The biotech company Biogen said this week that it will deposit $10 million into Boston-based OneUnited Bank, one of the nation’s largest Black-owned financial institutions, a move that the two companies hope will spur further corporate support for Black-owned businesses.
OneUnited said it has attracted more than 50,000 new customers and $50 million in deposits over the summer, amid national protests calling for racial equality that began following the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. The bank had about $402 million in deposits as of June 30, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
“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,” said the bank’s chief executive, Kevin Cohee, in a statement.
Biogen’s move comes as part of an emerging trend in the business world. Netflix in June said it would move $100 million into banks that serve Black communities. And other large companies, including Costco, have followed.
The deposit represents a relatively small chunk of Biogen’s portfolio. The Cambridge-based company, which develops therapies for neurological conditions, said in its most recent financial filing that its assets included nearly $2.4 billion in cash as of June 30.
But Chirfi Guindo, Biogen’s executive vice president for global product strategy and commercialization, said in a statement that the company sees the financial move as more than a banking decision.
“Economic empowerment is critical if we want to actually address systemic racism and inequity,” Guindo said. “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 of strengthening underrepresented minority businesses.”