WASHINGTON (4/29/11)--University of Virginia Community CU and SOFCU Community CU will join 16 other lenders in a joint federal pilot program that will help qualified borrowers finance energy saving home improvements through low-cost loans. University of Virginia Community CU is based in Charlottesville, Va. SOFCU Community CU's home office is located in Grants Pass, Ore. The program was created by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Energy. The loans, which will be known as PowerSaver loans, will be backed by the U.S. Federal Housing Administration. The loans will offer homeowners up to $25,000 in funding for a host of energy-efficient home improvements, including installation of replacement doors and windows, insulation, heating and cooling systems, solar panels, geothermal systems, and water heaters. Up to 90% of the loans will be covered by FHA mortgage insurance. However, credit unions and other lenders will be required to retain the remaining risk on each loan, a move that the federal agencies said would incentivize “responsible underwriting and lending standards.” The loans will only be made available to borrowers with satisfactory credit histories and adequate levels of debt and home equity. HUD Secretary Sean Donovan said that the PowerSaver program would help credit-worthy homeowners finance upgrades while cutting their energy bills and boosting the local job market. HUD has predicted that the pilot program could create up to 3,000 new jobs. “While FHA and these lenders are jumpstarting this pilot, we hope its success will lead to a growing private sector interest in making these types of loans," he added. Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu said that the program is “the right thing to do” for the environment, the economy and “the pocketbooks of American families." For the full release, use the resource link.