AUGUSTA, Maine (3/13/09)--Maine plans to work with credit unions and other financial institutions to guarantee up to $100 million in weatherization loans to help state residents achieve greater energy independence, according to a proposed initiative by Gov. John Baldacci. Credit unions and banks will do the lending of the loans, but the state will back the loans, which will give credit unions and banks an incentive to increase the amount of loans issued, the governor and his aides said (Bangor Daily News March 12). Maine’s goal is to use the loans and $32 million in federal stimulus money to increase weatherization projects in the state 20-fold as part of a longer-range goal to enhance energy efficiency in all Maine homes the next 20 years, the newspaper said. Over the past few months, the Maine Credit Union League has had multiple discussions with the governor’s office about ways in which Maine’s credit unions and the state can work together to help provide programs to help consumers with weatherization and energy assistance loans, Jon Paradise, governmental and public affairs manager for the Maine Credit Union League, told News Now. John Murphy, president of the Maine Credit Union League, explained the genesis of the league’s involvement. “Last month, the league met again with the governor’s chief of staff to review the governor’s current proposal and to discuss how credit unions could support the needs of those members who may be interested in participating and determine if Maine credit unions would be interested in participating,” Murphy said. “During the meeting, the governor came in to let the league know how appreciative he was of the willingness of Maine’s credit unions to participate and assist in his energy plan, and for the assistance Maine credit unions have already provided,” he added. After the meeting, the league surveyed its member credit unions to gauge the level of interest in participating in the Maine Housing program. An overwhelming majority of credit unions expressed their willingness and desire to participate in this program, Murphy said. “The league and Maine credit unions are now awaiting further details and information from the governor’s office and Maine Housing, and anticipate that credit unions will begin offering this program to members soon,” Murphy added.