Bank Vendor Management Software Controls Outsourcing Costs

Bank Vendor Management Software Controls

 

As outsourcing becomes more popular with banks, financial institutions face more risks than typically exist when using its employees to perform most tasks. Yet, one reality takes precedence over other issues. Banks and credit unions can outsource most services, but they retain all potential risks to their operations and customer requests for service. According to FDIC regulations, insured financial institutions can neither abdicate nor transfer responsibility for safe and sound operational procedures via outsourcing.

FDIC Position on Vendor Management and Risk

FDIC regulatory concerns regarding vendor management have existed for years, at least dating back to the Bank Service Company Act (1999). Since 2001, outsourcing and vendor risk management policies have taken center stage as regulator priorities. The Gramm­Leach­Billey Act (1999) further clarified the government’s position on third­party vendor services and management. Along with repealing some provisions in the iconic Glass­Steagall Act (1933), which set restrictions on financial institutions during the Great Depression disaster, banks initially welcomed many GLBA provisions, which allowed financial institutions to expand into offering investment and insurance services for customers. These landmark deregulation initiatives also added risk to financial institutions operations for those banks taking advantage of these new opportunities. These additional powers represent the birth of outsourcing as popular banking solutions. Instead of the nation’s financial institutions acquiring or funding investment or insurance startup organizations, many banks decided to offer investment and insurance products of other entities instead of establishing in­house companies. Outsourcing has proliferated from these modest beginnings. FDIC recognizes that outsourcing tasks to third­party vendors increases financial and operational risks to insured banks. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which fills the FDIC role for federal credit unions, agrees that their institutions remain responsible for the risk of loss, regardless of performance shortfalls by employees or third­party vendors.

Vendor Management Software Helps Control Costs and Compliance

Depending on a bank’s size and devotion to outsourcing, vendor management can become an unwieldy responsibility. In­house bank personnel must manage the institution’s vendors, regardless of the vendor role. Whether responsible for delivering copy paper or acting as the bank’s call center, vendors must be managed properly to control both cost and risk. While inherently more critical than copy paper supplies to a financial institution’s brand and image, an outsourced call center with vendor CSRs (customer service representatives) mandates bank management responsibility for effective vendor control and performance. Enter state­of­the­art vendor management software to help control expenses and satisfy regulators. Banks seeking to achieve or maintain operational excellence can use applications from top providers, such as Banktel, to benefit from electronic management and tracking of vendor performance.Among the multiple benefits banks receive are the following features.

  • Regulatory compliance
  • Efficient cost control
  • Access to up­to­date reports and data
  • Better risk management
  • Ability to measure and evaluate management efficiency, both internally and externally (vendorservices)

FDIC has published much discourse on managing outsourcing risk, while offering multiple vendor management webinar training seminars. Understandably, FDIC focuses on risk management, not cost control for compliance reasons. However, vendor management applications can achieve an equally important bank objective, controlling costs. Instead of hiring multiple, costly W­2 employees to track and manage vendors, financial institutions can save time and money by using software apps to track vendor performance. Most top vendor management applications also track the bank’s compliance efforts and results, including tickler systems to display service and payment reminders. In most cases, the best vendor management apps also include report writer capability, allowing user institutions to better format their data to their preferred layouts. For example, larger banks and credit unions face issues tracking diverse vendor contract terms, expirations and renewals along with regulatory compliance necessities. In all cases, the cost control benefits can increase bank bottom lines while maintaining vendor control and achieving regulatory compliance. Banks that have yet to consider vendor management applications should do so to learn if outsourcing this otherwise tedious necessary function can better serve the institution and manage expenses as well as vendors, while improving profitability.   Bank Info Security: http://www.bankinfosecurity.com/webinars/vendor­management­part­i­fdic­explains­how­to­manage­your­out

Millennials Find Saving Difficult Even Though They Want To

Millennials Finding Saving Difficult

Millennials, those between the ages of 18 and 34, are a target market for a lot of banks. These are the consumers who have years of saving and investing ahead of them. Yet a recent report from USA Today found that these young adults, in spite of a financially responsible mindset, are finding it difficult to save and invest.

In the report, USA Today partnered with Bank of America to perform the Better Money Habits poll of Millennials. The group surveyed 1,001 people in the 18­34 age group to determine what they believed about finances and how they were acting on those beliefs. Interestingly, the reports findings were a mixed message.
In the survey, Millennials reported feeling that they had good financial habits and were planning to live better off than their parents as older adults. Yet the report also found that a third of those surveyed were receiving regular financial support from their family. While they indicated they lived “within their means,” the report also found that many were living paycheck to paycheck.

