Brian Brooks, who warned that requiring customers to wear masks during the pandemic could lead to more bank robberies, is stepping down as the country’s top bank regulator, according to an announcement on Wednesday.
Mr. Brooks has served as acting comptroller of the currency since late May. As of Thursday night, Blake Paulson, a career employee of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, will take over.
“It has been an honor to serve the United States as acting comptroller,” Mr. Brooks said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished.”
In the months after he took over the agency following the departure of Joseph Otting, Mr. Brooks rushed to enact a number of changes, including one that would prohibit banks from cutting off credit to the fossil fuel industry and another establishing guidelines for how banks could measure their activities in low-income and minority neighborhoods as required under an anti-redlining law.
Until recently, Mr. Brooks was in line for his job to be made permanent. Despite having already lost the 2020 election, President Trump said on Nov. 17 that he intended to nominate Mr. Brooks to become the comptroller for a five-year term.
But the chances for Mr. Brooks to be confirmed during the lame-duck period of Mr. Trump’s presidency were low, and the Georgia runoff elections have given Democrats control of both chambers of Congress.
Advisers to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. had already begun vetting candidates to replace him after Mr. Biden takes over next week.