Features

Julie Pine – Lead Bank

A legal executive credits financial technology as growth driver

It can be difficult to get a credit card if you have bad credit or no credit at all.

Many banks don’t trust young people or people with low credit and deny them loans or cards. Lead Bank gives customers the benefit of the doubt, though, and works with them to build their credit responsibly, says Julie Pine.

Julie Pine | Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Risk Officer | Lead Bank

Julie Pine | Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Risk Officer | Lead Bank

As the bank’s executive vice president, general counsel and chief risk officer, she helps cultivate partnerships with companies that create digital financial tools. She also oversees compliance and enterprise risk to ensure both the bank and its customers are protected.

“We strive to offer products that not all people have traditionally had access to,” she says. “The products and services we offer affect people’s lives and matter to their families and their well-being, so it’s satisfying knowing that the work I do impacts that.”

Building for the future

Lead Bank is a community bank with locations in Kansas City, and Lee’s Summit, Missouri. When Pine was hired in 2017 as its first general counsel, she built the legal, compliance and human resources departments. She also helped develop the bank’s growth strategy.

Part of this growth includes partnering with companies that allow Lead Bank to expand its services and offerings nationwide. Pine started with the bank just as its CEO was having conversations with Self, a financial technology company that helps people build credit. She helped negotiate the contract and finalize the deal.

The partnership, formalized in 2018, allows people to open a credit builder account at Lead Bank and eventually apply for a secured credit card, which works like a debit card in that people can only spend money they already have. As they build their credit, they can then move on to a partially secured card, which is more like a traditional credit card, but still requires having some money deposited to secure the available credit.

Julie Pine | Lead Bank

Pine says Lead Bank hopes to offer a traditional credit card with Self in the future. The goal, along with helping people build or improve credit, is to enable them to save and manage their finances and keep them as customers long after their credit is established.

Partnering with Self has allowed Lead Bank to expand its customer base outside of Missouri, as have its other digital offerings. In 2019, the bank partnered with Dama Financial to provide banking services, including a digital wallet, for cannabis companies.

“It may have seemed like a risky decision for a bank, but as we dug into it, our process enabled us to analyze and mitigate those risks so that we could find opportunities where others shied away,” Pine says. “The increasing pace of legalization and possible federal legislation indicate to us that this industry is here to stay, and that by innovating early, we have established expertise.”

Digital-first focus

Working with Dama Financial has been “a huge learning opportunity,” Pine says. It’s taught the bank how to innovate with technology and set itself apart.

The partnerships with Dama and Self have been part of Lead Bank’s new banking as a service platform. The platform, which continues to be developed by the bank’s new chief technology officer, supports financial technology companies that need banking services on the back end.

The platform brings in new partnerships, which require Pine and her teams to “vet each opportunity.” She does due diligence from a regulatory standpoint and examines the company’s IT, legal and financial functions. She also reviews and negotiates contractual points, such as revenue sharing, data and customer privacy.

Julie Pine | Lead Bank

Pine works with outside counsel to ensure Lead Bank is compliant with state regulations, particularly in the area of consumer lending, and she works with the chief technology officer on digital strategy, including meeting the needs of “digital-first customers.”

Pine is a member of Lead Bank’s digital architecture task force, which is develops the technology and data strategy for the Bank’s ambitions.

“The intent is to create a technology and data infrastructure that can serve national consumers and businesses in a secure, flexible, digital environment,” she says. The task force also manages the bank’s relationship with Fiserv, a company that provides recordkeeping for financial services and banks.

“I never imagined that a primary focus of my work as general counsel would be thinking through the implementation of new business lines enabled by technology, but it’s been really interesting and so important to us as a bank, because it gives us a competitive edge and a way to better serve our customers,” Pine says.

Business-minded attorney

While technology and banking are new focuses for Pine, they’re in line with the goals she made for herself when she left private practice.

The bulk of her career was spent as an equity shareholder and litigator at McDowell Rice Smith and Buchanan, a firm in Kansas City, where she started as an intern and rose through the ranks. After 7 1/2 years with the firm, she was seeking a new challenge and more time with her family, so she left to work in-house for Mariner Wealth Advisors, also in Kansas City.

Julie Pine | Lead Bank

Pine was with the financial services company for over three years as a general counsel. She decided to join Lead Bank because she “felt I could make more of an impact by being involved in business development and strategy.”

She says she’s grateful to Lead Bank’s CEO Joshua Rowland, who also has a legal background, for seeing the value of hiring the bank’s first in-house attorney to create a legal and risk department. The position has allowed her to leverage her legal skills in the business world, and inadvertently, the technology world.

“In past jobs I’ve held, my role has been more about reacting when something’s gone wrong,” Pine says. “I prefer to be more proactive and forward thinking. I really enjoy managing my teams and impacting all different business lines—it’s extremely fulfilling.”

Published on: May 28, 2021

regions:

categories: ,

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.

Testimonials

I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.
It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.

LATEST EDITION

Fall III 2022

READ NOW

GET VANGUARD IN YOUR INBOX.

  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.