bank

Divest your home loan

Divest your home loan and move away from banks that loan money to dirty energy!

Environment Victoria has partnered with Bank Australia, which has never loaned a cent to the fossil fuel industry, and never will. That means no coal, oil, gas or coal seam gas.

Together, we’re running a home loan divestment campaign, moving many millions of dollars away from banks that loan money to dirty energy.

Right now, you can switch your existing home loan or take out a new home loan and get a competitive rate with a bank that does match your values.

Interested in a home loan from a bank that doesn’t finance fossil fuels? 

CLICK HERE to fill out the form to register your interest with Bank Australia.

 

Want to divest? Click here to register your interest

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Plus, if you shift your home loan through us, Environment Victoria will receive a financial contribution towards our campaigns to shift Victoria away from fossil fuels. (To be totally transparent with you, it’s a one-off payment of 0.40% of the loan value, but it doesn’t affect your interest rate, fees or loan structure in any way.)

For more details, please scroll down to see the FAQs.

To learn more about where the banks stand on fossil fuels, visit the Market Forces bank comparison website.

UPDATE June 2016: To comply with banking regulations, Bank Australia isn’t currently offering new investment loans. You can still switch your residential home loan or take out a new home loan for the house you live in.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Bank Australia?

PBank Aureviously known as bankmecu, Bank Australia is a 100 percent customer-owned bank that has been operating since 1957. Bank Australia’s operations have been also completely carbon neutral  since 2012 and the bank does not finance fossil fuel projects. (See next question below.)

 

Does Bank Australia finance fossil fuel projects?

No. The bank’s lending policy states “Bank Australia has not made any loan to the fossil fuel industry” and “Bank Australia has not and will not make any loans to finance coal and coal seam gas projects”. Click here to read the lending policy.

Independent not-for-profit Market Forces includes Bank Australia in its list of banks with no record of funding fossil fuel projects.

The bank’s lending policy states “Bank Australia has not made any loan to the fossil fuel industry” and “Bank Australia has not and will not make any loans to finance coal and coal seam gas projects”.

 

Why is Environment Victoria partnering with Bank Australia?

Although a relatively recent phenomenon, the global fossil fuel divestment movement has already shown itself to be a potent force for cutting pollution. Universities, institutions and sovereign wealth funds around the world have committed to shift hundreds of billions of dollars away from coal, gas and coal seam gas.

Environment Victoria wants to support this movement, and one of the best ways to do that is encouraging people to switch their home loans away from the big, dirty banks. Home loans are very profitable, so this form of divestment hits banks where it hurts.

Environment Victoria wouldn’t enter into a partnership with just any financial institution, but we have a solid track record with Bank Australia, which joined our Future Economy Group when it was still called bankmecu, and has contributed to our One Million Homes campaign in the past.

Our home loan divestment campaign and partnership with Bank Australia falls under our One Planet Living goal, described in our 2050 Charter.

 

Why just Bank Australia, not other banks?

We recognise that several banks in Australia have no record of financing fossil fuel projects. Some have also ruled out financing coal, gas or coal seam gas in the future. For a list of these banks and their public statements, visit the Market Forces bank comparison website.

Environment Victoria fully supports these banks ruling out financing fossil fuels, and we recommend switching to one of these banks based on your financial needs.

At this stage, we have chosen to partner just with Bank Australia because we have a strong existing relationship with them and trust their track record and values. Bank Australia also has a Victorian Conservation Reserve to protect biodiversity and offset some of the impact of its products (see next question below), which sets it apart from other banks.

We also want to avoid a ‘brokerage’ model because the extra costs involved in managing many partnerships often need to be recouped through fees. Under our single partnership model, the home loan offer from Bank Australia has no extra fees or charges levied by Environment Victoria.

 

What are Bank Australia’s environmental credentials?

The most important one is that Bank Australia does not finance fossil fuel projects. The bank’s lending policy states “Bank Australia has not made any loan to the fossil fuel industry” and “Bank Australia has not and will not make any loans to finance coal and coal seam gas projects”. Click here to read the lending policy.

Bank Australia is also 100 percent carbon neutral, and has a Conservation Reserve (with five properties in the West Wimmera region of Victoria) which it uses to protect biodiversity and to offset some of the impact of its products. For example, when customers use the bank’s finance to build new homes, habitat might be cleared to make way for them. So the bank protects an equivalent amount of habitat in the Conservation Reserve to balance out that loss. The bank also uses it to offset the emissions from all the cars that it finances for the life of the loan.

In 2014, when Bank Australia was still trading under the name bankmecu, it became a key member of our Future Economy Group, a coalition of businesses and environmental leaders advocating the importance of innovation and restoring natural capital to Victoria’s economy.

 

Does Environment Victoria receive a financial contribution if I switch my home loan?

Yes. If you shift to your home loan through us, Environment Victoria will receive a financial contribution towards our campaigns to shift Victoria away from fossil fuels. (To be totally transparent with you, it’s a one-off payment of 0.40% of the loan value, but it doesn’t affect your interest rate, fees or loan structure in any way.)

 

Does shifting my home loan through Environment Victoria increase my interest rate or fees?

No. Environment Victoria receives a one-off payment of 0.40% of the loan value, but it doesn’t affect your interest rate, fees or loan structure in any way.

 

How does switching my home loan contribute to the divestment campaign?

The first way is financial. If you shift your home loan to a bank that doesn’t finance fossil fuel projects, then you can rest assured that the profits from your home loan aren’t being funnelled straight to coal and gas companies. The big banks literally don’t have your home loan profits to lend out.

The second way is through consumer pressure. That’s why it’s important to let your old bank know the reason you shifted your home loan. To make this easy, Environment Victoria has partnered with Market Forces so you can pledge your home loan to cancel out the big banks’ dirty profits from coal and gas projects.

Click here to pledge your home loan and cancel out the big banks’ dirty profits >>

On top of that, you could send a brief letter or email to your old bank to let them know you’ve shifted, and why. Personal feedback from real customers sends the strongest possible message to the big banks to stop investing in fossil fuels.

 

What if I rent?

There are still lots of other things you can do to reduce your environmental footprint at home. Check out ourGreen Renters Guide for sustainable living tips.

You can also switch to a clean power company through our Power Revolution campaign. (If you do, make sure you choose GreenPower, which directly supports new clean energy projects in Australia.)
Environment Victoria is working hard to improve the energy efficiency of rental properties as part of our One Million Homes campaign.