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Temporary Authority to Operate (Temporary Authority) for Mortgage Loan Originators AKA Transitional MLO

Background on Mortgage Loan Originator MLO Transitional License

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155 or the amendments), which was signed into law on May 24, 2018, adds a new section to the federal SAFE Act (12 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) entitled “Employment Transition of Loan Originators.” These amendments become effective November 24, 2019, 18 months after enactment.

 What the Law Permits  

What is “temporary authority” to act as a mortgage loan originator (MLO) provided by the amendments?”

Temporary authority to act as a loan originator permits:

  1. qualified MLOs who are changing employment from a depository institution 1 to a state-licensed mortgage company, and
  2. qualified state-licensed MLOs seeking licensure in another state, to originate loans while completing any state-specific requirements for licensure such as education or testing.

Who is eligible for temporary authority?

MLOs must be:

  1. employed and sponsored through NMLS by a state-licensed mortgage company, and
  2. either:
    1. registered in NMLS as an MLO during the one year preceding the application submission; or
    2. licensed as an MLO during the 30-day period preceding the date of application.

1 As that term is defined in the SAFE and FDI Acts (12 USC 5102, 12 USC 1813).

What would disqualify an MLO from receiving temporary authority?

MLOs who have:

  1. had an MLO license application denied or an MLO license revoked or suspended in any jurisdiction;
  2. been subject to, or served with, a cease and desist order; or been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony that would preclude licensure under the law of the
     application state.

How long can an MLO operate under temporary authority?

Temporary authority begins on the date an eligible MLO submits a license application with the required background check information (fingerprints, personal history and experience, and authorization for a credit report as required in 12 USC 5104(a)), assuming there is no disqualifying event. It ends when the earliest of the following occurs:

  1. the MLO withdraws the application,
  2. the state denies or issues a notice of intent to deny the application,
  3. the state grants the license, or

120 days after the application submission if the application is listed on NMLS as incomplete

What authority does the state regulator have with regard to MLOs operating under a temporary authority?

The amendments specify that any MLO operating under temporary authority is subject to the requirements of the federal SAFE Act, and all applicable laws of the application state, to the same extent as if that MLO was a state-licensed loan originator licensed by the state.

Frequently Asked Questions on MLO Temporary Authority or Loan Originator Transitional License

1.      As it pertains to S. 2155, will an MLO apply for a temporary authority license?

No. An MLO applies for an MLO license and, if eligible, receives temporary authority.

2.     When can a registered mortgage loan originator (RMLO) or a state licensed MLO apply for an MLO license and originate mortgages under temporary authority?

The amendment states that temporary authority “shall take effect on the date that is 18 months after the date of enactment…” The amendments were enacted on May 24, 2018; therefore, MLOs cannot apply for a license and become eligible for temporary authority until November 24, 2019.

3.      How is eligibility for temporary authority evaluated?

NMLS will be programmed to check certain elements of eligibility such as whether Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) exists and if an applicant has had an MLO license application denied, revoked, or suspended in any jurisdiction. NMLS will also be able to check the last date of registration for a federal MLO moving to a state-licensed company. Regulators may also need to manually check other elements of eligibility including the MLO’s CHRI and cease and desist orders to make sure there is no disqualifying event.

4.      What must be included in a license application in order to obtain temporary authority?

In order for an eligible individual to obtain Temporary Authority to Operate, the individual must submit a complete Mortgage Loan Originator License application through  NMLS.

A complete application must include:

  1. completed Individual Licensing Form (MU4) which contains personal history and experience;
    1. explanation and supporting documentation uploads for any “Yes” answer to a disclosure question;
    2. the receipt of a criminal history record information check from the FBI;
    3. authorization for a credit report to be obtained; and
    4. any state-specific document required as part of an MLO license application in the Application State.

Note: An eligible individual can submit an MLO license application without passing the SAFE Act Test or meeting Pre-Licensure education requirements.

5.      Is it possible for an MLO to have temporary authority for more than 120 days?

Yes. At the end of the 120 days, if an application is complete (including testing and education) and the agency has not yet made a decision on the application, temporary authority exists until the agency acts on the application.

