Mortgage Brokers Required To Pass National Test To clean-up the mortgage industry, the federal government now requires every mortgage broker to take a test on basic skills and concepts of home lending. It's a requirement whether they've been lending six months or 30 years. Many states, like Oregon, already had such requirements.
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Mortgage Brokers Required To Pass National Test

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Mortgage Brokers Required To Pass National Test

Mortgage Brokers Required To Pass National Test

Mortgage Brokers Required To Pass National Test

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/125380029/125380003" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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To clean-up the mortgage industry, the federal government now requires every mortgage broker to take a test on basic skills and concepts of home lending. It's a requirement whether they've been lending six months or 30 years. Many states, like Oregon, already had such requirements.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Kristian Foden-Vencil, of Oregon Public Broadcasting, reports how it's working there.

KRISTIAN FODEN: Unidentified Woman: Get out.

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FODEN: Oregon's one of 16 states that already had a mortgage broker test, but Kirsten Anderson, of Oregon's Division of Finance and Corporate Security, says in 2008, Congress passed the Safe Act and began phasing in a national exam.

KIRSTEN ANDERSON: Well, it's really meant to make sure that the person who's out talking to a consumer, understands how a mortgages works, understands how to evaluate what kind of mortgage would be best for each consumer.

FODEN: So nowadays, if you want to be a mortgage broker, you need four things: first, at least 20 hours of classes; second, a credit check - to make sure you yourself are financially responsible; third, a criminal background check; and finally, the written test.

ERIC WILEY: You know people are nervous. I was actually a little bit nervous too, not knowing what exactly to expect. Multiple choice questions can sometimes, you know, throw people.

FODEN: Eric Wiley has been in the industry for 15 years. He runs Pacific Residential Mortgage in Portland. And while he manages a staff of 120 employees, he still had to take the test.

WILEY: We've wanted, for a long time, the bar to be raised so that there's a minimum standard that has to be met to be able to serve customers the way we do.

FODEN: Down the hall at Pacific Residential, Todde Greenough, a nine year veteran, also just took the test. He was surprised by all the security. He says it made him realize just how seriously the government's taking things.

TODDE GREENOUGH: Everything but your driving license goes into a locker as you go in and you've got to digitally sign your signature. Then you've got to have your both palms scanned. Then you get to go into a back room and then you get your palms scanned again, and you're going in with only the stuff they give you, which is only a white board type of, you know, grease board type of thing and a little Casio calculator.

FODEN: Pete Marks, with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, says it does.

PETE MARKS: We know, as of the end of February, that 68 percent of the people who take the test pass it - the national component. And we know that 73 percent of the people that take the state component have passed it.

FODEN: Back at Pacific Residential, 65-year-old Ed Walunus is cramming for the exam. He's nervous, but his colleagues are encouraging.

ED WALUNUS: Basically, everybody I've talked to, and I've talked to a lot of people who've taken the test, they said the Oregon test is harder than the national test.

FODEN: For NPR News, I'm Kristian Foden-Vencil in Portland.

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