The Covid-19 virus is having a profound impact on society. At the HFA we have taken the risks involved very seriously. Since 19 March 2020, all staff are operating on a remote working basis. Regular contact is maintained with staff and remote working arrangements are functioning well. Despite the restrictions, 2020 was a record year for approved housing body (AHB) business with loan approvals of €1.0 billion. Gross loan advances of €773 million in the year brought our total loan book to a record €5.2 billion.
Despite the serious challenges posed by the Covid-19 outbreak, it must be recognised that those involved in the delivery of housing have responded magnificently to achieve the level of output recorded throughout 2020 and I am pleased to say that the HFA played its part. At the core of this was the flexibility and resilience displayed by our staff in the face of such a difficult environment.
Our 5-year strategic plan, Strategy HFA 2020 reached its conclusion this year and a review is timely. The HFA met or exceeded all significant objectives during the life of the Plan. During that time, we saw strong growth in lending to approved housing bodies and the commencement of funding for universities for the development of new student accommodation. We also saw the introduction of the successful Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan by local authorities for which the HFA has lent €364 million to date.
Quality Customer Service (QCS) is a concept that is embedded in the heart of the HFA’s business and is fundamental to achieving our mission of facilitating the successful delivery of social and affordable housing.