Akerman Adds Founding CFPB Member to Firm

Mary "Molly" Calkins, Partner, Akerman LLP

Mary “Molly” Calkins, Partner, Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP expanded its Consumer Financial Services Practice Group (CFSPG) with the addition of Mary Calkins to the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Calkins, a founding member of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, led investigations on potential consumer protection violations for the CFPB’s Division of Supervision, Enforcement & Fair Lending. Some of her enforcement matters involved auto finance, servicing, credit reporting, and debt collection.

Joining CFSPG provides Calkins the opportunity use her prior experience dealing with the CFPB’s fair lending exams to help guide clients through the supervisory exam process and to resolve enforcement actions, she said. Calkins spoke with AFN about her initiatives, innovative ideas, and reasoning for her CFPB departure. Following are edited excerpts from the interview:

AFN: What are your primary goals and initiatives going forward in this new role?

MC: The CFPB has been active in the auto finance space and will scrutinize powersport lending, too. I am well-positioned to help the entire industry navigate the increasingly complex regulatory requirements. Besides my CFPB experience with auto finance exams, enforcement and fair lending, I also bring powersport industry insight thanks to my deep ties to the motorcycle racing and street bike industries.

AFN: What innovative ideas will you bring to the table?

MC: As the CFPB begins to scrutinize arbitration clauses, my experience on its Arbitration Study will help lenders and dealers adjust their financing contracts in creative, compliant ways. Similarly, I will apply CFPB experience to help the industry navigate the subprime lending waters, enhance dealer and vendor management policies, and serve its large, loyal service member consumer base. Having conducted CFPB investigations, drafted, served, and negotiated civil investigative demands, I provide clients with innovative ideas for fielding regulatory inquiries.

AFN: Given the executive movement in the auto finance industry recently — particularly with individuals departing the CFPB — what was your reason for moving to this role?

MC: The CFPB was a dynamic place to work in its early days. I joined at the outset — before the agency even officially opened for business in July 2011 — and enjoyed helping it build. Nearly five years in, I sought a faster pace than the agency could ultimately offer, and especially enjoy helping companies avoid regulatory tangles rather than dealing with violations that already occurred.

The interview originally appeared in the June issue of Auto Finance News

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