What Is NMLS Continuing Education?
Mortgage professionals can directly affect the financial well-being of individuals and, as shown by the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, larger financial markets as a whole. That’s a lot of responsibility, which is why the SAFE Act requires all Mortgage Loan Originators to complete NMLS-approved education annually. This Continuing Education (CE) keeps their knowledge of the law and mortgage best practices sharp and up to date. This guide will give you a glimpse into the Continuing Education requirements expected from mortgage lending professionals.
NMLS Continuing Education Requirements
As mentioned above, mortgage professionals must complete Continuing Education requirements to maintain their licensure. However, these requirements can vary slightly as some state agencies, such as those in Oregon or New Jersey, require a few additional hours of state-specific education. Generally speaking, the minimum annual renewal requirements are 8 total hours of mortgage Continuing Education courses, which include:
- 3 hours of Federal law
- 2 hours of Ethics (which includes fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues)
- 2 hours of Nontraditional Mortgage Products
- 1 hour of Electives and/or state-specific education
Luckily mortgage CE can be completed via online self-study, making MLO license renewal seamless.
How Much Does NMLS CE Cost?
When it comes to Continuing Education, costs can vary due to a few different factors. CE in places where additional state credit hours are required is likely to cost more. Then there are small price variances among educators, but there’s also variability in the quality of the education. At The CE Shop, we offer one of the most sophisticated and battle-tested online learning platforms, making completing your CE a seamless, if not enjoyable, experience. With that said, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$100 for license renewal Continuing Education.
How to “Bank” Your NMLS Continuing Education Credits
Per federal law, NMLS requires that course providers "bank" Continuing Education credits in the NMLS system. In other words, the provider must send your credits to NMLS where they are electronically stored or “banked”. Once your online courses are completed with The CE Shop, they’ll automatically be transferred within seven days to NMLS for banking and tied to your account via your own unique NMLS number.
How Does Mortgage Continuing Education Differ by State?
It’s true: mortgage Continuing Education can vary slightly from state to state. Most states require a total of 8 hours of NMLS-approved Continuing Education, but the following states require a few extra hours:
- New Jersey: 8 hours + 4 additional hours = 12 total hours
- New York: 8 hours + 3 additional hours = 11 total hours
- Oregon: 8 hours + 2 additional hours = 10 total hours
- Utah DRE: 8 hours + 2 additional hours = 10 total hours
- Washington: 8 hours + 1 additional hour = 9 total hours
- West Virginia: 8 hours + 1 additional hour = 9 total hours
When Does NMLS Continuing Education Need to Be Completed?
Regardless of where you do business, the license renewal cycle begins on 11/1 each year. NMLS recommends that all licensees seeking renewal have their coursework and application completed by the SMART deadline of 12/10.
If you miss that deadline, you still have a chance of a timely renewal if you can get everything in by the At-Risk-To-Miss deadline of 12/17. However, there is a chance your license renewal will be delayed. Should you miss that deadline, 12/31 is the Guaranteed-To-Miss deadline.
What Happens if You Do Not Complete Your NMLS CE?
If you fail to complete all of your Continuing Education — thereby preventing you from initiating and completing the license renewal process — before 12/31, your NMLS account will be deemed inactive and you’ll be unable to perform any mortgage origination.
To reactivate your account, your employer will have to initiate the process. You will have to attest to your registration renewal on NMLS’ site, then you’ll have to complete any late CE requirements and pay any fees required for license renewal. Should you remain inactive beyond the last day of February, you will have to retake your Pre-Licensing education and reapply for your mortgage license. Given the steep consequences, it’s best practice to complete your CE courses and have everything in by the NMLS SMART date so you can keep issuing loans without issue.