Get to know the people behind the bank in our new series, FidFed Spotlight. We’re highlighting Michael Piscioneri, Vice President of Lending at Fidelity Federal Savings and Loan.
Q: What is your role like at the bank? What do you do every day?
A: I have learned that over my time here, we wear many hats. I do loans, mortgages, commercial loans and investment properties. I also do auto loans and certain portions of collecting.
I do a lot of the lending and reporting to the board, which meets every third Wednesday. I make sure they’re up to date on the pipeline, closed loans and mortgages.
Q: How long have you been at Fidelity Federal, and in which roles?
A: I’ve been here since June 2022. I started at a small credit union early in my career and worked at the reception desk, covering for others as they headed home. While there, I learned and understood what being a teller or universal banker meant.
I had a mortgage background and grew into a mortgage loan originator role. I was in the mortgage department for 15 years, advancing to the mortgage lending manager with a team that started with three people and ended with seven.
I learned that you could grow by working hard and doing the right things within your position.
Q: What makes Fidelity Federal different from other (larger) banks?
A: I like the smaller setting and getting to know each customer. The customers eventually know you by name and stop in your office. We look at them as a person. Larger institutions look at you as a number – you’re not really talking to people that know you and understand you as a person.
I like the personalized feel. We also do the same things that the big banks do. We can educate customers — we have two branches, and whatever you need, we have it. We are really good at that part.
My primary advice for lending customers is don’t be afraid of interest rates. Does this payment fit into my budget? Many times you might be qualified for more than you’re comfortable paying. I want to review your budget, understand what you’re looking for, and separate wants vs. needs. You’re not just owning a home but living as well. Unfortunately, a lot of people get house-poor.
To help prevent this, we offer a specific program for first-time homebuyers. It’s a product offering a low down payment with no PMI.
Q: What do you like best about your job?
A: There’s always something new throughout my years in doing mortgages. It keeps you on your toes. You don’t just become a cog in the machine.
With Fidelity, I’m learning about the commercial loan side and investment side — I’m always learning something new and improving. I love that. It’s not the same thing over and over.
It’s always great to get to know somebody. I like to talk to somebody about their life and what they’re going through. You don’t know in that conversation, just treating them as a person, what they’re going through. You want to treat them with kindness and understanding.
Q: Why do you believe Fidelity Federal is an important part of the Delaware community?
A: Fidelity Federal provides financial education programs for the area. We’re currently working in schools, including Buckeye Valley and the Delaware Career Center, sharing our knowledge about financial life situations.
Other financial education topics we offer include budgeting, debt, credit scores and loans. We plan to offer more as this program grows and develops. We also participate in Main Street Delaware First Fridays and belong to the Delaware Area Chamber.
We’re not only looking to support the community but educate them. I absolutely love that part too. There are things I wish I had known when I was young that I know now, so we try to incorporate financial education for our kids. Shining a small sliver of light into what their parents go through is beneficial. The kids have been absolutely fantastic in every school I’ve been to.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I have three kids — ages 13, six and four — so a lot of what we do revolves around them. From now until the end of June, it’s all about baseball. We also enjoy competition dance for my six-year-old, including ballet and jazz.
Outside of that, I just relax. I like to spend time with friends. I have developed great relationships with people in Delaware. I always appreciate it when someone recommends a restaurant; there are also a lot of great local breweries here.
I coached baseball for a long time too. I’m originally from Macedonia, Ohio.
Q: Do you have any specific stories of a memory or experience you have enjoyed while working at Fidelity Federal?
A: I enjoyed the group of people that I worked with before coming here. When you spend 15 years in one place, it’s very emotional. It’s not an easy decision to make [to leave]. However, the group of people here and my conversations with Bill [Martin] drew me in. I appreciate and enjoy the group of people here too.
Our great group wants to grow and understand what the financial institution can do. We don’t want to just be in the community, but instead, a part of the community. It’s a special place to be, and I’m confident we will grow and become a force to be reckoned with because we care.
We also make a difference with FidFed Cares. We take the donations that we collect and send those to different community organizations in need. I do believe there is something special going on here.
If you don’t know who Fidelity Federal is, stop in and see us. Let’s chat about what we can help you with.