Category Archives: MLO License

How to Become a MLO in California (DBO)

The Department of Business Oversight (DBO) provides protection to consumers and services to businesses engaged in financial transactions. The DBO oversees the operations of state-licensed financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, money transmitters, issuers of payment instruments and travelers checks, and premium finance companies. 

Total California DBO MLOs:
Annual Percentage Change:

39,924
4.5%

Special Note:

If you currently have a California real estate license and want to originate loans, you will be getting an MLO endorsement under the DRE.

If you don’t have a real estate license, then you will get the MLO license under the DBO.

What’s the difference?

Not much. It’s virtually the same process and same requirements. It is just regulated by a different agency depending on whether or not you have a real estate license.

Short Answer

  1. Complete the Pre-Licensure Education (PE)
  2. Pass the National Exam with Uniform State Content
  3. Submit your License Application (Includes a background check and credit report)

From start to finish, the entire process takes about 6 weeks to 8 weeks.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements

  • You need to be at least 18 years or older.
  • Applicant must be a US citizen or lawfully-admitted alien.
  • A high school diploma, or equivalent, is required.

1. Complete Pre-Licensure Education (PE)

The DBO requires you to complete 20 hours of NMLS-approved education.

The subjects must include the following:

  • 2 hours – Non-traditional mortgage lending
  • 2 hours – California-DBO Law
  • 3 hours – Federal Law
  • 3 hours – Ethics (Includes fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues)
  • 10 hours – Elective topics of your choice

The first assignment that you will get when you start this program is to obtain an NMLS ID#. If you already have one, then you will keep using the same one. 

If you don’t, you can get one for free through the NMLS website. 

This is important because your course certificates will later be attached to your NMLS ID# and permanently become part of your licensing history. 

Be forewarned, there are no shortcuts with this course. The NMLS has put in the effort to make sure you are paying attention in these courses. For instance, online courses will log you out automatically if you are idle for 6 minutes or so.

There are programs that are only 2 days long but it is very intense and rigorous.  I personally recommend finding a program that is 7 to 14 days long. That allows your brain time to digest all the information and doesn’t encroach on your regular schedule too much. 

2. Pass the National Exam with UST

You can actually schedule to take this exam at any time, even  before the 20 hour course. However, I don’t recommend it. The exam is hard enough as it is, and you will learn things in the course that will help you later on the exam. 

The National Exam with UST consists of 125 multiple-choice questions. You have 190 minutes to score a 75% or better to pass. The exam fee is $110.

The first step to applying for the National Exam with UST is to enroll on the NMLS website, where you’ll pay the $110 testing fee.

Once you have enrolled, you can schedule an exam online with the national testing company called Prometric. If you want to call instead, their phone number is (877) 671-6657.

You have 6 months to take the exam after you have enrolled on the NMLS website. If you miss that window, then you will have to pay the $110 test fee again. 

National Exam with UST Pass Rates

 Tests TakenTests PassedPass Rate
1st Attempt61,79835,91858%
Subsequent Attempts27,11011,57043%
Overall88,90847,48853%
Source: NMLS; Tests administered between 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2018

 

The low test scores may seem daunting, but if you know what to study and study hard, then you will be fine. 

The National Exam with UST is testing you on the most current laws and regulations. Keep in mind, they change almost every year. That means that in order to successfully pass this test, you will need to be up-to-date on current events. 

What used to be the law last year may not apply anymore this year. I recently saw a lot of test-takers struggling because they weren’t caught up on all the changes to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule in 2018. 

If you don’t pass, you can re-take it but there is a waiting period of 30 days. If you fail Attempt #2, you have to wait another 30 days. If you fail Attempt #3, you have to wait 180 days.

3. Submit Your License Application

The next step will be to apply online on the NMLS website. You will need to fill out the Multistate Uniform Individual License Form (MU4 FORM). This is pretty standard application that asks you for your contact information, employment history, and any financial or criminal disclosures you want to make. The application fee is $300. 

