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Jul 25: Loan Interest Rebates for Shoreline...

Vancity Offers Loan Interest Rebates For Shoreline Restoration

Vancouver, July 25, 2000 - A new loan program available to Vancity members offers substantial interest rebates on individual loans used to restore or protect shorelines on property they own, rent or lease.

Vancity Credit Union, in partnership with the Living by Water Project, has introduced the three-year Living by Water Loan Program, which offers members a low-fee site assessment and a loan interest rebate for shoreline improvements.

"Many of our members live next to the ocean, creeks, drainage channels, small salmon creeks or wetlands, yet may not realize how fragile these ecosystems are," said Greg McDade, chair of Vancity's Board of Directors. "By keeping the water's edge natural and protected from development, property owners can minimize the impact that urban and suburban lifestyles have on aquatic ecosystems and wildlife habitat."

"The Living by Water Loan Program will help property owners to begin restoration of their shorelines with an interest rate rebate - in effect, a low-interest rate loan," said Vancity CEO Dave Mowat.

In 1998, Vancity was approached by the Federation of B.C. Naturalists to support their Living by Water Project through the credit union's Community Investment Program. Vancity then worked closely with the Living by Water Project to develop the loan program.

Applicants for a shoreline restoration loan under this program will be referred to a local Living by Water Project representative, who will visit the applicant's property, provide advice on restoration, and approve the completed improvements. Vancity will provide qualified loan applicants with a Living by Water loan of up to $10,000 over a one to five year term. Loans of up to $20,000 will be considered if the environmental value is particularly high. Upon receipt of the Certificate of Completion signed by the Living by Water Project, members will benefit from a 6% interest rate reduction (to a minimum rate of four per cent) on the remainder of their loan, and a rebate difference on interest paid to date. The interest rate reduction is funded by the Community Investment Program.

"As a waterfront resident myself, I know that finances can often be a stumbling block preventing us from taking steps to restore a shoreline with native plants, improve a septic system, or reduce the effects of waterfront retaining walls," said Sarah Kipp, one of the co-founders of the Living by Water Project. "We hope that Vancity members will take advantage of this great opportunity to restore their shorelines, while also helping to improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat."

The Living by Water Project was founded in 1997 to encourage those living by water to restore, protect and maintain a healthy shoreline. The Living by Water Project has received strong support from Environment Canada, the B.C. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Canada 2000, B.C. Hydro and others.

With Vancity's Community Investment Program, members purchase Community Investment Deposits (CIDs) at below market rates. The dollars are invested in environmental and affordable housing projects, in the form of reduced interest loans.

Vancity is Canada's largest credit union, with $6.4 billion in assets, 262,000 members, and 39 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet. Both Vancity and Citizens Bank are guided by a commitment to corporate social responsibility.