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#32770 - 09/13/02 05:22 PM Proper BOL role for vendors?
Richard Insley Offline
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Richard Insley
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 10,068
Toano, VA
After having read a number of critical posts recently concerning the proper BOL role for vendors, I'd like to explore the topic objectively.

When we first started calling ourselves "compliance officers" in the '70s, we were the Maytag repairmen of banking. It was a very lonely job and we welcomed any opportunity to have an intelligent conversation with ANYONE who understood the regs or the handful of commercial products that addressed them. We would have killed for the luxury of an online discussion forum like this and would have welcomed information about developments in products and services.

Now there are thousands of products, services and consultants to help banks get into compliance with the law and stay there. If you're a shopper, it's much harder today to know what's "out there". Discussion of the offerings and merits of one provider versus another is a natural topic for this kind of discussion group.

What do other BOLers consider to be an appropriate role for vendors here, and where would you draw the line on self-promotion?
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#32771 - 09/13/02 05:32 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
waldensouth Offline
Power Poster
waldensouth
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,981
FINALLY ABOVE the gnat line
I, personally, welcome the role that vendors like you and Don Narup play on this forum. You give freely of your time and expertise on various topics. As long as we are conversing as "equals" just trying to help each other, I think its great. I haven't been to the Vendors page lately, but I feel certain that you are both listed there so that if anyone needed your product, they could contact you thru that venue. I would never want to see any vendor just post ads in these forums instead of fully participating in the conversation. Except for a few that have "snuck" in occassionally - that hasn't been a problem.
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My Opinion Only.

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#32772 - 09/13/02 05:40 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Dan Persfull Offline
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Dan Persfull
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 46,844
Bloomington, IN
I feel the vendors, through their products and knowledge of the regs., can be positive contributors to the threads, but I donít think the threads are a place for "advertisementsĒ. However, I see nothing wrong with them replying to a post where someone is seeking a vendor service by advising the poster they may have a product that will suit their needs and giving them the contact information. Just donít try to sell the product through the threads. And, in my short time in the forums, I have not seen anyone really abuse the threads for the purpose of advertisements.
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The opinions expressed are mine and they are not to be taken as legal advice.

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#32773 - 09/13/02 05:41 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Bear Collector, CRCM Offline
Diamond Poster
Bear Collector, CRCM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,830
District of Columbia
Richard,
I may be slightly prejudiced on this topic because I know you so well and have come to rely on your years of knowledge and experience in this industry. When you post, or answer a post, I never think "Oh, there is Richard, engaged in shameless self promotion, again!" I always think, "Now there is an opinion I can rely on and trust." When someone who is a vendor takes the time to get involved in the discussions and offers real, usable information that the rest of us can understand, I would never consider that self-promotion. In fact, even if you or any other vendor were to mention that you offer certain services for a fee, I would appreciate that as well. Lets face it, even Lucy and Mary Beth charge for their services! We seek them out and pay to hear them speak because we know how good they are.
You have given me good advice for free, but knowing you are making a living from your good advice, I try not to take advantage. I think all of us need to be mindful and respectful of that fact, and look at the knowledge you share here as a gift. I would only have a problem with a vendor who refused to part with any advise without being paid. How would I know I WANTED to hire him? I think those of you who are willing to give freely of your time and expertise to help the rest of us are to be commended. I understand that there has to be a limit to what you give for free, but I would certainly hire you before I would hire anyone else in your field because of your willing participation on BOL.
Leslie
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Being kind is more important than being important.

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#32774 - 09/13/02 05:44 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Al Miller Offline
Diamond Poster
Al Miller
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,416
Pleasanton CA USA
Where would I draw the line on self-promotion? Probably even further than you have ever gone. I, for one, think you (and the other vendors that participate) show remarkable restraint. That is why I can remember several posts that have suggested that questions be directed directly to a vendor, I am sure I will do so again. There is a limit to "generic" information and a point at which we each need "professional" help. (I know, I know, some of you have thought I needed professional help for years, but that is a topic for another forum).
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Al Miller, CRCM
Opinions expressed are my own and not necessarily shared by my employer.

