Streamlining with added automation and utilizing outsourced reviews saved time and reduced workload.
Meriwest Credit Union, headquartered in San Jose, CA, has 12 branches and serves 80,000 members. With 30 years of experience in the financial industry, Mary Ellen Snider, Meriwest Credit Union’s VP of Compliance and Operational Risk, has seen it all. Her roles have been in operational risk, compliance, internal audit, vendor management and disaster recovery to name a few. She knows the value of program efficiency and continuous improvement.
Prior to Venminder, Meriwest Credit Union used Excel to manage their vendors which became difficult to maintain. In addition, copies of contracts and related documents were stored in filing cabinets and, in most cases, maintained by administrative staff. This didn’t take into account the various contracts entered into and signed by department managers that management may not have been aware of. In many cases, co-workers had retired or changed jobs and over the course of many years the contracts had become almost impossible to track down making managing their vendors particularly challenging.
“The spreadsheet is stagnant, and it can be manipulated. It doesn't send reminders of expiring contracts. It doesn't provide information on documents received or not received from vendors. And finally, it doesn't provide any reports, analysis or the expertise on how to manage the program,” shared Mary Ellen.
Meriwest Credit Union knew that the method they were using to manage their vendors was dated and not going to be satisfactory to an examiner. The credit union decided they needed to outsource to a company who had a vendor management focus that aligned with their needs from a requirement and regulatory standpoint.
“We needed to engage our vendors from the contract review, negotiation, to obtaining the required documents, and finally, to analyzing the vendor from a security and financial standpoint. The spreadsheet can't do all of that. We needed to focus on what was required from a regulatory standpoint, but we also needed to understand who we were doing business with.”
The credit union chose to implement Venminder as they found it is the one-stop solution the institution was searching for.
“There's all these reminders that we put in the back of our head and we can put them on our Outlook calendar, but it's not the same. It’s not specific to contracts. For this reason, I love all the features Venminder has. The reminders, the contract and document gathering, the analysis feature, the security, Argos service and a lot more.”
Since partnering with Venminder, Meriwest Credit Union’s approach to third-party risk has changed greatly and has become much more organized.
“With Venminder we know where the contract is. We know when it's expiring. We can document if that vendor is not providing the service they indicated they would. The vendor is being held accountable, which is something that we didn't do in the past.”
Examiners have also been satisfied with their vendor management program.
“The examiners reviewed everything while on site, and they found no issues with respect to Venminder.”
By implementing the software features and outsourcing managed services, such as SOC and financial reviews, managing vendors has become much more streamlined, and they’ve also saved time and resources.
“There's no way one person can do it all manually, and Venminder takes the headache away from it. It makes it a lot easier for all of us to understand who we're doing business with, and why we're doing business with the vendor. From a staffing standpoint, it makes it easier to understand what we need to do and provide to the examiners.”
Meriwest Credit Union would recommend Venminder to more than just financial institutions and believes any organization can benefit from the services.
“Venminder is not strictly for just financial institutions. It should be any business regardless of the type, because every business has a vendor who supplies something. So, I believe this product should be available to everyone, and I know it is.”
About Meriwest Credit Union
Meriwest Credit Union serves over 80,000 members.
Industry: Financial Institution
Company Size: $1.6 billion assets
Venminder Product: Software and Assessments