On August 16, Florida announced via the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) Resource Center that it was adopting the Uniform State Test (UST) for mortgage loan originators. With this announcement, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation became the 53rd state agency to no longer require a second state-specific test component for mortgage originators seeking licensure.
Although not mentioned in the announcement, BakerHostetler’s Financial Services Team has confirmed that, beginning in January 2017, Florida will require two hours of Florida-specific pre-licensing education covering Florida statutes, rules and regulations. Florida will then also require mortgage originators to complete one hour of Florida-specific continuing education annually.
While the Florida education requirements are not intended to increase the number of education hours required, many mortgage originators licensed in multiple states will find that to be the exact effect. These requirements will not impact those originators currently licensed and renewing their license for 2017. However, prior to renewing for 2018, originators must meet the new continuing education requirements.
Launched by NMLS in April 2013, the UST is a new section of 25 questions within the National Test Component with Uniform State Content. The UST material tests applicants on their knowledge of high-level, state-related content based on the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing (SAFE) Act and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR) Model State Law used by many states to implement the SAFE Act.
Once adopted, the UST replaces individual state-specific test components. By passing the National Test with Uniform State Content a candidate satisfies the testing requirements for licensure in those adopting states, and in any states that adopt in the future. To date, only five states have not adopted the UST: Arkansas, Minnesota, South Carolina (two agencies), West Virginia and Utah (where one state agency has approved the UST and one has not).
The UST is part of NMLS’ goal “to employ the benefits of local, state-based financial services regulation on a nationwide platform that provides for improved coordination and information sharing among regulators, increased efficiencies for industry, and enhanced consumer protection.”
More information on NMLS’ UST Implementation Information is available here.