My first job out of university was in a Mortgage Broker firm, so when I applied for a mortgage role in Nationwide in 2012 I had a rough idea of what to expect. That said, I was a little anxious as in my previous role I gave mortgage advice face to face, and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel only speaking to people over the phone.
I can definitely say now that I much prefer working over the phone as opposed to face to face - now I speak to people all over the UK, rather than being bound to one specific area. Speaking to people from all walks of life makes the job more interesting.
Outside of work, my hobbies principally revolve around sewing - I studied at Bournemouth University for my Fashion Design and Technology degree.
At the moment I’m doing some freelance ‘intimate apparel’ work in my spare time - creating the first sample pieces for small lingerie brands, which I’ve enjoyed doing. Longer term I’m thinking about setting up my very own lingerie brand; I’ve had a great response to the pieces I’ve made so far.
I’d say that one of the best parts of my day job is being able to really help a range of customers. I knew Nationwide had a great reputation for ‘putting the customer first’ and ‘doing the right thing’ and this really appealed to me when I applied.
Applying for a mortgage can be a real mine field for a lot of people and it’s lovely to know that you’ve been able to help put their mind at rest
- and get as much as you can sorted for them whilst having a pleasant conversation. Some customers call and have a great idea of what type of mortgage they want and why. Others admit they have no clue about mortgages at all, and it’s great to make sure they understand what they’re signing up for. It also means you get to find out lots of interesting information about customers: I’m a real people person so this suits me down to the ground.
To do this role you need CeMAP (Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice) or equivalent. It’s split into 3 sections; to begin giving advice you need CeMAP 1 which I had from my previous role as a Broker. When I applied to Nationwide they offered to pay for my CeMAP 2 & 3, and they even paid my salary while I was studying to gain these. I had tons of support material and guidance: thankfully Nationwide made it very easy for me, and now I’m a fully qualified Mortgage Consultant! When I tell people about the qualifications I’ve gained to be a Mortgage Consultant you can tell that they respect that, which feels good.
Whilst working here, I saved up for 18 months for my wedding and we were able to pay for everything without compromising what I wanted
- which included a 3 week road trip around America – definitely the honeymoon of a lifetime. Nationwide offers lots of benefits to its employees, one of them being the opportunity to ‘buy’ extra holiday – I bought an extra 10 days off for my wedding and honeymoon!
Working here has allowed me to save enough money to achieve my personal goals, from buying my first house at 23, paying for my dream wedding at 26 and buying sewing equipment and paying for pattern drafting courses.
I’ve realised a dream job rarely just falls into your lap (for me that would have been a call from the Chanel fashion house in Paris asking me to go and be a sample seamstress), you have to take steps to work towards it. While being a Mortgage Consultant wasn’t my dream job growing up, it’s certainly one I enjoy - and one that I believe will help me achieve all of my future goals.
You're not just your day job
Watch the below to see Gemma in 'You're not just your day job'.
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