Financial Services Blog

Showing 50 posts by William T. Repasky.

Bitcoin ATMs: What They Are and How They Work

The traditional ATM is a truly ubiquitous part of our culture. Although the first American ATM was not installed until the fall of 1969 in New York City, most Americans, regardless of geography, probably cannot imagine life without the ease and convenience they provide. And this story is now likely to be repeated with Bitcoin ATMs. Read More ›

A Regulatory Primer for Bitcoin ATM Operators – Federal Law & Regulations

Most businesses must deal with federal, state, and local laws and regulations from time to time. Operators of Bitcoin ATMs are no different. For such operators, the primary regulations arise out of the federal Bank Secrecy Act (the “BSA”), as discussed below, and the state-level money transmitter laws are discussed in another article. Read More ›

A Regulatory Primer for Bitcoin ATM Operators – State Law & Regulations

Depending on the state where the Bitcoin ATM operator sets up the business, the operator may – or may not – need to comply with that state’s laws, regulations and/or licensing. For operators, the primary state-level matters of concern are typically its state or states of operation’s money transmitter laws. Read More ›

Legal Issues of Owning and Operating a Bitcoin ATM Business

As previously discussed, Bitcoin ATMs are a growing industry, offering consumers great flexibility in exchanging Bitcoin tokens for cash, or purchasing Bitcoin tokens for cash, via standalone kiosks. Many merchants are starting to get on-board with owning, or leasing space to, Bitcoin ATMs as a way to serve an expanding market. Read More ›

Conference of State Bank Supervisors Sues U.S. Comptroller over Non-Bank Charter Rule

On Wednesday, April 26, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (the “CSBS”) filed suit against the Office of the Comptroller and Currency and its Comptroller Thomas J. Curry (collectively, the OCC”) over Curry’s December 2016 announcement that the OCC has created a new national bank charter for non-bank companies (the “Non-Bank Charter Rule”). This Non-Bank Charter Rule, the complaint alleges, will pull chartered non-bank companies into the national banking regulatory system, and will preempt and replace state-based banking regulation, licensing, and supervisory responsibility of state authorities. Read More ›

A Cautionary Tale for Money Service Businesses: How Violating the Bank Secrecy Act Could Cost Millions

On February 27, 2017, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) fined Merchants Bank of California (“Merchants”) $7 million for what it called “egregious” violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”). The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency simultaneously assessed a $1 million civil monetary penalty against Merchants because it violated two previous consent orders. Merchants is a community bank located in Carson City, California. The Bank had a large portfolio of Money Service Businesses (“MSBs”) customers. MSBs are generally recognized by federal regulators to include: (1) currency dealers or exchangers; (2) check cashers; (3) issuers of traveler’s checks, money orders, or stored value; (4) sellers or redeemers of traveler’s checks, money orders, or stored value; and (5) money transmitters. In Merchants’ case, it had 165 check-cashing and 44 money-transmitter customers, who often operated at great distances from the Bank. Compounding the situation was the fact that Bank insiders owned or managed a number of the MSB customers. Read More ›

State Attorneys General Ask at the Checkout Counter, “Chip & Sign or Chip & Pin?”

Should state Attorney General’s (AG’s) intrude in the private market place to influence the choice consumers and merchants’ make as to the type of payments they will prefer for credit card transactions?  By any account, those are complicated business decisions involving complex cost, risk, marketing, technology and personal preference issues, which are often unique to each business’s situation.  But nonetheless, this is exactly what nine Attorneys General recently did. Read More ›

Is .bank Right For You? The Pros & Cons

Many banks are now evaluating the pros and cons of using the new “.bank” domain.  For those not already in the know, rather than continuing to use the generic “.com” domain, qualifying banks can soon switch to a more descriptive .bank top-level domain name.  For example, a bank’s website address might read www.XYZinstitution.bank, rather than www.XYZinstitution.com; and its emails name.employee@XYZinstitution.bank.  In 2012, fTLD Registry Services, LLC (formed by the Financial Services Roundtable and the American Bankers Association) applied to ICANN for the right to issue and manage the .bank generic top-level domain names.  On September 25, 2014, fTLD was granted these rights, and it promptly established a roll-out schedule for the issuance of the .bank domain name.  For those few financial institutions who hold registered trademarks in their names, open enrollment began last Sunday, May 17, 2015.  For all the other banks, those without registered trademarks, general availability enrollment will begin at 8:00 pm, EDT, on June the 23rd. Read More ›

When Contract Boilerplate Matters: A Case Lesson From the Credit Card Processing World

Those practicing in the payments space know that recorded judicial decisions are few and far between concerning disputes over credit card processing contracts.  Terms and conditions in these contracts are often created with heavy reliance on general contract principles, even though the operative acts of the parties are highly unique and subject to extensive third-party rules.  The January 15, 2015 decision in Schnuck Markets v. First Data Merchant Data Services Corp. and Citicorp Payment Services, U.S.D.C. E.D. Missouri, No. 4:13-CV-2226-JAR, is one of those rare cases, and is a decision highlighting the importance of careful contract drafting in the context of the merchant processing relationship. Read More ›

New Savings Options Authorized for Retail Customers

Towards the end of 2014, two new national savings laws were signed by President Barack Obama.  The first is American Savings Act, H.R. 3374.  To encourage consumer savings, this Act permits financial institutions to offer prize-linked savings products.  Citing the need to improve the country’s saving rate by American households, and following the success the State of Michigan saw with its own similar program, the Act permits a saving promotion raffle to be offered by insured financial institutions, including federal savings and loan institutions.  A permitted savings promotion raffle is a contest in which the consideration for entry is obtained by the deposit of a specified amount of money into a savings account or other savings program offered by a financial institution. Read More ›

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Attorney Spotlight

Christopher C. Tieke is an associate in Frost Brown Todd's Louisville office, focusing his practice on business litigation. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, with magna cum laude honors; served as an Associate Member of the University of Cincinnati Law Review; and participated in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic.

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