The US Treasury Department of the Currency Validator is expanding a contact program designed to provide access to minority depositaries (MDIs).
According to an announcement made Thursday shared with Cointelegraph, OCC’s REACh project is being expanded to include large and medium-sized banks that work with MDIs. Commitment requires that The partner bank expands the investment and leadership development support in the MDI with which it works.
MDIs are simply banks or credit unions that are majority ethnic or racial minorities. They are seen as critical to widening financial inclusion to excluded minority groups from many parts of the wider financial system. Acting Comptroller Brooks said of MDIs:
“Their unique status makes them ideal for enhancing financial services for underserved communities and minorities and creating significant economic opportunities.”
The OCC named Citibank, Flagstar, Huntington, Texas Capital and Wells Fargo as the first group to stick to the new commitment.
Originally announced in October, The REACh project began under Brooks’ direction and was a core part of his financial inclusion work, especially for Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee who are dissatisfied with its focus on cryptocurrencies.
After Joseph Otting stepped down, Brooks joined the OCC earlier this year from Coinbase’s legal team.. Within the Ministry of Finance, the OCC is charged with managing the Federal Government’s relations with the national banks. Given Brooks’ background It’s no surprise that cryptocurrencies were on his mind when he got around to powering the U.S. banking system.
There’s a catch. The one appointed by Donald Trump, Steven Mnuchin, runs the treasury and was Otting, appointed by Trump, who named Brooks as his interim successor. Just a few weeks ago Trump nominated Brooks for the job, but that nomination is waiting for Senate approval and time is running out.. Given its ties with President Trump, it’s no surprise that relationships with Democrats on the Congressional committees overseeing these offices can get irritable.
beginning of November Brooks appeared before the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee to report on the OCC’s activities. As mentioned above, it was the Democrats on the old committee who criticized Brooks’ focus on cryptocurrencies as a diversion from the obligations of expanding financial access. And indeed, President Waters (D-CA) wrote a number of criticisms of Otting and Brooks for their handling of the Community Reinvestment Act.
Democratic representatives like Al Green from Houston, who has advocated minority access to finance on the Financial Services Committee for many years, At last month’s hearing, they appeared impressed with Project REACh.
The name of the REACh project doesn’t just seem like a hint to extend a hand to those staying outside the financial system. It also seems like an effort to cross the aisle in the face of the partisan stalemate.