NC Bank Becomes First Regional Bank to Issue Woke Bonds

CHARLOTTE – Okay, they don’t call them Woke Bonds; that would be too obvious.

It’s called a Social Bond, and Truist (formerly BB&T) — a bank whose roots and headquarters is in North Carolina — bragging about it’s achievement in being the first regional bank to facilitate such financing of social change and equity in pursuit of its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy.

From the press release:

“Truist Financial Corporation (NYSE: TFC) demonstrated its commitment to corporate social responsibility by issuing its first social bond of $1.25 billion in aggregate principal amount. As part of the company’s multitiered environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, the net proceeds from the issuance will support new and existing eligible social programs, including investments in affordable housing and enhancements to essential nonprofit services for communities in need.

“We were thrilled by investor reception of our first social bond, particularly in the face of significant market volatility,” said Corporate Treasurer Donna Goodrich. “Our heavily oversubscribed issuance demonstrated investor enthusiasm for this asset class and a desire to further the important work of building our communities, while also affirming confidence in Truist’s credit quality.” […]”

While it all sounds a bit like mere greenwashing of big finance, ESG has become a behemoth over the last several years across the industry. It’s a weird, subjective scoring system, and a remarkable departure from the typically emotionless arithmetic of credit and debt issuance and ratings (aka finance). Where have we seen this before?

It’s one thing to for corporate PR to talk Green and and make moves for the necessary Woke Goodwill, but to actually issue billions of dollars in bonds on behalf of the intangibles of equity and environmental and social justice something else.

Billions (trillions?) in capital has been marked by ESG in one way or another over the last several years.

ESG investing has dominated investment fund management, sending billions toward ‘green’ companies. If every fund manager needs to add green investments to meet his ESG goal for the portfolio, green companies’ stock can suddenly be the hot ticket, coal companies not so much. Bigger businesses are issued subjective ESG scores by agencies; entities are increasingly judged by their ESG scores in considering finance operations or investments by their banks.

Beyond the environmental, though, the social aspects of this Woke push is what should raise eyebrows. Moreover, who watches the watchmen? Some are pushing to add race scores to the mix, too. Seriously.

More from the Trusit Woke Bond release:

“[…] “Investing in our communities is one of the most tangible ways we’re able to fulfill our purpose of inspiring and building better lives and communities,” said Head of Truist Corporate Social Responsibility Tori Kaplan. “This first social bond marks a significant milestone in our overall ESG commitment and our journey to advancing equity in the communities we serve.”

In its first year, Truist strengthened and formalized its ESG program by publishing its Corporate Social Responsibility Report and disclosing key information in accordance with leading ESG frameworks. […]”

The financialization of Woke, right here in North Carolina. While the bank lists all sorts of community investments and programs consistent with the politically correct diversity movement, how else will they “advance equity.”

Equity, remember, is not the same as ‘equality.’ Will advancing equity involve actively leveling playing fields on account of [insert identity here]? By throttling disfavored groups? How long before we’re all issued our own individual ESG scores, a big Woke litmus test on the front page of everyone’s loan application?

Read more about Truist’s Woke ESG milestones here.

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