Recovery begins with a home: Newly renovated Pessi offers more apartments for unhoused people

Pessi, a housing service unit located in Helsinki’s Vallila district, provides 125 apartments for people with a history of substance abuse or mental health problems. After comprehensive renovation, the building can now accommodate more people who have experienced prolonged homelessness.

Blue Ribbon Ltd, a part of the Finnish non-profit Blue Ribbon Foundation Group, offers supported housing for unhoused people who suffer from substance abuse or mental health issues. Their largest housing service unit Pessi went through a massive renovation that was finalized in 2023. The parent foundation’s administration, whose office was in the same building, moved away to make space for 27 new apartments.

“Finding apartments for this customer group has proved extremely challenging. As a solution, we built more apartments to a property where we already have other people in a similar situation and services in place,” says Elli Korte-Lilja, Real Estate Manager at Blue Ribbon Foundation.

The renovation, which was financed through MuniFin’s social finance, added to both the building’s security and coziness. A new accessible 16-apartment unit was also built in the renovation process.

“For a long time, we have struggled with not being able to house people with mobility impairments at Pessi. Normally these people would resort to service housing or intensive service housing, but they aren’t allowed in due to a history of substance abuse. We had to build more apartments so that these people could get the support and help they need,” Business Director of Blue Ribbon, Sanni Joutsenlahti, explains.

Housing is a basic right, not a reward

According to 2023 data from Ara (The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland), there are approximately 1,000 long-term homeless individuals in Finland. Ara based their data on information gathered from municipalities. Numbers are not available from all municipalities, which means that the actual number of long-term homeless people could be somewhat higher. A person is considered long-term homeless if they have been unhoused for at least one year or repeatedly over the last three years.

Blue Ribbon Foundation helps the most vulnerable and works to end homelessness. Blue Ribbon Ltd, belonging to the same group, provides supported housing according to the Housing First principle. This means that a permanent home is not viewed as a reward that needs to be earned through sobriety, but a home in itself is the first step on the road to recovery. Thanks to the Housing First model, Finland has been successful in reducing homelessness.

“The idea is that you can come live with us first; only then do we start thinking about your individual rehabilitation. When a person has a home and a place to rest their head, their circumstances in life also tend to calm down,” Sanni Joutsenlahti says.

Pessi residents have their own counselors to support them in rehabilitation and daily errands. Everything starts from the basics: first, the residents practice daily rhythms and regular mealtimes. Many residents need help with everyday chores, such as boiling potatoes, cleaning, or managing their own finances.

People lining up to get food and preparing food in the kitchen.

Finding your footing through community and action

Although the residents face various issues in their everyday lives, in many ways Pessi resembles any other housing association. In their weekly community meetings, the residents may discuss their communal sauna facilities, the draft coming through the windows, or other very similar matters to those discussed in countless other tenant meetings across the country.

The employees and residents form a tight-knit community that organizes plenty of joint activities, ranging from courtyard concerts to movie screenings and music groups. The residents are also offered peer groups that support rehabilitation.

Sanni Joutsenlahti has been thrilled about seeing how work has the capacity to help people. The building’s residents are offered opportunities to try their hand at various forms of employment and training.

“When offered this personal agency, people get to experience moments where they feel they are good at something. We have a lot of professionals living here, such as painters and electricians, and employment helps them get back on their feet. Many people start by doing small activities around the house. After noticing that they have the skills and energy to work, they may move on to rehabilitative work or work trials,” Joutsenlahti says.

“For someone, making oatmeal for the whole crew every Wednesday morning can be the most important thing in the world.”

Affordable social housing

The Finnish affordable social housing sector plays a significant role in the development of a sustainable welfare state. In Finland, affordable social housing is mainly provided by municipality-owned companies and nationwide non-profit organisations. MuniFin is the main financier of affordable social housing production in Finland. An increasing amount of housing in Finland is being constructed and financed with consideration for social and environmental factors.

Text: Taru Inkinen
Photos: Blue Ribbon Foundation

Niiralan Kulma emphasises green and societal values in ten new projects

Niiralan Kulma, the largest rental company in Kuopio, invests significantly in sustainable and environmentally friendly living.

Niiralan Kulma’s recent investments adapt to the changing needs of Kuopio. New residents move to the city for work, and they need comfortable homes. Simultaneously Kuopio is preparing for population ageing by building service housing.

