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By EMERY P. DALESIO
AP Business Writer

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s long-time banking commissioner is the choice of America’s big banks and attorneys general to make sure a $25 billion settlement over widespread mortgage abuses is carried out.

The US Justice Department announced Thursday that 62-year-old Joseph Smith Jr. will oversee the deal that aims to compensate borrowers who suffered from flawed and faked foreclosure practices.

President Barack Obama nominated Smith in 2010 to head the federal agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but he was blocked by Senate Republicans.

Smith takes his job with a reputation of someone able to balance the industry’s health with consumer interests. Bankers and consumer advocates say he’s earned their respect over a decade as the top regulator of North Carolina’s state-chartered banks, thousands of mortgage brokers and consumer finance companies.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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