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Entrepreneur ReShonda Young to open Iowa's first Black-owned bank

The Bank of Jabez is due to open later this year.

Entrepreneur ReShonda Young to open Iowa's first Black-owned bank
ReShonda Young is working to open the Bank of Jabez, which could be Iowa's first Black-owned bank. BANK OF JABEZ PHOTO

In Waterloo, Iowa, where Black entrepreneurship is at a nationwide low, ReShonda Young is planning to open the state’s first Black-owned bank.

The Bank of Jabez, due to open later this year, will be a community development financial institution (CDFI) and support diverse entrepreneurs in creating wealth, according to a report from

“In Waterloo, when we look at the wealth gap, one of the biggest things that contribute to that is homeownership,” Young told “When we look at the rate of Black homeownership in Waterloo, we’re looking at below 30 percent. When we look at the rate of white homeownership, we’re looking at below 70 percent. That’s a huge difference.”

Young oversees the Cedar Valley Black Business and Entrepreneurship Accelerator, which was founded by the 24/7 Black Leadership Advancement Consortium in Waterloo.

The program launched in 2020, according to

“We’ve pivoted the program for each cohort,” Young told “Each one has been different as we look at the needs of the business owners and as we hear what they want and need to learn more about.”

A report from 24/7 Wall St. used census data to suggest Black residents earn less than 50 per cent of what white residents earn. It also suggests the Black unemployment rate is more than five times that of their white counterparts.

“We know that when Blacks go to banks for home loans, we’re denied at least two to three times the rate that whites are denied, and that’s the same for small business loans,” Young told “When you go into a Black-owned bank, you know that they’re not discriminating against you because you’re Black…

“The struggles that Black Americans in Waterloo have felt for so long are the struggles that Black Americans have felt across the country,” Young told “Black banks make a huge difference in the communities that they serve.”