Football Time and Vendor Selection

September 12th, 2017 by James Atkinson

Growing up in Clemson S. C. and a graduate of that institution many years ago, I tie many events to football. In the South, be it Clemson or Alabama, or whatever school, we live and breathe football this time of year. With football time, comes vendor selection time for banks who outsource many of their independent reviews for economic or specific expertise purposes...a must to get vendor selection made as the budget is under preparation in the last quarter of the year for the coming year.

Once that selection is made, the upcoming independent review the next year (I always said in my past days when I performed independent reviews for bank clients) should be like preseason football, you want to locate all your weaknesses, remembering this is pre-season, with the regulatory examiner review being the Championship Game.

Now clients did not always like the concepts of locating weaknesses. How many times did I hear: “but on the last exam, they never said anything about that…” – but had you rather a good independent reviewer do your exam and cite issues before a regulatory examiner does so you can take corrective action or would you rather that independent reviewer note nothing and a regulatory examiner nail you for say a BSA pillar violation???

Another thing is pricing. Now we all want to get the best pricing on anything we buy. But remember you get what you pay for. When you price out a BSA review, for example, to five vendors, likely one will be two or three times the price of most vendors, three will be about the same, and one will be very low. That very low one may be in and out and done and may have no findings for you. and that makes you feel good, you checked it off and got a good price, made everyone happy because the review did not cost much, and had no findings. But will you feel as good come the Championship Game?? If your team plays an easy schedule, are you as prepared for that Championship Game??? My advice is make your selection from among the three who priced about the same.

Make sure the selected vendor has liability coverage, has experienced and banking seasoned review personnel, and that the review scope covers those highest risk compliance areas specific to your institution as well as regulatory defined mandates – all important points in vendor selection.

Then don’t ignore those findings till the next exam – track and correct them.

Keeping these points in mind will put you confidently in that Championship Game.