Federal and State License Requirements

In August of 2008 I was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding license requirements for mortgage loan officers as follows;

“I think it is about time that licensing has been addressed,” said Peter Buchsbaum, of Arlington Capital Mortgage in Jenkintown. “Every loan officer should need to comply with certain standards to conduct business.”

Buchsbaum said he believed there should be a federal license and a state registry for mortgage brokers. He is licensed in several states, requiring “a lot of repetition” in testing and continuing education.

Here we are a year and a half later and where are we? I have taken 20 hours of education for my Federal license and and 8 hours for Pennsylvania, 8 hours for Florida and 4 hours for NJ. New York, Delaware, and Tennessee right now only require finger prints. As an aside the 4 hours for the Garden State only took 38 minutes on line. I have had 3 background checks. I have had an electronic scan of my fingerprints and palm and I have had my fingerprints taken at a local police station 15 times. I have run several credit reports on myself for each state where I am either registered or licensed. The costs for the tests, background checks, credit reports etc are now in thousands of dollars. My federal test was made up of 100 questions. Only 13 of those had to do with “ethics” (I answered all of those correctly). I passed. The majority of the questions had to do with the costs of renewing your license and what is the fine if you do not do it on time. Just curious how that makes me a better loan officer. Now the state tests. I was shocked at how few questions had to do with ethics (2) but how I needed to know the requirements of being a mortgage broker while I am taking the test as a mortgage banker. I heeded my palm scanned twice before entering the testing room and once upon leaving. I was video tapped from three cameras during each exam.

All of this being said, my frustration is really aimed at the idea that while I need to be licensed (remember article above. I agree we need to be licensed). If however, I worked at a bank I would not need to take the continuing education classes or the licensing exams. Think about this seriously for a moment. My tax dollars are being spent (in the billions) to prop up the institutions that would have failed without my money and the people who work there do not need a license or need to be educated. On what planet does that make sense?

We need to take a breath. Yes the system broke. But if this is how we fix it then it will simply break again soon. Until then I will use the system to my advantage. When asked what is the difference between you and Wells Fargo or Bank of America the answer is easy. I have been educated tested and licensed. I can only assume the others were unable to pass the test.

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