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#32775 - 09/13/02 05:52 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Sponge Steve Offline
Gold Star
Sponge Steve
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 299
Midwest
I've never thought of Richard as a vendor. It never even crossed my mind that he was until now. I welcome comments from anyone who knows a thing or two about this business and the challenges we face. I would object if vendors here were pushing their products to me with everything they say or if they were using this as a place to gather addresses to send me junk e-mail that I don't want. But that it isn't happening here. I don't even object to vendors occasionally mentioning they have something that might help someone's problem. Lots of vendors are old bankers that had a career change so they have knowledge. Were this forum limited only to people working in a bank in a compliance function I'd have to sign off since I no longer work in compliance as my job description.

Leave it open to all with something to contribute, whether a butcher, banker or software maker.
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Sponge Steve, CRCM, CBA Opinions expressed are mine and not my employer's

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#32776 - 09/13/02 05:52 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
BrendaC Offline
Power Poster
BrendaC
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 6,029
Sweet Home AL
I, too, appreciate the assistance and contributions of the vendors on this forum. I think many readers may not even know some of the frequent posters are vendors as opposed to bankers, because they do not, as a rule, promote themselves as such. Over the past few years, I have often relied on vendors to keep me updated on compliance as well as technological issues. I think the mingling of ideas, suggestions and solutions is what makes this a strong tool for compliance. And I would venture to guess it helps the vendors as well.

THANK YOU AND KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
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#32777 - 09/13/02 05:54 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Betty Banker Offline
Member
Betty Banker
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 57
SD
I have been so impressed with the give and take, and the professionalism of the posters on this forum. Yes, there have been exceptions; they are usually just blips on the screen if one looks at the bigger picture. Any criticism you may have seen as of late comes, I believe, from parties that have a distorted view of their own importance.

I don't see any conflict with vendors that generously share their expertise with this site. Neither do I see it as free advertising. We all learn from others; sometimes we pay for it and sometimes we don't. I've never felt that vendor participation in these threads is improper or unwanted.

I don't know if I'm making sense today, but I for one do not support those who would criticize ANYONE'S constructive participation in these threads.

Mini-rant ahead: When I first found this site, I lurked a long time. I read through all of the threads, Alphabet Soup, Info Vault, and the Tools section before I EVER posted anything. I felt I should get a feel for the 'flavor' of the site before attempting to participate. When a new poster comes in and seemingly tries to dominate the board and tell longtime respected members where to get off, I am greatly disappointed. That kind of attitude has no place here any more than it would in the workplace. End of mini-rant.

I hope that helps. It would be a shame if the valued vendors at this site held back their sage advice due to a tiny entity that still operates at a 9th grade level.

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#32778 - 09/13/02 06:01 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
redsfan Offline
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redsfan
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 3,455
The Pennant Race
To the extent that you (or any other vendor for that matter) chooses to share your expertise with us, I am grateful for that, since that means I get for free something I would be willing (and have) to pay for. While others have recommended your services, you have not used this forum to directly promote your services (Neither have Don, David, Lucy, or any other vendor I can recall).

Being a vendor doesn't disqualify you from having valuable knowledge, perspective and solutions. I learn from you and your brethren daily. Please (all of you) continue to participate in this forum. The banking professionals who lurk and post here appreciate your thoughts and your professional approach.

I trust that you will continue to show the good judgment and taste you have always shown when the topic turns to service providers.

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The opinions expressed here are personal and do not represent opinions of my employer.

