Blockchain credit startup Spring Labs has appointed Brian Brooks, the former acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), 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 under President Donald Trump following the departure of Joseph Otting last May before exiting in January. Previously, he 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," Spring Labs Founder, CEO and Chairman Adam Jiwan 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 to continue his push for further inclusion of blockchain and cryptocurrency in the financial sector, which would advance the agenda he pursued during eight months 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 such a move would be more in step with the current unbundling of financial services underway. He also vowed to continue the legal fight for the agency's fintech charter, a proposal the OCC introduced in 2016, under former Comptroller Thomas Curry, and which is still subject to an appellate battle in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
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." It also incorporates blockchain technology that "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, who also served as the director of the National Economic Council under former Pres. Trump; former TransUnion CEO Bobby Mehta; Capital One co-founder Nigel Morris; and former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC ) Chair Sheila Bair.
Including Brooks, there are five board members, said a spokeswoman for Spring Labs.