Reading Cooperative Bank

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Julieann M. Thurlow headshot
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Location: Reading, MA
Founded: 1886
Industry: Financial services

Reading Cooperative Bank

Julieann M. Thurlow
President and CEO

OLD DOGS, NEW TRICKS

When Reading Cooperative Bank was founded as a cooperative in 1886, its mission was to provide mortgages to workingmen and women so they could buy homes. Since then, Reading Cooperative Bank has doubled in size, but it maintains a strong commitment to its cooperative model. “In a cooperative, everyone gets a say, and people are always more important than profits,” says president and CEO Julieann M. Thurlow. “In 2014, we modified our bylaws to preserve the bank’s mutual organizational structure for future generations. While many of our peer banks’ management teams have cashed out, we have doubled down.”   

Quick Tip “Corporations … should create development plans for key leaders … rather than avoiding talent investment for fear they are aiding their competition.”

Despite its traditional model, Reading Cooperative isn’t stuck in the past. “We have led the industry in our branch redesign concepts, recognizing that the consumers’ relationship with their bank is changing,” says Thurlow. To break down internal silos, the bank has moved from its traditional headquarters into a new office space that features open desks and collaborative space. Reading Cooperative has also been an early adopter of mobile banking, mobile check deposit, chip cards and Apple Pay. Changes like these have provided career-growth opportunities for Reading Cooperative’s staff, says Thurlow, giving tellers the chance to enhance their financial skills.