Loan Officers Needed – No License Required

This is an email that I received last night with a bank using the fact that mortgage originators who are employed by a depository bank or credit union are not required to maintain a license.    Here’s more from the email:

[Big] Bank has been in the industry for over 100 years.  As one of the nation’s top federally Chartered banks, [Big] Bank has the size and depth of the larger banks with the mindset of customer service being our #1 priority!

If you are an experienced loan originator looking for a change, HERE IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY!!!

What more can you ask for?  Do NOT miss this opportunity to take your career to the next level.

Am I surprised to see a bank use the fact their mortgage originators are not licensed as a recruiting tool?  Not really. 

I’m sure they feel it’s a great advantage to not have to be held to the same standards as Licensed Mortgage Originators (passing state and national exams, continuing education,  financial stability of the LO, etc).     Banks probably believe that consumers don’t care if the mortgage originator has satisfied what is required of a licensed LO per the SAFE Act–because they’re employed by a big bank and somehow, that makes the consumer safe.  

I’m wondering what type of mortgage originator would say “Hey, I don’t want to have to take the exams, have my credit history checked or do NMLS certified continuing education…I’m going to work for a bank or credit union!

Consumers:  Does it matter to you if the person helping you obtain your mortgage is licensed (held to a higher standards per the SAFE Act)?  Or if they work for a big bank or credit union, and are merely “registered”, is that good enough for you?

About Rhonda Porter

Rhonda Porter is an NMLS Licensed Mortgage Originator MLO121324 for homes located in Washington state. Her blog, The Mortgage Porter, is nationally recognized for sharing relevant information to consumers about mortgages.

She has been originating mortgages since 2000 at Mortgage Master Service Corporation #40445 Consumer NMLS Website: http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/TuringTestPage.aspx?ReturnUrl=/EntityDetails.aspx/COMPANY/40445
NMLS ID 40445. Equal Housing Opportunity.

You can follow Rhonda on @mortgageporter, Facebook and/or Google+

Comments

  1. This is the way of the Real Estate Industry. When redfin got a toe hold into rebate Brokerage, it was applauded. It is, in fact, what large Real Estate brokerages wanted, but some how it was promoted as good for the consumer. This is exactly the same.

    The consumer is perfectly bright and capable of finding a house on line, the same way they get a mortgage. If you look at redfin, and Zillow, this is exactly the way the Real Estate Industry wants things. No license required? are you kidding? the consumer is making the choices from the transparency of the internet? The consumer is, in fact, doing the deal to themselves.

    My question is why any one is surprised? Maybe they can have a mortgage inspector clause in the Real Estate contract as an additional negotiating point.

    • David, I deal with very smart consumers all the time who said they went to their bank for a mortgage because they thought they could trust them…only to be disappointed–they didn’t do their homework.

      Licensing, if the consumer understands the difference, can help. **Consumers can check to see if their mortgage originator is NMLS licensed or registered at

      http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org

      AND they can see background information on the mortgage originator they’re considering hiring.**

      Do you know if NAR has a site where consumers can research their real estate agent and see a 10 year history before they decide to work with them?

  2. Great article Rhonda. I especially like your point about wondering what type of experienced Loan Officer would seek refuge in the shadow of one of the retail banks/credit unions in order to avoid the accountability that being compliant with the NMLS Safe Act. Many LO’s see this as an opportunity to fly under the radar of accountability. Why are they avoiding licensing, education, passing a test, and having their credit reviewed? Character issue? Or the path of least resistance that attracts them? Inability to have their former clients refer them to their friends? I don’t know….probably different for everyone….and maybe none of these reasons.

    I know the big retail banks do offer a lot of training, but much of it is in sales techniques and navigating their complex internal processes. So many traingings in fact that much of time is spent in meetings similar to the rest of corporate America. It doesn’t really allow them to provide the personalized service they want to provide to their clients. Remember, the same banks who lose paperwork from their existing clients 3-5 times during the course of a loan modification/short sale are the same people approving home loans sand managing that workflow process.

    These retail banks, credit unions and other federally chartered depository mortgage lenders are attracting a certain type of Loan Officer that I am glad to see joining my ‘competition’.

