Bank vows $20 billion for green projects

/ Source: The Associated Press

Bank of America Corp., the nation's largest retail bank, will spend $18 billion on commercial lending and investment banking for "green" projects over the next decade, company officials announced Tuesday.

The Charlotte-based bank said it will spend another $2 billion for consumer programs and on efforts to reduce its own impact on the environment.

The bank said the new initiative is separate from internal polices it implemented in 2004 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and paper use.

"Under the old polices, which we are still adhering to, those commitments have involved actions that we are not going to do, like use a lot of paper," said James Mahoney, the bank's director of public policy. "This initiative focuses on things we are going to do."

This year, Bank of America customers will be able to sign up for a credit card program that will contribute a portion of every dollar spent to greenhouse gas reduction projects. Customers who want to buy homes that meets energy efficiency standards can apply for a mortgage with a reduced interest rate or a $1,000 rebate from Bank America.

The bank will also invest an additional $100 million in its own energy conservation measures and donate $50 million to several nonprofit organizations that promote forest preservation, innovative energy conservation and green housing.

The bank is currently building office towers in Charlotte and New York, just off of Times Square, that are more energy efficient.

Bank of America already provides rebates of $3,000 for employees who buy hybrid vehicles.