“Ten years ago, we talked about affordable, quality housing. Now our strategy has expanded to include responsibility, which must cover environmental and social values,” says Kari Keränen, CEO of Niiralan Kulma.

Seven new apartment buildings are currently financed with MuniFin’s green finance, and three service housing projects have been completed with MuniFin’s social finance.

“When we evaluated long-term interest rates, MuniFin offered the most affordable solution. The margin and the interest rate were lowered because these new projects are green and social.”

Cozy and environmentally friendly homes

Niiralan Kulma is building homes in seven different locations across the city of Kuopio.

“We are planning and building cozy homes that effectively utilise energy-saving technology and renewable energy. Building technology takes into account the by-products of energy. We use geothermal heat, recover heat from wastewater, capture excess energy from mechanical ventilation, and utilise solar energy. It was very important to design the houses to be maintenance-free and long-lasting,” Keränen says.

Many methods are in use to improve environmental friendliness. The new apartments do not have unusable space that requires heating, and there are multiple waste bins in the apartments for recycling.

“In addition to the living spaces, we have invested in bicycle parking and charging points for electric cars. The smallest details are important, for example, with electronic notice boards, no papers have to be printed to inform the residents.”

Service housing for seniors and young adults

Männistön Aimu, which offers rehabilitative service housing for young adults, was completed in early 2020. Next completed in 2022, Liito-orava care home, provides service housing apartments and rental apartments for seniors. Most recently, Levänen service center was opened for residents in October 2023.

“Both the service center and the care home offer 60 places for residents, which are rented by the wellbeing services county of North Savo. They also organise the care needed by seniors.”

Residents were involved in the planning of the service centers, and they as well as the care staff have been satisfied with the end results. Männistön Aimu’s small apartment building is inviting from the outside: unpainted wooden surfaces of the house are environmentally friendly and stand out from the street view.

The costs of these projects were the following: Männistön Aimu is EUR 2.1 million, Liito-orava is EUR 10.2 million and the Levänen service center is EUR 8.7 million.

“We want to thank the staff of MuniFin. We received a lot of help and clear instructions when we needed them. The financing arrangement has been smooth.”

Affordable social housing

The Finnish affordable social housing sector plays a significant role in the development of a sustainable welfare state. In Finland, affordable social housing is mainly provided by municipality-owned companies and nationwide non-profit organisations. MuniFin is the main financier of affordable social housing production in Finland. An increasing amount of housing in Finland is being constructed and financed with consideration for social and environmental factors.

Text: Sara Pitzén
Photo: Niiralan Kulma

Welfare society needs social glue that fosters a sense of community

In 2023, the number of our social finance projects increased by over 40% from the year before. A growing awareness of sustainability matters coupled with increasing stakeholder expectations are pushing up the demand for our sustainable finance.

Our raison d’être and the main duty of our customers is to build up the Finnish welfare state. Our customers are tasked with organising the basic functions of society, such as health and social services, daycare, basic education, care for the elderly, infrastructure, affordable housing and various cultural and sports services. The values of the Nordic welfare state are inherent in the work of our social finance customers, whose investments often also benefit the environment and climate.

We published our first sustainability agenda in October, sharing our goal of increasing the proportion of our social finance to 8% of our long-term customer financing by 2030. More and more, our customers are bringing up themes related to our social and green finance in our interactions, signalling a growing awareness of sustainability. Our customers’ own stakeholders are also interested in these themes, so the push to improve sustainability is coming from many fronts. As a result, a growing number of projects are now meeting the criteria for our sustainable finance.

In 2023, the number of projects accepted into our social finance portfolio increased by over 40% from the year before. We approved 34 projects, the majority of which are welfare projects or housing solutions aimed at the most vulnerable population. It is safe to say that we are well on the way towards our goal.

The responsibility for organising healthcare, social welfare and rescue services was transferred from municipalities to wellbeing services counties on 1 January 2023, but municipalities nevertheless continue to play a vital role in promoting good health and wellbeing. Many of our social finance projects are important not only to their users, but also to the vitality of the municipality. Investments that generate activity are a signal to companies that the municipality will stay vital.

For residents, social finance projects signify better services: communal living solutions, healthcare services, modern and healthy learning environments and more opportunities for hobbies, cultural activities and sports. In addition to creating the setting for municipal operations, the project buildings often double as venues for sports, culture and other activities offered by the voluntary sector. The projects cater for people of different ages, backgrounds and cultures, but most of all, they bring people together. This is the social glue that we need to keep the welfare society together in a time of heightened individualism and polarisation.

