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In-House Counsel 2023: Kent Schoen

Dan Emerson//April 26, 2023//

Kent Schoen

Kent Schoen

In-House Counsel 2023: Kent Schoen

Dan Emerson//April 26, 2023//

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Private Company with annual revenues up to $500M

The timing of Kent Schoen’s entrance into the legal profession in 2007 set the stage for his subsequent career path in the financial world, in a variety of settings.  “After the 2007 financial crash, there was a huge need for financial services litigation,” said Schoen, who is Minneapolis-based general counsel and chief compliance officer for Fynn, Inc. a student loan provider.

After graduating from the Northwestern University School of Law in 2007, the Winona, Minnesota. native spent four years at Minneapolis-based Briggs & Morgan, finding a specialty niche as a litigator on the firm’s financial services team.

From 2018 to 2021, Schoen served as general counsel for BlueChip Financial, a tribally owned entity which uses machine learning and underwriting to help “under-banked” consumers gain access to short-term credit.

His career path also included serving as General Counsel for GreenPath Financial Wellness and the Home ownership Preservation Foundation, providing consumer financial wellness services in partnership with national banks, non-bank mortgage servicers and lenders.

Since August 2011, he has also owned Atticus FinTech, his part-time solo law and consulting practice focused on serving a small portfolio of early stage fintech companies.

One lesson Schoen said he learned early in his career was “the importance of becoming deeply embedded in the businesses I advise. If I stay aloof from any ‘non-legal’ issues, I lose opportunities to learn and to build trust. Those are critical misses, because it is almost impossible to identify creative solutions to complex legal issues if you are on the outside looking in.”

Financial services has historically been one of the most highly regulated industries, and the amount of regulation has increased in recent years. If you are in the financial services business, you are in the compliance business, and you ignore that immutable fact at your peril. That’s the way it needs to be,” Schoen noted.

Over the years, Schoen has found fintech to be a useful tool to level the financial playing field. “Financial services has historically been dominated by monolithic entities, huge companies that do things a certain way. The fintech space as a whole is constantly finding new ways to do things that are more fair and better for the customer.”

One of Schoen’s current volunteer activities is serving on the board of directors of the Minnesota Association of Corporate Counsels. “It’s a tremendous group; I’m proud to be part of it.”

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