Bank launches solar lending program ahead of grand opening • St Pete Catalyst

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Climate First Bank, a newly formed public bank based in St. Petersburg, has revealed details of its solar residential and commercial lending programs as it prepares to Grand opening Next week.

Advertising itself as a value-based bank, Climate First is the brainchild of Florida veteran banker and entrepreneur Ken LaRoy, who also founded Florida Choice Bank and First GREEN Bank. The latter institution proposed a solar energy lending program before it was sold to Seacoast Bank.

According to the press release, the First GREEN Bank program was the prototype of a program to be offered at Climate First Bank, which will offer an annual interest rate of 4.08 percent for 12 years for homeowners looking to fund solar energy. projects. For businesses, the bank offers flexible terms and structure to meet the unique needs of each client. Closing fees will be “minimal,” the report says, and in many cases, the bank can provide an expedited approval process.

“There are no gimmicks, no surprise installer fees, no bait and no switch,” LaRoy said in a prepared statement. “Climate First Bank offers one of the most competitive programs in the country.”

The bank, which positions itself as part of the environmental, social and governance (ESG) movement that promotes responsible business practices, was founded with a mission to expand access to renewable energy and technology, which in turn will help break societal carbon dependence, says in the release.

“If we’re going to cut our carbon footprint, financial institutions must stop playing games with customers,” LaRoy said in a statement. “Everyone has to do their part, and at Climate First Bank we are committed to sustainable development by ensuring everyone has access to affordable and reliable renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

Speaking with CatalystLaRoe said it had between $ 70 million and $ 80 million in loans prior to opening Climate First Bank. At First GREEN Bank, it took him a year to top $ 25 million in loans. “All of this is very much a confirmation” of Climate First’s strategy and the growing appetite for socially responsible banking and investing, he said.

Climate First Bank Executive Vice President Valari Nussbaum-Harris, a veteran of the Tampa Bay banking sector, has played a key role in developing solar energy lending programs.

“Climate First Bank is committed to helping residents and businesses move towards sustainable solar energy,” she said in a prepared statement. “With transparent and understandable financing, we make investments simple, hassle-free and financially sound.”

Nussbaum-Harris reported Catalyst that the bank’s solar lending programs are just the beginning in terms of socially and environmentally responsible banking products.

“We are creating a commercial bank and, at the same time, a non-profit, value-based and mission-driven organization that does not currently exist in the banking sector. So putting these missions together is a bit unique and possibly tricky. We know how to work with a solar panel, so we are really focused on this area, but over time we will also expand into other ESG areas. ”

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