Employees originating mortgages for several types of companies in Washington must get a mortgage loan originator (MLO) license. These also include independent contractors in some cases. The employers for which an MLO license will be required of such employees or independent contractors include the following: licensed mortgage brokers, licensed consumer loan companies, exempt mortgage brokers, exempt consumer loan companies, and credit union service organizations. Employees of banks or credit unions who originate mortgage loans may but are not required to get an MLO license.
MLO licenses are mandatory if any of the customers are Washington residents or any of the property is located in the State of Washington.
Applicants have no specific financial requirements in terms of net worth or a bond. However, they must pass a credit and background check.
The other requirements relate to an educational course and licensing exams. 22 hours of education is required, with 4 of that in Washington law. This is the rule at the time of this 2017 post. It changes from time to time. But as long as you sign up for an approved training provider, they can ensure that you complete the currently required number of hours.
3 different combinations of passing exam scores are accepted. You can pass the SAFE National and Washington tests, SAFE National and Stand-alone Uniform State Test, or the SAFE National with UST.
Although you can apply in Washington as an independent contractor, the employer you end up working for must still sponsor you. Talk to the employer about that sponsorship registration process. You can apply before getting hired or signed on as an independent contractor. But you can’t conduct any business until you are sponsored.
The license fee is $155. Extras include $15 for a credit report if you had not ordered one in the past 30 days and about $36 for a criminal background check.
If you are not a US citizen, you must at least provide proof that you currently have the right to work in the United States.
The following link has a checklist for the Washington mortgage loan originator license. The second link has additional instructions on the MU4, which is used for MLO applications in the NMLS system.