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Building an Effective Vendor Management Program: A Step-by-Step Guide for Credit Unions

June 28, 2023

A vendor management program is a strategic framework that enables credit unions to evaluate, select, monitor and manage their third-party vendors effectively. Implementing such a program requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here's a step-by-step guide to help credit unions develop a comprehensive vendor management program.

Step 1: Define Program Objectives

Clearly identify the objectives of your vendor management program, such as regulatory compliance, risk reduction, cost optimization and service quality enhancement. Align these objectives with your credit union's overall strategic goals.

Step 2: Establish Governance Structure

Formulate a governance structure that outlines roles, responsibilities and decision-making processes. Appoint a vendor management team comprising representatives from various departments to ensure comprehensive oversight.

Step 3: Conduct Vendor Risk Assessment

Evaluate potential vendors based on their financial stability, industry reputation, security protocols, regulatory compliance and service offerings. Develop a risk rating system to prioritize vendors based on their criticality to your credit union's operations.

Step 4: Create Vendor Due Diligence Procedures

Develop a standardized due diligence process that includes collecting essential vendor information, performing background checks and assessing their information security, business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities.

Step 5: Establish Contractual Agreements

Craft clear and comprehensive contracts that address all critical aspects, such as service-level agreements, data protection, confidentiality, termination clauses and dispute resolution mechanisms. Review contracts periodically to ensure ongoing compliance.

Step 6: Monitor Vendor Performance

Regularly evaluate vendor performance against predefined metrics, such as service levels, responsiveness and compliance. Establish protocols for monitoring vendor financial stability, regulatory changes and security incidents.

Developing a vendor management program is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, review and improvement. By following this step-by-step guide, credit unions can establish a well-structured vendor management program that enables them to forge strategic partnerships while effectively managing risks and compliance.

Connect with CUVM to learn more.


Currently serving over 200 credit unions in 36 states, CUVM offers a cost-effective and dependable way to manage vendor regulatory due diligence. It offers a holistic approach to managing contracts that takes the burden off credit unions’ already full plate. The streamlined vendor management process saves time and resources, and may even lower operational expenses for your credit union.