Office of Consumer Affairs Announces Launch of NMLS Consumer Access to Mortgage Lender Information
Searchable On-Line Database to Provide Detailed Information on All Licensed Mortgage Lenders, Mortgage Brokers, and Loan Originators in Country
NMLS Consumer Access is a fully searchable website that allows the public to view information concerning state-licensed mortgage lenders, brokers and individuals currently licensed through NMLS. Future updates to NMLS Consumer Access will provide a record of applicable disciplinary actions taken against a licensee by any jurisdiction in the country.
"The goal of NMLS Consumer Access is to increase transparency in the mortgage process by providing homebuyers and the general public with direct access to information regarding state licensed companies and professionals in the mortgage industry," said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "States have always been at the forefront in protecting consumers. I am certain that NMLS Consumer Access will quickly become an invaluable tool for consumers to research prospective mortgage companies and providers."
The NMLS is a universal licensing portal designed to streamline the licensing process for both regulatory agencies and the mortgage industry by providing a centralized and standardized system for mortgage licensing. The NMLS initiative was begun by state mortgage regulators in 2004 in response to the increased volume and variety of residential mortgage originators and the need to address these changes with modern systems and authorities.
"Creating a 21st Century model for state supervision of the non-bank mortgage lending industry has long been a top priority of state regulators. The foundation for this 21st Century system of coordinated state supervision is the NMLS," said Commissioner of Banks Steven L. Antonakes.
The Division has been at the forefront in the development of the NMLS. Antonakes has served as a founding member of the NMLS oversight board for over three years, participating in weekly conference calls to supervise the implementation of the NMLS. In January 2008, the Division and six other state mortgage regulators became the first states in the country to manage their mortgage brokers, mortgage lenders and loan originators exclusively through the NMLS. Currently, 45 states and territories license mortgage companies, branches and individuals through the system. All 54 states and territories are expected to be participating in NMLS by the end of 2010.
In July 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency will mandate that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac accept mortgage products only from mortgage companies who are registered through the NMLS. Accordingly, NMLS has created the ability to associate the loan documents and business practices with the individual and company that negotiated the transaction by registering every loan originator with a unique identifier and requiring that identifier to be incorporated with loan origination documents. Further, NMLS Consumer Access will be updated in the future to serve as a central repository for enforcement actions against companies and individuals.
"NMLS will become an increasingly powerful tool to ensure that bad actors cannot hide from their past actions," Antonakes said. "When combined with the upcoming required registration of loan originators employed by banks and credit unions, we have created an almost seamless connection that begins with practices and products, and culminates with any record of consumer harm."
NMLS Consumer Access can be accessed here: www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org.