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criminalguy
In 2016 "Highway Robbery" Still Exists!
 
It's Just Outrageous !
It’s absolutely criminal  — $140.99 for 250 Business Voucher Checks -- plus shipping! That’s what the “Goliath” check services vendor charges commercial business accounts.
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JimPicPainted  JIM's JOURNAL
      The Banking Business Blog
     Opinions, & Observations on the Business of Banking...  And Other Musings... !

RECOVERY SOLUTIONS

ScratchHeadBankbeat’s featured 5-part series, “Recovery Solutions”, raises some questions. First is the old Wendy’s restaurant question. You know the one -- “Where’s the beef?”  Next, who actually is the audience here? Can’t be “C-suite” FI executives; they already know (more than they need) about “Deposit and Debit Card Activity”; that “Consumers Need Liquidity Options”; that there is “Greater Need for Overdraft Protection”, and so forth and so on. It’s all just the ho-hum day-to-day stuff.
How about a “bottom shelf” recovery strategy instead – one that would 1) solidify profitability and 2) minimize risk? It’s tangible and really simple – a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious). Here it is --- Pamper the Check Users. Read about it here.

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THE SLOPPY SECURITY TEST -- A Quick 5-Minute Primer for Bank Executives

Overview:

“C Suite” executives – please take note. Do yourself a huge favor; get a trusted industry source to research your internal and cybersecurity protocols beyond a core processor’s provisioning. End Point Workstations and Peripherals as well as End Users and their “Behaviors” need attention these days.

We have seen it happen way too often -- System Administrators get lazy – they take short cuts. Workloads backup, users are promised updates, but schedules get broken. It is a never-ending battle for an overworked IT department to meet HR training and technical support needs of a growing financial institution. We know something about “growing pains” … we see it a lot with Credit Unions and Community Banking clients all over the country.

Example: Here is the sloppy way – Install software modules on a server and give everyone System Level Master Access. It is easy to provision and gets stuff operational in a hurry -- but NOT a good idea – and very short sighted!

Impact: You expose your most important high balance check user clients to the very real risk of identity theft (at minimum) and worse if a disgruntled and dishonest staff member perpetrates the fraud. Don’t let yourself be fooled (or talked out of) tight security for every single system. Even family members and trusted friends can fall victim to temptation, human nature being what it is.

Solution:

  1. Always be sure to use unique login passwords for each user to your system and utilize a password generator whenever possible. This way you can create strong encrypted passwords that will be difficult to crack.
  2. Software Asset Management (SAM) -- These programs are readily available to autSOFTWARE ASSET MANAGEMENT GRAPHIComate compliance with the terms and conditions for each specific vendor license agreement. An effective installed SAM package is an essential tool for minimizing liabilities associated with software piracy litigation. Every commercial and non-profit enterprise would be well served to add a SAM program to their system and to insist on its upkeep and maintenance.

Here are two of the top Open Source SAM Software Solutions:

#1 OpenMAINT

OpenMAINT is a free and open source asset tracking software specially designed for tracking and managing movable assets, buildings, installations, and maintenance activities. It helps the managing authority to organize and update the data related to the company assets and inventory. Web Site: https://www.openmaint.org/en

#4 AssetTiger (Free and Cloud-Based)

AssetTiger is a well-featured asset management software that can be accessed through the web, mobile phone, or tablet. The best thing about this asset management tool is that you can track your assets at any time from anywhere. You can even categorize your assets, which simplifies the job of tracking and managing the assets. Using its pre-set options, you can customize the software as per your business requirements.

Web Site: https://www.myassettag.com/assettiger/

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Check Service Vendor Agreements:

checkBookGuy

As many FinTech researchers have been forecasting over the last several years... the future of the banking industry will depend on its ability to leattorneysverage the power of customer insight, advanced analytics and digital technology to provide services that help today's tech-savvy customers manage their finances and better manage their daily lives. We could not agree more ! It's time to put the customer first again ! At MICR Prime that is exactly what we do, put your business and profit goals front and center.

