Bank of Ireland has unveiled a suite of green loans and interest rates to encourage and reward home owners and businesses to be more energy efficient. The new initiatives include a green interest rate discount for borrowers buying or building energy-efficient homes, and a green home improvement loan for energy-efficiency retrofits for older properties. Businesses, including farmers, will also benefit from reduced rates for investment in energy-saving improvements.
They are part of the Bank’s Sustainable Finance Fund, which will make €1 billion of green loans and discounts available over the coming year. This supports the Government’s Climate Action Plan and Ireland’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), over 1 million homes in Ireland need investment to make them energy efficient. Additionally, Irish SMEs spend more than €2 billion annually on energy, which could be reduced by 10 per cent through greater energy efficiency.
The loans and discounts will support more sustainable energy use in Irish homes and businesses, and include:
Green Mortgage Interest Rate: Borrowers can receive a discount of 0.2 per cent off any of fixed interest rate options (from 1 to 10 years) where a fixed term is selected at drawdown of the mortgage. This fixed rate discount will be available from drawdown on new borrowing to finance the purchase, construction, or renovation of residential buildings with an A-rated or to achieve an A-rated BER energy performance. Based on a 20-year €200,000 mortgage fixed for the first five years, the Green Mortgage Interest Rate would represent a saving of c. €2,085 over the five-year term.
Green Home Improvement Loan: The Sustainable Finance Fund will also offer a Green Home Improvement Loan at 6.5 per cent (Variable APR) for amounts from €2,000 to €65,000. Designed to fund energy-efficiency upgrades – for example installing solar panels and retrofitting insulation – the Green Home Improvement Loan offers a discount on current rates from 0.3 per cent to 2 per cent (depending on loan amount). Based on a €15,000 loan, this discount would represent a saving of c. €418 over a five-year period.
Green Business Loan: The Bank of Ireland Green Business Loan offers discounted finance to businesses who want to implement energy-saving initiatives to reduce their energy costs and their carbon footprint. A discount of 0.5 per cent off the margin that the Bank applies to the Small Business Rate – for secured and unsecured loans, up to a maximum of €300,000 – will be available to customers who are subject to Small Business Rate loan pricing. Based on a €300,000 loan at the Small Business Rate, this discount would represent a saving of c. €5,925 over a 7-year period.
Cork County Mayor Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan was in the Clonakilty Branch to help raise awareness of the Bank of Ireland Sustainable Finance Fund: “If we’re serious about tackling the environmental crisis by reducing our energy use and carbon emissions, people will need a helping hand from enterprises. I’m glad to see Bank of Ireland taking the initiative and leading the way to help people to achieve their own green goals.”
Marguerite Lynch, Branch Manager at Clonakilty, Bantry and Skibbereen said: “We all have a part to play in addressing the most important issue of our time – the climate crisis. To address this challenge we must change our behaviour; I’m proud to be part of a financial service provider that is making a meaningful contribution to incentivising people to make such a change.
“As part of raising awareness of our new green mortgage and loan products we asked our local minimal waste store in Clonakilty – Twig Refill in Spiller’s Lane – to put together a lovely hamper of eco-friendly products to have in the branch. We’re lucky to also have Organico in Bantry offering refills to help us all aim for zero waste shopping.
“For further information on our green products please call myself on 087 2955021 or Jerry Shorten on 087 3484789 or call into our branches where we’d love to chat to you.