Along with your application, you will need to get your fingerprints taken by an approved Live Scan Provider. This is a quick and painless process that only costs $36.25. 

They will use this to run a federal criminal background check in the FBI database. 

If you had your fingerprints taken with the NMLS within 3 years, then you will not have to do this again.

They are looking for serious felony convictions such as money laundering, breach of trust, or fraud. 

You must also authorize the DBO to run your credit report. The SAFE Act has given each state the broad discretion to determine their own standards of financial responsibility. There is no minimum credit score. They will review your credit history in comprehensive detail to determine if they can trust you to handle other people’s money. The credit report fee is $15.

A good idea I recommend is to check your credit history before they do. You can get your free annual credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. This way, you can resolve any potential disputes with the credit agencies before it holds up the application process. 

4. Find a Company to Sponsor You

After they approve your application, you will be issued your license under “Approved-Inactive” status. You will not be authorized to conduct any business yet.

You will need to find a mortgage company that is approved by the DBO and has submitted their request to be your sponsor. Then, your license status will change to “Approved-Active.”

After you are sponsored, you will officially be a licensed Mortgage Loan Originator under the DBO in California!

How to Become a MLO in California (DRE)

The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) was created to safeguard and promote the public interests in real estate matters through licensure, regulation, education and enforcement. The DRE strives to be an effective consumer advocate by monitoring and regulating industry practices while promoting public awareness, and to be an effective customer-focused department providing timely and efficient services to licensees, sub-dividers and consumers.

Total DRE MLOs in California:
Annual Percentage Change:

19,280
0.8%

Special Note:

If you currently have a California real estate license and want to originate loans, you will be getting an MLO endorsement under the DRE.

If you don’t have a real estate license, then you will get the MLO license under the DBO.

What’s the difference?
Not much. It’s virtually the same process and same requirements. It is just regulated by a different agency depending on whether or not you have a real estate license.

Short Answer

  1. Complete the Pre-Licensure Education (PE)
  2. Pass the National Exam with Uniform State Content
  3. Submit your License Application (Includes a background check and credit report)

From start to finish, the entire process takes about 6 weeks to 8 weeks.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements:

  • You need to be at least 18 years or older.
  • Applicants must be a US citizen or lawfully admitted alien.
  • A high school diploma, or equivalent, is required.

1. Complete Pre-Licensure Education (PE)

The DRE requires you to complete 20 hours of NMLS-approved education.

The subjects must include the following:

  • 2 hours – Non-traditional mortgage lending
  • 3 hours – Federal Law
  • 3 hours – Ethics (Includes fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues)
  • 12 hours – Elective topics of your choice

The course can be pretty dull at times, but it’s only 20 hours. There are both online and live programs that range between 2 days to 14 days.

The NMLS has also implemented measures to make sure you’re paying attention in these courses. For instance, if your mouse cursor is idle for more than 6 minutes, you will be logged out automatically.

The PE does not need to be completed prior to taking the National Exam with UST, but must be completed before an endorsement is issued.

2. Pass the National Exam with UST

Applicants must pass the National Exam with UST, which is administered at Prometric testing centers (not DRE examination sites). This is a good thing. Prometric is a private testing service, so they have more locations and availability than the DRE.

The National Exam with UST consists of 125 multiple-choice questions. You have 190 minutes to score a 75% or better to pass. The exam fee is $110.

The first step to applying for the National Exam with UST is to enroll on the NMLS website, where you’ll pay the $110 testing fee.

Once you’ve enrolled, you can schedule an exam on Prometric’s website or by calling them at (877) 671-6657.

You have 180 days to take the exam from the date that you enrolled on the NMLS website. Otherwise, you will have to repay the $110 exam fee again.

