Criteria for Loans

Business Loans and Investments that Meet the CEI Mission

CEI’s mission guides our business loan and investment decision-making. That is, we loan or invest in businesses that economically contribute to the community, that offer livable wages to employees or ownership opportunities to the borrower, and are environmentally responsible. We call this 3E investing. Click here for a full description of CEI’s 3E investing profile.

Economy: Generates a viable financial return, either by maintaining or creating profits, return on investment or a tangible asset.

Equity: Provides an opportunity for disadvantaged groups to access information, housing, financial resources, or livelihoods/employment.

Environment: Results in a positive impact on the natural environment by reducing energy use, waste, pollution or material use, or by improving stewardship of natural resources.

All of our business loans and financing activity is measured by the social impact of each project. For example, we are interested in projects that, with CEI business financing, will lead to positive change for the borrower, particularly people with low incomes or limited resources; women or minority-owned businesses; veterans and the disabled. Other examples include supporting refugee or immigrant entrepreneurs and projects that will help those unemployed, or seasonally employed, gain full-time self-employment.

We are interested in the employment potential of each business loan and/or investment and we ask our borrowers to work with CEI staff to open new job opportunities to those who are in need of employment. For example, we look to invest in businesses that plan to hire new employees in “quality jobs” (benefits, a living wage, healthy and safe working conditions, opportunities for growth and advancement); that hire low-income workers in “quality jobs”; that hire disabled workers in a supported employment program; that hire participants from CEI’s special projects and/or training systems, train/hire/apprentice local youth, or improve part-time or seasonal positions to full-time or year-round employment; or businesses that operate community facilities, such as child care or assisted living centers that serve low-income people.

CEI is committed to helping businesses succeed while preserving the quality of Maine’s environment. We encourage all of our borrowers to identify the ecological aspects of their businesses, and to work with us in developing practices that benefit both the environment and the company’s bottom line. We have a strong interest in financing businesses that generate products, provide services, and/or develop processes for the farms, forestry, fishery or renewable energy industries, and who follow environmentally sustainable best practices.