Over the last four years, we have encouraged public entities and higher Ed institutions to hold off on a banking services Request for Proposal (RFP) due to the low-interest-rate environment and the burdensome process in conducting a RFP. The value was not there, given the time required to conduct a banking RFP.
Well, that is now changing. With higher short-term-interest rates, new technology, and more banks pursuing public and higher Ed clients, the time has come to start taking advantage of the marketplace.
Over the last month, we have seen bank Earning Credit Rates (ECR) jump to as high as 1.90% in a competitive setting, with savings rates on cash balances north of 2.00%. All of this follows a trend that we see continuing in 2019.
In considering a bank RFP, it is essential that you have a forward-thinking document that reaches the greatest number of the banks in your marketplace. The idea of pulling one out of a drawer from a few years back, or from a neighboring entity, will not serve you well. An RFP needs to reflect your own banking needs, now and in the future. With technology changing so quickly, the ability to conduct a banking RFP is now at your fingertips.
The process to conduct a banking RFP no longer needs to be a burdensome paper-intensive process. With threeplusone’s new rfpPrep®—an online RFP process (at www.bankingrfp.com)that includes a custom-tailored threeplusone liquidity analysis—you’ll no longer have to read thousands of pages of responses. In fact, comparing banking services and pricing becomes an easy “apples to apples” exercise.
Just imagine being able to know which banks have the best services and pricing within minutes from a final bid deadline; what used to take months to perform now can take a couple of weeks.
Under this approach, your time in conducting an RFP can be cut down by 75%, while focusing on the relationship rather than figuring out comparative pricing and confusing disclaimers through reams of paper.
The time has come to determine if a banking RFP is a priority for 2019. If so, threeplusone can demonstrate the power of rfpPrep and the ease of conducting a bank RFP right at your desk.
Your time is valuable and so are your banking relationships. If it has been over five years since your last bank RFP, now might be time to consider a new one.
The results may surprise you, both in ease and in value.
Did you know the average cost of issuing and awarding a Request for Proposal (RFP) for banking services, using internal resources, is… $45,000?
At that cost, the RFP better be worth it!
In many instances, that’s not the case. What we tend to find are 2016 banking-services RFPs are often trapped in a 1990s template.
Recently, I reviewed a large national banking RFP that had the same wording of ones I’d seen many years ago. In fact, it was a replica of another such organization’s RFP that had been issued several years before. It lacked color, specifics, and data and was serving as a set up for a price war between banks. The real problem is that very few banks will respond to it. The end result will be a ton of money spent with no significant outcome to warrant the expense.
If you are planning to issue a banking RFP, consider the following:
(1) Conduct a liquidity/ banking analysis first that will assess all your organization’s needs, now and well into the future. The more information you can provide competing banks, the more they have to work with in providing a better response.
(2) Create a new RFP format that is fresh, forward thinking, and flexible, making it clear you will consider new ideas.
(3) Limit responses to fewer words and have more in-person conversations. We’ve found paper is not always the best way to determine the right fit.
(4) Address your cash and lending needs both now and in the future; provide a holistic picture. Given new federal regulations, many banks have not been responding to RFPs due to their lack of interest in holding such deposits.
(5) if you hire a consultant to prepare your RFP, make sure you’re not getting a rehash of some other client’s template. Make them do original brainstorming on your RFP and be accountable for the results.
If you decide to issue a banking-services RFP, do it right or else you will be just sending out expensive sheets of paper that will provide little value to your organization or to the banks you want to compete for your business.
If you don’t know where to start or need a fresh perspective, call us. At three+one, we help entities of all sizes evaluate their needs and determine if a banking RFP is right for them. If you’re interested, we can tailor an RFP document for you that is easy to read, reflects and articulates your needs, and is written to get more responses. Our goal is to make the paper your RFP is printed on an asset and not an unnecessary expense.
We Hope to See You at our Upcoming Presentation:
GFOA of SC – October 16 – 19 (We’ll be presenting twice!)
North Country NY GFOA – October 20th
This is the fourth part of three+one’s Summer Blog Series . As there are five Tuesdays in August, I will be addressing the top five questions the nation’s public and Higher Ed financial officers ask me as I travel across the country. Today’s question: “In today’s banking environment, does it still make sense to issue banking RFPs?”
Over the last two months I have seen dozens of public entities, nationwide, conduct banking depository/treasury-service RFPs.
Based on the type of RFP that was issued, the results I’ve seen have been mixed.
One thing is sure: recycling banking RFPs that were issued five-to-ten years ago got little response.
Those that were forward thinking, willing to integrate new technology, coupled with the desire to negotiate services and/or deposit levels, had far greater success.
I have seen some entities receive one or two responses while others got as many as six to eight.
The ones that were more progressive and used “out-of-the-box” thinking got better results from the larger national banks. Those RFPs that were more structured and “cookie cutter” in approach only got responses from smaller local banks.
Here are a few words of advice from what I’ve heard on the street:
1.) First, have a conversation with your current banker(s). Changing banks is a lot of work. If it is due to the quality of their customer service, let your bank know. If they’re not listening, then a RFP is totally warranted.
If you have no plans in changing banks, please save everyone’s time—including your own—and forget issuing an RFP. Time is a valuable commodity and your credibility will be lost in future RFP efforts if the outcome is predictable.
2.) If you are currently receiving a earning credit rate of .50 basis points or higher, then hold off too. The chances of getting the same rate will be at risk. Wait until short-term interest rates are higher; that’s most likely over the next two years.
3.) If you choose to conduct an RFP, don’t resort to the ”same old“ template. If you do that you will get “same old” back. A good RFP takes time, homework, and conversations with experts in the field.
Some banks want deposits, others don’t. Larger national banks have treasury services while smaller community banks have the flexibility to team up with third-party providers.
4.) Consider the pros and cons of ”hard“ banking fees and ”soft“ fees. While telling your boards or legislators that you’re pay no bank fees, the cost of soft fees could be far more expensive and less transparent than hard fees over the long haul. (That will be the focal point of next week’s blog).
5.) Keep your bank responses to under 25 pages. Conversations with bankers are far more valuable than “boiler-plate” written responses.
Finally, if you don’t know where to start, call three+one. We have conducted banking RFPs across the country and know the banking marketplace well. You will find our help and guidance can save you a lot of time and money.
Stay tuned for next week when we continue our three+one Summer Series where we answer the question: “Which is better when paying for bank services, hard fees or soft fees?”