National Exam with UST Pass Rates

 Tests TakenTests PassedPass Rate
1st Attempt61,79835,91858%
Subsequent Attempts27,11011,57043%
Overall88,90847,48853%
Source: NMLS; Tests administered between 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2018

 

Most people don’t prepare enough for this exam, which is resulting in low test scores. The test itself isn’t hard. You just need to know what to study.

The National Exam with UST is testing you on the most current laws and regulations, and they are changing all the time. There were some big changes to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule just back in 2018 and a lot people were surprised by this. Needlessly to say, this caused a lot of people to fail the exam.

If you don’t pass, you can re-take it but there is a waiting period of 30 days. If you fail Attempt #2, you have to wait another 30 days. If you fail Attempt #3, you have to wait 180 days.

3. Submit Your License Application

After you successfully pass the exam, there are only a few administrative items left to take care of.

You’ll need to login to your account on the NMLS website and fill out the Multistate Uniform Individual License Form (MU4 FORM). This is the actual application form to apply for the license, which has an application fee of $300.

The SAFE Act requires that each MLO applicant submit a set of fingerprints through the NMLS. You must have them taken by an NMLS-approved Live Scan provider, which charges a fee of $36.25. You can schedule an appointment here. The results are back within 48 hours.

If you had your fingerprints taken in the NMLS within 3 years, then you do not need to be reprinted.

If you’ve already had your fingerprints taken for your real estate license, the DRE won’t accept them. You will need to get a new set of fingerprints taken and submitted to the NMLS.

They will use your fingerprints to run a federal criminal background check with the FBI.

They may deny your application if you have ever been convicted of a felony involving an act of fraud, dishonesty, breach of trust, or money laundering, or convicted of any felony in the seven-year period before filing an application for an endorsement.

The SAFE Act requires that each MLO applicant authorize NMLS to obtain a credit report. The credit report fee is $15

They will be looking for evidence of financial responsibility. There is no minimum credit score or automated scoring system. They will be reviewing each applicant’s credit history one at a time to make a decision. Every state goes by their own guidelines and they don’t tell you what that is.

They may deny your application if they see a demonstrated a lack of financial responsibility, character, and general fitness.

Basically, since you will be helping other people with the largest financial decision of their lives, they want to be confident that you will operate honestly, fairly, and efficiently.

4. Obtain a Company Sponsorship

Once the DRE approves your application, you will technically have your endorsement, but you won’t be able to do anything with it just yet.

Your status will be “Approved-Inactive” until you find an approved mortgage company to work for. Then, they will change your status to “Approved-Active” and you can begin to use your license for business transactions (and to start making money!).

Once they approve your sponsor, you will have an MLO endorsement on your real estate license under the DRE in California!

How to Become a MLO in Texas

The Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending (SML) has two key areas of regulatory responsibility: the chartering, regulation, and supervision of the state’s thrift industry; and the licensing, registration, and regulation of the state’s mortgage industry. The SML will aggressively enforce the state’s statutes, rules, and regulations to promote public confidence, protect consumers, and provide a healthy mortgage lending environment to meet the credit needs of Texas and maintain a safe and sound thrift system.

Total Texas SML MLOs:
Annual Percentage Change:

29,914
10.7%

Short Answer

  1. Complete the Pre-Licensure Education (PE)
  2. Pass the National Exam with Uniform State Content
  3. Submit your License Application (Includes a background check and credit report)
  4. Obtain a company sponsorship

From start to finish, the entire process takes about 6 weeks to 8 weeks.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements

  • You need to be at least 18 years or older.
  • A high school diploma, or equivalent, is required.

There will eventually be a criminal background check. If you are concerned about this and want to find out if you will be eligible before going through all the work, you can fill out the Eligibility Determination Application Package and a $75 fee to the SML. They will notify you within 90 days of their decision.

1. Complete the Pre-Licensure Education (PE)

The SML requires you to complete 23 hours of NMLS-approved education.

