Government LendingRegulatory

Mnuchin getting the OneWest band back together again at the OCC

Brian Brooks to serve as COO, first deputy comptroller

Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin apparently enjoyed working with some of his compatriots at OneWest Bank so much that he’s now moving to staff the leadership of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency with former OneWest executives.

Joseph Otting, who served as the CEO of OneWest from 2010 until 2015, is already the Comptroller of the Currency. Now, the OCC is adding Brian Brooks, who served as vice chairman and chief legal officer at OneWest, as its chief operating officer and first deputy comptroller.

The OCC announced Monday that Brooks, who most recently served as chief legal officer of Coinbase, one of the world’s largest digital currency exchanges, is set to join the OCC next month.

Prior to joining Coinbase in 2018, Brooks served as Fannie Mae’s executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for almost four years. Brooks came to Fannie Mae in 2014 after leaving OneWest.

Mnuchin and his partners at Dune Capital Management formed OneWest after buying the remains of IndyMac Federal Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2009. Mnuchin and his partners sold OneWest to CIT Group in 2015

But Mnuchin’s, Otting’s, and Brooks’ time wasn’t without some controversy. Last year, OneWest agreed to settle claims that the bank redlined certain minority neighborhoods for several years, including part of the time that Mnuchin, Otting and Brooks were in charge of the bank.

OneWest’s reverse mortgage servicer, Financial Freedom, was also the subject of allegations about its dealings. During Mnuchin’s confirmation process, Democrats claimed that Financial Freedom was responsible for a “disproportionately high” foreclosure rate on reverse mortgages from April 2009 through April 2016 and nicknamed Mnuchin the “foreclosure king.”

OneWest later agreed to an $89 million settlement over allegations of reverse mortgage abuses brought by the Department of Justice.

And now, two of Mnuchin’s top lieutenants at OneWest will be in charge of the OCC.

Brooks’ name has been attached to the Trump administration for some time. Brooks was once rumored to be on the Trump administration’s shortlist to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

But instead of going to the CFPB, Brooks will be going to the OCC.

“Brian Brooks is a strong leader with extensive experience in the financial services sector,” said Mnuchin said in a statement. “I look forward to working with him to ensure the stability of our financial system and its ability to foster greater economic growth for the benefit of all Americans.”

Brooks will be replacing Morris Morgan, who announced that he plans to retire at the end of April.

“Morris Morgan has dedicated his career to bettering this agency and promoting the safety and soundness of the federal banking system,” Otting said. “We will miss his voice and leadership on the agency’s Executive Committee and wish him the very best.”

Brooks is set to take over as OCC’s first deputy comptroller and COO on April 1.

“Brian brings an extensive career of legal, banking, and financial innovation expertise to the agency,” Otting said. “He is a visionary thinker with a passion for service and a deep understanding of how the financial services industry supports our nation’s prosperity. We are fortunate to attract such an experienced and talented individual to join our federal agency.”

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