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State Regulators Nationwide Adopt Single Exam for Mortgage Licensing

Washington, D.C. – The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) announced today that all states and U.S. territories now use a single, common exam to assess mortgage loan originators (MLOs), simplifying the licensing process for MLOs and streamlining supervision of the mortgage industry.

The Uniform State Test is one of several initiatives being taken by state regulators, collectively known as Vision 2020, to improve the state licensing process for all nonbank financial services.

Key Facts

  • Previously, a mortgage license candidate would need to take multiple tests: one national exam and one exam for each state license. A license applicant who now passes the National SAFE MLO Test with Uniform State Content (National Test) will not need to take any additional state-specific tests to hold a license within any state or U.S. territory.
  • Since the beginning of the National Test rollout in 2013, the average number of licenses per MLO increased from 2.5 to 3.6, meaning MLOs are operating in more markets and consumers have more options when selecting a mortgage.
  • With almost 33,000 first-time test takers in 2017, the National Test has contributed to a robust mortgage industry that allows qualified MLO candidates to quickly and efficiently attain their licenses.
  • In addition to reducing burden, each state that adopted the UST has reduced the cost of licensure in its state by $69. In 2017, those 33,000 first-time test takers collectively saved more than $2.2 million.
  • State agencies realized an average 56 percent increase in applications after adopting the UST, promoting competitive markets that drive down costs for consumers.


John Ducrest, chairman of State Regulatory Registry (CSBS’ subsidiary that develops and operates the National Test): “The National Test is yet another way that state regulators have made obtaining an MLO license more robust, streamlined and efficient. Mortgage professionals who pass their licensing exam can now choose to become licensed in every state without additional testing. This will allow them to access consumers nationwide, and consumers can now choose from a wider selection of mortgage loan originators in their state.”

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