Four Letters. Infinite Potential.
Exposed! 6 Contract Negotiations Secrets Revealed

Exposed! 6 Contract Negotiations Secrets Revealed

By Kelly Flynn, National Director

After more than 12 years helping banks and credit unions optimize their service contracts through expert negotiations with vendors, I have picked up a number of secrets that have empowered JMFA clients across the nation to take the reins and experience substantial savings on their vendor agreements. Today, I’d like to share with you a few tips to help you get the best deal from your service providers.

Secret #1: Humility can equal significant savings.

What I’ve found over the years is that there’s so much changing in the marketplace with technology contracts (like core processing, Internet banking, custom bill pay and debit cards), that even those adept at negotiating in other situations may not have the information they need to negotiate with these types of vendors.

There are a lot of different line items that can be negotiated within a certain contract. But unless you do this all the time (like we do at JMFA), you probably won’t know what to ask for on each line item, what concessions can be made, or what line items are strictly pass-through costs that can’t be negotiated, regardless of the vendor.

Once we run the numbers, people who think they did a really good job negotiating their contract five years ago realize they could have actually saved a lot more. But, they couldn’t have known that, because they don’t have a comprehensive an up-to-date database like we do.

Secret #2: Be realistic about how long the process takes—and plan ahead.

Give yourself plenty of time to work through the entire contract review process—you’re easily looking at 4-6 months, and sometimes even longer with a large contract like core processing or card processing.

I can’t say it enough: you must plan ahead, about 18-24 months from the contract expiration date you really need to start evaluating the contract. Trying to get a good deal 6 months before your contract expires doesn’t give you enough time to evaluate all your options, and you risk getting backed into a corner with less bargaining power.  Additionally, if the contract includes a non-renewal you will probably miss the deadline.

Secret #3: Don’t be afraid to consider other vendors.

Look at other providers. Don’t get complacent and comfortable. What you could be missing out on are significant savings, discounts and even marketing assistance. As tech advances, the marketplace is changing rapidly, especially with mergers. You don’t want to get stuck on the same path just because you’re afraid of change.

There’s a lot of competition in the marketplace, and I think a lot of institutions aren’t fully aware of who is out there, especially if they’ve been with the same provider for 10 to 15 years. Don’t be afraid to put the service out to bid. There might be a better alternative or better business fit, especially if you’ve been with the same vendor. I always say, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know.’

Secret #4: Practice due diligence when researching a third-party negotiator.

Consider how much experience a consultant has in the financial services arena. Today, many consultants dabble in many different industries; one that focuses solely on financial services will have that much more knowledge, expertise and influence with vendors.

Ask for references and reach out to them. We use case studies to promote our expertise and real, measurable results.

Also, ask how many and what types of contracts they have negotiated in the past year. If they’ve only handled one or two, their database definitely won’t be updated.

Secret #5: Vendors are used to working with third-party negotiators.

It’s becoming more and more commonplace for financial institutions to use a consultant for contract negotiations. Probably around 50% of them do—and the vendors are aware of this. When we started this service years ago, the vendors really put up some resistance—but now it’s not that way at all. We have vendors calling us all the time to make us aware of what they’re rolling out, so that when we talk to institutions, we’re up to date with what the vendors are offering.

Secret #6: The name of the game is BUNDLING.

If you use a vendor for multiple services, you tend to get more discounts when you bundle those services. However, make sure these contracts run coterminous, meaning they each have the same expiration date. If you have overlapping contract expiration dates, it makes it much harder to leave the vendor down the road if you need or want to.

Ready to experience firsthand how JMFA can help you secure significant savings on your next contract negotiation? Request a free contract analysis today.

JMFA is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Whether it’s recovering lost revenue, uncovering new savings with vendor contract negotiations, creating more value, serving account holders better or delivering a 100% compliant overdraft service—JMFA can help you deliver measurable results with proven solutions. To learn more, please contact your local representative or call us at (800) 809-2307.


