COLUMBIA, S.C., Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Optus Bank, today announced that it is the first bank to establish a relationship with PayPal as part of the payments company's $530 million commitment to racial justice and economic opportunity. For nearly 100 years, Optus Bank has worked to dismantle structural racism and the disparities it causes by providing equal access to financial services and asset building opportunities.
"This significant infusion of patient long-term funding from PayPal will transform our ability to provide more capital to small businesses, particularly those with systemic barriers to mainstream funding," said Dominik Mjartan, president and CEO, Optus Bank. "To address the racial inequities in this country, we believe it is critical to make sure that all entrepreneurs have equal access to responsive capital. We are fully committed to devoting our time and energy to these efforts because we unequivocally believe that Black Lives Matter."
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 inherited circumstances. Optus is one of only twenty banks designated as Black or African American owned. Close to 90% of the money it lends is carefully invested in minority businesses, homes and low-income communities.
"We welcome this initiative as recognition of the impact that mission-focused banks like Optus have on equal access to opportunities and look forward to having PayPal as a major depositor," said Paul Mitchell, chairman, Optus Bank. "This will directly aid Black communities and other communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by systemic oppression and historically starved of access to capital and the ability to accumulate wealth. We hope other large organizations follow PayPal's leadership and genuine commitment to help close the gap."
PayPal's deposit comes as Optus Bank has doubled down on its commitment to equity for Black Americans, Indigenous and People of Color. It is seeing an influx of interest in supporting its mission of addressing systemic racial economic inequality. Optus' assets have grown from $90 million before the pandemic to over $150 million today and it is now launching a campaign to attract new investors to support this rapid growth. The increase in size, profitability and customer base demonstrates that going the extra mile to help all people build wealth is not just the right thing to do, it can also drive value to all stakeholders.
"There is a clear economic underpinning to racial inequity, and PayPal is taking action to do our part to help close the racial wealth gap," said Franz Paasche, senior vice president of corporate affairs, PayPal. "We recognize Optus Bank's important role in creating a more just and equitable community in Columbia and look forward to supporting Optus' mission."
In addition to its existing role in the community, going forward Optus Bank is committing to:
- Actively learning from the current events to better support asset building. It will continue to challenge its own practices, procedures, and policies to make sure they better support its customers' journey to financial prosperity.
- Advocating for public and private resources to align with the goals of broad based and equal opportunity for all people, regardless of their zip code or color of their skin. Nonprofits, philanthropy, and public bodies with a mandate of public good need to deploy all their resources, including their banking relationships, to help close the racial wealth gap.
- Working with tremendous urgency to grow Optus' impact and partner with other mission driven institutions to help channel credit, capital and economic opportunities to people and places in our community.
About Optus Bank
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 inherited circumstances. Optus Bank is a federally designated Minority Depository Institution, a U.S. Treasury Certified Community Development Financial Institution and an FDIC insured depository. If you believe that all people should have access to wealth building opportunities, visit us at www.optus.bank.
SOURCE PayPal Holdings, Inc.; Optus Bank