J.P. Morgan to green lending policies

Today, New York banking giant J.P. Morgan Chase will issue new lending policies with an environmental bent. Although the company denies it was pressured into the shift, the bank’s pledge is similar to those made in recent months by other financial institutions like Citigroup and Bank of America that have faced pressure from shareholder campaigns and activist groups like the Rainforest Action Network. J.P. Morgan’s new guidelines are expected to tie greenhouse-gas emissions to financial costs in the loan review process and set up “No Go Zones” — areas where the bank will refuse financing for environmentally damaging industries like logging. “This is increasingly becoming the way all banks operate,” says Steve Lippman of Trillium Asset Management, one of the socially responsible investment firms that helped lobby for the policy shift. “J.P. Morgan is now raising the bar for the sector.”