Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks Leaves OCC
Brian Brooks, who served as Acting Comptroller of the Currency since late May of last year, stepped down from his role atop the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) last Friday. Following 12 USC 4, Chief Operating Officer Blake Paulson will step up to fill Brooks’ position.
“The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is the most extraordinary of federal agencies filled with the most dedicated, professional, and gifted staff any executive can hope to have,” Brooks said. “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together through what have been extraordinary times by any measure.”
Brooks served as Acting Comptroller for eight months, while the OCC provided support and relief for banks and federal savings associations to help consumers and businesses through the coronavirus pandemic. The OCC also launched the initiative Project REACh, which rallies different groups together to reduce barriers that prevent underserved populations from participating in the economy.
According to American Banker, many described Brooks as the nation’s “first fintech comptroller” because he pushed to give nonbanks federal chartering options. During his eight months as Acting Comptroller, the OCC approved LendingClub’s purchase of Radius Bancorp. Earlier this month, the OCC announced the approval of the first federal charter for a cryptocurrency firm.
“Brooks has been a steadfast advocate for financial technology, regulatory modernization and driven innovation,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Ranking Member on the House Financial Services Committee. “He provided clarity on the ‘true lender’ doctrine, added certainty that loans are ‘Valid-When-Made,’ and worked to ensure lawful companies are not being shut out of the financial system.”
As the OCC’s Chief Operating Officer, Blake Paulson oversaw management operations and bank supervisions. He also oversaw staff responsible for Supervision System and Analytical Support, and Systemic Risk Identification Support and Specialty Supervision.
Prior to and during his career at the OCC, Paulson has held many leadership and bank supervision roles.
“The nation and the federal banking system are fortunate to have such a stable, capable hand like Blake Paulson to step in and guide the agency with the other Executive Committee members until the next Comptroller is nominated and confirmed,” said Brooks.
As reported in Politico, President-elect Biden, who takes office on Wednesday, is considering law professor Mehrsa Baradaran and former Treasury Department official Michael Barr as replacements to formally and permanently lead the agency, although a nomination has not yet been announced.