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IWD 2022 case study – Keys Mortgages Ltd

To mark International Women’s Day, Paragon Bank is shining a light on some of the women of the mortgage industry. Here, we focus on industry partner Keys Mortgages Ltd, an all-female mortgage advice firm based in Burbage, Hinckley.

Keys Mortgages offers mortgage advice and specialise in buy-to-let finance, ranging from first-time landlords to large portfolio landlords comprising of limited company buy-to-lets, HMO, multi-units and semi-commercial properties. Keys also arranges bridging finance.

Keys Mortgages has been in operation since 2009 and ownership has recently been taken on by Cheryl Williams and Amy Zakary, who have been part of the team for nine and six years respectively.

Cheryl says that typically, females make up 30% of their client base but they have had more enquires from female clients in the last few years. Keys Mortgages have also noted a change in dynamic that has seen women take more of a prominent role in lettings businesses. Amy said:

“More frequently, women buying with partners are increasingly likely to be the main contact for us, whereas historically we would typically only liaise with the man.

“Female landlords seem just as ambitious with their portfolios as their male counterparts too and would structure in a Limited Company if advantageous to them.”

Senior positions within the Financial Services industry, and mortgage lending to a lesser degree, are more likely to be held by men compared to women. Data suggests that progress is being made to tackle this, something that Cheryl agrees with.  

“I would definitely agree that progress is being made in ensuring that there is more female representation in top positions, you only have to go to any industry event and look at a panel!”

Commenting on what could be done to improve female representation more broadly across the mortgages industry, Amy added:

“I feel that the industry could benefit from more women in broker and business facing roles such as Business Development Managers. There are lots of talented women in the industry so it would be great if there was more training and opportunities for admin staff who would like to take the next step to become advisers.”

Talking about their own efforts to ensure they have a diverse workforce, Cheryl added: “Naturally, we feel that women have a lot to offer the industry. At the moment we’re 100% female but if we’re at a point where we’re taking on staff, we’d do so on the merits of the applicants. It’s the right thing to do and it makes the most sense from a business perspective.”

Richard Rowntree, Managing Director for Mortgages at Paragon Bank agreed, adding: “At Paragon, we place a real emphasis on creating a workforce that is diverse and inclusive, something that we’ll continue to do in future. This is not only our moral obligation, but it means we’re recruiting from a wide talent pool, hiring the best people to support our customers and business goals.”

This article first appeared in Mortgage Solutions. 

Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551