Feds Issue SAFE Act Rule for Regulated Financial Institutions

Federal Regulators issued final rules requiring mortgage loan originators employed by financial institutions register with the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE).

The rule requires originators who are employed by agency-regulated institutions to be registered with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry.  Created by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators, residential mortgage loan originators must provide their information and fingerprints for background checks.

Each loan originator is required to obtain a unique identifier number through the registry that will remain with them for life. “This will enable consumers to easily access employment and other background information about registered mortgage loan originators from the registry,” the final rule said. It will take effect Oct. 1. Federal agencies said the registry could begin accepting federal registrations on Jan. 28. Banks and loan officers have 180 days to comply from the time federal agencies provide an advance announcement of the date the registry will begin accepting registrations.

SAFE Act licensing is a much bigger issue for nonbank mortgage lenders, which, unlike their bank-owned competitors, must meet tougher educational requirements and take tests in every state they’re licensed to do business.  Reverse mortgage originators who are licensed in multiple states face increasing compliance costs due to all the additional state testing requirements.

The nonbanks are struggling to meet their July 31 deadline for compliance with national and state licensing requirements.

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