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UPDATED: Franks Named State Bank Commissioner

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Gov. Mike Beebe on Wednesday named Candace Franks, a 27-year veteran of the Arkansas State Bank Department, to be its first woman commissioner.

Franks succeeds Robert H. “Bunny” Adcock, whose term expired on Monday.

Franks, 54, has been the department’s general counsel since 1980 and was named deputy bank commissioner in 1995.

“Candace has a wealth of institutional knowledge and the respect of bankers throughout our state,” Beebe said in a written statement. “She is an even-handed regulator who will continue to advance the Department’s mission of providing convenient, safe and competitive banking for Arkansans.”

Franks told Arkansasbusiness.com that becoming the first woman to head the department is “a pretty thrilling thing to happen to you.” And she said she was fortunate to be appointed at a time when the state’s banks and the department, which is funded by user fees paid by regulated banks, are both “in very good condition.”

Her appointment was greeted with enthusiasm by bankers.

“I think it’s an excellent choice,” said Bob Birch, CEO of Twin City Bank of North Little Rock, who praised Franks’ understanding of “the relationship between bankers and regulators.”

“And she is most capable of managing those relationships to the overall benefit of the state’s banking system,” Birch said.

Ken Hammonds, president of the Arkansas Bankers Association, said the appointment from within the professional staff was unusual in Arkansas, where the bank commissioner has traditionally been a former banker, but follows a recent trend in other states.

“Bankers would always like to have a banker (as commissioner), but the bankers support Candy and say we think she’s good for the job,” Hammond said. The association’s main concern was that the commissioner be someone, whether banker or staffer, “who has been in the trenches” rather than a political appointee without an intimate knowledge of the industry.

Franks, a native of Jonesboro, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Arkansas State University and her law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. After finishing law school, she worked in the state Attorney General’s office for about six months before joining the bank department.

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