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Government Printing Office FCU

CREDIT UNION GAINS VITAL SAVINGS, EXPERT ADVICE, AND PEACE OF MIND

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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“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.

Read more Case Studies

The Bank of Marion – Overdraft Program Consulting

BANK RENEWS AND PROCLAIMS: “IF IT’S NOT BROKE, DON’T TRY TO FIX IT.”

The Bank of Marion (BoM) was founded in 1874, making it the third-oldest bank in Virginia. With $351 million in assets and 14 locations across Southwest Virginia (plus a branch across the state line in Johnson City, Tennessee), the bank continues to thrive by giving its account holders the latest and greatest offerings along with good old-fashioned customer care.

WHY MESS WITH SUCCESS?
The Bank of Marion signed on to implement JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® after seeing a decline in performance and service from its previous vendor. Then, after their initial engagement, the bank signed a renewal contract with JMFA with no hesitation. What made this decision so easy?

According to BoM CFO Chris Snodgrass, “We’re not the experts on overdraft, JMFA is. It’s our largest source of non-interest income — why not remain partnered with the experts and keep that income steady?”

More specifically, the bank found the ongoing monitoring by JMFA to be invaluable in maintaining both performance and compliance.

PERSONALLY MONITORING PERFORMANCE
Snodgrass enthusiastically recalls how JMFA has had a presence during the entire five years of the bank’s initial contract.

First, there are the monthly reports which show key profitability areas. Second, every two to three months, there is a deeper dive into the metrics with data analysis to review what looks good, what is doing ok, and what needs attention. And third, every year, the JMFA team offers Snodgrass a comprehensive and detailed check-in.

But that’s not all. JMFA also visits The Bank of Marion on-site each year to re-interview Snodgrass, the bank’s Operations Officer, and the employee who administers the overdraft program. And each year, according to Snodgrass, they discover a few things that the bank hadn’t fully implemented, shining light on new opportunities.

“When we implemented our customer acquisition and growth program [with another vendor],” Snodgrass said, “we doubled our account openings and our charge-offs went up. They monitored that and after implementing his recommendations, we got our charge-offs down and more in-line with the peer-group averages for JMFA’s client base.”

This personalized, ongoing monitoring and service proved a stark contrast to the overdraft vendor that BoM used previously, which rarely contacted the bank aside from collecting the yearly software maintenance fee.

“Before JMFA,” said Snodgrass, “I couldn’t tell you all the data points, but now, we’ve dialed into those key metrics on the monthly reports.”

This personalized, ongoing monitoring and service proved a stark contrast to the overdraft vendor that BoM used from 2003 to 2013, which rarely made contact with the bank aside from collecting the yearly software maintenance fee.

“Before JMFA,” said Snodgrass, “I couldn’t tell you all the data points; but now, we’ve dialed in to those key metrics on the monthly reports.”

MAINTAINING COMPLIANCE
In keeping with JMFA’s 100% compliance guarantee, the compliance component of the program has also impressed Snodgrass and BoM, saving them time, money, and headaches.

For instance, the bank often sends out educational mailings. If any regulatory changes occur, JMFA immediately notifies BoM about what needs to be updated—then confirms that those changes have been made when on-site for the comprehensive review.

“That review is important not only from an income perspective but also from a compliance and risk management perspective as well,” Snodgrass said.

On why BoM renewed with JMFA, he said, “I know from talking with my JMFA reps that some clients decide to go off-contract and try to do it on their own, but we decided that the ongoing fine-tuning is a clear benefit. If you leave something untouched, best practices will fade over time—things get lost in transitions, between changes in employees.”

But, Snodgrass is confident that that the ongoing monitoring and customer service from JMFA would catch anything that slipped through their team, preserving the integrity and profitability of the overdraft program.

“As a retail-focused bank, we’re spending a significant amount of money acquiring new customers. I think it would be foolish to not to keep the good systems [from JMFA] in place.”

LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND
The Bank of Marion has also taken advantage of JMFA’s educational resources over the years.

The bank’s training manager leads the bank’s new teller training and annual refresher training. Parts of those trainings include how to open a new account — a process that uses scripts provided by JMFA for overdraft opt-in.

The bank has also sent two employees to Houston for continuing education through the JMFA Academy. Snodgrass reports that upon returning, the employees felt more engaged, had a more comprehensive view of what they were doing, and felt proud of the services the bank offers to its account holders

CONTINUED SUCCESS MAKES FOR AN EASY CHOICE
Since implementing JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® and its customer acquisition program, the Bank of Marion has seen considerable growth. Comparing quarterly reports of all the banks in Virginia, The Bank of Marion’s fee income as a percentage of assets regularly outperforms the average of the larger banks in the state with $1 billion or more in assets. Snodgrass notes that this is particularly outstanding, as BoM doesn’t have the trust departments or mortgage servicing that some of those larger banks have.

“Some of the numbers are kind of hard to believe,” said Snodgrass. “When I talk to other bankers, I show them our numbers and they see it. But you have to believe results [like ours] can be true for your bank. It’s been a fantastic thing for us and our customers.”

In closing, Snodgrass suggests other banks and credit unions don’t delay in contacting JMFA about its overdraft program.

JMFA is proud to continue delivering exceptional service to The Bank of Marion and helping to provide a fully disclosed, 100% compliant overdraft program and valuable service to its account holders.

