Cross River Hires Robinhood’s Crypto CCO

Former Robinhood executive Benjamin Melnicki is joining Cross River Bank, a New Jersey community bank for FinTechs, as Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) of its cryptocurrency team, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. June 17.

Robinhood’s former CCO for crypto, Melnicki left in December and joined Cross River last month to oversee cryptocurrency compliance.

A Cross River Bank spokeswoman confirmed that Melnicki had been named chief operating officer and declined further comment. A Robinhood spokeswoman declined to comment, according to the report.

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Robinhood recruited Melnicki last year from digital asset manager Grayscale Investments, where he was hired as chief compliance officer in early 2021 by tech firm Ripple Labs. Melnicki was Regulatory Advisor and Head of Regulatory Affairs for the Americas at Ripple and Global Regulatory Advisor at Blockchain. He has also held various regulatory or compliance positions at Bank of America Corp., Cantor Fitzgerald and Noble Bank International of Puerto Rico.

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Founded in 2008, Cross River is headquartered in Fort Lee, New Jersey, with branches in Teaneck, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, New York. The bank was founded by CEO and chairman Gilles Gade and has more than 800 employees and more than 80 partnerships, according to its website.

Although the bank offers traditional financial services, it makes extensive use of its position as a chartered bank and a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to help FinTech companies offer services such as money transfer on the rails of the banking system, the WSJ reported. Many FinTech services would be difficult to offer under current US rules, as most are non-bank entities.

Related: Revolut partners with Cross River Bank to offer financial services in the United States

Melnicki was replaced in his compliance role on Robinhood’s crypto team by James Nguyen, the company’s former president and general counsel for the crypto division.

Robinhood attorney Norman Ashkenas, hired in September 2020 to serve as chief compliance officer for its brokerage business, will assume the role of senior compliance officer for all Robinhood-related entities in January, Bloomberg reported. Law earlier this week.



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