With 2019 rapidly drawing to a close, the team at Vancity Community Investment Bank has taken a moment to reflect on an extraordinary year—a year of growth and of laying the foundations needed to achieve our vision of financing a sustainable tomorrow.
Starting with the launch of our new branding ‘Bank on Change’, we’ve delivered on the message and need for change all year, in Toronto and beyond. Changing up the status quo is hard work, and, where it concerns social purpose housing and clean energy financing, it’s worth every ounce of our energy. We are excited to share some of our successes over the last year in our Year in Review.
The time for change is now
It’s fortunate that VCIB has arrived in the GTHA at precisely the right moment: a time when government, community and business leaders are all rallying around the need for dramatic changes to improve affordability and address the climate emergency.
Close to our hearts and home—literally and figuratively—the City of Toronto, for instance, has recommitted itself to its HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. This plan will have all three levels of government spend $23.4 billion to help more than 300,000 people deal with housing issues, including building upwards of 40,000 new affordable and supportive housing options.
In speaking with our municipal partners, we know that our 17 social purpose real estate financings in 2019—representing 671 units of new or preserved affordable housing, and 332,672 square feet of non-profit, co-working, cultural and community spaces—are only the beginning of what’s possible in delivering affordability to Ontarians. The will to work on innovative financing solutions is strong and growing.
Our team is ready
Late in the year, the VCIB team grew this time with the acquisition of CoPower, a leading provider of clean energy and energy efficiency financing. With the GTHA facing a one-two punch need for affordable and environmentally sustainable housing stock, our now combined powerhouse team is poised to deliver.
And, once again, our municipal leaders are showing leadership in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Not only does the TowerWise Retrofit project continue in some of Toronto’s most climate-vulnerable social housing stock, the City, through its Green Will initiative, will work toward net-zero emissions by improving the energy efficiency of public and private-owned buildings across Toronto.
With the support of our new, in-house sustainable finance expertise, 2020 will see us launch an innovative green mortgage product to support commercial buildings retrofits and expand our offerings to include financing for portfolios of solar and geo-exchange projects.
Impact investors have a home with VCIB
We’re looking to broaden our reach with investors who want to join us in making an impact by putting their hard-earned dollars towards financing the most critical issues of our time. VCIB is anything but the status quo. We’re about tackling the hardest projects—we’re about working hard, because making progress in the affordable and clean energy spaces is hard work.
We look forward to 2020 with optimism, and with an unwavering commitment to using the tools of finance to drive immediate and lasting social and environmental change in our communities.
Jay-Ann Gilfoy, CEO, and Jake Stacey, VP Impact Banking