Auchterlonie, Sarah

Sarah Auchterlonie’s expertise is consumer finance and banking. She presently sits on the Colorado Banking Board and was previously an attorney with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), as well as an acting deputy enforcement director with the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s (CFPB) Office of Enforcement. Recently,  Sarah co-authored the legal treatise, Consumer Finance Law and Compliance. She provides expert witness testimony on consumer finance regulatory issues and represents clients in regulatory proceedings and civil lawsuits.

Sarah along with a team of intellectual property, employment and corporate attorneys are responsible for the licensing, start-up or acquisition of dozens of financial technology business lines, including mortgage lenders, alternative financing, online lending, debt repayment, credit repair and cryptocurrencies.

As one of the few private practice attorneys in the nation with her combination of banking and consumer protection experience, Sarah represents companies in government investigations by state attorneys generals, the CFPB, state financial services departments and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In consumer injury matters and contract disputes involving consumer finance products and services, Sarah’s knowledge of financial regulations makes her a formidable litigator and gifted issue-spotter. She lends that knowledge to several American Indian tribal governments as they build and expand their consumer financial protection regulation, supervision and enforcement agencies.

Sarah’s notable work includes handling the CFPB's first administrative proceeding and appeal to the bureau director, In the Matter of PHH Corp., as well as ECOA settlements with mortgage lenders, FCRA investigations of lenders and credit reporting agencies, and FDCPA matters with debt collection firms.

Sarah’ s compliance expertise includes mortgages; electronic payments; credit information privacy and reporting;; debt collection; real estate settlement procedures;; payday, auto-title and small-dollar installment lending; multiple CFPB, FTC and Federal Reserve regulations and unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices (UDAAP); Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Act (BSA/AML); releasing confidential supervisory information, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); investigations of bank employee conduct; and investigations arising from the financial crisis.

Prior to government service, Sarah was a regulatory litigation associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP where she worked on finance and antitrust matters.

Representative Matters
  • Advised a high-end regional retailer in a matter with the Colorado Attorney General's Uniform Consumer Credit Code Administrator in an investigation regarding its "house account" loans. Brownstein attorneys advocated to the state that the client's loans were only incidental to its retail trade, therefore it was not under the UCCC Administrator's authority. In addition, the Brownstein team revised loan agreements and disclosures to ensure that it's client employs lending best practices.

  • Advise the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in its governance of financial services that operate in its jurisdiction. The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa is a federally-recognized American Indian Tribe located in North Dakota. Its government serves nearly 30,000 members. As an advisor to the Tribal government, Brownstein attorneys draft legislation, regulations, and regulatory guidance. As advisors to the Tribe's Lending Regulatory Commission, Brownstein examines licensees for compliance with the Tribal Lending Code and incorporated federal consumer financial protection laws. The Commission is empowered to enforce the Tribal Lending Code's provisions as necessary.

  • Advise the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana's Lending Regulatory Commission in its consumer protection mission. This includes the enforcement and supervision of Tribal Code and incorporated federal consumer financial protection laws. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana is a federally-recognized American Indian Tribe. The Lending Regulatory Commission is a tribal agency operating under the Tribe's sovereign authority and empowered to regulate the financial services businesses run from Tunica-Biloxi reserved lands. In her role as a regulator's legal advisor, Brownstein aids in promulgating regulations, reviews licensees for compliance with applicable federal consumer financial protection laws and laws governing financial institutions, and represents the Commissioners within inter-tribal organizations.

  • Advise the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake Tribal Consumer Financial Services Commission in the enforcement and supervision of its Tribal Financial Services Ordinance. The Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake is a federally-recognized American Indian Tribe. Under its sovereign authority, it created a commission to regulate the various financial services businesses that are owned and operated by tribally-owned entities. In her role as a regulator's legal advisor, Sarah reviews licensees for compliance with applicable federal consumer financial protection laws and laws governing financial institutions.

  • Advises Restore, a financial services firm that helps consumers with defaulted debt pay-off old accounts through loyalty shopping rewards. Restore™ rewards members with RestoreBucks™ while shopping for the things they need every time a consumer purchases through the Let's Restore portal. Let's Restore applies half of every purchase a consumer makes to their eligible defaulted account. Brownstein attorneys advised this innovative firm from inception through launch, and now supports Restore in its continuing efforts to help millions of American consumers repay old debts through this innovative loyalty rewards program.

  • In less than 90 days, Brownstein attorneys helped Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver start-up and license a stand-alone mortgage lending and servicing affiliate. Support for this project included entity creation, transfer of mortgage assets between affiliates, and the creation and implementation of policies, procedures, and disclosures necessary for state and federal consumer financial protection compliance.

  • Advise three federally-recognized American Indian Tribes’ regulatory commissions on the supervision and enforcement of Tribal Financial Services Codes for financial technology and lending firms under Tribal jurisdiction.

  • Advise CoinLion in its compliance, licensing, and consumer-facing materials. Coinlion is a trading and portfolio management platform that allows users to easily and efficiently manage and trade cryptocurrency. There are over 1,500 different cryptocurrencies with more emerging every day. Coinlion is the world's first cryptocurrency trading platform with built-in portfolio management, social integration, and token incentivization.

  • Successfully represented as amici the lending regulatory commission of an American Indian Tribe, the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, in a lawsuit filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, alleging that lenders regulated by the commission violated federal unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices (UDAAP) prohibitions because the tribally-owned and regulated lenders did not comply with some states’ lending laws. The lenders filed a motion to dismiss. Instead of responding to the arguments raised by the lenders, the Commission, and others, the Bureau filed a notice of voluntary dismissal.

News & Events

Adjunct Professor, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver

Cub Scout Den Leader, Boy Scouts of AmericaAdmissions

Publications & Presentations
  • J.D., 2002, Washington University School of Law
  • B.L.S., 1998, University of South Dakota, Phi Beta Kappa
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Colorado