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Wells Fargo Expands Green Financing with Cleantech Practice

Wells Fargo yesterday announced that it was expanding its focus on clean technology and building the green marketplace with the development of a commercial banking group dedicated to supporting cleantech firms.

The move adds more firepower to an area in which Wells has already invested significantly; company representatives explained that, to date, Wells Fargo has already put forward $600 million toward companies developing renewable energy technologies, energy and resource efficiency solutions and smart grid applications.

"This new group will build on our success at serving the financial needs of some of the largest clean tech companies in the world," Puon Penn, head of Wells Fargo's national cleantech group, said in a statement yesterday. "Supporting clean technology is a priority for Wells Fargo because we believe the sector will continue to grow and play a critical role in a greener economy."

Wells' new group is just the latest in a long string of green initiatives, both aimed at greening the company's own operations and helping develop the larger green marketplace.

Last month, Wells Fargo announced a stepped-up goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, aiming for a 20 percent reduction in emissions by 2018, based on 2008 levels. The company has also worked on greening its own facilities, earning LEED Gold for a southern California branch in September and getting designs for new branches pre-certified LEED Silver last year.

At the end of 2008, Wells Fargo announced that it had surged past the $3 billion mark in loans and investments for businesses' environmental projects, far beyond the company's earlier commitment of $1 billion in funding for green projects.

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