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REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
The City of Bismarck is requesting proposals from qualified financial institutions for banking services for ten (10) different deposit accounts and all other areas of related deposit services for the City of Bismarck. This request does not include any lending/borrowing services.
The selection process will be completed in accordance with established City of Bismarck procedures. Written qualifications shall address the financial institution’s ability to meet the banking services needs of the City. Written proposals shall address all items contained within the scope. The primary consideration items will be, but not limited to, the financial institutions:
The selection of vendor will be based on an evaluation of the written proposals. A selection committee may interview selected financial institutions. An agreement, including price schedule, will be negotiated with the selected vendor for approval by the Board of City Commissioners.
Inquiries should be directed to City of Bismarck Finance Department (701-355-1603) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written proposals from qualified financial institutions will be accepted until 5:00 pm CST on Friday, September 30, 2022.
Submit three (3) copies of the proposal, plus one digital copy, to:
City of Bismarck
221 North 5th Street
P.O. Box 5503
Bismarck, ND 58506-5503
Telephone (701) 355-1603
Dated this 24th day of August, 2022.
Section 1 – General Information
Scope of Banking Services
The City is seeking written proposals from qualified institutions, located within the City of Bismarck. The City is a tax-exempt organization so sales tax should be excluded from the fee proposal.
The term of the contract may be up to five years. At the City’s option, three 2-year extensions will be permitted with the same terms and conditions of the original contract or as amended.
All financial institutions submitting proposals are expected to comply with all federal, State of North Dakota, and local laws, as well as City rules and regulations relative to the services provided. The services to be provided are expected to keep the City in full compliance with all applicable laws.
1. Deposit Accounts - The City currently has ten (10) separate accounts described below. Listed with each account is a brief description of how the account is used. The City is open to hearing about all services that a proposer believes would benefit the City as a part of their proposal. Please explain how your institution can handle all ten different accounts as described.
2. Collateralization - North Dakota Century Code requires collateral be furnished by a financial institution for an amount equal to 110% of the City deposit balance beyond federal deposit insurance coverage. Please describe how you monitor funds for purposes of collateral, how does it adjust with the change in account balance, and how is this process audited to maintain compliance.
3. Bank Service Contact - Please provide the names of individuals who will be working on the proposed services and their areas of responsibility including their specific experience relevant to the proposal. Describe your institution’s customer service philosophy and organizational structure. For example, response time for answering questions, troubleshooting problems, resolving transaction issues, etc. Please also include experience with public sector customers of similar size.
4. Conversion and Training - Please explain your conversion process from another financial institution to your financial institution in the event the City makes the decision to switch. Please include all areas of the banking services such as checks, wires, ACHs, payroll, etc. The financial institution must also provide training to City staff for all areas of service. Please describe how training, operating manuals, and ongoing support are to be provided.
5. Physical Locations - The institution must have a physical presence within the City of Bismarck.
6. Deposit Processing – the City drops off deposit bags every business day which are made up of 5 to 25 individual cash and check deposits. The City strives to have the deposits at the bank by 10:00 am daily but there may be days where the deadline isn’t met. Please provide the hours of operation of your lobby and the availability of your staff to process the deposits. Deposits need to be processed the same day they are received.
7. Wire Transfers – The City issues approximately two to five wire transfers per month. The institution must be a member of the Federal Reserve System and have direct wire capabilities. The City shall have the ability to initiate all types and amounts of wire transfers electronically, along with appropriate security levels for wire transfer initiations and approvals. Confirmations of all incoming and outgoing wires will be made available daily at the bank. Please describe your institution’s ability to issue wire transfers, along with the daily cut-offs in order to process wire transfers the same day.
8. ACH and Virtual Card - The City continues to look for ways to reduce the number of checks issued. Please describe your institution’s ability to issue ACHs, virtual card payments, or other similar payment services.
9. Payroll and Pensioner Direct Deposit – The City currently process payroll for approximately 900 full and part-time/seasonal employees on a bi-weekly basis and approximately 375 Pensioner payments on a monthly basis. Electronic deposits must be made in the employees’ account by 8:00 am on payday. Any deviation from this time must be stated in the proposal. In addition, the City currently uses US Bank Easy tax to process payroll tax. Please describe any solutions that would be available to streamline the processing of payroll tax.
10. Positive Pay – The City uses positive pay for disbursements and needs continued access to the system. Online banking must allow for import of a positive pay file and ability to review and decision on exceptions.
11. Sweep Accounts - The City currently utilizes sweep account services to optimize investment return on account balances and limit the amount of deposits requiring collateralization. Please explain your institutions capability to offer sweep accounts.
12. Reporting Services – All accounts will run on a calendar month basis. The financial institution must provide monthly statements (cutoff being the last day of the month), account analysis statements, daily cleared check report, ACH returns, and a daily EDI remittance report. The financial institution will be expected to provide custom, specialized reports from time-to-time.
14. E-Lockbox Services – The City currently utilizes e-lockbox services for collection of customer utility payments. The institution must provide an e-lockbox service. Please include a detailed explanation of the bank’s e-lockbox services and the ability to run a daily report for all e-lockbox activity, including utility account number formatting and prohibiting or limiting customer payment reversals.
15. Utility Bill Bank Draft/ACH – The City processes bank drafts three times monthly for utility customers. Please explain your institution’s ability to receive and process a utility bank draft .txt file generated from the City’s ERP system (currently New World Systems).
16. Remote Deposit Capture – the City utilizes remote deposit capture for utility payments. Please provide information outlining the financial institutions capability for the City to scan each check received and process a batch deposit as needed, usually on a daily basis, including any specialized software and/or equipment. The City currently uses Bank Up software and equipment for remote deposit capture. Please provide information outlining the financial institutions capability to work with Bank Up software and equipment.
