Bank of America announced today the issuance of a $2 billion Equality Progress Sustainability Bond designed to advance racial equality, economic opportunity and environmental sustainability, the first offering of its kind in the financial services industry.
The transaction also represents 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 financial empowerment of Black and Hispanic-Latino communities.
This is Bank of America’s eighth environmental, social and governance (ESG)-themed corporate bond, bringing the firm’s aggregate total of issuance to $9.85 billon.
“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,” said Anne Finucane, vice chairman at Bank of America, who leads the company’s ESG, sustainable finance, capital deployment and public policy efforts. “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.”
The five-year bond, which is callable in four-years, will pay interest semi-annually at a fixed rate of 0.981% for the first four-years, and quarterly at a floating rate thereafter. BofA Securities was the sole bookrunner on the deal and three minority-owned broker dealers served as joint lead managers - Loop Capital Markets, Ramirez & Co., Inc. and Siebert Williams Shank.
“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,” said Tom Montag, chief operating officer at Bank of America. “We believe this offering will inspire other issuers and mobilize additional capital to address these critical issues.”
An amount equal to the net proceeds from the bond offering will be allocated to social and environmental purposes, helping to advance several of the United Nations (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The types of social projects benefiting from this offering – and any bond offering of other issuers with similar social purposes – have the potential to increase lending and investment in minority communities and businesses.
Financing and investment for social purposes that seek to help reduce inequalities for Black and Hispanic-Latino borrowers and communities in the U.S. including:
Environmental projects include financing, leasing and investments that support the transition to a low-carbon economy, focusing specifically on renewable energy and clean transportation.
Within one year of the issuance of the notes, Bank of America will publish a report on a designated website, which will be updated at least annually as long as the notes remain outstanding, regarding the allocation to eligible social and green assets.
Finucane and Montag co-chair Bank of America’s Sustainable Markets Committee, which collaborates across business lines to deliver innovative financing solutions in support of the U.N. SDGs.
Since 2013, Bank of America has issued $9.85 billion in corporate Green, Social and Sustainability Bonds - including five “Green” Bonds, two “Social” Bonds and today’s “Sustainability” Bond– which focused on areas such as clean energy, energy efficiency, affordable housing and community development, and addressing the global coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, Bank of America co-authored the Green Bond Principles, a voluntary set of guidelines and standards meant to bring integrity to this market where proceeds help to directly finance environmental projects. Bank of America has been a member of the executive committee of the industry group that provides guidance on ESG-Themed bond issuances since its inception.
BofA Securities’ dedicated ESG Capital Markets team has helped more than 150 clients support their sustainable business needs by raising over $200 billion in principal amount through more than 300 ESG-themed bond offerings.
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 66 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 4,300 retail financial centers, including approximately 3,000 lending centers, 2,600 financial centers with a Consumer Investment Financial Solutions Advisor and approximately 2,200 business centers; approximately 16,900 ATMs; and award-winning digital banking with approximately 39 million active users, including approximately 30 million mobile users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom.
Lee McEntire, Bank of America
Jonathan Blum, Bank of America (Fixed Income)
Kelly Sapp, ESG Media, Bank of America
Tom Rottcher, Debt Capital Markets Media, Bank of America