Embrace Home Loans, a direct lender for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, approved by FHA and VA, and an issuer for Ginnie Mae, recently achieved a corporate goal of meeting the licensing requirements to date of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing (SAFE) Act. More than 275 of the company’s loan officers successfully completed the required paperwork, submitted the appropriate documentation for the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS), and passed professional licensing exams in multiple states. In total, the company achieved more than 3,200 licenses that all meet or exceed the requirements of the regulation.
“We have been preparing for the SAFE Act for more than a year, and consequently have invested thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars in resources to ensure all of our loan officers are ready to meet the requirements of the SAFE Act," said Embrace Home Loans President Kurt Noyce. "We are in favor of the regulations and believe this is an important step in terms of protecting consumers and ensuring only credible and professional loan officers remain employed. We believe the entire industry, not just non-depository lenders, should be held to this standard in an effort to restore professionalism and ensure the consumer’s best interest is honored.”
The SAFE Act requires that all residential loan officers who are employees of agency-regulated institutions be licensed through a series of requirements recently put into place by the NMLS. The SAFE Act standards are designed to enhance consumer protection by promoting transparency in mortgage lending, though licensing requirements apply only to non-depository lenders. Officers working for federally regulated and insured institutions are considered registered by the SAFE Act and do not have to take the steps to obtain licensure. All loan officers working outside the banking system are subject to new training, testing and extensive licensing requirements.
“As the Embrace Home Loans footprint continues to expand, meeting SAFE Act requirements has proven to be an intricate and complicated task,” said Noyce. “Our loan officers originate loans in more than one state, which now means they need licensure in multiple states. We developed and coordinated a comprehensive plan for each loan officer to ensure they received adequate training and had a clear set of deadlines to have all required documentation submitted. Our training department was dedicated to helping each of our loan officers meet the new requirements— it truly was a team effort. We’ve always placed a high value on investing in our employees who represent the face of Embrace Home Loans to consumers, and this further demonstrates our commitment to providing high-quality, professional resources to help consumers navigate the lending process.”
The cost of providing this clearly defined pathway for SAFE Act compliance is incurred by the lending institution on behalf of the loan officer, and must be done in every state in which they plan to do business. Furthermore, states have different deadlines for their implementation of the SAFE Act, some still outstanding.
The process for compliance begins with pre-licensure education courses, which the loan officer must then sustain annually in continuing education courses. A written exam is required to evaluate competence, as well as a credit check for financial responsibility and a criminal background check. Issues such as bankruptcy could affect a loan officer’s chances at being licensed. A loan officer then obtains a unique identifier, which remains with them throughout any changes in employment. Once the new Registry system is fully operational, a mortgage loan officer must provide in certain circumstances, their unique Registry identifier to consumers. This identifier provides access to all requirements the officer met in the licensing process, including such information as the background check and financial history.
For more information, visit www.embracehomeloans.com.