On July 8, 2010, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) will stop accepting applications for mortgage broker, mortgage brokerage business, mortgage lender and correspondent mortgage lender licenses, so that current applications can be processed before October 1. Beginning October 1, 2010, Florida will begin participation in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System, and all existing loan originators, brokers and lenders and mortgage business owners will be required to reapply for licensure. December 31, 2010, is the last day to apply for licensure.
Over the last two years, OFR has developed and implemented tougher licensing requirements for the mortgage industry to better protect Florida’s consumers. As authorized by federal and state law, the Office will now raise the bar even higher for anyone wanting to stay or enter the mortgage industry.
The new licensing process includes having state and federal criminal backgrounds checked and a credit report pulled. For the first time, the Office will be able to evaluate credit reports, giving regulators a larger set of criteria to determine that a person can demonstrate character, general fitness and financial responsibility before granting a license. The Office will look at items on the credit report such as bankruptcies, outstanding tax liens or other governmental liens, outstanding judgments, foreclosures and charged off accounts.
Additionally, licensees will now be required to renew their licenses on a yearly basis to include resubmitting to state and federal criminal backgrounds checks and a credit report. The Office will not renew a license if the applicant does not continue to meet the same standards required at initial licensure. Prior to this, mortgage brokers, businesses and lenders were only required to submit to a state criminal background check during initial licensure and were allowed to renew every two years without a subsequent background check.
“We encourage applicants to apply now so that they have a better chance of being approved before October 1. If unlicensed by this date, individuals will not be able to work in the industry until the new application is approved,” said Tom Cardwell, Commissioner of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. “Applicants should submit information that is complete, correct and containing full-disclosure to minimize delays to processing their application.”
More information on the new mortgage licensing requirements, process and fees is available on our website at http://www.flofr.com/Finance/index.htm. Additional questions can be answered through the Office’s Licensing Department at 850-410-9805.