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Center-Invest Bank’s new social project helps pensioners save energy and money

On 15th December, Center-Invest Bank launched a new social project. All 130 of our branches (in the Rostov region, Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, and the Volgograd region) are now giving out Philips energy-saving light bulbs as free gifts for depositors who receive their pensions through Center-Invest.

These light bulbs last eight times longer than ordinary light bulbs, and use five times less electricity. The annual saving per household on communal lighting bills is RUR350.

Speaking in an interview, Chairman of Center-Invest’s Board of Directors, Dr. Vasily Vysokov, said: “It is paradoxical that the people who most need to reduce their expenditure cannot afford to purchase energy-efficiency devices, as they have low incomes. In response to this, Center-Invest Bank has developed special energy-efficiency lending programmes for its retail customers, housing cooperatives, and companies, enabling them to introduce energy-efficiency technologies. Notably, installing energy-efficiency light bulbs pays for itself in less than a year. In addition to financial considerations, we also have a moral duty to help the older generation. We always help our customers who are pensioners, and that is why Center-Invest Bank’s shareholders and Board of Directors supported the Executive Board’s proposal that our branches give new light bulbs out as free gifts to those people who obtain their pension through the bank.”

Since 2005, Center-Invest Bank has worked together with international financial institutions on energy-efficiency finance programmes in southern Russia: IFC, the EBRD, KfW, FMO and OEeB.

The bank’s energy efficiency loan portfolio is in excess of RUR1.3bn, and includes more than 100 projects. In November 2009 we signed a new agreement with the IFC on energy efficiency lending in the housing sector.

Under the new Federal Law on Energy Saving and Raising Energy Efficiency (No. 261-FZ, passed on 23.11.2009), from 1 January 2011 the sale of incandescent light bulbs using 100 watts or more will be prohibited in Russia. At present, these higher wattage light bulbs remain the kind preferred by the Russian population. Given this, Center-Invest Bank’s lending programmes are already very important for the modernization of the Russian housing sector.