Shopping Around for the BEST Mortgage Interest Rates and Lender?

Let me ask you one question. Who would you prefer handling your largest single financial transaction?

1) A Licensed Mortgage professional?
2) An unlicensed call center clerk?

The answer is clear... Now learn the difference

Licensed versus unlicensed loan officers? Who are you working with?
All Loan Officers must have an NMLS number. This number must be displayed on business cards, web sites, etc. It is a tracking number, not a license number. The display of this number gives consumers the false illusion that a Loan Officer is licensed. Sadly, 80% of Loan Officers are NOT licensed. Unlicensed bank loan officers are more like call center clerks.  How to verify a Loan Officer has a license.

Licensed Loan officers are held to a very strict licensing standard (SAFE Act). A absolutely ridiculous exemption in the consumer protection laws allows Banks Loan Officers to have different rules. Well, let's just say, no rules! Who are these banks? All the big names (Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America, etc.), plus plenty of smaller ones, Credit Unions, and mortgage companies owned by banks.

Now I am not trying to make this into a David versus Goliath story, but I am trying to emphasize the huge differences and implications this has on consumers.

Here is a chart to show the differences in people who are "loan officers"

Actual License Yes No
Pass FBI Background check Yes No
Fingerprinted Yes No
Surety Bonded Yes No
Pre-licensed schooling / education Yes No
8 hours continuing education each year Yes No
Personal Credit checked each year Yes No
Pass difficult State Test in every state Yes No
Pass difficult Federal Test Yes No
Complaint mechanism's Yes No
Licensing fees and renewals Yes No
Registered with NMLS number Yes Yes

Now that you know the difference. Who would YOU rather be working with on the largest financial transaction of your life? Trained, licensed, fingerprinted, and background checked - or the person with none of that?

What to do?

Simple. VERIFY THE Loan Officer is LICENSED: If they don't have a license. DON'T WORK WITH THEM.

What if they do have a licensed? Then Google the Loan Officer you are thinking of working with! Do you get any hits? What are they? Does the Loan Officer appear to be highly respected and quoted with lots of links? Then you are probably working with a top notch professional. Can't find anything, or maybe just a listing on the company web site? That probably wouldn't be who I would pick to handle my largest financial transaction.

How to verify a Loan Officer

It is hard to determine if the Loan Officer is simply registered, versus licensed. When looking up a loan officer, you have to go to the bottom of their NMLS identification page and look under State Licenses/Registrations or Federal Registration heading.

The web site to verify a Loan Officer License is at

  • A LICENSED Loan Officer will say "State Licenses/Registrations" and will have one or more STATES listed with all their state licensing information listed.
  • An UNLICENSED, but simply REGISTERED Loan Officer will say "Federal Registration" and then say something like "Federal Mortgage Loan Originator".

More Information on how to shop for a mortgage loan

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Mortgages Unlimited Minnesota
33 Wentworth Ave E, St Paul, MN 55118
(651) 552-3681

Member, Minnesota Mortgage Association

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Mortgages Unlimited, Inc. NMLS # 225504. Joe Metzler NMLS # 274132