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The Bottom Line

SRM Perspectives on Key Industry Trends

Brad Downs

Downs joined SRM as a project manager, just one year after the company was founded by his father, Curtis Downs. By 1999 he had accepted the position as vice president of business development and was promoted to executive vice president a few years later. Downs was named president in 2006, and has since overseen the daily operations of SRM as well as business development for both potential clients and alliance companies.
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Recent Posts

Reflections on Our First 30 Years & the Evolution of Financial Services

Posted by Brad Downs on Aug 16, 2022 11:14:00 AM


Sometimes it’s hard to believe 30 years have passed since our founder Curtis Downs took the concept of developing contract benchmarks and applying them to help banks, credit unions, and others achieve critical savings – the underlying value proposition behind SRM. That foundation has allowed our clients to add more than $5 billion to their bottom line over the years.

It's fascinating to look back three decades and see the rate of change that has taken place in the financial services industry. As we acknowledge our company’s 30th anniversary this year, I want to highlight some significant changes in financial services that have also challenged and motivated SRM to evolve.

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Topics: Payments, Digital Banking, Vendor Contract, Interchange, Regulation

The Importance of Healthy Vendor Contract Relationships

Posted by Brad Downs on Jan 5, 2018 11:00:23 AM

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In our last blog post, I recounted the industry changes that SRM has witnessed – and in some cases helped drive­­ — since opening our doors 25 years ago. As a follow up, I’d like to highlight a key principle that hasn’t changed since 1992, one that has enabled us to successfully deliver more than $2 billion in savings – and counting – to our financial institution (FI) customers.

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Topics: Strategic Sourcing, Vendors & Contracts

25 Years Ago Our Business Began with a Pivot, We’ve Never Looked Back

Posted by Brad Downs on Dec 20, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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In August, SRM marked its 25th year of providing organizations with the experience and information required to optimize their contractual relationships with vendors. Although we’re far more focused on serving our clients in the present and expanding the reach of our expertise in the future than we are on our past accomplishments, it’s gratifying to be reminded of the positive impacts we have delivered to our customers over the time we have been in operation.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

On the Acquisition Trail? Don’t Overlook Your Vendor Contracts

Posted by Brad Downs on May 10, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Acquisition continues to be a preferred strategy for financial institutions (FIs) seeking to gain economies of scale while also expanding service offerings and reach. Choosing the correct merger candidate usually centers on factors like strategic fit, market footprint and business integration. There is another less exciting but important factor to consider during these talks: vendor contracts which can cause costly, tactical headaches if not identified early in the process.  However, if the contracts are assessed early enough in the acquisition process, an institution can reap benefits greater than expected through due diligence process.

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

Strategic Sourcing: FinTech Buying Practices for Banks & Credit Unions

Posted by Brad Downs on Apr 20, 2017 12:00:00 PM


Financial institutions (FIs) have become more reliant on their vendors – particularly in the payments and fintech areas, where technology and complexity continually advance and customers demand newer and more cutting edge solutions. At smaller institutions where professionals are already stretched thin across a wide array of duties, it’s unrealistic to expect anyone on staff to keep track of all the latest developments in these rapidly evolving tech fields.

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Topics: Strategic Sourcing

Vendor Contract Management: Beware the Perils of Free Money

Posted by Brad Downs on Mar 8, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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For all the banking executives that oversee vendor relationships, see if this scenario seems familiar: A long-time vendor visits your institution and, out of the blue, offers a contract extension along with attractive incentives; e.g., signing bonuses, rebates, pricing discounts, etc. To date, you’ve enjoyed a solid relationship with this partner with no plans to break the contract at expiration, so this provides an opportunity to look like a hero to your institution, bringing in an unexpected windfall to fund other priorities. What could be the downside? 

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Topics: Vendors & Contracts

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