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Albert Forkner - 2021 NMLS Conference

Hello, and welcome to our 13th annual and first ever virtual NMLS conference. Some of you may recall that when I gave my remarks in 2017, at the State Federal Supervisory Forum as the incoming Chairman at CSBS, I was speaking to you virtually. Little did I know then that I was simply ahead of my time. 

Last year, we set a record in attendance at this conference with more than 760 regulator and industry attendees. I am thinking maybe that was because it was in beautiful San Francisco, and in February. But this year, 1,000 of you are attending, all from the comfort of your home, or office or (more likely) your home office. 

Since we met a year ago, we have made so much progress and what I would call a defining year. We accomplished highly anticipated goals and our commitment to carry out CSBS strategic objectives. And despite challenges facing the industry and regulators, and even state agencies, the NMLS proved invaluable for an increasing number of licensees and greater reliance on a remote workforce. I want to take a minute and share some of our many accomplishments. 

We launched the State Examination System March. As of year-end, 29 states agencies are using the State Examination System (or SES), the only nationwide system that connects agencies and companies in the examination process. Since its launch, the SES has had six system releases aimed at continually improving both the agency and company user experience. We implemented the SES Consumer Complaints feature in September. This followed successful completion of a pilot phase with 11 state agencies. The Consumer Complaints feature allows state agencies to enter, process and track complaints and connect complaints to other supervisory activities in SES. 

We made steps to modernize in NMLS Modernization. 39 state agencies responded to the regulator comment period for the core requirements proposal. In December, we initiated a comment period for regulators to comment on our MSB business-specific requirements proposal. These efforts reflect milestones on the path to achieving NMLS modernization. In addition, 92% of state agencies have indicated their willingness to adopt the Key Individual Wizard. 

We adjusted to the pandemic by extending test enrollment windows to 180 days for new and existing mortgage loan originators impacted by test center closures, establishing online proctoring as an alternative for MLO test candidates. As of year-end, nearly 4,000 online proctored tests were delivered. 

We extended fingerprint windows by 60 days for MLO applicants and other licensees who were not able to complete the fingerprinting process due to site closures, beginning a healthy dialogue about the future of remote work, and how we balance current laws and policies with changing work environments and consumer protections. 

We created virtual learning solutions for members and stakeholders and delivering more than 50 training programs in support of NMLS and other internal SRR initiatives. And we maintain 100% operating capacity for the NMLS call center, allowing uninterrupted support to NMLS estate agencies and the industry users. Overall, despite the many challenges facing state agencies, industry and regulators this year, NMLS proved invaluable for an increasing number of licensees and the increased reliance on a remote workforce. 

There are now 64 state agencies on NMLS. 59 use the NMLS for mortgage licensing, and 55 use the system to manage licensing for other non-bank entities, such as money service businesses, consumer finance and debt collectors. 

The past year has been, well, a lot of things, including transformative. We began the year with Vision 2020. That has evolved into a new approach, and one that CSBS President and CEO John Ryan will share in just a few moments. Before I turn it over to John, I want to thank all of you for participating. No matter what the format, the NMLS Conference has so much to offer. And this is an exciting time for NMLS. Thank you for being here. And now, please welcome John Ryan.

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