‘First-of-a-kind’ products imminent, seeking visability and the stamp duty deadline – Keystone MD Elise Coole

  • 21/01/2021
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‘First-of-a-kind’ products imminent, seeking visability and the stamp duty deadline – Keystone MD Elise Coole
Keystone Property Finance is in the middle of designing a new set of products which it aims to launch by the end of March, newly-appointed managing director Elise Coole revealed.


In an interview with Specialist Lending Solutions, Coole (pictured) was not able to give much detail away about the proposition, but said the lender was looking to offer benefits to landlords and their tenants with the new range.

“We have got some products we’re working on which we believe will be the first of their kind to help brokers give an offering which has benefits for landlords and tenants,” she said.

And Coole added that the products would be available for new and existing customers.

“We do have a product transfer offering, but we don’t have a big number of cases coming off fixed rate periods yet,” she continued.

“That’s something we are a big believer in and something that want to reward existing customers for.”


Strategic planning

Coole stepped into the managing director position this month having spent more than two years at Keystone, with the last year of that as chief operations officer (COO).

The move will give her input into the strategic direction of the business and also a more public role, which is likely to make her a more familiar face for brokers.

“As COO I had control of the day-to-day business but now I will have more of a strategic involvement in the company on its direction and in regards to new products and the offering to brokers,” Coole said.

“I’ll also be more outwardly facing. CEO David Whittaker will continue of course, but I will be more outward focusing and more visible with networks and clubs.”

The lender’s overall strategy remains to focus on professional and specialist landlords with buy-to-let products, no shift into other market sectors is expected in the immediate future.

This will include continuing development of its technology system but will also include product and other buy-to-let market developments.

Coole noted that the £400m securitisation, which Specialist Lending Solutions revealed last week, is a big step for the firm and should be finalised on 25 January.

Not only is it the lender’s first securitisation, it is also the first completed that includes forward funding since the pandemic hit, where deals still in the pipeline are to be included.

“As soon as that’s made whole we’ll start filling up the new warehouse facility,” Coole continued.

“It’s unlikely the next securitisation will take two and a half years to complete – I think it will be quicker depending on how quickly we can build the completions.”


Stamp duty deadline

The impending stamp duty holiday is a key priority for Keystone, as it is across the market.

Speaking in October, Whittaker said he believed mid-January would likely be the key cutoff point where lenders would need to start telling landlords they were unlikely to complete in time.

Business is brisk for Keystone according to Coole, but the lender has not put out any communications to refuse deals which must complete by the 31 March deadline.

“We are very busy through all departments of the business and have got a steady flow of applications coming in,” Coole continued.

“We make sure when new applications arrive we get an understanding of the time constraints.

“We have been pro-actively contacting brokers and clients to ask them to give as much information [as possible] so we can all focus at that point and we make sure we keep the lines of communication open.”

Coole acknowledged there is likely to be a squeeze across the market as the deadline nears, especially with so many participants being hampered by lockdown restrictions.

But she added that should the time come to call a halt to cases to meet the deadline, Keystone will communicate that clearly.

And once that particular deadline has passed, the expectation is for a high level of remortgage business coming through from five-year fixes because of the 2016 tax changes.

“There’s always deadlines with buy to let,” Coole added.


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