Saturday, November 29, 2008

Natural Capitalism Field, CSR Category

Emcee: Debra Poneman

Our next inductee is ShoreBank, America’s first community development and environmental bank. Accepting for ShoreBank is Jean Pogge, Executive Vice President, Consumer and Community Banking at ShoreBank.

ShoreBank has been rebuilding disinvested and neglected neighborhoods by harnessing the mechanisms of capitalism for a social purpose since its inception in 1973. Since then it has been a community development bank that has demonstrated it could make a profit by transforming underserved urban neighborhoods into strong, sustainable communities. They have proven that a bank “could do well by also doing right” by demonstrating ways in which private capital and the nation’s banking system can be used to achieve social purposes.

ShoreBank has been restoring Chicago’s South Side and urban communities in the Midwest by rebuilding the market forces that disinvestment had destroyed; focusing on maintaining, retaining and rebuilding the built environment--by and for the people who lived there. Today ShoreBank is fueling sustainable development by providing individuals, small businesses, faith-based organizations, nonprofits and many others with access to the resources and information that save homeowners from foreclosure and encourage green design and energy efficient improvements.

In the 1990s ShoreBank began to focus on building not only economically sustainable communities, but communities that are also environmentally sustainable--a vital concept as energy prices continue to soar and global warming is confronted. Its goal is similar to their initial efforts to close the gap between private gain and public good--to build a bridge between conservation and economic development.

Today, in the Pacific Northwest, ShoreBank is providing resources and leadership to enable long-term growth and success in the region’s organic farming, fishing and timber industries.

In Chicago, these practices were adapted to meet the needs of the markets served by its Midwest locations. In Cleveland, the bank helped retrofit an unused commercial building that is now the first of its kind, a repository and resource center for green building design. In Chicago, it funded one of the nation’s first LEED quality supportive housing centers for ex-offenders and the homeless. The center introduces residents to new skills and careers in landscaping and building. It features ground-source heating, green roofs, solar lighting and other components that use less energy, reduce monthly utility bills and dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.

ShoreBank was one of the first financial institutions in the country to offer free energy audits and an Energy Star appliance as part of its innovative Home Energy Conservation Loan program--a mortgage rehab loan rolled into one single plan that encourages energy-saving home improvements. These products are helping homeowners in every income range recoup their investment in three to four years by reducing energy costs by 25 to 45 percent a month while preserving scarce natural resources and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Just last fall ShoreBank was the first community bank in the country to be targeting homeowners at risk of foreclosure when it rolled out the Rescue Loan program. The innovative and creative loan product helps homeowners delinquent on their adjustable rate mortgage from another institution to obtain a new 30 year fixed-rate loan from ShoreBank that builds equity and stabilizes the community.

ShoreBank has demonstrated that serving the triple bottom line goals of profitability, community development, and conservation is both realistic and achievable. It has invested more than $3.5 billion across the country, created over 12,000 jobs for local residents, made more than $129 million in conservation loans in 2007, and helped finance the purchase and renovation of 52,000 units of affordable housing.

“ShoreBank intends to keep showing the world how a for-profit enterprise can be a powerful force for social and environmental good,” said Jean Pogge, Executive Vice President, Consumer and Community Banking at ShoreBank.

So it is my great honor to call up Jean Pogge, and as she is walking up, ask two other officers of the bank to please stand so that we can acknowledge all 3; Joel Freehling, Director, ShoreBank Triple Bottom Line Innovations and Mr. Brian J. Berg, Vice President, Marketing.