Continuing Education and Renewing Your Mortgage License

Congratulations!  You’ve completed all required pre-licensing education, you’ve passed the NMLS exam, you’ve applied for your license, and you’ve received a mortgage license.  You’re now a licensed mortgage loan originator (MLO).  But is that it?  Nope!  Not quite!

All MLO licenses are issued for an annual term and expire at midnight every December 31st.  In order for the MLO to continue servicing his or her mortgage pipeline and originate new mortgage loans, he or she must have submitted a renewal application on or by the last day of each year.

If, when everybody starts cheering, “Happy New Year!” the MLO has not yet done so, he or she must immediately refrain from acting in the capacity of a licensed MLO until he or she officially renews his or her license.

Renewing Your Mortgage License

Although some states will not require an MLO to renew his or her license until December 31st of the following year if his or her license was originally issued between November 1st and December 31st, some states do.  Additionally, some states allow the MLO to continue operating in the capacity of a licensed MLO as long as he or she has submitted his or her license renewal application by December 31st even if his or her renewal has not yet been approved.

Continuing Education and Renewing Your Mortgage License

If, under this allowance, the MLO licensee’s application for license renewal is ultimately denied, he or she would be required to immediately refrain from acting in the capacity of a licensed MLO.  Other states prohibit the MLO from acting in the capacity of a licensee after December 31st if his or her application has not yet been approved.  It is beyond critical, therefore, to understand the specific requirements and rules pertaining to each state in which one is licensed.

It’s a good idea to submit your MLO license renewal application by no later than December 9th.  This affords the state licensing authority ample time to process and approve your application.  After all, yours is not the only renewal application on which it’s working.

The process of renewing one’s MLO license is not as intricate as the process of originally applying for it.  To renew one’s license, the licensee must have completed all required continuing education (CE), must have maintained a good credit standing, and must be able to pass another criminal background check.  Although some states do not require another credit report and criminal background review when renewing, some states do.

Once the licensee has completed his or her required CE, he or she will apply for license renewal through the NMLS’ website.  Each license renewal application requires the remission of an application renewal fee which differs from state to state.

Continuing education must be completed through an NMLS-approved education provider executing an NMLS-approved education curriculum.  The standard CE course is eight hours, however, many states require additional state-specific CE.  Specific state requirements may be found through

To guarantee a timely renewal, CE must be completed and reported to the NMLS by the education provider by December 9th.  Anything later will put the licensee’s December 31st renewal deadline at risk.  Some states may establish earlier CE completion date requirements so, once again, it’s critically important for the MLO to review the parameters established by every state in which he or she is licensed.

CE must be completed in the year of renewal.  In other words, stockpiling CE to use in future years is prohibited.  The eight-hour CE course must contain no less than:

  • Three hours of instruction on Federal Law and Regulations;
  • Two hours of instruction on Ethics and must include instruction on fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending issues; and
  • Two hours of instruction related to lending standards for the nontraditional mortgage product marketplace.

The eighth hour can either be elective or state-specific education if the state only requires one hour of CE and the course specifically offers it.  CE courses may be completed in a live classroom, webinar, or online instructor-led format.  A list of NMLS-approved education providers may be found through

Lastly, the MLO is not required to complete CE for the year in which the state issued his or her license.  For example, an MLO whose license is issued in 2023 will not have to complete CE until renewing his or her MLO license in 2024.

As previously mentioned, should an MLO fail to submit his or her MLO license renewal application by December 31st, his or her license will expire and he or she must immediately refrain from acting in the capacity of a licensed MLO.  If a particular state requires the actual issuance of the renewed license by December 31st, the MLO would be prohibited from acting as such even if he or she had already applied but was still awaiting the renewed license.

Under all circumstances, if an MLO fails to submit his or her renewal application by December 31st, he or she will be required to complete a late CE course and pay a late fee in addition to the standard renewal fee in order to renew his or her MLO license.  If he or she fails to submit the application for renewal by the last day of February, he or she will be required to reapply by repeating the original licensing procedure in its entirety.

When renewing one’s MLO license, procrastination is not the MLO’s friend!  As demonstrated through this article, it is beyond critical to devote the time and effort to complete all of the prerequisites for license renewal early to ensure ample time for the license renewal application’s approval, every year, on or by December 31st.

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