    • Brad, I do wonder what type of LO they’re attracting by saying “no licensing”. A mortgage originator who decides to go work for a bank so that they don’t have to have their credit ran, don’t have to pass the state and national exams and doesn’t want to do the continuing education that’s required to maintain their license is possibly either lazy or perhaps they’re afraid they wouldn’t be able to do what it takes to be licensed.

      The SAFE Act creates two classes of mortgage originators: Licensed and Registered (bank/credit union LOs).

  3. Working on a transaction where the loan is originated via the Bank or Bank branch automatically puts up our “this is going to be fun” antennae, for two reasons. One, the loan officer may be less experienced and it shows right away. And I mean, right away. Secondly, it means we may have to explain in time precious/draining fashion how escrow arrives at certain conclusions be it number crunching on the HUD or raising questions that are meant to help reduce last minute hang ups. Sometimes we have to escalate the explanations to management that will hopefully be able to “talk shop” but sometimes that might even be unsuccessful.

    A week or two ago I commented that a sale was blown out of the water because a large nation wide bank recorded a refinance (of a SEPARATE client owned property) on the subject property that we were going to close. How does this happen? Oh, it happens.

  4. The part that I find funny is “Stabilty of a Bank”.

    Hello?

  5. Here’s an odd real world example.

    In 2009 Horizon Bank of Bellingham was rated one of the two safest regional banks in the state. FDIC shut them down Jan 2010.

    A good reason for an LO to go to a bank, whether experienced of not, is for a supply of potential loans to work on. It is also possible that the culture of a particular bank suits the values of an LO.

    I have several good friends who have gone that route, and their decisions seem to be working out for them.

    BTW, did the Merkley amendment get attached to the FinReg bill? I do not see much about mortgage lending compensation in any of the summaries of the passed bill. Actually, ther seems to be very little about mortgage lending in general, other than to prohibit practices that are no longer being offered.

  6. Two types of LOs work at the big federally charted retail banks in my market:

    1) Newbies. LOs who are new to the business and don’t have a sustainable client base. They take advantage of the training and leads since they don’t have a referral base to draw business from.

    2) Dying LOs. Basically, banks have become the last train stop for LOs who are struggling to either qualify under the new licensing requirements or don’t have sustainable business/referrals. Bad credit? No problem… work at a bank. Can’t pass the NMLS test? No problem… work at a bank. Used to sell option arms and subprime and don’t have a client base? No problem…work at a bank.

    Hardly any serious top producing LOs in my market work at banks. Our market is dominated by large correspondents/brokers where the pay is better and there is more autonomy. Top LOs like having mulitple outlets to fund their client’s loans. In fact, if you operate as a fiduciary to your client, being at a retail bank doesn’t jive with that approach.

    • Russ, I would add to that list:

      Mortgage Originators who just want to be fed clients. They sit behind the desk, perhaps they have to do some time in a bank branch, and are fed clients or leads from the bank.

      They don’t need referral business…they just need to keep that gravy train going by closing as much as they can because they’re paid based on volume.

  7. In response to David’s comment:

    As a current ‘looking’ buyer, I think there is sufficient transparency in regards to real estate information. Via the internet; I can view MLS info, recently sold homes, neighborhood info, parcel and tax info, etc. As a long time Seattle resident, I am more familiar with the various neighborhoods than most agents I speak with. I’m also savvy enough to identify things like a buried oil tank, if there could be an easement, possible property line encroachments, etc. I’d say about 60% of the time, I know more about the home and and the area (via my own research) than the listing agent.

    For anything else, I’ll hire a home inspector to assess the home and a real estate attorney (who is held to higher standards of accountability) to review the title and contract documents.

    Basically what I’m saying is that I don’t “need” a traditional realtor to drive me around, hold my hand and try to tell me what he/she thinks I should buy. Some have made the argument that traditional agents help with negotiations, however the only ‘negotiation advice’ I’ve ever received from that corner is “pay full price, get the house, waive your contingencies and hurry, hurry, hurry to close” and that is even in today’s market. That isn’t the kind of service I want to pay for.

    But to answer Rhonda’s question – I don’t see the same transparency or opportunity to ‘self-educate’ in regards to mortgages today. So yes it absolutely does matter that the person handling my mortgage is held to higher standards. Particularly if I’m going to pay out $100K plus of my savings and then go in debt to some entity for around a half million dollars.

