Compliance hot topic: Assessing vendor financial strength

MQMR gives steps lenders should take

Mortgage Quality Management and Research sent out its bi-weekly frequently asked questions paper Thursday morning, this time addressing vendor oversight programs and determining the strength of lenders’ third-party vendors.

MQMR explained that there are several steps lenders can take when assessing the financial strength of a vendor.

Here is the company’s question this week, and its answer.

Question: Should my vendor oversight program review the financial strength of my third-party vendors?


A financial review is a vital part of assessing the risk associated working with a third-party vendor – particularly if the vendor serves as a critical vendor for your company. Determining a vendor’s financial strength helps evaluate whether that third-party vendor can meet its financial obligations as they become due and whether the vendor may encounter operational issues. 

The financial assessment should review financial highlights, as well as ratios and metrics that measure the vendor’s fiscal performance. Ratios and metrics should provide information necessary to assess liquidity, profitability, operational performance, balance sheet management and the vendor’s ability to manage cash flow.

MQMR said some characteristics to consider when assessing the financial strength of a vendor may include:

  • Working capital – Does the vendor have negative working capital? Is there enough liquidity or current assets to cover its current debt?
  • Net worth – Does the vendor have declining net worth? May it be depleted by annual operating losses, decrease in asset values relative to liabilities, or distributions/dividends paid?
  • Profitability – Does the vendor have net losses? Do expenses exceed revenue?

An effective vendor management program that assesses financial strength may help a company make an educated decision on whether or not to rely on and enter into a business relationship with a particular vendor, especially one that may be critical to your operations.

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