The subjects must include the following:

  • 2 hours – Non-traditional mortgage lending
  • 3 hours – Texas-SML Law
  • 3 hours – Federal Law
  • 3 hours – Ethics (Includes fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues)
  • 12 hours – Elective topics of your choice

Before you start your education, the first thing your education provider will have you do is obtain an NMLS ID# if you don’t have one. It’s a very easy process and the best part is it’s free.

If you already have NMLS ID #, you’ll just continue using the one you have.

This will be important when you’re done with the course, because your education provider will be submitting your certificates to the NMLS with your unique NMLS ID #. 

There are both online and live programs available that can take anywhere from 2 days to 14 days. Regardless of which program you choose, you will still spend 20 overall classroom hours.

If you take an online program, you’ll have to log at least 16.67 total hours online. The NMLS has also implemented measures to make sure you’re paying attention. For instance, if your mouse cursor is idle for more than 6 minutes, you will be logged out automatically.

2. Pass the National Exam with UST

Prometric is the designated testing service used to administer the exams. They are one of the largest testing companies in the country, so they have locations all over Texas. 

The National Exam with UST consists of 125 multiple-choice questions. You have 190 minutes to score a 75% or better to pass. The exam fee is $110.

You have to enroll with the NMLS before actually scheduling your exam date with Prometric. 

You can enroll on the NMLS website, and pay for the $110 exam fee online. 

After you have enrolled, you can go to Prometric’s website or call them at (877) 671-6657 to schedule a time and place to sit for the exam. 

Once you enroll, you will have 180 days to sit for the exam. If you still have not taken the exam by then, you will have to re-pay the $110 test fee.

I strongly recommend that you allocate a good amount of time to study for the test. I’ve seen a lot of people take a few practice exams and think they will be ready for it. 

National Exam with UST Pass Rates

 Tests TakenTests PassedPass Rate
1st Attempt61,79835,91858%
Subsequent Attempts27,11011,57043%
Overall88,90847,48853%
Source: NMLS; Tests administered between 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2018

 

The National Exam with UST isn’t hard. You just have to know what to study and prepare for it. 

The test covers the most recent laws and regulations in the mortgage industry. The only way to study for this is to memorize what those laws are.

Also, keep in mind that the laws change and get amended all the time. Just in 2018, there was a major change to the TRID rule, and a lot of people were caught off guard when they were tested on it. 

If you don’t pass, you can re-take it but there is a waiting period of 30 days. If you fail Attempt #2, you have to wait another 30 days. If you fail Attempt #3, you have to wait 180 days.

3. Submit Your License Application

After you complete the PE and the National Exam with UST, the rest of the way is pretty much just paperwork.

You’ll need to go online to the NMLS website and fill out the Multistate Uniform Individual License Form (MU4 FORM).

This is a simple form where you put in your contact information, work history, and any financial or criminal disclosures you want them to know. This has a $150 application fee.

You’ll also have to get your fingerprints taken, so they can run a federal background check with the FBI. Make sure that you get them taken at a NMLS-authorized Live Scan Provider. It’s a quick process and the results are usually sent back within 2 days. You can find one here. The Live Scan fee is $36.25.

If you had your fingerprints taken in the NMLS within 3 years, then you do not need to be reprinted.

They will also review your credit history. There is no standard (or at least, one that they disclose to the public). That means, there is no minimum credit score or automated scoring system. Each applicant is handled on a case-by-case basis and reviewed thoroughly. The credit report fee is $15. 

They are basically checking to see if you are financially responsible. After all, you are applying for a license to help other people make the largest financial decisions of their lives. it makes sense that they want to see how you handle financial matters in your private life first. 

If you have doubts about your own credit history, I recommend getting your free annual credit report and checking it for any irregularities before you submit your final application. I personally like to use Credit Karma, because they give you a free credit score. 

4. Obtain a Company Sponsorship

Once everything is approved, your license will be in “Approved-Inactive” status. This means you are licensed, but you can’t use it for business yet. 

