‘Clean-energy’ loans hurt borrowers in Missouri. Will Ohio see repeat?

A program in northwest Ohio to borrow money for energy-saving home renovations is about to expand statewide. But the expansion will be made using a for-profit lender and some local officials and housing advocates are worried.

This story was co-published with ProPublica.

For five years, economic development officials in Toledo, Ohio, have operated a pilot program that allows residents to borrow money for energy-saving home renovations without paying exorbitant interest rates. The program has been widely seen as a success, with only one of 61 borrowers currently delinquent on their repayments.

But now officials at the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority are preparing to expand the program to other parts of Ohio in a way that has led to trouble for some homeowners in other states – by turning over the program to a private, for-profit lender.

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