Kenneth Sayre-Peterson is a Joseph & Cohen partner with a core focus on banking, credit unions, regulatory and enforcement matters, money transmitters and digital currency, corporate, securities and trust law. He joined Joseph & Cohen in 2012 following his retirement from the California Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), now a division of the Department of Business Oversight, where he served as legal counsel during a twenty-two year career.
Mr. Sayre-Peterson acted as the General Counsel for the California Department of Financial Institutions from June 2007 until his retirement in November 2011. He was responsible for assisting the DFI’s Legislative Section and spearheaded a four-year project in which he drafted substantially all of the enabling legislation for a restatement of California’s Banking Law. This project culminated in the codification of the Restated Banking Law in the California Financial Code in January 2012.
As a result of his DFI service, Mr. Sayre-Peterson has become one of the preeminent lawyers in California in financial institution law including an intimate knowledge of state and federal banking law, credit union law, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory and compliance issues, money transmitter law, securities and trust laws, as well as the corresponding federal laws.
Over many years, Mr. Sayre-Peterson played a significant role in numerous troubled bank resolutions and worked closely with senior regulatory staff at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve Bank. As the DFI’s General Counsel, he was instrumental in policymaking and the direction and scope of its examination and enforcement programs and worked with other senior members of the DFI to implement regulatory policies and procedures applicable to state-chartered credit unions and licensed money transmitters.
Mr. Sayre-Peterson serves as the Vice-Chairman of Legislation for the Consumer Financial Services Committee of the State Bar of California’s Business Law Section (2013-2014). He has been a featured speaker and panelist at numerous legal and banking seminars throughout his career including the Western Independent Bankers Association, the Bankers Compliance Group, the California Bankers Association, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the California Credit Union League. While at the DFI, he was an advisory member of the Financial Institutions Committee of the State Bar of California’s Business Law Section.
Prior to joining the DFI in 1988, he worked as staff tax counsel for four years with the California State Board of Equalization. Before entering state service, he specialized in appellate work and lobbying while in private practice in Sacramento.
Mr. Sayre Peterson has been a member of the State Bar of California since 1983 following graduation, with distinction, from McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 1977.