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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Michael Coghlan

CEO & Founder

BrightFi Inc.

Location: Scottsdale, AZ

Founded: 2016

Industry: Financial Technology and Banking Services

There are 32 million households in the U.S. not using banks or using banks along with costly check cashiers or prepaid card services, which drainins income from families in the form of unnecessary fees. Those affected are disproportionately Black, Latino, Native American and Asian-Pacific Islander. 

Michael Coghlan set out to change that disparity, and in the process, BrightFi Inc. was formed. BrightFi primarily provides back-end services and infrastructure to community banks and credit unions, enabling them to reach more members and support more families profitably. The company envisions opening doors to international markets, including Latin America and potentially Europe, to ease transfers and make global banking more accessible and cost effective.  

“The work we are doing at BrightFi — bringing better, more affordable, sustainable banking to every community and the community banks that fuel community development — is at its core so important and independently influential,” said Coghland, founder and CEO of BrightFi. “My mission — and the mission of our team — is to make this happen so we can affect real change for the millions of consumers and tens of thousands of communities that are impacted by usurious payday lending and the high costs of bank alternatives.”

Coghlan is a career banker and tech professional. He launched an internet bank in Ireland in the 1990s and has been a leader in global digital banking and has worked in banks and consulting firms around the world. As a founder of BrightFi, Coghlan is dedicated to using his skills and experience to provide low-cost, high-quality, secure digital banking to excluded communities and individuals.

“Michael is an insightful and forward-thinking executive who is dedicated to his craft,” Coghlan’s team said. “He is also a compassionate, complete leader who cares deeply for his team, his family and his community — and the impact they all make on the world around them. He believes in doing well by doing good and encouraging the endeavors he supports to follow this principle.”  

Coghlan has spoken at multiple banking and community leadership conferences. He has previously served at Lloyds Banking Group as CIO at Lloyds International, managing technology and change initiatives for retail, business and corporate banking. Prior to his role as CIO, he served as GM for Strategy and Change at Lloyds. He worked as managing director, Australia, and global COO for Limehouse Consulting, where he rebuilt the Australia business. Coghlan also worked with Accenture, building a team of strategy consultants to deliver strategic planning, lean operating guidance and mergers and acquisitions transaction support for the firm’s clients. 

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Did you know?

Michael has hand-built several off-grid timber cabins in rural US and Australia, none of which have fallen over yet.


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