M&G Investments and Community Capital Management, a leading mutual fund that specializes in impact and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) related investments, have joined with U.S. and international banks to invest $145 million in Aura’s social bonds to finance the origination of affordable, small dollar installment loans to working families in the United States.
Aura has issued $240 million in social bonds this year through its proprietary platform, which provides investors with online loan-level reporting of underlying borrower performance, and $491 million since Aura launched its funding platform in 2017. In total, the program has supported Aura’s ability to make more than 362,000 credit-building loans to underserved borrowers with thin-or-no credit files and average incomes of $36,000 per year.
“We’re proud that leading insurance company and mutual fund investors, M&G Investments and CCM, have joined Aura’s social bond program,” said James Gutierrez, CEO and Founder of Aura. “In a very real sense, Aura is disrupting both sides of the access-to-capital equation. On one hand, we’re using technology to help borrowers apply for responsible loans and avoid payday lending at 1,250 partner locations, and on the other, we’re helping banks and other financial institutions channel their capital to working families and low-income communities that need it.”
“We’re pleased to invest in Aura’s social bond program,” said William Nicoll, Head of Fixed Income, M&G Investments. “This innovative program helps families obtain affordable loans and is changing the way that loans are provided to borrowers who often have few options when seeking credit. It is important for borrowers to have the opportunity to improve their credit ratings and Aura is making this possible. There is growing demand for investment opportunities that have a positive environmental or social impact alongside financial returns.”
“A vital part of our mission is to expand credit to those living in low-income communities,” said Andy Kaufman, Chief Investment Officer of CCM. “This is particularly important at a time when millions of families across America don’t have access to the full range of banking services. That’s why we’re so pleased to join with Aura and help hard-working families obtain affordable loans.”
Millions of working families in America lack access to safe and affordable loans and are vulnerable to predatory lenders. By working with such financial institutions, Aura provides borrowers with affordable loans that have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in additional fees and interest versus predatory lending options.
About M&G Investments:
M&G Investments is part of M&G Prudential, a savings and investment business which was formed in August 2017 by our parent company, Prudential plc and has £341 billion of assets under management (as at 30 June 2019). M&G Prudential has over 5 million customers in the UK, Europe and Asia, including individual savers and investors, life insurance policy holders and pension scheme members.
M&G Prudential is set to demerge from Prudential Plc to become an independent company listed on the London Stock Exchange.
For nearly nine decades M&G Investments has been helping its customers to prosper by putting investments to work, which in turn creates jobs, homes and vital infrastructure in the real economy. Its investment solutions span equities, fixed income, multi asset, cash, private debt, infrastructure and real estate. M&G recognises the importance of responsible investing and is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) and is a member of the Climate Bonds Initiative Partners Programme.
Its £33 billion property arm (including cash as at 30 June 2019), M&G Real Estate, is a leading financial solutions provider for global real estate investors, has a sector leading approach to responsible property management and is committed to continuously improving the sustainability performance of its funds.
For more information, please visit: http://www.prudential.co.uk/businesses/mandg-prudential
About Community Capital Management:
Community Capital Management, Inc. is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale with employees in Boston, Charlotte, the New York City area, and Southern California, the firm was founded in 1998 and manages approximately $2.5 billion in assets as of May 31, 2019. The firm believes a fully integrated portfolio – one that includes environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors – aiming to deliver strong financial performance while simultaneously having positive long-term economic and sustainable impact.
Aura is a technology-powered Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides small, affordable loans to working families in America. Aura’s mission is to build financially healthy low-income communities by providing empowering financial services to America’s 66 million underbanked and unbanked. Aura has pioneered a cloud-based lending technology that enables trusted local businesses to submit credit applications for centralized review and approval by its proprietary scoring algorithms.
Currently available in 1,250 locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona, Aura has provided hundreds of thousands of credit-building, responsible loans to low-income households since launching in 2014. Aura was founded in 2012 by James Gutierrez, Kevin Kang, and Randy Wong. All three founders helped create and scale Oportun, a CDFI and one of Time Magazine’s Top 50 Most Genius Companies in 2018.