Credit Unions: Join Initiative to Help Industry Secure Share of $27 Billion to Provide Green Loans to Aid Your Members, Communities
Ecority - a Credit Union/CDFI Non-Profit - Needs No Obligation Letter of Interest From CUs By Sept. 15 to Pursue Federal Funding
We want to make you aware of an exciting opportunity that could provide significant grant funds for credit unions interested in green lending.
Ecority, an independent nonprofit, is asking credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions to submit an electronic letter of interest which it will use to demonstrate the breadth and depth of industry interest in leveraging some $20 billion from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) being administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As of this date, Ecority is composed of credit unions and CDFIs in 43 states, including Virginia’s own Langley Federal Credit Union.
Key things to note:
- Your electronic letter of interest does not obligate you to participate in the Ecority program. Ecority believes this program will prove popular among credit unions and CDFIs and the letter of interest will simply help Ecority make the case for its designation as an eligible grant recipient and maximize the amount of funding it receives. In turn, Ecority’s designation as an eligible grant recipient will allow it to provide grants to participating credit unions. There will likely be a limit on the number of community lenders that receive grants. By leveraging the technical expertise of Ecority, we hope to maximize the amount of funding that reaches credit unions and CDFIs.
- If you are interested, please submit the brief letter of interest by Sept. 15, 2023.
- Funding awards could be as high as $10 million for your credit union.
- The funding Ecority would pursue for credit unions and CDFIs offers substantial synergy with credit unions' existing efforts to reach disadvantaged, low-income and moderate-income communities. A significant portion of the GGRF monies we would pursue would be expressly set aside to reach those communities.
Green loans cover such a broad swath, but the following are examples of how credit unions might use the Ecority program for funding and technical assistance in offering members affordable financing:
- Electric vehicles and EV infrastructure;
- Home or business energy improvements such as replacement windows;
- Net-zero building construction (family, manufactured and multi-family homes, and commercial buildings);
- Solar panels; and
- Other technologies deemed to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
This is an exciting opportunity in a growing area of lending in which many of our credit unions are already active.
Here are some additional details …
What is the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF)?
The GGRF is part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) signed into law last year and administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Congress has appropriated $27 billion total for the GGRF but has written the law such that community lenders are required to apply through a lending intermediary. Credit unions cannot access this fund directly from the EPA, meaning an intermediary like Ecority is required.
GGRF’s Three Programs and Your Eligibility Through Ecority
The GGRF includes three programs:
- National Clean Investment Fund (NCIF): Designed to build financial capacity for green lending at the local level. Credit unions and CDFIs can participate through Ecority. This fund totals $14 billion.
- Clean Communities Investment Accelerator (CCIA): Expressly suited for mission-based credit unions for the benefit of the low- and moderate-income members and communities they serve. Your credit union can participate through Ecority. This fund totals $6 billion.
- Solar For All (specifically designed for governments and certain nonprofits). As designed, neither Ecority nor credit unions would be eligible.
What you need to do to become eligible for an Ecority Grant
Step 1: Complete the electronic letter of interest by Friday, Sept. 15, indicating your interest and answering a few short questions. Again, your expression of interest is non-binding – it simply indicates your interest and will help to strengthen Ecority's application and ability to secure grant funding by demonstrating the commitment of credit unions to the success of the GGRF. Credit unions joining Ecority’s application by Sept. 15 will be prioritized for funding.
Step 2: Submit the letter of interest to email@example.com, using the template provided in Step 1 of the sign-up. Your letter of interest does not obligate you in any way, but it substantially strengthens Ecority’s application to facilitate the distribution of grants to credit unions.
Again, the Sept. 15 deadline is approaching! Reserve your space in this unprecedented opportunity, joining credit unions and CDFIs across the nation to ensure the success of the GGRF.
What happens after your credit union signs up?
EPA says that awards will be announced in the spring of 2024. Ecority will be notified by this date and expects implementation by next summer. Your credit union should be able to apply for grant funding by the second quarter of next year and be able to provide affordable green loans to members in the summer of 2024.
There’s no real downside to signing up to indicate your interest. So even if your credit union has only potential interest, please register your interest to ensure we maximize fund availability for credit unions.
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