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Mortgage Loan Originator:  Maintain Your License

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Satisfy Your CE Requirement. You Need It. We Have It.

Real Estate Institute offers top-rated mortgage loan originator continuing education courses in all three formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online Self-Study. These courses were designed BY loan originators FOR loan originators.

Our focus continues to be on providing ENGAGING and INTERESTING programs that are convenient and easy to complete. Your time is too valuable to waste on check-the-box, boring CE.  We are proud to have raving alumni fans who loyally return every year for their CE.


* Every state-licensed mortgage loan originator must complete at least 8 hours of NMLS-approved education annually. Some states also have state-specific education requirements that must be met. See the NMLS State-Specific Education Requirements Chart for details.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to our most commonly asked questions.

NMLS Loan Originator

Is Real Estate Institute an NMLS-approved provider?

Yes. The Real Estate Institute is an NMLS-Approved Course Provider, #1400102 We offer NMLS-approved pre-license and continuing education programs. We also offer SAFE test preparation courses to prepare loan originators for the mandatory national licensing test.

In brief, what are the NMLS education and testing requirements?

Applicants are required to:

  • Complete 20 hours of pre-license course education (may be more in some states).
  • Pass a standardized national examination, including uniform state content.
  • Complete at least 8 hours of continuing education course curriculum each year (may be more in some states).

You can find out more about the education requirements in each state by clicking here.

What types of background checks are required?

Individuals must undergo a criminal background check as well as a character and fitness check, which includes a credit check.

Where can I get more information about the NMLS?

The NMLS website is a valuable resource:

Where can I find additional information about NMLS licensing procedures for a specific state?

Please see this document at the NMLS website.

If I work for a depository institution do I need to take the education courses or examinations required by the SAFE Act?

If you work for an insured depository institution regulated by OCC, FDIC, FED and NCUA or the Farm Credit Administration you are not required to take the NMLS Approved pre-license or continuing education courses or examinations.

You still must receive education commensurate with your origination involvement and the relevant NMLS-approved pre-license and continuing education courses can satisfy this requirement. Additionally, it would be a good idea if you have ever considered changing employment and going to work for a state-licensed lender or broker.

When must I submit to the required background checks?

Before applying for state licensure.

What is the SAFE Act?

The Secure and Fair Enforcement in Mortgage Licensing Act was signed into law on June 30, 2008 as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA). The intent of the SAFE Act is to increase uniformity in licensing requirements, reduce regulatory burden, enhance consumer protection, and reduce fraud in the mortgage industry.

I have more questions. Who can I call?

Our customer representatives at the Real Estate Institute are available to help.
Please call us with your questions: (800) 995-1700.

The NMLS Call Center is also available: (855) NMLS-123 (1-855-665-7123).

How do I submit to the background checks? Who do I contact?

You will find this information at the NMLS Website.

What is the NMLS?

The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) was created to form a central repository of license and disciplinary information on mortgage companies and mortgage loan originators. The SAFE Act requires all state-licensed companies and individual mortgage loan originators working for them to have an account and unique identifier number with NMLS.

To whom does the SAFE Act apply?

The SAFE Act applies to all companies and mortgage loan originators. However, only those companies that are state-licensed and the individuals originating for them must go through the licensing process.

Under the SAFE Act, exactly who is considered to be a "Mortgage loan originator"?

The SAFE Act, as implemented by rule, defines an "individual loan originator" as an individual who, for compensation or other monetary gain, performs loan origination activities, such as