6.      How would the system respond to the following three scenarios?

  1. The MLO has a disqualifying event that can be ascertained from information in the system (e.g. a cease and desist order or a denial). The system would identify this, would not grant temporary authority, and would require that MLO SAFE Test and Pre-Licensure Education be completed prior to submission of the license application.
  • The MLO applies for an MLO license then the application-state determines the MLO does not meet requirements for temporary authority because they have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony that would preclude
    licensure in the application state. Temporary authority is not granted in that state. Denial by an application-state ends temporary authority in all states. An issuance of an intent to deny ends temporary authority only in
     the application-state.
  • The MLO is granted temporary authority. After investigation of the application, a state determines that the MLO has a disqualifying event (e.g. a cease and desist order that is not in the system) thus the MLO should never have been granted temporary authority. The applicant state denies the application or issues an intent to deny and temporary authority is rescinded. Presumably, the state or states will bring an enforcement action against the MLO and the company, if the company knew, for failure to disclose the relevant event. Denial by an application-state ends temporary authority in all states.
    An issuance of an intent to deny ends temporary authority only in the application-state.

7.      Should a Regulator be permitted to issue an intent to deny if the individual attempts in good faith to meet all requirements needed to obtain state- licensure within 120 days?

Under S. 2155, an applicant will not be applying for temporary authority, they will be applying for an MLO state license through NMLS. If eligible, they will be deemed to have temporary authority while their application moves through a state’s normal licensing process. Therefore, under the amendments of the SAFE Act, an issuance of a denial or an intent to deny would simultaneously end temporary authority and would also stop the licensing process. The issuance of an intent to deny signifies that the regulator has reviewed the license application and has found one or more reasons to deny the license. An applicant may appeal the license denial, however, there is no appeal process for temporary authority.

S. 2155 does not require a regulator to wait the entire 120-day period before reviewing and making that final disposition on an application. The state regulator is responsible for making the final disposition and must follow their own internal processes, including managing any appeals that are filed. Regulators can review an application immediately upon receipt and can approve/deny the application or issue an intent to deny at any time.

The intent of S. 2155 is to permit qualified mortgage loan originators to originate loans while completing testing and pre-licensure education requirements. During this time period they will also be required to complete any follow up requests made by the regulator, such as updating any expired or incorrect documents. Temporary Authority will end if there is a disqualifying event. Two disqualifying events that could end temporary authority to operate are the state denying the application or issuing an intent to deny. This is laid out in the “What the Law Permits” section of the FAQs.

8.      Can an MLO obtain temporary authority in all jurisdictions currently on NMLS?

Yes. There is no language in S. 2155 that limits the number of states where an applicant can apply for an MLO license and thereby become eligible to operate under temporary authority.

9.    Regarding MLOs who are moving from a Depository Institution to a Non- Depository Institution, S. 2155 uses the phrases “is a registered loan originator” and “was registered.” What is the effect of this inconsistent language?

CSBS believe the purpose of the law is to allow a current or formerly registered MLO to move from a depository institution that required registration to a non-depository institution that requires state licensure, as long as the MLO was registered within the last 365 days.

10. The amendments specifically address “temporary authority to originate loans for state-licensed loan originators moving interstate.” What is the intention of the word “move?” Does “move” refer to an MLO expanding their license from one state licensed jurisdiction to another or to an MLO moving physically to another state?

The amendments provide that an “application State means a state in which a registered loan originator or a State-licensed loan originator seeks to be licensed.” Based on this language, CSBS believes that “move” does not refer to nor require an MLO seeking temporary authority to change their physical address. CSBS believes that the intent of S. 2155 was to allow MLOs to expand their authority to originate mortgages from bank to non-bank
 and/or from state to state. With this understanding, an MLO could be eligible for temporary authority in any number of states at the same time.

11.  Are the loans originated while an MLO is acting under temporary authority valid if the license is ultimately denied?

Loans, whether closed or not, are not affected by the intent to deny or denial of an MLO’s application. Loans not closed belong to the company and closed loans cannot be undone.

12.  If a company were to apply for a license in a new state, would temporary authority permit the company’s current MLOs to work in the new state once the company is approved?

A company moving from one state to another would first need to apply and be licensed as amortgage company in the new state. Once licensed, the company’s MLOs may then be eligible for temporary authority if they apply for licensure.

