North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue said Tuesday that she has nominated Ray Grace to take over as the state's banking commissioner.

The position became vacant when Joseph A. Smith, Jr. resigned two weeks ago to monitor the 49-state mortgage settlement with the five largest servicers.

Grace, who is currently the acting commissioner, joined the North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks in 1974 as an examiner trainee. He has served in various roles and was the director of bank applications. In 2009, he became deputy commissioner in charge of supervision of banks and savings banks.

A year later, Grace was appointed as chief deputy commissioner of banks, where he was responsible for supervising depository institutions, mortgage and consumer finance lending and other nondepository entities.

"Ray has helped guide the state's financial system through the toughest economic times that many of us have ever seen," Perdue said in a press release. "With more than 35 years of experience at the Office of the Commissioner of Banks, he comes to this job uniquely qualified and able to seamlessly step into this critical role."

If confirmed by the North Carolina General Assembly, Grace will complete the remainder of Smith's term, which runs through March 31, 2015.

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