One of the best things about having a client like Vancity is that they never stop doing astonishingly cool things worth passing on.

Their latest initiative kind of takes my breath away (and then kindly gives it back again).

Usually, when a bank or credit union offers a new mortgage product, they spend money hand over fist on TV ads, print ads, brochures, balloons, clowns, elephants… whatever it takes to sell it.

Vancity and Citizens Bank are doing something different. They’re making a deal with their customers: “If you don’t make us lift a finger to sell this new mortgage to you – if you just phone up and ask for it – we’ll take the money we would have spent promoting it, and invest it in a fund to fight climate change.”

They call it the Climate Change Mortgage. (I call it the Don’t-Make-Me-Come-Back-There Mortgage, which is why they don’t hire me to name their product lines.)

Their site explains the potential:

  • The average mortgage in Canada = $250,000
  • Take 10 basis points or one 10th of a per cent each year of that mortgage
    over a five-year term = $1,250 per mortgage into the fund
  • 100 Climate Change mortgages = $125,000 in the fund over 5 years
  • 1,000 Climate Change mortgages = $1.25 million in the fund over 5 years
  • 10,000 = $12 million and so on.

The remarkable thing about their pitch is that it doesn’t appeal to customers’ wallets; you don’t save a dime over their usual mortgage rates. Instead, they’re appealing directly to the prospect that a customer’s choice of mortgage could make a difference in one of the greatest challenges of our time.

They also acknowledge that they don’t have all the answers yet:

Right now we have our Vancity and Citizens Bank of Canada climate change experts exploring the best way to invest the funds. It also depends how big the fund gets, but at this point we expect our focus will be on ways to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

We will keep you posted as we continue to work with the brightest minds in the climate change field to determine how the fund can be used to have the highest impact.

If you’re interested, check out their web site or call them at 1-866-566-6651.

Incidentally, Vancity CEO Dave Mowat talks about the Climate Change Mortgage on YouTube:

Between that and his blogging on ChangeEverything, he’s just a podcast away from a Web 2.0 trifecta.

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