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Mortgage Licensing and CE School - FAQs

Mortgage Licensing and CE FAQs

What is a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO)?

A Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) is someone who takes a residential mortgage loan application, offers or negotiates terms of a residential mortgage loan, or assists a consumer in obtaining or applying to obtain a residential mortgage loan.

What are the licensing requirements as issued through SAFE?

The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act) established requirements for the licensing and registration of all Mortgage Loan Originators (MLOs). MLOs who work for an insured depository or its owned or controlled subsidiary that is regulated by a federal banking agency or an institution regulated by the Farm Credit Administration are exempt from the education and testing requirements. All other MLOs need to be licensed by the state, complete the education requirements, and pass the state and national SAFE exams. Learn more: NMLS Website

In order to meet the pre-licensing education requirements, state-licensed Mortgage Loan Originators (MLOs) must complete 20 hours of NMLS approved education.

20-Hour Example*:

  • 3 hours of federal law and regulations
  • 3 hours of ethics, which includes instruction on fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues
  • 2 hours of training related to lending standards for the nontraditional mortgage product marketplace
  • 12 hours of undefined instruction on mortgage origination

Learn more: NMLS Website

*some states vary on the hour requirements.

What are the continuing education requirements as issued through SAFE?

For annual continuing education*, the SAFE Act requires state-licensed MLOs to complete:

  1. 3 hours of Federal law and regulations;
  2. 2 hours of ethics that shall include instruction on fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues;
  3. 2 hours of training related to lending standards for the nontraditional mortgage product market; and
  4. 1 hour of undefined instruction on mortgage origination.

Learn more: NMLS Website
*may also include state specific content

What are my state’s licensing requirements?

For your state specific Mortgage Licensing requirements, please visit the NMLS Website – State Licensing Requirements

What are my state’s continuing education requirements?

For your state specific Mortgage CE requirements, please visit NMLS Website – State Mortgage Continuing Education Requirements

How do I access my course?

To access a course you are already enrolled in, please go here.

What is the process to meet the licensing requirements?

See our SAFE Act page for information.

Do I need a background check in order to become licensed?

The NMLS requires a federal criminal background check (CBC) through the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The background check is initiated through fingerprinting. Please follow the link below for the NMLS mandated process.

Criminal Background Check Process

What is a bio-data question?

A bio-data question requires the user to answer a question related to personal information collected either at the time of enrollment or before the course begins. The NMLS requires such questions to be issued in order to ensure the user is indeed the individual who initially enrolled in the course.

Is there a licensing exam requirement through SAFE?

The SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act also requires all loan originator applicants to take a state and national exam prior to licensure. Exam participants must pass with a 75% or higher. The tests are written by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry and administered by an approved test provider. An individual may retake a test three consecutive times with each consecutive taking occurring at least 30 days after the preceding test. After failing three consecutive tests, an individual must wait at least six months before taking the test again. Reserve your SAFE exam date with an NMLS exam provider.

What are typical mortgage professional career titles?

Some examples of Mortgage Professional career titles:

  • Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO)
  • Mortgage Broker
  • Mortgage Loan Processor
  • Mortgage Loan Officer