As the impact from the Coronavirus grows, state agencies have begun sending out communication and guidance to licensees on how to operate during the crisis. The NMLS has compiled a list of state agency contacts along with links to recent announcements. Many state banking and financial institutions have already granted temporary authority for mortgage loan originators ("MLOs") to work from home without breaching licensing requirements which would otherwise make it prohibited.
Examples of State Guidance:
The Washington Department of Financial Institutions has provided interim guidance to allow MLOs to work from home, even if they are not in the state. The regulator announced they would not take administrative or punitive action against licensees working from home as long as data security provisions are met. MLOs are required to access their company’s secure origination system directly from an out-of-office device using a virtual network that requires authentication. Also, no physical business records may be kept at any location other than the licensed main office, and consumers may not come to an unlicensed location.
The Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner issued guidance similar to that of Washington. Kansas will allow MLOs to temporarily work from home as long as customer information is kept private and secure. Additionally, the guidance requires that that MLO activity be conducted in a private home environment, and not out in public areas like coffee shops.
The Connecticut Department of Banking issued a “no action position” in their guidance which states that MLOs can work from their residence if certain conditions are met like maintaining their license and not conducting business in person at the residence.
In general, states regulators are emphasizing that mortgage companies and MLOs exercise due diligence in safeguarding company and consumer data as to minimize unauthorized access. Some states are setting an initial end date for the temporary guidance, with the possibility of the date being modified or withdrawn, while other states are leaving the expiration open until further notice.