Optus Bank, a federally designated minority depository institution (MDI) and community development financial institution (CDFI), has received an a $500,ooo investment from SouthState Bank in a move it says will support the bank’s mission to close the wealth gap in previously unbanked, underbanked, and historically underserved people and places.
“Fulfilling our commitment to closing the opportunity gaps in our communities requires strategic investments from mission-aligned partners like SouthState. With support of their equity investment, we have raised a total of $17 million in new capital since 2020 and grown our assets to nearly $300 million,” said Dominik Mjartan, Optus Bank president and CEO. “Deploying this capital into underserved communities, minority owned homes and businesses to create generational wealth is Optus Bank’s mission and mandate.”
“In order to make a difference in minority communities and enable equal access to banking services, minority depository institutions need our support. They have access to these communities in a way that traditional financial institutions don’t or can’t,” said LeDon Jones, director of corporate stewardship. “Our investment is unique, because not only are we providing equity, but we’re exploring other ways in which we can partner with Optus to meet the needs of these communities.”
The companies cited the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) statistic that shows that 22 percent of Americans are considered unbanked or underbanked.
The unbanked and underbanked are more likely to have low income, less education or be in a racial or ethnic minority group, the FDIC states.
More than 90 percent of Optus’ assets are invested in communities of color, and Optus is focused on offering 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.