Green banking solutions are a relatively new idea that combines money saving and money building approaches with an environmental focus. Under a green banking system, you can engage in traditional loans, bonds, savings, and investment, but these activities can be implemented with an eye towards supporting local businesses, green initiatives, alternative energy, and other greening activities. Here are a few suggestions:
Options in Green Banking
A certificate of deposit (CD) is when you deposit money to the bank for a set period in order to build interest when the term expires. It’s sort of like a reverse version of a bank loan. A sustainable CD is a specific type of deposit in which the money you invest is directed towards projects related to sustainable energy. You still get the returns of a normal CD, but the money you invest helps build greener energy projects for a better future. A financial institute may also offer different types of green-focused CDs, such as ones dedicated to supporting local businesses or farmers.
Green Auto Loans
Some banks or credit unions offer car loans targeted towards fuel-efficient or electric vehicles. The exact types of cars that qualify for a green auto loan will vary by institution, but generally speaking, they can apply to hybrid, electric, and in some cases, even diesel-powered cars if the model is low-emission. A green auto loan can come with lower interest rates, fewer fees, reduced or eliminated early payment penalties, or other attractive features.
Bank and credit union transactions can consume a large amount of paper, which is why so many financial institutes are making the shift towards paperless options. In addition to a greater emphasis on debit and credit programs, paperless checking includes the growth of online banking options such as mobile deposit. While you may not always be able to avoid getting a paper check, you can at least have the option to add it to your account remotely and without the need for paper statements.
The Federal Housing Administration offers incentives towards adding energy-efficient features to a home. Many banks and credit unions are joining in on this effort and will use the government’s Energy Star ratings to assess your energy efficiency. They can then offer improved mortgage conditions, like lower interest rates or longer terms, as a result. There are also green versions of home equity loans, which provide funds for energy-improving renovations.
How Does Green Banking Help Me?
More Affordable Loans
As mentioned, several types of green banking programs will offer you better rates or more lenient terms. Even if the initial amount of the loan remains the same, lower interest rates or longer repayment terms will mean your monthly payments will go down.
Mobile banking reduces the need for repeated trips to the bank. Paperless billing options that send you receipts and statements by email also helps keep information organized and readily available, so you don’t have to worry about papers getting lost. Lastly, many green activities, like hybrid cars or renovations meant to improve energy efficiency, will help you save money in the long run.
Look to LUSO Federal Credit Union for Green Banking Options
LUSO Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative dedicated to providing members with quality and globally responsible financial services and products. We at LUSO pride ourselves on serving the financial needs of our members and provide green banking solutions in Ludlow, Springfield, Chicopee, Westfield, and Hampden County, Massachusetts.
Feel free to contact our Ludlow branch toll free at 1-844-LUSO-FCU or our Wilbraham branch at 1-800-808-5876.