SAFE Act: Lack of Traditional Mortgage Experience Could Hurt Reverse Lenders

While many reverse mortgage lenders have had success hiring loan officers with no “forward” mortgage lending experience, several people tell RMD that those with little traditional mortgage experience will have a hard time passing the national SAFE Act exam.

Under the SAFE Act, all loan originators must be registered with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) and have 20 hours of pre-licensing education credits as well as 8 hours of continuing education annually thereafter.

Over 10,000 originators have already taken the National Test Component and the results haven’t been good.  According to data from the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, 3 out of every 10 loan originators who have taken the national exam required under the SAFE Act have failed.


RMD spoke with several originators who have already taken the test and each is worried that employees who only have reverse mortgage experience won’t pass.

"The national exam includes questions a reverse mortgage originator without  traditional experience wouldn’t typically know," said Jack Belles, President of Reverse Mortgages of New England.  He was the first person in his office to take the exam and while passing, he is stressing to his employees the importance of studying.

Bancroft, EVP of Security One Lending agrees, telling RMD that “It’s one of the most difficult tests I’ve taken in the mortgage industry and I think people will fail because they’re taking it too lightly.”

NMLS Resource Center

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