Environmental professionals who specialize in helping consumers improve their homes' energy efficiency say credit unions have an opportunity to step into a growing market in green finance.
"This could be such a good market niche for credit unions to fill," said Jason Holstine, the owner and founder of Amicus Green Building Center, an environmental supply retailer and consultancy headquartered in Kensington, Maryland, just outside Washington DC.
"This kind of lending is local by definition," he said. It strengthens communities, lowers utility costs and saves consumers money. It's perfect for local financial institutions like credit unions or community banks."
Holstine and other environmental consultants said the green lending market opportunity has arisen as as the short-comings in a federal program designed to fund these sorts of environmentally motivated home improvements, called the Property Assessed Clean Energy program ,have become more evident.
A number of credit unions around the country have already started originating mortgages for environmentally sustainable homes and home equity loans for environmental renovations such as solar panels.