13. Will a status show on NMLS Consumer Access for MLOs with temporary authority? What will it be?

Consumer Access shows both the status of a license and whether a licensee or registrant is authorized to conduct business. An applicant who receives temporary authority is in the process of applying for an MLO license. The applicant is deemed to have temporary authority before a licensing decision has been made on their application. Therefore, the applicant’s license status cannot be updated in Consumer Access. However, an MLO with temporary authority is authorized to conduct business if all qualifications are met. This means that the “authorized to conduct business” field in Consumer Access can be denoted with a “Yes.”

14. Will an MLO with temporary authority be required to be covered by a surety bond or recovery fund?

Yes. Section5107(f)(1) of the SAFE Act gives the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection authorization to set minimum net worth or surety bond requirements for MLOs and for recovery funds paid into by MLOs. Section 5107(d)(6) explains that the states are required to base that bond or fund amount on the amount of loans originated by an MLO.

S.2155 adds section 5117(d) to the SAFE Act. 5117(d)(2) states that:

“Any individual who is deemed to have temporary authority to act as a loan originator in an application State under this section and who engages in residential mortgage loan origination activities shall be subject to the requirements of this chapter and to applicable State law to the same extent as if that individual was a State-licensed loan originator licensed by the application State.”

Any MLO with temporary authority to originate must meet all requirements of the SAFE Act including bonding requirements. MLOs with temporary authority are able to originate loans, therefore, based on Section 5107(d)(6) above, their loan amount would need to be covered by a bond or fund. Similar language in 5117(d)(1) extends this applicability to employers of MLOs with temporary authority as well. A sponsoring company’s bond satisfies the bonding requirement for an MLO.

15. Will the loans originated by an MLO with temporary  authority be required to be included in the Mortgage Call Report (MCR)?

Yes. SAFE Act, section 5104(e) requires each mortgage licensee to submit a call report to NMLS in a form specified by NMLS. The NMLS Policy Guidebook states that, an MCR must be completed by all state licensed companies and companies employing state licensed mortgage loan originators.

Applicants who have received temporary authority have begun the application process for an MLO license. S. 2155 requires in both sections 5117(b)(1) and (c)(1)(B), that applicants must be employed by a state-licensed company in the application state. CSBS interprets this to mean that these employees must be included in the Call Report mandated in section 5104(e) because they are employees of a mortgage licensee.

16. Is company sponsorship required as proof of an MLO’s employment in states where sponsorship is required?

Yes. Employment and sponsorship are required at the time of filing an MLO license application to receive temporary authority.

17. Can a federally registered MLO with an inactive state license obtain temporary authority in a different state?

Yes. If a federal registrant with an inactive license meets all requirements for eligibility, they can seek temporary authority.

18. Is an applicant with a pending prosecution matter eligible for temporary authority?

Yes. A pending criminal matter would not affect the eligibility for temporary authority until the matter is resolved and the resolution makes the applicant ineligible.

19.  If an applicant submits an MLO license application that meets the requirements for temporary authority on Friday and the state begins the license application review on Monday, what day did temporary authority begin?

In this example, temporary authority would begin on Friday if the system is able to automatically verify eligibility. If manual state review is required to verify eligibility, temporary authority would begin at the completion of that review.

20.  Are MLOs with temporary authority subject to the federal SAFE Act?

Yes. All provisions of the SAFE Act, including the enforcement provisions, apply to MLOs with temporary authority.

21.  If an application state issues a license application denial or intent to deny during the temporary authority time period, does the applicant have administrative rights?

Yes. State Administrative Procedures Act rights attach to the license, not temporary authority. When a state denies a license application or issues a notice of intent to deny temporary authority is ended. The applicant can appeal the denial of the license, but not the termination of temporary authority. An MLO cannot conduct licensable activities without temporary authority or a license.

 NMLS MLO Education Questions and Answers

Find answers to the most common NMLS education related questions.

Jump to questions related to:

General NMLS MLO Education Questions and Answers

NMLS MLO Prelicensure Education (PE)

NMLS MLO Continuing Education (CE)

Late CE – Make-up CE for previous year

Miscellaneous NMLS Education Questions and Answers

 General NMLS MLO Education Questions and Answers

How do I get help answering NMLS MLO Education and Testing Questions?

