Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mergers and Acquisitions – You Need Approval from the Regulators

The mortgage industry has been changing in the past four (4) years. Many mortgage lenders and brokers have closed their doors and stopped doing business entirely. Other companies want to stay in business but don’t want the headache of licensing compliance. Some of these companies are being acquired by other, larger companies who have compliance departments and who simply want to grow.

Most state licensing laws require that before one company can acquire or merge with another company their state banking department must approve the change. The statutes usually refer to a “change of control.” Most of these statutes require that, if there is an acquisition or merger, the acquiring company or companies being merged must notify the state regulatory agency and receive agency approval before the acquisition or merger is finalized. This means that if you are buying a company, the buy-sell agreement should have a contingency clause that the acquisition will not close until after all necessary regulatory approvals are received. If the company being acquired or merged is licensed in more than one state, the company that is buying must submit notification and approval paperwork to each regulatory agency in each state in which the company being bought or merged is licensed.

The company being acquired needs to close all loans in its pipeline and stop originating new loans while the approval is pending.

Do not jump the gun and start acting as if the acquisition or merger has gone through before the regulatory agency has given approval. You could be subject to fines, penalties and other disciplinary action that can affect your license and therefore your ability to originate loans.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Are You Keeping Your State Regulators Notified About Changes in Your Company?

Have you moved your offices? Has a loan originator been terminated or left your company? Do you have a new branch manager? Has a state or federal agency instituted a cease and desist order or have you entered into a consent agreement?

When any piece of information changes from what is listed in your company MU1, or a branch office MU3 or your loan originators’ MU4 records, you must notify your state banking department. Each state has slightly different requirements about the notification – some states require 30 days’ prior notice, others require 15 days prior notice, other states will allow notice after a situation changes.

Each state has different requirements about the timing but the SAFE Act requires that you update your NMLS records to reflect all changes in your company that pertain to the information that is maintained in the NMLS database. Remember, when you attest to your record (whenever that is required), you are attesting to the fact that all of the information in your company record is still current. Therefore, if you have sponsored a loan originator, and he is no longer working for you, you must change your NMLS record to terminate the sponsorship. If you have moved your office, you must change your MU1. In some cases, you will need to surrender a paper license to get a new one with your new address. Make sure your loan originators update their MU4 records when any information of theirs changes – if they change their residence address or employment address.

It is a good practice to check your NMLS records (all of the company, branch office and loan originator records) on a regular basis so that you remember to make the necessary changes and notify your state regulator. Add this to the list of proactive steps to take so you are always in compliance.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Mortgage Call Report – A Problem If You Didn’t File

The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System opened up the Mortgage Call Report for the first filing in May, 2011. All mortgage broker and mortgage lender/banker licensees must file quarterly reports regarding their loan applications and their closed loans. I have clients that are licensed in multiple states and both originate and broker loans. For this type of licensee, there are about 38 questions to answer, for each state report. That was a lot of information to compile and submit. You even had to file a report if you had no loan activity. What are the consequences of not filing a Mortgage Call Report?

Starting June 16, 2011, your state regulator will place a deficiency on your license if you did not file the Mortgage Call Report. Although it has not been spelled out as to the exact issues that you will face, it is possible that you will not be able to originate loans until you clear the deficiency. If you did not file your first Mortgage Call Report because you were too busy closing loans, I would be happy to help you file your Report. Don’t forget, this is a quarterly obligation and the next Mortgage Call Report is due August 14, 2011 for data from April 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011.