First South Bank
Randy Woodson, First South Bank’s chief operating officer, had been at the bank for only a couple of years when their core processing contract came up for renewal. As the executive in charge of strategy and support of the retail bank, Woodson knew that the bank’s business had changed and that the existing system would no longer meet their business goals. Woodson had worked with Vitex on a project at another institution that had gone well. He reached out to three well known consulting firms, including Vitex, to interview for the role of vendor selection consultant.
Vitex: Different from the Start
Woodson was focused on the business lines and mapping out where the bank was trying to go. In the process of defining strategies, Woodson hoped that an alignment with their new business needs would drive the vendor selection process.
“I had used other consultants in the past,” Woodson said. “And they typically start with a list of what you have today, then go right into pricing with the vendor on those same capabilities.” What Woodson found unique about Vitex was their interest in understanding the bank’s goals. Vitex was selected.
As the EVP Bank Operations, Sherry Correll had 25 years and several conversions under her belt for First South Bank. Her responsibilities include deposit operations, loan operations, training and compliance for bank operations, and support of the branch system. “Vitex spoke with all of my managers to understand the existing process and procedures, then they worked to lay out exactly what it would take for us to move forward and accomplish our goals.”
Vitex started the process of internal interviews in April 2010, and had the bank looking at core vendors by June. Correll adds, “Vitex had a good overview and perspective of the bank’s seven year plan; they reached out to vendors that could bring the necessary capabilities and made sure they knew what we were looking for.” According to Correll, this project was far more than a traditional conversion. “We bought a lot of new technology so there are a lot of new things to implement as well,” she says.
Putting It All Together
Vitex helped the bank identify all of their needs and develop a plan. “They sorted through the many variables to make sure we had a plan for equipment, and for interfacing to telecom vendors and other service providers,” says Correll. After each vendor presentation, Vitex met with the executive team to recap and weigh what they had seen. They prepared a complex financial analysis that resulted in an apples-to-apples comparison of services. Woodson notes, “A huge capability Vitex has is their ability to negotiate a good contract.”
“Their ability to bring everything together into a reconcilable plan is one of Vitex’ key strengths.” - Sherry Correll, EVP Bank Operations First South Bank
First South Bank has been serving the citizens of eastern North Carolina since 1902 and offers a variety of financial products and services, including a leasing company. Securities brokerage services are made available through an affiliation with an independent broker/dealer. The Bank operates through its main office headquartered in Washington, North Carolina, and has 27 full service branch offices located throughout central, eastern, northeastern and southeastern North Carolina. First South Bancorp, Inc. may be accessed on its website at www.firstsouthnc.com. The Company’s common stock symbol as traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market is “FSBK”.