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Are You Certifiable?

Paul Donohue
Jun 01, 2010

Certification through the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) allows mortgage loan originators (MLOs) to use their previously completed education and state testing to satisfy certain state and national SAFE Act requirements. If your state is participating and certifies your past completion of education, you may not have to take the required 20 hours of NMLS-approved pre-licensure education (PE). If your state certifies that you have previously passed a state licensing test, you may not be required to take your state’s SAFE test component. Certification does not cover national testing. Every state-licensed MLO must take and pass the National Test Component by the prescribed state deadline. In short, if you intend to obtain a state license to originate, you will be taking the national test. If your state is participating in certification, you may not need to take PE or a state test. Are you eligible? If you are an MLO in one of the 35 states that have chosen to participate in certification, you may be eligible to participate. This includes certification of state testing and/or education. Certification is optional and some states have decided not to participate. If your state has elected to participate, they are required to communicate with whom they intend to certify. Each state has set deadlines by when you must have completed your previous education and/or state test in order to qualify. In order to participate, you must perform certain prescribed tasks to be certified and recorded in the NMLS. Your next steps 1. MU4 filing To begin, you must apply for licensure with one state that will certify your past education and/or testing. To do so, make a MU4 filing through the NMLS. Access the “Getting Started: MLOs” section on the NMLS Web site for assistance. 2. Determine your state’s participation States began submitting certification with the NMLS in May of this year. Check the “Certification State List” section of the NMLS site to determine if the state in which you want to obtain a license in is participating in certification. Once you have filed your MU4 with that state, the NMLS should notify you that your certification invoice can be paid. 3. Pay invoice The invoice must be paid directly by the MLO following the step-by-step instructions in your NMLS notification. The costs are: ►Education certification: $15 ►Each state test certification: $5 4. Verify To confirm that you are “PE compliant” and/or “state test component compliant,” you can see your records by going to “Confirmation of Testing or Education Certification Quick Guide” section on the NMLS Web site. A SAFE Smart shortcut Certification is one SAFE Act shortcut allowed to MLOs by the State Regulatory Registry (SRR) Board, which approves NMLS policies. By taking advantage of the certification process, you save the time, money and stress of the 20-hour PE and state testing requirements. The fly in the ointment is that you will still be required to take and pass the national test. Paul Donohue, CRMS is a 23-year industry professional and founder of Abacus Mortgage Training and Education. Paul served on two NMLS working groups, establishing the new national education protocols. Go to to find out more about your obligations for testing, education and licensure, or call (888) 341-7767.  
Jun 01, 2010