After Michael Maestri graduated from high school, he started taking accounting classes at Bentley University. But to cover his tuition, he needed to work part-time, so he applied for a teller’s job at Cambridge Saving Bank. Little did he know at the time that the decision would portend his future.
While at Cambridge Savings Bank, Maestri finished his studies, after switching his major to management, as he simultaneously gained experience in all operations from teller and customer service management to mortgage underwriting and consumer lending.
When it was time to move on, Metro Credit Union beckoned and Maestri accepted the invitation. Thirteen years later, he is still there and has made significant contributions to the institution. His nominator, Maria Justiniano, vice president of consumer lending, cites his passion and service to the organization and its members as just two of his many outstanding qualities. “Mike’s commitment for helping others goes beyond his day-to-day role at Metro. He is a true role model for the organization and an inspiration for all,” she said.
Maestri has worked diligently to assemble a strong team, a task he admits can be daunting at times. “At a credit union, you are expected to take on many roles, especially in times of low staffing. You need to maintain service levels,” he said. “Finding the right person for the right job is challenging.” Obviously, he has mastered the job, according to his nominator. “Mike encourages his team to look at each borrower as an individual and find ways to make loans,” said Justiniano. Maestri notes that team members supports each other and has done remarkable work. “I’d like to think I’ve had a role in team building,” he said.
Maestri’s workday includes mentoring at Everybody Wins, a school reading program, during his lunch hour. He also volunteers at CONNECT Financial Opportunity Center where he teaches budgets, taxes, credit reports and other financial matters to low-income individuals.
While he immerses himself in his work, Maestri also takes his role as dad to two young girls seriously. By example, he is teaching his children the value and importance of volunteering for both the receiver and the giver. He and his daughters are deeply involved in Catching Joy, an organization that encourages children to use their skills and talents to make a positive change in the world. “We do a variety of things. We make cards for sick children and the elderly around holiday time. We bring kids together to do crafts and encourage them to donate items,” Maestri said.
Additionally, Maestri has collected, prepared and delivered food to various food pantries and homeless shelters, including Community Cooks, Loaves and Fishes, Greater Boston Food Bank, Christmas in the City and the Lowell Transitional Living Center. He also encourages employees at Metro to participate in various charitable efforts with him. Last Christmas he coordinated Operation Sock Drop for homeless individuals in need of dry socks, an initiative for which he was named Metro Hero. He also participates in fundraising for a number of organizations, including Birthday Wishes, an organization that holds birthday parties for homeless children, Autism Speaks and Mass Military Heroes Fund.
Although he didn’t expect to remain in banking, Maestri’s commitment, financial expertise and leadership abilities have helped move him up the fiscal ladder. Thrilled with the Credit Union Heroes award, he insists on sharing the acclaim with his staff. “I’m proud of the team I have. We’ve done some great work,” he said.