Optus Bank’s origins date back to 1921 when a group of visionary and courageous African American leaders founded Victory Savings Bank on the principle that all people should have access to the American Dream, not just those born into the “right” circumstances. We are committed to helping all people build wealth and improve their lives, regardless of their background or situation. We offer innovative ways to manage, move, save and borrow money for individuals and small businesses with the goal of ensuring that wealth building is not just for the wealthy. Unlike traditional financial institutions that seek to solely maximize the financial returns for their shareholders, we strive balance the needs of all stakeholders - our customers, communities, employees and shareholders.
Optus Bank is a federally designated Minority Depository Institution and a U.S. Treasury Certified Community Development Financial Institution.
Duke Energy announced today it has deposited $5 million into Optus Bank, a Black-owned bank based in South Carolina, furthering the company's support for diverse and minority-owned businesses, individuals and low income communities. The transaction was completed at the end of 2020. This marks the largest deposit Duke Energy has made with a Black-owned bank in the U.S. and the company expects to evaluate additional similar opportunities in the future. And, this historic relationship expands Optus Bank's depositors to include the utility sector.
A half-century ago, the federal government set out to attack the racial wealth gap by supporting Black-owned banks. Policy makers hoped the banks would lend to Black communities sidelined by the mainstream financial system. But five decades of federal financial and regulatory support have failed to boost America's Black-owned banks. The majority have disappeared under the burden of soured loans, bigger competitors created by mergers and financial downturns that hit small lenders hard. Fifteen years ago America had 36 Black-owned banks, government data show. Now there are 18. Now a new generation of entrepreneurs, companies and regulators is trying a different strategy. They are promising to strengthen Black-owned banks by building up their capital with private investments and giving them new ways to earn money with hundreds of millions in big corporate deposits. Their hope is that this approach will ultimately improve Black communities’ access to capital. CDBA Members Optus Bank, Broadway Federal Bank, and City First Bank of DC are featured in the article.
Last month, Bank of America announced that it had completed 10 new equity investments as part of its 4-year $1 billion commitment to advance racial equality in economic opportunity. Of BoA's 10 equity investments, 6 were to CDBA member banks: Carver State Bank, Carver Federal Savings Bank, First Independence Bank, M&F Bank, Southern Bancorp, and Optus Bank. These investments will facilitate benefits across multiple states and in the communities that these institutions serve through lending, housing, neighborhood revitalization, and other banking services.