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Banking and financial services technology leaders appointed as innovative collaborative celebrates third anniversary


Boston, MA – June 4, 2024 – Today, Mass Fintech Hub, a public-private partnership dedicated to making the state a global leader in fintech, announced the appointment of Julie Thurlow, President & CEO of Reading Cooperative Bank, and Sears Merritt, Head of Enterprise Technology & Experience at MassMutual, as Co-Chairs. These appointments were announced as the Mass Fintech Hub commemorates its third anniversary.

Thurlow and Merritt are succeeding previous Co-Chairs Mike Fanning, former Head of MassMutual U.S., and Mike Kennealy, former Housing and Economic Development Secretary of Massachusetts. As Co-Chairs, they will be responsible for leading Mass Fintech Hub’s Advisory Board, guiding the collaborative’s strategic vision and helping strengthen the state’s fintech ecosystem with programming that builds community, attracts investment, develops talent and seeds collaboration.

“At Mass Fintech Hub, we have been dedicated to building a robust fintech ecosystem that brings together both the public and private sectors,” said Carolyn Kirk, CEO, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech) and Mass Fintech Hub Advisory Board member. “We are confident that Julie and Sears, two visionary leaders, will help the Hub and the Massachusetts fintech sector reach new heights, deliver more transformative fintech products and build on the Hub’s remarkable foundation.”

At Reading Cooperative Bank, Thurlow is responsible for the institution’s strategic direction and management. She is the Chair of the Board for the American Bankers Association, a founding member of Alloy Labs and Director of Atlantic Community Bankers Bank (ACBB). She is also a Board and Executive Committee member of the Lawrence Partnership, the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation and the Greater Lawrence Community Health Center.

“I could not be more thrilled to embark on this new journey with Sears, as we help Mass Fintech Hub continue to bring our community together and help launch the next generation of fintech,” said Thurlow. “We look forward to stepping up to lead, and continue Mike and Mike’s work in bringing the collaborative’s mission and strategic vision to life.”

Merritt is a member of MassMutual’s Executive Leadership Team, and is responsible for driving technology-based strategies that further accelerate MassMutual’s digital transformation, with oversight of the company’s technology and data, digital experience, platform transformation and cybersecurity areas. He is a member of Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey’s Strategic Artificial Intelligence Task Force. He also serves on the Board of Managers for Barings and is an advisor to Antara Health and eShare. Additionally, Merritt has served as a member of the Innovation Committee for the American Council of Life Insurers.

“I am honored and humbled to serve as one of Mass Fintech Hub’s Co-Chairs, and look forward to helping foster community and innovation in financial services in Massachusetts, alongside Julie,” said Merritt. “We are grateful for our predecessors’ leadership over these last three years and are excited to build on their legacy, to continue working to make the Bay State the foremost destination for fintech.”

In December 2023, Mass Fintech Hub released a report, commissioned by MassTech and authored by KPMG LLP, that provided the first progress assessment of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ fintech ecosystem in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic. The assessment found that between January 2020 and December 2022, employment in fintech-related industries in Massachusetts rose overall, “led by gains in credit unions, colleges/universities, software publishers and investment banking and securities intermediation,” rising from 197,000 in 2020 to 231,000 in 2022. This and other findings established that Massachusetts has been able to successfully establish a dynamic and thriving innovation hub that is well-positioned to compete with other financial centers around the world. Additionally, the report shared specific guidance on ways to further develop and improve the state’s fintech ecosystem, in order to scale and become the leading global fintech hub.

With events, workshops, courses, and much more, Mass Fintech Hub has been bringing together entrepreneurs, financial services leaders, investors, academics, public sector leaders and students to create a new wave of progress and revolutionize the Massachusetts fintech community. The collaborative has jumpstarted thousands of conversations around innovation, fostering support, collaboration and community and helping the next generation of fintech leaders succeed. Since its official launch in June 2021, Mass Fintech Hub has hosted programming for more than 2,000 participants and has welcomed more than 50 member organizations - where all are empowered to harness the community, which is critical in an ever-changing economic environment. 

To learn more about Boston Fintech Week, a Mass Fintech Hub event taking place September 16-20, please visit here.


About the Mass Fintech Hub


The Mass Fintech Hub is a public-private partnership focused on cultivating a thriving financial ecosystem in the Bay State through programs that build community, attract investment, develop talent and seed collaboration. Composed of a close-knit and diverse network of tech founders, financial services leaders, investors, academics and public sector leaders, the Mass Fintech Hub is dedicated to ensuring that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is providing an unparalleled habitat for fintech innovation of all stages. For more information, please visit https://massfintechhub.com/about/, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on LinkedIn and X.


Contact Information:

Caliber Corporate Advisers