BofA’s $2 billion bond aims to curb race inequality, spur market

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Bank of America issued a $2 billion bond that aims to advance racial equality.

The initiative, backed by Vice Chairman Anne Finucane and Chief Operating Officer Tom Montag, is the company’s eighth environmental, social and governance-themed bond, bringing its total issuance in the category to almost $10 billion, the bank said in a statement Friday.

The offering, which priced earlier this week, has the potential to help Black and Latino communities through activities such as mortgage lending, financing for businesses and medical practices, and equity investments, with some proceeds going toward renewable-energy and clean-transportation projects, Bank of America said.

“We want to be an example for other issuers,” Karen Fang, the bank’s head of global sustainable finance, said in an interview. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a bull year or a bear year, we need to be committed to these causes.”

Companies looking to fund environmentally friendly projects are tapping the green-bond market at the fastest monthly pace ever, figures compiled by Bloomberg show. September’s global green-bond issuance has already exceeded $30 billion, beating the prior record of $26 billion, set in November 2018. Issuance is expected to remain brisk as companies see an opportunity to show their green credentials and potentially reduce funding costs while investors increasingly focus on sustainability.

“I don’t think that trend will diminish even in the face of market volatility,” said Andrew Karp, the bank’s head of global investment-grade capital markets. “ESG activity will no doubt grow in the months and years to come.”

BofA’s 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 after. The bank served as the sole bookrunner, while three minority-owned broker-dealers were joint lead managers: Loop Capital Markets, Ramirez & Co. and Siebert Williams Shank.

Within a year, the bank will publish a report on the bond’s asset allocation, and it will be updated as long as the notes remain outstanding, according to Friday’s statement.

Bloomberg News
ESG Bank of America Diversity and equality