3 Critical Stages of Third-Party Vendor Management

By Vanessa Stanfield, Insurance Solutions powered by Affinion

Did you know your credit union could be responsible for the performance of your vendors? No credit union wants to encounter regulatory trouble or face reputational risk; especially as a result of vendor activities. It’s because of that fact that vendor management due diligence is a topic of increasing importance.

But what is the right way to go about choosing  third party vendor? The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has provided clear direction regarding vendor due diligence. Additionally, the NCUA has deemed the following areas as critical in third-party vendor management: Risk Assessment & Planning, Due Diligence, and Risk Measurement, Monitoring and Control.

Risk Assessment & Planning

Risk Assessment

Prior to engaging a third-party relationship, assess the current risks and document how the vendor will relate to your credit union’s strategic plan. When conducting a comprehensive risk assessment, the key areas of focus are: credit, interest rate, liquidity, transaction, compliance, strategy, and reputational risk. In this discovery phase, your credit union can identify the current risks and establish expectations of the new relationship.

Due Diligence

There are four fundamental due diligence elements to consider when choosing a vendor: organizational, business model, financial health, and program risks. In these areas, your credit union can assess what degree of due diligence is required.

But remember- not all vendors are created equal. More complex vendor relationships with more risk will typically require increased due diligence; less complexity and risk means less rigorous due diligence. For a comprehensive report and the five key due diligence questions you need to ask your vendors, read the full whitepaper here.

Risk Measurement, Monitoring and Control

Credit unions must be able to continually measure performance and risk throughout the relationship with the vendor. To do this, your credit union should clearly outline the vendor’s responsibilities and policies before taking on the vendor. In the end, this will allow for proper vendor performance management so that you can ensure expectations are being met.

Credit unions should not think of vendors as a third party, but as an extension of their organization. Because of this, it is important to consider the three critical areas above when deciding on a vendor. As the NCUA has conveyed, the utilization of vendors does not in any way diminish the credit union’s level of responsibility and for that reason, credit unions should carefully select their vendors.

What Should We Ask Our Vendors?

To be confident that the vendor’s management programs are the right fit, credit unions must discuss the vendor in great detail and ask the hard questions. Failure to conduct thorough due diligence and effectively monitor these vendors place the credit union at risk. Again, not all vendor relationships call for the same level of due diligence and ongoing monitoring, but in order to determine what level is necessary there are key questions that your credit union must contemplate.

For an in-depth look at the five key due diligence questions that credit unions must ask when selecting a third-party vendor, read the full whitepaper here.

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InsuranceSolution_4CAffinion is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for AD&D Insurance

New Perspectives on Vendor Due Diligence

Guest post written by Vanessa Stanfield, Client Program Director, Vendor Management, Affinion Group.

headshot_blogNow that I’m fully immersed in the world of credit unions, I’m so impressed by the incredible emphasis on members and the cooperative spirit.  The majority of my prior experience was spent working in the insurance division of a major national bank.  My roles varied from vendor management to product management – hot topics for financial institutions of all sorts.  I’m very grateful for the perspectives I gained elsewhere now that I dig into my new responsibilities with Affinion Benefits Group.  Affinion has built the culture, infrastructure, and systems to support and serve our credit union clients in many proven and innovative ways.

On any given day, my work presents me with a few key areas of focus:

1. Facilitating the completion of client due diligence requests in an efficient, thorough, and streamlined manner

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Gamification: Three Steps to Foolproof Engagement

Originally posted in The Federal Credit Union magazine.

Guest post written by Wayne Conte, Executive Vice President, Affinion Group

Affinion Group is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for AD&D Insurance, Enhanced Flex Checking, and Identity Theft Protection.

Although the concept has been around for decades, the term “gamification” was coined in 2002 and exponentially gained popularity around 2010. Gamification is the use of game mechanics to engage users and influence behavior. It’s widely used for diverse applications in marketing, education, loyalty building, productivity boosting, security authentication, incentive programs, and more. Chances are you already participate in several gamification programs.

One example of gamification dates back to the 1980s, when the airlines launched their frequent flyer programs. The result is millions of participants earning points or miles in exchange for their loyalty. The airlines quickly determined that air travelers were more interested in achieving elite status than earning rewards. Leveraging the consumer’s need for status —or achievement— is demonstrated in other gamified applications such as receiving endorsements on LinkedIn and “likes” on Facebook, earning badges on TripAdvisor or Yelp, becoming a mayor on Foursquare, or tracking fitness activities with the wearable Jawbone.

According to a Gartner report, more than 70 percent of the Forbes Global 2000 companies will have at least one gamified application by 2014. These companies will invest billions of dollars over the next few years to implement gamification and, ultimately, differentiate themselves through gamification strategies. As consumers become more accustomed to gamification in their everyday lives, it makes good business sense for you to engage both your members — and your employees — in the same manner.

Here’s how to get started:

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