Mortgage Bankers Association of Florida
August 20, 2010
Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) Clarifies Underwriter Licensing Requirements

On Thursday, August 19, 2010, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) issued a legal opinion (included below) stating that underwriters who are W-2 employees of licensed mortgage lenders are NOT required to obtain loan originator licenses with the OFR. However, in-house underwriters who work for a licensed lender must be supervised by a licensed loan originator. The opinion also clarifies that if underwriters intend to underwrite exclusively for one employer, they will NOT be subject to the existing requirement that "loan processors" file declarations with the department of intent to engage solely in loan processing in order to contract with multiple mortgage brokers or mortgage lenders.

Earlier this summer OFR interpreted legislation enacted this past Session to require all loan processors and underwriters to be licensed as loan originators. MBAF took issue with the OFR's interpretation and met with OFR senior staff.

We also coordinated our efforts with MBA in Washington, D.C., to provide written comments pointing out that processors and underwriters support the origination function and have limited contact with borrowers, and, moreover, many companies have erected firewalls between the origination and underwriting functions to preserve the integrity of the loan process and in response to the Home Valuation Code of Conduct.

Additionally, State Representative Ritch Workman, provided similar comments to the OFR regarding the limited contact underwriters have with borrowers, and was in a unique position to provide an important legislative perspective regarding the new statutes.

Thank you again to the many members that sent e-mails, made phone calls, or even met face-to-face with the OFR on this issue in order to resolve a matter that had received nationwide attention.
Please click the link below to view the opinion.
Legal Opinion re Underwriters