The number of companies, mortgages, and individual loan officers (MLOs) licensed through the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) continues to increase due, NMLS said mainly to continued transitioning of a few state agencies into the system.  The number of licenses held by companies increased by 12 percent between the first quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 while licenses held by MLOs increased by 13 percent.

NMLS reports that at the end of the first quarter there were 31,686 licenses held by 15,883 companies, 17,721 licensed branches holding 28,460 licenses, and 207,187 licenses issued 105,595 individuals.  There were 119 companies and 3120 individuals who reported they held both active state licenses and federal registration.

During the first quarter there were 18,557 applications for loan officer licenses and around 1200 for company licenses which reflected both the transitioning referenced above and actual new applications.

NMLS said that for various institutional reasons the first quarter of each year appears to provide the most stable number by which to gauge year over year changes, avoiding license count an application activity issues resulting from annual renewal and reinstatement periods.  However, year-over-year comparisons this year are not appropriate as the first two quarters of 2011 had high activity due to companies coming into compliance with new state laws.

Eighty-eight percent of licensed companies or 14,026 engage in first mortgage loan brokering, 73 percent offer second mortgages and 46 percent write home equity loans.  First mortgage lending is offered by 22 percent of licensed companies and second mortgage lending by 16 percent.  Thirty-five percent of companies are VA lenders and 24 percent offer reverse mortgages while 9 percent are engaged in first mortgage servicing.  Over 3600 or 23% also have a non-mortgage related business.  A large majority of both companies and MLOs are licensed to operate in only one state

Most licensed companies are small with one or fewer MLO licenses.  The average company has 5.8 mortgage loan officers and 11.4 MLO licenses.  Companies average 1.1 branch and 1.8 branch licenses

Corporations comprise 61% of licensed companies, 9% are limited liability companies and 18% are sole proprietorships.  Less than 2% of state licensed companies (334) report being owned by a depository institution.  This is an increase of 47 or 16 percent more than one year ago.

During the first quarter 12 companies, two branches and seven MLOs had their licenses revoked 13 companies, six branches, and four MLOs had licenses suspended and 623 companies, over 2000 branches, and 1305 MLOs surrendered licenses.

A breakdown of licensing activity nationally and by state can be found at here