Clean Energy Credit Union Update

Blake Jones

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As announced in the previous issue of Solar Today, Clean Energy Credit Union received its federal charter in early September and expects to launch by the end of 2017. Clean Energy Credit Union is a new lending institution that focuses solely on loans that help people afford solar PV systems, electric vehicles, home energy efficiency retrofits, electric-assist bicycles, net-zero energy homes, etc. Clean Energy Credit Union is a not-forprofit financial services cooperative that’s democratically owned and controlled by its members on a one-vote-per-member basis. In order to join Clean Energy Credit Union, one must first be either: (a) an ASES member; or (b) part of the immediate family or household of an ASES member or Clean Energy Credit Union member.

Clean Energy Credit Union’s vision is a world where everyone can participate in the clean energy movement. In the face of inaction – and even climate change denial – by our federal government, many people are seeking new ideas for how they can take action to protect our environment and usher in a clean energy economy. Clean Energy Credit Union offers two concrete ways for people to participate in the clean energy movement: (a) deposit money in a federally insured savings account where the funds will be solely used to help others afford their clean energy projects; and (b) borrow money with great loan terms to finance a clean energy project.

Clean Energy Credit Union is a webbased financial institution, so its members will access their accounts primarily via the internet and mobile devices (with phone support available if needed). With no brick-and-mortar branches, the savings that result from reduced overhead expenses can be passed through to members in the form of better loan terms. Loan terms are intended to be “below-market,” or among the best in the market for clean energy projects, whereas deposit rates are simply intended to be on par with other deposit rates in the market.

Initially, Clean Energy Credit Union is providing a limited number of services such as savings accounts, CDs, solar PV loans, clean energy vehicle loans, and energy efficiency retrofit loans. In the future, it will also offer checking accounts, credit cards, ATM cards, mortgages, and other services, but in the meantime, credit union members will also maintain their existing relationship with their “primary financial institutions” and be able to freely move their savings to and from Clean Energy Credit Union via free and easy online transfers. Although both individuals and organizations can open deposit accounts at Clean Energy Credit Union, loans will initially be for individuals only. Business loans are part of the credit union’s future plans, but they may not be available until 2019 or beyond.

Clean Energy Credit Union will be conducting a membership drive starting in January 2018. If you’re interested in joining or learning more, please visit our website (www.cleanenergycu.org). You can also track us on Twitter (@CleanEnergyCU) or Facebook (facebook.com/cleanenergycu).

Thanks for your continued support and interest in Clean Energy Credit Union and, as always, please contact info@cleanenergyfcu.org with questions and comments.

 

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