Most interesting to banking professionals is the emphasis on getting rid of debt that this demographic had. This means that banking professionals need to target these consumers in another area, and many are turning to savings as their target product to offer to Millennials, but this may not be effective. According to the survey, many of this demographic are still unable to put away money for their emergency savings while also reducing debt, so they were having to choose between the two priorities.

Millennials Want to Save

According to the report, Millennials do want to save. In fact, 69 percent of those surveyed indicated they had a savings account, but most of them had less than $5,000 in that account. To top that off, 41 percent are stressed about not being able to put enough money away for the future. Yet, not many indicated they were successful at saving. Only 36 percent indicate they are excellent at saving money. So the desire is there, but the ability and knowledge to achieve that desire is not.

The Cause of this Struggle

What has caused so many Millennials to struggle to save, even though they want to? Some will say it is the job market. The market has been slow to improve, and wages have stagnated especially for entry-class workers. Students are graduating with th
ousands of dollars of debt that they have to begin paying off immediately. The end result is a demographic that is knowledge-rich and cash-­poor.

How Banks Can Help

As a bank, how can you help Millennials realize their desire to save while living within the confines of their current financial situation? The answer is two-­fold. First, the bank needs to focus on providing education. Millennials are used to living for the now. They are not focused on the future, and they need to be given some education about the need to focus on the future. Targeting this demographic with informative marketing materials or the services of a certified financial planner can help.

Second, these savings solutions need to be easy. In order to save, busy Millennials in the heart of their careers need it to be automatic. Encouraging them to sign up for automatic drafts, for instance, will ensure that they are consistent with saving.

Remember, Millennials are not failing to save because they don’t want to. They are failing to save because they don’t feel like they can. Provide them a way to do it that is reasonable and in line with the current financial situation, and watch as you gain more and more of these long-term accounts.

How to Automate Your Branch Without Alienating the Customer

How to Automate Your Branch (1)

As banks face rising costs and less engagement within their branch locations, many are choosing to automate and eliminate paid possessions in order to cut costs and remain profitable. Yet there’s one potential downside of branch automation, and that is the fact that it can alienate customers. For the branch that needs to automate, these strategies will help limit the risk that the automation will turn to alienation.

Combining Teller and Sales Services

Automation can remove the job of the teller in many aspects. Customers can use the ATM to retrieve cash and even deposit checks electronically. In order to save money and continue to automate the bank’s processes, while still providing the customer with an in­person experience when it is wanted, many banks have chosen to combine the teller and the sales professional into one.

By equipping the sales professional with teller abilities and responsibilities, and allowing this professional to roam the bank rather than staying locked in an office, banks can connect with customers and, potentially, make more sales. This phenomenon, which is sometimes called “pod banking,” keeps a friendly face on the bank branch as the sales professionals greet the customer face­to­-face. It also eliminates the need for teller stations at branches.

Of course, the sales professionals who are taking on these new roles need automation to perform them well. Cash recyclers can eliminate the need to count back cash, balance teller drawers and reconcile cash, which can eat up significant amounts of time. With the right tools, these bankers can spend less than 10 minutes to perform tasks that traditionally took tellers hours, all without sacrificing the quality of the customer experience.

Going Paperless Without Sacrificing Customer Security

Another way that automation can be embraced by branches is through paperless banking. However, in order to keep customers, the bank needs to offer some form of digital record that is convenient and accessible to the customer. Emailed copies of forms, digital signatures on signature pads or even the customer’s own smartphone and online account opening options keep customers secure while eliminating the cost and time required to manage paperwork.

Automate Without Sacrificing Relationship

One of the fastest ways to alienate a customer is to fail to build a relationship with that customer. Prevent this problem by retaining the in ­person communication at the branch whenever possible, even while automating to save time on the backend. When customers come to the branch, no matter how automated it is, they need to be greeted with a friendly face.

Embracing Innovation That Makes the Customer’s Life Easier

What banking products are no longer in vogue? Can automation improve the popularity of these products? In some cases, yes. Consider the traveler’s check, as an example. Traveler’s checks are becoming less valuable as an option because of the time it takes to order and collect them. How can automation make this easier? Some banks have embraced a format that handles traveler’s checks electronically up until mailing the actual paper checks to the client. Digital records, digital ordering and even digital deductions from the customer’s account make the process more streamlined and easier for the customer.

Traveler’s checks are just one example, but this trend shows how banks must choose automation innovations that are strategic and helpful to the customer will help banks automate without alienating their customers. This requires a clear understanding of the bank’s customer base and what they need. Once this understanding is acquired, the bank can make wise choices about how to move forward with automation.

The key in each of these strategies is keeping the customer’s needs and desires in mind. By doing so, the
modern bank will be able to automate and save money while retaining their customers at the same time.

Banktel Systems Ranked in Deloitte Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies

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Mississippi-based BankTEL Systems Ranked in the Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies in North America on Deloitte’s 2014 Technology Fast 500™

Ranking attributes 143.8% revenue growth to innovative software backed by exceptional client service and support

Columbus, MS,— Today, BankTEL Systems, based in Columbus, Mississippi, announced it has been ranked 483rd on Deloitte’s 2014 Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. BankTEL grew 143.8 percent during this time period.

BankTEL’s Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Boyce E. Adams, Jr., credits innovative software and exceptional service and support with the company’s near 144% revenue growth. “We are honored to be recognized as one of the country’s fastest growing technology companies,” Adams said. “Over our 22 years in business, we have seen steady revenue growth and have added clients both in the U.S. and internationally. Our corporate philosophy remains focused on developing software that uses automation to increase efficiencies and reduce costs for financial institutions.”

“The companies ranked on the 2014 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 continue to set the bar for their industry higher each year,” said Eric Openshaw, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. technology, media and telecommunications leader. “There are so many exciting products and smart thought leaders driving this list. We congratulate the Fast 500 companies and look forward to seeing them continue their momentum into 2015.”

“For 20 years, the Deloitte Fast 500 rankings have honored the innovation that is part of these companies’ DNA,” added Jim Atwell, national managing partner of the emerging growth company practice, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “We’re glad to be serving these high-growth companies, and helping the technology sector recognize the great strides and transformation these companies are making in their respective areas.”

Overall, 2014 Technology Fast 500™ companies achieved revenue growth ranging from 135 percent to 123,678 percent from 2009 to 2013, with an average growth of 1,640 percent.

About Deloitte’s 2014 Technology Fast 500™

Technology Fast 500, conducted by Deloitte LLP, provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies – both public and private – in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2009 to 2013. In order to be eligible for Technology Fast 500 recognition, companies must own proprietary intellectual property or technology that is sold to customers in products that contribute to a majority of the company’s operating revenues. Companies must have base-year operating revenues of at least $50,000 USD or CD, and current-year operating revenues of at least $5 million USD or CD. Additionally, companies must be in business for a minimum of five years and be headquartered within North America.


About BankTEL

Founded in 1992, BankTEL helps more than 1,400 clients in all 50 states and multiple international locations cut costs, increase deposits, and automate their internal processes. With the core values in cost-effective software and client service, BankTEL is able to offer top notch support and product offerings that fit the needs of our clients. With more than 20 years of serving financial institutions, BankTEL Systems has become one of the premier providers of financial accounting and cash management software applications. For more information about BankTEL, visit www.banktel.com.

Banks Are Reinventing Themselves Through Technology

Banks Are Reinventing Themselves ThroughFor the past few decades, technology has been as important a money to most banking institutions. Although previously lagging behind banks, credit unions also have placed a top priority on employing cutting­-edge technology to better compete with their bank siblings.

In many ways, according the venerable Washington Post, financial institutions are becoming “quasi­-technology companies.” This reinvention involves multiple important factors, including the following items.

Newer Banking Technology Initiatives

●  New and/or shared branch innovations expand market areas and control brick and mortar costs. Shared branching is a particular favorite of the nation’s credit unions as they compete with larger banks having a “branch on every corner.”
●  State­-of-­the-­art electronic payment systems streamline consumer bill, credit card and loan payments, while allowing banks to offer the ultimate in customer convenience.
Cutting­-edge vendor management software systems permit financial institutions to manage vendor relationships, while controlling costs.
High-­level security to prevent successful cyber attacks is high priority. Banks utilize complex algorithms to strengthen security and protection of customers’ data.

Avant garde banks often institute even more cutting­-edge innovations. For example, nationwide bank PNC opened two new “universal branches” (their term) in Virginia in 2014, replacing traditional teller lines with employees helping customers, while using tablets to access accounts. Wells Fargo, experimenting with Google Glass apps, has set up initial high­tech locations in Washington, D.C.

Smaller community banks also are coming on board the technology train. For example, Bethesda, MD­based Eagle Banks has quadrupled its technology team since its 1998 opening. Eagle Bank’s COO commented, “The whole philosophy around technology has changed dramatically in the last 10 years . . . In today’s world the customers are the ones telling us what they want.”

This is vastly different from the days, not long ago, when financial institutions dictated the technology offered to customers. The most common current customer request is easy, safe access to accounts and services using their smartphones. For example, at Capital One Labs, the small, two­-and­-a­-half­-year old “technology spin-off” of the McLean, VA giant financial institution, small teams work on creating innovative technology, such as its mobile wallet app, independently or with equally talented partners, such as Apple Pay.

Cyber Security Equally Vital

Recent security breaches at some major retailers, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, keep cyber security enhancements on the banking industry center stage. Bank executives agree that using the most advanced technology is more than important—it is now critical to protecting customer information. Talented hackers seem to rapidly increase their ability to thwart even complex algorithms and multiple security levels. At times, data breach gurus seem to conquer security measures faster than new software can be developed. Hence, the banking industry goal of staying one step ahead of cyber security threats is becoming ever more challenging.

Vendor Management Platforms Control Costs

Proven vendor management platforms and applications offered by top banking software firms, such as Banktel, help financial institutions control costs, while efficiently tracking vendor performance and contracts. As outsourcing becomes more popular, vendor management platforms increase their role in expense
control.

These applications are integral components to the renaissance and reinvention of banks and credit unions, large and small. Smaller institutions typically need to manage fewer vendors, but often lack the talent or personnel numbers to perform this vital function. However, proven vendor management software helps all financial institutions save money and take advantage of opportunities to increase bottom lines via cost control.

The reinvention of banks and credit unions with technology as the vehicle is disputed by few, if any, banking industry experts. For example, Capital One purchased online bank ING Direct for $9 billion (yes, with a “b”) to strengthen its Internet presence. CapOne still adds software engineers, developers, designers and “data scientists” to its staff to improve Internet and Mobile applications.

The commitment to cyber security, vendor management and mobile device banking will continue. While bank advertising may still focus on traditional customer values, the technology reinvention will continue behind the scenes with talented, creative design teams.

Sales Tactics Banks Must Employ

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Increased competition, new technology that is keeping customers out of the branch and increasing costs across the banking industry has increased the demand on sales professionals to do their jobs well in order for the bank to make a profit. Today’s bankers can do well by keeping some sales tactics in mind as they try to sell more products to their customers. Without these fundamentals, your branch’s sales numbers will suffer.

Target the Right Prospects

 

The first step in successful sales is targeting the right prospects. Whether sales professionals working in the bank or calling officers who are soliciting targets in another way, bankers need the tools to target the right prospects.

It helps no one when your sales professionals spend their valuable time calling or reaching out to prospects, filling out applications and running credit checks for offers that are simply not going to go through. Why does this happen? It happens because all too often management expects their sales professionals to find their own prospects, or the bankers are given a list of prospects to contact that has not been screened. This wastes everyone’s time.

The truth, however, is that this is not necessary. Data on prospects is readily available, and the latest analytic programming can make it easy for bankers to receive a targeted list of prospects. Consider, for example, a bank looking to increase its business checking account numbers. By using analytics to identify the customers who are using DDAs instead of business accounts, and targeting those specific customers, the sales team will have a much higher rate of success.

Offer Engagement Services to Harvest Easy Sales

 

Another tactic that banks can use is targeting existing customers with engagement services connected to the accounts they already have and use. For example, a customer with a debit card and checking account can be enrolled in online bill pay or an automatic savings transfer agreement. Customers with credit products can upgrade to privacy protection.

Why is this so effective as a sales tactic? These customers already use, and hopefully like, your bank. As a result, they are more likely to accept the additional service. They are familiar with your bank and enjoy banking there.

Offer the Right Products

 

Your bank has many different products you wish to sell, but not all of these are a benefit to your customer. Banks need to teach their sales teams how to provide appropriate products to the specific prospect they are talking to.

How can you do this? Again, it requires data collection and analysis of that data. Your bank must know the demographic of its typical customer, and target those customers with the products that make sense for them.

Data can be collected in several ways, but customer service representatives are one of the greatest tools you have to collect this data. Customer service representatives need to make notes in a customer’s account when they hear information that could lead to a future sale. For example, when chatting with a customer who mentions children, a note can be made to offer a college savings plan at a later interaction. The more personal and targeted the product offering is, the more likely it will be that the offer is accepted.

Another way to do this is to create packages that target the demographic you see most frequently at your branch. In order to make these packages work, bankers must be trained how to match customers with a package offering.

Sales in today’s banking industry are not easy to come by, but with the right strategies, they are not impossible to make. Target the right people with the right products, and don’t forget engagement services, and your bank will be able to reach your sales goals more effectively, even in a competitive market.

How the Bitcoin Phenomenon Might Affect the Banking Industry

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Since its birth in 2009, Bitcoin has begun changing the face of US and worldwide  finance. The banking community has differing views on its growing user numbers,  volatility and evolution of companies favoring Bitcoin.

Although Bitcoin had little or no dollar value in the beginning, its value has increased since inception. Even global consulting firm Deloitte has weighed-in on the subject,  claiming Bitcoin is developing its own “ecosystem,” which includes retailers, lenders and financial institutions.

Media Attention

 

Along with a growing user base and rising value, Bitcoins popularity has been fueled by increasing media attention. Although primarily an Internet phenomenon to date, expanding attention from print and electronic media has increased its notoriety.

For example, media attention helped drive the price of a single Bitcoin to over $1,100 near the end of 2013. The market wisely determined this price was inflated and during  2014, although its volatility continued, prices generally declined to more reasonable levels. Banks—and

Governments—Are Wary

 

The growing use of this alternative currency has supporters and wary opponents. Supporter identities vary. Although predominantly individuals and an increasing base of retailers, increasing entities favor Bitcoin for its rebellious nature, as a perceived viable alternative to government-sponsored currency, such as the US dollar.

However, the expanding Bitcoin network, evolving to a global level, is making banks and governments more wary than ever. This currency even attracted the iconic global news outlet, The Guardian, after single Bitcoin prices rose to $147 in 2013, before pricing  broke the four-figure level. At the time, The Guardian called the Bitcoin phenomenon  “one of the most intriguing things to have happened in cyberspace” since the royalty-free music of the peer to-peer networks or the furor created by Wikileaks.

Bitcoin’s Mysterious Founder Nakamato

While the alleged mysterious Bitcoin founder, known as Satoshi Nakamato, disappeared from the Internet by April 2011, only two years after creating this virtual currency, the Bitcoin ball was rolling—and has continued since. No one has publicly disclosed to being the missing Nakamato or even if he is (or was) a 36-year old Japanese male he (or she) claimed to be.

Supporters and opponents alike generally agree that “Nakamato” is (or was) a world class C++ programmer with a solid understanding of economics and peer-to-peer networking. Others contend there must have been a talented team that created Bitcoin or “Nakamato” is a genius. The venerable magazine, The New Yorker, called the entity “Nakamato” a “preternaturally talented computer coder” for having the expertise to create “all bit and no coin” virtual currency.

Bank Concerns

 

Totally controlled by software, most observers agree the creation of Bitcoin was driven by the anger and frustration of the global finance crisis (the Great Recession). The apparent goal: Create a currency impervious to volatile government politically-fueled monetary policies or “greedy” bankers. The term “miners” quickly came to be known as people wanting to accumulate Bitcoins.

As US and global interest escalated, quickly over forty exchanges, permitting those with Bitcoins to trade them for government issued currencies, such as dollars or euros. As more merchants began to accept this alternative currency, the value of Bitcoins began to escalate rapidly by 2010.

While most bankers remain unconcerned, some may fear, if left unchecked, Bitcoins could threaten the public trust needed to validate government-issued currencies. In addition to acceptance for purchases, government currency also depends on the integrity of central banks, like the US Federal Reserve.

Since Bitcoin has become a global phenomenon, should public trust dissipate, numerous currencies could suffer. While not close to a reality, such loss of trust, remains a perceived potential threat to the US dollar, UK pound and Europe’s euros. Whether real or mistakenly perceived, the impact on the world’s banking community could be significant should it grow in popularity.

6 Steps Toward Better Vendor Management

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When it comes to managing relationships with vendors, too often businesses focus solely on getting the lowest price and neglect other actions that can help develop strong business relationships. While that may seem prudent from a short­term “bottom line” perspective over time it’s an approach that can backfire and wind up costing you more. Building strong vendor relationships isn’t rocket science, but it does take some special skills and understanding. Here are six tips to help you get started:

● Share your goals. Your vendors are in business too, which means they may share at least some of the same goals as your company. When you explain your overall goals and priorities, you create a feeling of partnership that can help strengthen relationships and ensure the services or products they provide will be more focused on those needs. For instance, letting vendors know about a new products launch that may require quicker turnaround or other resources from their end helps them anticipate your needs so you both achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. And don’t forget to show your interest in their company by asking them questions about their own goals and look for ways to provide knowledge or guidance when you can.

● If you have a vendor who supplies a service or product critical to your business, ask them for their opinion on strategic moves like roll­out dates or minimum thresholds for buying that can help your business run more efficiently. Your vendor will be more likely to work harder when they feel they’re essential to your company.

● Remain loyal – as long as it doesn’t come with significant costs. Just like you, vendors want long­term relationships with their customers, and if you demonstrate your willingness to remain loyal month after month, you’re more likely to get better deals as well as access to expert or “insider” knowledge about products or services you use. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should pay exorbitantly higher prices for that privilege, but it does mean you should avoid switching from one vendor to another just to save a few nickels and dimes. By remaining with the same vendors over time, you can potentially reap much larger savings.

● If you have the resources, assign one person to manage your vendors. Duties include reaching out to each vendor with phone calls and in­person visits when possible, as well as resolving issues and answering questions to ensure the relationship remains as strong as possible.

● Have a written agreement for each vendor that spells out your company’s policies as well as expectations to set the tone initially, then follow up with specific expectations, including pricing and turnaround times, for each order. Make sure you have a record that shows the paperwork (or emailattachments) was received and by whom to avoid miscommunication or mistakes that can cast a cloud over vendor relationships.

● Remember: Sometimes, you have to give something to get something. While getting a good price is important, be willing to negotiate a win­win agreement that benefits both you and your vendor, especially if you have special needs like an unusually fast turnaround time or unexpectedly high volume. Building any relationship is a two ­way street, and it takes time to make sure it’s strong and mutually beneficial. Considering the relationship from the vendor’s side and then working toward solutions and actions that satisfy both your needs will help you strengthen your bond so you both can profit. BankTEL’s agile software applications provide robust solutions for managing vendor relationships and managing risks. Learn more about BankTEL Systems by visiting our solutions page or use our online contact form to speak with a representative.

4th Quarter Newsletter

A Message From Boyce

Boyce1The fall is a time for change. With the changing of the seasons from summer to winter, we embrace this time of year to reflect on the year and look forward to ending the year on a high note.

At BankTEL, the fall season has us looking forward to a number of changes as well. As you may have seen, we released our initial version of the Budgeting module earlier this month. I am really excited about this module as it is something that we have been routinely asked for by our clients the past several years. The Budgeting system will continue to evolve and, I believe will become a popular addition to the financial suite. If you would like to learn more about the Budgeting module, please click here or give us a call at (662) 245-1007.

In addition to the Budgeting module, BankTEL will be announcing a new cloud based accounting system for small business offered by our sister company, theBIZ. TheBIZ has been in development for over 2 years and will be making its release in the 1st quarter. What theBIZ will bring to you is a cash management tool for your small business customers, including bill pay, electronic invoicing, financial reporting and integration to your core system along with many other features. The most exciting part is a revenue share agreement with the financial institution so we can grow your business and better serve your small business customers. If you would like to learn more please visit The Biz website.

Another item that I am extremely excited to announce is, we are coming out with a new version of the accounts payable, fixed asset and pre-paid and webapps. The new platform will be browser based with a SQL backend. The new system will still reside in-house and the new system will offer many additional new features. We are developing a five year plan for migrating customers and some conversion fees may apply. More information will be released early in the year.

As you know we are always working to better our products and make your work day more efficient. With that being said, we have heard from some of our clients requesting functionalities that we do not currently have. In order for us to learn more about your desires and to better help us prioritize new software, please take a minute to complete a brief survey.

Thank you and best wishes,
boycesr_sigv2
Boyce

Inc 5000 list

BankTEL was named in the Inc. 500|5000 list for 2014, an exclusive list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Since 1982, this prestigious list of the nation’s most successful private companies has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success. BankTEL ranked #3,201 on the 33rd annual list with a three-year growth rate of 106%. BankTEL also ranked #8 on the Inc. list of top Mississippi companies.

Over the years, the Inc. 500|5000 has included companies like Microsoft, Timberland, Vizio, Intuit, Chobani, Oracle, and Zappos.com. “It’s an honor to be included in such a distinguished list of alumni,” said Boyce Adams, President & CEO of BankTEL. “BankTEL’s ranking in the Inc. 500|5000 list is a reflection of our dedicated commitment to our clients. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for our continual growth as we strive to develop solutions to meet the unique needs of financial institutions.”

Due Diligence Update

Throughout the year, our account managers and support staff receive requests for Vendor Due Diligence packages from our over 1,400 clients nationwide. In an effort to better serve you and to streamline the process, we have developed a way that you can request the documentation that you need to keep your vendor files current.

In addition to providing you a better way to receive due diligence information, we have placed information on the website on how to submit a support case, install hardware on your workstations and documentation on software updates.

To access  all of this information, please go to BankTEL.com and click on the resources tab at the top. From the resource page, you have many options. You may submit a support case, join a support session and request a password to download the aforemetioned information. A screen shot of this page is below.

As always, feel free to call our support line at (662) 245-1007 or email our support team.

Product Spotlight

poRelyance Bank, a BankTEL customer for almost three years, recently experienced a significant increase in efficiency in the purchasing area of the bank. Six months ago, Relyance added the Purchase Orders module to automate the way all supplies and capital expenditures are requested, approved and matched to invoices in Accounts Payable.

Anita Shafer-Durham, Senior Vice President & Controller at Relyance Bank, stated “we use the Purchase Orders module for any items that need “pre-approval” before we can order them.” For Relyance, this includes all supplies, furniture, fixtures, equipment, and software.

Before adding the Purchase Orders module, getting pre-approval for these items was a very manual process. Each of the 14 branches was given an Excel template to use when one or multiple items needed to be ordered. Sometimes, the requested items were not included in the Excel template, so a sample of the item would be attached to an email with the Excel document and sent to the purchasing department for approval. Once purchasing reviewed the request, approved items would then be sent to a secondary approval through email and manual approvals, and then the item could be ordered.

Not only was the pre-approval process time-consuming and manual, but Accounts Payable’s process of matching the invoice to a pre-approved purchase order was manual and sometimes non-existent. Accounts Payable would receive the invoice and manually enter all the invoice data. This process made it difficult, if not impossible, to track the pre-approval of the purchase order. There was no electronic audit trail to match to the invoice when manually tracking pre-approvals.

Now, with the Purchase Orders module, a branch or department can submit a requisition and it is automatically sent for approval. Relyance Bank uses a two-step approval process, so once the purchasing manager approves, the system automatically sends the finalized requisition to the secondary approver. Then, fully approved Purchase Orders are emailed directly to the appropriate vendors within the system. When a vendor fulfills a Purchase Order, the items may be entered as “received”.

For Accounts Payable, the process is even more streamlined. The Accounts Payable department will receive the invoice from the vendor, and simply select and import the Purchase Order that has been filled by that vendor into Accounts Payable. The invoice will auto-populate with all the details and attached images from the selected Purchase Order, and the complete audit trail including the pre-approval is automatically matched to the invoice.

Anita explained, “One of the things I really like about the system is that once a Purchase Order is approved and received from the vendor, the Purchase Order stays out there until we receive the invoice in Accounts Payable. Then, we can easily match the invoice to the received Purchase Order.”

This module reduced Relyance Bank’s Purchasing department’s time by 50% and reduced Accounts Payable time and risk significantly. Purchasing no longer manually tracks all the requested items on an Excel sheet. All approvals are automatically routed to the appropriate users within the bank, and each pre-approval is logged within the invoice history as soon as the invoice is entered into Accounts Payable.

The Purchasing Manager had a set goal to increase productivity within her department. With her expertise and the Purchase Orders module to help, Relyance was able to gain efficiency for two areas within the bank.

BankTEL would like to thank Relyance Bank for being a valued customer and for taking advantage of this opportunity to improve the purchasing process.

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“Before we went with BankTel’s Purchase Order software we were doing a lot of paper shuffling with Excel spreadsheets. I LOVE this software because it tracks all purchases and attaches the POs to the vendor invoices in BankTel’s Accounts Payable software as they are validated for payment. It has streamlined our Accounts Payable and Purchasing operations significantly.”
Anita Shafer-Durham, CCBTO
Relyance Bank, N.A., Senior Vice President & Controller

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User Group Meeting 2015

During the 2014 calendar year, BankTEL hosted three user group meetings for our clients in Chicago, Ill., Austin, Tx., and Boston, Mass. Due to the great response we have received from the attendees at the meetings and those asking for us to provide additional locations we are scheduing our 2015 BankTEL User Group meetings now.

The four locations have been selected for 2015 and they are:

  • Napa Valley, CA – 1st Quarter
  • New York, NY – 2nd Quarter
  • Louisville, KY – 3rd Quarter
  • Clearwater Beach, FL – 4th Quarter

Exact dates and hotel locations will be sent out after the first of the year. We would like for you to fill out this survey so that we have an understanding of the interest for each location and the number of attendees. The fee for each attendee is $250 and financial institutions may send as many people as they would like. We will have special group rates at hotels.

Please fill out the survey to let us know about your desire to attend a user group meeting in 2015. You will receive an email after the first of the year with additional information for each meeting.

Order Tax Forms

taxTo ensure compatibility with BankTEL software, order your tax forms or checks from our preferred vendor – 1099-MISC/1099-DIV/1099-B are available. Compatible window envelopes and IRS Transmittal forms are shipped with every order. Please submit your contact information and you will receive a response from First Team Marketing & Commercial Printing.

If you would like to order over the phone, call Woodie Bounds at (601) 981-1776 or by email.

To order 1099 forms through BankTEL, please click here.

If you have any questions as to whether or not BankTEL offers a 1099 core interface for your provider, please contact BankTEL support.

For questions concerning Year-End Processing, ordering Tax forms, or assistance with any other BankTEL products, please contact BankTEL support at (662) 245-1007 or support@banktel.com.

Capturing the Elusive Bank Account Switcher

Capturing the elusive bank account

Capturing the Elusive Account Switcher

       In the American banking market, customers have a high rate of switching accounts, seeking after new incentives or better offerings and leaving their current bank behind. How can your bank capture these customers and cause them to choose your bank, or, in the case of current customers, stay with your bank? This begins with understanding how these customers think, and it may not be the way you think they do. AOL and Oliver Wyman recently did a survey and study of account switchers, first-time applicants and account abandoners. The study looked at the clickstream history of over 1,700 participants while also asking them some survey questions. The results can help today’s banks understand how account switchers think, and change their own thinking to be in alignment.

Account Switchers Typically Choose the Bank They Already Like

       According to the study, two out of every three of these potential account switchers had a bank in mind before they started their research, and 90 percent of those who had a definite interest chose that bank they liked. This means that banks who wish to capture account switchers need to stay at the forefront of their target market’s mind, before shopping begins. Your branding, then, needs to be “always on” so your bank comes to mind when the first thought of making a switch occurs.

Account Switchers Are Not Influenced by Cash Offers

       Offering a cash incentive for opening a new checking account may not be as effective as it seems at first. The survey found that 40 percent of switchers were influenced by these offers, the offers themselves were not enough to cause people to make a switch. Instead, your company must have differentiators that are well understood and clearly show how your bank is different. Simply offering some money is not enough.

Client Experience Causes Majority of Switches

       Is your bank operating on the fact that life changes cause the majority of account switches? Getting married, moving, having a child and other life changes can cause people to switch accounts, but surprisingly the survey found that negative experience was the most common cause. Your customers demand a positive experience at your bank, and if they don’t have it, they will move on. So how does this knowledge help you capture account switchers? When people have a negative experience at a bank, they turn to the experiences of their friends and family to help them find a new one. This means that you need to cultivate advocacy from your current customers. When account switchers learn about your bank from their personal network, it becomes a verified candidate in their minds.

People Want to Open Accounts Online, but Can’t

       Finally, the survey found that people are running into a roadblock preventing them from opening accounts conveniently online. One out of every five first-time checking account clients surveyed tried but failed to open an account online. As a result, 40 percent stopped trying to switch banks altogether, indicating that the hassle was too great. To capture that 40 percent, consider making your online account opening simpler. Some banks avoid this because they want to have the customer come into the bank for a face-to-face meeting. Rest assured these meetings will still happen. A full 60 percent of those surveyed indicated that they preferred to open at a branch to speak to a person who can answer questions. You will still get your customers into your bank, but allowing account opening easily online can prevent losing those who want that convenience. So how can your bank capture the elusive account switcher? Learn more about how they think, and make changes to your marketing plan accordingly, and you can land these accounts at your own bank.