Newly elected Republican governors have begun picking their regulators: In the last two weeks, a community banker and a former Midlantic Corp. executive were appointed in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Connecticut bankers are looking at Jack Burke, president and chief executive of Bristol Savings Bank, who was tapped for the top regulatory job Friday by incoming Gov. John Rowland. Both Mr. Burke and Mr. Rowland are from Waterbury.

The Connecticut Banking Department supervises 91 statechartered banks and thrifts, with total assets of $39.6 billion. It has a staff of 164 employees and a budget last year of $11.2 million.

Mr. Burke, former president and chief executive of Centerbank in Waterbury, joined Bristol in September 1993, just before the thrift was acquired by Webster Financial Corp.

Mr. Burke, who must be confirmed by the state General Assembly, did not return telephone calls.

Early last week, Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Ridge selected Richard C. Rishel, former executive vice president and director of Midlantic Corp., to be secretary of banking in the Keystone State.

Mr. Rishel will head a department that oversees 193 banks, 74 savings and loan associations, and 104 credit unions, with a staff of 137 and a budget of $10.7 million for the 1995 fiscal year.

Pennsylvania's department is the third largest in the country in dollars of assets under its regulation, with $62.4 billion.

"He's a very commonsense person," said William H. Placke, president and chief operating officer of Centerbank in Waterbury, Conn., who used to work with Mr. Rishel at Edison, N.J.-based Midlantic. "He has the breadth of view of banking issues and could make a very good commissioner."

Mr. Rishel, who must be confirmed by the state Senate, declined to discuss his views.

He is from Ambler, Pa., and began a 27-year career in banking in 1965. In 1969, he started at Continental Bancorp, a Pennsylvania subsidiary of Midlantic, and eventually became chief executive. Most recently, he directed the Barnett Center for Management of Technology and Financial Services at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

Rumors of impending appointments are also flying in New York, the nation's largest banking state, where bankers are talking about Neil Levin as the likely choice of Republican Gov.-elect George E. Pataki to head the state's banking department.

"That's definitely the name we're hearing around here," said a state legislative source familiar with the candidates. He called Mr. Levin "the front-runner."

Mr. Levin, a vice president of Goldman, Sachs & Co., is chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. He also worked on Capitol Hill for Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y.

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