Wheatley Group Receives New Sustainable Loan of £100 Million

Published on: 12 August 2022
by KnowESG
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Wheatley Group announced a significant £100 million sustainable loan deal with four of the UK's biggest financial services organisations.

The housing, care, and property management company has agreed to a £50 million revolving credit facility with existing lenders Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland, and Nationwide Building Society, as well as a £50 million loan from new lender Barclays.

The facilities will assist Wheatley's new-build programme and help the organisation maintain its aim to end homelessness by offering a minimum of 50% of available rental houses to homeless households.

Furthermore, the firm will enhance support for customers in some of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods to pursue further education, with at least 50 people receiving an education scholarship each year.

Steven Henderson, group director of finance at Wheatley Group, said: 

“We are delighted today to announce the new loans with four of the UK’s largest financial services providers. It is a further sign of the trust and confidence they have in Wheatley Group and our plans to make a real and lasting difference to communities and tenants.

“The new funding will allow us to build more much-needed affordable homes, help us tackle the issue of homelessness in our neighbourhoods, and also allow our tenants to make the best start in life.”

The four lenders who participated in the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment believe the money will assist Wheatley in providing a more sustainable future for communities.

Melanie Russell, regional head of housing at the Bank of Scotland, said: 

“Wheatley understands the responsibilities that come with being one of the country’s largest housing providers and has set out a strategy and plan to deliver sustainable homes for all. We are proud to have acted as ESG Coordinator on behalf of its lenders as Wheatley looks to drive a more sustainable future for Scottish communities.”

Bank of Scotland is part of the Lloyds Banking Group, whose aim is to enable access, quality, and sustainable housing that fulfils the long-term needs of the UK, while also defining finance as a force for good. 

In 2021, Lloyds Banking Group delivered £3.4 billion in additional finance to the sector, £2.4 billion of which was ESG linked, allowing the sector to develop, retrofit, and regenerate.

Alan Newlands, housing finance director at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: 

“We are proud to have enabled a strengthened funding package for Wheatley Housing Group as it embarks on an ambitious new development pipeline, with the Royal Bank of Scotland acting as Agent Bank and as Lead Arranger of the increased funding commitments.

“As part of our role as Lead Arranger, we worked collaboratively with the ESG coordinator and syndicate lenders, resulting in an additional £50m of flexible funding secured by Wheatley, which will be used to drive forward a sustainable and people-first agenda, including the delivery of up to 4,000 low-carbon homes over the next five years.

“Our knowledge and experience in the housing sector are renowned, having last year supported Wheatley’s ambitious Sustainable Finance Framework. It has been very rewarding to work with the team again to accelerate Wheatley’s core objective of making homes and lives better across Scotland. We look forward to continuing our relationship as Wheatley fulfils its role as a force for good in the communities in which it operates.”

Alison Gray, head of Barclays public sector debt finance, said: 

“Our £50m sustainability-linked revolving credit facility for Wheatley Housing Group will support the delivery of affordable, energy-efficient housing in Scotland. Improving the energy efficiency of the country’s housing stock is a crucial element of the journey to net-zero and Barclays is committed to supporting this important work.

“Our specialist public sector team provided a funding solution that links Wheatley’s finances and sustainability performance, incentivising progress and reducing the cost of borrowing. As Scotland’s foremost provider of social-rented homes, this deal will enable Wheatley to continue to play its vital role in ensuring housing for local communities in Scotland.”

Source: Scottish Housing News

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