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With one of the largest bank regulatory practices in the U.S., our team provides resources, depth and expertise allowing us to strike a careful balance between the needs of the business against the legal challenges that our clients face every day.

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Moving Financial Services Forward

Our banking practice is uniquely qualified to help banks and other financial services companies succeed in a complex and rapidly evolving industry.

From day-to-day regulatory, compliance and operational matters to an acquisition or other strategic transaction, our banking practice handles a wide range of issues for our financial services clients. 

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Mergers and Acquisitions, Branch and Other Transactions

Godfrey & Kahn is consistently ranked as a leading firm in Wisconsin, the Midwest and the U.S. for bank transactions. Our clients include large publicly traded bank holding companies, regional and local community banks, individual investors, and shareholder groups. We have negotiated over 75 mergers, acquisitions, asset purchases, branch purchases, and sales, totaling more than $10 billion in acquisition consideration.

Our banking attorneys have expertise in:

  • Structuring and negotiating transactions involving securities, tax, regulatory, antitrust, and executive compensation
  • Structuring cross-industry acquisitions, strategic alliances, marketing agreements, and joint ventures among financial services companies
  • Sale of performing commercial and residential loan portfolios as well as distressed assets

Our team regularly draws on the collective knowledge of other practices including real estate, environmental, litigation and bankruptcy to manage complex transactions.

Corporate Finance and Securities

Our banking attorneys have experience counseling:

  • Publicly traded, SEC-reporting bank holding companies
  • Bank holding companies transitioning from publicly traded to private status 
  • Financial institutions in corporate finance and securities, including stock purchase transactions and corporate reorganizations, venture capital investments, and sales and distribution of variable rate annuities and other insurance products 
  • Publicly held financial institutions on securities law compliance 

We have substantial experience in corporate governance, including organizational structure, audit committees, executive contracts and compensation, stock option and incentive plans, and shareholder relations.

Regulatory and Compliance

We routinely advise clients on a wide array of regulatory and compliance matters such as:

  • Consumer compliance
  • Fair lending and anti-money laundering
  • General banking laws and regulations
  • Data use, privacy, data breach, and cyber security issues

We work extensively with state and federal banking regulators, and bring a sophisticated and unique perspective to examination matters and regulatory enforcement actions. Our expertise includes: 

  • Counseling individuals and financial institutions subject to enforcement actions
  • Negotiating reductions in enforcement actions on behalf of our clients
  • Assisting financial institutions in complying with the terms of enforcement actions
Strategic Planning and Business Line Support

Our team draws on prior experience at financial institutions and bank regulatory agencies to support clients and their boards of directors. We understand the operational issues that arise on a daily basis and how to resolve these matters practically and efficiently.

We routinely work with clients to:

  • Create, structure, and implement new products and services
  • Support existing product lines in retail and commercial banking, treasury management, and payment systems
  • Negotiate and draft contracts for data processing and outsourcing, licensing and technology, services, and vendors
FinTech Services

We offer clients strategic and practical advice in creating mutually beneficial relationships between traditional financial services providers and existing and emerging software technology companies. Our counsel to FinTech providers and financial institutions implementing fintech solutions includes:

  • Agreement design and negotiation
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Data security and privacy
  • Intellectual property
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Capital markets
  • Strategic planning
  • Product development
Family-Owned & Closely-Held Banks

Our practice specializes in advising families and closely-held ownership groups and the banks they control. We use a collaborative approach unique among law firms to help our clients develop a global strategy that aligns the bank’s strategic direction with shareholder goals.

We regularly assist our family-owned and closely-held bank clients in areas such as:

  • Facilitating strategic planning discussions for owner, director, and management groups
  • Structuring ownership to maximize returns and facilitate intergenerational transfers
  • Developing strategies for shareholder liquidity, cash flow, and tax efficiency
  • Establishing foundations and charitable giving guidelines
  • Advising on and executing mergers and acquisitions
  • Advising on corporate and family governance best practices
  • Assisting with dispute resolution and proactively planning to avoid disputes

We also connect our clients with accountants, valuation experts, insurance advisors, money managers, and other resources with specific expertise in banking.

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