Financial partnership expands energy-efficiency loan pool for Connecticut homeowners

Capital for Change, Amalgamated Bank, Connecticut Green Bank team to boost successful loan program


For Immediate Release Contact: Kim Forde – (860) 233-5165 May 8, 2020


WALLINGFORD, Conn. – An innovative collaboration among three financial entities has set the stage for more Connecticut homeowners to gain access to energy-efficiency loans while reducing costs up to 20 percent for many utility ratepayers.

The collaboration is among Capital for Change Inc., Connecticut's largest full-service, nonprofit community development financial institution; Amalgamated Bank; and the Connecticut Green Bank.

“This new financial model is one of the few – if not the only – such arrangements in the United States helping to boost the growth of unsecured loans supporting consumer energy-efficiency and solar loans,” said Bert Hunter, executive vice president and chief investment officer at the Green Bank.

“The model has proven to be a unique means of maximizing the leverage of ratepayer capital in achieving the state's energy goals,” Hunter said.

“We're deeply pleased to participate in what we believe is a new financial model for positive community development,” said Calvin B. Vinal, president and CEO of Capital for Change Inc., Connecticut's largest full-service, nonprofit community development financial institution. 

“This will allow us to make more funds available for energy-efficient and solar housing improvements in Connecticut,” Vinal said. “Participating utility ratepayers will see savings on their energy bills of 10 to 20 percent, depending on the energy measures installed and fuel source.”

“We are proud to join the Connecticut Green Bank and Capital for Change Inc. in providing energy efficiency loans to Connecticut residents,” said Keith Mestrich, president and CEO of Amalgamated Bank.

“As America’s socially responsible bank, we believe that our deposits can be used for creating a more sustainable planet and this collaboration affords us an opportunity to expand our impact," Mestrich said.

The partnership has made available a $27 million line of credit for the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Finance Company (CEEFCo) leveraged by CEEFCo’s ratepayer funding and unsecured loan portfolio, allowing CEEFCo’s portfolio to grow to $36 million. CEEFCo is a nonprofit subsidiary of Capital for Change.

The new model allows CEEFCo to continue to grow its loan portfolio while minimizing the need for additional ratepayer capital, Hunter and Vinal said. 

Financing arrangements closed in late December 2019 and took effect in February, Vinal said. At CEEFCo's inception in 2011, initial funding was provided through legislative mandate by Connecticut energy utility Eversource, using approximately $17 million collected from ratepayers over 10 years.  

With $12.1 million of this capitalization remaining, ratepayer funding has leveraged production of 6,000 loans for $51 million of capital funding at a cost of $5 million. In the past several years, this portfolio of unsecured loans went from $12 million to $24 million, and their earlier financial partner stopped lending.

“We required a different financing model to accommodate the need, which the Green Bank understood and so introduced us to Amalgamated Bank,” said Vinal.

“We're extremely grateful that Amalgamated appreciates the quality of our portfolio and the impact we’re having on households throughout Connecticut, and that the Green Bank responded with its own support to make it work,” Vinal said.

“In the past several years, our portfolio of unsecured loans went from $12 million to $24 million, and our earlier financial partner stopped lending,” Vinal said. “We required a different financing model to accommodate the need, which the Greenbank understood and so introduced us to Amalgamated Bank. 

“We're extremely grateful that Amalgamated recognized this, and that the Greenbank responded with its own support to make it work,” Vinal said.

Amalgamated is providing $22.5 million of funding and the Connecticut Green Bank $4.5 million, with the funding secured only by CEEFCo’s assets. 

“This model has proven to be a unique means of maximizing the leverage of ratepayer capital in achieving the state's energy goals,” Vinal said. 

“It's a great collaboration with financing institutions that support community development and energy sustainability,” he said. “It provides us the liquidity needed to continue to grow that portfolio and provide Connecticut residents more opportunities to save on their energy costs.”

The concept also has broad positive implications for the state's economy, he said. 

“Nationwide, the energy sector is providing jobs in numbers that are similar to those in the automotive industry, led by solar and energy efficiency,” Vinal said. “By promoting energy efficiency, proactive financial models such as this one are helping to improve the environment, create local jobs and save homeowners money.  ” 

An extensive resource focusing on energy efficiency in Connecticut – including loan options – is maintained by the utility partnership Energize Connecticut at its website, EnergizeCT.com. 

Capital for Change's energy-efficiency programs include:

  • Loans that finance conservation improvements for low- and moderate-income single-family homeowners.
  • Home Energy Solutions© and Smart E© loans, through which homeowners can reduce energy consumption.
  • Energy Conservation Loans that support energy improvements and health-safety emergency financing.
  • Micro loans for small efficiency improvements, such as insulation.
  • Landlord loans for properties to be made efficient and attractive to tenants.
  • EnergizeCT Heat Loans©, permitting certain utility customers to install efficient heating systems.
  • Commercial loans for multifamily improvements.

Capital for Change Inc. has provided more than $160 million in energy financing over half a century. The organization's mission is to provide flexible, creative and responsive financial products and services to benefit low- and moderate-income persons, and minority and otherwise underserved individuals, businesses and communities. Its programs and products broaden access to affordable housing, energy efficiency and job opportunities.

Capital for Change was created in 2016 through the mergers of the Community Capital Fund, Connecticut Housing Investment Fund and the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund, shaping an organization with a statewide history of service stretching back to 1968. 

Amalgamated Bank has served as America’s socially responsible bank for nearly a century, supporting forward-thinking organizations, companies, and individuals across the country. Amalgamated is the country’s largest B Corp® bank and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. 

Amalgamated is an advocate for those working to make the world more just, compassionate and sustainable, by investing in progressive and impactful causes and advocating true financial opportunity for all. More information about the institution is available from its website, AmalgamatedBank.com.

The Connecticut Green Bank, the nation's first green bank, was established by the Connecticut legislature in 2011 as a quasi-public deployment financing entity to succeed the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. Its purpose is to oversee and promote clean-energy projects. More information is available at CTGreenbank.com. 

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