NatWest ‘proud’ to commit £5bn to social housing sector

Calendar and house.
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NatWest Group has announced a new package of targeted lending and support for UK social housing worth £5bn over the next three years.

The bank has set a new goal to lend £5bn – new funding gross of repayments and amortisations – from 1 January, 2024 to the end of 2026, with the aim of supporting the provision and upkeep of social housing in the UK amid economic struggles.

According to a recent report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research Cebr, National Housing Federation and Shelter, social homes are more stable than private renting, as tenancies are secure, leading to better socioeconomic outcomes and increasing rates of employment. 

Additionally, the report also found that in 2023 there was a net loss of nearly 12,000 social homes, while 1.3 million households are on a waiting list in England.

Robert Begbie, CEO, Commercial & Institutional Banking at NatWest Group, said: “We are proud to be a major lender to the UK social housing sector, which continues to deal with multiple priorities such as the demand for new and upgraded housing, and the critical challenges of energy efficiency, fire and tenant safety.”

This latest announcement builds on work done in the past. In February 2021, the bank made history by issuing a €1bn affordable housing social bond, the first of its kind by a UK bank. The proceeds from this bond were used to finance or refinance loans extended to not-for-profit registered housing associations operating in the UK.

NatWest hopes that this recent lending will help to deliver a pipeline of new homes and improve living conditions in existing properties, as well as help housing associations finance energy efficiency and environmental solutions, such as retrofits.

Begbie added: “In 2023, we completed nearly £3bn of new funding to help more people and families have access to housing. We support around 200 housing associations across the UK, and are proud to announce our ambition to provide a further £5billion in funding to support the housing association sector by the end of 2026.”

Alongside this initiative the bank has also published a report of its own earlier this week. NatWest Boxed and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published a report that estimates that embedded finance could drive incremental revenue between 4-7% in retail.