2015 has been a very blessed year at Genesys. We have much to be thankful for and there is no better time than New Year’s to take a look back and thank God for the people he has put into our lives. After all, that is what it is really about, honoring those you come into contact with and celebrating the richness that your customers, associates, co-workers and acquaintances bring to your life. Looking back on the year...here is my top ten:
#10 - In House to Outsourced Evaluations
Here at Genesys we saw a significant increase in the number of banks hiring us to help sort through the details of an in-house to outsourced decision. Make no mistake, it’s a huge undertaking and in most instances driven by executive management or the board of directors looking for a more cost effective means to manage their technology. In very few situations do we see Operations chomping at the bit to make the move. Interestingly enough, only 50% of our clients who hire us to help with decision actually make the move to outsourcing. There are so many variables to consider like the long-term cost of a transactionally heavy outsourced pricing model, the ability to hire and retain key personnel to manage the in-house systems, regulatory pressures and contractual obligations in the event of a merger or acquisition just to name a few. In the end, it is so rewarding to help our customers wade through the analysis and make the wisest decision for their institution. I know this hits #10 but we are thankful that our clients trust us with this process and refer other institutions to enlist our assistance.
#9 - Mergers and Acquisitions
I know, I know...you are probably thinking - WHAT? Why would you be thankful for the rampant consolidation in the industry? First, we have seen time and again where our clients are protected by the language we add to the contracts in relation to merger and acquisition. Language that protects them against opportunistic vendors who charge through the nose to liquidate a contract (you know who you are) or convert an acquired institution to the acquirers systems. It is rewarding to see our efforts protect our customers. Secondly, merging institutions often turn to us for assistance in managing the merger of systems and/or negotiating a stronger processing agreement for the new combined entity. It’s good to be appreciated and needed. We are thankful for that.
#8 - Forward Thinking Vendors
We are thankful on two fronts. First, in relation to the BIG 4 processors in the market, we need to tip our hat to Jack Henry and Associates. Moving Silverlake to a real-time processing environment is going to fill a huge gap in the market for thrifts that are landlocked to old antiquated solutions and provide the growing number of commercial banks that find value in a real-time solution. Additionally, the Banno suite of services are bringing a much needed face-lift to a very tired set of online solutions for the BIG 4. Jack Henry has shown year after year that they acquire companies that add value to their current customer base and not just size to their organization. Standing ovation please. Secondly, new startup companies and their forward thinking philosophies hit the FinTech space almost on a daily basis. Granted, they will most likely be snapped up by larger companies in the near future but they drive change and get bankers the tools they need to patch gaps in their current solution set. Very thankful for forward thinking vendors and the value they bring to our clients.
#7 - Forward Thinking Bankers
Bankers wear so many hats that checking the boxes each day is two full-time jobs. We get that. This year however, we have seen bankers embracing cloud based collaboration systems like Google Apps (Google for Work) - hats off to Pam Ihli and the Citizens National Bank in Sevierville, TN. She gets it and recognizes the value of real time collaboration in the cloud. Sorry, I got off track for a second...we saw bankers inviting us to brainstorming sessions on digital disruptions and how they adapt. We witnessed bank executives who understand that millennials are a different breed of customer and they need to adapt now to try to hold the attention and business of a generation that has everything at their fingertips. The list goes on and on but make no mistake, bankers are shaking off the mentality that regulatory pressure stifles creativity. You know who you are and we are thankful for you. It makes our job so much more fun.
#6 - New Entrants into the Core Market
As much as we love the BIG 4 - we focus on the community banking space and that space is in desperate need of some new players. NYMBUS tops our list of what is hoped to be on the horizon for bankers. Backed by some seriously deep pockets and software that is seriously slick - NYMBUS is bringing the Salesforce.com mentality to banking software. Scalability that is through the roof, bolting on functionality and workflow more efficiently by leveraging new technology and a user interface that is unmatched in the industry. It is hard not to get excited but we understand the challenges that they face in a highly regulated - risk averse banking market. It’s fun to think about them being successful but in the same breath they must be efficient in the opportunities they chase and clients they acquire. In addition to NYMBUS you have Temenos and Infosys scrapping to get into the community bank space. It will be interesting to see the momentum all of these vendors build in 2016. Regardless, we are thankful for new blood and the opportunity to sit through software demonstrations that we have not seen a hundred thousand times. Amen...AMEN!
#5 - New Additions to the Genesys Team
Speaking of new blood, 2015 brought some new faces to the Genesys team. Kimberly Ely joined us in January and although she did not stay long she is a first class lady who we are thankful for knowing and working with. We wish Kimberly the best. David Noël joined the team in November and dang he hit the ground running. Noël brings a fire to our support services team and has a well balanced personality of bull-dog and people pleaser. He is charged with heading up and building our growing conversion/project management business unit and his experience and expertise in compliance and bank operations makes him the perfect man for the job. You can hand David something and you know it will get done and our customers will love it. So thankful for David Noël.
#4 - Seasoned Veterans
For those of you who have met Joy Pelaez with our organization - I could stop right there. Joy is unlike anything we have ever seen. She is a machine and she treats every project like it’s the only one on her plate (she usually has 12 or so). Her attention to detail and over the top focus on our customer’s needs makes her such a blessing to this organization and to our customers. Her customer satisfaction surveys are through the roof and we even have banks that pay us more money and make us commit to give Joy 100% of the bonus money. Come on...bankers just don’t do that. Well they do for Joy. We are thankful for Joy and her ever-growing base of RAVING FANS. Also, I (David Saylor) cannot let this article be published without praising the dedication, wisdom and servants heart of Shawn McEver. Her love for God and desire to serve all those she comes in contact with makes my life so much easier every day. She is the best side-kick anyone could ever have (Shawn, I hope you do not mind me calling you my side-kick). I could not do this without her. So thankful for Shawn McEver.
#3 - Strong Vendor Relationships
Now let's be real, is this even possible? We believe so. We want to honor the vendors in our process and we do not box them out of conversations with our clients. I mean, come on, the bank needs a relationship with the vendor, right? The bank has to live with the decision and if we beat the tar out of the vendors and hand them to the bank - good luck with starting that relationship off right. We are thankful for the vendors. Their willingness to listen to our insight and guidance makes our jobs so rewarding. Our customers get a fantastic contract and the vendors get a strong relationship from day one and a referenceable client.
#2 - New Customers
We have always been blessed with a strong new customer base year in and year out. 2015 was our strongest year to date and we have our existing customers to thank for that. Our referral rate is through the roof and our list of Raving Fans continues to grow. We are constantly amazed with the quality of our customers. What I mean by that is that they are genuinely likeable and their desire to do the best thing for their organization is contagious. Who doesn't want to look forward to coming to work each day. Our customers make our lives richer. We are most certainly thankful for our new customers in 2015...which leads us to #1.
#1 - Returning Customers
We were founded in 2007, in November 2007 to be exact. So let's think about that. It takes two years for Saylor to get the ship off the ground and start to churn out some business. Another two years for Pelaez to get her feet underneath her and her bearings straight. So that puts us in 2011 where we have a project management staff that is a productive and well oiled support machine. If you do the math on our average contract term of five years, that puts us in 2015 which yielded a tremendous number of banks whose contracts were coming back up and came back and asked us to help them again. What a blessing! We are so SO thankful for our returning clients. You have humbled us in 2015 and we thank you for an amazing year. We are constantly amazed at how much we love working with community bankers. There is no other industry we would rather be in. See you in 2016.