Victory Savings Bank, established in 1921, was South Carolina’s first black-owned bank. The bank was chartered by president I.J. Joseph and vice presidents I.S. Leevy and C.E. Stephenson. It was located in the center of Columbia’s black business district, at 1107 Washington Street. In 1948, Dr. Henry Monteith took over as president and served until 1979. During this time, the bank moved to 919 Washington Street.
Modjeska Monteith Simkins joined the bank full-time in 1957 as the public-relations director. The bank also opened a branch at 1503 Harden St. in 1962, which was managed by Modjeska. She stayed at the bank until 1982 as the head of the bookkeeping department while managing the branch.
Following financial difficulties in 1999, a group of local African American business leaders revived the bank as South Carolina Community Bank, and relocated to Sumter St. In 2012, successful entrepreneur and long-time investor in the bank, Paul Mitchell became Chairman and led the bank out of the Great Recession into stability and growth.
In 2017, Dominik Mjartan joined Chairman Mitchell and Director Kenny Loyd as an investor and President/CEO with a goal to grow the bank’s mission impact and financial strength. In 2019, the bank was renamed to Optus Bank and moved locations to where it stands now. Optus Bank is one of 17 Black Owned banks in the U.S. (as of 2021) and the only Black owned bank in South Carolina.