Brian Brooks, the former acting head of the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), has joined Spring Labs, a leading financial technology firm transforming the exchange of sensitive data, as its first independent director. His appointment to Spring Labs’ Board of Directors follows Mr. Brooks’ high-impact tenure at the OCC, the national banking regulator that oversees over 1,200 banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, that collectively represent 70% of the US banking system’s assets.
“Spring Labs is transforming financial data exchange in a way that is better for consumers,” Brian Brooks said in a statement. “I launched my financial inclusion initiative Project REACH while at the OCC, and 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.”
By fundamentally altering the way consumer financial data is stored and shared, Spring Labs technology offers a unique combination of transparency and privacy that strengthens oversight while also unlocking new data sources that can be used to remove barriers that currently keep as many as 55 million Americans from fully utilizing modern financial services–or from being able to access them at all.
“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,” said Adam Jiwan, co-founder of Spring Labs. “We are thrilled that he shares our vision as we build the secure rails for data exchange.”
The Spring Labs’ 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. This combination of data opacity and transaction transparency is a key to resolving the age-old problem of information sharing among competitors, as well as providing regulatory transparency without inhibiting competition.
In addition to financial inclusion, Mr. Brooks sees the Spring Labs platform as key “middleware” that builds upon another legacy of his time at the OCC: integrating digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies, into the traditional financial system to allow the new technology to securely scale within federal regulatory frameworks, including KYC/AML and compliance laws.
Spring Labs has raised over $38m and built an industry-leading partnership with over 50 major financial institutions, including GM Financial, SoFi, and Avant. In December, the company announced the launch of their network among PACE energy loan lenders. The technology has been credited with catching fraud at a rate of 1% of originations, saving an estimated 10% of annual industry revenue.
Spring Labs counts numerous industry veterans as advisors, including Gary Cohn, former President of Goldman, Sachs & Co, Bobby Mehta, former CEO of TransUnion, Nigel Morris, co-founder of Capital One, and Sheila Bair, former Chair of the FDIC.
Prior to his tenure at the OCC, Mr. Brooks was chief legal officer at Coinbase Global and Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of Fannie Mae. Before those positions, Mr. Brooks was vice chairman at OneWest Bank and managing partner at global law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Mr. Brooks holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in government and a law degree from the University of Chicago.