12 months 2020 2020 vision 40 years abusive abusiveness Academy account holder account holder retention account holder strategies account holder strategies; growth strategies; account holders accountability Achieve achievements Advancements Advice Agreement analysis Analytics announcement Assistance ATMs Attendees attorneys attracting talent Automation B2B Balance Bank Bank of Pacific Banking banking services banks banks and credit unions batching Benefit best practices board governance board member board of directors Bob Layendecker bottom line branch equipment branch profitability branding Bryan Hanks budget bundling business business culture business environment business practices business processes business strategies career advice Career Goal case studies Case Study CEO CEO onboarding certainty CFPB Challenges change charitable Cher Cheryl Lawson Choose Chris Karstens claim clarity class action Classroom clients Cloud Cohron CommFirst Federal Credit Union commitment Communication communications communities community Community Outreach Referral Program Competition Competitive Complaint Compliance compliance examinations compliance risks compliant condition conduct Conferences Consistency Consistent consultant Consultation consulting Consumer Consumer FInancial Protection Bureau consumer protection Consumer-focused Consumers Contingency Contingency Pricing contingency-based fees Contract Contract Analysis Contract Negotiation contract negotiations Contract Optimizer Contract Renegotiations contract review contract staffing Contracts Convenience core processor contracts Cornerstone Credit Union League coronavirus corporate culture corporate governance costs Courtesy Pay COVID-19 CPE credits Credit Card credit card contracts credit cards Credit Union credit unions Crissandra Fry CSS culture customer service cyber security Damian Data Data Analytics database Deal debit card contracts Debt deceptive Decisions Demand Letters Deposit Development Dick Miller digital directors Disclosed disclosures discounts Discussion Dodd-Frank Act donation Donna Sumrall Dynamic economy Education efficiency studies election Email Emergencies Emergency employee employee retention employees EMV migration enforce enforcement Engagement Errors evaluation Evolve executive search Expectations Expense expense management expense reduction expenses Experience Expert expert negotiations Experts Facilitators FastTrack FDIC Federal Reserve Federal Reserve Board fee Feedback fees Financial Financial Institution financial institutions financial services financial stability Financial Worry FinTech Fixed limits Floyd's Forum Free Analysis full disclosure Fully fully disclosed overdraft program funds Gen Z Generating Income generating leads generation Generation Z Gift Goals governance government Grow Gym Halloween Hammond Happiness health hiring HKW Holiday Holidays HR HR policies Hubur human capital human resources Implementation important Improved improved efficiencies improved results Inc. income income enhancement Innovate Innovative Institution interests interview strategies interview tips IT contracts Jackson Jai Jai Darden James Jamone Moore Jan Southern Jennifer Peoples Jennifer Simmons Jim Griffis Jimmy Nguyen JMFA JMFA Academy JMFA clients JMFA News JMFA Next Generation Overdraft Privilege Joe Marsh John Cohron John M. Floyd John M. Floyd & Associates judicial justification Kelly Flynn Kennedy law lawsuits Lawyer leaders leadership Learn Learning Legal legislative lending program Lesson Limit Limits Literacy litigation litigators loans local Long Term Long-Term lost revenue Maggie Thompson Maintenance manage management Mark Roe marketing marketplace Matrix Matrix-based measurable measurable results Member Members Midwest Region Millennial Millennials Mississippi Missouri Mobile Banking monetary Money Most Valuable Provider NAFCU NCUA Negative Settlement Negotiate negotiating contracts negotiator Net Operating Analysis New Decade New Year New Year's Next Generation JMFA Overdraft Privilege NOA Non-Interest Income NSF fees OCC Oliver Ireland onboarding Online Opportunities Opportunity Opt-In Organizational Health Outcomes outsourcing Overdraft overdraft compliance overdraft coverage overdraft fees overdraft practices Overdraft Privilege overdraft privilege program overdraft program Overdraft programs overdraft protection programs Overdraft Protection Service overdraft service overdraft services overdraft strategy overdrafts Overspending Partner Paul McFarland paycheck emergency payday loans Payments Pennsylvania performance personnel plan planning Plus4 Credit Union Policy POS Positive Swipe practice practices Press Release Privilege Manager CRM proactive procedure process process improvement Processing product profitability Productivity Products Professional Profitability Improvement Program Program Management programs prohibited project staffing Promotions Proposals Provider providers Quality Reactive reality Recruitment Services recruitment strategies refer referral Reg E regional director regulation regulations regulators regulatory relationship Relationships Renegotiate Renewal Reporting Reputation resolutions Resources Results Retail Retaining Employees Retention Retirement revenue revenue enhancement review Richard Miller risk risks ROI Ron Jennings Roy Roy Seifert Rules Ryan Armstrong Sales Satisfaction savings secrets Security senate service service agreements service contracts service delivery Services Sessions settlement shareholders Sheila Bridges Shopping social distancing Social Events social media Software Solution Spending staff staff development staff spotlight staff training staffing staffing gaps staffing studies staffing study stakeholders standard Statistics Strategic Planning Strategies Strategy Stressful succeed Success success factors Succession plan succession planning Support survey Susan Prell talent team team members technology technology costs technology upgrades technology utilization temporary staff term Text third-party providers threat three Tim Strandquist Time Tools Tracking Trainer training transaction Transparency Transparent Travel Treats trends Trey Martin Trust UDAAP unfair updates Upgrades Value Variable Vendor vendor agreements vendor contracts vendor performance vendors violation Walker Washington Webinars weeks Westmoreland Community FCU Whitney & Company Wish list women work Workshops