  8. I have used the same lender for over twenty years, Scott Cunningham at PrimeWest Financial. Yes, a good mortgage person is worth their weight in gold.

    What you are missing is that banks want to squeeze out traditional loan originators, the same as large Brokerages want to squeeze out the Real Estate agent.

    You can check rates daily, keep up with regulations, follow the law, and have complete mortgage information on line, but who would want to? It’s a mine field.

    If you want to look for your own house, God bless you. You are 3% of the market place. Most people don’t have the time to research Real Estate, or Mortgages, and that is what corporate Real Estate is banking on, pun intended.

  9. Lee, I agree with you–there is less transparancy and/or available information with mortgages as opposed to real estate/homes. The best way to “self-educate” is probably reading blogs and then you’re at risk of the knowledge of the author and/or the guidelines changing. Since I’ve been writing about mortgages since 2006, when I come across an old post where guidelines have changed, I’ll do my best to update it–it’s a challenge!

  10. A mortgage salesperson is a mortgage salesperson. I don’t trust salespeople in general, so it doesn’t matter to me.

  11. Joel, I don’t blame you — especially based on what the industry became like during the subprime boom when many “sales people” became mortgage originators. I don’t have a beef with sales people as long as they’re honest, ethical and know what they’re selling.

    One plus with the National Mortgage Licensing and Registry system (they had to add registry since not all LOs are licensed) is that consumers can at least see a 10 year history about the LO and determine if they’re licensed or not.

    http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org

    Later this year, LOs who are licensed will have their credit checked and states will determine what is acceptable credit for an LO to remain licensed (or qualify to be licensed). That will be the next shift of seeing LOs who are licensed move to banks or credit unions where licenses are not required.

  12. Wait a minute, I just noticed that the phone number is missing for Scott Cunningham at PrimeWest Financial. He is a lender I trust, he is established, and he is licensed. I mean as long as we are all self promoting why not allow Scott some time. So let’s be clear about mortgages.

    You have Conventional and FHA. There are thirty year, and fifteen year mortgages. Rates fluctuate all day, every day. The rates are published.

    Then you have exotic loans such as stated income, no interest payments, and Adjustable Rates. Add to that the points, 1% of the mortgage amount, plus fees, and Bob’s your uncle. Mortgages are extremely transparent. What’s not transparent is the borrower, but then again the borrower is only promising to pay. A promise is just a promise.

    Actually many people try to make the Real Estate Industry much more complicated than it is. You like a house, you buy, and pay it off. You make whatever deal you have to to accomplish that goal. The bank, the mortgage, is what you are getting rid of, you are keeping the house.

    It’s simple, and easy, like that.

    The reason for the licensing is that mortgages are transfers of cash. Al Quida, drug dealers, corporations hiding cash, individuals laundering money, all use mortgages for those cash transfers. Hiding cash in a mortgage is pretty easy.

    Licensing has absolutely nothing to do with the consumer. This is a market share grab for large lenders, but the legislation has to do with criminal transfers of cash. It has to do with Real Estate swindles. Politicians realize that banks are already monitored and regulated, so this is a win, win for them.

    • David, re: “as we are all self promoting why not allow Scott some time” — last I checked Scott is not an author at Rain City Guide. This post is not titled “who’s your most favorite LO”.

      Go write a review on Yelp about Scott if you want to give him kudos, or write your own post on your blog–it’s not appropriate to do that on mine. Think about it, would I go to a post or article that you spent time writing to say “I highly recommend Ardell?”

  13. Why not?

    Actually, I also just noticed that my profile has been changed to face book.

    My comment was agreeing with you, and it showed a real person, a kind of documentation.

    It getting more clear, and I hope it’s more clear to the people who read this blog, that the information here is highly filtered.

    • David, I’m having issues with Facebook connecting with RCG too… you can talk to Dustin about it if you want to.

      So you wouldn’t mind me posting “Ardell’s a great agent and here’s her phone number” on your Facebook profile?

  14. Just to be clear, all of my sites promote Real Estate agents. There are probably about 200 Real Estate agents in the Seattle area, and they need all the support they can get.

    I promote Real Estate services because the idea some one can navigate themselves is false. I use Marlow Harris at Coldwell Banker as my Real Estate agent. Can I put her phone number here? I also think Chuck Cady at ReMax is the best Real Estate agent I’ve ever met. I have also found Steve Laevastu of Windermere, an excellent agent who has helped agents like Roger Turner be all they can be.

