Cara Younger, BBVA USA | Next 2021

Executive director, syndicated finance origination

Since 2019, Cara Younger has led the structuring of a new product for U.S. corporate clients of BBVA: the sustainability-linked revolver.

In other words, corporate borrowers are offered an open line of credit with a rate that varies depending on whether they achieve the environmental, social and governance goals outlined in the loan agreement. “It’s greenhouse-gas emissions intensity, or water usage, recycling for consumer products, things like that,” said Younger, the New York-based executive director for syndicated finance origination.

Borrowers receive better pricing by meeting or surpassing goals, said Younger. But they could be penalized in the pricing for falling short — “if emissions increase beyond the agreed upon levels, for example.”

Younger has worked the last eight years (two as executive director) on syndicating a range of commercial loans in both investment- and speculative-grade, for a variety of major corporate and middle-market clients.

BBVA executives credit her with leading efforts to use financing to help spur customers to achieve their own sustainability goals. Her work was crucial to the completion of one of the first such deals in the country in 2019 — and the largest one executed up to that point. She helped establish a $2.5 billion revolving line of credit used by Avangrid, a Connecticut-based energy company, to meet carbon emissions targets.

Younger’s recent work continues to build on that success.

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In December, the Houston-based U.S. arm of the Spanish banking giant Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria was the sole coordinator and joint lead arranger on a $3.5 billion sustainability revolver agreement with the rental-home builder Invitation Homes. The ongoing rate for the facility is tied to an independently validated ESG benchmark.

A similar arrangement was announced in April for the Maryland-based real estate investment trust American Homes 4 Rent. AMH amended an existing revolver agreement with BBVA to introduce sustainability standards and boost the facility’s size to $1.25 billion.

“A lot of my job is marketing and trying to find ways to provide value to the client,” Younger said. “So it’s not just providing a revolver commitment, but bringing in new ideas, which is where the sustainable lending piece comes in.”

Before joining BBVA, which is in the process of selling its U.S. operations to PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh, Younger was a corporate loan structuring specialist at GE Capital, her initial job out of college. She has degrees in finance and international relations from Michigan State.

Younger, who has two children, ages 4 and 5, enjoys following the sports teams of her alma mater. “I’m a huge Spartan sports fan,” said the third-generation Michigan State alum, who also has some sports experience of her own playing basketball, volleyball and softball.

“That was high school and then intramural sports after that,” she said. “I wasn’t D-1 material.”

Nominating executive: Michael Adler, head of U.S. corporate and investment banking

What he said: “Cara has consistently demonstrated a level of creativity and leadership that will drive her career on a path to the C-suite,” Adler said.

Green financing is an area where she shines in particular, as she acts as a champion internally, he said. She takes the lead with conceiving of value-added financing options for clients, and promoting them not only to the clients, but educating others at BBVA about how the new structures can be used to achieve environmental, social and governance goals.

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