The SAFE Act mandated the establishment of a unique identifier, and the majority of state mortgage licensing laws require mortgage loan originators to include their unique identifier on various documents, including business cards. The benefit of the unique identifier has been recognized in a similar capacity by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which is requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to include the identifiers for the loan originator and loan origination company on each loan application. Additionally, the Federal Housing Administration has also begun collecting the NMLS unique identifiers of all individuals and entities participating in the origination of FHA loans.
This document provides an overview of use of the NMLS ID under the following sections:
- The SAFE Act
- State Requirements
- Federal Banking Agency Requirements
- FHFA Requirements for NMLS Unique Identifier
- FHA Requirements for Collection of NMLS Unique Identifiers
The SAFE Act
The SAFE Act mandated that NMLS establish protocols for assigning a unique identifier to each licensed or registered loan originator that will “facilitate electronic tracking and uniform identification of, and public access to, the employment history of and the publicly adjudicated disciplinary and enforcement actions against loan originators.” All individuals who maintain a record in the system are assigned a unique identifier which is permanently attached to that person or entity and remains attached to the individual’s record regardless. Companies and branch offices that are licensed or registered through NMLS are also assigned unique identifiers.
The large majority of states adopted the following provision contained in the CSBS/AARMR Model State Law that mandates the use of the unique identifier. State laws should be consulted to determine specific jurisdictional requirements.
MSL XX.XXX.210 UNIQUE IDENTIFIER SHOWN - The unique identifier of any person originating a residential mortgage loan shall be clearly shown on all residential mortgage loan application forms, solicitations or advertisements, including business cards or websites, and any other documents as established by rule, regulation or order of the Commissioner.
Federal Banking Agency Requirements
Final Rule to Implement SAFE Act Requirements Issued Jointly by the FDIC, OCC, Federal Reserve, OTS, FCA, and NCUA
The following language has been adopted by all agencies:
Use of unique identifier
(a) The [institution] shall make the unique identifier(s) of its registered mortgage loan originator(s) available to consumers in a manner and method practicable to the institution.
(b) A registered mortgage loan originator shall provide his or her unique identifier to a consumer: (1) Upon request; (2) Before acting as a mortgage loan originator; and (3) Through the originator’s initial written communication with a consumer, if any, whether on paper or electronically.
[12 CFR § 34.105 (OCC), 12 CFR § 208.105 (Federal Reserve), 12 CFT § 365.105 (FDIC), 12 CFR § 563.105 (OTS), 12 CFR § 610.105 (FCA), 12 CFR § 761.105 (NCUA).]
Supplementary Information [Federal Register, July 28, 2010, http://frwebgate1.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/PDFgate.cgi?WAISdocID=gaU0Cg/22/2/0&WAISaction=retrieve.]
Section __.105—Use of Unique Identifier
The Agencies proposed in § __.105(a) to require an Agency-regulated institution to make the unique identifier(s) of its registered mortgage loan originator(s) available to consumers in a manner and method practicable to the institution. Proposed § __.105(b) required a registered mortgage loan originator to provide the originator’s unique identifier to a consumer upon request, before acting as a mortgage loan originator, and through the originator’s initial written communication with a consumer, if any. Although a mortgage loan originator may change his or her name, change employment, or move, the unique identifier assigned to the originator by the Registry at the originator’s original registration will remain the same. Once public access to the Registry is fully functional, the unique identifier will enable consumer access to an individual mortgage loan originator’s profile stored in the Registry, including the mortgage loan originator’s publicly available registration information, any State mortgage licenses held (active or inactive), employment history, and publicly adjudicated disciplinary and enforcement actions. If a mortgage loan originator is simultaneously employed by more than one State or agency regulated institution, that information also will be readily visible to the consumer. We received a number of comments on this requirement—some noting that it is cumbersome and of limited benefit to the consumer. However, the S.A.F.E. Act requires each mortgage loan originator to obtain a unique identifier to facilitate the electronic tracking of loan originators, and the uniform identification of, and public access to, the employment history and publicly adjudicated disciplinary and enforcement actions against a mortgage loan originator. In order to effectuate this requirement, a mortgage originator and the employing institution must ensure that the consumer has access to the originator’s unique identifier. This access must be made available early enough in the relationship with the originator to enable the consumer to access the Registry before the consumer commits to the mortgage loan transaction. Because a consumer may not be aware of the Registry, it is important that both the institution and originator make this information available to the consumer, and not only just upon the consumer’s request, as suggested by a number of commenters. Therefore, we adopt this requirement as proposed, with one clarifying change described below.
