Credit Unions Team Up with REIL in Energy Saving Low Rate Loan Scheme
Huge uptake expected for ‘self-financing’ home energy upgrades supported by SEAI
Credit Unions Launch “The Home Energy Saving Loan”
A simple “zero money up-front” model to allow people to improve the energy rating of their home, has been launched today by the Solution Centre, a collaboration of credit unions that supply product development and business supports to Ireland’s Credit Union sector.
The “Home Energy Saving Loan” is an innovative partnership between credit unions and Retrofit Energy Ireland Ltd (REIL) with the support of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
The Scheme makes it easy to access SEAI grant funding of 35% towards the cost of approved energy upgrades to an applicant’s home, with easy to access low cost finance for the balance of the costs being provided by participating credit unions.
Speaking on how the idea for the Home Energy Saving Loan Scheme was born and developed, Kevin Johnson of the Solution Centre,
“If we want homeowners to be persuaded to significantly improve the energy efficiency of their homes, we need to make it easy for them to do so, and to help them overcome the “challenges” that are currently putting people off.”
REIL take on the role of programme co-ordinators and are responsible for the procurement and completion of all works, while SEAI is providing a 35% grant for work completed and the rest of the funding can be received from the participating Credit Union at a discounted rate.
Paddy Sweeney of REIL said;
“With this initiative we have taken all the “leg-work” away from the homeowner. All they need to do is fill out an application form, after which REIL will conduct an assessment on their property and present them with a report. They can then decide whether or not they would like to proceed. Absolutely no money changes hands until all improvements have been made. From beginning to end, the input required by the home owner is minimal. The way this Scheme is structured, there is easy access to grant funding which will significantly reduce the cost (by 35%), while the repayments on the Credit Union loan funding the balance of the costs of works can typically be expected to be largely offset by the reduced energy cost in the majority of cases. The payback periods can be relatively short, particularly for items such as cavity wall insulation, boiler controls and replacing an open fire with a solid fuel stove. This means many people funding this with a credit union loan over 5-7 years could be turning a profit within 5 years as well as having a cosier house from the get-go.”
Speaking at the launch today, Kevin Johnson, CEO of CUDA, the representative and lobby group for Ireland’s largest credit unions and is the organisation behind the Solution Centre, commented:
“We expect uptake to be huge. We have already rolled out a pilot scheme in Dublin in 2017 which was a great success. The approved energy upgrades are wide-ranging and include attic insulation, cavity insulation, solar thermal panels (hot water), internal drylining insulation, windows upgrades, external wall insulation, windows & doors upgrades, gas or oil boiler upgrades with heating controls, air source heat pump, heating controls and solid fuel stoves.
The scheme will initially be piloted across 6 large credit unions with a membership of over 200,000, but we expect it to be rolled-out to many more credit union in 2019.”
Home Energy Saving Loan Steps – How it works
- Client fills in Expression of Interest (EOI) Form and hands in to Credit Union staff
- EOI form is sent to REIL and they arrange a Home Energy Survey
- Once survey is complete, the Applicant is issued with a report and given 30 days to decide on whether they wish to proceed or not.
- If they decide to proceed, the Applicant picks what upgrades they wish to complete. Once the cost of works less the grant has been identified, a loan application is submitted to the Credit Union for this amount. Once loan approval is given, REIL will proceed to arrange procurement of contractors to complete the works.
- Once works are complete, REIL inspect all works to ensure they are up to SEAI standards. Once all work is approved a Post-BER assessment takes place and the loan is advanced to cover the cost of works.
- Once payment is received, REIL issue client with a receipt of payment. That’s it!
Participating credit unions in the pilot Scheme are:
• Blanchardstown and District
• Capital (Dundrum, Sandymount, Drimnagh)
• Community (Castleknock, West Cabra)
• Core (Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey, Foxrock)
• South Dublin (Stillorgan)
Note to the Editor
The Solution Centre
A group of the country’s strongest credit unions established the Solution Centre, a FinTech facilitated by CUDA, which supplies product development and business supports to the Credit Union sector and has embarked on an ambitious business transformation programme for the sector, of which mortgages is just one milestone.
Rather than simply replicating the actions of banks, the Solution Centre believes that credit unions have the flexibility and adaptability to quickly adopt new ways of doing business that will see an expansion of their market share. Credit Unions participating in our digital loan marketing programme have seen loan growth of 10-20% in a relatively short space of time, with minimal investment. It’s clear the movement’s leading credit unions have embarked on a transformative digital journey with a huge uptake in credit union loans by young people who are attracted by the use of new technology and prefer the credit union ethos to other financial service providers.
With 48 of the larger and more progressive credit unions, representing one third of credit unions members, coming together under the Solution Centre umbrella – we now have a structure to facilitate credit unions to achieve their goal of continuing as consumer-owned co-operatives, while delivering much needed new products and services to their members.
CUDA, the Credit Union Development Association, was legally incorporated in 2003. In its early days it was the representative voice, on behalf of its owner member credit unions, with legislators and regulators. It has since evolved and now, as well as providing a ‘voice’, it is increasingly providing support facilities in the areas of regulatory compliance, risk management, shared services and skills development.
SEAI is Ireland’s national energy authority investing in, and delivering, appropriate, effective and sustainable solutions to help Ireland’s transition to a clean energy future. We work with Government, homeowners, businesses and communities to achieve this, through expertise, funding, educational programmes, policy advice, research and the development of new technologies. Learn more at www.seai.ie