Bank of America (BofA) announced today that it has issued a new $2 billion Equality Progress Sustainability Bond. According to the bank, the offering is the first of its kind in the financial services industry, designed to advance racial equality, economic opportunity and environmental sustainability. It is also the first sustainability bond issued by a U.S. bank holding company where the social portion of the use of proceeds will be dedicated to the financial empowerment of Black and Hispanic-Latino communities.
As joint lead managers, BofA tapped three minority-owned broker dealers, including Loop Capital Markets, Ramirez & Co., Inc. and Siebert Williams Shank.
Anne Finucane, Vice Chairman at Bank of America, leads the company’s ESG, sustainable finance, capital deployment and public policy efforts. Finucane said:
“Our focus on sustainable finance is one of the ways we drive responsible growth. By addressing these critically important issues through ESG-themed securities, we are offering a way for fixed income investors to be part of social and environmental change, and drive solutions through the debt capital markets. Our communities and the environment are inextricably linked, and Bank of America cares deeply about both and continues to explore innovative ways to enable investors to use their investments to help address these societal challenges.”
According to BofA, the proceeds from the issue will be allocated equally to social and environmental purposes, helping to advance several of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The social portion of the bond proceeds will be directed to areas that aim to help reduce inequalities for Black and Hispanic-Latino borrowers and communities in the U.S. Focus areas will include financing and investments relating to single or multi-family housing or affordable housing projects, financing for medical professionals to create or expand their practices, supply chain finance loans offered to minority-owned businesses, deposits and equity investments in Black and Hispanic-Latino Minority Depository Institutions, and equity investments in Black and Hispanic-Latino owned or operated businesses and funds that invest in Black and Hispanic-Latino owned businesses.
On the environmental side, proceeds will be allocated to projects include financing, leasing and investments that support the transition to a low-carbon economy, focusing specifically on renewable energy and clean transportation.
Tom Montag, Chief Operating Officer at Bank of America, said:
“Bank of America is proud to build upon its long-standing commitment to our communities through ESG and sustainable finance initiatives. This innovative offering aims to support progress toward racial equality and environmental sustainability by leveraging the company’s extensive capabilities and committed local engagement. We believe this offering will inspire other issuers and mobilize additional capital to address these critical issues.”