The longtime president and CEO of the N.C. Bankers Association, Thad Woodard, is retiring at the end of the year.

“It’s time for a new group of leadership, new ideas,” said Woodard, who is 68. “I have a wonderful wife, and I want to travel and spend some time with her. It is time.”

Woodard has been a fixture on the state banking scene for 36 years.

He joined the Community Bankers Association as president in 1978. When that group merged with the N.C. Bankers Association in 1997, Woodard became president of the combined organization.

Woodard cited the association’s work to win passage of the state’s landmark anti-predatory lending law and the creation of the Camp Challenge financial literacy program two decades ago as among the organization’s accomplishments under his watch. About 8,300 middle-school students from low-income families have gone through the Camp Challenge program.

“I hope that it is something that goes on and on after I leave the premises,” Woodard said.

Woodard said he hopes to work with his successor to effect a smooth transition before he retires on Jan. 1, 2015.

“Thad Woodard is the epitome of a true North Carolina leader,” Ron Black, NCBA’s chairman, said in a news release. “His knowledge and leadership will be deeply missed by the banking industry.”

The NCBA has hired a consultant to help find Woodard’s replacement.

Woodard said of the job: “It’s the most exciting and varied opportunity that anybody could have.

“The industry is changing so dramatically. The next person will have the opportunity to go with that and grow with that.”

Staff writer David Ranii

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