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How to Build A Bank With Jackie Reses

Haley Paskalides  |  January 29, 2024

From private equity at Goldman Sachs, to building a successful startup at Square, to buying a bank – Jackie Reses has done it all.

It’s crazy to think that it’s only in recent history that women have been able to open a bank account, let alone own a bank. As recently as 1970, women could be turned away by lenders if they didn’t have a male co-signer. Today, there are 4,236 FDIC-insured banks in the United States and according to Bankrate — but just 13 of those are women-owned banks. 

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Jackie Reses is one of those incredible women, and she says she knew from a very young age that she wanted to own a bank — in fact, while other little girls were dressing up their Barbies in fancy dresses and driving them around in a convertible, Reses elected to play “Barbie bank teller” instead. Today, Reses is the Chair and CEO of Lead Bank, an FDIC-insured bank in Kansas City that enables banking services for builders and innovators. “I do think we’re going to change banking, and I think we’re going to make it better for people in the United States, in ways that they see — and ways that they don’t see,” Reses says. 

Reses spent her early career in private equity at Goldman Sachs, where she learned how to build an incredible team. There, she says she learned “excellence, teamwork, how to find people who are amazing at what they do and, and learn from them. It taught me how to open the aperture of my worldview. I never would have realized what was out there on a global scale,” Reses says. After spending 20 years in private equity investing at Goldman, Reses moved on to tech, and became the Chief Development Officer at Square. 

It was during her time at Square that she learned how to create a support system for small businesses. She saw firsthand how creating and building a product around lending for small businesses can change the architecture of a community. “It basically enables small businesses to get small dollar, immediate loans. For small businesses around the country the access to capital is one of the things that holds them back and being able to grow,” Reses says. 

Now as Chair and CEO of Lead Bank, she’s passionate about making sure companies have the underlying infrastructure to pay their expenses in a highly compliant way. She’s also extremely proud to be one of the largest female-owned banks in the United States. 

“We’re not serving women only, but I take a lot of pride in who our executive team is, who our board is, who our company is. We’re an incredibly diverse organization. And so, we certainly will be one of the biggest women-owned banks in the United States for years to come,” Reses says.


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