The Bottom Line

Vendor Contract Basics to Sidestep “Doctor No” This Budget Season

Posted by Dean Archer on Sep 20, 2018 10:00:00 AM

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Most financial institutions are moving into the heart of budget season, which offers a great opportunity to take a step back and assess business priorities. In many cases, however, budget planning also carries a heavy dose of frustration. As I came to call it over my years in the industry, Doctor No takes up residence in the office – putting the kibosh on a variety of worthwhile and aspirational projects.

Department heads realize that no budget will have room to fund every project, and good managers find ways to free up enough dollars to pursue a select group of long-term initiatives alongside the “keep the lights on” necessities. Nonetheless, by the time the process is complete, it inevitably seems like the belt-tightening has squeezed out too many of the promising ideas.    

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

3 Ways an Institution’s Size Impacts Vendor Management

Posted by Andrew Gordon on Sep 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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Before joining SRM, I worked almost exclusively with the top 50 U.S. banks, helping them with strategic sourcing decisions and vendor contract negotiations. Since coming to work for SRM though, I’ve been exposed to a broader array of sizes and types of institutions, spanning both the 150 financial institutions exceeding $10 billion in assets as well as the 12,000 banks and credit unions with assets below $10 billion. Given this perspective, it is not difficult to notice the many differences between the national and regional institutions versus those who operate in the community market. In the realm of vendor management, these differences manifest in three distinct ways.  

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

Are Biometrics Going Mainstream? Perhaps You Won’t Notice

Posted by Myron Schwarcz and Larry Pruss on Sep 4, 2018 9:30:00 AM

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Despite several well-publicized bumps in the road, the U.S. migration to EMV-based chip cards has undeniably reduced payment fraud at the physical point of sale. That’s the good news. On the flipside, increasing fraud rates in the rapidly growing card not present (CNP) channel have the potential to more than offset gains in card present (CP), perpetuating an overall upward trend in card fraud.

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Topics: Technology

An Enterprise Payments Strategy: Not Just for the Behemoths

Posted by Ginger Schmeltzer on Aug 16, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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The one constant across my nearly 20 years in the payments business is that things have never stood still long enough to get boring. Starting with the days when consumers’ only payment options were cash, checks and house credit (okay, that was a lot more than 20 years ago), merchants and financial services innovators have continued to add new payments alternatives at a dizzying pace. And just as importantly, they haven’t retired any.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

The Not-So-Boring News on Debit Card Interchange

Posted by Russ Bourne on Aug 9, 2018 9:45:00 AM

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The Fed recently issued a report detailing average debit card interchange fees by payment card network. I know, it’s like Christmas in August, but try to contain your excitement. Joking aside, payment geeks like me find endless insights pouring over the details and footnotes of this annual publication. We regularly share these reports with our clients, and suggest they keep the information at their fingertips.

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Topics: News, Vendors & Contracts

Education, Philanthropy and Fishing

Posted by Jason Berman on Aug 7, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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Philanthropy is an important part of SRM’s own mission. We believe in giving back and we know that a number of our clients feel the same way.  That is why we decided to co-host an event that recently took place in scenic Seward, Alaska. It was an educational program, Earning Your Independence, and joining us as co-host were investment advisors, Performance Trust. The goal of the program was to bring together executives who were interested in education, adventure, networking and raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network.

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Topics: News

A Brave New Banking World: AI Can Be Helpful, With Guardrails

Posted by Lawrence Pruss on Jul 31, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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Assuming you can drown out the blockchain chatter, artificial intelligence (AI) is this year’s hottest financial services topic. Although IBM’s Watson and Google’s Deep Mind remain somewhat abstract concepts from a mass market perspective, consumer breakthroughs like Siri and Amazon Alexa have begun to set expectations for banking interactions, leading to high-profile rollouts like Bank of America’s virtual assistant, Erica.

Most of the early-stage rollouts, focusing on chatbots and fraud detection, are coming from the industry’s largest players. Credit unions and community banks cannot afford to fall too far behind the curve and need ample opportunity to participate in exploratory ventures. At the same time, it’s important to remain mindful of AI’s potential downsides if not properly implemented.  

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Topics: Technology

Mid-Year Snapshot: Institutions Amp Up Digital Determination

Posted by Brad Downs and Mike Carter on Jul 26, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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At SRM, we take the time – every six months or so – to step back from our various engagements with clients to identify the general trends we have seen in our work and consider how they might play out in the coming six months. Just past the midpoint in 2018, there are several forces in play worth mentioning.

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Topics: Technology

Four Reasons Not To Neglect the Contract Auto-Renewal Cycle

Posted by Russ Bourne and Bret Herbert on Jul 18, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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It seems like basic blocking and tackling on the surface, but you’d probably be surprised with how often it slips through the cracks. Most financial institution vendor contracts include a requirement that the client file a “notice of non-renewal,” otherwise the agreement will automatically renew at “expiration” on pre-defined terms. A multi-million dollar organization should have no trouble tracking such administrative to-dos as vendor contract management, right?

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

Reading Between the Lines of the Secure Payments Partnership

Posted by Myron Schwarcz and Andrew Gordon on Jul 12, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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In case you missed it, June 2018 saw another consortium enter the already crowded payments fray. As its name implies, the Secure Payments Partnership’s primary focus is “to address the ongoing battle against payment fraud and to devise improvements for the U.S. card payment system.” To understand the impact of this announcement, the history and context below must be considered. 

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Topics: News