A Continued Focus on Operational Efficiencies and the Right Partner Led Gulfstream Business Bank to Major Contract Savings
The relationship between startup DeNovo Bank, Gulfstream Business Bank of Stuart, Florida, and Vitex bank consulting began way back in 1999, five months before the bank opened their doors for business. Vitex was hired to help evaluate and select an Internet banking vendor for the bank. When that vendor was purchased shortly thereafter, Vitex’s CEO conducted a follow-up review to ensure that the vendor was still the best selection and that the technology would still be sound. Gulfstream president and CEO John Tranter couldn’t forget Vitex for taking that extra step. He remembers, “I don’t even think they charged me to make sure that the vendor they originally recommended was still going to do the best job.”
Fast forward five years and the bank had grown to $260 million in assets. It was time to renegotiate their core processing contract. Remembering the quality service and diligent follow-up they received from Vitex, Tranter invited them back to the table.
Leo Bondi, Gulfstream’s senior vice president of operations, said, “We had big growth plans so we wanted to reevaluate the core services we were receiving before automatically renewing and initiate a technology plan as part of the project.” Vitex’ approach was to invite in the core processor along with other processors. They all had to present their best capabilities to handle Gulfstream’s business. “We would have converted to a new vendor if it was the right thing to do,” said Bondi. The assessment included three pages of processes, applications and technologies Vitex recommended the bank should consider. “Their technology assessment became part of the bank’s technology plan for the next three years,” said Bondi. A five-year contract was negotiated. “Having Vitex involved sent a message to the core vendor that we were serious about getting the right technologies and the right pricing,” says Tranter.
After Vitex’ positive contributions in the two previous projects, they were once again called on in 2010 to renegotiate the next five-year core processing contract. At this point the bank had grown to over $600 million in assets and fees were getting out of control due to growth. Gulfstream is very efficient with a small technical staff. Tranter recalls his conversation with his CFO. I told him, “You know what you’re doing, but Vitex does this every day for a living. They may spot technologies and structures that we don’t even know we need yet.”
The Vitex consultant acted as the spokesman for the bank, handling every contact with the core vendor. This took the bank’s personnel out of the center of managing operations while negotiating with their vendor. “Vitex was extremely professional with the vendor,” said Bondi. “Given the amount of time from when we contacted them they quickly had a strategy put in place and executed extremely well benefitting us in a number of ways.” The new Gulfstream contract significantly reduced expenses for core item processing and data processing. “We were extremely satisfied with the service and the negotiated contract we received,” said Bondi.
Staying vigilant about costs has helped Gulfstream navigate a difficult economic climate. Tranter adds, “In addition to nearly $1 million dollars in projected hard savings over the next five years, we also got some nice add-on functionality for greatly reduced fees.” In closing Tranter says, “I have a lot of confidence in Vitex’ technical capabilities.”
“Having Vitex involved sent a message to the core vendor that we were serious about getting the right technologies and the right pricing.” John!Tranter, CEO
ABOUT GULFSTREAM BUSINESS BANK
Gulfstream Business Bank, founded in 1999, is a $548 million dollar locally owned and managed niche community bank. The bank specializes in Business, Association and Professional Banking, including commercial credit and specialty deposit products, residential lending, a full line of retail and corporate cash management products and private banking investment services. Visit the bank’s website at www.gsbb.com.