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 Background on Professional Standards

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 for an institution regulated by the Farm Credit Administration, are registered. All other MLOs are to be licensed by the states.

The SAFE Act requires state-licensed MLOs to pass a written qualified test, to complete pre-licensure education courses, and to take annual continuing education courses. The SAFE Act also requires all MLOs to submit fingerprints to the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) for submission to the FBI for a criminal background check; and state-licensed MLOs to provide authorization for NMLS to obtain an independent credit report. The Testing, Education, and Background Check links from this page explain how state-licensed MLOs can satisfy each of these professional requirements.

Please note that while the SAFE Act requires NMLS to fulfill certain responsibilities associated with providing educational services or ensuring background checks are completed, it is individual state law that determines when a state-licensed MLO is required to pass the SAFE Mortgage Test, complete pre-licensure or continuing education training, and when state-licensed MLOs are required to complete their background checks. State-licensed MLOs should refer to the State Licensing Requirements Page regarding schedules for completing each of the professional standards.


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