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Duke Energy deposits Optus Bank 5M to Support Minority-Owned Businesses


Charlotte-based Duke Energy announced today it deposited Optus Bank, a Black-owned bank based in South Carolina, $5 million to support diverse and minority-owned businesses. This transaction also looks to provide opportunities to individuals and low-income communities, being completed at the end of 2020.

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An inclusive and socially committed deposit

The Charlotte-based power holding Duke Energy announced Thursday it deposited Optus Bank $5 million. Through the transaction, the company aims to support small, diverse, and minority-owned businesses.

Optus Bank is one of the approximately twenty banks designated as Black- or African American-owned in the U.S. According to Duke Energy representatives, Optus Bank will use the deposited money to provide minority-owned businesses with 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 action marks the largest deposit the power holding has made to a Black-owned bank in the U.S. The company expects to evaluate additional similar opportunities in the future. Furthermore, this relationship, described as “historic” by its participants, expands Optus Bank’s depositors to include the utility sector.

Paul Mitchell, Optus Bank’s Chairman, added that Duke Energy’s deposit would significantly fuel (their) 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,” Mitchell pointed out.

About Optus Bank and Duke Energy

Accountant Kadenia Javis said to Duke Press representatives this deposit would further motivate her to pursue her community’s 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 in offering 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.

Duke Energy is a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is currently one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S., employing over 29,000 people. Duke has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 MW through its regulated utilities and 2,300 MW through its nonregulated renewables unit.

The Company aims to transform its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy, and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. In this regard, Duke has a presence in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Duke Energy was named within Fortune’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies”  and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” lists.

On the other hand, Optus Bank’s origins date back to 1921, when a group of visionary African American leaders founded a bank on the principle that all people should access the American Dream. The 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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