The Maine SAFE Act: Don’t get caught unprepared!

The State of Maine, Bureau of Credit Protection, which has been registering loan officers on its own internal computer system for several years, is transitioning to licensing mortgage loan originators on the NMLS (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System).

Right now a Maine mortgage loan originator can

  1. Create a profile on NMLS
  2. Obtain  an NMLS number
  3. 3 take the national test

A Maine mortgage loan originator can also take a total of 20 hours of Maine-approved education prior to Oct 1,2010 to be certified as compliant with the pre-licensure (or “PE”) requirements to get on the system.

The system for Maine will “go live” on Oct. 1,2010.  That’s the date that the Maine-specific test will be available.  The current deadline for licensing on the system is December 31, 2010.  However, the date by which the Maine-specific test must be taken and passed may be extended 90 days into the year, untill March 31, 2011.  The Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection has made a formal request to HUD for that extension.

Maine loan officers who do not have a cumulative total of 20 hours of Education should take 20 hours of Maine approved courses prior to Oct. 1,2010.  At the appropriate time this fall, the Maine bureau will then be able to certify those mortgage originators as compliant for purposes of obtaining their initial NMLS license.

Where can Maine mortgage originators take the NMLS test? Maine currently has 4 testing sites: two in Bangor, one in South Portland and one in Westbrook.  Maine mortgage loan originators can utilize testing site sin New Hampshire, Massachusetts and other states if that’s more convenient.

If your wondering who exactly must become licensed under the new Maine NMLS, here is the exact definition of a “mortgage originator” found in in 9-A MRSA §13-102(7):

Mortgage loan originator. “Mortgage loan originator” means an individual who for compensation or gain or in the expectation of compensation or gain takes a residential mortgage loan application or offers or negotiates terms of a residential mortgage loan. “Mortgage loan originator” does not include:

A. An individual engaged solely as a loan processor or underwriter except as otherwise provided in section 13-103, subsection 3, paragraph A;

B. A person or entity that only performs real estate brokerage activities and is licensed or registered in accordance with the laws of this State, unless the person or entity is compensated by a lender, a mortgage broker or other mortgage loan originator or by any agent of such lender, mortgage broker or other mortgage loan originator; or

C. A person or entity solely involved in extensions of credit relating to time-share plans, as that term is defined in Title 11 United States Code, Section 101(53D).

If you believe you may be exempt from the need to register, be prepared to justify this belief. The best place to start is to check with your employer or your national industry association, since Maine regulators are likely to be guided by national interpretations of the SAFE Act provisions issued by HUD or federal regulators.

Here is a  breakdown of fees and costs mortgage originators will shell out to satisfy the new Maine SAFE Act.

$39…………..Criminal background check (CBC) processing fee

$10…………..Fingerprint card packet fee

$30…………..Licensing fee for the NMLS

$69…………..State test fee

$92…………..National test fee

$20…………..Licensing fee to the State of Maine

Loan originators in Maine are strongly encouraged to submit their completed Form MU4 through the NMLS by November 30, 2010 so that approvals can be obtained prior to the December 31, 2010 statutory deadline.

Current licensees must have their Maine license number available in order to complete and submit their Form MU4.

Note: If you have submitted a Form MU4 in another state, then you do not need to re-enter your record into NMLS. You will only need to identify the appropriate license in Maine and complete a few state-specific fields.

Mortgage Loan originators must meet the requirements listed below by December 31, 2010:

  • Pre-licensure education, or certification by Maine regulators of previous education
  • A Passing Score on both the National and State components of the SAFE Test
  • Satisfactory criminal background check including fingerprints
  • Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection’s satisfactory review of a credit report (this component is expected to be operational in October 2010, and must be completed prior to March 31, 2010).
  • Completion and submission of the MU4 Form.

With these changes it’s very important not to procrastinate as  your ability to earn a living as a Maine mortgage originator is at risk.  Don’t get caught unprepared!

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