US-based fintech Circle Internet Financial has announced plans to partner with Citizens Trust Bank to foster financial inclusion. 

The partnership is a component of Circle’s commitment to providing community banks and minority-owned depository institutions (MDIs) across the nation with a portion of USD Coin (USDC) dollar-denominated reserves.

It will see Citizens Trust Bank hold $65m in USD Coin (USDC) cash reserves. 

Circle is the principal operator of USDC, which allows the tokenisation of US dollars and facilitates their use over the internet and blockchain.

Together, Circle and Citizens Trust Bank intend to broaden their partnership to include the entire Atlanta area, focusing on efforts for digital financial literacy and financial inclusion for its clients.

Citizens Trust Bank president and CEO Cynthia Day said: “Citizens Trust Bank is extremely proud to partner with Circle, and we applaud their commitment to financial inclusion and digital financial literacy.

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“The opportunity to maintain a portion of Circle’s growing USDC reserves means we are strengthening our balance sheet and becoming a key part of fast-growing new markets. This will support our commitment to providing access to capital for small businesses, improve the financial ecosystem through financial inclusion, build wealth and pave the way for stronger communities.”

Circle chief strategy officer and head of global policy Dante Disparte said: “For the future of finance and banking to be more inclusive than the past, historically marginalised communities cannot merely be beneficiaries of financial services, they must also be protagonists.”

Last April, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire told Bloomberg that the fintech is looking to apply for a US banking licence.