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International Women’s Day case study – Keys Mortgages

  • 08/03/2022
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International Women’s Day case study – Keys Mortgages
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 specialises in buy-to-let finance, ranging from first-time landlords to large portfolio landlords comprising of limited company buy-to-lets, houses in multiple occupation, 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 specialist advisers, directors and owners Cheryl Williams (pictured right) and Amy Zakary (pictured left), who have been part of the team for nine and six years respectively. 

Williams says that typically females make up 30 per cent of their client base but they have had more enquiries from female clients in the last few years. Keys Mortgages has also noted a change in dynamic that has seen women take more of a prominent role in lettings businesses.

Zakary 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 Williams 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, Zakary 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, Williams added: “Naturally, we feel that women have a lot to offer the industry. At the moment we’re 100 per cent 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.” 

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