Brian Brooks, who spearheaded crypto initiatives at the OCC, is stepping down today

Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks will step down today, according to a statement from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The office's COO, Blake Paulson, will take his place.

His exit was first reported by Politico Pro this week. With the move, Brooks cuts short a possible five year-term with his departure. Outgoing U.S. president Donald Trump nominated Brooks in November for a full term, pending Senate approval. Brooks ultimately chose to step down during the transition to the Biden administration instead.

Brooks served as Coinbase's head of legal before his appointment by the Trump administration. He then spent eight months as Acting Comptroller, attempting to make strides for crypto during that time. During his tenure, he granted a federal bank charter to Anchorage, clarified that federally chartered banks can transact in stablecoins and opened the door for federally chartered banks to host reserve accounts for stablecoin issuers. 

“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," Brooks said in a statement.

Paulson has been with the OCC since 1986 as a bank examiner, taking the role of COO in 2020.