If you want to start using your license to originate loans, you will need to designate an approved NMLS mortgage company who is willing to sponsor you. The NMLS will accept or reject your sponsorship request. If they approve it, your license status changes to “Approved-Active.”

Once your application is Active, you will be a licensed Mortgage Loan Originator in Texas under the SML!

How to Become a MLO in Utah

The mission of the Utah Division of Real Estate (DRE) is to protect public the public and promote responsible business practices through education, licensure, and regulation of real estate, mortgage, and appraisal professionals.

Total DRE MLOs in Utah:
Annual Percentage Change:

6,248
7.8%

Short Answer

  1. Complete the Pre-Licensure Education (PE)
  2. Pass the National Exam with Uniform State Content
  3. Submit your License Application (Includes a background check and credit report)
  4. Obtain a company sponsorship

From start to finish, the entire process takes about 6 weeks to 8 weeks.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements

  • You need to be at least 18 years or older.
  • A high school diploma, or equivalent, is required.
  • Meet the statutory licensing qualifications of good moral character, competency, honesty, integrity, and truthfulness

1. Complete the Pre-Licensure Education (PE)

The Utah DRE requires you to complete 20 hours of NMLS-approved education.  15 out of these 20 hours must be approved by Utah.

The subjects must include the following:

  • 2 hours – Non-traditional mortgage lending
  • 3 hours – Federal Law
  • 3 hours – Ethics (Includes fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues)
  • 12 hours – Elective topics of your choice

Before you start your education, the first thing your education provider will have you do is obtain an NMLS ID# if you don’t have one. It’s a very easy process and the best part is it’s free.

If you already have NMLS ID #, you’ll just continue using the one you have.

This will be important when you’re done with the course, because your education provider will be submitting your certificates to the NMLS with your unique NMLS ID #. 

There’s only one program that’s in a live classroom in the entire state, so your best will probably to do this online. They typically range from 5 days to 14 days.

If you take an online program, you’ll have to log at least 16.67 total hours online. The NMLS has also implemented measures to make sure you’re paying attention. For instance, if your mouse cursor is idle for more than 6 minutes, you will be logged out automatically.

2. Pass the National Exam with UST

You don’t technically have to take the PE before the National Exam. However, it will be beneficial to take the exam after the course because you will learn things in the course that will help you understand the questions better on the exam.

Prometric has been selected by the NMLS to administer their exams. They are a national testing company, so it will be easy to find a location that is close to you.

The National Exam with UST consists of 125 multiple-choice questions. You have 190 minutes to score a 75% or better to pass. The exam fee is $110.

The first step to applying for the National Exam with UST is to enroll on the NMLS website, where you’ll pay the $110 testing fee.

Once you’ve enrolled, you can schedule an exam on Prometric’s website or by calling them at (877) 671-6657.

You have 180 days to take the exam from the date that you enrolled on the NMLS website. Otherwise, you will have to repay the $110 exam fee again.

I’ll be honest with you. A lot of people struggle with this exam. The pass rate is a meager 58% for people who take the test on their first time as you can see from the table below.

National Exam with UST Pass Rates

 Tests TakenTests PassedPass Rate
1st Attempt61,79835,91858%
Subsequent Attempts27,11011,57043%
Overall88,90847,48853%
Source: NMLS; Tests administered between 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2018

 

Why are pass rates so low?

It’s simple. Most people either don’t study enough or study the right material.

Keep in mind, this exam is testing you on the most current laws and regulations. In February 2018, Congress passed major changes to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule. A large portion of the National Exam with UST covers this, and unless you are current on this, you will have difficulty passing this part.

If you don’t pass, you can re-take it but there is a waiting period of 30 days. If you fail Attempt #2, you have to wait another 30 days. If you fail Attempt #3, you have to wait 180 days.

3. Submit Your License Application

After you successfully pass the exam, you will be ready to submit your application.

Complete the Multistate Uniform Individual License Form (MU4 FORM) online at the NMLS website.

