Riverfront Federal Credit Union

Credit union sees improvements in staff training, member communications and revenue after re-engaging with JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE®

Riverfront Federal Credit Union was established in 1948, as RDG Reading Federal Credit Union, to serve the employees of the historic Reading Railroad. Through the years, other organizations and companies were permitted to join RDG, leading to substantial growth. To reflect the resulting diversity of its field of membership, the credit union was renamed Riverfront Federal Credit Union in 1987. Today, the institution serves nearly 22,000 members with three locations in Berks County, PA.

 After carefully considering options for providing its members with a product to serve as a financial safety net in the event they found themselves short of funds to cover an emergency or unexpected expense, the credit union implemented JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE®. With JMFA’s guidance, the program achieved great success. So, credit union leadership decided not to renew the contract with JMFA, choosing to manage it on their own instead. Over the next few years, they were able to maintain the status quo of the program. But as time passed and regulations changed, it became stale.

Redirecting an outdated overdraft strategy

When Tim McLeod was hired as chief executive officer of Riverfront FCU, he and the management team began to move the credit union in a new direction. They determined that their overdraft program could be much more efficient and effective. Additionally, the team wanted to make sure they could maintain appropriate compliance and management strategies to ensure the program would perform at peak performance for the long term. With this in mind, they decided it was time for an upgrade.

It didn’t take long for McLeod and his team to decide where to turn for assistance. Not only had he used JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® in his prior institution, the Riverfront staff were also acquainted with the company and its program from their initial relationship several years earlier.

“I had done a thorough vetting of all the programs out there with my previous employer and JMFA came out on top of all the other options,” McLeod explained. “Based on my experience with JMFA, as well as the success Riverfront had experienced with its initial exposure to the company’s expertise in the overdraft space, we knew they could help us get our program back on track.”

Setting new program expectations

In addition to improved performance results, the credit union was very focused on maintaining a fully compliant overdraft solution in the changing regulatory environment. JMFA’s regulatory knowledge and expertise were extremely important factors in the selection process. “Over the years, we have developed a lot of confidence in how JMFA looks at compliance,” said Jeff Chelius, Riverfront FCU chief financial officer.

“There are a number of boxes that have to be checked to ensure an overdraft program is compliant. We are certain that JMFA will make sure we are in line with all regulations on the operations side, as well as from an overall industry standpoint.”

When Regulation E was implemented, Riverfront FCU stayed on the sidelines by not offering extended coverage on electronic transactions. Consequently, its program results declined. So, one of the biggest opportunities in its renewed agreement with JMFA was properly offering the service to members on purchases made with their debit card, as well as ATM withdrawals.

“During our initial analysis of how to move the credit union in a new direction, we saw where we were potentially leaving a good service on the table by not offering extended coverage to our members,” explained Steve Lescavage, Riverfront FCU asset recovery manager. “We wanted to make sure that we were doing it the right way to avoid any compliance worries. That is a big reason why we brought JMFA back in to re-evaluate the process and get us to where we are today.”

The benefits of accepting expert advice

Since accepting JMFA’s recommendations, the credit union’s overdraft program has experienced remarkable growth. By providing overdraft privilege to all eligible members at the time of account opening and giving members the opportunity to extend overdraft coverage to electronic transactions, program penetration has risen to nearly 90 percent. Extended coverage opt ins have increased 24 percent. In changing its existing overdraft strategy, the credit union has experienced more than a 142 percent increase in annualized revenue.

Improved training and communications resources

Two additional areas of focus for Riverfront FCU were staff training and member communications. According to Lescavage, JMFA addressed these areas with resources that have helped the credit union extend the value of the program to its intended audience even more.

“JMFA’s trainers are product experts and they have been very effective at conveying their knowledge to our staff,” he said. “What’s more, it’s not a ‘set it and forget it’ proposition, it’s an on-going process. They provide initial training and on-going support to help us keep new employees—as well as existing staff—up to speed whenever we need it.”

He continued, “I was in a recent training session and I could see the difference in people when they walked out of the room—their eyes were opened. The detailed training and resources that JMFA provides give our staff more confidence regarding what to say and what not to say to members about our overdraft program. That is very important from a staff development perspective.”

Chelius concurred, “JMFA offers a total package to support our staff. In addition to the training resources, they provide comprehensive materials that we can use on an on-going basis to avoid straying from the compliance side of things. The staff really appreciate having this kind of support available when they are talking to a member face-to-face or over the phone.”

