Banking

Acting Comptroller Brooks expected to step down soon

Brian Brooks is expected to step down as acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency within days, paving the way for President-elect Joe Biden to nominate a successor after his inauguration.

Politico on Tuesday reported that Brooks is planning to leave and that the agency’s chief operating officer, Blake Paulson, is in line to succeed him in the remaining days of the Trump administration. Separately, a source familiar with the situation told American Banker that Brooks plans to depart within a week.

An OCC spokesman declined to say whether Brooks will resign soon.

Brian Brooks’s next step is unclear, but he could return to Coinbase, a digital cryptocurrency exchange platform where he had served as chief legal counsel.

It is unclear whether Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would name a first deputy comptroller to fill in as the agency’s leader or hold off and let former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary, select an interim.

Brooks joined the OCC in March when he was tapped by Mnuchin to be chief operating officer and first deputy comptroller. Brooks had been on the job for just seven weeks when then-Comptroller Joseph Otting resigned halfway into his five-year term; Brooks was named acting comptroller in May. Mnuchin, Otting and Brooks had worked together as executives at OneWest Bank in Pasadena, Calif.

Brooks’s next step is unclear, but speculation immediately began about whether he was headed back to Coinbase, a digital cryptocurrency exchange platform where he had served as chief legal counsel. Brooks also had been an executive vice president and general counsel at Fannie Mae.



 

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