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Overview of the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLSR)

With the development of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008, also known as the SAFE Act, came the creation of a national system devoted to the protection of consumers and those who trust mortgage loan originators with one of the most important financial decisions of their lives. The SAFE Act created the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLSR), which began functioning in 2008 with 14 states involved. This system was designed not only to protect consumers, but also to simplify and reorganize the process by which mortgage licensees and regulators conduct business so that it is more secure and more efficient. The organizations that are behind the NMLSR are the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), the State Regulatory Registry LLC (SRR), which is a subsidiary of CSBS, and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR).

The NMLSR is available to consumers, licensees, and regulators of the mortgage industry seven days a week, and 362 days a year. Whether you are amending or updating, applying for, or renewing your mortgage license, this safe system makes it easy for you to check on your license status because of its secure and protected real-time Web access. You can also run reports, submit any fees or financial statements, check on your education and testing requirements, provide required information, and verify records online.

The main objectives of the NMLSR are to make the licensing procedure more organized for mortgage licensees, companies, and regulators, to decrease the difficulties of mortgage industry regulation, instill responsibility and accountability in mortgage licensee professionals, to increase the protection of consumers, and to diminish fraud and dishonesty. For consumers, this registry is an efficient and easy way to learn about the mortgage loan originators who help them. This system is also helpful for mortgage licensees to keep track of their own licensing requirements. For regulators, this registry makes it easy to monitor the ethical behavior of those who are licensed in the mortgage industry. Additionally, state regulators can communicate with one another through this registry and they can also supervise and process mortgage licenses in their own specific jurisdiction. One way in which these objectives are met is through the NMLSR’s system of keeping only one record for each licensee, company, branch, or state regulator. Each of these mortgage entities will receive a distinctive identification number and a single record. For mortgage licensees, this makes it much easier to revise and adjust their license status for more than one state and to add licenses in more states if they wish. For mortgage industry regulators, this identification system simplifies annual reports, criminal background checks, and the management of mortgage loan originators and companies. Another way the objectives of the NMLSR are met is through the use of uniform forms, called MU1, MU2, MU3, and MU4, that simplify and make the entire mortgage licensing process much easier for everyone involved.

The NMLSR is always in the process of updating its system and has recently added important information for education and testing providers. This information will update approved mortgage education and testing providers on the adjustments of fees, the latest news, and changes to education and testing guidelines. These updates will be available to them through a website called the NMLS Resource Web Site. This Web site is continually increasing and improving its tools for mortgage education providers, including a Web page just for course providers, an education and testing Frequently Asked Question page, a page providing details about the SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator Test, a fee schedule table, and a page describing mortgage education and testing provider requirements. By ensuring that the mortgage education and testing providers are current on changes and requirements, the NMLSR is guaranteeing that all who use the registry receive the most efficient and reliable service. It is also vital for mortgage licensees to check on the changing procedures and requirements as well so they are current with the most recent updates. The NMLSR is also very receptive to suggestions from any mortgage licensee, company, or educator.

The SAFE Act strongly recommends that each state register with the NMLSR. However, if any state chooses not to register, it must establish its own system and registry of mortgage licensing that meets the specific rules of the SAFE Act. Although all mortgage loan originators have to be registered or licensed through the NMLSR, the states nonetheless preserve their power to regulate licensees through rejecting, approving, rescinding, and suspending licenses. In addition, each state may also have its own specific requirements and forms that mortgage licensees must fill out in addition to registering with the NMLSR. The NMLSR is only responsible for processing applications for licenses and renewals of licenses. As a result, it is crucial that you make sure you fulfill your own state’s requirements in addition to meeting the NMLSR registration conditions.

SAFE Act Articles
SAFE Act Changes
Overview of the SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act
Overview of the NMLSR
Mortgage Loan Originator Requirements
Pre-Licensing Requirements
SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator Test
Continuing Education Requirements
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