Cardiff Community Housing Association secures £37 million loan at a record low all in rate of 1.932%

CCHA has delivered on its new treasury management strategy, securing new facilities with bLEND PLC at its lowest rate. The transaction has streamlined CCHA’s treasury portfolio and secured long-term interest rate security, providing us with a strong financial platform from which it can deliver its ambitions to provide much needed affordable housing across Cardiff. The low rate achieved also gives us the financial headroom to continue to deliver great services and support our current tenants and the wider community.

With a spread of 115 bps over Gilts means the bond issuance for Cardiff Community Housing Association was the lowest ever achieved by bLEND funding PLC. With significant market interest, the issuance was five times over-subscribed, leading to a very competitive rate being achieved.

Brian Pickett, Corporate Director, Central Services, CCHA said, “We are delighted with the rate achieved on this transaction. Our access into the bLEND and its associated market leading rates allows us to refinance some of our current facilities and fund new affordable homes. The housing crisis in Cardiff grows more acute and our ability to develop new affordable homes mean we can provide vital places for families to call a long term home.”

Hayley Selway, Chief Executive, CCHA said, “This will help us deliver homes and great services for our tenants and communities across Cardiff in one of the most difficult periods in recent times. I would like to thank Brian, Centrus, Clarke Willmott and the THFC/bLEND team for what has been an extraordinary achievement at the start of an extraordinary year”

Independent financial services group, Centrus assisted in the strategy development which led to the application for bLEND funding. Paul Stephens, Centrus’ Managing Director said “Centrus have been working with CCHA to develop and implement their treasury strategy, a key component of which was to access bLEND. This provides cost efficient, covenant and control light, long term fixed rate finance and substantially reduces future interest rate risk. Pricing of the bLEND transaction today represents an exceptional outcome and will underpin financial strength for many years to come. Our congratulations to CCHA and all concerned”

Clarke Willmott acted as CCHA’s legal adviser for loan documentation and property security work, both of which were turned around in a really short timescale. Fraser MacRae, partner at Clarke Willmott, who negotiated the banking and loan documentation said “We are really happy to start 2021 having supported Cardiff Community in this transaction.” Vicky Kells, partner and joint head of the social housing sector at Clarke Willmott, added “By working closely with Brian and his team we identified a security portfolio to meet the required timescale for bLEND’s successful bond tap.  This demonstrates our commitment to building strong working relationships with our clients and adding value through our sector experience and know-how.”

Property valuation work to secure the finance was completed by Savills.