In addition to giving an AAA rating to the A2 notes, DBRS also placed Renovate America's last eight HERO securitizations under review with positive implications.
A regional North American bank purchased the $34.5 million portfolio of Benji unsecured home improvement loans, which are designed for qualified borrowers. The Benji portfolio had a weighted average life of 23 months and a weighted average FICO score of 762.
These two transactions showcase the strength of Renovate America's integrated home improvement platform, which gives more options to homeowners wanting to improve their homes as well as contractors wanting to grow their business, said Renovate America CEO Roy Guthrie. Investors increasingly recognize the power of our platform and the value it's generating across the marketplace.
HERO and Benji are both point-of-sale home improvement finance products. HERO financing empowers homeowners to make qualified energy and efficiency improvements and pay for them over time at a competitive, fixed interest rate through an additional, voluntary line on their property taxes. The projects backed by the bonds in HERO Funding 2018-1 are projected to lower homeowners' water and energy bills by more than $178 million over the useful lifetime of the products installed. Projects covered by this securitization are also estimated to have created approximately 1,600 jobs.
Benji can finance everything from home energy and efficiency upgrades - such as solar panels, high-efficiency HVAC systems, and replacement windows and doors - to kitchen and bath remodels. Benji is already available in 19 states covering more than half the U.S. population, and Renovate America projects it to be operational in nearly all states over the next 12 months.
The HERO notes are initially secured by HERO PACE assessments levied on 6,332 residential properties in 43 California counties and 12 Missouri counties. The initial PACE assessments have an average balance of approximately $23,700 and a weighted annual interest rate of 6.7 percent and a weighted-average original term of 17.8 years. The underlying municipal bonds in the initial pool were originated between Jan. 18 and May 18, 2018.
The HERO bond platform is the largest platform that solely produces green ABS bonds, with each of the company's 13 securitizations having been designated as green by Sustainalytics, an investment research firm specialized in environmental, social and governance (ESG) research and analysis. HERO bonds also adhere to the Green Bond Principles, a set of commonly agreed standards in the capital markets on what constitutes a green bond.