Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) Application FAQs
DFI expects licensees to meet high ethical and performance standards. Often consumers' money is in your hands. Attention to detail and the law is a requirement for licensees and it starts with the licensing application.
What requirements must a MLO meet?
- The applicant must be 18 years old
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent "GED" (see WAC 208-660-350 for alternatives to the high school diploma).
- Complete all Pre-Application requirements. See: Pre-Application Requirements.
How do I obtain a MLO license in Washington?
- Create an individual account with NMLS. See: Create An Account Quick Guide (PDF)*
- Meet all pre-application requirements, including testing and education. See: Pre-Application Requirements.
- Complete both steps of the application – 1) Submit information and payment through NMLS; 2) Provide items directly to DFI via fax or email. See: Steps To Apply.
May I submit a MLO Application before I complete my education or testing?
- You cannot submit an application until the required testing and education are posted on your NMLS record, which is done by the course provider or the testing center and can take several days.
- Unless you take a 22 hour course with Washington in the title, you must take an additional 4 hours of PE covering Washington Law.
Once I submit my application via the NMLS, do I need to do anything else?
- You must schedule an appointment to have your fingerprints taken if you are not licensed in any other state.
- You must fax or email the New Application Checklist to DFI directly. If you were licensed in Washington within the last year, you must also provide a completed Declaration of Activity.
- It is important to monitor your NMLS account for communication. DFI usually posts deficiencies within two business days of the application filing. See: Viewing Deficiencies and Status (PDF)*
What are the most common items which delay applications?
If any of the following items are missing, your application will be delayed:
- Washington’s Pre-Licensing Education
- Fingerprint Results
- New Application Checklist
- Disclosure explanations
In addition, disclosure explanations must be complete and thorough. Failure to disclose or providing an incomplete explanation will delay your application.
What is the application fee for a MLO License?
The application fee for a new MLO License is $155.00 which includes a $30 NMLS System Fee.
What is the application fee for the criminal background check (fingerprints) and credit report?
The fee for Criminal Background Check is $39 and Credit Report Authorization fee is $15.
Do I have to be employed with a mortgage company in order to apply for a MLO license?
- You can apply for a MLO license without a sponsoring company. If your application is approved, it will be inactive.
- If you are employed by a mortgage company at the time of application, you are strongly encouraged to be sponsored by them. This allows DFI to process both requests together.
- Sponsorship requests submitted after application approval can take up to 3 business days to be approved.
How will I know when my MLO application is approved?
You will receive an email notification from the NMLS that your license status has changed. For a list of status explanations, see: License Status Definitions (PDF)*.
Can I work for multiple companies as a MLO?
Yes. Washington law allows MLOs to work for multiple companies as long as they have added the additional sponsorship and it has been approved. Other laws, rules or company policies may prohibit this duel licensure, so check with your employer.
What is the average time it takes to process a new application?
DFI tries to review all applications within two weeks of the date they are fully complete (status of pending-review). If the application has deficiencies, the deficiencies are noted in the NMLS and the application is placed on hold until the deficient items are corrected.
Does my credit score matter?
Washington does not solely use your credit score to determine financial responsibility. There are several disclosure questions relating to your credit report (bankruptcy, lien, judgments, foreclosure) and those questions must be answered accurately.
* This document is a PDF file, and you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it. If you don't already have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, you may download it for free from Adobe.