One of the more important things that we do is that all expense items must go through a process where two people review them.
Another priority is to have a damn good budget - so what you're spending is in a planned format. If you are doing that, staying within budget and monitoring peer numbers, you have a pretty good handle on the basics.
Besides that, we are always looking for technology that reduces cost, especially anything that reduces paperwork, so that we have a long-term view on spending.
For us, it's a constant battle. The two main things that, we do are constantly evaluating and reevaluating both our employees and the vendors we use to make sure that we get the best price and value for each dollar we spend.
We also make vendors rebid every year, even if we've used the same vendor for many years, to make sure we get the best price.
Also, we do local checks of other similar-size institutions to make sure we don't expect too much or too little of both employees and vendors.
The key would be to keep staff at a manageable level and at an efficient level. That is the biggest factor that is controllable.
If we have an employee leaving the bank, we look at opportunities to consolidate duties.
We also believe very much in automation. We have our own in-house computer system. It initially increased our data processing costs but ... we have been able to grow significantly without increasing those costs.
You have to keep at it all the time. You really have to have a process that puts checks and balances in place.