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Mortgage Licensing & Exemptions

All mortgage entities and mortgage loan originators must use the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) for licensing and registration. Exempt companies do not have to use NMLS; however, the individuals working for exempt companies must use NMLS. Assistance is available through a national call center at (855) NMLS-123 or (855) 665-7123. The Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has been a part of the NMLS since its launch in 2008.

Mortgage Broker and Company Licenses

DFI licenses mortgage bankers, servicers and brokers to make, purchase, buy, sell, service and broker Kentucky residential mortgages. Out-of-state branches that do Kentucky business must be licensed by the department.

How to License a New Mortgage Broker/Company:

1. Read Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 286.8.

2. Submit the application form online via NMLS.

3. Submit a surety bond.

The full licensing fee is $750 for the principal office and $400 for each branch office. There is also an NMLS processing fee of $100 per principal office and $20 per branch.

How to Renew a Mortgage Broker/Company License:

1. Read KRS 286.8.

2. Submit renewal online via NMLS.

Licenses must be renewed each calendar year. All entities must renew by Nov. 30 each year. The renewal fee is $350 for the principal office and $250 for each branch office. There is also an NMLS processing fee of $100 per principal office and $20 per branch. If licenses are not renewed before they expire, there will be a 30-day reinstatement period and a $250 fee.

For more information about mortgage broker and company licenses, or about companies filing a claim of exemption, contact Emily Clifford at 502-782-9020.

Companies Filing a Claim of Exemption (HUD and Nonprofit)

Mortgage bankers, servicers and brokers approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shall register their exemption. Exemptions expire annually on Dec. 31 and must be renewed before that date. For more information, read KRS 286.8. 

HUD-exempt entities (mortgage lenders, brokers and branches) must report annually the number of FHA-insured mortgage loans that were originated on Kentucky properties during the preceding calendar year. For more information, read DFI's HUD-Exempt Entities Compliance Procedures for Changes to KRS 286.8.

NOTE: Entities that have previously surrendered a HUD exemption or have had a HUD exemption revoked for failure to meet the 12 FHA-insured loan requirements set forth in KRS 286.8-020(4) are not eligible to reapply for another HUD exemption unless they meet certain conditions. An entity must become licensed and fund or broker a minimum of 12 FHA-insured loans originated on Kentucky properties in a single calendar year in order to reacquire a HUD exemption once it is surrendered or revoked. In addition to brokering 12 FHA-insured loans, the entity also must have been approved by HUD for five years or have held a license for five consecutive years.

Mortgage Originator Registrations

All loan originators (loan officers) of licensed entities and HUD-approved mortgage companies and/or mortgage brokers must register with DFI. Out-of-state loan officers and brokers assisting Kentucky clients must register with DFI. 

NOTE: Individuals who work for nonprofit entities may be exempt from registering. For more information, read 2011-08-01 SAFE Act Compliance KRS 286.8 and 2006-07-12 HUD-Exempt Compliance KRS 286.8.

How to Register a New Loan Officer/Originator:

  1. Read KRS 286.8.
  2. Submit an electronic background check through NMLS.
  3. Complete 20 hours of pre-licensing education.
  4. Pass the national test component with uniform state content.
  5. Submit the application form online via NMLS. 
  6.  Consent to a credit report through NMLS. For more details, read 808 KAR 12:021. Applicants who have a credit score of 600 or better meet the financial responsibility requirement.
  7. All mortgage loan originators must be covered by a surety bond, either through their employer or independently, for their entire registration period. The bond cannot be terminated without 30 days prior written notice to DFI. Mortgage loan originators with an annual loan volume of less than $10 million must have a $15,000 surety bond. Those with an annual loan volume of greater than $10 million must have a $20,000 surety bond. For more information, read 2009-12-18 Surety Bond KRS 286.8. The registration fee is $50. There is also an NMLS processing fee of $30. NMLS will email you when your registration is approved. Registration status is available online.

 How to Renew a Loan Officer/Originator Registration:

  1. Read KRS 286.8
  2. Complete eight hours of continuing education during the calendar year. One of those eight hours must be Kentucky-specific.
  3.  Renew online via NMLS. 
  4. Originators also must submit a background check to NMLS and consent to a credit report through NMLS, pursuant to Senate Bill 97 (2016 Kentucky Acts Ch. 129).

The registration renewal period is on a calendar-year basis. All individuals must renew by Nov. 30 each year. The renewal fee is $50. There is also an NMLS processing fee of $30. If registrations are not renewed before they expire, there will be a 30-day reinstatement period and a $250 fee. NMLS will email you when your registration is approved. The status of renewals is available online

Mortgage Processors

As of July 2016, mortgage loan processors do not have to register with DFI. However, the employing entity must perform a background check and credit check before hiring a mortgage loan processor, as set out in KRS 286.8-255(9) and 808 KAR 12:055. In addition, non-W2 (contract) loan processors still need to register.

Employee mortgage loan processors do not have to complete pre-licensing education. Loan processors must complete eight hours of continuing education each year, which is is not reported through NMLS. The employing mortgage company or broker must maintain proof that their processors have completed the required education.

For More Information

For more information about mortgage processors or registrations for mortgage loan originators, contact Jeffrey Hornbeck at 502-782-2094. 


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