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#32779 - 09/13/02 06:03 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Andy_Z Offline
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Andy_Z
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 27,503
On the Net
If my monitor had a bumper sticker it would say "Vendors are contributors too".
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AndyZ CRCM
My opinions are not necessarily my employers.
R+R-R=R+R
Rules and Regs minus Relationships equals Resentment and Rebellion. John Maxwell

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#32780 - 09/13/02 06:18 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
RVFlyboy Offline
Power Poster
RVFlyboy
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,980
Soaring over Georgia
Allow me to jump on the bandwagon as well. I've been here since day one (well actually I think it was day two) as have several other long time members - and for many years prior to that on other compliance forums. In all that time, I can probably count the number of times on my two hands that a vendor has stepped over the line in my opinion. And more often than not, it was from a first-time participant vendor, never from one of the regulars like Richard, David, Don, Lucy and others. I think the actions that Mary Beth were forced to take (detailed on another thread) with regard to what was probably the only real voice protesting the vendor participation is telling in and of itself. This is a forum for sharing information and assistance. I don't care if that information and assistance comes from a vendor, a banker, or even just a curious onlooker as long as it is useful and valuable information and assistance. As long as your input is not limited to "I've got this great product that will solve your problems and you can purchase it here....." you will always be welcome here in my opinion.
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Jim Bedsole, CRCM, CBA, CFSA, CAFP
My posts - my opinions

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#32781 - 09/13/02 06:57 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Lestie G Offline

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Joined: May 2002
Posts: 3,606
Near the Land of Enchantment
I may not be the typical consumer, but the best way to ensure that I'll never buy one of your products is to be pushy, call me on the phone, send me spam, etc. When I have need for a service or product from a vendor (and we all have that need - or all you vendors would still be bankers!) - I do my research carefully. The attitude, knowledge level, and professionalism of the vendor are the top qualities I evaluate.

I can say without a doubt, that Richard, David, Don, Lucy, Mary Beth, etc. will be the first people I'll call when I need what they sell - because they've more than proven their attitude, knowledge level and professionalism by their actions on this forum.

Thank you for your contributions, and please don't let one opinion speak for us all! We want you here! Hey - there's even a few lawyers that I'd be happy to retain, based on their contributions and sound practical advice on this forum!
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Opinions my own.

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#32782 - 09/13/02 07:04 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
SMQ, CRCM Offline
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SMQ, CRCM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 4,828
Between the lines
My 2 cents---I appreciate the vendors and feel that they (for the most part, see another thread) have contributed greatly to this forum. From another perspective, we are a small bank where one person (that being me) has a multitude of tasks and our bank is not unique in expense control. If we had to pay for every single answer we needed, you can rest assured that there would be a lot of unanswered needs. On the other hand, we learn about products through BOL that we may not have otherwise even know that there was a vendor solution. We also learn about which solutions best fit the needs of our particular institution. What works for a small bank may not work for the really large banks and so on.

Secondly, I believe that the interaction on BOL between the bankers and the vendors probably benefits everyone, including the vendors. Hopefully, they occassionally pick up tips from us as to our needs which leads to a win-win solution. When considering a purchase, I look to the BOL vendors first because I know that if they are participating here, then they really understand banking and compliance officers and the issues that we are dealing with.
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#32783 - 09/13/02 07:47 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
John Burnett Online
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John Burnett
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 39,685
Cape Cod
I will not repeat any of what has already been said eloquently on this topic. I will add only, AMEN!
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John S. Burnett
BankersOnline.com
Fighting for Compliance since 1976
Bankers' Threads User #8

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#32784 - 09/13/02 07:51 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
downstown Offline
Gold Star
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 295
St. Louis, MO
In reply to:

What do other BOLers consider to be an appropriate role for vendors here, and where would you draw the line on self-promotion?



I think Jim is absolutely right with his comment:
In reply to:

As long as your input is not limited to "I've got this great product that will solve your problems and you can purchase it here....." you will always be welcome here in my opinion.



I would add one more item that I consider inappropriate: Do not send unsolicited e-mails advertising your product. This just happened this afternoon, which I thought was extremely ironic given today's posts.
I have always appreciated the time that the vendors spend answering questions and helping others on here. I hope this does not change because of the criticism of a few.