This is a generic application form that includes your contact information, employment history, and any financial or criminal disclosures you need to report. The current application fee is $199.25.

You will also have to get your fingerprints taken so that they can run a federal background check with the FBI. You have to go to a NMLS authorized Live Scan Provider. You can schedule your fingerprinting appointment here.  It’s a quick process and results are back within 48 hours. The Live Scan fee is $36.25.

They are looking for criminal activity such as felonies involving an act of fraud, dishonesty, or a breach of trust, or money laundering.

They will conduct a comprehensive review of your credit history. They want to see that you have demonstrated financial responsibility, character, and general fitness such as to command the confidence of the community and to warrant a determination that the loan originator will operate honestly, fairly, and efficiently within the purposes of this title.

There is no minimum credit score or automated grading system for determining if someone passes the credit check. The SAFE Act gives each state regulator the broad discretion to review and determine what financial responsibility looks like. So, every state has different criteria, and they don’t publish what these standards are.

The credit report fee is $15

If you are concerned about this, you can check your own credit before you send it. There is a lot of free credit reporting options nowadays. You can get your free annual report from www.annualcreditreport.com.

4. Obtain A Company Sponsorship

Once you have submitted everything above to the NMLS, your license status will be “Approved-Inactive.” While under this status, you are not allowed to conduct any business under the authority of the Utah-DRE MLO license.

To change your status to “Approved-Active,” you will need to get your employer to submit a sponsorship request to the DRE. They review the request and either accept it or reject it.

After your sponsor is approved by the DRE, you will be a licensed Mortgage Loan Originator in Utah!

How to Become a MLO in Washington

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) provides regulatory oversight for the state’s financial services providers, so that it can protect and educate the public and promote economic vitality. The DFI is self-supporting. It is not funded by state taxes, but through fees obtained by the organizations and individuals it regulates.

Total Washington MLOs:
Annual Percentage Change:

19,311
3.5%

Short Answer

  1. Complete the Pre-Licensure Education (PE)
  2. Pass the National Exam with Uniform State Content
  3. Submit your License Application (Includes a background check and credit report)

From start to finish, the entire process takes about 6 weeks to 8 weeks.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements

  • You need to be at least 18 years or older.
  • A high school diploma, or equivalent, is required.
  • No prior experience is required.

1. Complete the Pre-Licensure Education (PE)

The DFI requires you to complete 22 hours of NMLS-approved education.

The subjects must include the following:

  • 2 hours – Non-traditional mortgage lending
  • 4 hours – Washington Law
  • 3 hours – Federal Law
  • 3 hours – Ethics (Includes fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues)
  • 10 hours – Elective topics of your choice

If you don’t have an NMLS ID# yet, you’ll need to get one. Your education provider should be helping you get one. It takes 5 minutes to setup and it’s free through the NMLS.

If you already have NMLS ID #, you’ll just continue using the one you have.

This will be important when you’re done with the course, because your education provider will be submitting your certificates to the NMLS with your unique NMLS ID #. 

The course can be pretty dry at times, but it’s only 20 hours. There are both online and live programs that can range anywhere from 5 days to 14 days.

If you take an online program, you will be required to be logged online for the 20 hour duration. If you are idle for too long, it will automatically log you out.  

2. Pass the National Exam with Uniform State Content (UST)

The National Exam with UST consists of 125 multiple-choice questions. You have 190 minutes to score a 75% or better to pass. The exam fee is $110.

You don’t have to take the 22 hour PE before taking this exam. However, it’s the smarter decision to take the exam after the PE. There are things you will learn in the PE that will help you on the exam, which is not going to be easy.

The NMLS has contracted with Prometric to administer their exams. They are a national testing company, so it will be easy to find a location that is close to you.

The first step to applying for the National Exam with UST is to enroll on the NMLS website, where you’ll pay the $110 testing fee.

Once you’ve enrolled, you can schedule an exam on Prometric’s website or by calling them at (877) 671-6657.

