News

Dec 1, 2021

What’s next for SC’s Black-owned bank after $20M in outside investment

COLUMBIA — Once on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s list of troubled institutions, South Carolina’s only Black-owned bank has since seen a fortune change, with its assets tripling over 15 months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the federal agency’s latest data.

Nov 5, 2021

Black Banks Need More Money to Stay Alive After Getting Hefty Cash-Infusions From Nation’s Largest Banks

Over a year after George Floyd’s murder and the economic crush from COVID-19, Black-owned banks report capital injections have allowed them to boost lending, beef-up staffing, and back communities amid pandemic-era unpredictability. Yet, even with the cash infusions, Black bankers contend that they need more investment to lessen racial inequality in financial services and fortify their longevity.

Oct 5, 2021

Regions Backs South Carolina Bank to Support Minority Lending

Regions Financial Corp. is making a $2 million equity investment in Optus Bank to help the Columbia, South Carolina, company offer loans and other financial services to minority-owned businesses and under-served communities. The investment, being made through Regions Community Development Corp., will help the community bank work with customers who have a “desire for relationship banking,” Optus Chief Executive Officer Dominik Mjartan said in an interview Tuesday. During the pandemic, demand among clients to work with mission-driven banks has allowed Optus to triple its assets, more than 90% of which are invested in communities of color, he said.

Sep 29, 2021

Optus Bank Launches Voice-Enabled Banking

COLUMBIA, SC & LITTLE ROCK, AR – September 29, 2021 – Optus Bank, a $300 million asset-size minority depository institution (MDI) and community development financial institution (CDFI), announced today that it is now offering voice banking through Amazon Alexa. In partnership with Smiley Technologies, Inc., a developer, and provider of secure, innovative core banking solutions for community banks, this feature will allow Optus Bank customers to bank hands-free through Amazon Alexa, the world’s largest virtual assistant.

Sep 15, 2021

Optus Bank: A Minority-Owned Financial Institution Driving Wealth and Credit Access in Underserved Communities

In a Nutshell: Although the history of the post-Civil War American South is in many ways a history of African American exclusion, Optus Bank stands as a marker for correcting the mistakes of the past. Founded as Victory Savings Bank by black leaders in 1920s South Carolina, today’s Optus Bank is a $300 million institution with a laser focus on supporting entrepreneurship and broadening consumer credit access in underserved communities of all kinds. One of only 16 black-owned banks in the U.S., Optus builds on its legacy to create a fairer and more equitable future.

Aug 26, 2021

Icons & Phenoms celebrated by CRBR, colleagues and community

The Columbia Regional Business Report celebrated the 2021 Icons & Phenoms Wednesday at a luncheon at the DoubleTree by Hilton Columbia. Colleagues and friends joined the 24 honorees to recognize their many contributions to the Midlands community.

Aug 25, 2021

North Charleston’s Black-owned businesses seek more support amid city’s growth

Whitfield, who is African American, is well aware of the historical disadvantages that have long affected Black-owned businesses. He said he feels his company sends the message that minority-owned companies can do the work if given the opportunity.

Aug 24, 2021

Corporate America’s $50 billion promise

After the murder of George Floyd ignited nationwide protests, corporate America acknowledged it could no longer stay silent and promised to take an active role in confronting systemic racism. From Silicon Valley to Wall Street, companies proclaimed “Black lives matter.” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon adopted the posture of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests....

Jul 20, 2021

Business Report honors the 2021 class of Icons & Phenoms

Each year, the Business Report and its sponsors and partners recognize the Icons & Phenoms during a special event and awards ceremony. Profiles of the individual honorees also are published in a special print section of the Business Report. In their third year, the awards recognize the success and community involvement of 24 area leaders. This year's class includes 12 established figures who have been getting things done in the Midlands for decades and 12 up-and-coming movers and shakers already having a significant impact.

May 26, 2021

LISC’s Black Economic Development Fund hits $250 million goal, makes first catalytic investments in Black-led banks, real estate developers

NEW YORK, May 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Black Economic Development Fund (BEDF), managed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), has reached its $250 million goal for capital to invest in Black-led banks, anchor institutions, businesses, and real estate developers, and is now rolling out its first investments.