Answer: Click Here to go to Contact Us Page and AAA Mortgage Training will help you find the necessary information and solutions, The NMLS has discontinued supporting MLO education and testing calls. AAA Mortgage Training has NMLS education and Testing experts standing by to walk you through your NMLS records and provide MLO education and Testing solutions and direction!

Q. How do I find a school for mortgage education?

A. Your already have AAA Mortgage Training NMLS Approved Education Provider 1400980 also NMLS maintains a list of approved course providers which is updated monthly.  These are the only entities authorized to deliver courses for MLO licensing AAA Mortgage Training is NMLS Approved Education Provider 1400980 with courses approved for classroom, webinar, online instructor led and online self study in the course categories of SAFE 20 Hour Comprehensive courses including state specific law PE, stand alone state specific PE courses to add a state MLO license, SAFE 8 Hour Comprehensive, 7 Hour Core and state specific CE courses, get your education answers here by a NMLS national education planner. 

The NMLS website says the NMLS does not approve test prep courses and course providers do not have any insight or knowledge about what is on the test or of specific test questions.  

We disagree, with our lead national trainer's experience helping MLOs pass Mortgage Loan Originator Licensing Exams since 1999 and a detailed exam outline provided with references sources our AAA Mortgage Training NMLS Test Preparation program has about 2000 targeted questions organized in topic quizzes and mock exams proven to deliver passing MLO NMLS exam scores consistently, click here to see our NMLS Test Prep Course Information: NMLS Test Preparation Program 

Q. How is NMLS PE or CE reported?

A. After completion of a PE or CE course, the course provider will report the course completion to NMLS.  Course providers have seven (7) calendar days to report to NLMS. AAA Mortgage Training reports completions daily, weekends and holiday included

Q. Is there a place to view my completed education?

A. Every state-licensed MLO or persons with a NMLS ID number has access to a course completion record in NMLS.  The record contains a complete history of all NMLS approved education completed.  The record also displays the number of hours required for specific licenses and any outstanding requirements.  Quick Guide - Education Records provides instructions. The fast and easiest to find your education requirements or have an NMLS education expert walk you through the process is call AAA Mortgage Training NMLS Education Hotline at (317) 201-7612. 

  1. Get to your education record by logging into your NMLS account 
  2. Click "Composite View" top right
  3. Click "View Individual"
  4. Click "Education Records" on left menu and remember NMLS PE Completion records are all the way on the bottom below all of your NMLS CE Completion Records 

Q. What do I do if education is missing?

A. Reach out to your course provider and request the status of reporting.  Be sure to include your full name as it appears in NMLS and your NMLS ID number.  

NMLS MLO PE Requirements?

What are MLO Pre-Licensure Education (PE) requirements?

A. Federal and state law (SAFE Act) requires state-licensed mortgage loan originators (MLOs) to complete PE. The minimum requirement is 20 hours of NMLS approved education which includes the following:

   a. Three (3) hours of Federal law and regulations;

   b. Three (3) hours of ethics that shall include instruction on fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues;

   c. Two (2) hours related to lending standards for the nontraditional mortgage product market; and

   d. Twelve (12) hours of undefined instruction on mortgage origination

Alert: Many state agencies also have state-specific PE requirements. See the State-Specific Education Requirements for details.

Q. When do I need to complete the 20 hours of PE?

A. The 20 hours of PE (as well as any state-specific PE) is required to be completed prior to license application. 

Q. When do I need to complete PE for Temporary Authority to Operate?

A. MLOs need to complete federal and state education requirements within 120 days of their Temporary Authority start date. See the State-Specific Education Requirements for the Education and Temporary Authority policy for details.

SMART Temporary Authority Deadlines: The following deadlines take into consideration the time required to complete education, for information to be reported, and for the education record to be updated in NMLS.

SMART TA: Requirements and Education Record is Updated within 90 Days of Temporary Authority

TA At Risk: Requirements and Education Record is Not Updated at 100 Days of Temporary Authority

PROBABLY GUARANTEED LOSS OF TA: Requirements and Education Record Not Updated at 100 Days of Temporary Authority

Q. Will NMLS block application for a license if the MLO is not PE compliant?

A. Yes. NMLS will validate the MLO is compliant with BOTH Federal and State agency requirements prior to application submission. NMLS will also require completion of pending CE requirements for the last year the MLO held the license if the MLO is applying for a previously held license.