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

The Bank of Marion – Vendor Contract Negotiations

VENDOR CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS SUCCESS STORY

After working with us to implement JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE® and achieving great results, The Bank of Marion decided to test our expertise in contract negotiations. What began as a request to renegotiate one contract turned into a three-contract project that resulted in seven-digit savings over 10 years, tremendously exceeding the bank’s expectations.

ONE SUCCESS STORY LEADS TO ANOTHER
Established in 1874, The Bank of Marion is the third-oldest bank in the state. With $351 million in assets and 14 locations across Southwest Virginia (plus another branch across the state line in Johnson City, Tennessee), the bank owes its growth and stability in large part to its hometown customer care and emphasis on serving the community.

A SURPRISING DISCOVERY
When President/CEO, Chris Snodgrass reviewed the income and expenses from the bank’s debit card processing invoices, he hit an unexpected wall.

“I’ve been in banking my whole career … but a lot of the line items on those 10- to 12-page invoices were foreign to me,” Snodgrass explained. “Even our operations officer, Billy [Buchanan], who has been in IT and back-room operations most of his career, had questions,” he said, when it came to certain items on the bill.

Snodgrass and Buchanan then had an IT consultant take a look at the bills. After evaluating the pass-through fees from the card brand vendor and other expenses from the card processing vendor, the consultant delivered some astonishing news: for every dollar of additional revenue the bank generated through their card program, they were only receiving $0.48.

“We were opening tons of accounts, doing all this work—and well over half of it was going to our card processor and card brand vendor!” said Snodgrass. “The deal we had was clearly not a very good deal for us.”

OLD FRIENDS REUNITE
The Bank of Marion worked with JMFA to implement JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGE®. During that process, the bank took the time to learn about the JMFA Contract Optimizer program.

Given at the time they had just signed a new contract with a credit card processor the bank didn’t see a need for the service. However, after Snodgrass and Buchanan’s review of recent invoices, they started to reconsider. And after experiencing strong results for their overdraft program using JMFA’s team of consultants, they were curious about the company’s assessment of their vendor contracts.

“After we talked with Kelly and [JMFA project manager] JT Cullen, we said, ‘Look, these guys are doing it all the time. They’re seeing all the major vendors every month, they’re dealing with contracts … let’s give them a try,” said Snodgrass.

JMFA GETS TO WORK
Cullen told Snodgrass that they could certainly renegotiate the debit card processor contract. But he also suggested switching from one EFT network to another, saying The Bank of Marion could make more on their interchange.

“We wouldn’t have even thought of that,” explained Snodgrass. “We were thinking small; we were thinking, OK, we’ll negotiate with our card processor and get a better deal on that. But JT had all this experience and knowledge and knew that we could work the network contract as well as ‘level up’ with our card brand vendor to move up to a preferred customer status.”

Indeed, that’s how it played out. Cullen asked Buchanan and Snodgrass to send over their 5-10 year debit card volume projections. Cullen shared these projections with the card brand vendor, and asked them to provide their best offer or he might start submitting requests for proposals (RFPs) to other vendors. The card brand vendor came back offering the bank a preferred vendor status and a number of incentives, including a $90,000 signing bonus. Over the 10-year contract, the Bank of Marion will save $682,000.

On top of that, the card processing renegotiation will save them $426,100 over seven-years — a 17% savings.

The bank will also save $401,100 over seven years with the new EFT network contract.

The bank plans to use these additional funds for mobile and online banking upgrades to provide better customer-facing technology for its account holders.

“Tapping into the knowledge of the JMFA team took our contract negotiations to a level that we just couldn’t have taken it to,” said Snodgrass. “And even after paying JMFA for their services, we’re still saving much more in hard dollars than if we had done it ourselves.”

TIME IS EVERYTHING
In addition to the monetary savings and other incentives received, Snodgrass and Buchanan noted that the time savings achieved by using JMFA was incredible.

“JMFA provided detail work that would have taken us hours and hours,” said Snodgrass of the three contract negotiations. “It was an efficient use of the bank’s time.” Having an experienced and knowledgeable team working on their behalf let them focus on their larger projects and goals without having to switch gears and dig into the minutia of the contracts.

JMFA also provided an unmatched level of service. Though The Bank of Marion had used a different contract negotiator previously for its core processor negotiations, Snodgrass said they found JMFA to be more thorough and detailed.

One example of this occurred after the bank received the first vendor bills under the new contract terms. The JMFA team was thorough and evaluated actual billing against the new agreement to make sure everything lined up correctly. Plus, they took the time to explain the intricacies of the contracts to Snodgrass and Buchanan. JMFA will also keep track of when contracts are set to expire so the bank can start the negotiations well ahead of time and secure the best deals. In the past, those critical dates had sometimes slipped by The Bank of Marion; but now, they’ll have time on their side.

NOTHING TO LOSE, SO MUCH TO GAIN
With this successful experience in the books, The Bank of Marion plans to contact Flynn for another upcoming contract negotiation, and recommends JMFA without hesitation.

He notes that any bank or credit union considering JMFA for contract negotiations should give them a try. With contingency-based fees, it’s basically risk-free—if JMFA can’t find additional savings, there’s no cost involved.

JMFA is proud to be a trusted ally for The Bank of Marion in its contract optimization—and overdraft program—needs.

To learn more about getting the most out of your vendor contracts, contact Kelly Flynn at Kelly.Flynn@JMFA.com.

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