    For the hardest working person in Real Estate it’s got to be Peder Nielsen at Home Realty.

    Real Estate is a small community. The more we support each other the more we have to offer the consumer. It’s an abundance of business philosophy.

  15. It’s exactly what this post is about. Does the consumer have choices if all agents, that includes Loan Originators, are squeezed out of the business?

    We all need to pick our allies. In your case it’s all like minded Loan Originators, and they should have a forum. Consumers need resources. If you are saying you are the only resource, or you are the only alternative to the local bank, people will get that. It could be perceived as a negative.

    • Post can grow their own legs… my intent of writing this post is about exposing the tactics banks are using to recruit LOs who are about to be licensed.

      No where on this post or any post do or even on my own blog do I say that I’m the only resource.

      My soap box is that consumers need to make educated choices. They need to do their own research and not rely on referrals.

      but… back to my point–it’s not what this post is all about. ;)

  16. Hi Rhonda! I’m new to mortgage industry and I want to learn about the business seriously. I hope you can help me. Thanks a lot!

  17. As a real estate broker, it was interesting for me reading all the comments on this topic. I have to say that the only people making any sense to me is Joel and David Losh. I am sure there are advantages and disadvantages to both sides (direct bank employees and licensed originators), but we are only seeing one side here (naturally, as the author of this post is the latter). Perhaps the reason for licensing is because that Mortgage Brokers don’t have the resources to sufficiently train their loan officers, as Federal Banks do, and thus the requirement. And when you try so hard to say bad things about others, you tend to make yourself look bad. RESPA’s good faith estimate requirement is prime example of how transparent mortgages are. Everything is there and it all must add up to the penny. A bad LO is a bad LO no matter where they work. What damage they can do is trivial considering the mentioned RESPA guidelines and consumers do have transparency.

  18. Sean, consumers have little recourse if they deal with a registered LO vs a licensed LO. There are significant differences and I’m glad that consumers have a choice as to which type they want to work with.

    If you watched any of the testimony from the WaMU execs along side their regulators…you’d know it’s a total joke. DFI has been quoted by various news sources that consumers are safer working with a state regulated mortgage originator (i.e. licensed).

    A bad LO is a bad LO regardless of what type of institution they work for…they did not only work at mortgage brokers–they worked at banks too.

    The point of this post is that a bank was trying to higher LO’s who are trying to avoid the licensing procedures and the additional requirements that is required for a LO to be licensed vs registered.

  19. My loan guy, banker, broker, bank, is going out of the business after what must be more than 26 years. He’s retiring.

    We talked yesterday because I saw his offices were getting cleaned out. He said he has business, and I know he does, but he just doesn’t want to do it any more. He loves his business, but it has become so overly complicated that it’s just not fun any more.

    His opinion is that banks will end up with the mortgage business. No, it’s probably not good for the consumer, but there are just too many loop holes to close, that the laws are changing, he says, daily.

    I have two mortgages left to pay, and they are both a pain. Wells Fargo services one, and Bank of America services the other. Every month I think this is just a waste of my time, and money. I just hate the banks, as you know. The sooner we get these loans paid off the better.

    Anyway I’ll miss Scott at Primewest Financial and his phone number at 206-632-LOAN will be available in a couple of months. Contact me if you have an interest, or call Scott directly.

  20. David, we’re going to see many LOs exit the business at the end of the year once full licensing is required… or they can go work for a bank or credit union–where licensing is not required.

    Brokers also got another kick in the teeth earlier this week when Bank of America announced they’re exiting wholesale…BoA is focusing on their retail and correspondent relationships (I work for a correspondent lender and not a mortgage broker). Chase made a similar move earlier… mortgage brokers are losing options… and so are consumers.

    I cannot imagine ever being a “mortgage teller”…I’m licensed and ready to go for 2011…there are going to be fewer of us (licensed mortgage originators).

  21. Scott is fastidious. He has kept up with all of the legal requirements over the years. He’s very financially conservative, loves the paper work, but he is right, it’s just not fun any more.

