Our Finance Team have secured a £35 million loan from bLend Funding PLC, which will act as low-cost funding to refinance expensive existing debt. This will help Valleys to Coast meet its 10 year Corporate Plan objectives by ensuring its financing is sustainable, and its investment in homes and communities maximised.
The lender’s first ever ‘social bond’ will partly be used to pay off old legacy debt currently at a much higher interest rate. This will reduce loan interest payments, increasing funds for the organisation’s development programme which will then be able to deliver more new homes.
Valleys to Coast’s Finance Team is led by Corporate Director of Finance, Governance, Strategy and Performance Claire Marshall, who explained how the 34 year loan with a fixed interest cost of just 2.45% will help maintain the organisation’s strong financial profile whilst achieving its vision to meet the need for truly affordable social housing.
“With Wales emerging from a pandemic, housing associations will become more important to local communities than ever before. Which is why this funding is so vital, as it allows us to continue providing homes and places where our customers feel happy and safe.”
CEO Joanne Oak said the loan was a great achievement by the Finance Team supported by Centrus. “Through strategic partnerships, we have secured long-term sustainable finance to support and deliver our 10 year ambitions laid out in our Corporate Plan. This will allow us to carry on providing a high-quality service wholly dedicated to our customers.”
Paul Stevens, Executive Director and Head of Affordable Housing at Centrus commented how Valleys to Coast had joined an ‘exclusive club’ of Welsh housing associations that have been able to access bLEND.
“It represents an excellent funding outcome, but importantly also provides further external endorsement of the strength and quality of Valleys to Coast. Centrus was delighted to provide independent financial advice and assurance, and the team at Valleys to Coast should be very proud of what has been achieved”.
bLEND’s CEO, Piers Williamson, added how converting bonds into social bonds reinforces the focus on social impact. “It’s great to see the knock on effect on pricing, which enables us to secure a great rate for associations like Valleys to Coast who do such important work for their communities.”