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Bank of America Partners with CDFIs to Finance Energy Efficiency Improvements

Bank of America announced on May 25 a new $55 million program to encourage energy efficiency improvements to older buildings.  Is this a move to deflect criticism from Rainforest Action Network?  Does it Matter?

According to Bank of America, the new competitive program will provide low-cost loans and grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) specializing in financing energy efficiency improvements.  A CDFI is a specialized financial institution that works in market niches that are underserved by traditional financial institutions.

The following cities are prioritized for the new program:

  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Charlotte
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Washington DC
  • According to the Bank of America press release, Mark Pinsky, president and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) (A US-based membership organization of CDFIs) had the following to say about the new program:

    “I applaud Bank of America for looking to CDFIs as the delivery vehicle for innovative energy retrofit solutions, CDFIs have launched numerous residential and commercial green financing initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, improve energy efficiency, and create green jobs in distressed markets across the country. Energy efficiency is good for the planet and good for the homeowner, for whom cost savings and affordability can mean opportunity.”

    $50 million of the $55 program will be awarded for low-cost, long-term loans to CDFIs with innovative energy efficient retrofit programs that finance the upfront investment costs for building owners to make energy efficient improvements.  The remaining $5 will be awarded in to help with staffing, training, reserves, and marketing needs associated with the implementation of the programs, according to Bank of America.

    I wonder if Bank of America’s renewed commitment to energy efficiency has anything to do with the pressure it has been feeling from the Rainforest Action Network‘s criticism of  Bank of America’s own carbon footprint coming from its role as a lead financier of the coal industry?  What do you think readers?

    Image Credit:  crystalbat via Flickr under CC license.

    Written by Emily DeMasi

    Emily McKinin DeMasi is a 2011 MBA/ MA Public Policy candidate and Peace Corps Fellow at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Her thesis work concerns Corporate Social Responsibility in the United States. She also works as a Research Fellow at Bridgeway Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in downtown Pittsburgh. Emily has worked as an Associate in a Private Equity Placement Firm in NY and as a Water and Sanitation Volunteer in Ivory Coast, West Africa. She hopes to combine her business background with her passion for development and inspire others in the fields of Sustainability and CSR.

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