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Business Observer Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 1 month ago

Recently launched bank plans central Florida expansion

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St. Petersburg-based Climate First Bank will open a Winter Park branch in January.

ST. PETERSBURG — Climate First Bank, a values-based community bank based in St. Petersburg, plans to open a branch in Winter Park in January.

Located at 1150 S. Orlando Ave., the office will be LEED Gold certified and operate in accordance with “net zero” energy consumption guidelines, according to a news release. The bank’s founder and CEO, Ken LaRoe, hails from central Florida; prior to launching Climate First Bank in June, he founded First Green Bank, which also focused on lending and financing for renewable energy projects.

File. Climate First Bank founder and CEO Ken LaRoe.

“I’ve lived in Central Florida all my life and over the years have witnessed irreversible changes to our irreplaceable ecosystems as a result of the climate crisis,” LaRoe states in the release. “I came out of retirement because I believe that for there to be real change, action needs to come from all sectors, especially in banking and finance. Climate First Bank’s investments in clean energy and sustainable infrastructure will not only preserve nature but also save people money, boost the local economy and create new jobs.”

Climate First Bank, the release states, has thus far provided $40 million in financing for projects that include solar energy, green retrofits and electric vehicles. The bank also offers standard personal and business banking services.

“With Climate First Bank, Central Floridians can align their money with their values, and invest not only in their homes and businesses but also in the future of our community and the planet,” states Chris Castro, director of sustainability and resilience at the city of Orlando and a founding director of Climate First Bank, in the release. “The City Beautiful is already leading by example and enacting strategies to minimize its environmental impacts and I know that having Climate First Bank in Orlando to finance sustainability solutions will only help us to reach the goal of a zero-carbon economy by 2050.”

Climate First Bank’s Winter Park branch is being designed by KMF Architects. The builders are The Collage Companies and REAL Building Consultants, which specializes in LEED-certified buildings.

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