ADVERTISEMENT

M&T Bank has been selected by the Erie County Comptroller’s Office to be the exclusive provider of all the county’s banking services, for an estimated annual savings of about $500,000.

Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw on Monday said it had been 8 years since the county put its banking business out to bid. So, back in October, he initiated a competitive bidding process aimed at reforming the way the county handles its banking, starting with the six banks that had been providing service to the county since 2006.

“One of the frustrating parts that we have is just the amount of paper that we process,” Mychajliw said.

“Right now, it takes two fulltime employees two days to process every single paper check in the office,” he added.

Not only will the new arrangement with M&T allow the county to eliminate a lot of paperwork, Mychajliw said, but it will help his office reduce the cost of paper-pushing that goes along with it.

The Comptroller’s Office is responsible for overseeing the county’s annual $1.4 billion operating budget which, in part, entails maintaining 42 deposit accounts, disbursing 17,900 vendor checks, 1,700 payroll checks and 9,700 direct deposit checks every month, as well as processing 15,000 lockbox payments annually.

“So we can’t even take advantage of electronic banking under the agreement going back to 2006,” Mychajliw said.

County workers were informed last week that M&T will take over the county’s payroll processing and introduce a web-base E-payment system aimed at greatly reducing the disbursement of paper checks, replacing them with electronic payments. That is projected to provide the county with about $500,000 in cashback savings the first year, Mychajliw said.

Other enhancements for the county will include comprehensive web-based record-keeping and reporting systems offering county officials up-to-the-minute access to all of its financial data and information; enhanced fraud protection; free payroll check-cashing, and credit card processing at the county’s golf courses, parks and other public facilities.

“We feel as though it’s an historic announcement that Erie County has reached what amounts to be an almost $2 billion agreement with M&T Bank,” Mychajliw said.

“It’s a significant investment, not only in the local economy but in a bank that is ... headquartered here in Buffalo,” he added.

email: hmcneil@buffnews.com