Little did Kevin Mietlicki realize that when he took his first job in the credit union industry in 1991, it would lead to such a rewarding career.
“I wasn’t actually sure what a credit union was back then, two years out of college with my only financial industry experience being a savings and checking account at a local bank,” he admits. “I was hired as the accounting manager for Niagara County Federal Credit Union in Lockport, N.Y. As it turns out, that is one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
Mietlicki joined $118 million asset Alternatives Federal Credit Union in Ithaca, N.Y., four years ago as chief financial officer.
“I thought I had learned everything about credit unions, but Alternatives takes it to another level,” he says. “Through its commitment to being a community development credit union, and their willingness to let the finance guy take some out-of-the-box training, I have been able to work with fantastic organizations like Opportunity Finance Network, Inclusiv, Appalachian Community Capital, and Empire State Development.”
Mietlicki is involved in all aspects of the credit union. He mentors new or struggling managers and “has played a vital role in our strategic planning and pushing us to do more in the community and take on more risk to serve marginalized members of our community,” says Reiley Schoen, Alternatives’ chief operating officer.
“Kevin also formed our business development team that brought together business lending, business account services, and business educational services to share information and create new ideas,” Schoen says.
He is especially proud of two new loan products—the TransAction loan, serving the LGBTQ+ community, and ReEntry loan, which helps previously incarcerated people rejoin their communities. During the pandemic, Mietlicki helped raise more than $3.5 million in emergency funds for local small businesses.
“Every day I come to work my goal is to help create a strong credit union that meets the needs of our members,” he says. “Some days it is by making the financial decision; other days it is assisting managers with solutions. Sometimes it is just by being a good co-worker and listening to someone share their story. I am honored to work with such devoted people whose mission is to build wealth and create economic opportunity for underserved people and communities.”