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Mark Belongia


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Mark Belongia is a business litigator with a special focus on advising and defending banks and thrift organizations in regulatory, litigation and transactional matters. Mark works with banks of all sizes, ranging from major ones headquartered in the nation's money centers to regional and small community financial institutions.

In advocating for his clients, which include bank holding companies, financial service affiliates and their joint venture partnerships, Mark regularly interfaces with federal and state regulators. He represents clients before the Department of Treasury, Federal Reserve Board, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. In addition, he works with state banking, securities and insurance regulatory agencies.

Mark's business litigation experience focuses on cases in the banking, commercial, sports and entertainment areas. He has represented clients in a wide variety of cases, including white-collar litigation, government enforcement actions and compliance matters.

Mark describes himself as a great listener – a skill he says too many litigators lack – whether listening to his client, opposing counsel or judge. Mark takes a calm and centered approach in working with clients facing critical business decisions, often under stressful circumstances. After serving as a sounding board and carefully listening to the business issues at hand, Mark develops a big-picture strategy that makes the most efficient use of the litigation process.

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. Discussed the often unknown or misunderstood practice of gap financing, which is often used by private post-secondary schools.

Represented a North Carolina Bank in its negotiations with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation concerning two failed financial institutions with $377.8 million and $100.7 million in assets at the time of their closings that resulted in an early termination of two commercial shared loss agreements on favorable terms.

Testified as a 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.

Advised for-profit educational institutions on issues related to state licensure and registration.

Advised for-profit educational institutions on issues related to retail installment financing.

Advised 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.

Advised clients on issues related to maintenance and use of personally identifiable information under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and Regulation P.

Advised 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 in compliance  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 in compliance 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 cancelation 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 as a state 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 to lend to students.

Advised on enforcement matters, including advice on examination report findings, communications and negotiations with federal and state agencies and defense of supervisory actions.

Advised board of directors on troubled bank issues, such as deposit insurance and related receivership matters.

Advised on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) program.

Advised on FDIC Loss Share negotiation and compliance.

Defended FDIC Section Removal from Banking Action and FDIC lawsuits against Directors and Officers of failed banking institutions.

Advised on 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.

Prepared, reviewed and negotiated contracts, including vendor, third-party and affiliate agreements.

Advised on geographic expansion of banks.

Advised on transactional matters, such as bank mergers, acquisitions and branch purchases and sales.

Advised on 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.

Advised on new product development, including the development of electronic banking products, including Internet banking operations and remote deposit programs.

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.

Advised on capital-raising transactions, including issuances of common and preferred stock, subordinated debt and trust preferred securities.

Conducted internal and white-collar investigations.

Advised on insurance coverage for banks.

Advised on licensing of non-bank subsidiaries and affiliates under state mortgage banking, consumer lending, insurance and securities laws.

Advised on 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.

Litigation Experience

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 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 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.

Served as lead local counsel for numerous New York law firms in large multi-party litigation.

Represented 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.


Fair Debt Collection Practices Act & Student Loan Servicing Licensing

Properly Extending Credit for Private Education Student Loans

Thompson Coburn Publications

Traversing a muddy field: Key reminders for banks considering ag lending


Amended current federal laws bring changes for higher education institutions

Private student loan laws: Compliance and consequences


Author, "OCC Report Discusses Risks Facing National Banks and Federal Savings Associations"
Blog Post January 2017

Author, "Agencies Release Annual CRA Asset-Size Threshold Adjustments for Small and Intermediate Small Institutions"
Blog Post January 2017

Author, "Federal Bank Regulatory Agencies Release Annual CRA Asset-Size Threshold Adjustments"
Client Alert January 2017

Featured, "Uncertain Currency"
Chicago Lawyer Nov. 2. 2017

Co-Author, "Changing Seasons of FDIC Shared-Loss Programs"
Client Alert September 2016

Author, Failed-Bank Settlements May Bring Unwelcome Surprise
American Banker Dec. 9, 2014

Cited as an authoritative source in "Commodities Prices Gone Wild – The Volcker Rule's Impact on Electricity Rates, the Implications for Texas Rate Payers, and the Next Steps for Texas"
15 Tex. Tech. Admin. L.J. 377

Featured in "The Fox Reality TV Show That Tore a Family Apart"
D Magazine August 2014

Featured in "Appeals Court Upholds $36 Million Judgment Against Water District,"
June 11, 2014

Author, Landmark Decision Clarifies Illinois Foreclosure Law
Law 360 May 8, 2014

Featured in "Gold Coast Boutique, Landlord Feud Over Broken Pipe at Waldorf Astoria"
Chicago Real Estate Daily March 31,2014

Co-Author, "Banking on the Marijuana Business-Treasury and DOJ Clear Financial Institutions to Service State-Licensed Marijuana Businesses"
Client Alert February 2014

Author, "Community Banks Get Some Relief from the Requirements of the Volcker Rule"
Client Alert January 2014

Featured in "Former Owners Sued Maid-Rite, Claiming they are in Debt After Viability of Franchise was Misrepresented"
Cook County Record December 26, 2013

Author, "Illinois Banking Act Authorizes Derivative Transactions Under Dodd-Frank"
Client Alert December 2013

Author, "Banks Face Huge Costs in the Event of a Data Breach"
Client Alert November 2013

Co-Author, "Illinois State Police Release Sample Sign to Ban Concealed Weapons on Private Property"
Client Alert November 2013

Author, "FDIC Issues Warning to Bank Directors and Officers on Exclusionary Terms in Liability Policies"
Client Alert October 2013

Author, "Landmark Decision Clarifies Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law"
Client Alert October 2013

Co-Author, "Community Bank Pays $8.2 Million Penalty for Money Laundering Violations"
Client Alert October 2013

Author, "The Rules for Civil Case Settlements Undergo Revision"
Client Alert September 2013

Author, "Illinois Court Creates a Bright Line Rule in the Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants in Employment Agreements"
Client Alert August 2013

Co-author, "Chicago Ordinance Imposes New Requirements on Owners of Foreclosed"
Client Alert June 2013

Co-author, "Moving Compliance out of the General Counsel's office: JPMorgan Chase and United States, ex rel v. Halifax Hospital Medical Center"
Client Alert April 2013


Presenter, "The FDIC Loss Share Program: How To Extract Every Last Dollar"
Webinar March 2017

Presenter, "Properly Extending Credit for Private Education Loans"
Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities 2016 Annual Conference, Orlando, Florida June 6, 2016

Presenter, "ID Theft: Managing Risk and Controlling Damage"
Webinar January 2016

Panelist, "How to Handle End of Loss Share Agreements"
Information Management Network Real Estate and Workout Conference, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Feb. 13, 2014

Featured as a legal commentator, "Biggest Reality Scandals"
Dec. 16,2013 E! Entertainment Special

Appearances on several national and regional media programs, including NBC's "Today Show," NBC5 Chicago News and WGN-AM Radio.