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Joe Smith

t: 919.783.1064 f: 919.783.1075

Joe Smith provides legal advice to clients in the financial services industry on matters ranging from regulatory issues, to FinTech opportunities, to litigation settlement monitoring that impacts day-to-day operations.

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Joe Smith returned to Poyner Spruill in 2012 after serving as the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks for nearly ten years. His practice is concentrated in the banking and financial services area. From 2012 to 2018, Smith served as Monitor of consent judgments among eight major mortgage servicers (including the four largest banking organizations in the United States), the United States Government and 49 states relating to alleged abuses by these firms in their dealings with distressed borrowers. In addition, he has served as monitor of a settlement between a major United States banking organization, the United States Justice Department and several states relating to alleged wrongdoing in the origination and sale of residential mortgage backed securities. Finally, in 2014 and 2015, Smith was monitor under a consent order between a major Midwestern banking organization and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

As North Carolina Commissioner of Banks, Smith led an agency charged with the supervision of banks and thrift institutions, the licensing and regulation of over 500 firms and approximately 5,500 individuals engaged in mortgage banking and brokerage, and the regulation of a variety of consumer finance enterprises. During his tenure as Commissioner of Banks, he also served as Chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and was a founding member of the Board of Managers of State Regulatory Registry, L.L.C., a limited liability company established to implement a nationwide mortgage licensing system.

Before being appointed Commissioner of Banks in 2002, Smith practiced corporate, securities and banking law in New York, Connecticut and North Carolina for twenty-seven years, including nine years as general counsel and secretary of a North Carolina bank holding company and its bank subsidiary and four years as a partner with Poyner Spruill.

Areas of Focus


Represented community bank in fair lending investigation by US Justice Department.

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Working on a legal and regulatory review of a blockchain-based mortgage servicing system that is in development.

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+Financial Services Regulatory

Monitor under National Mortgage Settlement, 2012 – 2018

Monitor of a Residential Mortgage Bond Settlement between JPMorgan, the US Department, and other governmental parties, 2013

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University of Virginia, JD, 1974

Davidson College, BA, 1971


+Notable Accomplishments

North Carolina Commissioner of Banks, 2002-2011

Chairman, Conference of State Bank Supervisors, 2009-2010

Founding Member of the Board of Managers, Regulatory Registry LLC

Special Master, United States Department of Education, 2015-2016

+Professional & Community Activities

Nonresident Fellow, Duke Law School Global Financial Markets Center

Published in Bloomberg Law, The Financial Industry Can Regain Public Trust – Reflections of a Settlement Monitor.

Published on Duke Law Global Financial Markets Center blog, Reflections on Payday Lending

Frequently published on Duke Law’s FinReg blog.

Frequently published in the North Carolina Banking Institute.

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