Monthly Archives: August 2010

PULSE Portal Will Be Unavailable This Weekend

Please be advised that beginning on Friday, August 27, 10PM EST and continuing through Sunday, August 29, 8PM EST, the PULSE Portal will be down for maintenance.  This means the portal will be unavailable for the submission of course completions (credit banking), submitting new courses, or paying course renewal fees.

Any questions or issues may be addressed to Rich Madison, Sr. Director, Mortgage Education Programs at 202.728.5737 or

NMLS Approved Education – 1 Year Later Fast Facts

It’s been a year since NMLS approved the first courses intended to meet SAFE Act requirements.  Here are some fast facts:

–  NMLS has approved 225 course providers nationwide

–  As of July 30th, 933 courses have been submitted for approval; 700 have been approved, and 42 have been denied (the balance remain in review).

–  There are 300 state-specific pre-licensure course and 46 state-specific continuing education course.

–   In the area of course formats, there are over 300 classroom PE courses, over 100 PE classroom equivalent (webinar) courses, and nearly 100 online instructor-led courses.

–  Nearly 1.7 million hours of education have been delivered since September 2009.

–  As of June 2010, there are an estimated 77,477 MLOs who have completed a course for pre-licensure education; of those, an estimated 75,813 MLOs completed 20 or more hours of education.

–  As of July 2010, there is an estimated 23,685 MLOs who have received credit for 20 hours of pre-licensure education through the certification process.

–  As of July 30, there is an estimated 100,000 MLOs who are compliant for PE.

–  NMLS estimates there will be 135,000 fully compliant licensees by December 31, 2010.

Requirements for Submitting Online CE Courses for Approval

NMLS has seen an increase in the number of online self-study courses being submitted for continuing education approval.  In order to ensure these courses are approved in a timely manner, providers are reminded of the following requirements:

–          An electronic version of the online course content (in MS Word or PDF uploaded in the Course Approval Portal) needs to be submitted along with the login information for the course.  Having hardcopy allows the evaluators to more quickly review the content.

–          NMLS requires online access to all online courses.  Providers need to provide access to a “student” version so that evaluators can review the course to validate time, activities, and overall course functionality.   NMLS requires open access to the course that that evaluators can move freely through the material or from module-to-module as necessary.

–          As detailed in the USER GUIDE: NMLS Course Approval Application Process, NMLS requires at least three logins for courses.  This is particularly important since most online self-study courses are configured such that a user cannot re-access the material once the course has been completed.  Because more than one evaluator frequently looks at these courses, having only a single login creates a problem.

–          Providers are required to submit the bank of test/quiz question (with correct answers noted).   This should be part of the hardcopy file package that is submitted.

–          Providers are also reminded that they need to verify that the courses are configured correctly and all technical issues have been addressed prior to submitting the course to NMLS for approval. Courses with technical difficulty will be declined without content review.

Functional specifications for online self-paced courses are in the NMLS Resource Center at In order for a course to be approved it must meet each of the technical requirements.  Providers considering offering online self-study courses are advised to pay particularly close attention to Sections 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 of the functional spec.

First Quarterly Student Survey Report Released

From March through June 2010, NMLS randomly surveyed students who completed NMLS approved courses as part of a multi-phased auditing strategy to ensure courses are being delivered in accordance with NMLS policies.  The survey results showed that overall, education is being delivered in accordance with NMLS policies, however, when pre-licensure education is viewed in each of the three classroom formats (classroom, classroom equivalent (webinar), and online instructor-led), additional attention need to be devoted to the classroom equivalent and online instructor-led formats.  Both of these formats, when compared to traditional classroom, scored lower in interactivity and course rigor.  In response to the student surveys over the past several months NMLS has modified its approval process for online instructor led courses and will be looking at ways to more effectively approve and audit classroom equivalent courses.  A copy of the survey report can be found at:

Guidance on Construction of CE Courses

In response to a pattern where a number of courses have been received that are essentially “repackaged” versions of 20 hour pre-licensure courses which have been resubmitted for approval as CE courses with little regard for learning objectives, course rigor, or the SAFE Act’s intent for continuing education.  The result of these “repackaged” courses is that they often end up being a broad survey of federal laws, mortgage programs, and terms and definitions that, because of time limitations, results in various topics receiving only a few minutes of attention.  Accordingly, NMLS is providing guidance regarding the SAFE Act’s intent for requiring continuing education, and for how courses should be structured.  The notice also makes suggestions for course topics as well as recommendations for how to leverage previously approved education.  The document can be found in the course provider section of the NMLS Resource Center under Notices and Examples at:

Annual Course Renewal Process Underway

It’s been a full year since NMLS started approving courses which means the annual course renewal process has begun.  To assist providers with process a new User Guide and other documents are available in the NMLS Resource Center.  Providers are strongly encouraged to carefully read the User Guide prior to submitting the renewal application.  A few key points that providers need be aware of:

– NMLS will be hosting a webinar for providers who have courses up for renewal in September on August 24 at 2pm EST.  Invitations are being sent to providers.

–  Appendix A of the User Guide: NMLS Approved Course Renewal Process provides a check list of course content NMLS expects to have been updated this past year.

–  As part of the course renewal process, providers will be required to submit course material with updated course information highlighted.

–  Providers will need to log into BOTH the PULSE portal as well as the NMLS Course Approval Portal to complete the process.  Instructions about when to use each portal are contained in the User Guide.

–  With rolling renewals, the monthly course renewal period starts on the first day of the month and ends on the last day of the month (so the first period is 1 Aug – 30 Aug).  A course eligible for renewal during a specific month that is not renewed by the last day of the month will lose its NMLS approval status and will automatically be removed from the NMLS Master Course Catalog.

–  36 courses from 11 providers are up for renewal in August 2010; 70 courses from 21 providers are eligible in September, and 60 courses from 23 providers are due in October.

– Providers who have courses up for renewal will be notified by NMLS reminding them that they have pending renewals.

The user guide and course renewal application form can be found here: