S.C. Community Bank is changing its name to Optus Bank in a rebranding that focuses on the bank’s historic mission as well as its future.
The new name “embraces our historical focus and mission of creating wealth-building opportunities for everyone, regardless of background, privilege, or ZIP code,” the bank said in a letter to customers and shareholders dated June 26. “Our new brand is underscored by new leadership, new financial strength and new products and services that will help us better accomplish our mission and carry it forward into a bright future.”
There is not yet a date to make the name change official, president and CEO Dominik Mjartan said via email.
The bank has also relocated its administrative offices and will soon relocate all operations from 1545 Sumter St. to 1241 Main St., a move that will position it closer to the heart of downtown Columbia.
S.C. Community Bank's history began in 1921, when Victory Savings, the first black-owned bank in the state, opened. After running into financial trouble in 1999, the bank re-emerged as S.C. Community Bank, which struggled with problem loans during the economic crisis of 2008.
Mjartan brought a new optimism when he took over in late 2017.
“Banking is a mission-driven profession for me, and I think it is to most good community bankers,” Mjartan told the Columbia Regional Business Report in March. “I believe, and this bank will prove it, that margin and mission are mutually reinforcing.”
On Tuesday, the bank and Columbia College announced an internship program focused on attracting women to the banking profession. The program will provide students with exposure to mission-oriented banking combined with rigorous financial practices.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Optus Bank in an endeavor that will teach our interns both about banking and about how to incorporate a social justice mission into their future career, whether it be banking or another career,” said Robin Rosenthal, Columbia College provost, in a news release.
Mjartan said the partnership was a natural fit.
“Optus Bank and Columbia College share a similar vision and mission—encourage equity among all populations in the Columbia area,” he said. “Employing students from Columbia College will help further the mission of both institutions and create a bigger pipeline of female leaders in banking.”