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Iceland’s Housing Fund Says Looking at Issuing Callable Bonds

The Housing Finance Fund, Iceland’s state-owned mortgage lender, said it’s working on a plan to start issuing callable debt as it “clarified” a newspaper report it was seeking early repayments on its bonds.

Trading in the fund’s bonds was halted on the Iceland exchange after a report in newspaper Vidskiptabladid. The lender has about 530 billion kronur ($4.2 billion) in outstanding HFF bonds, making it the biggest issuer in Iceland after the government.

“From the press coverage one could infer that HFF is currently working on changing the terms of outstanding HFF bonds,” the fund said. “Such changes aren’t possible and will not be made without the bondholders’ cooperation.”

HFF is struggling as it loses market share to Iceland’s commercial banks. The lender can only issue mortgages indexed to inflation and price growth exceeding 4 percent has put the fund at a disadvantage to rivals such as Islandsbanki hf and Arion Bank hf, which both provide non-linked mortgages.

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