If you have a mortgage loan originator (MLO) license, you probably already know that you need to renew it every calendar year. To make the process a little easier, NMLS has put the entire application process online. Before you renew, there are some important things to take into consideration and several things you can do to make sure renewing your mortgage loan originator license goes smoothly in 2018. Here are 3 tips so you don’t run into any problems throughout the process.
1. Know the Requirements Ahead of Time
As for all mortgage loan originators or mortgage broker, renewing your license isn’t as easy as simply filling out a form and clicking send. By knowing exactly what to expect ahead of time, you can avoid any snags and surprises.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the NMLS website accepts renewals between November 1 and December 31. During this time, you will be required to log into the website, demonstrate that your record is up to date, and be prepared to pay a renewal fee. Sometimes, your employer will cover the cost of this for you, so make sure you have everything worked out with them ahead of time.
To make sure everything goes smoothly during the online process, it’s a good idea to know your user ID and password ahead of time. There are some tech requirements, too. Be sure to use an updated browser because NMLS is very specific about privacy and other browser requirements.
License renewal also requires at least 8 hours of continuing education every year. Usually this is broken down further into 3 hours of federal regulations, 2 hours of ethics, 2 hours of non-traditional mortgage standards, and 1 hour of mortgage origination (varies by State). If you are licensed in multiple states and seeking to renew each one, take the time to learn about the requirements in each state. If you have to take additional coursework for a state that you’re licensed in, it’s better to know exactly what you need to do and when you need to have it completed.
A good thing to do is to log into the system ahead of time to check on the status of your licenses. That way you’ll be able to find out if there is anything that needs to be taken care of before you can even begin the process of renewing. For example, if you need to submit fingerprints or pay any fees, you’ll know that there’s one more thing to do before you can move forward in the process.
2. Don’t Wait until the Last Minute
Remember, December 31 is the last day of the renewal period. Think of that as a deadline. The day of the deadline is not the best day to be getting started. For one thing, if you submit all of your information on the very last day, there’s a chance that it might not be processed in time for your license to be active when the clock strikes midnight on January 1.
In some states, you cannot continue to practice even if you have a renewal pending. So, waiting until the last minute can have a direct effect on your ability to acquire any new business or continue working with current clients. Moving ahead with business as usual without an official renewal can land you in a lot of trouble. If you get caught, you may even face steep disciplinary actions.
Again, this is another instance in which you should always check with each state that you’re licensed in. Some states have earlier deadlines. For example, Illinois requires everything is submitted by December 1 if you want guaranteed renewal by the new year. In West Virginia, the recommended submission date for all renewals is November 1. You have to make sure you meet the deadline of each state where you’re seeking renewal.
There are other problems that can come up and the more states you’re licensed in, the longer the process of renewal can take. The more time you give yourself to handle any unexpected issues, the more likely it is that you’ll get them resolved before it becomes a problem or prevents you from renewing altogether.
3. Start Your Continuing Education Early
If you’re just not paying attention or you’re too busy to worry about it, you might be in for a surprise when you try to renewal and realize that you haven’t completed the required hours of continuing education. That could leave you in a tough situation.
First of all, you will have to hurry up and find a class in a small window time. Second, there’s a chance that it might not be fast enough, the people who provide the courses don’t have to report them right away. In fact, they have up to a week to do so. So, if the deadline is December 31, that means you have to have the class completed by December 23. Plus, with the holidays everyone is busy and out of their offices around that time so it’s really a gamble.
Courses are available throughout the year and the best thing to do is start as early as you can. The earlier you get it out of the way, the less you’ll have to worry about as the deadline approaches. Not to mention, if you’re licensed in multiple states, each could have its own requirements which could make the process a bit more time-consuming. Spreading it out over the course of the year gives you enough time to get everything done without getting overwhelmed at the task.
And the moral of the story: plan ahead. By knowing the requirements ahead of time and meeting them as quickly as possible, the renewal process becomes much less overwhelming. Waiting until the last minute is never a good idea, but there’s no excuse for waiting until the last minute to do something that your career depends on.