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 Frequently Asked Questions

​The FAQ is organized by the following categories:

Testing  |  Education  |  Background Check  |  Credit Report



​Find answers to the most common testing related questions - Testing FAQ​.​


​Find answers to the most common education related questions - Education FAQ.​

Background Check
Q.  What do I have to do to obtain a Criminal Background Check (CBC) through NMLS and/or where do I get started?
  A. If you are a MLO (MU4) or an individual reported on the MU2 (owner, executive officer, branch manager, or qualifying individual) then visit the Criminal Background Check Page for information and resources on how to submit a CBC in NMLS.
Q. I have already submitted fingerprints to my regulator(s), do I have to have a Criminal Background Check completed through NMLS?
 A. All loan originators and relevant MU2 individuals must submit fingerprints directly to NMLS using the NMLS authorized fingerprint vendor.  The NMLS FBI/Federal Criminal Background Check is separate from any state criminal background check requirement.

For MLOs (MU4) The submission of prints to NMLS is for SAFE Act compliance of a national Criminal Background Check. 

Q. I am an individual reported on the MU2 (owners, executive officers, branch managers, qualifying individuals), how do I determine which states/agencies require me to submit a criminal background check?
A. To determine the specific positions and licenses that are permitted and required to authorize a Criminal Background Check through NMLS, access the “MU2 NMLS CBC Requirements Chart” available on the NMLS Resource Center.
Q. Why do my fingerprints expire after three years?
A. The NMLS Criminal Background Check (CBC) program approved by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) includes that fingerprints used for CBC purposes not be older than three years from the date the individual was fingerprinted
Q.   Can I obtain a copy of my criminal background check through NMLS?
A. No. Criminal Background Check results are viewable to state regulators and depositories employing federally registered MLOs only.  If you wish to obtain your own criminal background check, you may do so by visiting the FBI website at:  https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks.
Q. I am an individual reported on the MU1/MU3 as an MU2 person that has already completed my criminal background check. Is there a fee for granting additional agencies access to my criminal background check after results have been returned?
A. Failing to grant access to all relevant agencies before your criminal background check results are returned requires you to authorize and pay for a new criminal background check.

Credit Report

Q. Am I required to authorize a credit report through NMLS?
A. Every state-licensed mortgage loan originator is required to complete the credit report authorization process through NMLS, even if credit information was previously received by their state regulator. Control Persons (MU2) for state-licensed companies may be required to complete a credit report through NMLS to satisfy state specific requirements. Federally registered MLOs are not required to authorize a credit report.
Q. Does NMLS require a minimum credit score to obtain a license?
  A. Only state regulators have access to review credit information, including credit scores, on licensees. Every jurisdiction maintains its own standards for licensure.
Q. What is the state looking for in my credit report and will my license be revoked if my credit isn’t good?
A. The SAFE Act requires that mortgage loan originator applicants have, “demonstrated financial responsibility, character, and general fitness such as to command the confidence of the community and to warrant a determination that applicants will operate honestly, fairly, and effectively.”

Each state regulator will independently review the credit information of MLOs licensed in their jurisdiction. There is no automated standard or minimum score that will be enforced inside NMLS. The SAFE Act leaves it to the discretion of each state regulator to develop their own processes and standards for reviewing credit information and determining the financial responsibility of their licensees.
Q. What type of credit report is obtained through NMLS?
A. The credit report obtained through NMLS is a Single Bureau TransUnion Credit Report with a Vantage Score
Q. When the NMLS pulls my credit, will it lower my credit score?
A. When the credit report is obtained, it will be done through a “soft pull” process which has no effect on the applicants credit score.
Q. How long is my credit report good for?
A. The same credit report can be used to satisfy the credit report requirement for both existing licenses and any additional licenses (through transition request or new application) for up to 30 days.
Q. What does TransUnion consider as foreign address?
A. Any address outside of the United States including the Virgin Island and Puerto Rico are considered foreign addresses by TransUnion.  An individual with a foreign address will see a system default address in place of the current residential address during the IDV process.
Q. Can I obtain a copy of my credit report?
A. State regulators are not permitted to provide a copy of a credit report to individuals directly.  You can obtain a copy of your credit report at annualcreditreport.com. 


What is a Thin File? What is a Fragmented/Orphan File?


A. “Thin File” is a consumer credit file that has little or no credit history. A Thin File can also be a “Fragmented/Orphan File.” Fragmented/Orphan files occur as a result of differences in how consumer indicative information is supplied by data furnishers. Because of these variations, TransUnion employs a combine process that confidently matches multiple files for a subject. Not all files can be confidently combined, which causes Fragmented/Orphan files.  Here are some situations that might cause a Fragmented/Orphan File to be returned:

 A reporting company enters different information than that which is currently on the consumer’s file:

a.      Different address – consumer moved but they still have companies reporting their previous address as current

b.      Different SSN – could be caused by data entry mistake

c.      Different name, i.e. John Patrick Jones, J Patrick Jones, John P Jones, J P Jones, John Jones

 If a regulator has placed a license item due to a Thin File; you can call TU Customer Support at 888.412.0863 if you need to be manually authenticated, or you can contact TU corporate at 800.916.8800 to dispute the Thin File.


How can I clear an erroneous OFAC related issue on my credit report?


A. An individual would need to contact TU Consumer Relations at 800.916.8800 and mention that they have an OFAC related issue that they want to clear. You will be transferred to the special handling department. Once in special handling, they will be able to confirm/clear the hit and can also initiate a dispute for the individual.


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