In 2019, the Department began discussing legislation to change the requirement under the Consumer Loan Act and Mortgage Broker Practices Act that mortgage loan originators (MLOs) license their home as a branch office in order to work from home. The timetable was sped up significantly with the occurrence of the pandemic, which necessitated the Department to issue interim guidance to temporarily allow MLOs to work from home to avoid the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The guidance is in effect through December 31, 2021, and allows MLOs to conduct activities requiring licensure from home without licensing their home as a branch office as long as certain data security provisions are met. The provisions require: 1) the MLO to access the company’s secure origination system using a virtual private network or similar system; 2) all security updates and patches to be timely downloaded onto the devices used by the MLO; 3) the MLO to keep all physical business records at the licensed main office (they cannot keep physical files at their home); and 4) the MLO to not hold out their residence at a location for consumers to conduct business.
Shortly after issuing the guidance the Department began to work on making the guidance permanent via a statutory change. SB 5077 was introduced in the 2021 legislative session, passed by the legislature, and signed by Governor Inslee on April 7, 2021, with an effective date of July 25, 2021. The Department has begun the rulemaking process to implement the changes by filing the CR-101 on April 29, 2021.
A work session with industry discussing draft language was held on June 15, 2021. Once the draft language is finalized, the Department will file the CR-102, hold a hearing on the draft language, and adopt the rules, with an effective date of January 1, 2022.
While there is no proposed language at this time, we encourage the submission of comments based on the discussion that occurred during the work session, or the standards included in the guidance. At this time, we have received one comment. Please submit your comments via email to Ashley.Sutherland@dfi.wa.gov.
Visit www.dfi.wa.gov/agency-rulemaking to view all rulemaking documents.
If you have questions, contact Devon Phelps, Chief of Regulatory Affairs, Division of Consumer Services in the following manner:
Mail: PO Box 41200
If you wish to receive paper copies of rulemaking documents you must contact Ashley Sutherland at 360-664-7866 and ask to be added to a paper copy mailing list.
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