Brian Brooks, the former acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), has joined blockchain credit startup Spring Labs as its first independent director, the Marina Del Rey, California-based fintech said Monday.
Brooks, a former executive at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, ascended to the top role at the OCC following the departure of Joseph Otting in May. He also has served as an adviser to Spring Labs from March 2018 to 2020, according to Ledger Insights.
"Brian has a remarkable perspective on where the industry is headed, and his experience has given him a unique lens on transformative technologies and how they are being adopted," Adam Jiwan, co-founder of Spring Labs, said in a statement. "We are thrilled that he shares our vision as we build the secure rails for data exchange."
The new role places Brooks in a position where he can continue his push for the inclusion of blockchain and cryptocurrency in the financial sector, actions he took during his tenure at the helm of the bank regulator.
Under Brooks' leadership, the OCC issued guidance regarding banks' use of stablecoins and blockchains, as well as an interpretive letter clarifying that national banks are allowed to provide cryptocurrency custody services.
Brooks also advocated for a national charter for payments companies, claiming it was the answer to the ongoing unbundling of financial services. He also vowed to continue the legal fight over the agency's fintech charter, a proposal the OCC introduced in 2016, under former Comptroller Thomas Curry.
Brooks, who also launched the OCC’s financial inclusion initiative, Project REACH, said Spring Labs is transforming financial data exchange in a way that is better for consumers.
"I look forward to working with the Spring Labs team to bring the benefits of financial services to more Americans, while reducing cost and increasing security for everyone," he said in a statement.
Springs Labs said its network technology is built on modern cryptography, "which allows the visibility of information shared by network participants to be strictly controlled, and a permissioned blockchain, which provides a time-stamped, immutable record and audit trail to all network participants."
One of the startup’s highest-profile applications is for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing loans, a government-supported initiative to support renewable energy installation funding, according to Ledger Insights.
The startup’s advisers include financial services industry veterans such as former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, former TransUnion CEO Bobby Mehta, Capital One co-founder Nigel Morris and former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC ) Chair Sheila Bair.