You have 180 days to take the exam from the date that you enrolled on the NMLS website. Otherwise, you will have to repay the $110 exam fee again.

How hard is the exam? I think the pass rates say it all…

National Exam with UST Pass Rates

 Tests TakenTests PassedPass Rate
1st Attempt61,79835,91858%
Subsequent Attempts27,11011,57043%
Overall88,90847,48853%
Source: NMLS; Tests administered between 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2018

Why is it so hard?

In my experience, the #1 reason why people struggle is that they simply haven’t prepared enough for it.

This exam covers the latest mortgage laws and regulations. It doesn’t matter how “smart” you are, you cannot “think” your way through this test. You basically have to just memorize the laws, which are changing all the time.

Just in 2018, there was a huge change to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule. A big part of the exam tested you on this, so unless you were familiar with these updates, you would not have passed.

If you fail the exam, it’s not the end of the world. You can re-test 30 days later. If you fail again, then you will have to wait another 30 days to re-take the exam. If you fail on your third try, then you will have to wait 180 days.

3. Submit Your License Application

Once you pass the National Exam with UST, you will fill out the Multistate Uniform Individual License Form (MU4 FORM) online at the NMLS website.

This is your typical application form where you put down your contact information, employment history, and disclose any financial or criminal incidents in your past. This has a $155 application fee.

There will also be a federal background check with the FBI. This is done by getting your fingerprints taken at an NMLS authorized Live Scan Provider. You can schedule your fingerprinting appointment here. The turnaround time is usually only 48 hours. The Live Scan fee is $36.25.

If you had your fingerprints taken in the NMLS within 3 years, then you do not need to be reprinted.

 

Why is there a credit check?

The logic goes if you are not financially responsible in your own personal life, then it probably would not be a good idea to entrust you to help the general public with their finances.

The SAFE Act has given each state the discretion to determine what financial responsibility looks like. There is no minimum credit score to get approved (at least, one that’s disclosed to the public).

Every applicant’s financial history goes under a comprehensive review by the NMLS on a case-by-case basis.  The fee to run your credit report is $15.

If you are worried about this, I suggest reviewing your own credit report first. Everyone gets a free annual credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com. Credit Karma and many other online providers nowadays will be able to give you your credit score for free.   

The DFI reviews the application in the order they are received on a first come, first serve basis. Your application status will be “Pending-Incomplete” until all the above criteria are met. At that point, your application will begin its review. You can check your application status online.  

Once your License Application is approved, you will be a licensed Mortgage Loan Originator in Washington!

How to Become a MLO in Florida

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) provides regulatory oversight for the state’s financial services industry. They were created in 2003 to protect Florida citizens, promote a safe and sound financial marketplace and contribute to the growth of Florida’s economy with smart, efficient, and effective regulation of the financial services industry.

Total MLOs in Florida:
Annual Percentage Change:

35,874
15%

Short Answer

  1. Complete the Pre-Licensure Education (PE)
  2. Pass the National Exam with Uniform State Content (UST)
  3. Submit your License Application (includes a background check and credit report)

From start to finish, the entire process takes about 6 weeks to 8 weeks.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements

  • You need to be at least 18 years or older.
  • A high school diploma, or equivalent, is required.

1. Complete the Pre-Licensure Education (PE)

The OFA requires you to complete 20 hours of NMLS-approved education.

The subjects must include the following:

  • 2 hours – Non-traditional mortgage lending
  • 2 hours – Florida Law and Rules
  • 3 hours – Federal Law
  • 3 hours – Ethics (includes fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues)
  • 10 hours – Elective topics of your choice

Before you start your education, the first thing your education provider will have you do is obtain an NMLS ID# if you don’t have one. It’s a very easy process and the best part is it’s free.

If you already have NMLS ID #, you’ll just continue using the one you have.

This will be important when you’re done with the course, because your education provider will be submitting your certificates to the NMLS with your unique NMLS ID #.  

