The Government Printing Office Federal Credit Union is located in The United States Government Publishing Office in Washington, D.C., and is committed to meeting its members’ financial needs. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in early 2020, the credit union—like most others—was put to the test. A 15+ year relationship with JMFA, which includes both overdraft program consulting and vendor contract negotiations, continues to be a valuable asset.
Contract Negotiations Yield VITAL Savings
With capital down and staff working remotely during the pandemic, Government Printing Office Federal Credit Union’s President and CEO, Stephanie Covington, had been watching operating expenses carefully. Elsewhere, JMFA Contract Optimizer’s National Director Kelly Flynn was keeping tabs on expiration dates of the contracts she and her team had negotiated previously on the credit union’s behalf, which have resulted in savings of nearly $300,000.
That includes GPOFCU’s credit card processing contract, which JMFA negotiated previously for savings of more than $45,000. Seeing it was coming due in 15 months, Flynn let Covington know the credit union was in the perfect timeframe to begin looking at the renewal agreement. For Covington, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Our number one goal was to cut expenses,” Covington said. “We were paying a lot to our credit card processing vendor, and we needed to be efficient with our internal resources.”
After submitting requests for proposals (RFPs), JMFA connected directly with the vendors to discuss volumes and other potential opportunities to net a better deal, including a future debit card processing contract that could be up for grabs. This included quotes for both full-service and pass-thru (or ‘in-house’) options. While GPOFCU previously converted to pass-thru processing and weren’t keen on switching back to full-service, it did provide a complete picture for the credit union to consider, at no extra cost.
Within two weeks of the initial contact, it was time to review the vendor responses.
“What surprised me was the difference in quotes when it came to costs,” Covington said. While the incumbent vendor offered minimal savings, another vendor offered nearly $18,000 per year.
Covington opted to switch vendors to secure better pricing, netting a total savings of $70,840 over a four-year term. The contract was signed and executed in record time.
In addition to the much-needed cost savings, the credit union’s credit and debit cards will now conveniently all be on one platform. JMFA also negotiated the contract to be coterminous with GPOFCU’s debit card processing contract, making it both easier to manage and giving the credit union more leverage when negotiations roll around next time. And finally, the credit union didn’t have to worry about any upfront expenses—JMFA’s contingency pricing means there aren’t any fees to pay until negotiations finish and the contract with the vendor is finalized.
Throughout the process, Covington and her team appreciated JMFA’s responsiveness and having the task taken off their plates as they steadied the credit union during the pandemic.
“Negotiations are not my forte,” she said. “JMFA’s team are the experts. To me, it was a no-brainer. Without JMFA, I probably would have been pulling my hair out!”
Overdraft Guidance on Demand
While JMFA and GPOFCU have a five-year history with contract negotiations, their time together started with a project to implement JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE®. The program and ongoing consulting have helped the credit union develop a sustainable stream of revenue over the years while providing their members a valuable service.
“Some of our members are living paycheck to paycheck,” Covington said. “JMFA’s overdraft program helps them maintain their daily needs. It has been very beneficial for our member base,” helping users to avoid payday loans, borrowing money from family, or overusing credit cards.
With performance-based pricing, JMFA’s success is tied directly to the credit union’s program success; but the access to expert advice and council remains consistent no matter the situation.
“It’s great to have someone reach out to tell us what we need to do to ensure we remain compliant and help us keep up with ever-changing guidelines,” said Carla Baker, GPOFCU’s Director of Finance & Operations. Ebony Stapleton, the credit union’s lead for their overdraft program, and Damian Babineaux, JMFA Senior Relationship Manager, have formed a trusting friendship over the years. When she needs something, she simply reaches out; and if he sees something the credit union needs to address, he does the same. They know he’s keeping a watchful eye and ready to help.
“Kudos to Damian,” Baker said. “When Ebony unexpectedly took a temporary leave of absence last year, he walked me through everything,” to continue managing the program seamlessly.
The credit union has also taken advantage of many resources to improve its overdraft program, including attending virtual learning workshops and JMFA Academy, an in-person event offering comprehensive guidance and best practices.
Silver Linings Amid Unpredictable Situations
JMFA has been a valuable resource to the credit union as it navigates the challenges of the pandemic—and it’s par for the course.
“We’ve had beneficial interactions with JMFA over the years. They’ve always been responsive and proactive,” Covington said.
Covington weighed the cost and benefits of JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE®. After speaking with JMFA Regional Director Donna Gibson about the tracking component, the compliance guarantee, the contingency pricing, and the incomes of other institutions that use the program compared to others, she concluded the program was an asset to the credit union. “With how responsive JMFA is and how they consistently reach out, and the relationship we have with them, it’s been very good.”
As for negotiating with vendors, she said, “I’d let other CEOs know that it’s very beneficial to use JMFA. They have the expertise and know what deals are out there and which vendors are reliable. We definitely want to use JMFA for future [contract] negotiations.”
Despite a future filled with unknowns, Government Printing Office Federal Credit Union does know it can count on JMFA to find savings and help increase non-interest income while remaining 100% compliant.
If you have vendor contracts coming up for renewal in the next 18–24 months, request a free appraisal to find out how much JMFA’s negotiation experts can save you.
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