The Black Lives Matter protests have forced many corporations and institutions to reckon with a history of racial inequality among its corporate structures. This week, Optus Bank, a Black-owned banking institution based in South Carolina, announced that it would be receiving $50 million in deposit funding from PayPal to expand its business in the community as a recipient of the online payment giant’s economic opportunity fund.
The banking institution first opened in 1921 by a group of African American local leaders who wanted to provide more financial opportunities for the Black community. Nearly 90% of its revenue is invested in minority businesses and homes, specifically those in low-income communities.
“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 for PayPal, in a statement. “We recognize Optus Bank’s important role in creating a more just and equitable community in Columbia and look forward to supporting Optus’ mission.”
“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, the president and CEO of 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,” Mjartan continued. “We are fully committed to devoting our time and energy to these efforts because we unequivocally believe that Black Lives Matter.”
“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 of Optus Bank, in a statement.
“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 [a] genuine commitment to help close the gap.”
The bank first established its relationship with the tech company when PayPal announced its $530 million commitment to racial justice earlier this year.