Sunday, March 29, 2009

Greening Up Some Bankers

I am responsible for setting the agenda, finding the speaker and leading the next Middle Market banking sales meeting . You know what I was thinking when I found this out right? Hmmm. "How can leverage this opportunity to squeeze in a little environmental education?" Generally speaking, unless you are talking about making sure there are no environmental issues with a property being considered for financing, your average commercial banker is very conservative and just not that into sustainability. That is changing, but verrrrry slowly in the Midwest. Anyway, I am planning to at least get the topic on the radar next month, via a presentation on energy conservation leases. What is an energy conservation lease? Simple, it is a type of loan that factors the cost savings that one will achieve through investments in their buildings that reduce energy and water usage, into their ability to pay the loan. For example:

Joanne has an older building that has generates very high gas bills. She decides to make some investments in windows, insulation and solar panels that will save her $1000 a month. That $1000 savings is included in the debt service (ability to pay the loan) calculation along with the net profits of her business.

The benefit to the banker of this vehicle is that we generate interest income. You always have to lead with the financial benefits when you are talking to bankers! Though unlike some financial products developed over the last decade, an energy conservation lease is a win-win for banker, building owner, consumer and the planet!

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