AuditLink, the audit and compliance division of CU*Answers, celebrated a stellar fiscal year in 2020 adding twenty-four new credit unions and CUSOs to its shared execution vendor management service offering. Jim Vilker, VP of Professional Services and AuditLink manager said, “we built this service based upon a cooperative mantra and have learned that vendor management is just about hard work.”

AuditLink is managing 800 critical vendor relationships, including over 2,000 due diligence documents. It is not uncommon for the service provider to have over 80% of a credit union’s existing critical relationships under management at the original risk assessment meeting. “We reached an inflection point in late 2019 and believe at this point we have the most robust databases of relevant vendor due diligence in the country,” said Vilker. “One of the many benefits to our credit unions and CUSOs is that this is not just monitoring required due diligence, but that it is being reviewed and reported to clients in a real time environment.

Jessica Hillborg, Frankenmuth Credit Union VP of Administration, said: “Frankenmuth Credit Union has been using AuditLink as a vendor management partner for several years. We have been extremely happy with the level of service that has been provided to us by their team. AVM reduces the time commitment of collecting ongoing due diligence and provides a great platform to access and manage that information. One of the greatest benefits is having a trusted partner to assist us during audits and exams. I would highly recommend this service to anyone looking for a vendor management solution.”

In May 2020, AuditLink rolled out of a whole new web-based platform designed collaboratively with credit union and CUSO vendor management practitioners. There are now over eighty credit unions and CUSOs using the platform. Features include archival of vital due diligence, dashboards to immediately assess the status of a vendor, and work queues to assist credit unions in reviewing the work the team is performing while reviewing due diligence. This is a real time system designed to meet the regulatory requirements geared around the continuous and ongoing management of a vendor relationships. The days of performing annual due diligence reviews have been gone for many years and financial institutions are being pressured by regulators to step this operational task up to one which is dynamic verses annual reviews of due diligence.

Vilker went on to say, “In this regulatory environment it is almost impossible for the average credit union to stay on top of their vendor management programs. Using a shared execution service like AuditLink takes 80% of the heavy lifting off vendor managers and helps them concentrate on the overall relationship vs. running vendors down and reviewing due diligence.