The number of state licensed mortgage
companies licensed through the National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) was
essentially unchanged in 2013 but the number of mortgage loan originators
(MLOs) and especially the number of licenses they held saw substantial
growth. NMLS issued its 2013 Annual
Report on Tuesday which showed that the number of mortgage companies holding
licenses decreased by 2 percent to a total of 16,178 entities during the year
although the number of licenses held by those companies increased by 4 percent
to 34,998. The number of company
branches also increased, up by 6 percent to 19,976 and the licenses held by the
branches went up by 17 percent to 38,595.
The number of licensed mortgage loan
originators (MLOs) increased by 8 percent and the number of licenses they held
shot up 28 percent. At the end of the fourth
quarter there were 130,311 MLOs nationwide holding 331,351 individual licenses
or an average of 1.8 licenses each.
The growth in MLOs was nationwide. Every state had a net increase in the number
of MLOs holding their licenses but the increasing numbers of MLOs were cutting
a smaller pie. Mortgages originated by
state licensed MLOs declined significantly in Quarters 2 and 3 as the
refinancing boom retreated.
NMLS said the
state licenses it manages are approved
for a calendar year and on
December 31, a significant number of them
are not submitted for renewal and become expired. This
graph shows the monthly
number of approved MLO licenses
over the past three years. Total MLO licenses have
grown both year over year and throughout the year from 2011 to
Many of the states
that saw the largest growth
in the numbers of MLOs were the
same states which adopted the Uniform State Test,
which streamlined the addition of new licenses for MLOs who work in
multiple states. The largest net growth in the numbers of MLOs
was seen in South Dakota, up 112 percent, North Dakota with a net increase of 106
percent, and Iowa, up 90 percent.
There was also a
big increase in the reach of MLOs. The
number of MLOs who were operating in only one state increased by 3 percent in
2013 while the number who were operating in 10 or more states went up by 52
originations reversed course in the last two quarters of 2013. The number of originations had doubled during
2012 due mostly to refinancing. With the
exception of an uptick in the second quarter, originations by state-licensed companies'
declined throughout 2013, almost entirely due to decline in refinance transactions.
The 258 companies
that operated in more than 20 states had the largest share of loan
originations, accounting for 46 percent of the total while the thousands that operated
in only one state had only a 20 percent share.
NMLS said the
number of federally registered MLOs and companies changed very little during the
year. The number of registered entities
declined by 2 percent to 10,848 while registered MLOs saw a 1 percent increase
in their numbers to 404,239.