Freeman Cebu Business

IFC invests $100 million in CitySavings’ social bond

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — To expand financial inclusion and support human capital development in the Philippines, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is investing $100 million in a social bond issued by City Savings Bank, Inc. (CitySavings), the first thrift bank to issue a social bond in the country. The social bond follows ICMA’s (International Capital Market Association) Social Bond Principles and the ASEAN Social Board Bond Standard.

“This landmark issuance will help us expand our services to reach underserved and vulnerable segments of society, allowing us to further our mission to elevate the lives of people,” said Lorenzo T. Ocampo, Chief Executive Officer of City Savings Bank.

Proceeds from the social bond will be used for loans to women in low and lower-middle-income groups and encourage them to make investments in small businesses to supplement their family’s income in addition to payments for healthcare, education and housing.

CitySavings, a subsidiary of Union Bank of the Philippines(UnionBank), is one of the largest thrift banks in the country which provides salary loans to public school teachers, government workers, pensioners, and many other customer segments.

“Investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense. This landmark issuance will build investor confidence and channel more capital to companies in the Philippines that promote social, economic, and gender equality,” said Riccardo Puliti, IFC’s Regional Vice President for Asia and the Pacific.

IFC’s investment in CitySavings’ social bond is part of a broader approach in the Philippines to work with partners to deepen capital markets for thematic bond issuances such as social bonds, green bonds, and blue bonds.

In July 2021, IFC invested in a $150 million social bond issued by UnionBank where proceeds from the bond-financed 4,000 loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to help them recover from the impact of the pandemic on their businesses.

In November 2021, IFC partnered with Ayala Corporation to issue the first social bond in the healthcare sector in the Philippines. Proceeds of the bond were used to develop a dedicated cancer hospital and received EDGE certification, making it the first green hospital building in the country.

IFC is a member of the World Bank Group. It is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.

IFC works in more than 100 countries, using its capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2023, IFC committed a record $43.7 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises.

City Savings Bank, Inc. (CitySavings) is the thrift bank subsidiary of Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) and a member of the Aboitiz Group.

Today, CitySavings has more than 140 branches nationwide. It is well on its way to becoming the leading mass market bank in the Philippines, paving the way for inclusive and sustainable prosperity across the country.

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