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It's Time to Rethink the Core Vendor Relationship

rethinking core relationship

This article was previously published in Independent Banker.

How would you describe your relationship with your core provider?

When we spoke to a group of community bankers last year, we often heard, “Well, it’s a love/hate relationship. Our business is running, and we have no complaints, but sometimes we wish we had more to work with.” We also heard, “We actually feel a little trapped in our relationship. We signed a 20-year contract, but our needs are changing and they’re not really able to meet us halfway.”

Ironically enough, when we asked bankers what their relationship is with their customers, their answers were completely different. We know that community banks serve to delight their communities; they’re the financial backbone of their neighborhoods. So, it’s not unusual to hear, “Customers are our priority,” and, “Service and support are part of our core values.” “We do what we can to make sure our customers are happy.”

But, if the relationship between a community bank and its customers is highly valued, why shouldn’t the same ring true with their core provider? Why do bankers allow their relationship with their provider to falter when they’re working so hard to satisfy their customer base? It’s because the industry has allowed the relationship to migrate from a service-oriented approach to a transactional one. The relationship is impersonal, and the work is sub-par, when the bank deserves better.

From Core “Vendor” to Partner

As an industry, we’ve almost accepted and agreed that working with a core vendor means they’re providing X for Y dollars for Z+ years. However, the problem is that the vendor may have little to no understanding of what a bank really needs to grow their business. Because of this, a community bank ends up getting an off-the-shelf solution that doesn’t work for the bank, and worse yet, causes friction for their customers. It’s time for bankers to stop holding onto a relationship that doesn’t serve them the way they serve their customers. They need to stop enabling the traditional vendor relationship and look for a partner that puts their business first, listens to their needs, and offers the right technology solutions that can evolve as demands change. They need a partner that fits with the culture of the bank, reflects their same values, and provides guidance and quality support after conversion.

Getting Back to Our Roots in Service

Bankers agree the industry must change, but really, it needs to get back to its roots where service was at the forefront of running a business. A banker is not selecting from a vending machine of technology options; they’re making a significant investment in their bank’s future. Don’t they deserve better service for what they’re paying? Let’s get back to “service with a smile.” Times may have changed, but our ability to serve our customers has not. There are core partners available that welcome working with your business and provide service beyond the transaction. If you’re interested in knowing what that looks like, connect with us at IBT Apps.

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