CIGP Closes Multimillion Dollar Guarantee to Inclusive Prosperity Capital (“IPC”) to Expand Residential Green Lending to Low/Moderate-Income and BIPOC Homeowners
The $2.5 million, 12+ year guarantee will expand IPC’s Smart-E Residential Green Lending Program
January 23, 2023 – In late December 2022, Community Investment Guarantee Pool (“CIGP”) announced the issuance of a $2.5 million, 12+ year guarantee to expand Inclusive Prosperity Capital Inc.’s (“IPC”) Smart-E Residential Green Lending Program (“Smart-E Program” or “Program”) and to demonstrate that unsecured residential green lending to predominantly low/moderate-income and/or Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) homeowners can be a successful business line for credit unions and other community lenders. CIGP’s guarantee will start at $1 million and expand to $2.5 million as the Smart-E program ramps up. IPC projects that CIGP’s guarantee will ultimately credit enhance nearly 2,000 Smart-E loans over the next four years, totaling about $24 million.
The Smart-E Program creates greater access to the residential clean energy and energy efficiency marketplace for community-based lenders, local contractors, and low- and moderate-income (LMI) homeowners through a comprehensive program that includes:
• Loan product and process standardization
• Online project management tool (called NGEN)
• Contractor screening and oversight.
“We are thrilled to be able to leverage CIGP’s guarantee to bring our Smart-E Program to more communities of color and low and moderate-income homeowners,” said Kerry O’Neill, IPC’s CEO. “CIGP’s support has allowed us to launch our Smart-E national expansion and reflects IPC’s belief that everyone should have access to the benefits of clean energy and resilience, especially those who have been most impacted by climate change and historically have not been well served by traditional lending.”
“Partnering with IPC and community development credit unions to enable low-income and BIPOC homeowners to make green upgrades demonstrates the catalytic value of CIGP’s guarantees for climate equity,” said Jim Baek, CIGP’s Executive Director. He added, “As investments in sustainability accelerate with the enactment of new federal programs, we’re hopeful that initiatives like Smart-E provide the road map and market insights needed to facilitate a just green transition.”
“Inclusiv is proud to connect high-impact credit union lenders with the Smart-E program that will dramatically expand clean energy and energy efficiency lending to low- and moderate-income people and households,” said Cathie Mahon, President/CEO, Inclusiv.
The model for the Smart-E Program operates in three states (Connecticut, Michigan, and Colorado) with 18 active lenders participating. Approved contractors offer 40 different green upgrades, including solar, energy efficiency, HVAC, and more. To date, $500 million in these unsecured loans have been originated, helping over 35,000 homeowners, 45% of whom are LMI.
IPC is now partnering with Inclusiv, the largest membership organization for Community Development Credit Unions (CDCU), and the University of New Hampshire (UNH), as a data and training resource, to expand the Smart-E platform nationally. This expansion is starting in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas where Inclusiv has 40 CDCU members and another 55 credit unions that are part of its Center for Resiliency and Clean Energy network. These 95 credit unions serve 5.6 million members in the three states with the CDCUs primarily serving LMI and/or BIPOC communities. Nationally, Inclusiv’s network of credit unions serves over 18 million members in various LMI urban, rural, and reservation-based communities and represents over $261 billion of community-controlled assets.
The Smart-E Loans are unsecured, and CIGP will only backstop loans to borrowers with FICO credit scores below 720. If successful, CIGP’s guarantee will demonstrate the degree to which unsecured consumer green lending can be made to a broader set of homeowners beyond the current market focus on higher income borrowers.
While green lending in the US is still primarily focused on upper- and upper-middle-income, largely white, borrowers, IPC’s national expansion of the Smart-E Program, starting in the Southwest, is designed to “democratize” access to green loans; at least 50% of CIGP backed Smart-E loans are expected to be to LMI and BIPOC households. In addition to yielding climate benefits from the reduced use of fossil fuels, successful Smart-E installations will lower energy bills, increasing housing stability and property values for homeowners.
The Community Investment Guarantee Pool (CIGP) is a financing tool launched in December 2019 by impact investing organizations to create a pooled commitment of financial guarantees for intermediaries in affordable housing, small business and climate finance. CIGP accelerates community investments by more fully leveraging philanthropic balance sheets for mission. The initial guarantors that helped make CIGP possible are The Kresge Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The California Endowment, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Common Spirit Health, Gary Community Investments, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Phillips Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Virginia Community Capital, and Weingart Foundation. Since launch, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Arnold Ventures, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the California Wellness Foundation and the Sierra Club Foundation have also joined as guarantors. Learn more about CIGP by watching this short video produced by The Kresge Foundation.
About LOCUS Impact Investing
LOCUS serves as program manager for the Community Investment Guarantee Pool. LOCUS is a national non-profit consulting organization and registered investment advisor that works with foundations and mission-driven investors wherever they are on their local impact investing journey to help them create lasting, meaningful change in their communities. LOCUS partners with mission-driven institutions to unlock more of their assets and deploy dollars to catalyze equitable economic development and make community-informed investments guided by innovative, effective and equitable practices. LOCUS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the non-profit, VCC Social Enterprises. For more information about LOCUS visit: https://locusimpactinvesting.org/.
About Inclusive Prosperity Capital (IPC)
Inclusive Prosperity Capital, Inc. (“IPC”) is a not-for-profit investment fund scaling clean energy financing solutions that channels investment capital to program partners in communities that need it most. As a spin-out and strategic partner of the Connecticut Green Bank, IPC is focused on scaling and expanding its successful model nationwide by accessing mission-driven capital and partnerships. IPC operates at the intersection of community development, clean energy finance, and climate impact.