Howard Bank Creates Green Building Loan Fund

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (March 13, 2007) – Howard Bank today announced the creation of a three-year $25 million fund to encourage green buildings in Howard County. The announcement was made by Mary Ann Scully, President and CEO of Howard Bank.

Howard Bank is Howard County’s only locally owned and managed bank.  It was founded in 2004.  The community bank is dedicated to serving the needs of local businesses, owners and professionals

The Sustainability Loan Fund is the third major initiative of Howard Bank’s Community Enrichment Program, an ongoing, comprehensive effort to be an involved, committed member of Howard County engaged with the issues and organizations that are important to its quality of life.

The new initiative is designed to support Howard County’s expressed intention to position itself as a model green community.  Last month Howard County Executive Ken Ulman established a Commission on the Environment and Sustainability to identify the best environmental practices for integration into county government and elsewhere.

“Our county’s leaders have recently signaled their commitment to the importance of environmental awareness for the health and wellness of future generations,” Scully noted.  “We know from many conversations in recent weeks that Howard Bank shareholders, customers, and strategic partners are supportive of that commitment to the future wellness of our community, and we are committed to helping them create that future state.”

The Sustainability Loan Fund will be available for renovation or new construction of both commercial buildings and residential homes, Scully said. Loans will be available for commercial construction, permanent commercial financing, home equity loans and lines, and first mortgages.

“There are positive economics to sustainable buildings which, despite their higher upfront costs, have advantages that result in lower operating costs and solid appraised values,” she added, noting that loans for eligible sustainable construction will include a longer amortization and lower interest rates in a variety of options for prospective customers. 

“With the introduction of the Sustainability Loan Fund program, Howard Bank continues to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the Howard County community residents and businesses,” said David Pratt, founder of Lorax Partnerships LLC and a member of the county’s Commission on the Environment and Sustainability. “This program will encourage higher environmental quality buildings to be developed and all of us will benefit,” he added.

In order to be eligible for the program, new commercial construction would be required to have some level of Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, while existing buildings and residential homes would have to meet energy standards.

“This program serves to illustrate that one does not necessarily have to sacrifice traditional underwriting standards in the name of innovative solutions which will benefit current and future generations of Howard Countians,” said Paul Brown, Howard Bank’s Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer.

“Green initiatives are here to stay, and companies embracing these initiatives are serving as models for others to join the movement,” said Owen J. Rouse, Jr., Director, Brokerage & Investment Services for Manekin LLC.  “Howard Bank is to be commended for establishing a loan program that encourages green buildings,” he added.  Manekin’s headquarters in Gateway in Columbia is a LEED certified building, as are other projects the company has developed.

Other Community Enrichment Program initiatives established by Howard Bank include the Renaissance Loan Fund and the Public Servant Loan Fund.

The Renaissance Loan Fund is targeted to funding projects and developments in mature areas throughout the county, including Route 40 and the Columbia villages of Oakland Mills, Long Reach, Harper’s Choice, Hickory Ridge, Owen Brown and Wilde Lake. The loan fund also encompasses projects on Route 1 included in the existing Route 1 Revitalization Program.

Howard Bank’s Renaissance Loan Fund started as a three-year project with $15 million for specified projects in the designated areas and was recently renewed and increased to $25 million for another three-year period. This loan program is coordinated with existing Howard County Economic Development Authority sanctioned programs, and the bank will work with county, Economic Development Authority and Columbia Association officials to leverage on future revitalization efforts.

Howard Bank established the Public Servant Loan Fund to facilitate the first time purchase of a Howard County home by Howard County professionals who serve the community as teachers, police officers, firefighters, Howard County government workers and employees of Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. The purpose of the program is to help those who are struggling with the rapidly escalating cost of housing in one of the most affluent communities in the country.

Howard Bank has branches in the Village of Hickory Ridge in Columbia, on Snowden River Parkway in Ellicott City and on Johns Hopkins Road in Maple Lawn. A fourth branch in Ellicott City at the crossroads of Route 40, Centennial Lane and Frederick Road is also planned.