UPDATE: Jan. 14, 2021: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said Brian Brooks will step down Thursday from his position as acting comptroller. The bank regulator said the OCC's chief operating officer, Blake Paulson, will serve as acting comptroller.
"It has been a great honor to serve the United States as Acting Comptroller of the Currency," Brooks said in a statement. "The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is the most extraordinary of federal agencies filled with the most dedicated, professional, and gifted staff any executive can hope to have. I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together through what have been extraordinary times by any measure."
The acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Brian Brooks, is expected to step down this week, according to a Tuesday report by Politico, citing two unnamed sources.
Brooks ascended to the top role at the bank regulator following the departure of Joseph Otting in May.
OCC Chief Operating Officer Blake Paulson is expected to succeed Brooks in the remaining days of the Trump administration, Politico reported.
In a tweet Tuesday, OCC spokesperson Bryan Hubbard declined to confirm the Politico report that Brooks is leaving the agency within the next few days.
Brooks joined the agency as COO in March and was nominated in November by President Donald Trump to serve a full five-year term as comptroller. For that term to take effect, the Senate Banking Committee would have to hold a confirmation hearing, and then the full Senate would have to vote to confirm or reject the nomination.
As the weeks progressed without a scheduled hearing, it became increasingly unlikely Brooks' tenure would continue long past Jan. 20, when President-elect Joe Biden takes office and can nominate his own candidate.
Brooks, a former Coinbase executive, has taken a series of crypto- and fintech-friendly actions as acting head of the OCC.
He has 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.
Under Brooks' leadership, the regulator has 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 has also defended the OCC's status as issuer of of federal charters to fintechs engaged in lending, after a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau task force suggested that agency is better-positioned to assume the role.