Q. Does PE expire? 

A. PE expires after three (3) years in accordance with the following rule:  An individual who completed 20 hours of PE pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 5104(c) must retake 20 hours of PE in order to be eligible for state mortgage loan originator licensure if he or she:

    (1)fails to acquire a valid state license or federal registration as a mortgage loan originator within three years from the date of federal compliance with 12 U.S.C. 5104(c);or

    (2)fails to acquire a valid state license or federal registration as a mortgage loan originator within three years from the last date of licensure or registration as a mortgage loan originator.

See the NMLS PE Expiration Policy or click here to go to our State Education Requirements or here to view "states" education and licensing information right here on our website or contact us for answers 

Q. When is the PE Expiration policy enforced?

A. Several states have already or are in the process of enacting the PE Expiration policy. Check on an agency’s status in the State-Specific Education Requirements. 

NMLS MLO Continuing Education CE

Q. What are the Continuing Education (CE) requirements?

A. Federal and State law requires MLOs to complete a minimum of eight (8) hours of annual CE which must include the following:

   a. Three (3) hours of Federal law and regulations;

   b. Two (2) hours of ethics that shall include instruction on fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues;

   c. Two (2) hours of training related to lending standards for the nontraditional mortgage product market; and

   d. One (1) hour of undefined instruction on mortgage origination.

Alert: Many state agencies also have state-specific PE requirements. See the State-Specific Education Requirements for details.

Q. What are SMART Deadlines?

SMART Deadlines are set each year to help ensure MLOs complete their CE in time for courses to be reported into NMLS and to allow time for submitting the renewal application.

The SMART Deadlines for 2022 are:

SMART Renewal Deadline: CE course reported to NMLS by Friday, December 9

At-Risk-to-Miss Renewal Deadline: Course reported to NMLS by Friday, December 16

Guaranteed to Miss Renewal Deadline: Course reported to NMLS on Friday, December 30 per the NMLS we recommend do not push this deadline, but we here at AAA Mortgage Training report completions same day at the end of the cycle and you can initiate renewal on the 31st of December prior to midnight EST, again this can be done, but avoid the stress of late renewals and expired MLO licenses by not running out the clock on yourself if avoidable

Q. When do I need to complete CE?

A. The CE requirement is set based on license approval date and is required to be completed prior to submitting for license renewal.  See the State-Specific Education Requirements page on the top left menu for additional details and deadlines.

Q. Will NMLS block renewal for a license if the MLO is not CE compliant?

A. Yes.  NMLS will validate the MLO is compliant with BOTH Federal and State annual CE requirements as a condition for applying for renewal.

Q. Can I take the same CE course two years in a row?

A. No, the SAFE Act specifically prohibits the taking of the same course in successive years. See the SAFE Act's Successive Year Rule. You CAN use AAA Mortgage Training year after year just can not repeat the exact same course number in successive years, we usually have more than one course number approved simulatneously, click here to contact us to get your education planned by a national education expert

Q. Will the system place a license item for CE?

A. The system will automatically place a license item on each MLO license if the MLO is not yet CE compliant for the license on or around July 15 of that year. The license setting will be cleared by the system once the MLO has become compliant for CE (both federal and any state requirement).

Q. Are MLOs notified if CE is required?

NMLS sends monthly CE notifications as reminder that CE needs to be completed. Note: the notice has nothing to do with any previous year’s CE requirements and your current license(s) is/are not impacted.  

Q. Why does my record show “Pending CE” for this year?

The course completion record shows “pending” for the current year because on January 1 the system set a CE requirement for the new calendar year. For example, just as you may have completed CE in 2020 to renew a license for 2021, you will be required to complete CE in 2021 to renew the license for 2022.   

Q. When is CE required?

A. CE is required in the same year as licensure unless your INITIAL or first Federal PE was also completed this year. See State-Specific Education Requirements on the top of the left menu for the Uniform CE policy.