In addition, JMFA’s approach to member communication is an important aspect of the program. “We had gotten away from properly addressing the program with members, but we have been more disciplined since re-engaging with JMFA,” Chelius said. “We believe the guidance and processes JMFA provides are great resources that have an impact on improving our communications efforts, as well as our program’s success.”

Helping members is what it’s all about

To make sure that the program is benefiting the members, credit union leaders regularly check in with staff to gain their input. “I hear all of the time that members who have the overdraft privilege appreciate the service and want to maintain it,” said Lescavage.

McLeod recounted one example of a conversation he had with a satisfied member. “We had just implemented the program and were working with a gentleman who happened to be a mechanic,” he said. “He needed to buy parts that cost $300 to complete a repair job, but he didn’t have that amount in his checking account. Since this member had opted in for extended overdraft coverage, he was able to pay for the parts, knowing that we would cover the transaction. He was very accepting and happy to pay the $30 fee in order to get what he needed to do this job. That is what the program is intended to do. It is a great service for our members when they need money in this type of situation or another emergency.”

For the best results, listen to the experts

As a basis for comparison, Riverfront FCU has experienced managing its overdraft program alone, as well as by utilizing JMFA’s years of program development and consulting expertise. According to McLeod, the success of JMFA’s process—including the compliance knowledge, training and advice on policies to improve program results, along with the company’s overall professionalism—speaks for itself. “Working with JMFA has enhanced our efforts to move our program in a new direction. They have been a very big part in the success of that initiative.”

He continued, “It has been a pleasure to work with everyone in JMFA’s organization—from the sales side, compliance and training personnel, as well as the implementation team. They have always made sure we have everything we need, and have helped us achieve our goals in a seamless and effortless fashion. I would definitely recommend JMFA to another institution that is interested in making its overdraft program more successful. In fact, I do so as often as I can.”

Government Printing Office FCU



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.

Find out your overdraft program’s potential today with a free analysis. Simply complete this 2-minute form to get started.

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

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Plus4 Credit Union – Overdraft Program Consulting



Established as the Houston Postal Credit Union in 1929, to serve the financial needs of local postal workers, Plus4 Credit Union has continued its legacy of providing affordable financial solutions to a greater field of members since its renaming in 2005. Over the years, the credit union has implemented many programs to help its members accomplish their financial goals.

Plus4 implemented JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® to ensure that its courtesy pay strategy was a responsible and fully compliant option that would help members cover occasional overdrafts caused by unexpected expenses, financial emergencies, and account balancing errors. According to Plus4 CEO Vladimir Stark, the program has enabled the credit union to give its members what they need to protect their finances while providing the institution compliance and program management peace of mind.

After several years of successfully managing their overdraft solution, they became concerned that program results weren’t maintaining a sufficient level of satisfaction for the credit union or its members. “We noticed that we were lacking some consistencies in our program outreach and had some uncertainty about whether our processes and procedures were meeting all regulatory expectations,” explained Stark.

It also was very important to the credit union’s management team and board that they were serving all of their members properly, with options to help them address their individual financial needs. “We wanted to make sure that we were maintaining our overdraft program accurately so it would provide the most benefit to as many members as possible,” he continued.

Based on previous experience with JMFA, Stark and his colleagues were convinced that the company’s overdraft program implementation and maintenance expertise would help Plus4 achieve program consistency that would better serve members and prevent any regulatory risk for the credit union.

Since re-signing with JMFA, Plus4 has continued to experience the benefits of tapping into the company’s knowledge and on-going sensible advice in areas that are critical to its member-focused mission.


According to Stark, a major benefit of working with JMFA is the ability to access the company’s extensive employee training opportunities. “JMFA’s training has always been on-point,” he said. “Now that our employees understand the program more completely, they are much more knowledgeable and consistent in how they present it to our members.”

He has noticed a difference in the attitudes and confidence level of employees after they have completed JMFA’s training. “The folks managing our program were fired up after attending the JMFA Academy,” he commented. “They had more clarity and understood exactly what they had been missing in our program, as well as where they needed to focus in order to fix it. When they came back to the credit union, they shared that training with other employees to spread the knowledge and understanding to their co-workers.”


Before re-signing with JMFA, one of the areas of concern for the credit union was its ability to monitor how members were using the program. “We weren’t able to track program use and results as effectively as we would have liked,” said Stark. “Consequently, we weren’t able to precisely identify which members had opt-ed in to coverage for POS and ATM transactions. Now, with JMFA’s software, we have the means to see who has been participating and can identify which members we haven’t spoken to about the program — or who might need a follow-up to help them use the service more effectively.”


