Magazine article American Banker

New Identrus CEO Plans Direct Pitch

Magazine article American Banker

New Identrus CEO Plans Direct Pitch

Article excerpt

Identrus LLC, a bank-owned company that provides a certification service for customers doing online transactions, has hired a chief executive who has some big plans for revitalizing the flagging firm.

The New York-based company plans to announce today that it has hired Karen J. Wendel, a former Gemini Consulting executive and most recently the chief executive of the San Mateo, Calif., software and service provider eFinance Corp. She joined Identrus on May 1 and filled a spot that had been vacant since June of last year, when its founder, Guy Tallent, resigned.

Identrus was formed in 1999 by some of the world's largest banking companies, including Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., and Deutsche Bank AG, just as financial institutions were working out how to use their historical role as safehouses for financial information to carve out a niche in the burgeoning e-commerce market.

Backed by investments from its owners, Identrus recruited new participants and developed a complex legal and operational certification system that would allow financial institutions to give customers that are trading with each other online assurance that both parties are who they purport to be. Now it has 61 participants.

But, like many other firms offering some kind of online certification service, Identrus has run into a roadblock. While it has been working out the kinks in its system over the last three years, the larger bank participants developed their own internal certification systems -- removing some of the urgency for them to use Identrus.

Banks were also slow to use the service, because it forced them to develop applications that conformed to its protocols, an activity that took time and money.

The result: Less than half of its bank participants are using Identrus certification for online transactions conducted by their customers. …

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