Rami Erkkilä, Senior Specialist, sustainable finance
Rami Erkkilä is responsible for green and social finance products at MuniFin.

The article was originally published on the 7th of March as a part of MuniFin Social impact report 2023.

MuniFin Social impact report 2023

Finnish affordable social housing organisations forerunners in sustainable construction – majority of loans are green or social finance

The Finnish affordable social housing sector plays a significant role in the development of a sustainable welfare state. In 2023, a vast majority of MuniFin’s housing loans were granted to either green or social finance projects.

An increasing amount of housing in Finland is being constructed and financed with consideration for social and environmental factors. Our customers, including affordable social housing organizations and municipal rental housing projects, play a significant role in this trend. Last year, the share of green and social finance in our housing loans reached a record high of 63 percent.

“An increasing number of our customers have made it their mission to carry out their projects more sustainably, taking into account environmental, climate or social benefits. Affordable social housing production is at the absolute forefront of sustainable construction in Finland”, says Päivi Petäjäniemi, Customer Relations Manager at MuniFin.

MuniFin was the first in Finland to start offering green finance for climate and environmentally friendly projects in 2016. In 2020, we also became the first to launch social finance, which emphasizes the social benefits of the projects: equality, communality, safety, welfare, or regional vitality.

“Our customers were among the first to learn about green and social finance, and we have persistently kept the topic on the agenda ever since. Nowadays, they have comprehensive knowledge of their alternatives, and they proactively seek green and social finance to give visibility to their projects. All their projects are significant for the Finnish welfare society, but the ones that fall under the green and social finance framework, are truly best in class”, Petäjäniemi explains.

Buildings and construction account for about a third of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions*. The figures show that Finnish municipalities and non-profit housing operators are strongly involved in climate efforts.

The energy efficiency of affordable social housing buildings is generally higher than buildings in the private sector*. One factor is the forthcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSDR), which is already directing the larger operators towards more sustainable choices. Also, the residents of newly constructed homes are increasingly demanding more energy-efficient housing solutions.

“More and more buildings are built in energy class A, which is the minimum demand in our green finance framework. Our customers are bold and want to try new things, so I expect to see a rising number of projects that also consider the impacts of the entire life cycle and construction chain. The challenge for now is that costs may seem higher in the construction phase. Saved energy costs for example, show in the long run, and our customers have strict demands for affordability from The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (Ara), which oversees the projects.”

The prerequisites for the approval of social finance projects consider the social benefits of the projects.

“Our customers are increasingly planning housing as a whole, and this is clearly visible in projects for special groups. For example, they want to provide every student with their own apartment, but there is increasing investment in shared spaces, which promotes community and prevents loneliness. Residents are also offered various services, such as car-sharing or resident counselling”, Petäjäniemi says.

Finnish affordable social housing supports social mixing and brings down homelessness

In Finland, affordable social housing is mainly provided by municipality-owned companies and nationwide non-profit organisations. The production is financed through interest subsidy loans. The loans are guaranteed by the Finnish state through The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (Ara), which is administered by the Ministry of the Environment. Alternatively, housing projects can also be loans to municipality owned companies. These loans do not have a state interest subsidy, but they come with a 100% municipal guarantee.

MuniFin is the main financier of affordable social housing production in Finland. The loan periods are long, up to 41 years.

The Finnish government updated its housing policy development programme in 2021. Some of the main objectives of this programme include increasing housing construction in growing urban areas and eradicating homelessness within two government terms. Affordable social housing has played a remarkable role in tackling homelessness in Finland, especially family homelessness. Affordable social housing is also instrumental in preventing segregation and facilitating labour mobility.

Read more:

Finnish system for affordable social housing supports social mixing and brings down homelessness

Our sustainability agenda sets the direction until 2035

As outlined in our strategy, key aspects of sustainability at MuniFin include acting as our customers’ partner in building a sustainable society while efficiently managing climate-related and environmental risks.

Our long-term impact stems from the products and services we offer our customers. In our sustainability agenda published in 2023, we set the direction and goals for our sustainability efforts until 2035.

