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Advancing Innovation In Banking Means Integrating Sector-Specific Technology

Frank Sorrentino

With the financial industry shifting further into increasingly digitized and agile processes, technology platforms and partnerships now offer a new window of opportunity to banks. Some bank leaders with a digital-first mindset have already embraced the next phase of transformation, realizing the benefits of layering sector-specific partners into their existing innovation eco-system. Now, it’s more important than ever for banking leaders to be open to new products, but the real test is going to be how well fintechs work with one another in your bank operating system.  

Technology companies focused on solving industry specific challenges like in the retail or construction space have a far deeper understanding of the breakdowns within the industry. Construction financing and loans are a great example of one of the most complex industries and tedious lending processes. Having an unconventional background as a builder-turned-banker I was attuned to the silos that exist in construction and issues in the lending process and felt there was a need for sector specific software to address these needs. 

As one of the leading construction lenders in the country, having a partner with a specialty in construction and the technology to solve for construction-specific lending was critical to our business. The adoption of Built, a leading provider of secure, cloud-based construction lending software, enabled us to aptly serve our customers making the entire process more efficient, more transparent and mitigate risk in a big way for builders.

Banking and finance are the lifeblood of construction and this type of sector-specific software helps industries that lag in digital innovation automate highly manual spreadsheet entry, reduce costs and risks for lenders, all of which provide tremendous benefits for borrowers and builders. 

 Industry or sector-specific financial products are valuable, and their value increases exponentially when they can fit seamlessly into a bank’s tech eco-system for an improved customer experience. For example, we have connected Built directly with fintech cloud-banking platform, nCino, to provide real-time visibility into construction projects, eliminating paperwork, speeding up approvals and making communication between borrowers, contractors and title agents easier. 

Construction is just one of the many niche businesses banks serve in a specialized way, and the integration of Built and nCino is just one example that represents the future of the bank-tech ecosystem. Fintech partners have an enormous opportunity to build products that work together and compliment other systems.

Banks who embraced early adoption of tech platforms have helped eliminate the chance of human error, assumptions or miscommunications or missteps, and have ultimately created a more seamless environment for all parties involved in the lending process. And while banks should continue to embrace new partnerships, fintechs will need to learn to collaborate and develop an integration-focused mindset to allow for a robust tech-ecosystem or they risk getting left behind. Tech collaboration is the future of banking transformation.

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I’m the Chairman and CEO of ConnectOne Bank (CNOB), a full-service commercial bank proving that putting people first is a better way to do business. @FrankSIII