The course can be pretty dry at times, but it’s only 20 hours. There are both online and live programs that range between 5 days to 14 days.

If you take an online program, you’ll have to log at least 16.67 total hours online. The NMLS has also implemented measures to make sure you’re paying attention. For instance, if your mouse cursor is idle for more than 6 minutes, you will be logged out automatically.

The bottom line is that if you’re an honest person and taking the course as intended, you will have nothing to worry about.

2. Pass the National Exam with Uniform State Content (UST)

Technically, you don’t have to take the PE before the National Exam. However, most people do because there are things you’ll learn in there that will help you on the test.

And later on, you’ll see why you will need all the help you can get.

The NMLS has contracted with Prometric to administer their exams. They are a national testing company, so it will be easy to find a location that is close to you.

The National Exam with UST consists of 125 multiple-choice questions. You have 190 minutes to score a 75% or better to pass. The exam fee is $110.

The first step to applying for the National Exam with UST is to enroll on the NMLS website, where you’ll pay the $110 testing fee.

Once you’ve enrolled, you can schedule an exam on Prometric’s website or by calling them at (877) 671-6657.

You have 180 days to take the exam from the date that you enrolled on the NMLS website. Otherwise, you will have to repay the $110 exam fee again.

It’s absolutely crucial that you don’t take shortcuts on preparing for this test. Here’s why…

National Exam with UST Pass Rates

 Tests TakenTests PassedPass Rate
1st Attempt61,79835,91858%
Subsequent Attempts27,11011,57043%
Overall88,90847,48853%
Source: NMLS; Tests administered between 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2018

Why are pass rates so low?

Because most people buy the cheapest exam prep out there and think that they can just wing it. Don’t be like them.

You have to remember, this exam is testing you on the most current laws and regulations. Just back in February 2018, Congress passed sweeping changes to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule. A significant portion of the National Exam with UST covers this, and unless you are up-to-date on this, you will have a really hard time passing.

If you don’t pass, you can re-take it but there is a waiting period of 30 days. If you fail Attempt #2, you have to wait another 30 days. If you fail Attempt #3, you have to wait 180 days.

3. Submit Your License Application

After you successfully pass the exam, the rest is downhill.

Fill out the Multistate Uniform Individual License Form (MU4 FORM) online at the NMLS website.

This is basically just a general application form that includes your contact information, work history, and any financial or criminal disclosures you need to report. This has a $195 application fee.

 

Criminal Background Check

There will be 2 separate background checks: State and Federal.

  1. To complete the Florida state background check, your fingerprints will need to be taken through Live Scan Providers approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). You can find a list of FDLE-approved vendors here. This has a $24 fee.
  2. To complete the federal background check with the FBI, your fingerprints have to be taken by an NMLS authorized Live Scan Provider. You can schedule your fingerprinting appointment here. The turnaround time is usually only 48 hours. The Live Scan fee is $36.25

If you had your fingerprints taken in the NMLS within 3 years, then you do not need to be reprinted.

 

Credit Background Check

There is no minimum credit score or automated grading system for determining if someone passes the credit check. The SAFE Act gives each state regulator the broad discretion to review and determine what financial responsibility looks like. So, every state has different criteria, and they don’t publish what these standards are.

The credit report fee is $15.

For context, I’ve heard of people who’ve filed for bankruptcy a few months before applying and they were approved. So, if your credit score is less than stellar, that doesn’t mean you are out.

I would recommend obtaining and reviewing your free annual credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com before sending in your application. This way, you can resolve any disputes or issues with the credit reporting agencies before it turns into a bigger problem.

The OFR will not start reviewing your application until you’ve completed and submitted all of the items listed above. Your application will show up as “Pending-Incomplete.” Once they have everything, you application status will change to “Pending-Review” and at that point, they will begin to process your application.

Once your application is approved, you'll be a licensed Mortgage Loan Originator in Florida!