On July 30, 2008, President Bush signed a federal bill known as the S.A.F.E. Act. The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 requires that all states participate in a national register of mortgage loan originators (MLOs), and states must license any MLOs that do not work for an insured depository regulated by a federal banking agency or Farm Credit Administration. MLOs are formally defined as anyone who accepts a mortgage loan application, negotiates terms or makes offers, or assists consumers in obtaining a mortgage, and is compensated in return.
The registry will give the public access to the employment history and disciplinary record of all mortgage loan originators. Those MLOs subject to licensing by the state will also have to submit fingerprints for an FBI criminal background check, authorize release to the licensing agency of an independent credit report, complete at least 20 hours of pre-licensing education courses, pass a written examination, and complete 8 hours of continuing education for each renewal.
The goals are: increased consumer confidence, consumer protection, fraud prevention, accountability of mortgage loan professionals, and uniformity in training and licensing.
All states are expected to be in compliance with the Act by early 2011.