Agencies Announce Start of Mortgage Loan Originator Registrations Under SAFE Act

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On January 31, 2011, the Federal Reserve, Farm Credit Administration, FDIC, NCUA, OCC, and OTS jointly announced that the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (“Registry”) is now accepting registration of mortgage loan originators employed by institutions regulated by those agencies. Employees of depository institutions that meet the definition of a mortgage loan originator now have 180 days to register with and obtain a unique identifier from the Registry. During that 180 days, employees may continue to originate residential mortgage loans even if they have not completed the registration process. However, after July 29, 2011, depository institutions cannot allow employees who qualify as mortgage loan originators to originate residential mortgage loans until they have completed the registration process and obtained their unique identifier.

On July 28, 2010, the agencies issued a Final Rule implementing the requirements of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2009, better known as the SAFE Act. Under that Final Rule, a mortgage loan originator is an individual who both takes mortgage loan applications and offers or negotiates terms for residential mortgage loans. A residential mortgage loan is defined as a consumer purpose loan secured by a lien on a dwelling or by real property upon which a dwelling will be constructed. The term residential mortgage loan is not limited to first lien purchase money loans. It also includes other consumer purpose loans secured by dwellings, including refinancings, home equity lines of credit, and reverse mortgages.

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