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Women’s History Employee Spotlight: Helen R. Thomas

Naomi Bess
Platinum Experiences

I started as a loan officer in January 1986, when interest rates had just fallen below 10 percent and before there was technology as we know it today. Back then, it took more time to get the job done because the processes were longer:

  • Fax machines were brand new.
  • Pagers were used to let people know we needed to talk to them.
  • I memorized phone numbers.
  • It took two days to get a credit report back.
  • Application forms and loan documents were finalized on electric typewriters (and if I made a mistake, I had to start over because White Out was not allowed).
  • I handwrote all loan applications in pencil (so I could easily erase) and once I knew it was right, a copy made on the copy machine for the applicant to sign.
  • Overnight services were local and driven from town to town.
  • All meetings were done in person.  People also kept their appointments, and they were ON TIME.

    Working in the mortgage industry was a very social business and networking was mainly done in person.  People were kind and patient with each another and the business had more of a “fun” aspect to it.

    In the past, entire neighborhoods would have coordinated open houses and we would go to each one like we were bar hopping.  It also seemed like a national priority that HUD and FHA were always designing ways to help the potential homeowner. This made me learn to love and respect the important part of the economic infrastructure this business.  That’s why I was heartbroken for the role it played in the mortgage meltdown train wreck from 2005 to 2009.

    Overall, I feel blessed to have chosen the mortgage industry to make my living. It has mostly been welcoming to women, and I feel very fulfilled.

    You have questions? Visit Helen’s website to get connected and start your route to homeownership.

About the Author

Naomi Bess

Marketing Manager


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