WINTER HAVEN, Fla., July 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — SouthState Bank today announced an investment of $500,000 into Optus Bank, a federally designated minority depository institution (MDI) and community development financial institution (CDFI), in support of 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 & 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.”
There are more than 5,000 banks in the U.S., but Optus is one of only 35 that is both an MDI and CDFI bank.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), 22 percent of Americans are considered unbanked or underbanked, meaning that they do not have a checking, savings or money market account, or they use some form of alternative financial services, such as check cashing services, payday loans, paycheck advance or similar services.
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.
SouthState Corporation (NASDAQ: SSB) is a financial services company headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida. South State Bank, N.A., the company’s nationally chartered bank subsidiary, provides consumer, commercial, mortgage and wealth management solutions to more than one million customers throughout Florida, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. The bank also serves clients coast to coast through its correspondent banking division. Additional information is available at SouthStateBank.com.
Optus Bank’s origins date back to 1921 when a group of visionary and courageous African American leaders founded a bank on the principle that all people should have access to the American Dream, regardless of their circumstances. Optus Bank is a federally designated Minority Depository Institution, a U.S. Treasury Certified Community Development Financial Institution and an FDIC insured depository.
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SOURCE South State Bank N.A.