Multinational biotechnology company Biogen Inc. has made a $10 million deposit in OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank in America. OneUnited was chosen because of its leadership in trying to close the racial wealth gap.
“Economic empowerment is critical if we want to actually address systemic racism and inequity,” says Chirfi Guindo, executive vice president, Global Product Strategy and Commercialization at Biogen. “For Biogen, this deposit is one of many ways we are delivering on our enhanced diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. But for OneUnited’s customers, this deposit could mean allowing them to pursue their dreams or strengthening underrepresented minority businesses.”
The deposit provides OneUnited with more capital to fund home loans and commercial development in Black communities. The bank owns five branches in the country, including one in Liberty City. It has benefited from the #BankBlack Movement, a national economic phenomenon where the Black community is moving its money from traditional banks to Black-owned financial institutions.
Amid the social unrest that’s broken out across the country, the bank’s “part progress, part protest” message has become a national clarion call for Black America to focus on closing the racial wealth gap and creating generational wealth. The movement began when rap star Killer Mike urged Black people not to riot, but to move their money to Black-owned banks. As a result, interest in OneUnited has increased 100%, with the bank attracting more than 50,000 new customers and more than $50 million in deposits since.
“OneUnited Bank actively supports social justice movements including #BlackLivesMatter, #TakeAKnee, the #1619Project and the incredibly successful #BlackOutDay2020,” said Kevin Cohee, the bank’s chairman and CEO. “The bank has consistently encouraged the Black community to use its considerable financial might more purposefully to send a message that is part protest, part progress.”
According to 2018 Nielsen research, Black America has a reported annual spending of $1.2 trillion.