Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Feb 17, 2012

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A nonprofit called Self-Help Credit Union just announced a new low-interest personal loan program designed to help businesses and families to finance energy efficiency projects in Charlotte, NC.

Self-Help, which is based in Durham, NC, has originated nearly $6 billion worth of personal loans to low and middle class families, small businesses, and other nonprofits. They recently received a $5.5 million personal loan from Bank of America, and are hoping to use that loan combined with other resources to offer $15 million worth of energy loans across the eight cities.

Since older buildings consume a lot more energy than newer ones, the credit union is hoping their loans will be taken out to retrofit existing buildings and create a more energy efficient society as a whole.

In addition to acting as the personal loan provider, Self-Help has also stated it will provide some technical assistance on how the money can be used for energy efficiency projects.

Each loan will range in price, but the spectrum will run from microloans—which will be used by individuals and smaller businesses—to massive, multimillion dollar loans for larger companies and schools.

“With the larger loans, we’re hoping that they will be doing much more cutting-edge projects like solar hot water on multifamily housing,” explained the credit union’s green initiatives manager, Melissa Malkin-Weber, as reported by the Charlotte Observer.

Due to the low-interest loan received from Bank of America, Self-Help is able to offer these personal loans at a 1.5 percent discount when compared to its regular rates.

She explained that so far it’s been hard to interest borrowers in energy efficiency. “What’s different now is that we have an incentive for our traditional borrowers to look at energy efficiency,” the green initiatives manager said in reference to new low interest rate offer.