Nationale-Nederlanden Bank (NN Bank) on 10 May issued the first Dutch green covered bond, reinforcing the group’s ESG drive, including the establishment in 2020 of Woonnu, a mortgage provider aimed at incentivising sustainable living. Sustainabonds’ Neil Day discussed the varied dimensions of the bank’s sustainability strategy with NN Bank’s Niek Allon, head of treasury, Sander Roling, funding manager, and Patricia Plass, head of ESG office and CEO of Woonnu.
Berlin Hyp became the first European bank to have issued in green, social and sustainability-linked formats with the launch of a €750m 10 year mortgage Pfandbrief on Tuesday supporting affordable housing, and the bank plans to be a similarly familiar face in the social market as it is in green bonds.
Growth in sustainable covered bond issuance is expected to moderate this year after a doubling of such issuance in 2021, with constraints on appropriate assets holding back growth, and regulatory developments a mixed blessing for issuers hoping to tap into investor enthusiasm for such bonds.
A €500m seven year covered bond last month was the latest addition to social bond issuance inaugurated by Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) in May under the first such framework for a UK builder. Duncan Asker, director of treasury, and Richard Driver, head of financial structuring, at YBS told Sustainabonds’ Neil Day how the issuance carries the financial institutions’ “real help with real life” mantra into its funding.
Eika Boligkreditt sold its first green bond on Tuesday, with the green element and a defensive approach contributing to a successful outcome in an uncertain market, according to an official at the Norwegian issuer, whose framework tackles taxonomy alignment and reflects green progress in the Eika Alliance.
The final EU Taxonomy delegated act looks set to prove accommodating to green covered bonds, with a new leaked version aligning with current market practice of the top 15% most energy efficient buildings, as originally recommended by the TEG, and other criteria also relaxed.
OP Mortgage Bank issued the first Finnish green covered bond yesterday (Thursday), a €750m deal with proceeds earmarked for energy efficient buildings that achieved a peak €1.6bn-plus book and the tightest 10 year spread since May 2019 – “a great outcome,” according to head of funding Tom Alanen.
The Association of German Pfandbrief Banks (vdp) has established minimum standards for Social Pfandbriefe, which build on existing green and social standards, and proponents hope they will encourage standardisation and provide impetus to the sector.
Hypo Tirol launched the first Austrian euro benchmark covered bond in social format last week, a €500m 10 year deal that the bank’s head of treasury deemed its “best ever”, as it achieved its biggest book and tightest spread while supporting affordable housing in the region. Green bonds are next on its agenda.
Crédit Agricole Italia sold the first Italian green covered bond on Monday, a €500m 12 year deal that achieved the tightest pricing of any Italian covered bond, and its head of financial management said the debut delivered on the French group’s ESG strategy and commitment to investors.