It’s fall, Halloween is over, and the scary clowns (other than those vying for political office) will recede into the forests next to small communities.  Now it’s time to look forward.  Many, we hear tell, cannot do so with joy as they plan for Thanksgiving and the year-end holidays.  Rather, there is a sense of dread and foreboding as mortgage companies, money transmitters, and collection agencies, among others, begin the annual license renewal process through the NMLS.  Before too many deficiencies start haunting your NMLS Account Records, the Consumer Financial Services practice group at Mayer Brown wishes to offer you some cheer to keep your spirits up and 12 terrific tips (indeed, huuuuuge ideas) to help you slog through renewals and minimize deficiencies.

  1. Submit renewal requests well in advance of the due date to provide state regulators with adequate processing time.  If you have not done so by now, put away the candy, and get started.
  2. Make sure that any computer used for NMLS filings is using a current internet browser as NMLS has implemented an access restriction for outdated internet browsers. Particularly if Control Persons or Mortgage Loan Originations (“MLOs”) will be attesting remotely, a current browser is imperative.
  3. Resolve any posted deficiencies prior to filing for a license renewal in a state.  Some states may challenge a licensee’s attestation regarding eligibility for renewal if there are open deficiencies.
  4. Refer to the Renewal Checklists to prepare any documentation required to be submitted outside of NMLS.  In many states, submitting the renewal request online does not complete your renewal filing – you must also provide the documentation outlined in the renewal checklist by a specific due date for renewal approval.
  5. NEW THIS YEAR:  Several states have adopted the Criminal Background Check (CBC) functionality in the NMLS for Control Persons.  Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois and Massachusetts require that Control Persons authorize a CBC for renewal purposes.  As CBCs require MU2 attestation, an MU1 filing PRIOR to submission of the renewal request, and actions on behalf of the Control Persons, start now to ensure the process is complete before renewal due dates.  See NMLS instructions.
  6. Several states require Control Persons to submit a current credit report via an MU1 filing.  This requires a Control Person MU2 attestation, and an MU1 submission prior to submission of the renewal request.  Start now to ensure the process is complete before renewal due dates.  See NMLS instructions.
  7. Follow-up with your Qualified Individuals and Branch Managers to ensure they complete any necessary continuing education requirements and/or MLO license renewals in a timely manner.  Failure to complete the continuing education or to submit an MLO renewal request on the part of the Qualified Individual or Branch Manager could delay or preclude  renewal of the company’s main and/or branch office license(s).
  8. Several states prevent the submission of an MLO renewal request if the person’s continuing education has not been completed.  As it may take up to seven days for a course provider to report continuing education course completions to NMLS, plan accordingly.
  9. NEW THIS YEAR:  Some states now require licensees to convert their existing paper surety bonds to a new electronic surety bond (“ESB”) by a certain deadline. For specific license types, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming require such conversion, managed through the NMLS.  Check the NMLS ESB Adoption Map and Table for the license type(s) and conversion date(s).  If your agent does not yet have an account in the system, work directly with your surety provider(s) to coordinate the conversion of the bonds with state offices.
  10. Pay close attention to the “due date.”  While many states will indicate licensees have until December 31st to file renewals, reading the fine print may reveal that there is an earlier submission deadline to ensure the state has sufficient time to process your renewal before license expiration.  Also, note where your license must be approved before December 31st in order to continue activities past the new year.  In several states, if your renewal is not approved by December 31st, you are not permitted to continue to engage in licensable activities on January 1st.  See downloadable NMLS Company and Individual renewal charts.
  11. Monitor deficiency items and respond quickly.  With several hundred renewal requests to be processed in a short period of time, state regulators will not be sending out frequent reminders about outstanding deficiency items.  Log onto NMLS daily to review new deficiencies, or manage your notification settings in NMLS to ensure you receive an email when a new deficiency item is posted.
  12. Submit NMLS renewal fees using a credit card to reduce the likelihood of a delayed ACH transaction.

We trust these 12 ideas will make your licensing process a tad easier, and America great again.  Of course, should you hit a wall, and need help in getting through the licensing process or overcoming a deficiency, please give a thought to calling us at Mayer Brown. We have handled hundreds of renewal questions, and we just may have a way to help relieve the stress.  If you file this article in an electronic folder, and later cannot recall which one, we have not “bleached” our files, so check back with us.


*The following contributors are not admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia:  Robin Gieseke, Stacey Riggin, Dana Lopez, Jeff Prost, Dameian Buncum, Brenda Robinson, Patty Mesa, and Dan Pearson.