US House Financial Services Chair Waters Recommends Joe Biden Rescind OCC Crypto Guidance

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U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee(Shutterstock)

U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, who chairs the powerful House Financial Services Committee, recommended that President-elect Joe Biden rescind or monitor all of the cryptocurrency-related guidance issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

In a letter sent to the incoming president Friday, Waters wrote that her committee has “conducted extensive oversight” over President Donald Trump’s administration, and listed a number of actions Biden’s administration could take to undo what she described as the harms of Trump’s term.

Waters’ comments come weeks after other Financial Services Committee members, including Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia criticized Brooks’ crypto-related actions during the COVID-19 pandemic and just days after the lawmakers introduced a bill that would require stablecoin issuers to seek bank charters and regulatory permission to introduce stablecoins.

“As you begin to carry out the mandate given to you by the American people to restore trust in the federal government, I would like to highlight several areas where you and your team should immediately reverse the actions of your predecessors,” she wrote.

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Under the “digital banking” section, Waters specifically recommended that Biden’s team rescind the OCC’s guidance that would allow national banks to hold reserves for stablecoin issuers, as well as provide cryptocurrency custody services for users.

She also recommended that Biden monitor the OCC’s advanced notice of rulemaking around digital activities conducted by banks and the public input period.

“Your appointed officials at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) must also not assume, as their predecessors have, that a law Congress passed over 150 years ago somehow gives, them authority to provide a national bank charter to non-bank fintech or payment companies,” she wrote.

Each of these recommendations would undo work conducted by Brian Brooks, the Acting Comptroller of the Currency. Brooks was recently nominated to serve a full five-year term by Trump.

Under a section on financial stability, Waters wrote that the Financial Stability Oversight Council and Office of Financial Research should publish their analysis on developments and the existing regulatory framework around digital assets and distributed ledger technology.

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