The Bottom Line

How to Maximize Value in Vendor Relationships

Posted by Myron Schwarcz on Apr 11, 2018 9:00:00 AM

-It's not just about price.-

(Hint: It’s Not Just About Price)

Obviously, every financial institution (FI) wants to get the best possible deal from their service providers. The definition of “best” can vary markedly by FI, however. We’ve found that before entering the vendor contract negotiation process, a cross-functional team is well advised to invest the time to determine what it most wants from the relationship.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

CBA LIVE 2018: Why Digital and Security Driver Growth

Posted by Michael Carter on Apr 6, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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Strategic Resource Management joined more than 1,400 other attendees at Consumer Bankers Association’s CBA LIVE in Orlando, Fla. last month to discuss fresh trends and best practices in the retail banking industry. The mixture of informative programming, expert discussions and a host of networking opportunities created an atmosphere that was energetic and engaging.

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Why It’s Time Your Institution Should Stop Trying to be Like Amazon

Posted by Michael Carter on Apr 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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It’s time the financial services industry, especially banks and credit unions, stop aspiring to be “Amazon-like” in their service delivery. While we are at it, let’s also jettison our desire to have user interfaces and experiences like those of Apple. And, just to make sure we are being completely fair, let’s add Google, PayPal, Venmo and others, to the list of those that financial institutions (FIs) should not worship as role models.

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A Case Study in Why Vendor Contract Negotiation Details Matter

Posted by Cody Harrell on Mar 27, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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We’ve been preaching for some time the importance of closely tracking vendor contract amendments, subtle moves in transaction volumes, and other sometimes overlooked changes that can translate to meaningful shifts in a financial institution’s (FI) cost base and affect vendor relationships. We now have a real-time cautionary tale to help drive this point home.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

What United States Financial Institution Leaders Can Learn From Canada

Posted by Lawrence Pruss on Mar 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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Banking is banking, right? Financial institutions (FIs) take in deposits, lend out money, charge fees for a variety of related services, and hopefully have a bit more in the till at day’s end than they started with.  So surely FIs in a neighboring country whose citizens speak the same language (mostly) and transact their business in something called dollars, would be almost identical to ours in the US, right? Nope.

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How Can Banks and Credit Unions Tap Into the AI Revolution?

Posted by Lawrence Pruss on Feb 27, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the hottest buzzword in financial services. The nation’s largest banks are placing big-money bets on this still nascent technology, and countless startups are working feverishly to stake their claim to various use cases.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

What You Lose By Negotiating Your Own Card Agreements

Posted by Bob Koehler on Feb 21, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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In a recent blog I noted that many financial institutions (FIs) continue to process debit transactions through four or more PIN networks, mainly due to inertia. There are numerous reasons to streamline this process — volume discounts, simplified back-office routines, reduced risk — none of which carry customer impact. Most networks no longer require their logos to be listed on the back of the card, so there’s not even a need to reissue plastic.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

Vendor Cost Benchmarking —How to Simplify a Grueling Task

Posted by Michael Carter on Feb 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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While negotiating a new vendor agreement may be the most visible part of the vendor contract management process, it’s the tedious attention to detail after the ink is dry that ensures the hard-fought cost savings materialize as promised.

This isn’t to say that service providers are looking to pull a fast one. Honest errors can (and do) occur on both ends of the agreement, probably more often than most of us would like to think. Circumstances, both internal and those dictated by market forces, also change over the life of a multi-year contract, leading to results that differ from expectations when the agreement was struck. That’s why ongoing auditing and benchmarking are essential components of any vendor contract management program.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

Can You Swipe Me Now? – Choosing the Right PIN Network

Posted by Bob Koehler on Feb 6, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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Americans of a certain age recall the not-so-distant days when one had to check the logos (“bugs,” in banking parlance) on the back of their card to confirm it would work at a given ATM machine or retail terminal. For this reason, financial institutions (FIs) join multiple networks to ensure sufficient reach for customers, particularly those who traveled outside their home region. As a result, the multitude of bugs on the back of cards made them look like a NASCAR driver’s coveralls.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

Navigating the Complexity of Vendor Contract Negotiation 

Posted by Myron Schwarcz on Jan 24, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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Not that they ever were simple, but there has certainly been a notable uptick in the complexity of legal agreements between financial institutions (FIs) and service providers recently.

The driving factors behind this trend are logical­, with the current regulatory environment requiring more aspects of vendor contract relationships to be formalized. Particularly where service providers have access to customer data or support critical operations, enhanced regulatory scrutiny of third-party obligations creates added motivation for both FIs and vendors to limit their exposure. Documenting each party’s responsibilities in detail may help, but in the event of an issue, the hard truth is that customers will look to their FI for resolution, not a back-office provider whose name they don’t recognize.   

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts