Welcome to another edition of the Success Spotlight Series, where we shine a light on black-owned banks in the United States. We highlight reasons to support these institutions along with practical ideas for doing what we can to help usher change and the dismantling of institutionalized racism. Today, we’ll also share about Optus Bank.
To be black-owned, a bank must have at least 51% black ownership. In the United States, there are 10,000 plus financial institutions. Less than 20 of them qualify as black-owned. But what’s most disturbing about this tiny number is the steady decline in numbers of these institutions. Just a decade ago, there were twice as many black-owned banks, according to the FDIC.
One glimmer of hope is that this year alone (2020), in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement and the heinous killing of George Floyd, the Black Bank (#bankblack) movement has risen. It is an initiative that encourages black banking. It is reported that there has been reported that thousands of accounts have been opened.
Before we move on to the black-owned bank feature for today, if you would like to learn more about the history of black-owned banks, check out The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap. The book, written by Professor Mehrsa Baradaran, explains the history of black-owned and black-oriented banks in the United States. It’s a grim story. But it’s a story that needs to be told.
Now, let’s look at black-owned Optus Bank.
The mission of Optus Bank
“Optus Bank is a community bank, with a mission-driven purpose. We help strengthen our community by closing the wealth gap created by systemic disparities in the financial industry. By providing loans and banking services to local businesses and individuals we serve to turn deposits into direct support for the communities where our customers live and work.
Optus Bank was built upon the foundation created 100 years ago by visionary African American leaders who established Victory Savings and Loan to provide access to capital to individuals and business excluded from the banking system – and our main goal has remained the same – ensuring that wealth building is not just for the wealthy.”
Small business banking
Personal and business lending
You can find out more about Optus Bank’s suite of services by clicking HERE.
1545 Sumter Street
Columbia, SC 29201
4103 W Beltline Blvd,
Columbia, SC 29204
1241 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Stay updated on branch location changes, by clicking HERE.
Wealth building strategies
Optus is dedicated to sharing wealth-building strategies with their customers. They are driven to help underserved communities build assets and savings. By providing access to resources, opportunities, and education, they are making a contribution to the long-overdue changes we need to see.
“We believe a stronger community is achieved by building wealth for our customers. The following are strategies in place to help you achieve your goals.” –Optus Bank
Even though the history of black-owned banks in the United States has been disheartening, this cannot stop us from each doing our part. There’s always an opportunity for change. It’s up to every one of us to recognize the need for change, acknowledge it, and then find real, practical ways we can contribute to change. Some of us will be able to do more than others, but the key is to seek out ways to do what you can.
What will you do today? Here at Jones Lane, we can’t tell you which specific businesses to support. Only you can make that decision based on your needs. Do your own research and due diligence on which blank-owned banks and businesses to support, and then take action. This is how we’ll shift oppressive norms. One person and one community at a time.