Brian Brooks will become acting comptroller of the currency

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WASHINGTON — Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting will step down May 29 and turn the reins over to Brian P. Brooks, who will be acting comptroller.

Brooks joined the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in March as chief operating officer. He is a lawyer and former banker who came to the OCC from Coinbase, a digital cryptocurrency exchange platform. Previously he was executive vice president and general counsel at Fannie Mae.

Brooks, Otting and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin worked together at OneWest Bank in Pasadena, Calif., which was criticized heavily in the years after the financial crisis for its foreclosure practices.

Otting announced his resignation plans Thursday, ending a five-year term at the halfway point and leaving behind a complicated legacy. Word had circulated in Washington earlier in the week that the announcement was imminent.

"It has been my distinct honor to serve the United States and this Administration as the 31st Comptroller of the Currency," Otting said in a statement. "I am extremely proud of what the women and men of the agency have accomplished to promote economic opportunity, eliminate unnecessary regulatory burden, and operate the agency in a more effective and efficient manner."

Brian Brooks, to become acting comptroller on May 29, 2020
Brian Brooks (pictured), who will become acting comptroller next week, is "extremely well suited to continue the agency's important work and succeed in its mission of ensuring banks operate in a safe, sound and fair manner,” says Joseph Otting, who is stepping down as head of the OCC.

The announcement came a day after the OCC released a contentious rule finalizing changes to the Community Reinvestment Act, a reform process Otting championed immediately upon taking office in November 2017. The campaign — initially proposed as an interagency rulemaking with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in December — ended on Wednesday when the OCC finalized the rule alone.

Otting will also be remembered for cutting $156 million in overhead costs without a layoff, in addition to cutting bank assessment fees by 20% over two years.

“The agency and the nation are fortunate that the OCC has a deep bench," Otting said. "[Brooks] and the Executive Committee are extremely well suited to continue the agency's important work and succeed in its mission of ensuring banks operate in a safe, sound and fair manner.”

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OCC Joseph Otting CRA FDIC Brian Brooks
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