When Plus4 management was contemplating the need to review the credit union’s overdraft strategy, maintaining regulatory compliance was a key driver in the decision to renew its relationship with JMFA. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t violate any regulations related to consumer protection or other regulatory oversight,” said Stark.

“Having JMFA review our disclosures gives everyone much more confidence when it comes to avoiding any type of scrutiny from our examiners or possible civil litigation. Plus, the emails I receive from our consultant team reinforce our ability to keep all staff members up-to-speed on what is required. In turn, that enables us to provide more comprehensive, thoughtful member service.”


Overall, Stark appreciates the commitment JMFA’s team maintains toward the credit union. “I am able to call my contacts to ask questions, request additional training or set up a meeting to discuss an action plan to address any needs we might have,” he explained. “The JMFA team is very responsive and they understand our business and our objectives. They have been a great strategic partner that works along-side our staff to help us accomplish our goals.”


Plus4 Credit Union takes seriously its responsibility to provide its members with the programs and services they rely on to shape their finances for long-term success. For Stark and his team, this means maintaining programs that are based on responsible and sound practices, that utilize technology efficiently, and that are delivered in a consistent and transparent manner.

“Thanks to JMFA’s fully transparent disclosures and on-going communications resources, members have more confidence in what the overdraft service offers,” he said. “As a result, more are inclined to consider the program as an option to support their financial security.”


For anyone who is on the fence about the value a courtesy pay program adds to the member service experience, Stark offers this advice: “If providing excellent service is part of your mission, then JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® is a sensible solution. It is a socially responsible, compliance-guaranteed program that is maintained around sound financial practices.”

From a performance standpoint, Stark believes that a by-product of consistently delivering a solid solution, such as JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE®, is an increased level of comfort and empowerment for members — which leads to stronger relationships and business growth opportunities.

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

Read more Case Studies

River Valley Credit Union – Overdraft Program Consulting



When a low interest rate environment negatively impacts the spread between interest income and interest expense, profitability suffers no matter an institution’s size. Couple that with fewer dependable sources of revenue, and the ability to cover operational costs can be extremely difficult for community banks and credit unions without substantially raising existing fees.

For River Valley Credit Union of Ada, Michigan, overdraft income became a dependable source of revenue after the institution signed a contract to implement JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE®. Over subsequent years, the credit union relied on JMFA’s resources and expertise to keep the program running smoothly despite ongoing regulatory changes and extended periods of low interest rates.

At one point, with the program up and running successfully, credit union leadership decided they could maintain it internally. But they weren’t as happy with the software furnished by their core provider. So, they arranged to undergo a program review by JMFA and have maintained a relationship with the company ever since.

According to River Valley CU CEO Janelle Franke, it’s reassuring to have professional advice when it comes to maintaining such an important revenue source. “Without JMFA’s guidance, our program could easily become neglected and not perform as well as it should,” she said. “Plus, their focus on monitoring important performance trends allows me to address overall credit union growth, membership service quality and ways to increase ROA. Thanks to their involvement, I am confident we are doing things the right way.”

With JMFA’s resources and ongoing support, the program has exceeded initial performance expectations in a number of ways, including:
• total income earned from the program, to-date, has surpassed initial estimates;
• average income improvement over base for the last 12 months alone is 78 percent;
• program penetration has increased from 80 percent at renewal baseline to 92 percent; and
• opt ins for coverage on debit card transactions have increased from 67 percent at baseline to over 80 percent.

Additionally, JMFA’s Privilege Manager CRM® software has provided River Valley CU with a much more comprehensive, user-friendly tool for managing the program than its core provider offered — along with more professionally designed communications materials for staying in touch with program users.

“When we were completing our due diligence and considering a new program management agreement with JMFA, our core provider asked us why we were contracting with a third party since they had the tools we needed to manage the program ourselves,” Franke explained. “But we didn’t feel the end-product was as intuitive or as high quality. With the growing importance of technology management, JMFA’s Privilege Manager CRM® is a more efficient tool for keeping track of the daily activity.”

Plus, with access to more comprehensive program data, JMFA’s support experts have been able to clean up some old baseline information, remove non-performing accounts and provide Franke and her staff with a more complete picture of how the program is performing.

Another upgrade included in Privilege Manager CRM® was the option to utilize cloud technology — something Franke hadn’t previously considered. When JMFA first approached her about the cloud option, she was a little uncertain. “With other changes that were taking place in the credit union at the time, I was hesitant to take on a new initiative,” she said. “Besides, our current set up was working fine.”

