Over the last two years, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation has developed and implemented tougher licensing requirements for the mortgage industry to set higher professional standards for practitioners and better protect Florida’s consumers. As required and authorized by federal and state law, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation will now raise the bar even higher for anyone wanting to work in the mortgage industry.
In 2009, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 2226 to conform Chapter 494 to the mandates in the SAFE Act. Changes include:
- Redefining and reclassifying license types
- Requiring all actively licensed individuals, businesses and lenders to reapply for a new license
- All applicants must meet new minimum standards for licensure
- Starting 2011 all licensed loan originators, brokers and lenders will be required to renew their license by December 31st of each year including reevaluation of their criminal background information and credit report to determine if they continue to meet the standards for initial licensure
On October 1, 2010, Florida will begin participation in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). All licensed mortgage brokers, mortgage brokerage businesses and lenders must reapply for licensure under the new requirements. This includes anyone granted a license prior to October 1, 2010. Although the reapplication period runs from October 1 through December 31, we encourage you to file early. Based on current numbers, more than 39,000 mortgage brokers and 7,000 businesses and lenders could be reapplying for licensure. Due to the sheer volume of expected licensees, applications will take longer to process than the average two to four months. It could take up to twelve months if filed incomplete, incorrect or lacking full disclosure. However, if you have a pre-existing license, approved prior to the October 1 deadline, you can continue working while your new license is being processed. Starting in 2011, all licenses must be renewed annually by December 31.
As a guideline please use the following table listing changes to license types:
| Mortgage Broker
|| Loan Originator (Individual)|
| Mortgage Broker Business
|| Mortgage Broker (Company)|
| Mortgage Lender, Correspondent Mortgage Lender, Savings Clause Mortgage Lender
|| Mortgage Lender (with servicing endorsement) or Mortgage Lender|
Additionally, Florida will be participating in the testing and education certification offered in conjunction with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. All existing licensed mortgage brokers that apply between October 1 and December 15
will have their pre-license education certified thereby eliminating the need to complete the national pre-license course. All licensed mortgage brokers that passed the Florida mortgage broker exam on or after January 1, 2004
will also have their Florida component test certified. However, all applicants will be required to pass the national component of the SAFE Test.
NOTE: Florida will not be permitted to certify testing and education requirements for new loan originator applications received after November 30, 2010. Contact the Florida Office of Financial Regulation at 1-800-848-3792 for questions regarding when an application will be considered received.
How to prepare for October 1:
All loan originator applicants and control persons of brokers and lenders will be required to submit to a state and federal criminal background check. In addition, NMLS will also provide a credit report for each applicant and control person. Individuals should be prepared to respond to questions from the Florida Office of Financial Regulation regarding any negative information contained within the individual’s criminal background and credit report. Delays in providing requested information to the Florida Office of Financial Regulation will only delay the review and final decision. Licensed mortgage brokers that will be applying for the new loan originator license are strongly encouraged to proceed with scheduling and passing the national component of the SAFE Test.
See also License Descriptions and Checklists.
Starting October 1:
All licensed mortgage brokerage businesses and lenders must reapply for licensure under the new requirements and license names above. This includes anyone granted a license prior to October 1, 2010. Any company wishing to act as a mortgage broker, mortgage lender or mortgage lender servicer in Florida has until December 31, 2010 to complete and submit through NMLS Form MU1 for their company, Form MU3 for each branch location, and Form MU2 for each of their control persons.
NOTE: If you have submitted these forms in another state, then you do not need to re-enter your company record into NMLS. You will only need to identify the appropriate license in Florida and complete a few state specific fields.
All licensed individual mortgage brokers must reapply for licensure under the new requirements and license named above. This includes anyone granted a license prior to October 1, 2010. Any individual wishing to act as a loan originator has until December 31, 2010 to complete and submit Form MU4 through NMLS. Some employers have expressed a desire to manage the MU4 filings of their loan originators’. Applicants for the loan originator license are encouraged to consult with their employer before logging into the NMLS and completing Form MU4. Loan originator applicants are responsible for the accuracy of any information appearing on Form MU4.
Loan originators can complete and submit Form MU4 themselves or their company can complete Form MU4 and have the loan originator log in to the NMLS and electronically attest to its accuracy.
Note: If you have submitted a Form MU4 in another state, then you do not need to re-enter your record into NMLS. You will only need to identify the appropriate license in Florida and complete a few state specific fields.
Additional loan originator requirements will include:
- 20 hours of Pre-licensure education or certification of education previously approved by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation
- A passing score on the Florida exam or certification of the state test previously passed in Florida (certification is limited to those who passed the Florida exam on or after January 1, 2004)
- A passing score on the national component of the SAFE Test
- Satisfactory federal criminal background check including finger prints processed by NMLS through the FBI
- Satisfactory state criminal background check including finger prints processed through a livescan vendor approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
- Satisfactory review of a credit report
For further information please visit the Florida Office of Financial Regulation website at www.flofr.com/finance or contact us directly at 1-800-848-3792 and select option 1.
See also License Descriptions and Checklists.