Former Coinbase General Counsel Becomes U.S. Comptroller

Former Coinbase legal director Brian Brooks is about to take the top job at a major U.S. banking regulator. The first subcontractor and chief operating officer of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is about to become acting comptroller, as his boss, Joseph Otting, is planning an upcoming departure.

On Tuesday, the political platform Pro reported that Otting resigned after reforming rules designed to prevent financial institutions from discriminating against low-income people and minorities.

He also intends to announce his departure after the new rules are finalized this week. Other newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal, also reported on Joseph Otting’s plans.

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Former Coinbase director
Former Coinbase General Counsel Brooks, as First Deputy, will assume the role of Acting Comptroller of the Currency until U.S. President Donald Trump nominates a permanent candidate and the U.S. Senate confirms it. The OCC is the only entity that ships domestic banks in the U.S.

In this context, it is not clear how long this process could take. In Otting’s case, he was nominated in June 2017 and subsequently confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November of that year. This means that the process could take a few months.

Brooks assumed the role of First Deputy only two months ago, and in his position he has already announced different actions. Among them is his support that could allow Coinbase, and other FinTech, to obtain

licenses through a national regime. This, rather than companies securing state-by-state money services business licenses.

Why the interest in cryptography? Brooks is the former legal director of Coinbase’s crypto platform, having left to join the OCC. In recent years, he has also held leadership and advisory roles at Fannie Mae.

Similarly, Brooks served as vice president of OneWest Bank in 2011 and 2014, as well as president and CEO of OneWest in 2010 and 2015. Steven Mnuchin, owner and founder of OneWest, who is now Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, was the person who appointed Brooks to his role at the OCC.