Colorado bank tech executive has more than 100 patents, applications for many more


Growing up in western Nebraska, Joe Castinado, the son and grandson of migrant farm workers from Mexico, worked in feedlots and helped in the bean and sugar beet fields. His family valued hard work and education.

Hard work and education led Castinado to another field: technology. He is a technology executive in merchant services at the Bank of America in Denver.

And he has another box on his resume: inventor. Castinado has received 109 patents on ideas related to banking services and has filed applications for more than 200.

In 2021, Bank of America was granted 512 patents, a record for the company and up 16% from 2020. They include new developments in artificial intelligence, data analytics and payments.Nominate your neighbor for Faces of the Front Range

Russell Kendall, Castinado’s manager, said in an email that the advancements in technology pursued by Bank of America employees give the company “extraordinary opportunities to make financial services more innovative, seamless and convenient.”

Bank of America believes innovation isn’t just reserved for a select group of people, but is everybody’s responsibility, said Kendall, who has been granted more than 20 patents.

“We think this approach encourages ideas to emerge organically and in direct response to a client need or challenge,” Kendall said.

That approach appeals to Castinado. He said some of the best ideas are born at the end of meetings when people are talking and bouncing ideas off each other.

“When I come up with an idea a lot of times it’s on the back of an envelope,” Castinado said. “The best success I’ve had is through collaboration.”

He said most of his patents include co-authors. His inventions largely focus on innovations in how payments are made and transferred. Castinado said a lot of his inspiration comes from looking at everyday problems “that we think somebody has already solved.”

Castinado has proposed seeking a patent for a payment method he pondered while waiting in the drive-thru of a coffee shop during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I thought, ‘I’m handing my credit card to somebody who just had their hands on somebody else’s credit card,’ ” Castinado. “I’m not a germaphobe, but I just thought there has to be a better way to expand how you use contactless payment.”

He started thinking about using a mobile, near frequency communication device that would link with the sales register in the business and automatically make the payment.

“Now you’re communicating back and forth without ever having to take out your credit card,” Castinado.

The bank is looking at applying for a patent for the process.


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