Mark D. Belongia

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Mark D. Belongia has extensive regulatory experience, encompassing the representation of bank and thrift organizations of all sizes in diverse geographic locations, ranging from money center and regional financial institutions to small community institutions. He has represented bank holding companies, financial service affiliates and their joint venture partners. He has dealt with both state and federal regulators, including the Department of Treasury, Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC"), the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and state banking, securities and insurance regulatory agencies. Mr. Belongia is also Vice-Chairman of the firm's Bank Industry Group, which is an inter-disciplinary practice group dedicated to expansion of the legal services that Duane Morris provides to banks and other financial institutions. Mr. Belongia brings almost two decades worth of litigation and transactional experience to his clients.

In addition to regulatory experience, Mr. Belongia practices in the areas of business and commercial litigation, focusing on matters in the banking, commercial, sports and entertainment areas. Mr. Belongia has represented clients in a wide variety of matters in areas including white-collar litigation, government enforcement actions, compliance, entertainment and sports law.

Mr. Belongia is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law and of Drake University.

Areas of Practice

  • Banking and Financial Institutions regulatory, litigation and transactional
  • Consumer Lending regulatory and compliance
  • FinTech regulatory and compliance
  • Commercial Litigation
  • White-Collar Litigation

Representative Matters

    Regulatory Experience

  • Testified before the California State Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions during an informational hearing – The Changing Face of Student Loan Servicing in California. He discussed the often unknown or misunderstood practice of gap financing, which is often used by private post-secondary schools. Gap financing is utilized when students meet their threshold for federal loans and are still unable to cover the cost of tuition.
  • Represented a North Carolina Bank in its negotiations with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) concerning two failed financial institutions that respectfully had $377.8 million and $100.7 million in total assets at the time of their closings that resulted in an early termination of two commercial shared loss agreements on terms favorable to our client.
  • Testified as an financial industry expert before the California state legislature relating to a proposed bill on licensing student loan servicers.
  • Advised a publicly traded bank on regulatory aspects pertaining to rebranding, marketing and co-branding with the bank's subsidiary financial service companies.
  • Delivered advisory memorandum on issues related to lender credit during regulatory examination under the Community Reinvestment Act as part of financing package for multimillion dollar urban redevelopment project.
  • Delivered advisory memorandum on anti-money laundering, FATCA and other compliance issues on behalf of foreign bank seeking correspondent relationship.
  • Advise for-profit educational institutions on issues related to state licensure and registration.
  • Advise for-profit educational institutions on issues related to retail installment financing.
  • Advise financial services business on corporate structure and issues related to potential alter-ego liability.
  • Developed E-Sign Act disclosures and advised client on implementation of related management procedures.
  • Advise clients on issues related to maintenance and utilization of personally identifiable information under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and Regulation P.
  • Advise clients on Electronic Fund Transfer Act as amended by Dodd-Frank Act and implemented through Regulation E.
  • Conducted a consumer lending compliance review for a tuition financing company which resulted in preparing new federal lending disclosure forms and new lending documents which comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and Regulation Z.
  • Conducted a consumer lending compliance review for a for-profit beauty school which resulted in preparing new federal lending disclosure forms and revised enrollment agreement which comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and Regulation Z.
  • Reviewed enrollment agreements of for-profit schools for compliance with consumer lending laws at the state and federal level.
  • Addressed the issue of payment default and cancellation terms in school enrollment agreements for conformance with consumer lending laws at the state and federal level.
  • Assisted a client in creating an LLC for the purpose of becoming a consumer lender and then performed the necessary legal work to get the client licensed in that state as a consumer lender.
  • Addressed the regulatory issue of whether or not a state consumer lending license is required to be obtained by for-profit schools in order for them to lend to their students.
  • Enforcement matters, including advice on examination report findings, communications and negotiations with federal and state agencies and defense of supervisory actions.
  • Troubled bank issues, such as deposit insurance and related receivership matters.
  • The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) program.
  • FDIC Loss Share negotiation and compliance.
  • Corporate and operational compliance issues, such as lending limits, affiliate and insider transactions, management interlocks, director and officer responsibilities, Bank Secrecy Act, Anti-Money Laundering regulations and USA PATRIOT Act regulations.
  • Contract preparation, review and negotiation, including vendor, third-party and affiliate agreements.
  • Geographic expansion.
  • Transactional matters, such as mergers, acquisitions and branch purchases and sales.
  • Corporate structure matters, such as holding company formations, formations of subsidiaries, service corporations and joint ventures and networking arrangements with third party providers of insurance and securities services.
  • New product development, including the development of electronic banking products.
  • Internet banking operations and remote deposit programs.
  • Capital-raising transactions, including issuances of common and preferred stock, subordinated debt and trust preferred securities.
  • Internal investigations.
  • Board of Director counseling for troubled banks.
  • Insurance coverage review for banks.
  • Licensing of non-bank subsidiaries and affiliates under state mortgage banking, consumer lending, insurance and securities laws.
  • Consumer compliance issues, such as compliance with the Truth in Lending Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, the Truth in Savings Act and state and federal privacy laws.
  • Financial Institution Regulation, Supervision, Examination, Compliance, and Enforcement

