Title V of P.L. 110-289, the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (“SAFE Act”), was passed on July 30, 2008. The new federal law gave states one year to pass legislation requiring the licensure of mortgage loan originators according to national standards and the participation of state agencies on the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS). The SAFE Act is designed to enhance consumer protection and reduce fraud through the setting of minimum standards for the licensing and registration of state-licensed mortgage loan originators. Mortgage loan originators 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 mortgage loan originators are licensed by the states.
The SAFE Act requires state-licensed MLOs (Mortgage Loan Officer) 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.