17. Cash Services – The City will periodically make sizeable cash withdrawals for department operations. Describe the process including lead time required for cash withdrawals of $10,000 or more.
General Proposal Requirements
1. Fee Structure - Please provide a detailed fee structure, including the total estimated annual cost to the City. Also, include proposed fees for other services provided by your institution that would be beneficial to the City but have not specifically been addressed.
2. Interest and Earnings Credit - Please explain your current interest rate or earnings credit for your accounts and how it is calculated. Also, explain how it changes over time.
3. Minimum Account Balances - Are there any minimum account balances? If so, please explain.
4. Financial Strength - Please give us a description of the overall financial strength and condition of your financial institution. Please enclose the latest copy of your financial report and also a copy of the last auditor’s report for review.
1. City Credit Cards (Purchasing Cards) – The City maintains credit card accounts as part of its current banking relationship. Interested proposers shall provide information on its credit card services including annual fees and potential rebate percentages. The City has approximately 210 active cardholders with an approximate monthly spend of $250,000. The City may be looking to expand the use of the credit card program.
2. Additional Payables Services – If applicable, please provide information on additional services your institution offers surrounding accounts payable processing and AP automation.
Section 2 - Instructions
Proposal Submission Deadline:
Proposals must be received by 5:00 pm CST on September 30, 2022. Late proposals will not be considered for award. No additional time will be granted to any institution unless by addendum to this RFP.
Proposal Response Format
Proposals should be prepared simply, providing a straight-forward, concise description of institution’s capabilities to satisfy the requirements of the RFP. Emphasis should be on clarity of content and completeness and not on volume.
Costs for the developing proposals in response to the RFP are the obligation of the institution and are not chargeable to the City.
All proposals must include the following:
Requirement Not Met
If institution cannot meet a service requirement, the proposal must clearly indicate why the specific requirement cannot be met. In the case where a service requirement cannot be met, the vendor may offer an equivalent alternative service. Failure to substantially propose on all basic services may result in the rejection of the proposal.
The City reserves the right to request clarification on any proposal or to ask respondents to supply an additional material deemed necessary to assist in the evaluation of the proposal. The City reserves the right to change the schedule or issue amendments to the RFP at any time. The City also reserves the right to cancel or reissue the RFP.
Rejection of Proposals
The City reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, to waive any minor informalities or irregularities contained in any proposal, and to accept any proposal deemed to be in the best interest of the City.
Proposal Validity Period
Submission of the proposal will signify the Vendor’s agreement that its proposal and the content thereof are valid for 120 days following the submission deadline and will become part of the contract that is negotiated between the City and the successful Vendor.
Form of Proposal
All proposers shall be aware that the RFP and the responses thereto are in the public domain and become the property of the City. After the evaluation process is completed and an award decision is made, the Proposals will be available under North Dakota open records law. Blanket statements that entire submittals are confidential shall be unacceptable.
All proposals will become the exclusive property of the City and will not be returned.
Questions Regarding Specifications or Proposal Process
To ensure fair consideration for all firms, the City prohibits communication regarding the proposal to or with any department director, division manager, or employee during the submission process with the exception of those questions relative to interpretation of specifications or the proposal process. Such communications initiated by a firm may be grounds for disqualifying the offending firm from consideration for award of the proposal and/or any future proposal.
No interpretations of the meaning of the RFP documents will be made to any bidder orally. Every request for such interpretation shall be in writing to the City of Bismarck Finance Department and to be given consideration must be received in writing prior to 5:00 pm CT on Friday, September 16, 2022. Direct inquiries to email@example.com or Finance Department, 221 North 5th Street, PO Box 5503, Bismarck, ND 58506-5503
Any and all such interpretation will be in the form of an Addendum to the Contract Documents and will be emailed to all prospective firms and posted on the City’s website by Wednesday, September 21, 2022.
Additionally, the City prohibits communications regarding the proposal initiated by a proposer to the City Official or employee evaluating or considering the proposals prior to the time an award decision has been made. Communication regarding the proposal between proposer and the City will be initiated by the appropriate City Official or employee in order to obtain information or clarification needed to develop a proper, accurate evaluation of the proposal. Such communications initiated by a proposer may be grounds for disqualifying the offending proposer from consideration for award of the proposal and/or any future proposal.
RFP available for distribution
August 24, 2022
Deadline for receipt of questions
September 16, 2022
Deadline for submittal of proposal
September 30, 2022
Conduct interviews (if necessary)
Week of October 10, 2022
October 17, 2022
Preliminary selection of financial institution
Recommendation to City Commission
October 25, 2022
City Commission Approval
Negotiation of final contract
Section 3 – Selection Process
Proposals will be evaluated by a committee of City staff. Evaluations will be based on criteria outlined herein which may be weighted by the City in a manner it deems appropriate. All proposals will be evaluated using the same criteria.
Qualifications and Criteria for Selection
Other evaluation factors will include:
Due Diligence and Final Selection
The City reserves the right to request additional information or take any other action necessary to perform a thorough and objective final evaluation of all aspects of the response from each Vendor. The final evaluation includes, but is not limited to, conducting customer reference checks, and reviewing any other information about the institution and its solution.
The City reserves the right to make a final selection without further discussion of the submitted proposal. The City shall not be bound or in any way obligated until both parties have executed a vendor contract. The City also reserves the right to delay final vendor selection and/or not make a final vendor selection.
Successful proposer will be required to execute a contract citing all legal jurisdictions and choice of law within the State of North Dakota and providing a certificate of insurance, if on-site training is included.