All states have implemented the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act) originally enacted by Congress in 2008. Along with California, the states have adopted state “SAFE” Acts based on model law.
The SAFE Act requires individuals “engaging in the business of loan originator” to satisfy requirements related to education, licensing, registration, and background checks. The SAFE Act directed the states to establish licensing and registration systems that meet federal requirements.
As a response to the federal SAFE Act, beginning July 1, 2010, California Senate Bill 36 went into effect that required the employees of licensees under the California Finance Lenders Law (CFLL) and the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act (RMLA) engaged in the business of mortgage loan origination to be licensed.
Mortgage loan originator license and endorsement applicants are required to submit to fingerprinting for a criminal history background check; complete a minimum of twenty hours of pre-license education, and pass a qualified written test developed by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS).
Pursuant to SB 36, licensed mortgage loan originators must complete at least eight hours of continuing education annually and must disclose their NMLS identifier on all residential mortgage loan application forms, solicitations, and advertisements. Also, REL licensees are required to submit an annual business activities report to the Commissioner of the California Department of Real Estate.
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