BankAtlantic Bancorp announced Wednesday that it has hired Doug Freeman, the former chairman and chief executive officer of NetBank Inc. in Alpharetta, Ga., to be its chief corporate banking executive.

The $6.5 billion-asset Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company said Mr. Freeman will oversee several lines of business, including business banking, commercial lending, treasury management, and commercial real estate lending.

Mr. Freeman left NetBank last October, seven months before it agreed to sell its core line of business to EverBank Financial Corp. in Jacksonville, Fla. NetBank was under pressure to sell from regulators, who were concerned about the adequacy of its capital. Before joining NetBank, Mr. Freeman held executive posts at several banking companies, including the former Barnett Banks Inc. in Jacksonville and Wells Fargo & Co.

"Doug's banking expertise, especially in the Florida market, will be a valuable asset as we continue to grow our franchise throughout the state," Jarett Levan, BankAtlantic's president and chief executive officer, said in a press release Wednesday.

The company's shares surged 6.3% Wednesday in heavy trading.

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