The clock is ticking, it’s 2:00 pm. In front of you is a pile of eight thick envelopes, each containing some 250 pages of paper, weighing 20 pounds or more, all told.
In the pile are the replies from the eight different banks that responded to your entity’s Request for Proposal (RFP) for banking services.
The committee you assembled to review and score these RFPs looks on with apprehension and bleary eyes as each envelope is opened and tasks are parceled out. It’s up to this group to read over 2000 pages, figuring out all the bank lingo, comparing your banking needs to the services being offered, and considering price comparisons.
Two weeks go by, maybe more. The elite group reconvenes and discusses comparisons and possible assumptions of what these eight banks may mean in their confusing phrases, disclaimers, small–print disclosures, and pricing that varies widely.
When the time finally comes to rank each bank against the others, one team member suggests throwing darts to see which one gets a bullseye. That may be easier than figuring out which bank is the best overall fit, she adds.
Tons of paper to wade through, maybe even months of confusion and delays, and then there still may be angst about changing banks. Such are the fears finance officers have on their minds when considering even issuing a bank RFP in the first place. One may think it’s better to leave everything “as is” rather than to start the process—unless an RFP is mandated.
The fears of hearing the words “bank RFP” can be a thing of the past. With three+one®’s rfpPrep®, the first online banking RFP service for public entities and higher Ed institutions, the ease in issuing, reviewing, and objectively scoring RFPs has never been easier.
Our proprietary rfpPrep® software cuts the bank–RFP process down from months to weeks, creating highly competitive responses and pricing that is easy to understand because you’re able to truly compare “apples to apples.” Instead of reams of paper, emphasis is placed on strong banking relationships, and the most competitive pricing in the marketplace.
The best part of rfpPrep® is that it’s 85% more efficient and 75% more cost effective vs. the RFP practices to which you’ve become accustomed.
The future is here, and rfpPrep® can be used for banking, investment advisory, and insurance RFPs.
Save the fret, time, and paper by putting three+one®’s rfpPrep® service to work. Instead of fearing the process, your team will have more time to meet the needs of those you serve. You’ll save money and the environment—and rest assured of a stronger banking relationship in both services and pricing.
Residents of Rochester, NY, like me, remember all too well when Eastman Kodak discovered the new world of digitized photos, which was revolutionary compared to actual film. As both forms of photography were compared, Kodak management decided to stay with the use of film as their standard product given stronger profit margins over digital. We all know where that led. The companies that developed and brought digital to market—in ways we never thought possible—flourished, especially when quality digital cameras were added to smart phones.
Similarly, the landscape of banking is changing at a rapid pace—and in ways that we would have never imagined.
Let me be clear, the way we bank in the future will not be the same as we know it today. The type of banking institutions will change as did the companies in the world of digital photography.
For starters, who would have imagined a few years ago that tech giants Apple, Google, and Facebook would enter the world of banking? Who would have foreseen the revolution of blockchain technology? Changes like these could mean a shift away from brick-and-mortar bank branches. Many traditional banking services andinstitutions could very well change beyond our imagination.
I fully expect the largest banking institutions will play a major role in this revolution. However, they will have to be strategic, forward thinking, and open to change. A perfect example is Goldman Sachs’ role in managing Apple’s new credit card. Personally, I questioned why an institutional-oriented bank would have agreed to roll out, qualify, and manage retail clients; it just seemed to be a mismatch, which has proven to be the case.
On the other hand, combining the forces of Google and Citibank does make sense to me, given their similar retail focus. Working together, they anticipate offering checking accounts to Google clients next year.
Names that are now appearing in the financial marketplace are not the ones we’re used to seeing as related to banking services. Similarly, a dozen years ago, who would have ever guessed Apple would make the number one device used in taking pictures?
It should be noted that more and more millennials, who make up over 84 million of the US population, would prefer to bank with Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google over a traditional financial institution, if such an option was available. This in stark contract to the way baby boomers and Generation Xs conduct their personal banking today.
The way we bank is going to become far different than we know it—and at a cheaper cost. How the Fed and bank regulators deal with these changes is going to be interesting to watch.
At three+one®, we’re poised to help you navigate through the anticipated changes in banking. Our liquidity and treasury analysis programs, co
While the world of banking will likely change significantly, the team at three+one® will be consistent, always committed to proactive and forward-thinking technology, liquidity analysis and customer service.
While watching the news and catching up on emails the other night, I received an “888” call followed by an urgent text from my bank. It alerted me to fraud on my personal bank account and provided an authorized code and phone number to call. I dialed that number only to receive the same official bank voice/menu I knew from past calls I’d made to the bank.
Being suspicious, I proceeded to call the phone number on the back of my credit card, which was the same voice/menu as in the text message. Finally, having made my way through to customer service, I was advised that the text message was in fact a new type of fraud that the bank was trying to deal with. It had them as stumped as I was—and this was one of the country’s top three banks!
Clearly, the sophistication of fraud through technology and communication is rapidly escalating. The look and sound are so convincing that it’s tough to know what is real and what is fake. If you haven’t yet experienced such fraud attempts, it’s only a matter of time before you will.
