SGFGAS was established in 1993, subsequent upon various projects commissioned by the public authorities concerning access to property mortgages for households with low-to-mid incomes. The last 5 years of the 80s had been marked in Europe, after the USA, by a vast wave of deregulation and simplification of banking circuits, leading to:
- the end of the "partitioning" of financial circuits and specific financial channels, institutions and products used by the French State up to that time to issue mortgages to low-income households. This was to lead, in 1995, to the end of the "PAP" program (subsidized housing loans);
- at the same time, a new interest amongst retail banks for their private customers, whose profitability was set to rise and who now seemed a more stable market than companies, given that the latter now had direct access to capital markets.
Given these developments, French authorities worked in liaison with banks to ensure that low-to-mid income private customers would not be excluded as a result of an overly selective credit policy being applied by some banks, in a, at the time, new and little known market.
Hence the idea was mooted of a specific guarantee scheme for mortgages, so as:
- to facilitate access to mortgages for these households,
- to improve knowledge of the risks for that category of customers,
doing so by way of a ad hoc institution, bringing together the State and lenders.
This led to SGFGAS ("Société de Gestion du Fonds de Garantie de l'Accession Sociale à la propriété") being established in 1993, for the purpose of guaranteeing, on behalf of the State and banks, the "PAS" (Affordable Housing Loan). PAS mortgages were guaranteed by the French State in the event of the borrower defaulting, and this guarantee itself was underwritten via a fund (which gave SGFGAS its name) plenished by the banks and the State, and managed by SGFGAS. In a nutshell, SGFGAS's initial mission was to manage the PAS program, indemnify lending banks in the event of a payment default, verify loan applications, and collect information about applicants. The company was set up as a LLC, with lenders as shareholders.
This first activity has been enriched and expanded over time.
As from 1995, SGFGAS's mission was extended to include zero-interest loans ("PTZ"): when this new residential property purchasing program was established, SGFGAS acted as the interface between the State and the lenders, calculating and paying to the lenders, on behalf of the State, the interest payments they had foregone by approving a PTZ loan. This mission was maintained as the PTZ program evolved: transformation of the "lost-interest" subsidy into a tax credit granted to institutions (New 0% PTZ from February 2005, introduction of the PTZ+ as of 1 January 2011, itself modified several times, most recently at the end of 2014 (getting back the PTZ name) and in 2016. In this latest variant, the PTZ helps low income people buying new properties or social housing where the buyers are the occupants, or existing properties requiring important renovation works.
120 000 zero interest loans could be issued in 2016.
In April 2009, SGFGAS extended its missions to include the 0% Eco Loan, intended to finance renovation work to enhance the energy performance of an existing property. Focused initially on private individuals, the Eco Loan was extended at the beginning of 2015 to include residential blocks with several owners (condominiums, etc.) whereby the owners syndicate takes out one single Eco Loan for large-scale projects.
Since 1 January 2014, SGFGAS has also been involved in managing Home Savings Accounts and Home Savings Plans (with the exception of paying the Government Top-Up to savers).
Concerning guaranteed loans (PAS), the main change (end 2005) was to replace the original fund with a direct guarantee given by the public authorities. The regime resulting from this change was baptized the "new FGAS".
Because of these successive evolutions, SGFGAS changed its name in January 2015, and its full name is now the "Société de Gestion des Financements et de la Garantie de l'Accession Sociale à la propriété".