  22. David, I’m not knocking Scott at all. I don’t know him and I can relate to what he’s saying… this is a tough job…tougher than it’s ever been. And to add to that, our elected officials are trying to control how folks like Scott and I are paid. I’m not talking YSP or disclosure–if they tried this with RE Agents–NAR would butcher them… but for non-mortgage bankers–this is easy to do and it looks and smells like reform. What consumers many not realize is that just because their mortgage banker (mortgage teller) appears to only be making $500 or what ever for being a “loan ap” taker, not only will they have terrible service (since that mortgage teller will be 1-less trained and/or 2-paid on volumes–churn and burn–get those files in) …but the bank is making more money, not passing it onto the loan originator and GUESS WHAT…not passing it on to the consumer.

  23. The bank LO versus licensed LO debate is pointless. I’ve been with a top 10 bank for 15 years, and most of our team come from the broker side of the business. Stability is important for many of them, as is 401k, pension, and the increased likelihood of loans being funded.

    You must feel the tightening through bank’s wholesale channels. Warehouse lines are drying up, and yield spread is close to being gone — I’ll plan on hiring more of you folks pretty soon.

    There are dopey lo’s on either side of the tracks — i just happen to find that most of the dopes are brokers. Now waste some time on another pointless subject — get back to work.

  24. It’s thanks to Congress that big bank mortgage originators are not held to the same standards per the SAFE Act that non-bank LICENSED mortgage originators are. Consumers should really ponder about this and how easily our elected officials are swayed by powerful lobbyist. If Congress was truly interested in protecting consumers and making the mortgage process easier, there wouldn’t be two sets of rules.

    I think being a Licensed Mortgage Originator is an advantage over just beng Registered. I have borrowers who seek me out because they want to work with a mortgage broker or correspondent lender–they no longer trust their bank. Consumers have the freedom to select what type of mortgage originator they wish to work with and they can see if their LO is licensed or registered by visiting http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org. Jim Dandy, had you commented with your “real name” consumers could have the opporturnity to check out your NMLS registered profile…but you opted for an alias.

    Jim Dandy, I think your response shows the classic mentality of big bankers. Sorry for the late reply….looks like this comment was just fished out of moderation.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  25. Why do people continue to INSIST that the banks DO NOT CHECK CREDIT…you may not need to be licensed but the BANKS WILL CHECK YOUR CREDIT AND BACKGROUND before hiring you!…

    So don’t expect that just because you were unable to maintain your license due to BK,foreclosures, lien or other items that the BANK WILL JUST HIRE YOU!!!…very misleading…

    Bitter brokers who have never WORKED for a bank don’t understand it isn’t as easy as you think to be hired…

  26. Linda, I feel strongly for the consumers sake, ANYONE regardless of what type of institution they work for should be held by the same standards… the SAFE ACT does not do this. There are two sets of rules created by Congress and anyone can follow the dollar to figure out “why” this happened.

    Banks are trying to recruit LO’s who will be required to be licensed (those who do not currently work for a bank or credit union) with the ploy that they will NOT be held to the same standards nor will they have to pass the exams and take continuing education required to maintain a license.

    It amuses me that mortgage bankers become defensive when their “non-licensed” status is pointed out to the public.

    Consumers deserve better. I do hope that the SAFE Act is amended to require ANYONE who takes a residential loan ap to be licenesed instead of having the two categories. For mortgage bankers who say they all ready have to do this–it shouldn’t be a big deal. Right?

  27. Architects & any other licensed practicioners
    always resent unlicensed intruders into their
    field of expert practice- for good reason. JG-

  28. lets get real for real there has to be hundreds of thousands of trustworthy honest americans .that have had there credit impacted by this economic calamity .some of them perhaps prior loan officers they are not responsible for the debentures that were illegally sold on wall streeet .they were not negligent in there duties the sec was and lwe should be clear . there has allways been a sub prime market and it will return .the over kill taken by the national cry went to far on loan officers and not far enough on the secondary sector .the law is nothing more than what is typical one segment of the market trying to gain advantage over the other .be clear the so call nieve general public is not so nieve they are complicit in most cases motivated by greed . they noy claim ididnt know ijust didnt know hog wash they were buying houses and luxury cars in the same breath get real .i predict that private money will enter the market and not be impacted by the new laws and the so called advantage will be dilluted even further the arorgant tone that most of you exemplify suggest that you could care less about the people who will be once again underserved .whats the new rule for the secondary no one can stop any american from reaching offshore to get a loan it will happen get real.

