State Regulators Launch Searchable Mortgage Company Information Database for Consumers

January 27, 2010 — A new website is now available for the general public to view information about state-licensed mortgage companies, branches and individuals currently licensed.

The website is a part of the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS), a system created and operated by state regulators. The NMLS Consumer Access provides consumers with a single point of access to obtain standardized information regarding their mortgage provider, regardless of state.

The NLMS was developed to meet the mandates of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act), legislation that required the states to license and register mortgage originators and provide further transparency for the public regarding mortgage providers. The SAFE Act also directed state regulators to create a central location for the public to find information about mortgage providers. To date, 45 states and territories are part of the NMLS, and all 54 states and territories are expected to be on NMLS by the end of 2010.

Pursuant to the SAFE Act, every mortgage loan originator (MLO) was to be either registered or licensed, beginning August 1, 2009 on the NLMS. While the states began implementing the licensing regime for MLOs who do not work for a bank, credit union, or federally regulated bank subsidiary, federal agencies are working on the regulations to govern the registration process for employees of financial institutions who originate mortgages, including credit union employees.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation released a draft final rule to facilitate the industry's understanding of, and preparation for, a formal final rule. Of course, the registration requirements of the SAFE Act do not include the education and testing requirements that the SAFE Act mandates for licensing. A final rule is expected sometime in the first half of 2010.