Manual, Paper-Based Processes Continue to Decline
A new business procedure to electronically process surety bonds is now a reality through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS). Additionally, NMLS can now be used to electronically process criminal background checks for many more individuals at financial institutions. Both enhancements went live this week.
- NMLS is the system of record for state licensing of mortgage lending, money service businesses, debt collection and other aspects of consumer finance. Roughly 40,000 companies and 500,000 individuals are registered in the system. The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) owns and operates NMLS on behalf of state regulators.
- State regulators and the surety bond industry have developed a new process to electronically issue, process and track surety bonds – previously, a time-consuming, manual task. These bonds are often required by state law as a condition of licensing. Now, surety bond companies and producers can manage transactions through NMLS.
- NMLS has potential to streamline the surety bond process by reducing common errors, ensuring that bonds are from qualified and authorized entities, and speeding approvals. At launch, this feature can be used in nine states, with more states being added in 2017.
- Processing Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks required by state law through NMLS is now expanded to any covered individual, such as a branch manager or officer at a mortgage firm or money transmitter company. This feature will speed approval processes as fingerprints are automatically processed with results reported back to state regulators within approximately 24 hours. Previously, NMLS had been authorized to process background checks for mortgage loan officers only. At launch, 26 state agencies are able to use this new feature for 116 different types of state licenses, with more states being added in 2017.
- The expansion of background checks was made possible through a 2015 congressional amendment to the 2008 SAFE Act, as well as an agreement with the F.B.I.
- Charles G. Cooper, CSBS chairman and commissioner, Texas Department of Banking: “By introducing a new process for surety bonds, state regulators have solved for what is widely seen as the last paper-based process in the state licensing system. Further, relying on NMLS to process more background checks greatly simplifies a necessary, but burdensome process for a far greater number of financial institutions.”
- Robert J. Entringer, commissioner, North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions: “The latest enhancements in NMLS reflect regulators’ use of reg-tech to drive efficiencies in state supervision that also benefit the industry. Our vision is to leverage NMLS as a common platform for more aspects of state regulation.”
- Courtney Larsen, surety and fidelity e-business manager, CapSpecialty: “The partnership this initiative created among surety companies, our producers and state regulators has produced a much-needed advancement – one sure to kick off a new phase of reengineering in the surety bond industry.”
For more information, visit www.csbs.org or http://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org