Fannie executive departs to join digital currency exchange

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WASHINGTON — Fannie Mae’s general counsel is leaving the mortgage giant this week to head the legal team at the digital currency exchange Coinbase, Fannie announced Wednesday.

Brian Brooks, an executive vice president at Fannie, joined the government-sponsored enterprise in 2014 after leaving his position as chief legal officer at OneWest Bank.

“We are extremely grateful for Brian’s four years of strong leadership, insightful counsel and critical contributions to Fannie Mae’s transformation, and we wish he were staying,” Fannie CEO Timothy J. Mayopoulos said in a press release. “This is a loss for Fannie Mae, but also a great opportunity for Brian to pursue his longstanding interest in financial technologies and the FinTech community.”

Stephen McElhennon will serve as the interim leader of Fannie’s legal functions while the company conducts a search for Brooks’ permanent successor. McElhennon currently serves as a vice president and deputy general counsel at Fannie.

“I am proud and appreciative to have played a role in the great progress, innovation, and transformation at Fannie Mae during the last four years,” said Brooks. “I look forward to watching Fannie Mae continue its important work delivering innovative solutions for the housing finance system, its customers and the homeowners and renters they serve.”

In a blog post, Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, said he was “thrilled” to welcome Brooks to the company.

“His arrival is part of our effort to expand our legal, compliance and government affairs capabilities as we head into this next chapter for the company and the cryptocurrency industry as a whole,” Armstrong wrote.

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Career moves Digital currencies Bitcoin GSEs Fannie Mae Coinbase