Women in Technology: Mahalo Banking’s Amanda Terreault
In what is a recurring feature, Finopotamus spotlights innovative women who are positively impacting technology applications in the credit union industry, and beyond.
For this issue, we visited with Mahalo Banking’s Vice President of Implementations Amanda Terreault. The Troy, Mich.-based company provides online and mobile banking solutions for credit unions.
By W.B. King
While in high school, Amanda Terreault started approaching computers in a way she believed would be “fruitful” in her future professional tech endeavors, an instinct that proved accurate.
“I earned an information systems technology degree at Wayne State University and began my career at an IT consultancy firm in 2013,” she told Finopotamus.
The noted firm was the Troy, Mich.-based RIIS LLC, a development company providing solutions to clients in the drone, automotive, energy, entertainment, financial, healthcare, insurance and telecom industries — all efforts geared toward maximizing the benefits of emerging technologies.
“Although I initially assumed I would venture into a career as a developer, I was introduced to alternate paths within the industry that I ended up preferring,” she said.
Explaining that her career was “born and raised” in Agile (an iterative approach to project management and software development methodology), Terreault said among the differences she has seen over the last 10-plus years in the industry is an executive mindset that continually favors getting ahead of new technological offerings.
“When an organization strategically delivers greater value more often, the feedback loop from end-users is shortened and allows you to adjust the end goal to better fit their needs,” she noted.
Trained in the roles of business analyst and scrum master (a facilitator for an Agile development team) by Stacey Wardzinski, RIIS’s former delivery practice manager/Agile coach, Terreault said she remains inspired by her mentor. Wardzinski, she added, currently serves a strategic programs manager at the Santa Clara, Calif.–based cloud computing platform, ServiceNow.
“As I continue my career at Mahalo, I constantly look for less experienced employees who I can help guide in their careers,” said Terreault, who assumed her role as vice president of implementations in 2018. “Being open to conversations and letting them know that nothing is impossible…you just need the desire to be the best that you can be.”
Wardzinski is among talented women in the field of technology who Terreault has encountered that share an “unchanging thread” defined, in part, by two important characteristics: extreme attention to detail and planning abilities.
“It takes an incredible amount of skill and patience to direct entire teams to align to the same goals and standards,” she said. “Throughout my career, I’ve met several women who have performed this role incredibly well.”
A top priority for Terreault is ensuring that Mahalo Banking clients experience successful conversions to its platform. Recently, this approach included helping several credit unions convert to the company’s next-generation digital banking platform, which she added, is the industry’s “first and only” online banking solution designed to provide comprehensive neurodiverse functionality.
“The platform offers several new features to accommodate neurodivergent members and those with cognitive distinctions such as view options for all forms of colorblindness, left- and right-hand modes and font options for dyslexic individuals,” she continued. “As I work with more credit unions that are converting to our new platform, it is rewarding to see how excited they are to provide their members with features that ultimately enable them to improve their digital inclusivity and accessibility.”
Noting the importance of the credit union philosophy of “people helping people,” Terreault said this ethos is also encapsulated in all technology decisions at Mahalo Banking.
“With our customers, a common theme we hear is how member-driven they are and dedicated to finding solutions to benefit their members,” she said. “Every credit union team we work with is focused on understanding how their credit union can best leverage our platform to better serve their members and meet their expectations for the digital banking experience.”
Creating Successful Collaborative Partnerships
In order for the credit union movement to grow stronger, all fintechs need to embrace the aforementioned philosophy, a business methodology that has proliferated in recent years, Terreault shared.
“Many fintechs are rising to the challenge and better understanding the member-centric quality that credit union partners strive for through their tech solutions,” she noted. “Having this shared understanding is critical to creating successful collaborative partnerships.”
Fintechs, she added, are providing credit unions with resources and tools, such as application program interfaces (APIs), necessary to “expand the scale of their capabilities and adopt solutions that provide all members with easier access to banking services.”
Mahalo Banking, she explained, understands how to finesse client relationships because many of its 37 employees, 19 of which are tech-facing, come from the credit union space.
“Our team is comprised of individuals who have been in our credit union customers’ shoes before and understand their driving forces and the frustrations that are too often experienced when working with a vendor,” she continued. “This enables us to have a built-in empathy for our partners, an intuitive understanding of their needs and stronger collaboration.”