As a socially-responsible financial institution, Verity takes care to ensure that a growing percentage of our loans are dedicated to the areas of social empowerment, environmental sustainability and economic resiliency. The goal is to ensure that money is being made available through loans to individuals and enterprises that provide value in one or more of these key areas. Our goal is to have 40% of our loans dedicated to these areas by 2023.
Social empowerment lending
Loans that provide social empowerment include loans to women and minority-owned businesses and loans to nonprofits.
Loans geared toward environmental sustainability, or what we call eco-loans, are designed to provide access to funds that are specifically dedicated to something that has a positive impact on the environment.
Loans that are aimed toward economic resiliency are those that provide access to credit for underserved populations or for those who are working toward financial security.
Climate Change Commitment
In 2019, Verity, along with 27 other members of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, pledged to track and monitor the carbon impact of our loans and investments over the next three years. This Commitment aligns with the Paris Agreement goals to keep global temperature increases under control.
The Climate Change Commitment is a powerful example of how the banking industry can take steps to address the climate crisis impacting our planet. By assessing our carbon impact, we can make financial decisions to limit the emissions impact of our financed assets.
Social Empowerment Lending
Loans that provide social empowerment include loans to women and minority-owned businesses and loans to nonprofits. Over the past few years, Verity has provided $3 million in capital for the micro-loan program through Business Impact NW, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution dedicated to serving under-banked entrepreneurs. Business Impact NW provides coaching, classes and access to capital to community small businesses, with an emphasis on working with traditionally underserved populations, including entrepreneurial low/moderate income earners, women, people of color, veterans, immigrants or members of the LGBTQ community.
Verity has also developed a comprehensive set of banking products and services for nonprofit organizations and their employees. We know that the best way to support our community is by supporting these organizations, and we do so in a number of ways, including financial contributions, volunteering and providing products and services specifically designed for them.
Loans geared toward environmental sustainability, or what we call eco-loans, are designed to provide access to funds that are specifically dedicated to something that has a positive impact on the environment. Some examples include loans for high fuel-efficiency or electric cars, loans for commuter bicycles or loans for solar panel installation.
Chart of loan balances in each category
Green Autos $20 million
Solar Loans $106 million
Bike Loans $40,153
Loans that are aimed toward economic resiliency are those that provide access to credit for underserved populations or for those who are working toward financial security. Verity provides a variety of home loans in this category, including those for first-time home buyers or loans with low or no down payment.
A new opportunity to provide economic security came in early 2020 as the pandemic hit, and Verity was put to the test as employees, members and small businesses were severely impacted. When the Small Business Administration (SBA) rolled out a loan assistance program with two days’ notice, we weren’t even set up as an SBA lender. So team members were brought in from other departments and after working around the clock, we completed over 200 loans for small businesses and nonprofits with the Paycheck Protection Program. That allowed over 1,300 employees of small businesses to continue getting a paycheck for the next eight weeks. In addition, the Verity team provided skip-a-pays, payment forbearances, mortgage loan modifications, emergency assistance loans and financial coaching.
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