April 23, 2007

Citizens Bank introduces Green Mortgage pilot project

By: Mark Sabourin

TORONTO, ONT-In partnership with the Conservation Council of Ontario and Green$aver, Citizens Bank of Canada has unveiled an environmentally-friendly mortgage for Ontario homeowners. The Green Mortgage package includes a free Green$aver Home Energy Audit, a recycling blue box containing ten compact fluorescent light bulbs, and coupons for energy-efficient products and services from local businesses. Ontario is the first province where the mortgage is being offered, and the bank will donate $100 to the Conservation Council of Ontario for each mortgage funded.

John Filice, the bank's director of residential mortgage development, says the Ontario-only program is a pilot for now. He expects it to run for six to twelve months, as Citizens Bank tests the attractiveness of the offer and the extent to which consumers make use of the products and services included in the package. Citizens Bank is Canada's first branchless bank. Transactions are made on-line or through a call centre. Until the Green Mortgage is ready to roll out nationally, mortgage applicants from outside Ontario can receive what the bank calls a "Climate Change Mortgage," which will annually retire carbon credits tied to the size of the mortgage. Wholly owned by VanCity Savings Credit Union, Citizens Bank prides itself on being the only bank in Canada with an Ethical Policy publicly attesting to its position on social and environmental issues.

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