Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Monday, January 25, 2010


Lyn Peters, Director of Communications
PH (360) 902-8731 lyn.peters@dfi.wa.gov

Deborah Bortner, Director of Consumer Services
PH (360) 902-0511 deborah.bortner@dfi.wa.gov


Washington Consumers Gain Access To Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS)

Access to database means consumers can verify license of brokers and lenders nationwide

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) is pleased to announce a new resource for Washington consumers seeking licensing information on mortgage lenders. The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) — a mortgage licensing system operated by state financial regulators, including Washington — is launching “NMLS Consumer Access.” NMLS Consumer Access is a fully searchable Web site that allows the public to view information concerning state-licensed mortgage companies, branches, and individuals currently licensed through NMLS.

“Because it’s nationwide, it’s a lot more useful for consumers,” DFI Director of Consumer Services Deborah Bortner said. “It’s important for consumers to know that anyone acting as a broker or non-depository lender needs to have a license, and consumer loan company agents will need to be licensed beginning July 1. NMLS Consumer Access is where consumers should go to verify those licenses before doing business with a mortgage originator.

While DFI offered consumers access to a statewide mortgage lender licensing database previously, NMLS Consumer Access will benefit consumers by providing a single location to access standardized information regarding their mortgage provider, regardless of the state in which they operate.

“The launch of NMLS Consumer Access is another example of the commitment state regulators have to protecting consumers,” DFI Director Scott Jarvis said, “NMLS Consumer Access offers Washington’s consumers a one-stop resource for researching prospective mortgage brokers and lenders.”

State regulators, through the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators, launched NMLS in January 2008. To date, 45 states and territories — including Washington — license mortgage companies, branches and individuals through the system. All 54 states and territories are expected to be on NMLS by the end of 2010.

During development of NMLS, one of the goals put forth by state regulators was to provide a central source of information that promotes transparency throughout the states. NMLS Consumer Access is that central source. It also meets Title V of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the SAFE Act, which mandates that NMLS provide consumers with easily accessible information, offered at no charge, regarding the employment history of state licensed and federally registered mortgage loan originators.

NMLS Consumer Access can be accessed at www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org.

About Division of Consumer Services
www.dfi.wa.gov/banks ▪ 360.902.8703 ▪ 877.RINGDFI (746.4334) x 28703
The mission of the Division of Consumer Services is to protect consumers from illegal and fraudulent lending practices. The division accomplishes its mission through licensing, licensee examinations, investigations, and enforcing selected state and federal statutes and rules. Consumer Services regulates the business activities of consumer loan companies, mortgage brokers, money transmitters and currency exchangers, as well as check cashers and sellers, also known as "payday lenders." The Division is entirely self-supporting, with funding provided by licensing, auditing, and policing of regulated businesses and individuals. No money is received from the state General Fund or other public revenue source.

About DFI
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902-8700 ▪ 877.746-4334
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates a variety of financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, consumer loan companies, payday lenders and securities brokers and dealers. The department also works to improve financial education throughout Washington through its outreach programs and online clearinghouse www.dfi.wa.gov/financial-education. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, DFI uses the Web and social media to provide financial education information: http://www.twitter.com/FinEd4All, www.twitter.com/DFIConsumers, www.finlit.blogspot.com, www.youtube.com/user/WADFI, www.homeownership.wa.gov.