The Bottom Line

How Do You PAU? Optimizing Your Debit Card Program

Posted by Bob Koehler on Oct 31, 2018 10:00:00 AM

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Most bank and credit union leaders are familiar with ways to optimize their credit card programs, yet surprisingly few of them apply any transferrable techniques to their debit portfolios. Debit interchange is the first or second largest component of non-interest income for most financial institutions, so even nominal improvements can drive big benefits. Although credit card purchases generate more interchange on a per item basis, the reality for many smaller institutions is that they have more tools at their disposal to influence debit use.

The same PAU metrics (Penetration, Activation, Utilization) familiar to credit card program managers can be applied to debit. Let’s look at how these concepts can improve P&L:

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

Can Vendor Cost Benchmarking Help Find Scarce Budget Dollars?

Posted by Ben Mrva on Oct 25, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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According to recent headlines, the United States is in the midst of one of the strongest economic booms in recent memory. On the other hand, don’t expect that prosperity to translate to a wealth of flexibility during budget season. After all, has it ever? While the austerity of the years immediately following the financial crisis may not have reached everyone, there never seem to be enough new dollars to avoid hard choices among priority initiatives. And with market salaries on an upward trend, any additional funding will likely be quickly absorbed.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

How to Make Benchmarks Less Tricky in Vendor Contract Negotiations

Posted by Patrick Goodwin, President on Oct 17, 2018 10:00:00 AM

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Every institution wants its various processes and practices to be best of breed. Most, at minimum, want to know how they stack up against the best in their business. Typically, peer groups are established for this purpose, usually based on a bank or credit union’s asset base.

However, there are countless reasons why the performance of two financial institutions of identical size may not warrant side-by-side comparison. For example, one institution using a service bureau for core processing will have a lower efficiency ratio than one of its peers that does not use one. The retail/corporate mix within loan portfolios will also give rise to operational differences.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

Keeping an Open Mind on Open Banking

Posted by Michael Carter on Oct 11, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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A debate has raged for some time as to whether fintech companies are friends or foes to financial institutions. In our view, the question itself is a cynical oversimplification of the situation. While there are some aggressive startups intent on stealing business from financial institutions, there are more fintechs that want to partner with banks and credit unions to help them modernize their service offerings.

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Topics: Technology

Voice Technology: Ready for Prime Time in Your Vendor Contracts?

Posted by Michael Carter on Oct 4, 2018 12:15:00 PM

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The most recent installment of our ongoing series of SRM Academy papers focused on the digital transformation at financial institutions. The latest installment explores the potential of biometrics – voice recognition and authentication in particular –to improve digital banking while also leveling the competitive field for regional and community institutions.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts