Stay current with vendor changes in the areas of personnel, technologies, solutions, and applications.
2. Get competitive bids
Require at least two bids. Three is preferable. Make sure new agreements have specific, business-related targets.
If your credit union lacks negotiating expertise, hire someone to negotiate your contract. Expert negotiation can save a credit union thousands of dollars—even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Develop achievable, specific service-level agreements. Don’t be afraid to have your own agreement with the vendor. Remember, it’s your partner.
3. Evaluate the provider’s experience and expertise.
Determine if the service provider’s expertise is dependent upon another third party or affiliated expertise, or whether the expertise is available in-house.
Identify the company’s key management leaders, consultants, or advisers. And identify areas where the credit union must supplement the service provider’s expertise to fully manage its risk areas.
4. Weigh the company’s industry reputation
Request a client list that includes the length of service relationship from the service provider. Contact credit union industry references to learn about the company’s industry reputation, performance, and user group contacts, service issues, and contract issues.
Contact user groups for additional references. Include credit unions that have had negative experiences with the company to determine potential problems and the firm’s reputation for responsiveness to service disruptions and dispute resolution.
Request an opportunity to conduct on-site examinations of credit union references.
5. Explore the company’s product reputation and performance
Request and understand information regarding products and services, including full product specifications.
Determine—either on your own or by retaining qualified expertise—whether the product meets your credit union's needs.
Inquire about timing of projected new releases, updates, or corrections.
6. Verify the company’s financial condition
7. Examine key operations issues
Confirm the service provider has adequate staff and physical capacity to meet service requirements, and determine who will work with or support your credit union.
Evaluate the company’s knowledge of applicable compliance regulations related to the product or service, and obtain the vendor’s customer service standards, such as 24/7 availability.
8. Review key legal issues
Confirm the service provider’s ownership of all proprietary interests in the product or service, and confirm the company’s type of entity, legal existence, and good standing.
9. Make on-site visits, as needed
Visit prospective vendors, if necessary and warranted, to meet and confirm staff and facilities capacity. Also, schedule and visit credit union references to confirm satisfaction of the operating product/system and interview the actual, day-to-day users.