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In my work as a mortgage loan officer, one of the challenges I face is when someone comes to me to help them fix the personal financial situation they have gotten themselves into. The reward comes from a solution that works for the customer and benefits them. This happened recently with a new client.

His situation was a difficult one. At home from work one day, he was startled to receive a call from a credit-card company, informing him he had missed a payment. He was confused, as he didn't know he had a credit account with this company. Today one might think he was a victim of identity theft, but somehow he knew that was not the case.  Wisely, he requested his credit report and discovered that he and his wife owed nearly $100,000 in credit-card debt.  His wife had been charging against numerous credit cards and had been keeping up with making the payments.  She was also suffering from mental illness.

Luckily, although his situation was difficult, the solution was easy. He and his wife had lived in their home for 25 years, and their mortgage was paid off. Their credit was not damaged, and since they owned their home free and clear, we could give him a mortgage on the home, What wasn't easy was the emotions this man was experiencing over making this discovery about his wife.  He told me he loved her and wanted to help her.  It was unfortunate that they would need the mortgage loan but what was happening to her was the real issue. 

 The loan was used to pay off the credit-card debt and the man helped his wife seek help for her mental illness.  He called to let me know that things were going well and they were doing much better. His call meant a lot to me.

 When I started in this business 20 years ago, it was a way to make a living for my family (I was a single parent at the time).  I have a liberal arts background but I needed a job and my sister suggested I get into this business as a way of earning a living.  I find that my independent nature thrives on my ability to set my own hours and my social needs are satisfied by the variety of people I meet.

 The advice I would give to other women interested in being in this industry is to be prepared to invest a lot of time and tenacity.  A loan officer's reputation is what brings in the business, which is how this man's friend knew to bring him to me.

 This couple's situation was financially easy to fix but emotionally difficult for them.  The satisfaction in my job comes from knowing I can help, and the deeper meaning comes from knowing my help can make a real difference for someone.

Pat Gleason is a mortgage loan officer with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.