Willow Valley Communities Awarded “A” Rating from Fitch Ratings
Lancaster, PA — Willow Valley Communities has again received a coveted “A” rating with a Stable Rating Outlook from Fitch Ratings, a leading provider of credit ratings, commentary, and research. Willow Valley Communities is one of the largest not-for-profit senior living communities in the country, serving approximately 2,400 residents in 1,600 residences and 500 supportive living accommodations.
Fitch Ratings, based in New York City and London, is the predominant debt rating agency in the senior living sector. The “A” rating communicates overall financial health to the residents who live at Willow Valley Communities, as well as to prospective residents, as they assess the organization’s strength.
Fitch reported that the “A” rating reflects Willow Valley Communities’ solid financial profile, which is characterized by steady revenue growth and good operating ratios for a Lifecare community. Lifecare provides personal care, nursing care, or memory support, should it be needed, with no change to the resident’s monthly service fee because of the increased level of care.
In supporting its rating, Fitch cited Willow Valley Communities’ unique national market draw, with current residents coming from 37 different states: “Fitch believes WVC’s ability to draw residents from a geographically broad area insulates it from potential stress in the local economy or housing market. Pennsylvania and Lancaster County are competitive markets. However, Fitch believes Willow Valley Communities’ pricing and Type A Lifecare contract (most other Lancaster County LPC offer a Type C contract )keep WVC competitive in its local service area as well. Residents from out of the area are drawn to Willow Valley Communities for the level of amenities it offers relative to its modest independent living pricing.”
Fitch also stated that despite the challenges of marketing and sales during the coronavirus, Willow Valley Communities had 18 new resident move-ins from March through the middle of May. As Fitch reports, “Revenues have remained largely intact and the overall financial performance has remained steady. Willow Valley Communities has had only a handful of residents and staff (approximately a dozen total) that have tested positive for the coronavirus. All of those cases have recovered.”
Responding to the news of the rating, John G. Swanson, Chief Executive Officer of Willow Valley Living, the management company for Willow Valley Communities, said, “Willow Valley Communities has enjoyed a long history of financial strength. We are proud of this affirmation by Fitch, which attests to the excellent operational performance and strong commitment to financial stewardship exhibited by our Leadership Team and Team Members, and to the astuteness of our Board of Directors, whose support and guidance inspire our achievements.”