Waters criticizes OCC chief's comments on stay-at-home orders
WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters blasted a recent letter by acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks suggesting that states and municipalities should end "indefinite shutdowns" related to the coronavirus.
Within days of taking the helm of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Brooks drafted a letter Monday to groups representing mayors, governors and others saying that extended stay-at-home orders pose economic risks that will be felt by banks. He noted that face-mask requirements in bank branches could stoke "the very real risk of increases in bank robberies."
But Waters accused Brooks of adopting a view that is counter to the public health recommendations.
“With this inappropriate letter pressuring city and state officials to end important public safety measures put in place to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, the new Acting Comptroller is transparently pandering to President Trump, who has made clear that he would prefer that we all pretend that there is no pandemic, that more than a hundred thousand Americans have not lost their lives already, and that many more are not at risk,” the California Democrat said in a press release late Thursday.
It was the second time during Brooks’s first full week as acting comptroller that he drew criticism from Waters. On Monday, Waters said it was “shameful” for Brooks to finalize a rule clarifying that a loan's interest rate remains legally intact after it is acquired by a purchaser in a state with a lower rate cap.
Waters said Brooks should not be issuing new rules or sending directives to state and local officials as acting comptroller.
“He should focus on temporary stewardship of the agency, not issuing new rules, as he did on the first day on the job with a harmful rule on transferred loans which allows rent-a-bank schemes to evade state usury laws, or distributing inflammatory and ill-advised missives to state and local officials on the front lines of the pandemic, as he has done with this letter,” Waters said.