It looks like Bank of America (BofA) is trying to be the bank of Al Gore.
America’s largest retail bank has already cast its vote in the illegal immigration issue, and on Tuesday BofA weighed in on the global warming debate, announcing what may be the largest environmentally conscious corporate project in history: BofA is committing $20-billion as seed money to support the growth of environmentally friendly businesses that will help reduce global warming.
Over the next decade, Bank of America will earmark funds to lend to companies interested in creating green services or constructing energy-frugal office buildings, reports the Los Angeles Times.
“This is intended to be good business as well as the right thing to do,” said Anne Finucane, chief marketing officer for Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, told the times.
Reuters reports that on the consumer side, the bank will issue a credit card where use will result in contributions by the bank to greenhouse gas reduction projects, and a mortgage giving borrowers a reduced interest rate or $1,000 back if they buy energy-efficient homes.
Hmmm…a credit card that gives you airline miles or some sort of carbon credit to somebody else? Tough choice.
The other good BofA news is that they are putting their money where there mouth is, erecting the Bank of America Tower down 42nd street from our current Fast Company offices. It will be the second tallest skyscraper in Manhattan and has a shot at being the greenest skyscraper in the world.
(For the record, Fast Company is getting ready to move into our new digs at 7 World Trade Center, the first New York City commercial office building to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.)
BofA calls itself “The Bank of Opportunity (BofO)” but it seems they are the opportunists in this scenario.
“The green economy is a business space of unmeasurable proportions,” Joel Makower, executive editor of greenbiz.com, told the Times. “Bank of America is acknowledging that they want their share.”
Still, BofA deserves credit for taking the lead on the two most pressing issues facing our nation today. Sure, you might be anti-immigration (or amnesty, as some in the illegal immigration debate would say) and you may even be a global-warming denier. But you can’t deny that this appears to be another case where the market is addressing the failures of our political leaders.