  • Counseled numerous clients on the Card Network Rules, the Clearinghouse rules, ACH transactions, remote deposit capture, debit cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers (SWIFT; Fedwire; and CHIPS) and other similar laws.
  • Regulatory Experience

  • Defense of FDIC Section Removal from Banking Actions.
  • Defense of FDIC lawsuits against Directors and Officers of failed banking institutions.
  • Litigation

  • Represented an Ohio-based national bank in its federal lawsuit and negotiations with the FDIC and a commercial real estate appraisal and valuation firm. A non-binding mediation resulted in the recovery of funds after a failed real estate transaction under an option in a Purchase and Assumption Agreement.
  • After oral argument, obtained an important, far-reaching ruling in client's favor from the Illinois Supreme Court on the issue of attorney-client duty in a wrongful death action and settled an area of law which, despite a statute covering this relationship, had not yet been addressed by Illinois courts.
  • Obtained a favorable decision in the Illinois Appellate Court in a case with multi-national parties in the manufacturing industry involving claims under the Illinois Business Broker's Act, quantum meruit, common law fraud, and breach of contract.
  • Obtained a favorable decision in the Illinois Appellate Court in a case involving the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure law and the options available to banks against mortgagers who default.
  • Represented the former directors of an Illinois bank against a $90 million FDIC claim. The claim was settled during mediation for $4 million, all damages and attorney fees having been covered by the director's insurance policy. This is reported to be one of the best settlements during the current banking crisis on behalf of directors and officers in an FDIC claim situation.
  • Prepared independent legal opinion memorandums for submission by community banks to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
  • Defended a community bank against a class action brought under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act.
  • Argued the only known case in Illinois in which a bank attempted to prevent the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation from closing it and appointing the FDIC as receiver.
  • Represented former directors and officers of failed financial institutions during FDIC investigations.
  • Successfully obtained insurance coverage for former directors and officers of failed banking institutions after initial denials of coverage were issued by the insurance carriers.
  • Successfully represented a renovation company in a $784,000 claim against the Willis Tower and had the claim paid within three weeks of sending a demand letter.
  • Obtained a jury verdict in excess of $1 million dollars after a several week trial for a local businessman against foreign defendants from Korea, India, and China.
  • Represented the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian in lawsuits against attorneys who allegedly failed to properly probate personal injury settlements to the detriment of the disabled persons which included successful oral argument before the Illinois Supreme Court.
  • Represented a medical school graduate against the University of Chicago Medical School related to claims of resume fraud preventing the issuance of a medical degree.
  • Lead local counsel for numerous New York law firms in large multi-party litigation.
  • Ongoing representation of both professional athletes and professional sports teams.
  • Represented a family against Fox Broadcasting Co. arising out of the reality television show Renovate My Family; the case made international headlines and was amicably resolved during the litigation.
  • Presented oral argument before the U.S. Appellate Court for the Second Circuit located in New York for a trademark and copyright dispute case, Ivy Silberstein v. Twentieth Century Fox, et al. which related to claims against the producers of the motion picture Ice Age.
  • Represented an independent film producer in a breach of contract lawsuit against famed film director Martin Scorsese, which was amicably resolved during the litigation.

Admissions

  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Tax Court

Experience

  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2014-present
  • Roetzel & Andress
    - Partner-in-Charge, Chicago office, 2012-2014
  • Belongia Shapiro LLP
    - Managing Partner, 2006-2012
  • Wolin & Rosen
    - Associate, 1999-2005

Honors and Awards

  • Finance Monthly's 2017 Consumer Lending Regulatory and Compliance Attorney of the Year
  • Named to "Leading Lawyers" list for Illinois, a statewide list of attorneys recommended by their peers, 2015-2017
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Professional Activities

  • Justinian Society of Lawyers
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association

Selected Publications

Selected Speaking Engagements