919 Washington Street
Former Victory Savings Bank
Chartered in 1921 by president I.J. Joseph and vice presidents I.S. Leevy and C.E. Stephenson, Victory Savings Bank was the first black-owned bank in South Carolina. During its first five years, its deposits grew from $2,600 to $175,000. Later presidents included W.H. Henry, Dr. Eugene A. Adams, and Dr. Henry Dobbins Monteith, who served from 1951 until 1979.
Under Monteith’s leadership, the bank became the lending institution for members of the SC NAACP targeted during the “economic squeeze” that began in 1955. The NAACP, as well as state civic groups like the Shriners, made large deposits over the next several years to aid farmers and businessmen impacted by boycotts led by White Citizens Councils. Initially located at 1107 Washington Street, the bank moved to this location in 1955. In 1962, the bank opened a branch, managed by Monteith’s sister Modjeska Monteith Simkins, at 1503 Harden Street. In 1999, it reopened as South Carolina Community Bank, which became Optus in 2018.