New Candidate for Senior Banking Regulator Sees Risks in Crypto and Fintechs
Following the departure of Mr. Otting in May 2020, Brian P. Brooks served as Acting Controller. On two occasions, Mr. Trump has submitted his candidacy for a full term, but the Senate has never moved to confirm it. Mr Brooks has approved a new regulatory structure for fintech companies that has given them more power to grant loans without having to meet state limits on the amount of interest they can charge borrowers. they consider it risky.
Mr. Brooks was a former legal director of Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange. After his stint at OCC, he became Managing Director of another cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.US. Although the OCC does not directly regulate cryptocurrencies, it has started to influence how banks can use digital payment systems.
The two appeared to have a warm relationship with at least one managing director of a bank: Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan. A series of emails obtained by The New York Times via a Freedom of Information Act request provides insight into the easy back-and-forth between Mr. Dimon and his bank’s main regulator.
In 2018, Mr. Otting thanked Mr. Dimon for being “among those who want our country to be the best it can be”. The following year, when Mr. Otting informed Mr. Dimon that the OCC would be reducing its regulatory fees for 2020, the head of JPMorgan replied, “What a wonderful end-of-year surprise! Thank you for caring about the financial health of the banking industry and your disciplined approach to spending. It is excellent to see.
Friendly exchanges continued with Mr. Brooks. On May 21, 2020, the day the OCC announced that Mr. Otting was stepping down and Mr. Brooks would take his place, Mr. Dimon and Mr. Brooks logged in for a phone call. After the call, Mr Dimon wrote: “Brian, I enjoyed our phone call this morning and I want to reiterate that we are here to support your efforts in any way we can.
Mr Brooks replied “Likewise” and added: “I will ask my assistant to contact you next week with times when we can call each other and I can go over a few points of the political agenda with you. and get your opinion on a handful of other things that I could use your perspective on. I very much appreciate your outreach – made my day! “
Mr Otting, who received questions from The Times about his correspondence with Mr Dimon through the general manager of the golf club he co-owns in Las Vegas, did not respond to a request for comment.