Hallbar Provides Greener Mortgages for Green Homes and Condos in Canada

Canadians make many sacrifices to responsibly steward this earth and its resources for future generations. But to own our homes, we have little choice but to pay thousands of dollars a month in interest to the banks, only to watch them invest more each year in the expansion of fossil fuel projects. It’s time for change. No more green homes financed with black mortgages.

Our Banks are an Escalating Global Problem

In 2021, the largest five Canadian banks: RBC, TD, BMO, Scotiabank, and the CIBC, collectively known as the Big Five (Kenton, 2021), increased their financing of fossil fuels by a combined $54B USD. This was a 70% increase over 2020, and provided a total $165B USD, (Bankingonclimatechaos.org, 2022) representing 21% of the global total $794B USD invested in Oil, Coal, and Gas (International Energy Agency, n.d.). They’re running in the wrong direction, and going faster every year. It’s a race with no winners, and all of us are the losers. 

Our Mortgages Are Systemically Bound to Fossil Fuel Development

When we choose a mortgage from a fossil fuel funder, the average Canadian commits to sending tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest into a machine that leads the world in financed emissions. Between 2016 and 2021, Canadian banks have invested $911B CAD into oil, gas, tar sands, and coal. “Canadian banks represent the largest increase in financed emissions globally” (Bankingonclimatechaos.org, 2022). For most of us, this represents the largest investment we’ll make in our lives. We can’t tie that to fossil fuel development. But do we even have a choice? 

Our Mortgages are the Banks' Largest Asset Class

Finding alternatives to these fossil fuel financiers is not simple in Canada, even as there is a growing disparity in values between Canadians and their banks. The Big Five dominate Canadian banking, existing in a state of “monopolistic competition” and together represent “90% of the assets in the Canadian system” (Allen & Engert, 2007, 33). Mortgages held by Canadian consumers represent the largest single asset class held by the banks (Kirby, 2022), and therefore mortgages represent a point of significant contribution to the profits invested in fossil fuels, but also, a significant for lever for change.

Hallbar's Theory Of Change

Let's Change the System Together

We choose green soap, green light bulbs, green clothes, green cars, and green energy for our green homes.

But we risk undermining all of those choices when the interest we pay each month on our mortgages goes to a fossil fuel investor. 

We’ll help you choose a greener mortgage on any home, but you should choose to live in a green one. Buildings are the third-largest source of emissions in Ontario, contributing 40 megatons (Mt) or 24% of the provincial total. Of these emissions, about 76% result from the use of natural gas (Auditor General, 2020).

Buying a LEED certified condo, or improving the sustainability features of your house can make a big difference. If you’re shopping, check out these buildings which are also eligible for green home mortgage incentives. 

Finding alternatives to these fossil fuel financiers is not simple. In 2021, chartered banks held 80% of all Canadian mortgages. Non-bank holders of mortgage assets include credit unions, MFCs and MIEs (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2021) but as many as 40% of mortgage originated here end up being securitized and resold to the Big Five (Coletti et al., 2016). Let us help you find a better way.

Greening our homes is increasingly being recognized as meaningful way everyone can contribute to lowering our emissions. To help, each year new rebates and incentives become available to home owners and homebuyers, some of which apply to mortgages too. We can help you find and apply for mortgage incentives as part of the process.  Start an application now, and tell us more about the home you have, or the one you’re looking for. 

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