In this agenda, we commit to increasing the proportion of sustainable finance in our lending portfolio into one third by 2030. In 2023, the share was 21,3 percent. We also set emission reduction targets for financed buildings. Our target level is 8 kgCO₂/m² by 2035, representing reduction compared to the 2022 level.

MuniFin's Sustainability Agenda

*The Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries RT (CFCI):

*Finnish Affordable Housing Companies’ Federation:

More information

Karoliina Kajova

Senior Manager, Funding

 +358 50 5767 707 

MuniFin’s role as a trusted financing partner has grown even more important – 2023 annual report and sustainable finance impact reports published

We have published our annual report for 2023. We have also published the impact reports on our green and social finance and the Pillar III disclosure report on capital adequacy.

The year 2023 was the fourth consecutive year marked by instability. In these uncertain times, our role as our customers’ trusted financing partner has grown even more important. At MuniFin, 2023 was a year when we put sustainability even more front and centre as we revised our strategy and published our first sustainability agenda.

The volatile operating environment did not significantly affect our performance. Our operations remained stable, and we were again able to successfully carry out our core mandate of providing affordable long-term financing for our customers.

Our long-term customer finance increased by about 10% from the previous year. Our new long-term customer financing remained on a par with 2022, totalling EUR 4.4 billion. Our profitability was slightly higher than in 2022.

The amount of our sustainable finance, i.e. our green and social finance, grew by about EUR 2 billion in 2023. Our sustainable finance products are our way of encouraging our customers to make more responsible investments. Read more about the impacts of our sustainable finance in the green and social impact reports published today.

What was the year 2023 like at MuniFin?

MuniFin Annual Report 2023

MuniFin Green Impact Report 2023

MuniFin Social Impact Report 2023

MuniFin Pillar III Disclosure Report 2023

Satakuntatalo has a thriving student community

Located in the heart of Helsinki, the Satakuntatalo student apartment building was a little run-down after housing students for 70 years. It has now undergone extensive renovations, but contrary to the general trend in student housing, it continues to mostly offer rooms in shared apartments. Four students talk about their life in the newly renovated student nation building.

Finnish universities have student associations known as student nations, which are cross-disciplinary communities that bring together university students of different ages and fields. Their members often come from the same region of Finland, but students are free to join any student nation. Student nations typically have their own buildings or facilities where members gather for leisure activities and celebrations and to spend time together, and the buildings may also have student accommodation. Satakuntatalo is the oldest of such buildings in inner Helsinki. It has both student housing and other facilities of Satakunta Nation, the student nation for students with ties to the Satakunta region in Western Finland.

The Satakuntatalo building has a common area on the fifth floor, which is open to all residents and Satakunta Nation members around the clock. Eero Kemppinen, 24, Mikko Höytö, 21, and Anniina Tolonen, 22, are sitting by the kitchen table, brewing coffee and talking about their daily life.

Kemppinen is a master’s student in law and also the student nation’s master of parties. He has been a member of Satakunta Nation for four years and lived in the building before it was renovated.

“When I moved from Rauma to Helsinki to study, my friends suggested that I should look for housing in Satakuntatalo. I quickly found my community here, and all these nice people made me want to move back here as soon as the renovations were finished”, Kemppinen recalls.

The building is special for the events that are organised every week in the common rooms and for the like-minded people. The party master finds it very convenient that both the organisers and participants of the events live under the same roof.

“This building is home to a large inderdisciplinary community. We regularly organise tea parties, sitsfests and larger events such as the annual pre-Christmas party”, Kemppinen says.

Housing for students with Satakunta in their heart

The building’s shared apartments have Finnish names derived from the floor numbers, such as Kutoskongi or Seiskapääty. Kemppinen lives in a five-person apartment on the seventh floor, while Höytö, a bachelor’s student in economics, lives in an unusually large fourteen-person apartment on the sixth floor.

Common area with a large blue corner sofa and a wooden coffee table. A window at the back and a fishing net on the other wall.
The interior design contains elements from the Satakunta region.

“I discovered this student building when I was comparing housing prices in Helsinki. Such a low rent in such a central location immediately caught my attention. I wasn’t entirely sure about having so many flatmates at first, but I decided to give it a shot and never regretted it. We have an excellent community spirit and a culture of our own in our apartment. Good company is always nearby, but you also get to enjoy the peace and quiet of your own room”, Höytö says.

