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Duke Energy invests in minority business through Columbia bank

Staff Report //January 15, 2021//

Duke Energy invests in minority business through Columbia bank

Staff Report //January 15, 2021//

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Optus Bank is one of 20 Black-owned banks in the country. (Photo/Provided)Duke Energy deposited $5 million into Black-owned Optus Bank to amplify the company’s support for minority-owned businesses and low-income communities at the end of 2020.

One of 20 Black-owned banks in the country, Columbia-based Optus Bank will use the funding to provide equal access to capital loans and financial services for minority-owned businesses, according to Thursday’s announcement.

“This is so much more than a deposit in a bank,” Mike Callahan, president of Duke Energy South Carolina, said in the news release. “It’s an investment in people and communities that continue to face barriers to mainstream funding and support.”

Kadenia Javis, an accountant with Javis Tax Service, is one professional who helped use Optus Bank’s services to access capital and keep her company afloat during the pandemic.

“Optus Bank has been there for me in both good and difficult times, helping us grow our business and support us during the pandemic,” Javis said in the release. “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.”

The deposit is the largest made with a Black-owned bank by Duke Energy.

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,” Paul Mitchell, chairman of Optus Bank, said in the release. “We are thankful that the South Carolina Minority Business Development Agency brought us together, and hope that other utilities follow Duke Energy’s leadership in delivering on their commitment to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.”