Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB), the only values-based bank in Canada, is on a mission to finance social purpose and sustainable buildings.
With the urgency of the climate crisis, ESG factors have become an integral part of the real estate industry, as more real-estate businesses, investors, and city authorities turn their focus to social and environmentally conscious developments.
As a certified B-Corp and member of the Global Alliance for Banking and Values, VCIB is Canada’s only bank focused exclusively on impact lending. VCIB provides construction, term, and acquisition financing for commercial real estate developers that are building affordable and sustainable communities. This includes financing for affordable and market rental housing, green buildings, heritage buildings and arts, culture and community spaces.
To date, VCIB has financed 29 clean energy loans, 2,315 units of new or preserved affordable housing and 733,525 square feet of non-profit, co-working and community spaces.
To complement their social purpose real estate financing, VCIB has a full-suite clean energy department that provides specialized lending for projects that focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainability components.
“We believe that purpose-driven real estate is a powerful tool for positive change,” explains Jennifer Hutcheon, Vice President of VCIB. “Our mission is to use finance as a tool to drive immediate and lasting social and environmental impact in our communities. We don’t shy away from high-impact projects, they define us.”
Raising the roof with renewables
As a values-based bank, VCIB is committed to accelerating Canada’s transition towards a net-zero economy, which means exploring the role of renewables in construction and building partnerships in real estate.
In a recent transaction, VCIB provided Windmill Development Group with acquisition financing for a development site at 430 Royal York Road in Toronto. VCIB will work with Windmill to provide construction financing for the project with construction expected to begin in 2023. The residential condominium project will integrate geothermal and rooftop solar systems to achieve zero carbon building standards and is being developed to Passive House standards.
Creating an everyday, all-round low carbon experience for future residents, this development will include readily available ways for residents to incorporate easy, low-carbon transportation options into their everyday lives including an electric bike share fleet, carsharing service, and car alternative options to easily get around.
A history of financing positive change
As part of the Vancity group of companies, VCIB builds on Vancity’s long history of using finance as a force for positive change. Headquartered in Toronto, this Schedule I, values-driven bank is next door to the big banks, but its impact mandate, clean energy and real estate expertise sets it apart. Hutcheon explains,
“What’s unique about VCIB is our niche expertise and nimble approach, it makes all the difference for our clients. Our customized financing solutions are tailor made for every unique purpose-driven real estate project.”
An example of the bank’s outside-the-box financing is its partnership with Canada Infrastructure Bank, seeing public-private partnerships working together to finance the world’s largest raw wastewater energy transfer project, located at Toronto Western Hospital.
“Financial institutions have a critical role to play in supporting the transition to a net-zero future,” said Trish Nixon, Head of Clean Energy Financing at VCIB. "This means partnering with private, not-for-profit, and public sector players drive decarbonization pathways."
Leading the way with values
As Canada’s first values-driven bank, VCIB provides banking, investing, and financing solutions designed to help its partners — purpose-driven businesses and organizations — thrive, grow, and foster change. VCIB offers specialized financing solutions for social purpose real estate and clean energy projects that focus on sustainable building development. VCIB is a certified B -Corp and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.