Hanover, 6 April 2023
The development banks of the German federal states of Brandenburg, Hamburg and Rhineland-Palatinate issued Germany’s first joint cross-state social bond on the capital market in September 2022. The bond serves to refinance projects in the field of socially subsidised housing, in particular social rental housing and home ownership. For this, the banks are today receiving Environmental Finance’s Bond Award in the category “Social Bond of the year – financial institution”. The issuance was made possible in part by the support of imug rating in the form of a Second Party Opinion as external verification.
Environmental Finance’s Bond Awards annually recognise leading green, social and sustainability bonds as well as market players. The independent jury of investors acknowledges outstanding, innovative achievements that contribute to the successful development of the market.
The joint social bond issued by Hamburgische Investitions- und Förderbank (IFB), Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg (ILB) and Investitions- und Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB) is the first of its kind on the sustainable finance market. Also independent of the social aspect, it is the first joint benchmark issuance of several German credit institutions. The fixed-income security with a coupon of 2.5 percent is listed on the stock exchange and matures in September 2029. The bond attracted a high proportion of foreign investors. Due to the limited new business volume of regionally active banks, an issuance volume of 500 million euros could only be made possible by pooling the financial capacities of the three participating institutions.
As a result, investors received a bond with improved liquidity due to the benchmark volume and a broader diversification of their investment. In addition, they had the opportunity to participate in the refinancing of social housing projects in several German federal states.
The Environmental Finance jury praised the social bond for its “interesting and noticeable structure” that brought together several institutions with the clear goal of strengthening social housing.
The development banks said: “Development banks are needed more than ever to support policymakers in tackling the current challenges. With this first cross-state social bond, the federal state development banks are showing that this task can be successfully tackled across federal state borders. Sustainable investors are thus given the opportunity to participate in the refinancing of affordable housing in our three federal states and to benefit from the higher liquidity of this benchmark bond. We are very pleased to receive this award. It shows us that we have made the right decisions.”
The refinanced projects are intended to benefit population groups affected by or at risk of poverty (including people of retirement age, people with disabilities, students, and households with children). Housing affordability is ensured through low-interest loans. Income limits or permits for subsidised housing were used for this purpose to enable affected households to participate in the housing market on an equal footing.
As there had been no bond of this kind before, some obstacles had to be overcome in advance. To this end, the banks formed cross-institutional working groups. As an independent party, imug rating supported the process in August 2022 with a cumulative Second Party Opinion (SPO). The key challenge was to develop an appropriate framework: Although the development banks shared the same objective, some of them differed in their approaches to the use of proceeds and to methodology. The rating agency therefore prepared three separate assessments of each bank’s framework as well as a summary SPO for the community bond. As a result, imug rating was able to confirm that the social bond frameworks and the bond are in line with the Social Bond Principles and that the financed projects from the affordable housing category contribute positively to three UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely SDG 1 “No Poverty”, SDG 10 “Reduced Inequalities” and SDG 11 “Sustainable Cities and Communities”.
Christina Tyca, Product Lead Second Party Opinions and Sustainability Analyst at imug rating, commented: “With the consensus that affordable housing is a cross-state concern, the banks have served a social benefit beyond state borders. The issuance demonstrates how successful joint efforts by financial institutions can be in addressing nationwide challenges in favour of vulnerable groups. We were very pleased to facilitate the project by providing guidance and independent assessment in the shape of a Second Party Opinion. The positive feedback on our assessment process, which the banks perceived as very structured and transparent, was especially rewarding.”
About the development banks
Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg (ILB)
The ILB, based in Potsdam, supports the state and other public agencies in promoting public and private investment projects in the areas of business, labour, infrastructure and housing.
Hamburgische Investitions- und Förderbank (IFB Hamburg)
IFB Hamburg is the central point of contact for private individuals, companies and institutions in Hamburg on the subject of funding and provides advice on all funding offers from the city, the federal government and the EU.
Investitions- und Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB)
The ISB, based in Mainz, supports the state in the implementation of economic, structural and housing promotion.
Theresa zum Felde
Marketing & Communication
imug rating GmbH
Tel: +49 511 121 9660
Product Lead – Second Party Opinions
imug rating GmbH
Tel: +49 511 121 9651