The SAFE Act: Registration of Mortgage Loan Originators 

January, 2011 - Jill M. Benson

The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (the “SAFE” Act), enacted on July 30, 2008, mandates a federal registration system for employees of banks, credit unions and their subsidiaries who engage in the business of residential mortgage loan origination. Specifically, the Act requires mortgage loan originators to register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (“Registry”) before engaging in any origination activities involving residential mortgage loans; the registration period is expected to start on January 31, 2011.

On July 28, 2010 federal banking agencies issued a final rule implementing the Act. Under the Act, a mortgage loan originator is defined very broadly, requiring every bank and credit union to conduct an individualized assessment of their employees to determine who falls within the scope of the Act. Indeed, it is the employer’s obligation to ensure that all of their qualifying employees are timely registered and that their certification is properly maintained. Additionally, state law may impose specific registration requirements for employees. 

As referenced above, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) has announced that the initial period for registration of mortgage loan originators is expected to start on or about January 31, 2011 and end on July 29, 2011. Employers should visit the Registry website at to adequately prepare for the registration process. Confirmation of the actual start date will be published in the Federal Register.

Further, employers were required to adopt written policies and procedures ensuring compliance with the Act by October 1, 2010. If you have not already done so, please take action now to make sure the appropriate policies and procedures are in place to ensure proper registration under the Act.




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