Lloyds Bank has agreed its first sustainability-linked loan (SLL) within the social housing sector, through a £22m revolving credit facility signed with Welsh social landlord Cartrefi Conwy.
Through the deal, which forms part of a larger £39m refinancing for the provider, the North Wales-based association will see an interest rate reduction in relation to ‘social’ and ‘environmental’ achievements.
These relate to improving the energy efficiency and decarbonisation of its existing stock, alongside building new affordable and energy-efficient homes by 2030 and tackling homelessness.
Significantly, the bank used the new ‘sector standard’ for environmental, social and governance reporting – developed by a working group last year – to structure the covenants of its loan.
Lloyds was one of more than 30 banks to sign up as an early adopter of the Sustainability Reporting Standard in Social Housing at its launch in November 2020.
Cartrefi Conwy was not named as one of the 43 housing associations in England and Wales to have signed up ahead of the launch, but has since adopted it, the provider told Social Housing.
Lloyds previously revealed to Social Housing in September 2019 that it was planning to deliver SLLs within social housing.
Using the framework, the £22m loan provides Cartrefi Conwy with a set of environmental and social KPIs it must meet in order to secure margin discounts on its financing. The provider and bank would not disclose the interest rate reduction to Social Housing.
Cartrefi Conwy, which owns or manages around 4,100 homes, said that it would deliver low-energy, zero-carbon homes to the Passivhaus low-energy construction standards.
It comes after Cartrefi Conwy’s subsidiary Creating Enterprise signed a five-year contract with Beattie Passive, giving the company exclusive rights to use its Passivhaus build system in North Wales.
Cartrefi Conwy will work alongside other housing associations and local authorities to deliver 350 homes over the next five years using timber frames and offsite technology via the modular housing factory.
Alongside the £22m from Lloyds, Cartrefi Conwy completed a £25m note purchase agreement with undisclosed investors. A total of £8m of existing funding from a previous lender was then repaid, giving the provider a package of £39m additional finance overall.
Commenting on the deal with Lloyds, Andrew Bowden, chief executive of Cartrefi Conwy, said: “It’s hard to look past the housing shortage and sustainability as two of the most urgent issues facing the UK.
“By providing us with the funding to develop 1,000 affordable and energy-efficient homes over the next decade, we can deliver on our ambition to tackle the shortage of quality, affordable housing for people in North Wales.
“We recognise how important it is to support the communities living in our existing properties. This funding will also be used to improve their houses and make them more sustainable, future-proofing them for years to come.
“We’re grateful for the support of Lloyds Bank to ensure we can achieve our goals sustainably, while supporting our communities across North Wales.”
Christopher Yau, origination and sustainability director at Lloyds Bank, added: “This deal will enable Cartrefi Conwy to play a part in the wider economic recovery, creating jobs, building sustainable homes and helping improve the lives of its residents in North Wales.
“By structuring this funding package in line with the latest standards for sustainability in social housing, it will also help the region’s homes to become greener and cheaper to live in.”