  • Taking an application.
  • Arranging a credit transaction.
  • Assisting a consumer in applying for credit. A loan originator assists a consumer in obtaining or applying for credit by advising on particular credit terms that are or may be available to the consumer based on the consumer's financial characteristics.
  • Offering or negotiating credit terms. Credit terms include rates, fees and other costs. Credit terms are selected based on the consumer's financial characteristics when those terms are selected based on any factors that may influence a credit decision, such as debts, income, assets or credit history.
  • Making an extension of credit.
  • Referring a consumer to a loan originator or creditor. Referring is an activity included under each of the activities of offering, arranging, or assisting a consumer in obtaining or applying to obtain an extension of credit.
  • Advertising or communicating to the public that you can or will perform any loan origination services.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has further clarified that an individual cannot avoid licensure requirements by having someone else "take" the application. CFPB also clarified the limited contexts where offering or negotiating residential mortgage loan terms would not make an individual a mortgage loan originator:
  • Performing only administrative or clerical tasks on behalf of a loan originator or creditor, such as processing or underwriting, provided you perform those services for only one organization at a time.
  • Delivering an application to the consumer for them to fill out and not discussing terms, etc.
  • Providing financing to a buyer pursuant to a sale of your own residence.
  • Performing only real estate brokerage services as a licensed real estate professional as long as you are not being compensated by a lender for offering products or referrals.
  • Providing third-party advisory services, such as an attorney, accountant, financial advisor or someone assisting an immediate family member, as long as you are not being compensated for the actual loan origination service or for referring clients to a specific creditor or broker.
  • Other assorted situations, such as employees of manufactured home builders in certain cases.

Does this law affect mortgage loan originators in all states?

Yes. This law applies to all states, territories, and possessions of the United States.

Are there any mortgage loan originators who are NOT required to become licensed?

Yes. Mortgage loan originators who are employees of a depository institution (a bank that takes deposits) regulated by the FDIC, OCC, Federal Reserve, CFPB, NCUA or Farm Credit Administration are exempt from the state licensure, and testing requirements. However, they must become registered MLOs through NMLS and receive education commensurate with their involvement in loan origination. Although not specifically required to take NMLS-approved courses, those can certainly satisfy the requirements of the Act.

What is the difference between NMLS registration and licensing?

All mortgage loan originators must have an account with the NMLS. This creates a centralized national database of disciplinary information for individuals originating residential loans. Registration is the only SAFE Act requirement for mortgage loan originators who are employees of a federally-regulated depository institution or its first-tier subsidiary (as described above).

For all other mortgage loan originators, including those working for Mortgage Brokers and Mortgage Lenders, the SAFE Act requires state licensure for each state where the individual originates loans. The licensure process will be facilitated through the NMLS and its systems. State-licensed mortgage loan originators are subject to the education and testing requirements of the SAFE Act.

How do I obtain an NMLS unique identifier?

Detailed instructions are provided at the NMLS Website. It is important that you coordinate your use of this system with your employer.

Is NMLS registration also required for Mortgage Brokers and Lenders (companies)?

Yes, in addition to individual mortgage loan originators, a mortgage brokerage or mortgage lending company will create a record in the NMLS system. Using this "One Record Concept", NMLS allows for the creation and maintenance of a single record for each company, regardless of the number of jurisdictions in which it is licensed.

This single record may be used to apply for, maintain, renew, or surrender licenses in all jurisdictions participating in NMLS. Companies will also be able to create and maintain a single record for each branch, control person or mortgage loan originator.

The use of any of these forms is governed by the regulations of the state in which you are seeking licensure, not by NMLS.

Additional information is available at the NMLS Website.

Will states issue a Mortgage loan originator license once I'm registered with the NMLS?

While the states are the entities that issue mortgage loan originator licenses, you won’t be able to apply for your license in a given state until you’ve satisfied all of its requirements for licensure (education, testing, background checks, etc.)

After becoming registered with the NMLS, what steps are required to become licensed in an individual state?

Requirements for individual state licensure are dictated by each state's mortgage licensing law. However, certain requirements exist for all states, and the licensing process will be standardized and facilitated through the NMLS.

Requirements include:

  • Background checks
  • Testing
  • Pre-license education
  • Continuing education

Please check the NMLS website for updated information about individual state requirements.

Where can I find additional information about NMLS licensing procedures for a specific state?

Please see this document at the NMLS website.

NMLS-Approved Continuing Education

Is continuing education required to maintain my state license(s) (under the NMLS)?

