where it might be highly litigated or unclear. If there is an area that's unclear, it’s advantageous for all players—whether it’s within our industry or even on the borrower side—to know what the law is and that there aren’t any areas of ambiguity that could lead to additional litigation.

What are some issues the industry is dealing with right now that you foresee continuing to be a challenge into 2019?

Depending upon what governing body you're dealing with, it’s about having as much input and as loud a voice as possible to create a structure that’s fair and reasonable. There are concessions, and there are many protections that are in place for good reason. But it's also about making sure that we're educating the lawmakers and regulatory bodies how regulation impacts our industry, so we can work to avoid any disruptions.

How can financial services firms best streamline and evolve their collaborations with servicers?

Communication is key. Maintaining communication at all different levels, whether it’s at the top or even just down to a specific file, keeping that avenue open is beneficial for everyone involved. It allows you to discuss developing cases and say, “Here’s what could potentially happen as a result.” Especially at events like the Legal League 100 Summits, where it's a mix of firms, servicers, and even the GSEs, there’s a substantial advantage to getting all of us in the room together talking so we can hopefully avoid problems on down the line.

What are the hot topics that are coming up a lot in the industry right now?

I run our compliance team, and ‘compliance’ can be defined very broadly. It’s always great to hear about how BCFP rules are changing, the new successor in interest regulations, FDCPA cases, evolving case law across the country in different districts and circuits, and the potential impacts it could have across the jurisdictions. Even if it doesn’t have a direct effect on your day-to-day, it's going to, in some way, shape, or form, affect your operations.

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Editor-in-Chief at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has nearly 20 years' experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. He can be reached at [email protected]

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