Pub. 12 2021 I Issue 2 Summer 9 West Virginia Banker We also see banks aggressively pursuing new strategies to expand and emphasize digital channels – many that shrewdly started such projects before the onset of the pandemic. In modernizing their Digital Channels, banks are not only reaching more customers, but they are also doing so with more innovative and integrated applications while potentially reducing data processing spending. Furthermore, banks are making a sound investment in what will become a vital channel to serve customers in the future. Banks are also changing the digital channel to address a shifting mix of commercial or consumer business, integration to the core system, and variable vendor product and support plans. When reviewing data processing systems contracts, ancillary grouping products serving the digital channel with other essential applications – especially the core system – will naturally increase the bank’s purchasing power and negotiation leverage. We commonly recommend this holistic approach to our clients as it tends to yield the best results. Banks will provide excellent service to their customers and shareholders by closely examining and monitoring data processing costs. There is a wide range of pricing models in the industry. The best way to gain insight into comparable market prices is to conduct a competitive evaluation of alternatives. The banks taking time to start the process 24 to 30 months before contract expiration will see the best outcome in finding solutions that effectively serve customers and address the institution’s business requirements at the best price and terms. Banks can achieve this goal by either negotiating new technology contracts or renegotiating existing ones. While some executives deem the technology review process painful, it remains an integral part of appropriate due diligence by the institution in a vital area that is the foundation of efficient and cost-effective operations. Unless the bank enjoys annual contracts, most banks or credit unions maintain multi-year contracts with core processing and ancillary systems vendors. With the opportunity to review alternative solutions and address costs only every five, seven or 10 years, it is wise to take advantage of the typical contract cycle to review these business-critical applications carefully. If not then, when? Since 1994, ICI Consulting has been a leading bank and credit union advisor nationwide. ICI is a consulting firm supporting financial institutions by providing core processing assessments, gap analyses, vendor evaluations, contract negotiation and conversion services. ICI Consulting is well known for saving clients time and money during core processing and ancillary systems evaluations and negotiations with the providers of these business-critical solutions. They can be reached at ici-consulting.com . Bryan T. Di Lella has more than 30 years of information technology industry experience in the financial, regulatory and federal government sectors. Bryan earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science at Saint Bonaventure University and his Master of Business Administration degree from the George Washington University. He is certified as an Arbitrator with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Dispute Resolution Board of Arbitrators. Mr. Di Lella can be reached at email@example.com .