N.C. Commissioner of Banks Joseph Smith is stepping down from his post to focus on a new role for him announced last week: monitor of the $25 billion settlement between states, federal agencies and the country's largest mortgage servicers.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
In that role, Smith, 62, will oversee banks to make sure they are complying with the terms of the agreement, and levy penalties if benchmarks are missed.
Smith's resignation is effective Thursday, the office of the N.C. Commissioner of Banks announced. Smith has been banking commissioner since 2002, and was appointed to another term last year. During his tenure, Smith's office has seen state-chartered banks grow to more than $250 billion in assets and issued enforcement actions that resulted in $30 million in restitution to consumers in the last four years.
“For a decade, Joe has served North Carolina as a staunch defender of consumer rights and a firm but fair regulator of banks and financial institutions,” Gov. Bev Perdue said in a statement. “He played a critical role in eliminating the abuses of payday lending, strengthening antipredatory lending and fighting abuses in mortgage lending.”
The state banking commissioner regulates state-chartered banks, mortgage lenders and other financial institutions.
Smith's role as monitor will last three years. He intends to remain in Raleigh, the statement says.
“I have enjoyed my tenure as commissioner of banks and have done my best to promote the strength and fairness of North Carolina’s financial markets,” Smith said in a statement. “I hope my efforts as monitor will contribute to the recovery of the mortgage market and the health of our economy.”
Chief Deputy Commissioner of Banks Ray Grace will serve as acting commissioner until a permanent replacement is named.
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