Thomas Kost draws on his experience as a regulator to guide financial services companies through high-stakes enforcement and supervisory matters, litigation, and compliance challenges. A former staff attorney with the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, Thomas has extensive experience handling all aspects of complex governmental investigations and litigation involving a wide variety of consumer financial laws. He uses that insight to create a clear roadmap for clients to follow when issues arise and counsels them on the best way to address business concerns throughout the process. He also provides practical advice to clients seeking to mitigate enforcement and litigation risk proactively.
Thomas's experience spans a range of traditional and emerging financial products and services. While with the FTC, Thomas helped develop the agency's enforcement strategy relating to small business financing. In private practice, he has represented banks, card issuers, and non-bank financial services providers in matters involving retail deposit products, overdraft services, mortgage lending and servicing, credit cards, and prepaid cards.
Thomas shares the firm's commitment to providing pro bono legal services. He has represented clients in litigation involving prisoners' rights and equitable school funding.
Federal Trade Commission
Conducted investigations and brought actions in federal court to enforce consumer protection laws, principally Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibiting UDAPs. Coordinated with federal and state agencies on joint actions and partnerships. Assisted with strategic planning and setting enforcement priorities on issues involving small business financing and fair lending.
Enforcement and supervisory matters
Has successfully defended clients in investigations, supervisory examinations, and enforcement proceedings brought by the CFPB, OCC, DOJ, and multiple state attorneys general. Often has achieved confidential resolutions resulting in no public enforcement action taken against clients.
Strategic advice and compliance counseling
Has counseled clients on novel compliance issues involving various consumer financial laws, including ECOA, TILA, FCRA, and EFTA, among others. Has conducted risk assessments and internal investigations, helping clients implement appropriate corrective action and self-disclose issues to regulators when necessary. Has evaluated and enhanced compliance management systems on an enterprise scale.
Business-to-business payment products enforcement action*
Served as lead attorney for the FTC in large, complex litigation against a publicly traded company and its chief executive officer involving specialized business-to-business payment products.
Small business financing enforcement action*
Member of the FTC team conducting a first-of-its-kind investigation of merchant cash advance provider in the emerging small business financing marketplace, resulting in a multimillion-dollar settlement with the company and its principals.
Litigation to quash investigative subpoena*
Represented a large financial institution in successful affirmative litigation against a state attorney general to quash an investigative subpoena issued to the bank.
CFPB fair lending PARR response*
Represented credit card issuer in CFPB fair lending examination relating to underwriting practices, achieving a confidential supervisory resolution after responding to potential action and request for response letter.
CFPB mortgage servicing investigation*
Defended mortgage servicer in multi-year CFPB investigation involving new rules promulgated under RESPA, achieving a confidential supervisory resolution.
CFPB optional overdraft investigations*
Defended multiple national banks in CFPB investigations relating to optional overdraft services under EFTA and Regulation E, including through the NORA process and settlement negotiations.
Proactive remediation and self-disclosure*
Assisted a national bank in an internal investigation relating to a self-identified compliance issue, designing a proactive customer remediation plan and self-disclosure strategy that resulted in no further action by regulators.
Comprehensive fair lending risk assessment*
Conducted enterprise-wide review of fair lending compliance—including by self-testing and evaluating policies, procedures, and marketing collateral across multiple business lines—to prepare for a supervisory examination and to propose specific enhancements to mitigate potential risks.
Compliance management system evaluation*
Advised one of nation's largest retailers regarding expanded financial services product offerings and creating robust oversight process, policies, and other controls to effectively manage compliance risk relating to those products.
New financial product counseling*
Provided actionable guidance to a regional bank pursuing a new online deposit product on how to navigate complex and overlapping rules and regulations, including state-by-state licensing requirements.
*Denotes experience prior to joining Davis Wright Tremaine
Admitted to Practice
District of Columbia, 2015
U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit
U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia
J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, 2012
- Order of the Coif
- Senior Online Editor, Northwestern University Law Review
B.A., Politics, Whitman College, 2007
- Walter Brattain Scholar
- Varsity Baseball
- Staff Attorney, Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Division of Financial Practices, Washington, D.C., 2018-2021
- Associate, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, Washington, D.C., 2014-2018
- Law Clerk, Hon. Leonie M. Brinkema, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria, Va., 2013-2014
- Law Clerk, Hon. R. Guy Cole, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, Columbus, Ohio, 2012-2013
- Summer Law Intern, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Federal Programs Branch, Washington, D.C., 2011