Bloomberg is reporting that California mortgage brokers are facing closer scrutiny as the state adopts a federal law aimed at curbing the fraud and abuse that helped decimate the housing market.
Brokers in the nation’s most populous state will be required by July 31 to have passed criminal-background and credit checks, as well as licensing exams. California, along with about a third of U.S. states, previously didn’t require mortgage sellers to have individual licenses.
Reverse mortgage will be assigned identification numbers to enable regulators and borrowers to track their lending histories.
“When someone buys 100 shares of stock, they must go through a licensed securities broker,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and co-sponsor of the law, the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008. “Until recently, some purchased their home — a far more valuable asset — through an independent mortgage broker or lender who may have had a criminal background or no license at all. This lack of accountability enabled unscrupulous brokers to commit fraud at the expense of unsuspecting homebuyers.”