For Immediate Release - January 02, 2008

Massachusetts Joins Launch of Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System

Combined with new comprehensive mortgage law, system promises to enhance state's ability to supervise industry and protect consumers

BOSTON - Wednesday, January 2, 2008 - Massachusetts Division of Banks has joined six other state mortgage regulators as the first agencies in the country to participate in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). The new system, four years in the making, became operational today and will increase and centralize information available to regulators, consumers and industry officials about the individuals and companies that originate and make home mortgages.

Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks Steve Antonakes, one of the five state regulators who serve as a founding board member charged with overseeing the NMLS, noted that Massachusetts has played a leading role in the system's development and implementation. Antonakes credited Governor Patrick and Senator Stephen J. Buoniconti and Representative Ronald Mariano, the chairmen of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, for recognizing the significance of the new licensing system.

"The NMLS represents a new era in the supervision of the mortgage industry that promises to promote more stable markets and better protect consumers," said Antonakes. "The combination of the tools and resources available to the Division through the state's new comprehensive mortgage law and this licensing system has secured the Commonwealth's place at the forefront of mortgage regulatory reform."

Modeled after the registry used to regulate securities brokers and dealers, the NMLS will allow mortgage companies to apply for and manage their licenses electronically. Mortgage companies and professionals will maintain a single record, electronically stored in a secure database accessible by licensees over the Internet, which will provide consistent and comprehensive information to state regulators so they can better supervise the industry. Mortgage lenders, brokers and loan officers will be able to maintain a single record with which they can apply for, amend, update, renew or surrender licenses online in one or more states. Consumers are scheduled to have access to the system's public licensing and enforcement information beginning next year in order to help them make informed decisions when selecting mortgage loan officers and lenders.

"The Division of Banks licenses and supervises over 2,000 mortgage lenders and brokers. By moving to the NMLS, we will now be able to track lender activity both inside and outside of Massachusetts," said Antonakes. "We want to ensure that our licensees are playing by the rules in order to fight mortgage fraud and predatory lending and increase accountability within the industry so that borrowers are better protected. This new system gives us the framework and tools we need to get the job done."

As part of the ongoing response to the recent turmoil in the mortgage markets and the resulting increase in foreclosures across the state, the Division was given new responsibilities and resources when Governor Patrick signed comprehensive mortgage legislation into law at the end of November. Specifically, the statute includes the following provisions:

  • Improved oversight and monitoring of certain mortgage lenders.
  • Requiring loan originators to be licensed by the Division of Banks and providing a $3 million appropriation to the Division to implement portions of the law.
  • Requiring a 90 day "Right to Cure" and that a notice of the Right to Cure be filed with the Division of Banks.
  • Establishing a foreclosure database at the Division of Banks to include information on all preliminary Right to Cure or foreclosure filing notices and all final foreclosure sale information.
  • Requiring that the holder of a mortgage notify the Division of Banks of the date of a foreclosure sale and the purchase price of the property.

Six states joined Massachusetts for today's launch of the NMLS: Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, New York and Rhode Island. Additionally, 42 state agencies representing mortgage regulators in 40 states have indicated their intent to transition onto the system.

Information about gaining access to and setting up a record in the NMLS can be found on the Division of Banks' website at . The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System may be found at .