Environmental Finance's Bond Awards 2021

Social bond of the year - bank: Citigroup

Citi’s inaugural social bond for housing, which raised $2.5 billion, is the largest ever social bond issued by a private sector issuer and helps keep Citi as the largest financier of affordable housing in the US.

The scale of the issue impressed the Environmental Finance Bond Awards judges, with one noting: “Size and use of proceeds are notable. An extremely important objective and having a benchmark issuance from a notable issuer is a benefit to the marketplace.”

The bond will finance the construction, rehabilitation and preservation of quality affordable housing for low-and moderate-income populations. It also forms a part of Citi’s Action for Racial Equity plan, which aims to provide more than $1 billion in strategic value for communities of colour in the US to help close the racial wealth gap.

Sustainalytics provided a second opinion on Citi’s Social Bond Framework for Affordable Housing, confirming it aligns with the four pillars of the ICMA Social Bond Principles 2020.

“Citi is proud to be a longstanding leader in the effort to increase the availability of affordable housing for the nation’s most vulnerable populations. The issuance of our inaugural Affordable Housing Bond furthers that commitment as well as our commitment to diversity and inclusion through the exclusive use of women, veteran and minority-owned broker-dealers,” said Michael Verdeschi, treasurer of Citi.

Deal Highlights

Issuer: Citigroup
Size: $2.5 billion
Maturity: October 2024
Coupon: 0.776%
Use of Proceeds: Construction, rehabilitation and preservation of quality affordable housing for low-and moderate-income populations in the US
External Review: Sustainalytics
Joint Lead Managers: Blaylock Van, CastleOak Securities, Loop Capital Markets, Samuel A. Ramirez, with co-manager: Academy Securities, Great Pacific Securities, MFR Securities, Roberts & Ryan Investments and Siebert Williams Shank
Credit rating: A3/BBB+/A (Moody's/S&P/Fitch)
Other highlights/notable features: Citi worked exclusively with women, veteran and minority-owned broker-dealers on the issue