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Paladin Blog

Can Fiserv's Service Level Get Any Worse?

Posted by Aaron Silva on Aug 17, 2022 10:47:31 AM

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 non-starter.  None of them do anything particularly great...but when you have unchallenged control of the market as they do - "adequate" service levels is good enough by their standard because they are no longer competing for customers. 

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Fake SLAs: What They Are, Why They Matter, and How to Identify Them

Posted by Aaron Silva on Dec 7, 2021 10:31:00 PM

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).

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Topics: Paladin Research, Fintech

How Much are You Actually Overpaying Your Core IT and Fintech Suppliers?

Posted by Aaron Silva on Nov 16, 2021 3:39:15 PM

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.

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Topics: Contract Negotiations, Paladin Research, Fintech

5 Ways The Paladin Bluebook™ Can Help Save You Millions

Posted by Aaron Silva on Nov 2, 2021 11:45:00 PM

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?

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Topics: Paladin Research, Fintech

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Doing Business with New Fintechs

Posted by Aaron Silva on Oct 27, 2021 11:45:00 PM

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. 

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Topics: Paladin Research, Fintech

The Importance of Timing in a Successful Negotiation Strategy

Posted by Aaron Silva on Oct 12, 2021 11:45:00 PM

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. 

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Topics: Paladin Research, Fintech

CFO Exchange Peer Session Report 2021

Posted by Aaron Silva on Oct 6, 2021 1:00:38 PM

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.

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Topics: Paladin Research, Fintech

How To Be Smarter Than Your Core IT Vendor

Posted by Aaron Silva on Sep 28, 2021 11:45:00 PM

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.

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Topics: Paladin Research, Fintech

How to Make a Merger Successful

Posted by Bob Moreau on Mar 31, 2021 2:48:00 PM

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.

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Topics: Paladin Research, Fintech

Why Switching Sides Was The Best Career Move I Ever Made

Posted by Bill Finney on Mar 8, 2021 6:18:59 PM

My name is Bill and I spent the last 10 years employed for one of the “big three” providers of core software for community financial institutions in the United States.  A re-read of that previous line aloud almost sounds like I’m part of a 12-step program.  Six months now after leaving and switching sides to a consulting firm that professionally negotiates for banks against my previous employer - has been sobering for sure.

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Topics: Paladin Research, Fintech