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My bank account analysis statements are like an 128 bit encrypted message. How do I understand them and get better visibility on fees?

Scott Gunn's Profile

Answers

Mark Stokes
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

First off, study and call. That is, take it a line at a time and don't stop working it out until you have done everything up to and including calling your bank. In the past, I have literally created a glossary for my bills which I and my folks could use to make sense of it all. There have been any number of mysterious reference numbers and line-item titles that make no sense on the face of things. I collect these on my glossary and make a call into my banker at my bank. I give him the work to do on my behalf by emailing him the whole glossary and asking him to work on making sense of it all and getting it back to me. This is a slow and arduous process, but I have found it works for me.

Also, I know there are consulting companies that can help you with this sort of thing, although I have not used them. I have used consultants who specialize in phone bill reduction, which I deem to be pretty similar in many ways, so I think it would make sense to bring in an expert (sorry, I don't have any to recommend) if your fees are significant on a monthly or annual basis.

J. Ed Neufer CPA
Title: Consultant
Company: CONSULTING
(Consultant, CONSULTING) |

Banks that nickel and dime people will lose in the end. Smart customers will know how to retaliate and ultimately never use them again. And some folks offer nothingg, not even any alleged benefits!!

John Wallace
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Porter-Gaud School
(Director of Finance, Porter-Gaud School) |

Most business owners don't realize that many items on their bank's fee schedule are negotiable. Banks want/need deposit accounts more than ever and are willing to do what it takes to retain good business. While earnings credit rates are at all time lows and the days of "free" checking are behind us, you don't have to pay list price for bank services. As a former banker I work with business owners to manage their banking relationships; if your bank won't negotiate, there's a bank down the street that would love your business.

Saul Kemble
Title: Accountant
Company: National Association of Social Workers C..
(Accountant, National Association of Social Workers CA Chapter) |

I just wanted to add that it doesnt hurt to ask for waivers after the fact. If you have a VP or other account manager assigned to you ask them to waive some things once in a while. I have found very favorable results, and it does not feel like begging, more a form of negotiation. Most of you are probably to busy to ask for a few hundred dollars back once in a while, but I am not.

Steve Sherwood
Title: Consultant
Company: Sherwood Associates
(Consultant, Sherwood Associates) |

Account Analysis statements are used by both the business and the financial institution to determine the value of the relationship to both parties. Some financial institutions have as many as 1,600 pricing codes for various line items they charge for. Also, most financial institutions offer the ability to receive their account analysis statements in various formats and through various channels. Smaller companies may prefer to get an account analysis statement in the mail in paper format, while others may have banks that offer it electronically as a pdf file through online banking. Some of the larger financial institutions provide Secure File Transfer of account analysis reports through a secure transmission channel. You shouldn't have to suffer receiving an account analysis statement in encrypted format. Ask your bank to provide a manner in which you can actually read the statement. Many of the larger banks also list the TMA agreed upon codes for certain charges so that you can compare between banks...but many times banks add new codes that don't directly translate to the TMA (Treasury Mgmt Assn) guidelines. I have consulted at banks and negotiated fee discounts at their larger upstream correspondent banks. Corporate clients are well within their rights to ask for some concessions on pricing, and depending on your bank, you may be able to benefit from some of these pricing concession. Good luck.

Ernie Humphrey CTP
Title: CEO & COO
Company: Treasury Careers
LinkedIn Profile
(CEO & COO, Treasury Careers) |

I had the "fun" of trying to decipher bank analysis statements as a treasury manager and then help others do it when I helped manage the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) service codes which are designed to help "decipher" the pricing codes on bank analysis statements. Many larger banks have AFP service codes on their statements and you can get a copy of the codes and even get software that helps you automate the mapping of your treasury services to the AFP codes so you can better manage your services.

First and foremost have a meeting with your relationship manager at each bank and make them explain each and every line of a recent account analysis statemement to you until you or someone on your staff understands it. Is this fun and will they want to do it, no, but it is worth it. I saved my company hundereds of dollars in fees every month just by knowing what I was paying for and monitoring variances.

I hope this helps.

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