After 30 years in banking, Alan R. Morse Jr. is crossing over the other side as Massachusetts' new banking commissioner.

"Banking has always been my first choice," said Mr. Morse, 54, who assumes the state post Aug. 17. "But I also had this interest for some time to work in public service."

"This will be the biggest change I have faced in my career," said Mr. Morse, noting that Massachusetts and its banks are just emerging from a deep and wrenching recession.

Succeeding Michael Hanson as state banking regulator, Mr. Morse is leaving behind a senior vice presidency at UST Corp., Boston, and the chairmanship of the $2.3 billion-asset company's lead bank, United States Trust Co. Until June, he was chairman of the Massachusetts Bankers Association.

Gov. William F. Weld, who appointed Mr. Morse, said, "He brings a wealth of experience and leadership in the banking industry and will serve an office central to restoring economic confidence to the Commonwealth."

Mr. Morse said it is soon to give a firm outline of his objectives, but he said the banking industry's continued improvement is essential. "I hope to stimulate several changes with the state legislature to have a productive economy and make it more efficient," he said in an interview.

"Gov. Weld has honored me and my company by asking me to become banking commissioner," said Mr. Morse. "I look forward to making whatever contribution I can to the health of our industry and its ability to support the economy."

Career Started at Chase

Mr. Morse entered banking in 1962 as a senior credit analyst at Chase Manhattan Bank. He left a credit supervisor job at the New York bank in 1965 to join United States Trust.

He has a bachelor's degree in American history from Harvard College and a master's, in business administration from the Harvard Business School. Mr. Morse and his wife have two grown children. In his leisure time, he likes sailing, tennis, and squash.

His community activities include serving as a director of the Harvard Community Health Plan, a trustee and treasurer of the A.C. Ratshesky Foundation, and an executive board member of the American Jewish Committee.

Mr. Morse is a former member of the government relations committee and leadership conference of the American Bankers Association.

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