Talks with one of the largest Colorado Credit Unions:

Recently in a discussion with one of the largest Credit Unions in Colorado, he told us: "I can’t remember the last time I wrote a paper check.” (A typical comment from a lot of FI "C suite" executives.) But, following a really quick review of our "Check:r" On-Site Check Production, Binding and Finishing Solution (it took all of 5 minutes), the next time we met with him it was a 180 degree turn around. “I can't believe we leave this much money on the table letting 3rd party check service vendors fill our customer's personal and business check orders". He looked it up -- $4800 in check orders last month! Needless to say HE IS INTERESTED ! Thought you’d like to get in on the story; we’ll let you know what happens.

More About Check Service Vendor Agreements:

When attorneys analyze a Check Service Vendor's (CSV) agreement they quickly discover it to be a clever document, very carefully crafted so as not to break any “restraint of trade” laws. An “Agreement to Sell Proposal” is really all it is (or can be for that matter). But CSVs would love to have you think otherwise. Multiple pages, sales targets, different product classes and pricing, discount percentages, length of term, target dates, small print, and signature lines – all looking very “contractual” without actually being one but coming pretty darn close. The purpose, of course, is to discourage “shopping”. The long standing ingrained global perception that these agreements are restrictive “contracts” is simply untrue. (Here’s where your attorneys can earn their keep.)

So now you say, “Okqy, so what -- big deal! Paper checks -- give me a break; that’s penny ante stuff. It’s why we farm it out.“ First glance -- can’t disagree. And, if fee income is where it should be and shareholders are overjoyed with the profit picture then what follows won’t be of any interest; stay with what you’re doing. On the other hand, if LDRs, customer service quality, and bottom line profit keeps you up at night, then MICR Prime's short order on-site check production solution that follows may be the simple silver bullet you’ve been looking for all along.

What are the Benefits?

“What are the benefits, you ask? …and, it better be good.” Okay, first off, there’s no risk; it’s all guaranteed. Second, you won’t upset the workflow! The brand new on-line short order check ordering portal captures the orders. This simple alternative can live alongside your regular CSV order page to give your clients an option. To see how the check:r system works go to the check:r on-site check production page to see the details, including projected bottom line revenue and core deposit retention (great benefit). Two more FI benefits – 1) you retake the CSV pass-through money drain – you stop the bleeding and 2) your marketing people get a tangible customer service benefit that upscale check user clients quickly understand and appreciate.

In Summary:

Finally, looking at things from the customer’s standpoint, do you occasionally put yourself in their shoes; find out what they like? Does the “bank-speak” where you work always turn on “we’ve always done it this other way”? Hopefully the “good enough for who it’s for” is not the operating principle where you work. You’ve probably experienced that negative don’t care outlook somewhere before and, guess what, like the rest of us, you gossip about it with friends. And you’ve most likely experienced the exact opposite -- you stumbled on a great bargain or encountered unexpected excessive good quality service. You remember it, you talk about it with friends. As a banker you have to know that no amount of money can buy passive good referral word-of-mouth marketing like that. It’s priceless.

To wrap it up, if you would like to see for yourself how the MICR Prime solutions can benefit your operation we would love to send you a working version of our MICR Document Production program, a finished check:r checkbook and enough supplies so you can prove to yourself how simple it is to – Bring The Profits Home (to your bottom line) where they belong.

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SOFTLIFTING

Ever heard of “softlifting” – or, “softloading”? Congratulations if those terms are unfamiliar – means you haven’t been sued by a software house for illegally duplicating their intellectual property ---- at least not yet you haven’t.

Softlifting and softloading is legalese for software piracy; it’s sharing a program with someone who is not authorized by the license agreement to use it -- on individual workstations or remotely accessed from a central server. To add new users the proper protocol is to get sufficient licenses ahead of time -- standard practice for operating systems, core processors, etc. – the “big” stuff, so to speak.

Where things get sticky is with the little supporting adjunct packages. They are all necessary but during set up routines don’t command the same attention. So, it winds up being a copy and paste operation and – “Hey, we’ll just clean up the mess later.” Trouble is, clean up gets shoved down the “2-DO” list, and never addressed.