Satakunta Nation welcomes people from Satakunta, but also people who are Satakunta-minded. Kemppinen comes from Satakunta, but Höytö is from Kuopio and Tolonen from the Capital Region.

“You get to know other parts of Finland by just living here”, notes Tolonen, a master’s student in economics. She lives in a ten-person apartment on the seventh floor and keeps close touch with her flatmates on a daily basis. She feels that having lots of like-minded people of the same age around makes it easy to connect with new people.

Apartment master keeps daily life running smoothly

The renovation included repairs for all apartments and common areas. All apartments now have their own shared kitchen, and the building also has sauna facilities, a common area referred to as the guild room, a library and a roof terrace where the residents can barbecue in the summer. The shared facilities are used frequently.

“Before the renovation, the building was in a rather poor condition. Now the kitchens are more spacious, and the surfaces look and feel fresh. Ventilation is also much better, which makes all the difference especially during the coldest and hottest times of the year”, Kemppinen comments.

A view of Satakuntatalo’s modern kitchen, with small cabinets and a sink on the window wall, and large cabinets and kitchen appliances on the opposite wall.
A modernised kitchen in a shared apartment.

Each shared apartment has a designated apartment master to keep daily life running smoothly, ensuring for example that everyday items like soaps and dish brushes are always available.

“I’m the designated apartment master in our apartment”, Höytö says. “We have no trouble keeping the shared areas tidy, which I take as a sign of a good community spirit. The shared kitchen also allows for spontaneous shared moments during meals. First a couple of people sit down at the table, and a moment later the table is full.”

“And if the fridge is looking empty, we often pool our resources and start cooking together. Suddenly there’s a whole big meal to share with the flatmates”, Tolonen adds. She has also taken on the role of an apartment master.

Student life resumes 

“You could call this values-based living for students. It’s kind of like the Hogwarts of Satakunta – we have our own histories, mysteries and facilities where our members can study in and be whatever they want to be. We are extremely grateful for the people who originally came up with the idea of this building”, says Riikka Pasanen, Satakunta Nation’s curator.

The building was ready to house residents again in autumn 2022. Renovations for the apartments are complete, but the shared gym and woodworking workshop are still in need of some finishing touches.

“I used to live here when I was studying, and I’m impressed by how much the renovation improved the facilities and how the funding was arranged. Not everything is ready yet, but student life has already resumed, and that’s the best part”, Pasanen continues.

“I moved in as a new resident after the renovation, but I like how they listened to the old residents and made the facilities as good as new. It feels like there’s low hierarchy and we can have a say on the things we want”, Höytö observes.

“My own identity as a student is constantly evolving. Living here feels meaningful for me and seems to give the entire community a strong identity, too”, Tolonen concludes.

The Satakuntatalo renovation was financed with MuniFin’s social finance. More information on the renovation is available in Finnish on MuniFin’s website.

Social finance

MuniFin’s social finance is granted to investments that produce widespread social benefits. Social finance projects impact their surroundings and communities in a positive way: they promote equality, communality, welfare or regional vitality.

Read more

Text: Sara Pitzén
Photos: Sami Lamberg and Satakuntalainen osakunta

More customer benefits and investments in sustainability – MuniFin published its 2021 Annual Report and Green and Social Impact Reports

The demand for financing in the municipal sector was moderate and lower than expected in 2021. This was due to an unexpectedly good economic and employment situation and the central government’s COVID-19 support for municipalities. In contrast, the demand for non-profit housing finance grew moderately and has remained largely unaffected throughout the pandemic. Our new long-term financing for 2021 totalled EUR 3.7 billion.

What was 2021 like at MuniFin? Watch the video below.

This year, we report the impacts of our green and social finance in separate reports. We grant green finance to projects that have verifiable positive impacts on the environment and social finance to projects that produce widespread social benefits.

The cover of the Green Impact Report. On the left hand side a car connected to a charger. On the left hand side a girl with a dog on the backseat of the car.
The cover of the Social Impact Report 2021. On the left, there's a wooden house, on the right a happy disabled woman wearing headphones.

Integrating sustainability and new operating models

Sustainability is interwoven even more closely into all our operations and the work of all our employees. In 2021, we started to work on calculations to make the environmental load of our own operations more visible. We also published our Sustainable Investment Framework, which summarises the sustainability principles, processes and responsibilities in our investment activities. Because sustainability is such an integral part of all our work, we have incorporated it directly into our operational reporting for the first time, instead of publishing a separate report.

