Michael Mahiya

A Technology Believer

'People want to be mobile. For them and for us, it's all about service and innovation.'

September 30, 2014


MICHAEL MAHIYA’S CAREER AT XCEL Federal Credit Union was barely a year old when terrorists struck the World Trade Center on 9/11, wiping out one of the credit union’s branches there and closing another branch nearby.

From that tragedy and its unbelievable human toll emerged a laser focus on how technology could help a credit union, immediately and for the long run.

“In less than a week, we had to find ways to serve our members,” says Mahiya, who today is XCEL Federal’s vice president and chief information officer. “We put into place a shared service network enabling members to go to other financial institutions, and we joined the CO-OP ATM network, allowing members to access their money at other financial institutions’ ATMs.”

Today, XCEL Federal’s slogan is “Uniting Service and Technology,” and Mahiya continues to identify creative ways to leverage technology to benefit members.

“We’re light-years ahead of most credit unions, even those triple our size, in the area of technology,” says Tom Quigley, the credit union’s marketing director.

Mahiya is a proponent of home banking and the credit union’s popular mobile application, which has experienced considerable growth in downloads. The credit union is implementing mobile bill payment and a mobile wallet solution.

“My job is to find ways to make the banking experience as easy as possible for our members,” Mahiya says. “XCEL Federal does some unconventional things technologically. We’re willing to take a chance.”

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At Mahiya’s urging, the credit union is exploring several such options:

  • Simplifying its online account opening process. The new system would allow members to submit a photo of their driver’s license with the necessary paperwork, which can be signed via tablet or mobile phone.
  • Sending push notifications triggered by global positioning systems to promote its products. For example, if members spend 15 minutes at a car dealership, they would receive a text message about XCEL Federal’s special rate on auto loans.
  • Teaming with a brokerage firm to allow members to send gifts of stock, using the service as part of a rewards program.
  • Implementing a new voice-response system, easing the call center’s load and providing better service. A member can call and say, “I’m driving in Philadelphia on Broad Street. Can you tell me where the closest CO-OP ATM is and text the location to me?”

Mahiya adds: “People want to be mobile. For them and for us, it’s all about service and innovation.”