‘Yelp’ for bank technology: Inside a new database for vetting tech vendors

Shopping for new tech? What if you could put a cross section of banks and credit unions in one tent to talk about their experiences with specific vendors' offerings? That's the ambitious goal of Patrick Sells' virtual tent, True Digital. It’s a peer-exchange network combined with a database for researching vendors and the technology they offer. Here's how one bank hopes to use it along with an overview of our test drive of the service.

Trying to stay on the leading edge of technology today is a challenge for banks and credit unions not because there is a lack of information but because there’s such a deluge of it that sorting out the truth feels impossible.

“I get emails every week from fintech vendors, and I don’t know what’s real and what’s ‘slideware,’ and what will work in some verticals of banking and what doesn’t work in others,” says Carson Lappetito, president of $2.5 billion-asset Sunwest Bank in Irvine, Calif. (“Slideware” is a term for technology touting benefits that are more wish than reality.)

Beyond that is the challenge of finding technology that helps the bank or credit union advance without outstripping its needs — tech that just does too much.

“I see a lot of technologists who are trying to build amazing Ferraris for the industry,” says Lappetito. This stuff can be fascinating, he adds, “but the reality is the banking industry needs single and double hits from a technology standpoint, things that are not overly complex that will help them execute the blocking and tackling of their business model.”


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