No domestic retailer is bigger or more sprawling than the United States Postal Service (USPS), which accepts cash, checks and credit cards at 37,000 postal units nationwide. Yet, few corporations have been able to consolidate banking relationships to the degree achieved by the USPS, which has downsized to a mere 21 major relationship banks by 2004 with about 82 bank accounts, from 5,500 banks in 1992. The USPS is now in the midst of a national RFP to consolidate even further. While the consolidation alone saved the USPS almost $25 million, David C. Kosturko, the USPS corporate treasury/bank relations specialist, will tell you that the USPS is far from done wringing out savings.

Its next target: bank fees and automation of the USPS account analysis. "We do know that errors inevitably occur," observes Kosturko. "Our manual reviews [have already] discovered lots of opportunities for discrepancies–being billed for unauthorized services, not being charged contract prices. With our more centralized banking network, we can manage fees on the relationship level rather than the local level, and with fewer eyes and locations involved, it's now possible to consider automated solutions."

After surveying vendors, the USPS decided to go with an outsourced version of Weiland Financial Group Inc.'s Bank Account Manager. Kosturko says that the system is being rolled out through September. Weiland promises to reduce overpayment to banks by the USPS by as much as $3 million annually. "Because our accounts were debited before statements could be pro- cessed, remediation involved getting back money we'd already paid, instead of not paying disputed charges," says Kosturko. "The new process will allow us to analyze statements before we pay, and authorize payment for just what we think we owe."

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