The Cost of Doing Business with Others, For Credit Unions and their Vendors

4 Key Points to Keep in Mind

A paradox exists in the industry. spend incredible amounts of time and dollars on switch kits for new members. Hours are spent thinking about signage, the new member experience, and implementation. Credit unions think about these things a lot before executing because they matter to the success of the credit union and the connection they have with its members. How new members perceive credit unions is important. It takes a lot for people to make a switch, especially when they are moving over from a traditional financial institution. However, we don't think half as much about switching vendors. It is important to be aware of the cost of doing business with others when it comes to credit unions and their vendors.

That is alarming when you think about it. Switching vendors is a big deal. It is an area that will have a marked impact on members. Credit unions should put the same amount of time and effort into a decision that involves a vendor switch. Failure to do so could be costly. Some costs are hidden. Here are some things to consider before making a decision.

1. What is their track record? 

Anybody can come into your credit union and say anything. That's a fact. This is especially true of most salespeople. Their end goal is to get a sale for the company and usually, the salesperson is rewarded for their efforts. It is important to be vigilant in this regard. Ask the following few questions.

  • How long has their company been in business?
  • Who else have they worked with?
  • Do they have references to provide you?

These are standard questions you should ask any salesperson no matter the product. Their answers will tell you a lot.

2. Timeframe. 

How long will it take to make the switch? This is important. Your credit union cannot allow itself to be down for weeks while new data systems are implemented or servers are patched and updated. No, you need to have minimal downtime. That will cost you thousands. Make sure the vendor has a plan in place to create a smooth transition. Most vendors will have a switch kit (just like the one your credit union may have for new members) to ensure a smooth transition. Your credit union still needs to ask what is required on your end, though. It's important to understand what the expectations are. It may not be worth it in the long run.


Ask if the vendor is compliant and ask for examples to verify. Vendors go to great lengths to make their products look impressive. This is basic buyer psychology. We like to buy things that look “nice.” However, if the “nice” product is not compliant, it will cost a great deal in the long run. Look for vendors that offer compliance to their customers first. Find that forms provider where compliance will never be an issue. Make sure your forms will always be up to date with any state or federal regulation.

4. Pricing. 

What is included with your price? Mergers and switching vendors could be a lengthy process, so make sure that your credit union vendor offers you phone and in-person support. Are they based in the United States? Would they pick up the phone and assist your credit union during the transitions? It may cost your credit union more later when services or customer service is not available. After it is all said and done, another way to save on finding resources is to be confident that the vendor chosen will continue changing with the industry's needs. This way your credit union stays relevant and able to compete in the credit union industry.

Keep these four points in mind the next time a vendor walks through your door pitching a product or service. It could very well be that they have something fantastic to offer. If so, they won't mind answering a few questions or providing references for proof. Instead, they will take you as a serious buyer.

If you have been considering a switch, feel free to ask us a few questions. We would love to speak with you and explain how Oak Tree forms packages make all the difference. The bells and whistles we offer with our packages facilitate convenience. It's the compliance need that is solved first for our credit union customers.