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How Important Is Wall Street When a Bank Selects a Tech Vendor?

When I am called upon to assist a bank in the selection of its primary tech vendor, I pay attention to 814 tests. The price of the stock is not one of the.m

Short answer--not very. In the past week, the top four bank tech vendors made headlines--the kind that Wall Street notices. Metavante went public after thinking about it for several years. Fidelity National Information Services intends to split the company into two public companies. Fiserv sold off a major piece of its healthcare business. And Jack Henry announced a nice first quarter report. Forgive me, folks, if this stuff doesn't get to me like the Red Sox Sweep, and it's not that I don't care about 96 companies in my report.It's just that when I am called upon to assist a bank in the selection of its primary tech vendor, I pay attention to 814 tests. The price of the stock is not one of them. What's interesting is that not a single client has ever asked me anything having to do with the price of a vendor's stock, the ownership of a vendor, the buyout of a vendor, or the financial strength/weakness of a particular vendor. In the old days, these questions would come up in seminar settings. What gets thrown around in a room full of bankers (the number was usually 35) is quite uninhibited. "What do you think of XYZ?" XYZ is a pseudonym for eight charlatans that once entered the marketplace like snake oil salesmen, and managed to rip off every customer they signed.

Bank examiners also love to ask questions at seminars. "Do you investigate the financial strength of vendors you recommend?" My answer to that one is very simple, and perhaps the only time I display humility. "When I chop the list of 76 theoretical solutions (the long list) down to 4 (the right-fit list), I take it for granted that other professionals, far better at auditing financial integrity than me, have already put the companies on the short list through the financial ringer. I don't have to burden my billing meter just to build up my fee." This I said before "Artie Andy" did their thing at Enron. I hope we can count on Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, Crowe Chizek and Blum, Shapiro & Co. to do their job well because I'm still committed to doing my job well and not interested in doing everybody else's job. And there you have it from the happy camper.When I am called upon to assist a bank in the selection of its primary tech vendor, I pay attention to 814 tests. The price of the stock is not one of the.m

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