Wheatley Group secures new £100m sustainable loan to support new-build programme
Wheatley Group has today announced a major £100 million sustainable loan agreement with four of the UK’s leading financial services organisations.
The housing, care and property management group has agreed a £50m revolving credit facility with existing lenders, Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland and Nationwide Building Society as well as a £50m loan from new lender, Barclays.
The facilities will support Wheatley’s new-build programme and help the group continue in its mission to eradicate homelessness with a minimum of 50% of available homes to rent being offered to homeless households.
In addition, the group will increase support for customers, in some of the most disadvantaged communities, to go into further education, with at least 50 people each year being given an education bursary.
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 give our tenants the opportunity to make the best start in life.”
The four lenders involved in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) funding believe the money will help Wheatley deliver a more sustainable future for communities.
Melanie Russell, regional head of housing at 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, which has the vision to enable accessible, quality and sustainable housing that meets the UK’s long-term needs, whilst shaping finance as a force for good. Lloyds Banking Group delivered £3.4bn of new financings to the sector in 2021, of which £2.4bn was ESG linked, enabling the sector to build, 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 is 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 their role as a force for good in the communities in which it operates.”
Heidi Billington, director of property finance & public sector lending at Nationwide Building Society, said: “As the world’s largest building society, Nationwide exists to ensure that everyone has a place fit to call home. This same social purpose has underpinned Wheatley’s approach to supporting its tenants, having been at the forefront of the sector in Scotland since its formation in 2003.
“As a leading lender in the social housing sector since the 1950s, Nationwide is proud to have supported Wheatley and its tenants across Scotland, working in the spirit of mutuality to achieve more together than we can alone.
“Nationwide is committed to support the greening of the UK’s homes and this first sustainably linked loan supporting Wheatley in making thousands of homes across Scotland more energy efficient, is a key milestone on that journey.”
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.”