But once she saw how simple it would be to make the upgrade and realized the benefits of going to the cloud, she had a change of heart. In addition to providing greater access to the program’s results and ensuring that data was safe from a possible on-site computer glitch, the credit union was able to open a workstation that had been restricted as the location for a standard PC that ran the program software.

“Gaining the additional office space was a tremendous plus for us, along with the reassurance that we don’t have to worry about software licensing or making sure software updates are made appropriately,” Franke explained. “Now everyone is on the same software version and we know everything is being backed up regularly. Without a doubt, utilizing JMFA’s cloud technology has been a huge positive. I definitely think the cloud is the way to go.”

Over the course of the credit union’s continued use of JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE®, employees have come to recognize and appreciate the program’s benefits for members. “The comprehensive training materials JMFA provides have helped our staff understand how the program works and how to best explain it to our members,” said Franke. “Plus, on a regular basis our relationship manager completes a program audit and spends a day or so in the credit union. He is always readily available to answers any questions we have and makes recommendations to keep us on our toes.”

According to Franke, thanks to these resources, the staff realizes that the program is a better option for members than going to a cash advance store and they appreciate the basic intent of JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® is not to help perpetuate living paycheck to paycheck. This helps members to see the program as a safety net or last line of defense when other options have been exhausted. “It definitely fulfills a need for members to be able to pay for an item and not have it returned,” she said.

In addition to regular program audits, Franke welcomes the focus JMFA places on compliance. “JMFA reviews the program to make sure our practices remain in line with compliance regulations and legal expectations. If we were doing this on our own, we could slip out of compliance and not know it. I am confident that JMFA will keep us current on all overdraft regulatory and potential legal issues.”

Franke appreciates the big-picture benefits of having an expert evaluate her credit union’s overdraft program to ensure it is achieving the desired results. “We tried to manage the program on our own for a while — without JMFA’s support and software, while juggling many other credit union management responsibilities — and our results declined,” she said.

“JMFA’s ongoing recommendations on when and where to make improvements have greatly impacted our revenue and member service quality,” she added. “They just know how to maintain an overdraft privilege program better. And in the end, you get what they have promised.”

What Franke didn’t expect in the relationship with JMFA was the additional efforts the company’s consultants have made to point out other areas where the credit union could grow its business. “JMFA has gone above and beyond to bring other ideas besides overdraft privilege to the table — such as lending programs and loan recapture strategies — to help us succeed,” she said. “I know that working with JMFA will give us better results than we could ever get on our own — whatever the interest rate environment.”

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

Read more Case Studies

Baton Rouge Telco FCU – Vendor Contract Negotiations


With four branches and $359 million in assets, Baton Rouge Telco Federal Credit Union prides itself on keeping costs down and getting things done in-house. But sometimes, it pays to ‘have a little help from your friends.’ That’s what CEO Darryl Long discovered, and it ended up saving his credit union more than $3 million.

It all started amid breaks at a credit union conference, where another Louisiana credit union shared their contract savings success story with a Baton Rouge Telco employee. After hearing this trusted advice, Long realized JMFA could help his credit union negotiate its soon-to-expire debit and credit card processing contract.

Overcoming Initial Doubts
In the past, when a vendor contract came due, the credit union staff would review the renewal and once in a while get quotes from other vendors, then finish the deal themselves.

“I was a bit skeptical about bringing in JMFA,” said David Karisny, Senior Vice President and CFO. “We have a history of doing this ourselves, with some cost-saving success. But I also felt we were leaving money on the table and that we didn’t have all of the information needed to make the most competitive counteroffer.”

With that in mind, Karisny and Long enlisted additional expertise to explore their savings opportunities. “My goal was to achieve greater savings than we could on our own,” said Karisny, “and have JMFA bring more creativity to the negotiation process than we knew how to.”  The credit union wanted to make sure they were getting the best deal compared to their peers—and JMFA’s extensive knowledge of what vendors charge other credit unions for services gave them the best possible leverage to do so.

The initial appraisal projected an annual savings of $77,628 for the credit union’s debit and credit card processing contract, a pleasant surprise to Long and Karisny. However, they would soon learn their future included more savings than they could have imagined.

Savings … Upon Savings … Upon Savings 

What began as one contract negotiation turned into a three-contract project.

Debit and credit card processing
The JMFA team provided full support for managing the process—they issued requests for proposals (RFPs) with rates the vendor needed to meet to win their renewed business, the proposals were reviewed, and counteroffers were made. After looking at the offers for both five- and seven-year terms from its current vendor, the credit union decided on the shorter term.

