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How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in Hawaii

Last updated on September 28, 2023

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in Hawaii

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At first, becoming a mortgage loan officer might seem overwhelming. 

How do you even begin?

We’re here to tell you that it isn’t complicated at all. 

And we’re going to prove that to you by giving you a complete guide on how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Hawaii. 

You’ll see just how easy it really is. 

Now, hold up…

We’re going to be talking about an individual mortgage loan officer or originator. 

If you want to become a Sole Proprietor Mortgage Loan Originator, you can find the requirement checklist here. 

As for a mortgage loan originator company or branch, you can find the requirement checklist here and here, respectively. 

With all that cleared, let’s get started!

How to Become an MLO in Hawaii – You Only Need to Complete 5 Steps

That’s right!

And we’re going to walk you through these 5 steps to make it even easier for you. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Make an NMLS account
  2. Complete pre-licensure education
  3. Pass the licensing exam
  4. Apply for an MLO license
  5. Get sponsored by an employer

Step #1: Make an NMLS account

The first step is as easy as making an account. 

You can click here to create (or request) your NMLS account. 

That’s all there is to it. 

However, you might be wondering what NMLS is.

Short for Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System, this platform handles all MLO licenses in the US. 

Here, you’ll do all your MLO transactions, from application to renewal to whatnot. 

It’s also the platform that generates your ID number. 

You’ll need this number throughout your application and even your MLO career. 

You can find your ID number in the NMLS dashboard > Composite View > View Individual tabs. 

Step #2: Complete Pre-Licensure Education

You can’t get into the mortgage loan industry without proper knowledge. 

This is why it’s a MUST to complete a pre-licensure education (also called PE).

But don’t worry. 

In Hawaii, you’re only required to complete 20 hours of PE. 

Don’t forget to include these topics!

  • 2 hours of Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending
  • 3 hours of Federal Law
  • 3 hours of Ethics
  • 3 hours of Hawaii law. This is required by the Hawaii Division of Financial Institutions (HI DFI)
  • At least 9 hours of General Electives 

If you don’t want to do deep research, here are the best NMLS-approved online PE providers:

For more approved schools, you can check out a complete list here. 

Get this. 

Your pre-licensure education completion is only valid for a year. 

Before that time, you should already apply for your MLO license. If not, then you’ll have to retake the lessons. 

Step #3: Pass the Licensing Exam

This is probably the most tricky part. 

But if you just studied your lessons well, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem with this. 

Now, for the MLO licensing exam, you’ll have to register for it with the NMLS. 

Here are the steps to do that: 

  1. Log in to your NMLS account.
  2. Head over to the ‘MLO Testing & Education’ tab.
  3. Create a New Test Enrollment Window.
  4. Add the ‘SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator Test – National Component with Uniform State Content’ to your cart. 
  5. Read through the entire Candidate Agreement and accept it. 
  6. Pay the $110 invoice. (You may use all major credit and debit cards or the Automated Clearing House funds transfer.)

Once registered, you must schedule an exam appointment with Prometric. 

On your scheduled date, you’ll need to answer 120 questions in 190 minutes (a little over 3 hours). 

To pass, you need a score of 75% or higher. 

It’s important to note that only 115 questions are scored. The other 5 are only pre-test questions. However, you won’t know which ones are scored items and which ones are pre-test items. 

Step #4: Apply for an MLO License

Once you’ve gone through Steps 1 and 3, you can finally apply for your MLO license. 

But before anything else, make sure your PE and exam score is recorded in your NMLS account. 

If yes, then you can now fill up your Individual Form MU4. 

Here’s how to do that:

  • Go to your NMLS dashboard and select ‘Filing’ > ‘Individual’ > ‘Request New/Update’.
  • Provide your registration details. 
  • Provide your personal information. 
  • Go through the disclosure questions. A ‘yes’ answer will need an explanation and any supporting orders or documents. 
NOTE: Before, you had to submit both a Criminal Background Check and a State Background Check. But as of 2022, you no longer need a State Background Check. 
  • Provide your demographic information. 
  • Request a Credit Report. You must provide an explanation letter and supporting documents for any outstanding derogatory credit issues. 
  • On the same page, turn on the Completeness Check icon at the top right. This will generate the Identity Verification Process (IDV) that you must go through. 
  • Attest and submit your Individual Form MU4. 
  • Pay all the fees detailed below. 
NMLS Initial Processing Fee$30
Hawaii License/Registration Fee$835 (already includes the $200 Mortgage Loan Recovery Fund) 
Criminal Background Check$36.25
Credit Report$15
TOTAL $916.25

Step #5: Get Sponsored by an Employer

Get this. 

Your MLO application won’t be approved until you have a sponsor. 

Your sponsor is your Hawaii-licensed employer. 

If you’re already employed, GREAT!

Ask your employer to request sponsorship for you through the NMLS. 

If you’re not yet employed, no worries. 

You can go out and look for employment. 

And once you’re hired, have your new boss request sponsorship for you. 

From there, the HI DFI will review everything. 

If approved, you are now officially a mortgage loan officer in the state. 

You can start this new and rewarding career. 


Frequently Asked Questions About How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in Hawaii

Can I Take the MLO Licensing Exam Online?

Yes! You can request an online proctor exam through Prometric

However, you’ll have to give a good reason for choosing this option. Plus, you’ll need to go through some requirements, such as installing an app and more. 

You can read all about this on the Prometric website. 

What Happens if I Fail the MLO Licensing Exam?

For one test window, you’re given 3 attempts — although you’ll have to wait several days before you can retake the test. 

If you still don’t pass after your 3rd attempt, you’ll have to create a new test enrollment window. And yes, that means registering and paying the fee again. 

Also, don’t forget your pre-licensure education completion is only valid for a year.

Can I Complete My MLO Pre-Licensure Education Online?

Again, yes you can!

We provided some of the well-known approved, online PE providers above. Check them out!

This will make it much easier for you to fulfill this requirement, especially if you have a busy schedule. 

How Much Do MLOs Make in Hawaii?

Hawaii mortgage loan officers make an average of approximately $76,00 a year. 

The 75th percentile of earners makes above $104,000, while the bottom 25th percentile makes around $37,000.

Top earners can earn more than $125,000 in Hawaii.

But of course, this all depends on many factors – the company, your experience, the city, the workload, etc…

Do I Need to Renew My MLO License in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, you’re required to renew your MLO license before December 31 of every year. 

To do this, you’ll need to complete 8 hours of mortgage education approved by the NMLS. 

You’ll also need to apply for renewal through the NMLS and pay a fee. 

Are You Ready to Get Started?

As we said, it’s so easy to get your MLO license in Hawaii. 

And it becomes even easier when you know what you’re doing. 

So now that you know how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Hawaii, it’s time to get started. 

Remember, Step 1 is as easy as creating an account. 

So go and create one today!

Your MLO career journey begins now.

Good luck!

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