The Samaha & Associates Difference
Due diligence brought you to us. We understand you have considered competing firms. This discovery and vetting process is the same approach we take on your behalf when negotiating with vendors. We continually achieve necessary concessions for our clients using the proven Samaha Process, and the powerful market position we have earned, while remaining vendor-neutral.
Over the past 20 years, our firm has completed hundreds of complex projects end-to-end with multiple host platforms, home banking, and mobile banking vendors, credit, debit and ATM card processors and a variety of other technologies.
We’ve developed in-house processes to address all core processing and third-party optimizations, searches, selections, multifaceted negotiations and implementations. Our knowledge in core and third-party systems, architectures, databases, applications and interfaces is precise, detailed, realistic and constantly evolving.
Strong vendor management is integral to the success of your Credit Union. This begins with well-negotiated and re-negotiated contracts establishing sound leverage and protection for your Credit Union, not just the vendors who author them. We shall:
- Ensure that your institution is working with high-level, tier-one vendors
- Address functionality gaps prior to contract and conversion
- Identify favorable terms and conditions to appropriately protect your institution
- Negotiate comprehensive and favorable contracts
- Conduct detailed negotiation of contract updates
- Course-correct vendors back to the interests of your Credit Union at every stage
Without negotiation of contracts and service levels by an experienced consultant, a supplier relationship can become problematic — even detrimental.
Contact Samaha and Associates and discuss your unique situation with an experienced consultant.
Remember the last time you upgraded your Credit Union’s core system? Or, any core system? How many years ago was that?
Most Credit Union CEOs, CFOs, CIOs and employees are likely to experience a core conversion once or twice in a career.
Samaha consultants experience many conversions per year. It’s our specialty. We have a proven track record of accurately predicting the outcome of our conversions before cutover — and working to resolve any issues beforehand. Our post-conversion punch list is by far the smallest in the industry.
The optimal time to begin searching for a new vendor is when your Credit Union is half-way through the term of its contract for the current system. In the search phase, we ensure that:
- Request for Proposals (RFPs) to vendors will result in competitive, predictable and clearly-stated pricing
- Vendor responses to functionality questions will be compared
- All gaps of functionality and third-party interfaces will be addressed prior to contract and conversion
- Contracts will be comprehensive and favorably negotiated
- Long-term maintenance responsibilities will be clearly delineated
Your Samaha consultant will guide you through these critical steps for your Credit Union’s core conversion:
- Discovery — review of your Credit Union’s internal workflows, processes and procedures
- Identification — prospective top-tier, best-of-class vendors
- Vendor Selection — objective scorecard and gap analysis
- Negotiation — pricing and tactical terms
- Specification — complete inventory of existing core and third-party vendors, RFP preparation
- Development — analysis and programming
- Testing and Certification — multiple database verifications, mock conversions, and pilot programs
- Production — controlled and scripted cutover(s)
- Post production — project reviews and support
Your Samaha consultant will exceed your expectations by:
- Initiating a deep analysis of your environment by collaborating with your team members
- Writing a Request for Proposal (RFP) from custom questions, co-authored with and validated by your team members
- Inviting top-tier suppliers to respond to the RFP in detail
- Conducting vendor reviews: in-depth, zero-based, interview-style, two/three-day on-site vendor sessions, with hands-on labs
- Deep analysis of vendor responses to RFP questions
- Providing ongoing exhaustive analysis of gaps between your Credit Union’s needs and vendor capabilities
- Creating a scorecard using your Credit Union’s unique evaluation criteria
- Using our experience to render your Credit Union’s vendor scorecard factual and realistic
- Conducting enhanced negotiations to define short and long-term requirements for all key vendor relationship areas
- Negotiating contract updates
- Negotiating aggressively for the most beneficial pricing on behalf of your Credit Union
Once the RFP process is complete, and contracts signed for a new Core, your Credit Union systems and team members will be carefully readied by your Samaha consultants for the critical implementation phase.
In the Implementation Phase, vigilant project management is our trademark. We ensure:
- acceptable service and scheduling from the chosen vendor
- Each third-party interface is identified and tested
- All possible internal and external points of failure are tested
- Member inconvenience is minimized, member benefits maximized
- Implementation is expertly executed
- Minimal post-conversion problems
Do your Credit Union employees and members deserve to enjoy a predictable, beneficial conversion? We strongly believe they do.