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#32785 - 09/13/02 08:07 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Tina A Sweet Offline
Diamond Poster
Tina A Sweet
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,033
Marysville, Ca.
Richard,

I had no idea you where a vendor? I myself welcome your knowledge and respect your position as a BOL poster. We must all work together as a team. BOL has opened the door for many of us to use and to access those who have knowledge in areas we may be lacking. I know when I found this sight; I like many others, lacked knowledge of how to retrieve new regs. This site has saved me more than once, so at times; I want to save someone else. Thanks for your contributions Richard. I have no criticisms towards anyone on this site, vendor or not.
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Tina A Sweet-Williams
AVP Special Assets
mailto:tsweet@goldcountrynb.com

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#32786 - 09/13/02 08:11 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
zaibatsu Offline
Power Poster
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 6,153
What about regulators and the worst of all--dare I say it--attorneys? Oops, did I open that can or worms on a Friday?
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#32787 - 09/13/02 08:11 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Andy_Z Offline
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Andy_Z
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 27,503
On the Net
OK, Richard and other vendors. If I owned a florist shop or greeting card company, I'd promote a "Compliance Vendor Day". Maybe Mary Beth will create an e-greeting card. You guys deserve it. And least we not forget the most popular vendor, BOL. There are messages there as well, but even BOL isn't pushy. There are no pop-up or pop-under ads.

Suffice it to say that vendors give, sometimes out of their own pockets.
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AndyZ CRCM
My opinions are not necessarily my employers.
R+R-R=R+R
Rules and Regs minus Relationships equals Resentment and Rebellion. John Maxwell

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#32788 - 09/13/02 08:23 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Bartman Offline
Diamond Poster
Bartman
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,191
Springfield
Great point - I know I personally have learned a lot from Howard Lax & Ted Dreyer. Hey wait a minute - you're an attorney too, aren't you? Hmmm...
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Opinions are Bartman's, not those of my employer. "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man."

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#32789 - 09/13/02 08:34 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Andy_Z Offline
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Andy_Z
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 27,503
On the Net
When I speak on e-tools I talk about getting free legal advice. MB is an attorney too and I suspect several of our non-vendor participants are as well. When I get advice, free advice even if it is non-binding, not meant to be yada, yada, yada, I feel like I am getting over and a smile comes to my face.

Thanks guys (guys is inclusive of gals).
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AndyZ CRCM
My opinions are not necessarily my employers.
R+R-R=R+R
Rules and Regs minus Relationships equals Resentment and Rebellion. John Maxwell

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#32790 - 09/13/02 08:37 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Sponge Steve Offline
Gold Star
Sponge Steve
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 299
Midwest
I was stuck in traffic the other day. A cop was walking by and I asked him what the hold-up was? He said some attorney was on the highway threatening to douse himself with gas and torch himself due to his financial troubles and that he was taking up a collection for the guy. The cop said he'd already collected 300 gallons but people were still siphoning.

Ah heck, even the opinions of attorneys are welcome.
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Sponge Steve, CRCM, CBA Opinions expressed are mine and not my employer's

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#32791 - 09/13/02 08:50 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Dave M_TCA Offline
Platinum Poster
Dave M_TCA
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 682
Wherever my most benevolent em...
I'll simply echo John's sentiment. Amen!
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David J Mulkerin, CRCM
All opinions expressed are mine and not those of my employer and are not to be taken as legal advice.

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#32792 - 09/13/02 08:54 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
DawgFan Offline
Diamond Poster
DawgFan
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,678
United States
That's a great one! Richard, as I have stated before, I am new in compliance and to BOL. I actually only recently began participating here. Since I don't know any of you, and have met only one of you, I think I have an objective view. I have never felt like those of you who are vendors were pushing your products on this website. In fact, I look to see where people are from and when I first noticed you and Don and some others were posting, but didn't work at banks I thought "Interesting, vendors participate in this as well." I am glad that those of you who are vendors conduct yourselves professionally here. Thanks for contributing!
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#32793 - 09/13/02 09:38 PM Re: Proper BOL role for vendors?
Ted Dreyer Offline
Diamond Poster
Ted Dreyer
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 2,245
Thanks, Bart. I have to confess I'm an attorney, a recovering regulator and I work for a vendor! Should I duck now?

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