Robert Braswell wasted no time finding a second act after retiring as Georgia's banking commissioner.
Braswell, who retired on June 1, has already agreed to become the president and chief executive of the Community Bankers Association of Georgia. He is set to join the trade group next week.
Stephen Pleger, the department's senior deputy commissioner, will serve as interim commissioner until Gov. Nathan Deal appoints a permanent replacement. A timeline for hiring a permanent commissioner has not been released, Pleger said.
"Although there have been some challenging times in the financial sector along the way I have thoroughly enjoyed my career with the department," Braswell wrote in a letter to the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. "I have had the great fortune to work side by side with some terrific people along the way."
Braswell, who was unavailable for further comment, had worked for the state of Georgia for 30 years and had qualified for full state retirement benefits, said Carolyn Brown, the Community Bankers Association's outgoing president.
Braswell, who became Georgia's top banking regulator in 2005, presided over the state with the most bank failures during the financial crisis. Since August 2008, 87 Georgia banks have failed, as many institutions succumbed to heavy exposure to residential development. As part of its response to the rash of failures, Braswell and his team developed a system for monitoring trends among Georgia's banks, and provided additional training for bankers in risk mitigation and other areas.
In a January 2012 interview, Braswell was asked if his department could have done something differently to prevent the high number of failures. "It was not a something the banking department or the federal regulators did or didn't do," he said, but instead was an aftershock following the collapse of the subprime market.