Otting makes it official: He’ll resign as Comptroller of the Currency May 29; Brooks designated his successor

Making it official, a transition from Joseph Otting to Brian P. Brooks as the next leader of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) was announced Thursday by the agency, confirming what had been widely reported the day before.

The agency said that Comptroller Joseph Otting will leave his position May 29, relinquishing the job to current OCC Chief Operating Officer Brian P. Brooks.

OCC COO Brian P. Brooks

In a release, the OCC said the designation of Brooks as comptroller is “pursuant to 12 USC 4 as designated by Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin.”

Otting, in a statement, said “it has been my distinct honor to serve the United States and this Administration as the 31st Comptroller of the Currency. 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.”

The comptroller’s exit from the office will come only days after the agency approved – on its own, without being joined by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC, which issued the proposal with the OCC) or the Federal Reserve – a controversial final rule making changes to regulations implementing the anti-redlining Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). That final rule, first proposed in December, is arguably Otting’s most significant regulatory action since taking office in November 2017.

To illustrate the controversy: House Financial Services Committee Chairman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) Wednesday issued a release panning both the new CRA rules and Otting’s resignation. “It is simply outrageous that in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic and on his way out the door, Comptroller Otting has rushed out a final Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rule that will be harmful for so many communities across the country at a time when they are under severe distress due to the pandemic,” Waters said.

The congressional leader vowed that the rule will be challenged by Congress. “Otting may be done with his rule dismantling CRA but this is by no means the end of the story,” she said. “Congress will not let this final rule stand.”

Brooks has been COO and first deputy comptroller (a position that is designated by the Treasury secretary) since April 1. He joined the agency from Coinbase, Inc., where he served as chief legal officer since September 2018. He previously served as executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Fannie Mae. He also served as a member of the senior executive team of OneWest Bank, N.A., from 2011 to 2014. Prior to joining OneWest, he served as managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting to Step Down, Brian P. Brooks to Become Acting Comptroller of the Currency on May 29, 2020

Waters Blasts Otting’s Departing Act to Weaken CRA During COVID-19 Pandemic