Aubrey Patterson was the CEO of BancorpSouth (BXS) for 21 years and has been its ex-CEO for a little more than three months.

So far, it looks like the banking veteran is handling retirement just fine. Patterson, who remains the $13.4 billion-asset company's chairman, says he and new CEO Dan Rollins have developed a rapport since he handed over the reins in November.

"I have said jokingly that Dan is helping me learn how not to be CEO and I'm helping him learn to be CEO," Patterson said in an interview while in Greensboro, N.C., to speak at a conference hosted by the North Carolina Bankers Association.

"As long as we have goodwill and the best interests of the company at heart, then we're going to help each other," he added. "We're prepared to get cranked up to a higher level of performance, and Dan's just the guy to do it."

Patterson also seemed relieved to be out from under the daily rigors of running a company with more than $10 billion in assets. At that threshold, banks are subject to stress tests, examinations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and caps on interchange fees, among other things.

Patterson added demands for more complex modeling to the list of irritants that banks with $10 billion to $50 billion in assets face. "I don't recommend" getting that big, Patterson told attendees as part of a speech titled, "Been There, Done That, Now It's Up to You Guys."

"It is extremely frustrating to me to see the proliferation of increasingly complex models our company has to generate," Patterson added. "After that, the regulators require us to engage independent consultants to validate models that the first set of consultants assisted us in developing. It is overkill."

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