Licensing Flexibility

Overview: During the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, independent mortgage banker (IMB) members of MBA have received permission from state regulators for their licensed staff to work from home temporarily in states that require members of their teams to operate from a licensed location. These guidance documents and "no action" letters allowed the real estate finance industry, a vital engine of the American economy, to continue to function and serve consumers during this time of national crisis.

In states where this regulatory flexibility was provided, MBA believes it should be uncoupled from all time frames in state or national shelter-in-place declarations or emergency executive orders and it should be extended without sunset dates, but at least through 2021. Additionally, MBA believes states should provide IMBs with 120-days notice when the time is right to return to offices. Providing such a transition period would allow adequate time to prepare staff, update operations, policies and procedures and ensure the protection of the health and safety of consumers and staff.

The pandemic has also tested both industry and regulators to rethink and change their operational models. Given this experience, MBA believes the time is right for state policy makers and the IMBs they supervise to review and reconsider the future of state licensing and apply lessons learned, particularly as it relates to branch licensing and commutable distance. To help facilitate these changes, MBA has released proposed model state legislation and regulation to apply the lessons of the pandemic and make these flexibilities permanent. Talking points, FAQs, and an issue brief are also available.

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MBANow: William Kooper on Greater Remote Work Flexibility Options

Licensing Flexibility by State

States with Work from Home Guidance

Law or Regulation Enacted to Permit Remote Work
Temporary Guidance to Permit Remote Work

Recent Activity Related to State Licensing Flexibility

  • October 14, 2022: South Dakota Extends Interim Guidance to June 30, 2022
  • August 23, 2021: Washington Postpones Final Rules to Implement New Law, Extends Interim Guidance to Permit Remote Work Until End of 2021
  • August 6, 2021: Wisoncsin Department of Financial Services (DFI) Extends Remote Work Guidance Effective 10/15/21. Important Note: "The mortgage banker, broker or registered entity sponsoring the mortgage loan originator must notify the Division by sending an email to DFIMortgageBanking@wi.gov. No response will be issued to the email submission due to the no-action position."
  • July 29, 2021: New Hampshire Banking Department Clarifies Position on Remote Work
  • July 26, 2021: Iowa Division of Banking Issues Guidance to Allow Remote Work
  • July 12, 2021: Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation released written guidance indefinitely extending remote work flexibilities for licensed staff of nonbank lenders. The Division also clarified that licensed MLOs are not required to live within a certain distance of a branch office. 
  • July 1, 2021: Connecticut Banking Department Issues Remote Work Guidance
  • June 29, 2001: MBA Urges State Mortgage Regulator and Governor Associations to Collaborate on Extending MLO Remote Work Flexibilities. 
  • June 24, 2021: Pennsylvania Bill Enabling Remote Work has been Referred to the House Banking and Insurance Committee 
  • June 23, 2021: Connecticut Governor Signs Senate Omnibus Bill with Language that Orders Banking Commissoner to Establish Remote Work Processes
  • June 17, 2021: Rhode Island House Passes Legislation that would Allow Remote Work Flexibilities 
  • June 9, 2021: Kansas OMBA Announces that it will Extend Remote Work Guidance through July 1, 2022; Commits to Working with Legislature to Make Guidance Permenant
  • May 12, 2021: Vermont Enacts Legislation Permitting Remote Work
  • April 9, 2021: Maryland Adopts Rules Allowing Remote Work as Proposed on January 29th (See Below)
  • April 7, 2021: Washington Governor Signs Legislation to Provide Remote Work Flexibilities
  • March 21, 2021: Arkansas Passes Legislation that Enables the Secretary of State to Promulgate Rules Allowing Remote Work
  • February 26, 2021: MBA and MMBBA Comment on Maryland Department of Labor's Proposed Rules for Remote Work
  • February 17, 2021: MBANow discussion of MBA's new model bill and regulation to broadly modernize state licensing requirements for state licensed companies and their licensed staff
  • February 16, 2021: MBA Newslink, "MBA Launches Licensing Flexibility Campaign with State Partners"
  • January 29, 2021: Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation Proposes Remote Work Regulation
  • January 28, 2021: MBA Hosts Meeting to Discuss Remote Work Campaign for State Partners
  • January 19, 2021: Legislation Introduced in Arkansas would give State Regulator Authority to Promulgate Rules
  • January 11, 2021: Washington Introduces Legislation to Allow Licensed MLOs to Work from Home
  • January 1, 2021: Nebraska Extends Remote Work Guidance through 12/31/21
  • December 15, 2020: Minnesota Commerce Department Issues Sweeping "Non-Depository Financial Institution Telework Guidance
  • October 15, 2020: MBA Campaign Message to State and Local Assocaitions to Seek Work from Home Policy Extentions 
  • August 25, 2020: Conference of State Bank Supervisors Non-Depository Supervisory Committee Memorandum Urging Licensing Flexibiliity
  • July 24, 2020: MBA Letter to CSBS on Remote Work Flexibility for State Licensees

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