By the Division of Banks

The Policy Group is the senior policy making committee of the Division of Banks. Chaired by the Commissioner, the Policy Group meets regularly, is comprised of the Division's senior management, and is charged with overseeing all regulatory matters, directing the Division's day to day operations, and conducting strategic planning for the Division. Profiles of the members of the Policy Group are provided below.


David J. Cotney has served as the Commissioner of Banks since November 2010.  He oversees the supervision of over 200 banks and credit unions with total combined assets in excess of $325 billion. His office is also responsible for the licensing and supervision of over 6,500 non-depository licensees including mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, mortgage loan originators, consumer finance companies, money services businesses, debt collectors, and loan servicers.

Mr. Cotney is an active contributor to consumer protection efforts both in Massachusetts and nationally.  He serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Financial Literacy Trust Fund (FLTF). In 2013, Mr. Cotney was elected as vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS).  CSBS is a national organization which advocates for and is dedicated to advancing the state banking system.  Mr. Cotney previously served as Chairman and a member of the Board of Managers of the State Regulatory Registry (SRR).  SRR, a subsidiary of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), developed and maintains the Nationwide Multi-state Licensing System (NMLS), the system of licensing and supervising mortgage companies and mortgage loan originators in all 50 states.  Additionally, in 2013, he was elected chairman of the State Liaison Committee (SLC) of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC).  The FFIEC was created by Congress to promote uniform examination standards and principles by state and federal financial institution regulators.

Previously, Mr. Cotney served as the Division’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) where he oversaw the Division's Administration & Policy Section which included the daily administration of a staff of 160 employees, an annual budget appropriation of over $17 million, revenue collection, information technology, financial and non financial internal controls, and all legal and legislative matters.  Mr. Cotney began his professional career as an entry-level Bank Examiner with the Division of Banks in 1990.  Over more than 20 years, Mr. Cotney rose through the ranks of management, serving in various operating units of the Division.

Mr. Cotney holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University, a Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Public and Nonprofit Management from Boston University, and a Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Cynthia Begin was appointed in 2011 to serve as the Division's Chief Risk Officer with oversight of the Division's examination and licensing programs, including the Depository Institution Supervision and Outreach, Non-Depository Institution Supervision, and Enforcement and Investigation Sections. Ms. Begin has 17 years experience in financial services regulation working for the Division of Banks. Ms. Begin most recently held the position of Senior Deputy Commissioner for the Division's Non-Depository Institution Supervision Section which includes oversight responsibilities for the examination and licensing of over 5,000 licensed financial service providers including mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, mortgage loan originators, money service businesses, finance companies, and debt collectors. Ms. Begin previously served as the Division's Assistant General Counsel in the Division's Legal Unit. Prior to joining the Division, she also worked as Vice President and Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts Share Insurance Corporation.

Ms. Begin serves as a Board member and President of the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR). Ms. Begin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Nichols College and a Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School.


Sandra Clarke was appointed in 2011 as the Division's Chief Operating Officer with oversight responsibility for the Division's operations, which includes budget and accounting, human resources, information technology, and external relations. In addition, Ms. Clarke oversees the Division's Legal Affairs & Bank Structure Section which is responsible for all corporate transactions. Ms. Clarke has over 20 years experience in public and private sector senior managerial positions. Most recently, she held the position of Chief of Staff for the Commonwealth's Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) and had key oversight responsibilities for all operational facets.

Prior to joining state government, Ms. Clarke held several management positions at financial institutions where her responsibilities included oversight of retail lending operations. She also has experience in the field of non-profit community development. Ms. Clarke holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College.


Mr. Bienvenu was appointed in 2006 to serve as Senior Deputy Commissioner, where he serves on the Division of Bank's Policy Group and is responsible for all areas of risk management supervision for state-chartered banks and credit unions throughout the Commonwealth. Previously, Mr. Bienvenu served as Deputy Commissioner, where he was primarily responsible for overseeing the examination and supervision of Massachusetts banks and credit unions. Mr. Bienvenu has also served the Division as Chief Director for the Bank Supervision Unit, where he oversaw the Large and Complex Institutions Section and as Field Office Supervisor. Mr. Bienvenu joined the Division in 1990 as an Assistant Bank Examiner. Prior to joining the Division, he spent five years working in various positions in the banking industry.

Mr. Bienvenu holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Fitchburg State College. In addition, he completed a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in 1995.


Paul A. Gibson was appointed to serve as Senior Deputy Commissioner for the Non-Depository Institution Supervision Section in 2012 and in this capacity oversees the licensing and financial safety and soundness and consumer compliance examinations of almost 6,000 non-depository licensees with over 4,000 branches and agents.  Mr. Gibson began his career with the Division in 1996 as an Assistant Bank Examiner and has held multiple bank examiner and management positions throughout his tenure.  He most recently served as Deputy Commissioner of the Depository Institution Supervision Section where he was responsible for overseeing the financial safety and soundness examinations and supervision of over 200 state-chartered banks and credit unions with total combined assets in excess of $320 billion.

Mr. Gibson graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Finance from Suffolk University.


Mr. Pope was appointed in 2008 as Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement and Investigation, overseeing the Division's specialized investigations of fraudulent and illegal activities of regulated entities. In addition, he is responsible for the oversight of administration and enforcement proceedings related to these investigations, and supervises the Division's Consumer Assistance Unit. Mr. Pope also serves as the Division's liaison to various federal and state law enforcement agencies regarding criminal referral matters. Mr. Pope joined Division in 1999 as an Assistant Bank Examiner. He later served as Assistant Chief Director, and subsequently as Chief Director of Examinations for Community Financial Institutions, overseeing the safety and soundness examinations of state-chartered credit unions.

Prior to his employment with the Division, Mr. Pope began his career in investment portfolio management at a state-charted bank. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Concentration in History from Bridgewater State College.


Merrily Gerrish was appointed in 2013 as the Division’s Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel with oversight responsibility for the Legal Unit. Ms. Gerrish is responsible for all corporate transactions as well as reviewing pending legislation and drafting legislative changes. Ms. Gerrish also oversees the drafting of legal opinions and amendments to regulations. Ms. Gerrish has over 20 years of legal experience in the private as well as public sector. Most recently, Ms. Gerrish was employed by Bank of America as Associate General Counsel where she managed a team of attorneys and paralegals in multiple locations and was responsible for subsidiary corporate governance. In her years with the bank’s predecessors, Fleet Bank and BankBoston, Ms. Gerrish worked in both consumer and corporate banking law. Ms. Gerrish began her legal career at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency where she was responsible for reviewing and interpreting banking regulations for national banks and agency personnel.

Ms. Gerrish holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Connecticut College, an MBA from Boston University and a Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School.