The Safe and Fair Mortgage License Foreclosure Act of 2008 (SAFE Act), 12 U.S.C. § 5101, et al. was enacted on July 30, 2008, and requires persons doing business with the Housing Finance Institution (MLO) to be licensed or registered as an MLO. Federal registration is only available to people who work for.
A deposit-taking institution (including a credit union);
A subsidiary owned and operated by a depository institution and operated by a Federal Reserve.
Who needs this license?
The license is required for any business or sole proprietorship that provides mortgages, including mortgages and collateral or mortgage services, to California borrowers. California Mortgage Licensing (CRMLA) is an alternative to licensing under the California Financing Act (CFL) or the California Department of Real Estate Law (DRE). The CRMLA license is not a server license; however, CRMLA authorizes a lender to provide brokerage services to its borrowers.
California mortgage laws are found in section 20 (starting with section 50,000) of the California Financial Act and the rules are found in subsection 11.5 of chapter 3, 10.
Activities permitted under this license
California mortgage law permits the following activities:
The CA-DFPI issues a paper authorization for the registered office indicated on Company MU1. The license will be sent to the attention of the person designated as the primary company contact in the NMLS. Prerequisites for filing a commercial file (MU1)
The documents to be uploaded in the document upload section of the trade form (MU1) in the NMLS must be uploaded before or at the time the application is submitted electronically through the NMLS. All documents to be sent to the department must be received within 5 business days of electronic submission of the application to NMLS. See the checklist of documents that must be uploaded and/or mailed.
Document Uploads Guidance
The documents that need to be uploaded to the Document Upload section of the business module (MU1) in NMLS are shown in the checklist below. When loading documents:
The following reports must be submitted by all CRMLA licensees before the specified expiration date.
You must complete the annual report by logging into the DFPI self-service portal.
All CRMLA licensees must submit the report by March 1. No extension will be granted. Failure to meet the deadline may result in a penalty. Failure to return is grounds for license revocation.
Each licensee is subject to the supervision of the Ministry at all times, whether the activity was carried out under license or not. The actual cost, including travel expenses, of the control test, is borne by the operator.
Mortgage report, due March 31
Mortgage holders must submit a Holden Act report by March 31.
The Holden Legal Report must be filed by any state-licensed mortgage lender who does not report data to a federal or state regulatory authority as required by the Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975.
Licensees should consult their internal compliance officers to find out if they are required to file the report.
Completed reports can be scanned and emailed by March 31 to Holden.Inquiries@dfpi.ca.gov. Report information can be obtained by calling (866) 275-2677.
Mortgage loan report, maturing 45 days after the end of each quarter.
Each licensee must submit the mortgage call report to NMLS quarterly. Please consult the NMLS Resource Center.
Audited Financial Statements, Due within 105 days of the end of fiscal year:
All licensees must submit audited financial statements within 105 days of the end of the fiscal year. Audited financial statements must document that the holder maintains a tangible net worth of $250,000. Audited financial statements must be published on the NMLS.
Before September 30 of each year, the department shall collect an annual fee from each licensee for its proportionate share of all costs and expenses reasonably incurred in the operation of CRMLA. The percentage ratio is the percentage that the licensee’s lending, brokerage, and service activities reported in the annual report for the previous calendar year represent the combined activities of all licensees. The minimum legal amount is $1,000 and a maximum of $5,000. The annual fee must be paid within 20 days of the invoice date.
CRMLA licensees who supply and/or provide mortgage loan services must maintain a franchise that covers the MLO assets they control. The amount of the obligation will be based on the amount of initial and/or service activities performed by the operator during the previous calendar year, as follows:
Surety Bond Requirements
Net Worth Requirements
Each licensee must maintain a tangible net worth of at least $250,000 at any time. (Chapter 50201 of the California Finance Law)
This report must be filed with the Department office with which the Residential Mortgage Lender or Residential Mortgage Servicer conducts business within 105 days after the end of the licensee’s fiscal year.
|Aggregate Loans||Bond Amount|
|0 – $50,000,000||
|$50,000,001 – $500,000,000||$100,000|
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