CFF yesterday issued an inaugural issue of social obligations foncières supporting social housing and healthcare under the BPCE group’s sustainable development bond programme, a €500m long five year deal that bankers said “unblocked” the euro benchmark covered bond market.
Berlin Hyp issued the post-summer reopening euro benchmark covered bond for a fifth consecutive year on Wednesday, and Bodo Winkler, head of funding and investor relations at the issuer, told Sustainabonds that interest in social bonds now appears to be almost on a par with green.
The European Commission could expand the European Banking Authority’s mandates for follow-up work on the EU covered bond directive to include recommendations on green covered bonds, which were a key topic for the European Central Bank at a recent Helsinki European Covered Bond Council plenary.
ECB officials called for greater disclosure of all covered bonds’ climate-related risks at a European Covered Bond Council plenary last week, while speakers were sympathetic towards a flexible definition of green covered bonds as the EBA asked the industry whether it feels the asset class requires a dedicated framework.
The European Covered Bond Council is working on a definition of green covered bonds aimed at reflecting the distinct characteristics of the instrument to ensure its appropriate treatment in incoming regulations, and following a Green Bond Principles update deemed contradictory to its core feature by some.
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.