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

Last updated on August 1, 2023

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

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Are you looking for a career in finance that will allow you to help people achieve their dreams of homeownership? 

If so, becoming a mortgage loan officer is an AWESOME choice for you. 

And if you’re interested, then we have the requirements you need. 

Here, we’ll show you how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Virginia. 

We’ll cover EVERYTHING — from education to licensing exam to application to employment.

We’ll also provide resources to help make your journey as smooth as possible. 

So read on to learn more!

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer in Virginia in Just 5 Steps

To become a mortgage loan officer in Virginia, you must have an MLO license. 

And to get that, you only need to undergo 5 steps. These are:

  1. Request an account with NMLS
  2. Finish your MLO pre-licensure education
  3. Register and pass the SAFE MLO test
  4. Complete and submit your MLO application
  5. Find employment and get sponsored 

Let’s deep dive into each step…

Step #1: Request an Account with NMLS

Getting started is SUPER easy.

All you need to do is request (or create) an account with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS)

This is where you’ll deal with your MLO application, employer, renewal, license information, regulator communication, and all that. 

Moreover, the NMLS is the one that gives you your ID number — simply check the ‘Composite View’ > ‘View Individual’ tabs for it. 

Take note that your ID number will be needed throughout your application and career. 

Step #2: Finish Your MLO Pre-Licensure Education

You can’t expect to perform well as an MLO without any knowledge. 

So it makes sense that the next requirement is education. 

Now, in Virginia, you only need to complete 20 hours of MLO pre-licensure education (PE). This is the minimum requirement in any state. 

When choosing a PE program, the provider must be NMLS-approved and offer the following:

  • 2 hours of Non-Traditional Mortgage Lending
  • 3 hours of Federal Law
  • 3 hours of Ethics, including fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues
  • 12 hours of electives

To help you out, here are our highly recommended PE online providers (and yes, they are all NMLS approved):

For more approved provider options, you can check the full list here. 

Once you enroll in a PE program, take your time to study it properly…

This will help you accomplish the next step…

Step #3: Register and Pass the SAFE MLO Test

It’s time to put your knowledge to the test!

The SAFE MLO test is issued by Prometric

But before anything, you need to register for it through your NMLS account. 

  • Create a New Test Enrollment Window in the ‘Test & Education’ tab. 
  • Add the Virginia SAFE MLO test to your cart.
  • Read and accept all the Agreements
  • Head over to your ‘Invoice’ and pay the $110 test window fee

After that, you can schedule a SAFE MLO test appointment with Prometric. 

Now, you can choose to take the test online or at a testing center. 

Either way, you’ll need a score of 75% or higher to pass. 

There are 120 multiple-choice questions, but only 115 will be scored. 

You’ll also be given 3 hours and 10 minutes to answer everything. 

To prepare for the SAFE MLO test, you can take practice exams online (some PE providers even offer this) or review the material covered in the MLO Testing Handbook

Step #4: Complete and Submit Your MLO Application

Once you are compliant with the MLO pre-licensure education and pass the SAFE MLO test, you can now apply for an MLO license. 

Again, this is done through your NMLS account. 

All you need to do is fill out, attest, and submit Individual Form MU4. 

To get the form, head over to ‘Filing’ >  ‘Individual’ > ‘Request/New Update’. 

This will bring up your application form. 

Here, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Provide licensing information:
    • State – Virginia
    • License type – Mortgage Loan Originator 
  • Provide personal information:
    • Full name, birthdate, address, etc…
    • Residential history
    • Employment history 
    • Current businesses
  • Go through the disclosure questions. You need to provide disclosure explanations and supporting documents if you have any ‘yes’ answers. 
  • Authorize a Credit Report and go through the Identity Verification Process (IDV). You’ll need to turn on the Completeness Check icon at the top right corner. 
  • Attest and submit your Individual Form MU4. 
  • Pay the required fees with a bank account or credit card:
    • NMLS Initial Processing Fee – $30
    • VA Application Fee – $150
    • Credit Report Fee – $15
    • Criminal Background Check Fee – $36.25
    • TOTAL FEE – $231.25

IMPORTANT! You may have to mail further documents to the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions (BFI).

This includes:

  • Evidence of Financial Responsibility and MLO Personal Financial Report – only for applicants that have outstanding judgment or collection accounts, tax or government liens, delinquent or charged-off accounts, or any foreclosure within the past 7 years. 
  • Individual Surety Bond – only for applicants required to have an MLO license but aren’t employed by a VA-licensed company i.e. people who originate loans secured by dwellings unattached to land in Virginia.

You can read more about this here

Mail these items to any of the addresses below:

U.S. Postal Service:

Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions 

MLO Licensing Unit 

P.O. Box 640 

Richmond, Virginia 23218-0640 

Overnight Delivery:

Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions 

MLO Licensing Unit 

1300 E. Main Street, Suite 800 

Richmond, Virginia 23219 

Step #6: Find Employment and Get Sponsored

If you are not yet employed, then now is the time to go out and look for a job. 

Here are some tips to boost your resume:

  • Have a Bachelor’s degree in real estate, finance, or any related field
  • Have some real estate or financial experience

It’s a good idea to work on this even before you start the MLO process. 

Now, when you find employment, you need to have your employer request sponsorship. 

And this can be done in two ways. 

If you were hired by a VA-licensed mortgage lender or broker, your employer needs to request sponsorship through the NMLS. 

But if you work for an entity that is a registered exempt mortgage company in Virginia, you must let your employer mail a completed Employment Verification Form to the address listed above. 

Either way, the Virginia BFI will review the request and accept or decline it. 

If accepted, you will receive an electronic (PDF) MLO license and you can start practicing.

You will also need to update your employment history in the Individual Form MU4. 

And that’s it — You are now a mortgage loan officer in Virginia!

Frequently Asked Questions About Mortgage Loan Officers in Virginia

How Much is an MLO License in Virginia?

You’ll need to invest a bit to get your VA-issued MLO license. 

The table below breaks down all your expenses and the total payment. 

Pre-Licensure Education:$250 to $500
SAFE MLO Test:$110
NMLS Initial Processing Fee:$30
VA Application Fee: $150
Criminal Background Check:$36.25
Credit Report:$25
TOTAL:$591.25 to $841.25

How Much Does a Mortgage Loan Officer Make in Virginia?

According to Intuit Mint, the average MLO salary in Virginia is $92,000 a year. That can mean a low of $27,500 to a high of $415,000.

Of course, the salary range heavily depends on certain factors — company, location, workload, skills, experience, and commissions, to name a few. 

Final Thoughts

Wondering how to become a mortgage loan officer (MLO) in Virginia?

We listed all the requirements and steps for you. 

With this, you know EVERYTHING you need to know — from start to finish. 

And because of that, the whole process becomes much easier for you. 

So go ahead and get started right away.

Get that MLO license!

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