FFIEC header image
Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (S.A.F.E. Act) FAQs

The following are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the SAFE Act. This list will be updated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) based upon FAQs received from institutions, mortgage loan originators, and individuals.

  1. Where can I view the final rule?
  2. What are the Federal registration requirements under the SAFE Act?
  3. What are the Federal registration requirements under the Agencies' final rule?
  4. When do I have to complete my Federal registration?
  5. Where can I get more information about Federal registration?


1. Where can I view the final rule?

The final rule became effective on October 1, 2010.

Return to top.

2. What are the Federal registration requirements under the SAFE Act?

As originally enacted, the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (the SAFE Act) required the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the former Office of Thrift Supervision, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Farm Credit Administration (collectively, the Agencies), to jointly develop and maintain a Federal registration system ("Federal Registry") for individual employees of Agency-regulated institutions who engage in the business of residential mortgage loan origination. The Agencies published a final rule regarding the registration requirements in July 2010.

Subsequently, the Federal Registry was established and has been operational since January 2011. In accordance with a Federal Register Notice published February 3, 2011, the initial registration period for all existing Agency-regulated institutions was January 31, 2011 through July 29, 2011. The notice can be viewed here http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-2378.pdf and the interagency press release issued on January 31, 2011 announcing the registration opening can be viewed here: http://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2011/nr-ia-2011-9.html.

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 ("the Dodd-Frank Act") transferred the authority to develop and maintain the Federal Registry from the Agencies to the CFPB. The SAFE Act statute requires individual mortgage loan originators employed by "Agency-regulated" institutions to be registered with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (Federal Registry), a database established previously by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators to support the licensing of mortgage loan originators by the States.

To access the Registry click the following link: http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/fedreg/Pages/default.aspx.

Return to top.

3. What are the Federal registration requirements under the Agencies' final rule?

The Agencies published a final rule that became effective on October 1, 2010 for the Federal registration required by the SAFE Act. The final rules of the OCC, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the National Credit Union Administration continue to apply to their regulated institutions unless these rules are superseded by the CFPB. The final rules of the FCA continue to apply to Farm Credit System institutions until these rules are revised in a coordinated process involving the FCA and the CFPB. Under the final rule and the Federal Register notice:

  • Individual residential mortgage loan originators employed by Agency-regulated institutions must:

    • Register with the Registry and maintain their registration.

    • Obtain a unique identifier through the Registry that will remain with that originator, regardless of employment changes. Mortgage loan originators and their employing institutions must provide MLO unique identifiers to consumers.

  • Agency-regulated institutions1 must:

    • Require their employees who are mortgage loan originators to comply with these requirements.

    • Adopt and follow written policies and procedures to assure compliance with the registration requirements.

Return to top.

4. When do I have to complete my Federal registration?

The final rule provided for a 180-day period within which to complete initial registrations, beginning on the date that the Agencies provided in a public notice that the Registry began accepting registrations from Agency-regulated institution employees.

As referenced in FAQ #2, in accordance with a Notice published in the Federal Register on February 3, 2011, the initial period for federal registration of residential mortgage loan originators began on January 31, 2011 and closed on July 29, 2011.

The Agencies officially announced this registration period on January 31, 2011.

Return to top.

5. Where can I get more information about Federal registration?

To register, and to obtain more information about the registration process, visit the Registry Website at http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org.

Except for Farm Credit System institutions, the primary Federal regulator for SAFE Act compliance is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Email inquiries to: cfpb_reginquiries@cfpb.gov
Or call: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of Regulations, 202-435-7700.


The primary Federal regulators for Agency-related institutions are as follows:

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

Michele Meyer, Assistant Director or Heidi Thomas, Special Counsel, Legislative and Regulatory Activities, (202) 874-5090; or Nan Goulet, Senior Advisor, Large Bank Supervision, (202) 874-5224, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 250 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20219.

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (BOARD)

Stanley Rediger, Supervisory Financial Analyst, (202) 452-2629, Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th and C Streets, NW, Washington, DC 20551.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

Victoria Pawelski, Senior Policy Analyst, (202) 898-3571, Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection or Roger Congress, Chief, (703) 254-0341, Operations & Technology Systems Section; or Richard Foley, Counsel, (202) 898-3784 or Kimberly A. Stock, Counsel, (202) 898-3815, Legal Division, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20429.

Farm Credit Administration (FCA)

Gary K. Van Meter, Director, Office of Regulatory Policy, (703) 883-4414, TTY (703) 883-4434; Richard A. Katz, Senior Counsel, Office of General Counsel, (703) 883-4020, TTY (703) 883-4020; or Jennifer Cohn, Senior Counsel, Office of General Counsel, (703) 883-4020, TTY (703) 883-4020, Farm Credit Administration, 1501 Farm Credit Drive, McLean, VA 22102-5090.

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)

Regina Metz, Staff Attorney, Office of General Counsel, (703) 518-6561 or Lisa Dolin, Program Officer, Division of Supervision, Office of Examination & Insurance, (703) 518-6360, National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-3428.

Return to top.



1 The Federal Register notice explains that Agency-regulated institutions are: national and state banks, savings associations, and their applicable subsidiaries, credit unions, Farm Credit System institutions, branches and agencies of foreign banks, and certain other foreign entities.