Results of the negotiations identified $113,088 in annual savings for the credit union, along with a $75,000 signing bonus AND 11 months of retroactive savings valued at $103,644. Baton Rouge Telco also walked away with no annual price increase for three years, free tickets to the vendor’s annual convention, a favorable early termination schedule and competitive deconversion fees.

If that were the end of the story, everybody would have been satisfied. On the contrary, JMFA Contract Optimizer’s National Director Kelly Flynn had also pointed out early on that the credit union was missing out on major savings by not having a card brand agreement in place with its vendor. Needless to say, JMFA was on it.

Card brand agreement
To get started, calls with major card brands were promptly set up so the credit union could hear their value propositions. After discussing the proposals, the credit union preferred staying with their current brand unless the other vendor offered significantly more to switch. As a result of additional counteroffer negotiations, more substantial deals were achieved.

The credit union ultimately chose to stay with their current vendor based on years of positive experience. Plus, they would get to avoid going through a conversion and switching out member cards.

How much money had been left on the table by not having this agreement in place? The new negotiated contract will earn the credit union $1,721,000 over ten years, including a signing bonus of $280,000, funding to upgrade cards to “contactless,” and marketing support.

Long was delighted and appreciative to uncover this new opportunity. “I have a close relationship with other credit unions, and I think a lot of them don’t know about card brand agreements, either. Without JMFA, we would still be in the dark about it.”

As these negotiations wrapped up with unprecedented savings for Baton Rouge Telco, one more contract had an expiration date looming—and the credit union knew JMFA could work its magic again.

Digital banking 
For the third and final contract of this project, set to expire in approximately 13 months, Long and Karisny already knew they wanted to stay with their current digital banking vendor and have JMFA handle the negotiations. The Contract Optimizer team presented the credit union with an appraisal report, including projected annual savings of $104,610. Soon after, negotiations began they concluded in record time with new lower rates taking effect for a full year of retroactive savings.

Baton Rouge Telco will now be able to provide a mobile suite of services through a single app—a huge convenience to members that not all credit unions offer. Having multiple channels to conduct business outside of the physical credit union is especially valuable now that more people have shifted to mobile banking during the pandemic.

Additionally, Baton Rouge Telco gained a bevy of other benefits:
·       A reduction in one-time fees by $18,250
·       A favorable annual price increase clause
·       $5,500 per year in new product and services savings

New products and services which the credit union will be implementing included:
·       Card controls, for members to turn their card on and off via their app
·       A new remote deposit platform
·       Upgraded services to enhance marketing and cross-selling efforts, including the ability to execute data-driven campaigns

The new contract represents a win-win scenario for both the credit union and the vendor. With the additional savings, Baton Rouge Telco can now reinvest that money with the vendor in new services they’d already planned on adding, without making a dent in its operating budget.

All in all, JMFA found Baton Rouge Telco Federal Credit Union $3.2 million over the course of the three contracts.

“The savings realized was significantly higher than what we’d seen in the past when we negotiated with vendors ourselves,” said Karisny. “The debit and credit card signing bonus was nearly triple what we got last time when we did the negotiations in-house. Plus, the branding contract was a huge benefit we were totally missing out on.”

The proof is in the savings
Before negotiations began, Long admits to having some doubts about whether JMFA would try to convince him to switch to another vendor. “That never happened,” he said. “I never felt any pressure to go one way or another; JMFA just advised us to go with the vendor we felt most comfortable with.”  This vendor-agnostic approach is precisely why JMFA Contract Optimizer is able to get the absolute best deals for its clients.

Karisny also had to overcome reservations about outsourcing the negotiation process. “We’re a relatively small credit union, and our staff wears a lot of hats,” he said. “We usually like to do things ourselves, but we’re spread thin—even more so since COVID-19 came along—and bringing in JMFA freed us up to do other things. It was a smooth process—JMFA did all of the work.”

In the end, they both came around quickly when they saw how JMFA worked as their partner in their best interests. “They made it easy. We got better pricing—much more than if we’d done it ourselves,” Long said. “Even if you think you’re getting a good deal from a vendor, you really don’t know. But JMFA does. It was an incredibly positive experience. We will certainly use them again.”

Long also wants to share his success with others so that everyone can benefit. “The more credit unions JMFA can help, the more experience and leverage they bring to the table for all of us. Our credit union will continue to benefit from their collective knowledge.”

Baton Rouge Telco Federal Credit Union’s route to more than $3.2 million in savings started with a straightforward conversation. How much can negotiation experts save you?

Start the conversation by requesting a free appraisal of your vendor contracts up for renewal in the next 18-24 months.

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

Read more Case Studies