(1) Each person who acts as a mortgage broker must be licensed in accordance with this section.
(2) In order to apply for a mortgage broker license, an applicant must:
(a) Submit a completed license application form as prescribed by commission rule.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 494.00321
- Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
- Commission: means the Financial Services Commission. See Florida Statutes 494.001
- Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
- Control person: means an individual, partnership, corporation, trust, or other organization that possesses the power, directly or indirectly, to direct the management or policies of a company, whether through ownership of securities, by contract, or otherwise. See Florida Statutes 494.001
- Credit report: means any written, oral, or other information obtained from a consumer reporting agency as described in the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, which bears on an individual's credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity. See Florida Statutes 494.001
- Credit score: means a score, grade, or value that is derived by using data from a credit report in any type of model, method, or program, whether electronically, in an algorithm, in a computer software or program, or by any other process for the purpose of grading or ranking credit report data. See Florida Statutes 494.001
- Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
- Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
- Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
- Loan originator: means an individual who, directly or indirectly, solicits or offers to solicit a mortgage loan, accepts or offers to accept an application for a mortgage loan, negotiates or offers to negotiate the terms or conditions of a new or existing mortgage loan on behalf of a borrower or lender, or negotiates or offers to negotiate the sale of an existing mortgage loan to a noninstitutional investor for compensation or gain. See Florida Statutes 494.001
- Mortgage: The written agreement pledging property to a creditor as collateral for a loan.
- Mortgage broker: means a person conducting loan originator activities through one or more licensed loan originators employed by the mortgage broker or as independent contractors to the mortgage broker. See Florida Statutes 494.001
- Office: means the Office of Financial Regulation. See Florida Statutes 494.001
- person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
- Plea: In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a declaration made in open court.
- Principal loan originator: means the licensed loan originator in charge of, and responsible for, the operation of a mortgage lender or mortgage broker, including all of the activities of the mortgage lender's or mortgage broker's loan originators, in-house loan processors, and branch managers, whether employees or independent contractors. See Florida Statutes 494.001
- Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
- Registry: means the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry, which is the mortgage licensing system developed and maintained by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators for the licensing and registration of loan originators. See Florida Statutes 494.001
- writing: includes handwriting, printing, typewriting, and all other methods and means of forming letters and characters upon paper, stone, wood, or other materials. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
(b) Designate a qualified principal loan originator on the application form who meets the requirements of s. 494.0035.
(c) Submit a nonrefundable application fee of $425, and the $100 nonrefundable fee if required by s. 494.00172. Application fees may not be prorated for partial years of licensure.
(d) Submit fingerprints for each of the applicant’s control persons in accordance with rules adopted by the commission:
1. The fingerprints may be submitted to the registry, the office, or a vendor acting on behalf of the registry or the office.
2. The office may contract with a third-party vendor to provide live-scan fingerprinting.
3. A state criminal history background check must be conducted through the Department of Law Enforcement, and a federal criminal history background check must be conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
4. All fingerprints submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement must be submitted electronically and entered into the statewide automated biometric identification system established in s. 943.05(2)(b) and available for use in accordance with s. 943.05(2)(g) and (h). The office shall pay an annual fee to the department to participate in the system and inform the department of any person whose fingerprints are no longer required to be retained.
5. The costs of fingerprint processing, including the cost of retaining the fingerprints, shall be borne by the person subject to the background check.
6. The office is responsible for reviewing the results of the state and federal criminal history checks and determining whether the applicant meets licensure requirements.
(e) Authorize the registry to obtain an independent credit report on each of the applicant’s control persons from a consumer reporting agency, and transmit or provide access to the report to the office. The cost of the credit report shall be borne by the applicant.
(f) Submit additional information or documentation requested by the office and required by rule concerning the applicant or a control person of the applicant. Additional information may include documentation of pending and prior disciplinary and criminal history events, including arrest reports and certified copies of charging documents, plea agreements, judgments and sentencing documents, documents relating to pretrial intervention, orders terminating probation or supervised release, final administrative agency orders, or other comparable documents that may provide the office with the appropriate information to determine eligibility for licensure.
(g) Submit any other information required by the registry for the processing of the application.
(3) An application is considered received for the purposes of s. 120.60 upon the office’s receipt of all documentation from the registry, including the completed application form, criminal history information, and independent credit report, as well as the license application fee, the fee required by s. 494.00172, and all applicable fingerprinting processing fees.
(4) The office shall issue a mortgage broker license to each person who is not otherwise ineligible and who meets the requirements of this section. However, it is a ground for denial of licensure if the applicant or one of the applicant’s control persons:
(a) Has committed any violation specified in this chapter, or is the subject of a pending felony criminal prosecution or a prosecution or an administrative enforcement action, in any jurisdiction, which involves fraud, dishonesty, breach of trust, money laundering, or any other act of moral turpitude.
(b) Has failed to demonstrate the character, general fitness, and financial responsibility necessary to command the confidence of the community and warrant a determination that the applicant will operate honestly, fairly, and efficiently.
1. If the office has information that could form the basis for license denial under this paragraph, before denying the license, the office must notify the applicant in writing of the specific items of concern and provide the applicant with an opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding the specific items and provide any information that the applicant believes is relevant to the office’s determination.
2. For purposes of evaluating adverse information found in an applicant’s credit report, the information must be considered within the totality of the circumstances. Information provided by the applicant under subparagraph 1., or information obtained by the office by other means, may be used to provide a context for the adverse items. For example, the adverse items may have resulted from factors that do not necessarily reflect negatively upon the applicant’s character, general fitness, or financial responsibility.
3. The office may not use a credit score or the absence or insufficiency of credit history information to determine character, general fitness, or financial responsibility.
4. If information contained in a credit report is used as the basis for denying a license, the office shall, in accordance with s. 120.60(3), provide with particularity the grounds or basis for denial. The use of the terms “poor credit history,” “poor credit rating,” or similar language does not meet the requirements of this paragraph.
(5) The office may deny a license if the applicant has had a mortgage broker license, or its equivalent, revoked in any jurisdiction and shall deny a license if any of the applicant’s control persons has had a loan originator license, or its equivalent, revoked in any jurisdiction.
(6) A mortgage broker license shall be annulled pursuant to s. 120.60 if it was issued by the office by mistake. A license must be reinstated if the applicant demonstrates that the requirements for obtaining the license under this chapter have been satisfied.
(7) All mortgage broker licenses must be renewed annually by December 31 pursuant to s. 494.00322. If a person holding an active mortgage broker license has not applied to renew the license on or before December 31, the mortgage broker license expires on December 31. If a person holding an active mortgage broker license has applied to renew the license on or before December 31, the mortgage broker license remains active until the renewal application is approved or denied. A mortgage broker is not precluded from reapplying for licensure upon expiration of a previous license.