What is the future of employee and customer experience trends in banks, wealth advisory firms, and credit unions? Pioneering banks are focusing on financial wellness, improving trust, and anticipating customer needs. Financial institutions that invest in the customer experience in banking have better rates of recommendation, more wallet share, and are more likely to up-sell or cross-sell products and services to current clients.
We've worked with banks of all sizes ranging from $150M to $30B over the last 15 years and with all legacy core IT suppliers and all of their services. Unremarkably, none of the "big three" have excellent reputations when it comes to service and support and most bankers agree that dumping one core for another to gain greater functionality, innovation or deeper love and attention is a losing proposition. None of them do anything particularly great...but when you have unchallenged control of the market as they do - "adequate" service levels are good enough by their standard because they are no longer competing for customers.
Consumers set high standards for businesses, especially financial institutions. Money is a sensitive topic with little, if any, margin for error — people expect transfers, transactions, account management, or whatever other services to be timely and precise.
In turn, you have to hold your core IT provider and fintech suppliers to an equally high standard. Otherwise, your business could be at risk.
To do so, your vendor contracts’ Service Level Agreements (SLAs) must be tight, relevant, and enforceable. But there’s a common problem plaguing the financial services industry: most contracts don’t have real SLAs. Instead, they have Service Level Objectives (SLOs).
How much am I overpaying for core, IT, and fintech services?
It’s the most frequent question we’ve received since we started helping community banks and credit unions fight back against unfair vendor agreements over fourteen years ago.
Naturally, it’s a fair question to ask, but it’s impossible to provide a simple answer to such a complex financial question. Core banking agreements and fintech vendor contracts have so many nuances that it’s impossible to pinpoint the “right” price to pay for these services without hiring an expert armed with market intelligence to analyze your contract — there are just too many factors at play.
Many banks and credit unions face a growing dilemma: their core banking systems are outdated, complex, and inefficient.
When your core banking system predates the commercialization of the internet (circa 1992) — that’s a problem, don’t you think?
If you’re a community financial institution, there’s a good chance that you’ve overpaid for banking system services at one point or another. For decades, the core legacy providers — Jack Henry, FIS, and Fiserv — gamed the system, strongarming community banks and credit unions into unfavorable deals with lofty prices, predatory terms, and limitations on technological access. In turn, smaller financial institutions have trouble competing with the bigger players.
Legacy core providers and fintech vendors know what they’re doing. They know how to manipulate contract negotiations and renewals to their advantage. Historically, smaller institutions haven’t had the resources to combat their tactics. That’s changing.
Paladin fs recently moderated 2 peer discussion sessions with American Bankers Association’s CFO Peer Exchange virtual event. We moderated various breakout rooms and discussed questions around the topics of innovation, risk assessment, and the impact COVID19 had on bank technology with 100 community bankers from around the country.
Read below to find out the key takeaways from these bankers on these topics.
Your Core IT vendor knows their stuff — and they should, it’s what you pay them for. However, when core banking providers exploit that knowledge during contract negotiations, it’s a problem.
Historically, Core IT vendors have nickeled and dimed community banks and credit unions with an arsenal of hidden fees and unfair terms. Unlike the major banks, these institutions don’t have the staffing or resources to counter vendors’ legal teams and IT expertise. The result: costly, one-sided contracts that heavily favor the vendors.
To combat unbalanced contracts and predatory terms, you have to outsmart your Core IT vendor, which isn’t as challenging as it may sound. How can you keep the experts honest? It starts with understanding your vendor and negotiation counter party.
Mergers are a common occurrence in the current community banking environment. In our discussions with bankers about strategic growth and possible acquisitions, we find that most are either active in the pursuit or at least open to possible merger opportunities. All bankers should be prepared and have core contract language in place to address being acquired as well as acquiring another institution before an acquisition opportunity is presented.
Below is an actual case study showing many of the critical factors that need to be considered in a core contract for a successful merger.