  29. david, I do believe that this law was heavily influenced by the big banks as is the LO Compensation rules that are starting to roll out April 1, 2011. Now most LO’s will be paid more like mortgage bankers with emphasis put on generating volume instead of the actual transaction in front of them. For two more weeks, I have the ability to price a loan the way I want to… skinnier if it appears to be an easier transation or with additional comp if I feel it’s going to be more challenging. The consumer has (and will still have) the right to accept my proposal of fees or walk away and find another lender. The new Fed rule on compensation restricts compensation and although it may look like the LO is being paid less or that it’s controlled, the reality is that non-bank lenders will be charging more like banks…having to pad rates a little to make up for additional cost that the LO can no longer absorb (cure fees, extensions, etc). Banks have been running about 0.25% higher than rates I post when I check out how I compare…and they boast their LOs do not charge an overage…the LOs may not charge an overage, however if the consumer is paying more, trusting their bank just cost them. It’s going to be interesting.

  30. This new compensation structure is creating even less transparency to the borrower because banks/lenders now have to bake in higher rates (like BofA) to create ‘slush funds’…..or whatever you want to call them, to cover any unknown costs that may arise that the LO would normally credit back but can no longer do that.

    The jokers making up the rules in congress are doing just the opposite of what they think they are doing for the consumer. Costs are rising (higher rates or bank margins) even more starting April 1st……and that’s no fooling.

    The unintended consequences of the government actions caused consumer fees to go up with HVCC and now it’s happening again with the new LO comp regulations.

  31. That was sadly obvious during the Fed’s conference call last week… Paul Mondor talked in circles so much that I think he even manage to confuse himself.

  32. MOST PEOPLE IN CONGRESS KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ORIGINATING AND HOW IT WORKS. THE ONE THING THAT BAFFLES ME IS THAT EVERY LOAN OFFICER IN AMERICA HAS ALLWAYS BEEN ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT THEY ORIGINATE .IF THEY DID SOMETHING OFF THE SHELF THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN AND MANY ARE BEING PROSECUTED .HOW IS IT THAT A LOAN OFFICER IS REQUIRED TO BE A W2 EMPLOYEE BUT IS NOT REQUIRED TO RECIEVE A REGULAR PAYCHECK .A REGULAR PAYCHECK AND A FREAKING UNION WOULD GO A LONG WAY A VERY LONG WAY

  33. Katherine says:

    Just an FYI..in Florida a broker can be licensed with the STATE…https://real.flofr.com/ConsumerServices/SearchLicensingRecords/Search.aspx

    But not be licensed through the NMLS..as a consumer looking into the background I find this very confusing…

    When I Google to check a license in Florida the FLOFR come up not the NMLS consumer site..I only found out about the site thorugh another friend..So I really don’t know what the think..is the person safe or not?

    When I checked the background of the broker the FLOFR says the person can do business but they don’t show up on the NMLS?

    • Katherine

      Florida, with out question, has made this more confusing than it needs to be. Fast forwarding you to the end and skipping the mind-numbing details of FS494 [Florida law] and the SAFE Act, here is the bottom line…

      To originate in Florida, a broker must have passed both the state and national exams and be registered with the NMLS.

      Hope that helps. =0)

      Chris Brown
      Certified Mortgage Planners – Orlando

      P.S. Rhonda – thanks for reaching out to me to offer reflection on this question. A testament to your commitment to a higher level of service to all those that need it =0)

  34. Katherine, I can only speak what I know of, which is Washington State. (I don’t lend out of WA). It doesn’t make sense to me that a LO is NOT licensed on the NMLS IF the LO is required to be licensed. Some mortgage originators (those who work for depository banks or credit unions) are only registered and not required to be licensed. Someone who is truly a “mortgage broker” or who works for a mortgage company that is non-depository (like a correspondent lender) is required to be licensed with the NMLS per the SAFE Act. In WA State, DFI (Department of Financial Institutions) has the job of enforcing this. On DFI’s site, they keep a list of licensed LOs: http://www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/findcompany.htm

    Have you contacted the State of Florida to get clarity?

    • Last I looked, Florida was in the “transition phase” with the deadline for compliance extended into March. The website may not be totally up to date.

