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How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in New Mexico

Last updated on July 11, 2023

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in New Mexico

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High demand – low requirements…

High pay – low cost…

Career fulfillment – career challenges…

These are some of the reasons why many choose to become mortgage loan officers. 

And you might want to become an MLO for the same reasons!

But whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered. 

Here, we’re going to list down all the steps on how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in New Mexico. 

So if you’re from the state, this article is for YOU. 

Let’s begin!

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) in New Mexico – The 5 Steps to Complete

To get your NM MLO license, and become an MLO, you need to complete 5 steps. These are: 

  1. Register with NMLS
  2. Complete the required MLO pre-licensure education
  3. Pass the SAFE MLO test
  4. Apply for your New Mexico MLO license
  5. Get employment sponsorship 

Are you ready to dive into the details?

Let’s go!

Step #1: Register with NMLS

The first step is to create an NMLS account

But wait…

What is NMLS?

NMLS stands for Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. It is an online platform that holds all records and registration processes for mortgage licensing. Yes, this includes mortgage loan officers or originators. 

Throughout your MLO application and career, you’ll be using your NMLS account. 

So take note of your Unique Identifier Number when you register an account. This will link you to your account and license. 

Step #2: Complete the Required MLO Pre-Licensure Education

In New Mexico, you’re required to complete at least 20 hours of MLO pre-licensure education. 

The 20-hour program should include the following:

  • Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending (2 hours)
  • Federal Law (3 hours)
  • Ethics (3 hours)
  • New Mexico content (3 hours)
  • General electives (at least 9 hours) 

Not only is the education requirement short, but you can also take it online. 

Here is a list of approved online providers:

If you need a list of ALL NMLS-approved MLO providers, you can check this list.

Step #3: Pass the SAFE MLO Test

You’ll also need to take and pass the SAFE MLO test. 

Here is how to register and schedule the test:

  • Log in to your NMLS account and select the ‘MLO Test & Education’ tab.
  • Make an enrollment test window for the ‘National and New Mexico State components’, ‘National Test Component with Uniform State Content’, or ‘National and stand-alone UST components’.
  • Confirm the Candidate Test Security and the Confidentiality Agreement.
  • Pay $110 for the test window. 
  • Confirm your purchase via email. 
  • Schedule an online or in-person SAFE MLO test with Prometric (the nation’s test administrator)

What to Expect from the SAFE MLO Test

The SAFE MLO test is a 120-point, multiple-choice test. 115 of these questions are scored, while the others are pilot questions for future use. 

Each candidate is given 225 minutes for the entire testing period, with 190 minutes allotted for the exam proper. The remaining 35 minutes are for tutorials and surveys. 

To pass, you need to score 75% or higher. That means you have to answer at least 86 questions correctly. 

Now, the test topics are as follows: 

  • Mortgage Loan Origination Activities – 27%
  • Federal Mortgage-Related Laws – 24%
  • General Mortgage Knowledge – 20%
  • Ethics – 18%
  • Uniform State Content – 11%

If you need more information, you can go through the MLO Testing Handbook

Step #4: Apply for Your New Mexico MLO License 

After completing your pre-licensure education requirements and passing the SAFE MLO test — it’s time to apply!

The great news is that everything can be done through NMLS. 

Here are the steps: 

  • Head over to your NMLS account and go to the ‘Filing’ tab. 
  • Request New/Update to get to the application form — Individual Form MU4
  • Select your state and license type — so this will be New Mexico and Mortgage Loan Originator
  • Provide your identifying information — this includes legal name and status, employment or school history, and verification of experience. You also have to submit documents proving the information in the Document Uploads section. 
  • Answer the disclosure questions. You have to give an explanation and (if applicable) a document supporting any ‘yes’ answers. You upload this in the Disclosure Explanations section. 
  • Authorize a Criminal Background Check. If you have prints on file, you can ‘Use Existing Prints’. If not, then you have to select ‘Submit New Prints’. 
  • Authorize a Credit Report. You need to switch on the Completeness Check icon located at the top right of the screen. 
  • Complete the Identity Verification Process (IDV).
  • If you have to give credit report explanations, upload a line-for-line letter of a derogatory credit account in the Document Uploads section. You must also upload proof of payment arrangements, payoffs, formal dispute files, etc…
  • Submit your Individual Form MU4 and pay the fees:
    • NMLS initial processing fee – $30
    • New Mexico application fee – $200
    • Criminal Background Check – $36.25
    • Credit Report – $15
    • TOTAL – $281.25

How to Complete Your Criminal Background Check

If you selected ‘Submit New Prints’ in the Criminal Background Check authorization section, then you need to get fingerprinted. 

For that, simply head over to the NMLS Fieldprint website, create an account, and schedule fingerprinting. 

When your prints are taken, they will be uploaded to the NMLS for review. 

Step #5: Get Employment Sponsorship 

If you’re already working in the mortgage industry, you should let your employer request sponsorship for you through the NMLS. 

If you’re not yet employed, then you should go out and look for a company to hire you. 

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Even if your application is approved, you will still be under an ‘Approved-Inactive’ status. It will only change to ‘Approved-Active’ when you get employment sponsorship and it is accepted. 
  • Though not required, a lot of mortgage or financing companies look for employees with a Bachelor’s degree in a related field. 
  • Real estate, mortgage, or financing experience will help boost your resume. 

Once a sponsorship request is submitted by your employee, the New Mexico Financial Institutions Division will review it. 

If accepted, your status will change to ‘Active’ and you can start working as an MLO. 


Frequently Asked Questions About Mortgage Loan Officers in New Mexico

How Much is an MLO License in New Mexico?

To get an MLO license in New Mexico, you’ll have to spend around $641.25.

Here is the breakdown of all your expenses:

Pre-Licensure Education:$200 to $500, depending on the provider and package
SAFE MLO Test:$110
NMLS Initial Processing Fee:$30
New Mexico Application Fee: $200
Criminal Background Check:$36.25
Credit Report:$15

How Many Times Can I Take the SAFE MLO Test?

For one test enrollment window, you are given 3 attempts. 

If you fail all 3, you’ll have to create a new test enrollment window. And yes, that means you have to register and pay the test fee again. 

Will My MLO License Be Approved if My Credit Score Isn’t Good?

There is a high chance that the state will not approve your MLO license without a good credit standing. Your credit report informs the regulator if you have good financial responsibility and character, which is important in this line of work.


So there you have it…

A complete guide on how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in New Mexico. 

The steps aren’t complicated at all. 

If you just follow them one by one, you’ll soon complete all the requirements. 

You’ll soon be able to work as an official mortgage loan officer. 

Best of luck on your journey!

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