Offset Rising Prices with Advantageous Contract Terms
Kelly Flynn, National Director
If you have vendor contracts expiring within the next 12-24 months, it’s imperative that you do not let them auto-renew. Why? Because it’s possible you’re not getting the most advantageous deal. And in these trying times, protecting your bottom line is more important than ever.
Inflation has risen more than 8% in 2022 and caused the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to jump significantly. In September 2022, there was a 6.6% increase in the CPI over the last year for all items except for food and energy. As a result, financial institutions are experiencing increased product and service costs.
Nearly every service contract is affected by the CPI, too. Take card processing services, for example. At a 6.6% increase in the CPI, a financial institution that typically pays $20,000 per month for the service could end up paying an additional $15,840 annually. And that’s just for one of many necessary services.
Plus, with many question marks about the future of the economy, those rates could very well continue to rise. Having a strategy to fight back against these increases is essential.
AVOID MISSING OUT ON POTENTIAL SAVINGS
One of the best ways to combat this rise in costs — and limit the effects on your bottom line — is to ensure you have the most favorable contract terms with your vendors. That means examining your contract expiration dates and making plans to renegotiate at the optimal time.
While the easy choice for all involved is to let agreements auto-renew without asking questions or pressing for a better rate, that doesn’t make financial sense for you. With a contract expiration on the horizon and other vendor options, YOU have the upper hand in the negotiation process. Make your vendors re-earn your business instead of just giving it to them.
A PROCRASTINATION-PROOF PLAN FOR VENDOR NEGOTIATIONS
Though you may be short-staffed or knee-deep in other important tasks, contract optimization is one housekeeping item you shouldn’t put aside. The following items should move up to the top of the to-do list:
- Gather your vendor contracts. Although it’s smart to always renegotiate all contracts before they auto-renew, start with the most important, highest cost contracts if you’re pressed for time: core processing, debit and credit card processing, Internet banking and card brand agreements. These are the contracts you’re most likely to secure substantial savings on, as well as more favorable terms to combat rising inflation.
- Check expiration/renewal dates. Look for any contracts set to expire or renew in the next 12 to 24 months. This is the optimal timeframe for renegotiating with your vendors (and/or requesting proposals from other vendors) to get the best deal.
- Evaluate your resources. Determine whether you have someone in-house with the experience necessary to both handle the project AND secure the maximum amount of savings. This is the step that can find you the most savings — if you know exactly what to ask for.
For best results, consider engaging with a third-party expert to examine your contracts line item by line item. They’ll be able to estimate your potential savings based on direct proprietary knowledge of what other financial institutions pay for the same products and services. They can also examine the contract terms to see if they are in your best interest. This step should be free of charge, so you have nothing to lose by exploring this option.
Once you complete these three simple steps, the hardest part is done. You’ll have an estimated savings in hand and an ally that can take the reins of the entire process for you.
With inflation and the CPI continually rising, I encourage you to take control of your vendor agreements and reach out for a free analysis of your contracts to see how much money you can save, plus the additional value you can gain. It will likely be an eye-opening experience to see just how much an industry expert in contract negotiations can help enhance your financial institution’s bottom line.
ADVANTAGE, powered by JMFA, is dedicated to empowering financial institutions with strategic solutions for growth and success. Our comprehensive services include overdraft program consulting and compliance, checking account acquisition strategies, contract negotiation expertise, and consulting for technology strategy, evaluation and selection. With a rich history of serving credit unions nationwide, we are committed to delivering exceptional value and fostering long-lasting partnerships. Choose ADVANTAGE, to elevate your performance, identify new opportunities, and build more value.