Yes. The SAFE Act requires mortgage loan originators to complete eight hours of NMLS approved continuing education annually. Licensees must complete the CE requirement before applying for license renewal.

If I enroll in an online self-study course will I get immediate access to the course?

Yes. Upon enrollment, you will be able to access your online self-study course immediately through your Student Homepage.

Are there set due dates for when I must complete my online self-study coursework?

There are no set due dates for when portions of the online self-study course must be completed. You have six months from the time of enrollment to complete all of your coursework. You can access and complete modules anytime during those six months.

Who is required to complete mortgage continuing education?

All Loan Originators working for State-licensed companies are required to complete a minimum of eight (8) credit hours of NMLS-Approved continuing education each calendar year.

Real Estate Institute offers NMLS-Approved CE courses. Click here to learn more.

Are there exceptions?

Yes. The SAFE Act requires mortgage loan originators to complete eight hours of NMLS approved continuing education annually. However, mortgage loan originators do not need to take continuing education in the same calendar year in which they took an NMLS-approved 20-hour pre-license class.

Are there any special technology requirements in order for me to access my online self-study course?

In order to take our online course, you will need the following technology:

  • High-speed internet access
  • Desktop or laptop computer (The NMLS does not allow you to take courses on a tablet or mobile device.)
  • Modern Web browser (Internet Explorer, Google, Firefox, Safari)
  • Headphones or external speakers to play any course audio that may or may not accompany a video

I took an online self-study course with you last year. Is the content going to be different in this year’s course?

Yes. The content for this course was developed by Real Estate Institute and is updated each year to ensure it has the latest information.

Do you report my education completion to the NMLS for me?

Yes. Real Estate Institute will report your course completion to the NMLS within 7 days of course completion.

I have a group of people in my office that need to complete their requirements. Can we arrange for the firm to receive all the certificates for the firm's records?

Yes, we can coordinate everything for your firm. You choose a group coordinator, and we will send all certificates directly to that person. In addition, we will work with your group coordinator to streamline registration, attendance, and recordkeeping for all loan originators at your firm.

Contact us to learn more!

Will I lose my work if I need to stop the course and come back to it? Are there time restrictions within the course?

Our online learning platform will track your progress as you move through the course modules. There is no option for you to save your progress as it is happening automatically for you. Per NMLS guidelines, if you are inactive in the course for six minutes, you will be automatically logged out of the course. When you log back in and relaunch the course, you will be prompted to return to the place you left off. However, your six minutes of inactivity will be subtracted from your accumulated course time.

I know this is a self-study course. But if I have questions, will there be an instructor I can speak with?

Real Estate Institute prides itself on having a team of knowledgeable instructors with practical, real-world experience. Just because you’re taking an online self-study course doesn’t mean you’re on your own; you’re welcome to e-mail or call with your content-specific questions, and one of our instructors will get back to you.

I became licensed as a Loan Originator this year. Do I still need to complete a continuing education course this year?

Mortgage loan originators do not need to take continuing education in the same calendar year that they complete an NMLS-approved 20 hour pre-license course. This is because you have already completed the 20 hour pre-license coursework required by the NMLS.

Please note that this exemption applies ONLY to the calendar year in which you took your pre-license education and would NOT apply if your license was issued in a different calendar year than that in which your course was completed.

Does Real Estate Institute offer any NMLS approved continuing education courses?

Yes, we offer NMLS Approved continuing education courses. Click here for more information.

Will there be quizzes or questions I have to answer throughout the course, or is there a final exam I will need to complete?

Yes. Our courses have been developed so that you’ll be completing knowledge checks as you progress through chunks of the course content. These knowledge checks are designed to help gauge your understanding of the course material. 

Live and Webinar courses conclude with a comprehensive case study in which all students must participate to demonstrate learning. Online Self Study courses conclude with a final (multiple choice) exam on which you must score at least 70%. Students are given six attempts to pass the final exam.