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CDC Group backs housing finance for women with Rs360 crore investment in Aavas Financiers’ Social Bond program

The investment to help increase women’s access to finance and encourage ownership of properties in India, while also addressing broader housing shortage challenges.

March 11, 2022 11:15 IST | India Infoline News Service
CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, on Thursday announced an Rs360 crore (c. US$50 million) investment in a Social Bond program by Aavas Financiers Ltd, one of India’s leading affordable housing finance companies.

CDC, which will be renamed British International Investment in April, is providing the support to Aavas in form of a gender directed lending facility which will target financing toward women. This will allow Aavas to increase lending to its women customer-base, enabling them to gain greater access to finance which will facilitate ownership of properties by women.

With only 9% of households in India being legally women-owned, access to finance is a key factor that impedes women’s ability to own property. Access to housing and ownership of property can have strong positive impact on safety, dignity, improved livelihoods, and better economic outcomes.

As such, CDC’s latest investment in Aavas will help increase women’s access to housing finance to encouraging property ownership, which will in turn boost women’s social empowerment, broaden their economic opportunities and promote higher standards of living for families and communities in underserved segments of lower income borrowers, especially in rural and semi-urban areas of India. Additionally, the transaction will address the shortage in affordable housing, which is estimated to reach a shortfall of 100 million units by 2022, predominantly in lower income groups.

The investment will be made in form of Rupee Denominated Bonds (Masala Bonds) and will be listed as a social bond, in alignment with the International Capital Market Association’s Social Bond Principles. The proceeds of the bonds will 100 per cent be used to finance the women-owned property loan portfolio, with an aim to address gender inequity in asset ownership, in India. This represents the first social bond for Aavas and for CDC, building on both partners’ commitment to scaling inclusive and sustainable impact in India.

Moreover, by directing CDC’s investment intentionally and measurable toward improving financial offerings to women, Aavas qualifies under the 2X Challenge – an initiative launched by the development finance institutions (DFIs) of the G7 to mobilise capital to support increased economic empowerment for women in emerging economies. Furthermore, this investment aligns with UN SDG 5, for promoting Gender Equality, and it highlights CDC’s gender-smart investing strategy in action.

This facility follows CDC’s Rs200 crore (US$ 27 million) commitment to Aavas in 2018, which enabled the company to extend affordable housing loans to low- and middle- income customers in underserved communities in India. Aavas’ track record makes it well-positioned to achieve impact at scale through its reach within these target categories of borrowers in semi urban and rural areas.

At around 11.18 am, Aavas Financiers Ltd was trading at Rs2,547.95 per piece down by Rs19.4 or 0.76% from its previous closing of Rs2,567.35 per piece on the BSE.

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