So, what can public entities and higher Ed institutions do to protect themselves?
Here are some suggested tips:
1. Today’s phone texts are the new form of robo messaging. They look real and their reference to a link or phone call are only a lure to have you provide personal and confidential financial access to your bank accounts. Never respond to a text by a financial institution. Use it as an opportunity to reach out to your bank or banker and report the potential fraud.
2. If you receive a phone call from someone identifying him/herself as a financial representative looking to discuss a specific transaction or account, ask for his/her name and employee number. Then hang up and call your bank to report the incident and verify if such a person is on the bank’s staff.
3. Lately there have been a number of scams suggesting that your bank is looking to verify your information to update a “Know Your Client” (KYC) requirement. You may be told that if you do not respond, your accounts will be blocked. A bank would never reach out by text or email to verify your identity or personal information. Rather, they would do so either by letter or in person.
Scammers are using technology to gain access to your information and money. They use approaches that look real, urgent, and threatening. The only way to protect yourself and your organization is to be alert to and cognizant of these attempts.
If you ever have a question or suspect such activity, call your banker immediately. This should be your first level of defense against fraud. If your bank does not respond or provide fraud protection, then it’s time to look for a new bank that does. In today’s marketplace, there is no excuse for a bank to leave you unprotected.
Through rfpPrep® by three+one®, we can help you navigate through the bank and treasury services you should be receiving to protect your organization and the money of those you serve.
The world of fraud looks so innocent and real. Let us help you unmask the fraud and protect those dollars you have a fiduciary obligation to protect.
We are excited to share with you the launch of our new rfpPrep® website!
rfpPrep® is the first-ever digital RFP (request for proposal) for public sector & higher-ed financial services.
Reduce the RFP process time by 75% while evaluating financial services options for your entity using an error-free & fair bidding platform. rfpPrep® is an entirely online tool for your needs in BANKING, INVESTMENT, MERCHANT SERVICES & E-PAYMENTS.
Visit rfpPrep® by three+one® to learn how this tool can work for you.
Across the country, local public entities find themselves in the same predicament: trying to do more with fewer resources, smaller staffs, and greater demands.
In today’s environment, these issues are virtually universal, in cities, towns, villages, and school districts within a given county—and adjacent counties.
On top of these constraints is a steady stream of unfunded federal and state mandates that public entities must implement, with ever fewer dollars to cover day-to-day overhead expenses.
It should come as no surprise that more and more entities are looking to work together to eliminate duplication of services and reduce unnecessary overhead. As a result, shared-services initiatives are gaining popularity, ranging from public works, public safety, self-insured healthcare plans, and cooperative purchasing programs.
The ability to join forces can have an immediate and beneficial financial impact. The one impediment is jurisdiction of control. Entities involved in sharing services should have a long-term perspective of outcome and address this clearly upfront—and in writing.
The need to consider or expand shared services may not be desirable, but rather an absolute necessity to survive. This is especially true for smaller entities within larger jurisdictions. In the minds of taxpayers, a proper business attitude is to be applied, rather than an emotional wrestling match over control.
Under a shared-services agreement, the concern of lost identity should not be raised; the initiative is a joint effort in providing/receiving services for the participants’ mutual benefit. In general, the initiatives should focus on saving money and/or generating revenue.
Here are 5 financial shared-service initiatives to consider:
1. Conducting a universal banking services Request for Proposal. A banking RFP would create a large volume of buying power to use in negotiating competitive pricing on bank fees and deposit rates. A collaboration like this could include villages, towns, cities, school districts, and the county government, all at once. The end result could lead to hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars in savings and or additional interest income. rfpPrep® by three+one® is the first-ever electronic banking RFP (Request for Proposal) service, entirely online and specifically designed to facilitate the bidding of banking services. Visit our rfpPrep site for more resources.
2. County governments can be a source of purchasing the short-term paper of related entities as they come to market. As local villages, towns, and school districts issue Bond Anticipation Notes (BAN) or Tax Anticipations Notes (TAN), a county could be a bidder of such notes, as allowed by legal statutes, for investment purposes. As such, the county can be an additional bidder, helping to lead to lower rates and greater competitive pricing on cash for investment.
3. Counties can provide additional resources and expertise through their finance offices in helping smaller local entities identify and manage their cash. It would still be expected that associated entities would control their cash, but alleviate the stress associated in identifying and investing cash.
4. Combining technology efforts can be effective and beneficial both in financial and banking transactions, especially in the flow and protection of collections and payments.
5. Finally, consider consolidating tax collection. In the future, all tax collections will be automated. The need to have a counter or have the control of check collection will become obsolete. Having one point of contact for tax payment and options payment can lead to major personnel and banking cost savings.
Sharing services can be pathway to strengthening the financial well-being of all those involved. Let three+one help you in setting up and managing your shared-services initiatives. What may seem as a major undertaking can be simplified with through our proprietary liquidity analysis and modeling capabilities.
As always, our mission is to help public entities to do more in serving their communities.