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.
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.
The data analysis firm 60 Decibels released last month the results of a survey conducted with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers of six Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), including CDBA members Southern Bancorp and Optus Bank. 60 Decibels interviewed 1,073 PPP borrowers for this survey, one third of whom originally sought assistance from a non-CDFI lender. Of the borrowers who initially sought assistance from another lender, 84% indicated that their experience with a CDFI bank was better than their experience with the other lender.
Two CDBA member bankers were featured on NPR's Marketplace program in late February. Robert James II, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Carver State Bank, was on the February 22 program to discuss hiring at black-owned banks and the Paycheck Protection Program rollout. Dominik Mjartan, President and CEO at Optus Bank, was on the February 24 program to discuss small business recovery during the pandemic.