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Biden Expected To Name Professor Michael Barr To Head OCC

Former Ripple advisor and Treasury Department official Michael Barr is anticipated to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) under President Joe Biden, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday (Jan. 21), citing sources.

Barr previously served in the Treasury Department under former President Barack Obama and also held several posts under former President Bill Clinton. He was on Ripple’s advisory board in 2015, is a former Coinbase executive, and was a key architect in the creation of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. He is currently dean of the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and was appointed to Biden’s transition team after the November election.

If his nomination is confirmed, Barr will succeed Trump appointee Brian Brooks, who served as Acting Comptroller for the second half of last year.

Barr would work alongside other regulatory team appointees, including Rohit Chopra, tapped to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Gary Gensler, nominated to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. The OCC is an independent bureau of the Treasury Department.

The comptroller supervises two-thirds of the country’s financial institutions — roughly 1,200 banks — with $14 trillion in total assets. The OCC also includes the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The Biden Administration has a number of issues to tackle beyond the coronavirus, namely cryptocurrency, cybersecurity, national security threats, and money laundering.

The U.S. Justice Department recently raised alarms about cryptocurrencies and national security threats. Digital currency could be used to fund cyberattacks and sidestep international sanctions.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has said that as of Sept. 30, there have been at least 91,000 suspicious-activity reports related to COVID-19.

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