Commissioner of Banks, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Massachusetts is arguably one of the nation’s most prolific hubs for technology and innovation with the financial services sector leading the charge in the development and deployment of technologies that not only drive our economy, but change how we manage our money.
We asked David Cotney from the Commonwealth’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation to offer his view on trends in financial technology that benefit consumers, the appeal of doing business in Boston, and how the region is building a pipeline of talent for the financial services sector.
What trends are you seeing in the financial services sector in Massachusetts? i.e. More headquarters? More Global business partnerships?
Massachusetts is home to over 200 strong state chartered banks and credit unions as well as national institutions. We have seen some consolidation in the number of institutions, but yet a steady increase in total assets. Advances in technology have had a significant impact on the financial services industry and the services available to its customers. Consumers can now manage their bank accounts, pay bills and even deposit checks from nearly anywhere using their smartphones and tablets.
However, the banking industry recognizes the need for branches, often with smaller locations that have more technology. In the past year, we have seen the first Massachusetts bank, Sage Bank, offer an interactive teller machine with live video assistance 24 hours per day. Mobile transactions, prepaid cards and other payment options are also evolving very rapidly. We are seeing more of these services available via less traditional, non-depository companies. In my role as the Chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ Emerging Payments Task Force, I am working with other state regulators to understand how these new options may be regulated and who should have oversight.
What are the advantages/benefits of operating out of Boston/MA? i.e. Why would a company or entrepreneur base their business here?
Massachusetts has been among America’s premier banking hubs since the chartering of The Bank of Massachusetts in 1784, the forerunner of the former First National Bank of Boston. The Commonwealth has solid banks and credit unions whose mission is to meet its community’s deposit and credit needs. Fortunately, the Massachusetts economy was not as hard hit as some other areas of the country and was able to rebound more quickly from the recession. In Massachusetts, the concentration of healthcare, high tech, and biotech companies as well as educational institutions provides a healthy environment for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. We have seen many banks and credit unions continue to offer a wide range of products to meet consumer and small business needs, and thrive in the process.
How does the regional financial services ecosystem affect your talent pipeline? i.e. Diverse finance portfolio coupled with major universities?
We believe that Boston, and its surrounding communities, continues to be a desirable place to live and work for those who have been here for generations or who have relocated because of its many opportunities. The proximity to some of the best colleges and universities in the world has given the financial services industry and the Division of Banks the ability to recruit well-educated and talented staff, including recent graduates and those with financial services industry experience. While Boston is among the oldest cities in the country, the innovative ideas and products that are initiated by its talented workforce never fail to amaze me.