White House Nominates Brooks to Formally Lead OCC
The White House recently announced that Brian Brooks has been formally nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for a five-year term. Brooks currently serves the OCC in an acting capacity, and previously served as a cryptocurrency lawyer and as an advisor to many financial technology startups.
According to American Banker, Brooks said in a press release that he would “work ceaselessly to ensure the agency continues to fulfill its critical mission and the men and women of this agency have the resources, training, and leadership they need to succeed in their duties.”
It remains unclear as to whether the Senate can vote to confirm Brooks quickly enough before President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January. If Brooks is confirmed, he may not be able to stay on during the Biden administration; according to U.S. law, a comptroller serves a five-year term “unless sooner removed by the President.”
Brooks has been described as the first “fintech comptroller” during his time at the OCC. He pitched a national bank charter for fintech payments companies and sought to promote using cryptocurrency and decentralized ledger technology throughout the nation’s banks. He also launched “Project REACh,” an initiative to bring community and business leaders together to expand credit access.
Prior to his time at the OCC, Brooks served as chief legal officer of Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange platform and custodian. He also served as executive vice president and general counsel at Fannie Mae, as well as Vice Chairman of OneWest Bank with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.