Four More States Add Uniform LO Test, Brings Tally to 39

States continue to adopt uniform tests for mortgage loan originators (MLOs), as four additional states and U.S. territory agencies have now brought the tally of National SAFE MLO test adopters to 39.

As of January 1, 2014, the four agencies that have adopted the uniform test include The Nevada Department of Business & Industry; The New Mexico Financial Institutions Division; The Puerto Rico Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions; and The U.S. Virgin Islands Division of Banking & Insurance.

The National SAFE MLO test has been gaining ground since its launch April 1, 2013, seeing an initial adoption among 20 states.


In July, 10 additional state agencies adopted the test. By October, five more agencies had joined, bringing the total to 35.

The test combines both the national state testing requirements of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act) and streamlines the license application process for MLOs seeking licenses in multiple states.

Those who have adopted the test have seen significant increases in mortgage license applications, said Bob Entringer, commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions and chairman of the State Regulatory Registry LLC, in a statement.

“The Launch of the National SAFE MLO test has been a great success,”  Entringer said. “Combined with the high number of MLOs that have enrolled to take the test, this tells us that the test is very well-received by the industry for the efficiencies it brings to the license process for those MLOs seeking to do business in multiple states.”

Since its release on April 1, 2013, more than 30,650 MLOs have enrolled to take the National SAFE MLO test. Additionally, approximately 21,100 MLOs have enrolled for the Stand-Alone UST to date—a short version of the uniform state test that is available for enrollment until March 31, 2014.

The Stand-Alone UST is available for existing licenses who may wish to seek licenses in additional states.

Written by Jason Oliva

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  • Jason,

    You kind of got it but it is much different than you present. All NMLS licensees must take the national exam plus pass at least one state exam. Then starting on April 1, 2013, several states came together and agreed that by adding a state component to the national exam, they would not require a separate state test for MLOs who passed the combined exam. They also agreed that if within one year of April 1, 2013, existing licensees passed only the state component of the new national exam (specifically defined), they would be treated as if they had passed the combined exam.

    Passing the exam does not permit a licensee to originate in those states. Licensees who have passed the combined national exam or both the federal and UST (or Uniform State Test) exam must also take any required education of that state plus meet all additional requirements including state specific annual fees.

    As a licensee who was licensed before April 1, 2013 and has passed the UST exam, I can tell that the number of questions on both exams passed is exactly the same as now found on the combined exam. The UST is not a short version of anything. The federal exam I took had 100 questions and the UST 25 for a total of 125 questions. The new combined exam has exactly 125 questions. As to grading both exempt 10 unidentified questions from grading.

    The states which have not chosen to accept the UST exam results by this time will no doubt continue to require passing their state specific exams for some time to come. Among those states are California, Arizona, Oregon, New York, Florida, Minnesota, and ten other states which have not adopted the UST or the combined exam. Even then one department that oversees a portion of Utah originators has adopted the UST or combined exam while the other has not.

    The adoption by 34 states and DC is a real help and cost savings to originators. Why 16 states have not adopted it seems a little unreasonable.

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