The Filene Research Institute has named Bill Maurer, dean of the School of Social Sciences, professor of anthropology and law, and director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI) at UC Irvine, as the lead research fellow of Filene’s Center for Emerging Technology.
“Bill Maurer is the leading anthropologist of money and finance working today,” said Taylor C. Nelms, managing director of research for Filene. “His longstanding research on alternative and community economies and new technologies of money uniquely position him to contribute cutting-edge insights on consumer finance. His enthusiasm for the world’s weird and wonderful cultures of money is infectious, and I can’t wait for the credit union movement to get to know him better.”
The Centers of Excellence form the pillars of Filene’s research agenda, which seeks to advance consumer financial wellness by transforming cooperative finance and moving credit unions forward. Five premier scholars from a variety of disciplines—consumer insights, business strategy, operational efficiency, talent management and technology—dive deep into the central challenges facing financial institutions and especially credit unions today and tomorrow. The research produced by Filene’s fellows builds on the deep archive of past learning and offers a foundation for future incubation, innovation, and ultimately impactful action. Filene members will have a chance to engage with Maurer at its annual signature event, big.bright.minds, on December 6-7 in San Diego, CA.
As an anthropologist, Maurer is interested in the broad range of technologies people have used throughout history and across cultures to determine value and conduct transactions. His recent research looks at how professional communities conceptualize and build financial technology, or “fintech,” and how consumers utilize it.
"Almost every day, I hear about a new technology applied to people's relationships with their money and those who help protect and grow it—cryptocurrencies, voice-enabled identity verification, machine learning to score risk using data sources unthinkable just a couple of years ago,” Maurer said. “Partnering with Filene gives me the opportunity to advance the scholarly, policy, and practitioner discussion of these developments, firmly focused on the credit union movement's proud accomplishments in cooperative finance and financial justice. It is an honor to be named a Filene fellow."
After graduating from Vassar College, Maurer received his MA and Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University. In addition to his professorial roles at UC Irvine, he is dean of the School of Social Sciences. As the IMTFI director, he coordinates research in over 40 countries on how new payment technologies impact people’s wellbeing. He was appointed to the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
- Katie Gaynor, Filene Research Institute