Now, all it takes is some greedy little whistle blower to tip off the right law firm (and there are plenty of them out there) – and you are toast -- burnt toast! You can’t suppose that employees who work your system all day long won’t know exactly which pieces are not in compliance. And, as if you didn’t already know, law firms who specialize in these matters are heavy duty. They don’t think twice about a couple 100 thousand in finder’s fees to get some low level staffer to rat you out.

This is why you need to get the best automated Software Asset Management (SAM) package you can find. It is key and critical to the continued uninterrupted successful operation of your business. You can start here: Capterra They compare SAM products with reviews, installed or web-based, and there is a search for features utility.

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HOSPITAL GOWNS …

It’s a fashion statement I was NOT prepared to make. First of all, to make it harder to escape they hide all your clothes. Then a cute little nurse announces, “Here’s your gown. You need to put this on.” That did it! My wise guy comedic DNA kicked in -- and deservedly so I think. Those gowns are Ridiculous!DoggyGown

It went something like this: “Oh, yes, right – the gown. Uh, thank you – I think. But, I do have a question. Do you have one that’s a little longer – for tall people, LIKE ME? I’m 6‘ 8” don’t you know. Really, this thing doesn’t cover very much, at least none of the stuff I consider important. Seriously, I have shirts at home that are longer. And, why is the back open? After all, the doctor told me the procedure is going to be through a vein on my wrist.”

Anyway, to cut a long story short, beyond the initial embarrassment of that silly gown, everything went just fine. Thankfully, James, my son, had flown in to help. There was no pain beyond the stick of a needle and I was awake the whole time. Well, actually I dropped off once or twice – started to snore.

But, beyond all the drama, upset schedules – and FEAR – the great and wonderful news is -- they fixed my heart -- no more blockage! It’s now pumping loads of red stuff to all the right places. God bless the genius innovators who discover procedures like this -- amazing.

There are a lot of innovations in banking as well – for just about everyone except check users. You would think these high value clients (bigger deposits, more net worth and less loan risk) would deserve some sort of preferential treatment -- for their check orders at least.

Now, if you want to impress this upscale market segment, there is a really simple innovative system called the check:R. that you and your clients will love. We even guarantee it and you will wonder why no one thought of it years ago.

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“IN YAHS” AND “ON YAHS”

What the heck are “IN YAHS” AND “ON YAHS”? No, it’s not a secret “solve for Y” world peace formula. But, it is a great example of the KISS philosophy and a really neat organizing method --- for your bathroom medicine cabinet! (You giggled didn’SNEEZEt you?) Vitamins, aspirin, antacid, over the counter cold remedies, etc. -- those go IN YOU -- the “IN YAHS” drawer. Hand lotion, talcum powder, bandages, and salve go ON YOU -- the “ON YAHS” shelf. IN YAHS and ON YAHS -- pretty simple KISS stuff …

THE GOAL GOLDRATTHere is another KISS concept – Elihu Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints (TOC). You will love the unique method he uses to present the methodology – a novel. THE GOAL, his first book, written in a fast-paced thriller style is a business textbook, disguised as a love story. But, it is more than just compulsive reading. It contains a serious message for all managers, a message that prompted General Motors, Procter & Gamble, AT&T, NV Philips, ABB and Boeing to explore the veracity of TOC.

THE GOAL is a gripping novel that you will recommend to friends - even to your bosses - but not to your competitors. Alex Rogo is a harried plant manager working desperately to improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster and so is his marriage. He has ninety days to save his plant or corporate HQ will close it, with hundreds of jobs lost. A chance meeting with Jonah, a professor from student days, helps him break the bonds of conventional thinking on the way to a dramatic turn around.

One more KISS concept for you banker types -- because high balance clients and commercial accounts prefer paper checks (See the Check User Profile), why not cater to their preferences? You can do it with the check:R -- easy to implement and administer, brings new fee income to the bottom line, and puts your quality of service above the “also-rans”. Take a look – and let us know your thoughts.

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