Mortgage Career Insights, Tips, Articles, Resources

Is an mlo career right for you?

How to become a mortgage loan originator (MLO)

  • Step 1

    A person seeking to become a mortgage broker must be at least 18 years old.

  • Step 2

    A bachelor’s degree and some experience in finance and sales is helpful to becoming a mortgage loan officer, but is not required.

  • Step 3

    Mortgage loan originators who work for depository institutions, such as federally insured banks, savings and loans, and credit unions, must at a minimum register with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS) and Registry.

  • Step 4

    Verify your specific state’s licensing requirements. State-licensed, non-depository mortgage loan originators are subject to additional requirements under the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008.

  • Step 5

    Provide fingerprints to the NMLS for an FBI criminal background check and authorize the NMLS to obtain a copy of your credit report.

  • Step 6

    Take 20 hours of pre-licensing education courses approved by the NMLS. Certain states also require state-specific loan officer training. Be sure to verify your state’s licensing requirements.

  • Step 7

    All state-licensed loan originators must pass a national exam - required under the SAFE Act. In some states, an MLO also must satisfy state-specific testing requirements to obtain a NMLS license. * Be sure to verify your state’s licensing requirements.

  • Passing The Exam

    The National Test with Uniform State Content is a rigorous exam with a broad array of questions on specific topics related to mortgage activites. Its purpose is to ensure minimum competency to practice in the field.

  • Starting Out

    Now that you are an MLO, you will want to focus on prospecting and developing relationships with commercial and residential real estate agencies to obtain client referrals. Recommendations from real estate agents to homebuyers will be an integral component to launching a successful career. View the MLO Career Guide to learn more about your career as a mortgage loan officer.

    *In April 2013, the NMLS launched the Uniform State Test, a section of the national exam which replaces the state-specific test content for those states that have adopted it.

  • Download PDF Get Started