The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Farm Credit Administration and the National Credit Union Administration (Agencies) have announced that they expect the system for federal registration of residential mortgage loan originators (MLOs) to begin operation on or around January 31, 2011.

The Agencies’ rules implementing the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act) require certain MLOs (generally those employed by Agency-regulated institutions) to register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLSR) within 180 days of the date the Registry begins accepting federal registrations. At present, the Agencies expect the initial registration period to expire on July 29, 2011; after the initial registration period expires, MLOs will be prohibited from originating residential mortgage loans until they successfully complete the federal registration process.

Other MLOs (i.e., those not employed by Agency-regulated institutions) must be licensed under state law and registered with the NMLSR as state-licensed loan originators. The SAFE Act required states to have in place, by law or regulation, a system for licensing and registering MLOs that meets the requirements of the SAFE Act by July 31, 2010. The NMLSR began operation on January 2, 2008 and all 50 states had joined the NMLSR by October 2010. Many states still are in the process of harmonizing their mortgage licensing laws with the SAFE Act and transitioning their company licensing procedures to the NMLSR.

The Agencies will confirm the opening date for federal registration closer to the actual date and will publish notice of that date in the Federal Register.

  • Judy Scheiderer