Duke Energy announced that it has deposited $5 million into Optus Bank, a Black-owned bank based in South Carolina, furthering the company’s support for diverse and minority-owned businesses, individuals and low-income communities. The transaction was completed at the end of 2020.
One of approximately 20 banks designated as Black or African American owned in the U.S., Optus Bank will use the money Duke Energy deposited to provide other minority-owned businesses and underserved communities equal access to capital loans and financial services.
“This is so much more than a deposit in a bank. It’s an investment in people and communities that continue to face barriers to mainstream funding and support,” said Mike Callahan, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president. “Duke Energy is proud to be part of the solution.”
This marks the largest deposit Duke Energy has made with a Black-owned bank in the U.S. and the company expects to evaluate additional similar opportunities in the future. And, this historic relationship expands Optus Bank’s depositors to include the utility sector.
Optus Bank’s Chairman Paul Mitchell added that “Duke Energy’s deposit will significantly fuel our ability to help all people build wealth and improve their lives, regardless of their background or situation. We are thankful that the South Carolina Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) brought us together, and hope that other utilities follow Duke Energy’s leadership in delivering on their commitment to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.”
This deposit provides additional capital to help more people like Accountant Kadenia Javis with Javis Tax Service pursue their dreams and survive in the current economic climate and beyond. “Optus Bank has been there for me in both good and difficult times, helping us grow our business and support us during the pandemic. Optus Bank also allowed us the opportunity to purchase our first commercial building with a drive-thru window. This assisted the accounting firm to offer contactless support to taxpayers,” added Ms. Javis.
“We are proud to work with Optus Bank and excited that this collaboration shines a brighter light on the important role Black-owned banks play in our financial ecosystem,” said Callahan.