When you are interested in selling or purchasing a home, you try to do all of your homework – prepare your house or view listings, find your target price range, know what you can afford. Part of doing your homework, especially when requiring a loan, as most will need, is to use a loan officer at your mortgage lending institution. Specializing in commercial , business, and/or residential loans, a loan officer does many things, including recommending individuals (and businesses) for loan approval, act as the go-between between a borrower and the mortgage lender, and represent creditors to borrowers and vice versa.
As a result, it is important that your loan officer be professional and trustworthy, and that means they should be licensed. Why work with a licensed loan officer? Firstly, every loan officer must have loan officer licensing according to the SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act. They also require state-specific education by an approved education provider, pass a national exam as well as both a criminal and credit background check. Once they receive their licensing, loan officers must renew their license regularly. For you as a consumer, this means that your loan officer has the necessary theoretical knowledge to do their job and can be trusted to serve your needs – the needs of the consumer – to the best of their objective and professional abilities. But how do you know if your loan officer or mortgage lender is currently licensed and operating professionally? Easy – you can access this information through the Nationwide Mortgage Lending Service (NMLS) Consumer Access web site. Simply put, it is a free service for anyone wanting to confirm that their loan officer or mortgage lender is licensed to conduct mortgage business in their state. The goal is to help protect mortgage shoppers against unscrupulous loan originators and to ensure both the integrity and accountability for those in the industry. Accessing the NLMS Consumer Access is easy: simply enter www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org into your browser. You will find a fully searchable website where you can view information about state-licensed financial companies, branches, as well as individuals who are licensed and registered through NMLS. You can learn if the loan officer or mortgage lender with whom you are working is licensed, the company with whom they are licensed, the location where they work, in addition to their employment history dating back 10 years prior. You can also see any aliases or names that the person has used from age 18 onwards. Additionally, with NMLS Consumer Access, you can find out if the person you are or are wanting to work with has had their license suspended or revoked in another state.
What’s more, you don’t have to worry about whether the information is current – the NMLS Consumer Access database is updated nightly.
Even better, NMLS Consumer Access recently updated the information they display in their system. As of October 22, 2012, the changes include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Credit report enhancements: You will be able to view charge-offs for individuals that have occurred in the last 84 months and if their credit score has been reduced.
- Federal registry disciplinary actions: In addition to seeing the actions themselves, you will also be able to see brief descriptions, links to any state regulatory actions, the type of action, supporting files, and more.
- Renewal enhancements for both state and federal: You can see if an individual has renewed their license or if they are intending to renew it. You can also see details of credit checks, criminal backgrounds checks, and company workflows. However, you will not be able to see if a credit report has been frozen.
Buying a house and getting a loan is exciting but can also be stressful. You want to know that the people you are working with are trustworthy, dependable, and accountable. Using NMLS Consumer Access, you can quickly and easily find out the information you need to know to make the best financial decision for you and your family.
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