Becoming a mortgage broker in California can seem overwhelming at first. The state offers three different types of broker’s licenses, issued by different agencies and with different licensing requirements.
There is the Financial Lender’s License (CFL) and Residential Mortgage Lender’s License (CRML) both of which are issued by the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO). There is also the Real Estate Broker License, often referred to as a BRE license because it is issued by the Bureau of Real Estate which also allows you to work as a mortgage broker.
Types of Mortgage Broker License in California
Here are the three types of mortgage broker licenses issued in California that are required to obtain each of them.
âºResidential mortgage lender’s license: This type of license is required of those who issue or manage residential mortgages in California. While this allows them to make and manage loans, it also allows them to negotiate loans if they also have a mortgage originator license. RML licensees can negotiate with other RML lenders, as well as institutional lenders, such as state or federal chartered institutions.
âºReal estate broker‘s license: This license allows licensees to act as real estate brokers and mortgage brokers in California. Due to the combined nature of the license, the application requirements differ from the other two licenses and previous experience and exam is required.
How to get a license
To obtain a finance broker (and / or) lender license, you must apply through the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) and submit a license request. The license request must include a business plan, answers to disclosure questions, certificate of authority, organizational chart and a number of additional documents. When applying, you will also need to:
âºHave a net worth of $ 50,000 if you are applying for a residential broker’s license only, a net worth of $ 250,000 if you are applying for a residential lender / broker’s license, and a net worth of $ 25,000 if you are applying for a non-licensed residential lender or broker license (these applicants apply directly through the DBO instead of the NMLS)
âºSubmit and maintain a bond of $ 25,000 for one of the above licenses.
âºSubmit criminal background checks for owners, officers, directors, managers and all others responsible for lending activities
âºPay a license and processing fee of $ 400 when applying to NMLS
Residential mortgage lender license requirements
âºBecome a licensed lender or manager for at least one of the following: Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Administration (VA), Farmers Home Administration (FmHA), Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) , the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), or Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac)
âºSubmit audited financial statements that document a net worth of at least $ 250,000
âºSubmit a $ 50,000 bond
âºSubmit criminal background checks performed for all shareholders, key officers and directors
âºPay a license and processing fee of $ 1,100 through the NMLS
Requirements for a real estate broker’s license
âºSubmit a broker review request (and pay a $ 95 review fee)
âºFill out or submit proof of completion of eight college courses In the real estate
âºProvide proof of at least two years of full-time experience as a licensed salesperson within the past five years
âºPass the broker exam
âºFill out and submit a broker license application (and pay a license fee of $ 300) and a live scanning service request
Unlike the permit types above, applicants for this permit are not required to post a bond. Once you have received your real estate broker’s license from the BRE, you can then apply for an MLO rider through the NMLS. This will require you to submit an application and depending on whether you are applying as a company or as an individual, you may also need to pass your studies and exams.
The requirement for finance brokers and residential mortgage lenders to obtain a bond may require explanation for new applicants. Bonds are binding agreements required by the state. They are put in place to ensure that licensees who are bonded will comply with state laws and regulations such as the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act or the California Finance Lenders Law.
The provisions of these obligations vary depending on the type of license. They are generally conditioned on ensuring that licensees will abide by all agreements they have with their customers and fulfill all obligations they have under the aforementioned laws. Bonds also ensure that licensees will not engage in dishonest business practices such as fraud or misrepresentation.