MuniFin’s year 2021 was characterised by renewal and the rooting of new operating models.

“This year, we will continue to renew, improve our management and integrate sustainability into our operations even more closely”, says Esa Kallio, MuniFin’s president and CEO.

New homes for people in mental health recovery: Diverse support measures help residents achieve an independent life

Mielen Association, a non-profit expert organisation that provides mental health and substance abuse services in Pirkanmaa, has commissioned a new supported accommodation unit in Nekala, Tampere. The apartment building will have 34 new homes for people recovering from mental health issues. The unit’s biggest asset is its location: the plot already houses a maisonette with 16 supported housing apartments as well as the Lideshovi activity centre.

“The new building is located by Lake Lidesjärvi, so some residents will have a view over the lake. The location is also excellent because the unit is only three kilometres from the Tampere city centre”, says Maarit Hirvonen, executive director at Mielen Association.

The new apartments are financed with MuniFin’s social finance and offer supported accommodation for people with mental health issues. The residents are offered daily support, including time with the staff members, conversational therapy and concrete help with everyday living.

“Our clients have very different needs. Some may need help with a single matter, while others require more comprehensive support. For example, our staff may offer conversational therapy to one client, but do housework with another. In addition to support with life management and medication, we can also provide social guidance or help dealing with the paperwork required for social security, for example”, Hirvonen explains.

According to Maarit Hirvonen, executive director at Mielen Association, supported accommodation is a temporary solution that yields good results.

Towards independent living

The new building will only house people recovering from mental health issues. Many residents come to supported accommodation from institutional care, but some transfer from their home and some come through social services.

“Living in supported accommodation is a temporary solution. Most of our residents live with us for a couple of years, moving on to independent living when the time is right. For municipalities, this is an affordable service because supported accommodation produces good results”, Hirvonen says.

Participation and recovery are at the heart of all Mielen Association operations. Residents get to have their say on various things, from the kind of support they need to the forms of groups and activities offered.

“Recovery is the core of our work. We believe that everyone can recover from mental illness. Difficult experiences can help people discover a way of life that is meaningful and good for them. With us, it is the clients who say what they want and how they want it. Our staff members do not tell clients what to do, but instead find a mutual way forward through discussion.”

The successful rehabilitation of the residents has long-term effects. The guidance and support that residents receive may decrease the negative effects of their mental health problems, improve their life management skills and socioeconomic situation, and empower them to live independently.

An apartment of one’s own and opportunities for participation

Mental health issues and substance abuse have increased considerably in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to only aggravate these problems. Tampere and the entire Pirkanmaa region are in dire need of more supported accommodation. In addition to new homes, the new unit will create new jobs and improve the use of existing facilities.

“The need is definitely there! When one resident is moving out, a new one is always moving in. We receive regular inquiries about vacant apartments. Thanks to the new building, we can take on new staff and boost the efficiency of our existing services. It will double our staff and allow us to increase staff time with residents and offer more group activities at the activity centre”, Hirvonen says.

In Nekala, construction work has progressed under lucky stars. The work has gone as planned and right on schedule – even the pandemic has not thrown a spanner in the works.

“Construction work began in late August, and the building has now reached its rooftop height. After the elements have dried off, next up will be the interior. So things are looking good, and the building should be completed in October or November this year”, says Hirvonen contentedly.

The activity centre located next to the new apartments will offer residents various activities. For this reason, most of the new building is dedicated to apartments, and common facilities are limited.

“In addition to apartments, the building will have one communal room and a laundry. Residents can go next door to the activity centre to see other people, grab coffee, read the papers, have lunch or take part in group activities. Saunas are also available next door”, Hirvonen lists.

As the construction work proceeds, the apartments are also beginning to take shape. Hirvonen is very pleased about the new homes. The new building includes many modern solutions and choices that improve the quality of living.

“All the homes will be a nice size, over 30 square metres each. The apartments will have an open-plan kitchen and living room with a dishwasher as well as an alcove or a small bedroom. Large windows make the homes nice and bright. On the apartments overlooking the lake, the view is naturally a nice bonus. The building will be entirely accessible, ensuring easy access with a wheelchair or walker. Modern electric locks also make life easier”, Hirvonen elaborates.