If you aim not to replace one set of problems for another, contact a Samaha consultant and discuss your unique core situation today.
Samaha and Associates’ consultants constantly educate themselves to stay ahead of the technological curve.
How? By continually evaluating top-tier providers in the Technology and Payment Systems arena.
Then we assist your Credit Union to establish progressive, beneficial relationships with third-party partners by:
- Identifying top-tier suppliers to be invited to propose
- Guiding your staff through the extensive Request for Proposal process
- Requiring that interface, core module, and downstream third-party gaps will be coded and tested
- Negotiating highly-favorable terms and conditions to significantly reduce costs
- Establishing strong service level agreements with penalties for non-performance
- Ensuring the best fit between your Credit Union and vendor(s)
- Ensuring new vendor services will deliver optimum enhancements
- Optimizing existing platforms and services
To ensure efficient project implementation for your Credit Union’s unique mix of third-party software suppliers, contact Samaha and Associates.
Samaha consultants continually seek to optimize your Credit Union’s revenue, and reduce your costs.
We identify new products and services to enhance and add value to your Credit Union’s member-experience, choosing those we know to be best-in-class. And we evaluate your vendors to establish that appropriate services and cost reduction measures are in place. This requires:
- Understanding current vendor contract details, including termination clauses
- Understanding your Credit Union’s strategy, leading to current products and services
- Working with each vendor to identify proven ways to enhance member services and revenue
- Re-evaluating vendor costs to periodically ensure products and services are properly priced based on current market conditions
- Creating tangible project plans to yield predictable outcomes
- Resolving all outstanding issues
To reduce costs and optimize revenue, contact Samaha and Associates and discuss your Credit Union’s strategic objectives and unique configuration today.
When Credit Unions merge, there are countless overlapping system redundancies that can be costly and overwhelming for the acquiring institution.
For instance, your Credit Union might have redundant core systems or core service bureaus, redundant ATM or credit card processors, redundant online banking or bill payment processors, business continuity providers, security system vendors… and the list goes on!
Your Samaha consultant will work with your Credit Union to appropriately identify key vendors to best serve members of the continuing institution by:
- Inventorying existing systems and vendors
- Evaluating current contract termination dates and deconversion issues
- Selecting the most appropriate vendors to best serve the continuing institution
- Negotiating with remaining and outgoing vendors
- Creating merger implementation project plans for predictable and positive outcomes
- Identifying and implementing process improvements for retained systems
- Ensuring member transparency and notifications
- Seeking growth opportunities
If your Credit Union is facing a merger or acquisition, Samaha & Associates can help. Contact us today.
As a Best Practice, your Credit Union should undertake periodic reviews of operating processes and procedures. This ensures continuous process improvement and compliance with ever-changing regulatory requirements.
A Samaha assessment identifies areas that can be improved by better workflow or automation. Your Samaha consultant will:
- Identify bottlenecks and gaps
- Review vendor contracts
- Assess current vendor service levels and performance
- Determine long-term gains from existing project solutions
- Assess security risks
- Assess software requirements
- Recommend risk reduction measures or software
- Oversee vendor upgrades
- Recommend monitoring metrics for new projects and new initiatives
The result: decreases in costs along with increases in savings, productivity and efficiency.
For a process improvement evaluation for your Credit Union, contact Samaha and Associates.
Disasters are never expected. Natural or cataclysmic events, human behavior or technological breakdowns can cripple the entire operation of your Credit Union. In case of disaster, you want to minimize impact to employees and members.
Are your security and operations policies and procedures up-to-date? Do they protect personnel, members, facilities, assets and records? Do you have an effective Business Recovery plan? When was it last tested? What is the predicted recovery timeframe? Will it be acceptable to the Credit Union’s members?
Your critical path to recovery requires:
- Backup planning
- Command Center setup
- Notification to responsible employees, for clearly-defined tasks
- Notification to vendors and service providers
- Notification to members
- Restoring critical systems and member-facing operations immediately
- Resuming non-critical operations as soon as possible
- Replacing damaged equipment and facilities as soon as possible
- Restoring critical data
Your Samaha consultant will develop a Business Resumption plan. Contact Samaha and Associates to discuss your Credit Union’s specific systems.