Louise Stevens – Mortgage Adviser

Hi My name is Louise Stevens.

I am 35 years old and I was diagnosed with ADHD the inattentive sub type just last Christmas. Being diagnosed recently has brought to light and explained a lot of struggles I had growing up. Now I know what I know I can really see what I love about my job and everything totally makes sense. I love problem solving.

At 20 I didn’t know what I wanted to do, having struggled to get the results I needed to become a vet. I found an advert for an estate agents near to me. To be honest I didn’t even really know what that was. I was contacted by the recruitment team at Countrywide for bairstow eves estate agents and had an interview.

During my interview they asked me if I had thought about being a mortgage broker. They said my personality was more suited to this role.

The Countrywide course was very visual and although it was hard for me it was presented in a way I could learn. I failed my Cemap twice but I flew through the mortgage advising and process part.

I have now been a Mortgage Broker for coming up to 15 years.

I started my career at Countrywide, then worked for Mortgage Matters direct for 7 years. I then moved to Coreco. I worked for NewWave , returned to MMD then fingerprint and returned to Coreco.

I loved working for New Wave as we specialised in mortgages for the self employed and when clients were so grateful because they couldn’t get a mortgage elsewhere this really gave me a boost. I have been told by pretty much all of my bosses that I don’t give up. If I speak to client I can help then. I don’t want to tell someone they can’t get a mortgage I will find a lender and see it through to the end.

With adhd and the brain and how it works is when happiness comes you are on top of the world and so I love making people happy and helping and it totally makes sense now as to why.

I struggled through school as I couldn’t focus and information didn’t sink in.

I struggled to read and retain information. I have never read a book and I struggled to complete homework. I also struggled a lot with my memory. I forgot my journal almost on a daily basis, which told me the lessons I had to be at which made me miss lessons as I didn’t know what class room I should be in.

It came with the judgement of being lazy and not bothering . When you’re at school, you don’t want to admit you can’t do something. It’s easier to run with the cool kids and agree that I just didn’t do it.

With my career, memory has been a struggle too. I have learnt that lists and task lists are very helpful for this. And it had to be managed into me to use this, but I soon realised this was my best friend.

One of my biggest struggles over the years has been administration. Admin errors are not the highlight of anyone’s day. I make lots of admin errors. Because of this I have spent most of my career working extra hours over my colleagues for what I always felt was the same reward. I couldn’t understand why I struggled with my compliance. I always put it down to a busy lifestyle and being busy at work. And I was told by a lot of my previous employers – no one likes admin and everyone makes mistakes and even that I was lazy!

When I worked for a previous company for the first time I had full admin support. I was able to speak to people all day every day. Documents AIPS and applications where all dealt with by an admin team.

This was the set up for everyone. For the first time this made me excel. I was writing double everyone else and full protection for my clients. I was specialising in mortgages for self employed clients and so problem solving on a daily basis.

I had to leave this company due to personal circumstances and move back close to home.

When I left new Wave I had the issue of having to do my own admin again. This really highlighted to me the struggles I had with it. I was then diagnosed last year and the company I was working for at the time wasn’t offering any help.

I have now started working with Coreco where we are working together to work out the support that I need.

I can now look at my ADHD and my personality traits and I feel like I genuinely do have an advantage. I love the challenges and problem solving and I won’t shy away from a hard application.

My advice to anyone considering a move to the mortgage industry would be to go for it, but make sure you have the right support around you and you understand where your struggles are and where you excel. There are a lot of coping mechanisms.

It’s really important your employers know and understand what ADHD is so they can work with you to the best of your abilities and your strengths.

My advice to an employer would be to remember everyone is different – try to understand if someone is struggling and you can see they are working really hard. There could be an underlying cause they might not even know themselves yet. Not everyone is lazy!