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.
In the wake of George Floyd's murder, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and other large U.S. lenders began investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Black-owned banks -- an attempt to help meet the needs of underserved borrowers as systemic racism became part of the national conversation. More than a year later, executives at the Black-owned banks say the cash infusions have allowed them to increase lending and expand their staffs, giving support to the African-American community amid pandemic-era uncertainty. Still, while the funding has been useful, the lenders say they need additional investment to shrink racial inequality in financial services and ensure their longterm survival. The number of Black-owned banks has been cut in half over the past 20 years. CDBA members Industrial Bank and Optus Bank are mentioned.
Six Black banks — including four of the nation's largest — have joined a new digital platform by Citi. The action could help the banks increase lending to African American entrepreneurs. According to a news release, the banks are part of a consortium linking with Bridge built by Citi, a bank-led, digital meeting place that connects businesses seeking loans up to $10 million. The "first-of-its-kind platform is aimed to expand access to capital and financial services to Black small business owners. The platform launched by Citi matches local and regional banks with local small businesses needing funding for improvements and expansion amid the post-COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative will initially consist of 18 banks that Citi will send business leads to. Banks on the program include Mechanics & Farmers Bank in Durham, North Carolina; Optus Bank in Columbia, South Carolina; and Carver State Bank in Savannah, Georgia
Citigroup Inc. said it will invest in digital mortgage offerings as part of its pledge to improve homeownership rates among communities of color. The push to digital comes as Citigroup said the rate of applications and originations it processed for Black and Hispanic consumers dropped last year, even as it increased for Asian homeowners. In response, the firm is also still planning to expand its community lending team and its network of correspondent lenders, it said. Citigroup has pledged $100 million to support minority deposit institutions in the U.S., which have seen their numbers dwindling in recent years. The firm’s already allocated almost half of that commitment to banks including Broadway Financial Corp., Mechanics & Farmers Bank and Optus Bank.