Fannie Mae general counsel moves to cryptocurrency exchange

by Francis Monfort20 Sep 2018

The general counsel of Fannie Mae is leaving the government-sponsored enterprise for a role with a cryptocurrency exchange.

Brian Brooks has joined Coinbase as its new chief legal officer amid the company’s efforts to expand its legal, compliance, and government affairs capabilities. Since it was founded seven years ago, Coinbase said it has advocated for the adoption of cryptocurrency.

Brooks most recently served as executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Fannie Mae. He led the company’s 200-person legal department and government relations group and acted as a senior advisor to the CEO and board.

“We’ve engaged proactively with regulators as we built products and services that allow people to buy, sell, and use cryptocurrency all over the world,” Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong said in a blog post. “In recent years, the industry expanded faster than we could have imagined with an explosion in customer demand and entrepreneurial activity pushing the capabilities of the ecosystem forward. As this trend continues, it is more important than ever that we contribute to a public policy and regulatory environment that fosters innovation while protecting investors.”

The departure follows the announcement that Fannie Mae CEO Timothy Mayopoulos will step down by the end of the year.

Prior to joining the GSE in late 2014, Brooks led the legal department at OneWest Bank and played a key role in managing the bank’s senior regulatory relationships. While there, he worked with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

Brooks had reportedly been President Donald Trump’s nominee for Treasury deputy secretary. It was later reported that he withdrew from consideration. The post remains vacant.

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