SELF, America’s First Local Green Bank, Celebrates Passage of Inflation Reduction Act
Act allocates billions for LMI and marginalized communities
Fort Pierce, Fla., Aug 18, 2022 – The non-profit SELF organization celebrates the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $27 billion for a new National Climate Bank, with close to $8 billion reserved for low- and moderate-income (LMI) and historically marginalized communities. As a mission-driven lender focused on these borrowers, SELF is prepared to leverage this new federal funding to serve more LMI homeowners and to assist other Green Banks in expanding their lending in underserved and underbanked communities.
Founded in 2010, SELF is America’s first local Green Bank and a pioneer in climate equity. SELF’s founder and Executive Director, Doug Coward, launched the nonprofit in St. Lucie County, Florida, to help LMI homeowners overcome the high upfront cost of energy efficiency upgrades, solar energy, and storm resilient property improvements. Coward said, “we wanted to help LMI homeowners with sustainable property improvements, while also creating green jobs for the local economy.” SELF has now grown to serve the SE United States, financed more than $22 million in green projects, helped over 7,000 people, and created innovative lending programs that serve LMI homeowners, affordable housing landlords, land trusts, and developers.
SELF’s flagship lending program, known as “Green Home Loans”, offers an inclusive underwriting process based on each borrower’s ability to repay, rather than credit scores or home equity. SELF offers unsecured loans to LMI homeowners and has special programs for veterans, seniors on fixed incomes, female heads of households, disabled homeowners, and people with low or no credit scores. To date, 72 percent of SELF’s lending has been to LMI borrowers, and default rates remain below 2 percent.
Last year, SELF’s Chief Financial and Strategic Officer, Duanne Andrade, testified before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, providing her expert assessment of an earlier version of the Green Bank legislation. “SELF has grown from a local lender to a national leader in energy equity and a model for future Green Banks and Community Development Financial Institutions. Our success is proof that LMI homeowners can afford climate-related improvements if you just provide them with equitable access to capital,” says Andrade.
Now, SELF is creating a Plug-and-Play product so that other Green Banks and community lenders and organizations across the country can access and use SELF’s proprietary underwriting systems. “We’re working hard to leverage the experience we’ve gained at this pivotal moment,” says Andrade. “The Inflation Reduction Act is finally giving real tools to green banks on the ground doing the work to empower families in need.”
SELF’s mission is to rebuild and empower underserved communities by providing access to affordable and innovative financing for sustainable home improvements, including energy efficiency; renewable energy; wind-hazard mitigation; water quality and water conservation projects; and more. SELF has financed over $22 million of sustainable and climate resilient property improvements and helped more than 7,000 people.
To learn more visit: Solar and Energy Loan Fund
To arrange an interview with SELF, contact Jake Sanders, marketing director, at 772-971-6367 or email@example.com