      Ask the person you are considering doing your loan with. If you can’t ask them the question AND totally believe their answer, you are working with the wrong person…for you. Find someone you trust and ask THEM the questions. You shouldn’t have to ask on a blog in Seattle.

      If you don’t trust them…don’t use them. It’s as simple as that.

      • I’d add that you can call NMLS or your local governing body in Florida. I can offer help in WA…but I admit I’m not up on what’s going on in Florida.

  35. Thanks for stopping by, Chris!

  36. I think Rhonda is partially correct. I work for a bank, I am a top producer and have been for some time. I do not work for a “big box”, but a smaller community bank. I am registered with the NMLS. I went through the same backgroung and fingerprinting process. In additon, the bank did a full background, reviewed credit and reference search. The difference is that instead of taking a one time test and continuing education yearly with NMLS, I have to take several courses and tests each quarter. Sounds pretty close to me.

    Also, my employer will soon mandate us to become fully licensed and take the test. Then, I will not only have to take the test, the yearly continuing education, but also all of the quarterly education and tests. Then my company will be at a higher than broker standard. Agreed that we will be more of the exception rather than the rule. Can I then claim I am at the “highest standard” available following both sets of rules?

    I also agree that as the institution gets larger the generally weaker the originator becomes.

    At the end of the day, I still think it comes down to the Originator in question, not what the government mandates.

    • Michael, I applaud that your employer is having their bank LOs meet the same standards that Licensed Mortgage Originators are required to have per the SAFE Act. I think that ALL mortgage originators, even if they work for a bank or credit union should be held to the SAME standards.

      If I worked for a bank, I would want to licensed too instead of just registered…it is an exception and not the rule. I hope Congress changes this…however as long as our elected officials are controlled by powerful lobbyist, it’s not going to. Banks are running our country and therefore, their LOs are held to lower standards per the SAFE Act.

  37. Good post Rhonda and some interesting comments to say the least. I went from small company to big bank when the industry was in turmoil. It was not fun, I did not enjoy my job anymore. I am back at a smaller operation and I, along with my clients, are much happier.

    The licensing double standard in this industry is absurd and would be unacceptable in ANY other industry. Financial planners don’t get a licensing break because they work at Merrill Lynch and Insurance Agents don’t get a break because they work for State Farm.

  38. Thanks, Jonathan. I’ll be happy with ANYONE who takes a residential loan application is required to be held by the same standards of the SAFE Act. What we have now is misleading to consumers.

    The current regulations totally play into the banks and credit unions hand to hire inexperienced “mortgage app takers” aka mortgage tellers, since they are not required to be licensed and they’re merely registered. I think many consumers presume that just because the LO works for a bank or credit union, they’re working with someone held by perhaps an even higher standard… we know this isn’t true per the SAFE Act.

  39. I just received a voice mail from a person who wants to apply to work at our company after reading this post. He has misunderstood this article and thinks that our company will hire loan officers without a license. He needs to go apply at a bank or credit union if he doesn’t want to go through the higher standards required of a licensed mortgage originator per the SAFE Act.

  40. I would like to point out that I am a 16 year mortgage originator who has held my NMLS licensing since its inception. I dont feel that I have gained any added benefit from the amount of business I have acquired just because I am licensed. In fact, I dont believe anyone has ever even asked the question. The big banks give me the ability to originate nationwide without having to get an individual license in each state I want to close loans in. Everything isnt always as shady as some folks would like to make it out to be.

  41. I read all your comments and I agree that those who have no enough experience should be educated and licence if they have no credit issue. I am a mortgage broker before for 5 years and no bad record except my credit is not good when I lost all my houses when the economy fall apart and no more income coming in. I originate my loan , process and close the loan and all my customers are happy. But because I have no more capital to operate my mortgage company, I am interested to work with big bank for licencing exception to be able to support my family. But because of my credit, I was denied by big bank. So it depends on your situation. I am an engineer by education and I can help all my customers if they have problems. So I plan to buy & sell real estate once I have investor who will finance my business and we split the profit. I acquired 10 properties using my good credit.

  42. Its sounds like a bunch of jealousy!
    Wow , so many of you showing your true colors, or as someone from the ghetto say Haters! Stop look in the mirror and ask yourself why , why are you yhe way you are

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