As noted in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the proposed rule, an Agency-regulated institution may comply with the § __.105(a) requirement in a number of ways. For example, the institution may choose to direct consumers to a listing of registered mortgage loan originators and their unique identifiers on its Web site; post this information prominently in a publicly accessible place, such as a branch office lobby or lending office reception area; and/or establish a process to ensure that institution personnel provide the unique identifier of a registered mortgage loan originator to consumers who request it from employees other than the mortgage loan originator. Furthermore, the Agencies intend § __.105(b)(3) of the rule to cover written communication from the originator specifically for his or her customers, such as a commitment letter, good faith estimate or disclosure statement, and not written materials or promotional items distributed by the Agency-regulated institution for general use by its customers. While, this provision does not require institutions to include the unique identifier on loan program descriptions, advertisements, business cards, stationary, notepads, and other similar materials, institutions are not prohibited from doing so. We also clarify that the requirement to provide the unique identifier to the consumer through the originator’s initial written communication, if any, applies whether that communication is provided in writing on paper or through electronic means. We have clarified this requirement in the final rule. The Agencies also clarify that the unique identifier may be provided orally, except pursuant to paragraph (b)(3) under which the unique identifier would be provided with the written or electronic communication. We note that the Board has proposed amendments to 12 CFR 226 (Regulation Z) that would require disclosure of the unique identifier as part of TILA disclosures, which generally must be provided to a borrower within three business days of the residential mortgage loan application and seven business days before consummation of the transaction.1 In addition, as indicated above, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are requiring all mortgage loan applications taken on or after the compliance date for the unique identifier requirement to include the mortgage loan originator’s unique identifier. We therefore believe that providing consumers with the originator’s unique identifier will not be difficult or burdensome.
FHFA Requirements for NMLS Unique Identifier
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to include the identifiers for the loan originator and loan origination company on each loan application FHFA requires all mortgage applications to include loan-level identifiers for the loan originators, loan origination companies, field appraisers and supervisory appraisers. In October 2008, FHFA sent notices to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that, effective January 1, 2010, all mortgage applications must include loan-level identifiers for the loan originators, loan origination companies, field appraisers and supervisory appraisers. [Link to both notices] The agency issued a public statement of this requirement in a press release dated January 15, 2009. [Link to press release] The effective date was subsequently extended to July 1, 2010 but full compliance is not required until such time as all jurisdictions require NMLS unique IDs for mortgage loan originators and mortgage company licensees, and, for federal registrants, the date by which the federal registration of loan originators must be completed.
Specifically, the FHFA requires:
- The loan originator’s unique identifier as assigned by NMLS. The notice stated that the loan originator is the individual who takes and signs the mortgage application form;
- The loan origination company’s unique identifier as assigned by NMLS. The loan origination company is the company the loan originator is employed by or is representing as an independent contractor;
- The appraiser’s state license number and the supervisory appraiser’s state license number.
Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued general FAQs and technical delivery requirement documents to advise their sellers about compliance.[links below] The most recent guidance was issued in February 2011 and the major clarifications outlined by the agencies are summarized below:
- For federally regulated institutions, the loan originator and loan origination company identifiers are required for loan applications on or after July 29, 2011.
- If there is more than one loan originator on a particular loan, the loan originator ID and the loan origination company ID entered should be associated with the loan originator who signs the loan application.
- If the loan is originated by a mortgage broker and sold to Fannie Mae by a Fannie Mae lender, it is the mortgage broker’s unique ID that must be delivered.
- If a loan is originated by a correspondent lender, sold to a Fannie Mae lender and delivered to Fannie Mae, it is the correspondent lender’s unique ID that must be delivered.
- If the lender uses a web based application for which there is no initial loan originator assigned, the lender will enter the unique ID of the originator that is assigned to work on the loan casefile.
- If you are originating loans in a state that has not yet required loan originators or loan origination companies to obtain identifiers, you will not be required to deliver this information. Once the state requires loan originators and loan origination companies to obtain unique identifiers, you must deliver this data for mortgages with application dates on and after the date the requirement becomes effective.
FHA Requirements for Collection of NMLS Unique Identifiers
Under the provisions of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 (Pub.L. 111-22) the failure of a FHA-approved lender to comply with the requirements of the SAFE Act and applicable state law is cause for withdrawal of FHA lender approval or loss of authorization to participate in FHA lending programs. In order for FHA to be able to ensure compliance, HUD is mandating that FHA-approved mortgagees and sponsored third party originators provide their NMLS unique identifiers.
HUD issued a mortgagee letter on January 5, 2011 regarding FHA capture of NMLS information. HUD will begin collecting the NMLS unique identifiers of all individuals and entities participating in the origination of FHA loans. All FHA-approved mortgagees and their employees must comply with the NMLS registration requirements and “entities with jurisdiction over their activities” and must register in accordance with the guidance set forth by NMLS.
Also, FHA-approved mortgagees that act as sponsor for a third party originator should ensure that those originators obtain and maintain an NMLS ID as required by the states and entities with jurisdiction over their activities.
HUD will capture NMLS IDs at a number of points in the lender approval and loan origination processes:
- FHA Lender Approval: HUD will collect the NMLS company ID in a new field in the lender approval application form and will require the ID for companies renewing FHA lender approval in the renewal screens in FHA Connection. Upon release of the new fields, completion of the fields will be mandatory “for those institutions that possess a NMLS company ID”. Lenders are directed to provide the NMLS ID for the home office of the lender
- Sponsored Originator Registration: HUD will require the sponsoring mortgagee to enter the NMLS company ID of sponsored originators in the Sponsored Originator Maintenance screen in FHA Connection.
- Individuals Engaged in Loan Processing and Underwriting: FHA mortgagees must complete the following fields on the FHA Connection case number assignment screen, as appropriate: NMLS ID of the loan officer who took the application (if required to possess a NMLS ID), and for sponsored third party originator loans, the third party originator’s company name and TIN. Entry of the loan officer ID is optional until March 31, 2011. For all case numbers assigned on or after April 1, 2011, if registered on NMLS, the MLO’s NMLS ID is required.
http://www.fhaoutreach.gov/FHAFAQ/ (Search by keyword “NMLS”)