Q. What if an MLO completed state-specific PE this year, are they still required to complete CE?

A. Yes. If an MLO is already licensed with Federal PE compliance in a previous year and completes state-specific PE for another license, the MLO is still required to complete CE for that agency for the current year. For example: An MLO is licensed in OR in 2016; in 2021, they complete 4 hours of WA state-specific PE and are granted a WA license on 6/12/21. The MLO is still required to complete CE in 2021 (including the 1hour of WA CE state-specific) as condition for renewal in both OR and WA.

Q. What if an MLO is licensed on November 15?

A. If an MLO is licensed between November 1 and December 31 of any year, they will not be required to complete CE for that year. On Jan 1, YYYY, NMLS will automatically set the CE requirement for the next year. However, if the license status date is entered with a date prior to November 1 during the renewal period, the MLO will be required to complete CE for that year.

Q. What about CE compliance for MU2 individuals?

A. NMLS is not currently tracking CE compliance for MU2 individuals. However, requirements for MU2 individuals are listed on the charts and the requirements are being manually reviewed by relevant state agencies. Look up an agency in the State-Specific Education Requirements.

 Late CE NMLS MLO Education Questions and Answers

Q. How do I make-up CE from a previous year?

A. To make-up CE from a previous year you must complete Late CE.  Visit AAA Mortgage Training Late CE Catalogue Here, NMLS maintains a Late CE Catalog. These are the only courses that can be taken to make-up CE. See the Late CE course catalog for more information.

Q. When is Late CE required?

A. Late CE is required during the annual reinstatement period. Late CE is also required if an MLO left and is returning to the industry and is used to satisfy CE requirements that were not completed in the last year the MLO held the license. Note: if more than three years have passed, PE will have expired and you will be required to retake PE instead of Late CE.

Q. Does NMLS track state-specific Late CE?

A. Yes. Course providers will report state-specific Late CE just like they do other courses and the system will automatically apply the Late CE to the appropriate year. In the event of an exception, the reported Late CE will be processed and manually applied to the correct year.

Miscellaneous NMLS Education Questions and Answers

Q. How does NMLS know what the education requirements are for each agency?

A. NMLS is programmed with Federal PE and CE requirements as required by the SAFE Act. State-specific PE and CE requirements are set by each state agency through a license setting interface based on requirements set forth in state statute or regulation. Every agency can set their own state-specific requirements for each of their license types. NMLS performs compliance checks at the time of application for PE, and sets the CE requirement when the license is approved.

Q. What if an agency wants to change its state-specific education requirements?

A. State agencies can modify their state-specific education requirements at any time with advance notice. The advance notice is required to ensure industry is aware of the new requirement and so course providers can modify courses.

Q. What happens if an agency changes its PE or CE hour requirements?

A. If there is a change to PE requirements any applicant will be required to meet the new requirements on or after the effective date of the new requirement. For example, if an agency changes their PE requirement from 2 hours to 4 hours of state-specific education effective July 1, any application filed and in a pending status as of June 30th, will remain compliant for having met the 2 hour requirement. Any application submitted on or after July 1 will not be accepted if the individual has not completed the 4 hours of state-specific education. 

If a state agency changes its CE requirements at any time during the calendar year, all MLO’s licensed with that agency will be required to meet the new hour requirement even if they were already CE compliant. For example, if an agency had a requirement for 8 hours of CE on 1/1/2017, and then the agency changes their requirement to include 1 hour of state-specific CE effective July 1, 2021, any MLO that was already CE compliant as of 6/30/2021 will now have to complete the 1 hour of state-specific education.

Q. If I work for a commercial bank or other federally chartered institution, do I need to take the SAFE-required education courses?

A. Non-state-licensed MLOs do not have the same formal CE requirements as state-licensed MLOs.  The CFPB’s final rule on Reg Z (Part 1026.36(f) states in part: Loan Officers will receive periodic training covering Federal and State law requirements that apply to the individual loan originator’s loan origination activities.  Unlike for state licensed MLOs, the final rule is not prescriptive on the education requirements and is deliberately board as it is intended to take into consideration the types of activities a registered MLO performs daily. 

Need a tool to help you with multi-state NMLS renewals and document requirements? Click here to access the NMLS Annual Renewal Checklist Compiler