Social finance

MuniFin’s social finance is granted to investments that produce widespread social benefits. Social finance projects impact their surroundings and communities in a positive way: they promote equality, communality, welfare or regional vitality.

Social bonds

Written by Joonas Holste

Virtual photo and work site photo by Mielen Association

Maarit Hirvonen’s photo by Anna-Stiina Saarinen

MuniFin’s Social bond tap oversubscribed by ESG investors

The mandate for the EUR 500 million Social bond tap was announced 12:00 CET on Monday 4 October 2021 and the books opened the following morning with a spread guidance of mid-swaps +1 area. Exceptionally strong investor demand allowed MuniFin to tighten the spread guidance quickly to MS-1 bps area. Despite the tightening of 2 bps the orderbook grew to EUR 1.8 billion. The final spead was set to MS-2. The original bond offers a 0,050% coupon. The transaction was jointly led by DZ BANK, NatWest Markets N.V., SEB and Société Générale.

The bonds were distributed to a high degree of quality investors across Europe, with 75% placed with dedicated ESG accounts. A total of 43 investors, all European, finally participated in the transaction. Asset managers took the bulk with 43% allocation, followed by a 31% allocation to central banks and 24% to bank treasuries.

The record-high demand among ESG investors fortifies MuniFin’s excellent reputation as a sustainable bond issuer.

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome. The exceptionally high interest among ESG investors and a meaningful greenium, or should we say socium, of around 2 basis points shows that sustainability really pays off”, says Antti Kontio, Head of Funding and Sustainability at MuniFin.

MuniFin’s social finance promotes investments that produce widespread social benefits and serve the needs of their users in an exemplary way. MuniFin’s social finance projects promote equality, communality, safety, welfare, or regional vitality.

A cover picture for social bonds with the text " Investments that make a difference".

Learn more about our social finance >

IssuerMunicipality Finance Plc (“MuniFin”)
RatingAa1 / AA+ (Moody’s/S&P – both stable)
Issue SizeEUR 500mn (no-grow)
New Outstanding AmountEUR 1.1bn
Payment Date12 October 2021
Maturity Date10 September 2035
Re-offer Price96.119%
Re-offer Yield0.336%
Re-offer vs Mid-Swaps-2 bps
Re-offer vs BenchmarkDBR 05/2035 +35.9 bps
Lead ManagersDZ BANK, NatWest Markets N.V., SEB, Société Générale

Comments from the bookrunners

“DZ BANK as an institution that firmly roots in the cooperative and sustainable financial sector is proud to have been chosen to support MuniFin in this highly successful bond issue as a bookrunner.

While we expected strong participation from Germany already ahead of the transaction, it is even greater so see how well known MuniFin is by the German investor base and how much it likes the MuniFin credit. MuniFin also met the sweet spot of demand with their 15 year tenor.

The social format of the bond and Munifin´s social commitment in the eligible categories social housing, welfare and education was another driver for the strong outcome and tight pricing of the transaction.”

Kai Poerschke, Head of SSA Origination at DZ BANK

“A great outcome for the Munifin team who remain at the forefront of ESG in the primary markets. By offering investors an opportunity to be involved in a more liquid issuance they have once again been rewarded with strong demand from a loyal investor base. Books over 3 times subscribed with a sizeable ‘greenium’ clearly show this. 75% take up from ESG accounts is another impressive statistic and represents the largest ESG allocation MuniFin have seen.”

Kerr Finlayson, Head of FBG Syndicate at NatWest Markets

“We congratulate MuniFin on the fantastic outcome of their second venture into the Social market. The transaction was met with the solid investor support that the MuniFin name always delivers, with a multiple times oversubscribed book, and pricing 1 bp inside fair value. The successful outcome today highlights investors’ commitment to MuniFin and the important work they do to improve social well-being in Finland.”

Rebekah Logan Bray, Senior Originator, SSA Origination at SEB

“MuniFin’s best in class social bond framework and investor reporting have once again been endorsed with this remarkable success. By adding liquidity to its 2035 issue, MuniFin has achieved a pricing through secondary with a transaction over 3 times oversubscribed.”

Olivier Vion, Head of SSA Primary Markets at Société Générale

Further information

Antti Kontio, Head of Funding and Sustainability, MuniFin
Tel. +358 500 3700285

Joakim Holmström, Executive Vice President, Capital Markets and Sustainability, MuniFin
Tel. +358 50 4443 638