Clean Energy Bonds an Ideal Investment Product for Hispanic Millennials

Community banking institutions can sell green bonds to increase interest in financial services

July 08, 2015 — Research into millennials, born between between the 1980s and 2000s, are driven by environmental concerns in many aspects of life, including investment. Hispanic millennials in particular are especially well suited to offerings of clean energy bonds.

Morgan Stanley found that millennials are twice as likely to invest in companies that target sustainability and social issues as the average investor, and twice as likely to invest in companies that use ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) practices to set themselves apart from the competition. They are also twice as likely to purchase from a company because of its social or environmental impact on the world.

Overall, Hispanics’ socioeconomic status has steadily improved over the past few years. They have surpassed caucasians in terms of college enrollment, and along with caucasians were the only other major ethnic group to see a decrease in poverty levels. A 2014 Wells Fargo survey also found that on the whole, Hispanics are eager to learn more about investments and to improve their overall financial literacy, but overall financial institutions have overlooked this demographic as a viable market.

Additionally, a Washington Post-ABC poll shows that Hispanic millennials in particular are willing to pay higher energy costs (as much as $20 more per month), if it meant that the government would put a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Compared to 63 percent of all respondents, 70 percent of hispanics agreed that the government should limit emissions. Furthermore, 61 percent of whites, and 51 percent of African-Americans felt the same.

Patent-pending Carbon Xprint will offer green bonds that align with Hispanic Millennials’ environmental concerns and their interest in learning more about investing. The Carbon Xprint bonds (CXBs) serve as a way for individuals to take responsible for their carbon footprints and energy use. The bonds are term deposits that go toward funding sustainable-energy projects. After a set period, investors receive their deposit back, plus interest.

The low startup cost and relative security of CXBs as an investment make them an appropriate vehicle for Millennials, who may not have as much money to begin investing as other generations, but are still eager to start building portfolios.

This innovative product is especially suited to community banks and credit unions. Overall, Millennials are distrustful of large institutions and the Wall Street culture. By offering an attractive investment product that resonates with Hispanic Millennials, such as CXBs, smaller institutions can capture this underserved market.