The niche lender launched its first secured retail bond yesterday in a bid to gain £1.5bn of funding for its proposition.
Its experienced team includes CEO Chris Slater (pictured), chief risk officer Simon Baum and head of compliance Sue Colquhoun and its niche products span first-time buyer buy to let, a four-month payment holiday property refurbishment buy-to-let, across to business development loans for firms of two years or older.
The firm plans to launch into HMOs next year but is already lending on multi-unit freeholds, it confirmed.
Its launch distributors are primarily packagers including All Types of Mortgages, Connect For Intermediaries, TBMC and Omega Commercial Brokers. However, CEO Chris Slater told Mortgage Solutions the lender is already talking to networks and a “handful of other intermediaries.”
Weeks into their soft launch, no deals have been completed yet, but “a number are in the pipeline,” said Slater.
He added: “We want to offer simple mortgage and loan products that challenge niche areas, where for example brokers might generally have to look at bridging lenders to provide. We want to redefine Early Repayment Charges for example, and our funding arrangements will give us the flexibility to do it.”
The lender confirmed it is ready to offer its Application Programming Interface (API) – and is working with its packagers to integrate their application software with the Zest Engine platform.
Zest is the second buy to let lender after Kent Reliance to offer buy-to-let up to 85% Loan to Value and is targeting London and the South East and new builds.
The range also includes buy-to-let refurbishment mortgages, development finance and SME loans for business purposes and is available to private individuals, limited companies, LLPs and SPVs.
Through packager Atom, for example, its buy-to-let loans of up to £2m are available to first-time buyer and experienced landlords and up to four applicants.
Dale Jannels, MD at All Types of Mortgages said the lender has gone straight to market with its own very competitive niche.
“It’s very buy-to-let-oriented now but its going to be really interesting when the lender becomes HMO-oriented. It’s a really specialist lender and the four-month deferred payment refurbishment product is excellent.”
Liz Syms, director at Connect For Intermediaries, said: “The innovative products from Blue Zest are already proving popular with our advisers and the team at Blue Zest have been great. They have assisted with training our advisers and case management teams, have made changes to their system to accommodate our network set up and been very helpful and responsive with case queries. We are really pleased to be one of the first distributors for this forward thinking lender.”