So, you’re planning on becoming a mortgage loan officer in West Virginia…
That’s a great idea!
It’s both a lucrative and fulfilling career, especially if you’re good with finances and enjoy helping homebuyers.
However, several things must be in place before you can officially work as an MLO — and one of them is getting your West Virginia MLO license.
This is where we come in.
Today, we’re going to walk you through the steps on how to get your MLO license.
We’ll give you ALL the details.
So are you ready to learn how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in West Virginia?
How to Become an MLO in West Virginia – The 6 Steps to Licensure
Here are the 6 steps to obtaining a mortgage loan officer license in West Virginia:
- Find employment
- Make an account in NMLS
- Complete pre-licensure education (PE)
- Pass the SAFE MLO test
- Apply for an MLO license
- Get fingerprinted
Let’s see what each step involves.
Step #1: Find Employment
This doesn’t necessarily have to be your first step.
However, in West Virginia, you need to have an employer before you can submit your MLO license application. This is why it’s a good idea to look for one as early as now.
Another specific requirement is that the work location should have a 75 miles commute distance. You can’t work anywhere farther than that.
Now, to boost your resume it’s a good idea to have a Bachelor’s degree in finance or business — although this isn’t required.
What’s more, industry experience is also a big PLUS.
Step #1: Make an Account in NMLS
It’s crucial to become familiar with the NMLS or Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. It’s the centralized database for all licensing information of professionals in the mortgage industry.
As you work on your MLO license, you’ll have to request, upload, and fill out information through the system.
To do that, you will have to create an account. Here’s how:
- Go over to the NMLS website.
- Select ‘Request an Account’ at the bottom.
- When asked what type of account you’d like, choose ‘Individual’.
- Fill out the required fields and follow the online prompts.
- Get your NMLS ID Number.
|NOTE: This will be your permanent NMLS ID number. You need it for the MLO license application, as well as your MLO career.|
Step #2: Complete Pre-Licensure Education (PE)
No, you don’t need a degree in finance or business to become a mortgage loan officer in West Virginia. Although that will help you greatly when looking for employment.
Instead, the only education requirement is a high school diploma (or equivalent GED) AND an MLO pre-licensure education (PE).
In West Virginia, the requirement is to complete at least 24 hours of PE.
The course should include:
- 2 hours of Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending
- 3 hours of Federal Law
- 3 hours of Ethics
- 4 hours of West Virginia Mortgage and Consumer Law
- 12 hours of general electives
If you’re looking for approved PE courses, then here are some online schools we highly recommend:
Step #3: Pass the SAFE MLO Test
In West Virginia, you need to pass the National Test Component with Uniform State Content of the SAFE MLO test.
This is administered by Prometric.
To register, simply go to your NMLS account and create a testing window in the Test & Education tab.
Here, you’ll fill up the test details, pay the $110 test fee, and accept the Candidate Agreements.
From there, you can schedule the SAFE MLO test through Prometric.
What Can You Expect from the SAFE MLO Test?
The license exam consists of 120 questions — 115 are scored, while 5 are just sample questions.
You’ll be given around 190 minutes to answer everything. And to pass, you must get a score of 75% or higher on the National Test Component with Uniform State Content.
Now, the questions can be categorized into 5 areas:
- Mortgage Loan Origination Activities: 27%
- Federal Mortgage-Related Laws: 24%
- General Mortgage Knowledge: 20%
- Ethics: 18%
- Uniform State Content: 11%
For more information, go check the MLO Testing Handbook.
Step #4: Apply for an MLO License
The Individual Form MU4 serves as your application for an MLO license.
You’ll need to complete and submit it in the NMLS.
Here are the steps:
- Begin by logging in to NMLS and going to the Filing Tab.
- Select the Individual sub-menu and click the Request New / Update button.
- Follow the prompts to put in your license and registration information. These include the following:
- The state you’re going to work in (West Virginia)
- The type of license you’re getting (Mortgage Loan Officer or Originator)
- Identity information, including other names you’ve used after turning 18
- Residential and employment/school history, including other businesses you’re involved in
- Answer the disclosure questions and provide the appropriate explanation or document needed for any “yes” answer.
- Authorize a Criminal Background Check by selecting ‘Submit New Prints’ or ‘Use Existing Prints’.
- Authorize a Credit Report Check by turning on the icon in the top right corner and going through the Identity Verification Process (IDV).
- Submit Individual Form MU4 and pay the fees:
- NMLS initial processing fee – $30
- WV application fee – $200
- Criminal Background Check – $36.25
- Credit Report – $15
- If you’re submitting new prints, head over to the NMLS Fieldprint website and create an account to schedule fingerprinting. Once your prints are taken, they will be automatically sent to the NMLS.
- Have your employee request sponsorship. Remember, they must confirm commute distance within 75 miles of your address in the NMLS.
NOTE: If you’re getting an MLO Temporary Authority license or are an international applicant, you have to submit additional documents. Check here for the requirements.
Once everything is submitted, the West Virginia Division of Financial Institutions will review your application.
If accepted, you will receive your WV-issued MLO license.
If not, the WVDFI may ask for further information or documents. They will communicate this through the NMLS.
And that’s it.
That’s how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in West Virginia.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mortgage Loan Officers in West Virginia
Can I Take the MLO SAFE Test Online?
Yes, you can choose to take the SAFE MLO Test either in person or online.
Online proctored exams are monitored and recorded. You will also have to provide the following when requesting a schedule:
- The reason you want to take it online
- Confirmation that you have read the MLO Testing Handbook
- Attest that you understand the technical and security requirements for online testing
- Assure Prometric you comprehend the Rules of Conduct for Test Takers
- Confirm your understanding of the requests and that the response may take up to 5 business days to arrive.
You’ll know you’ve successfully secured an appointment for an online test by email. Prometric will send you the test date, time, and location.
Is the SAFE MLO Test Hard?
Based on NMLS data, only 55% of applicants pass the SAFE MLO test on their first try. Of those who attempt to retake it, only 42% were successful.
If you want to pass on your first try, taking an exam prep course can help you prepare for it. Knowing your stuff is one thing, but navigating the testing environment is different.
Since a prep course simulates the actual experience, it helps you develop strategies to deal with stress and time constraints.
How Much Do MLOs Earn in West Virginia?
As we said at the start, a mortgage loan officer is a very lucrative career.
And according to Indeed.com, the average base salary is $82,697 per year (as of July 2023). This range can go anywhere between $27,928 (for beginners) to $224,869 (for experts).
Of course, the salary will depend on many factors like the company, your workload, your experience, the location, and more.
Now that you know how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in West Virginia, you’re more than ready to get started.
So go ahead and complete each step one by one.
If you just follow our guide, you’ll soon have your MLO license and can start practicing.