Real Estate Institute – Your All-in-One stop for Insurance Pre-Licensing in Illinois

Yes, the rumors are true. Real Estate Institute has expanded our roster of educational offerings. So, not only can you now obtain pre-licensing for Life & Health insurance, but with our prior offering of Property & Casualty, you can consider us your All-in-One stop for your insurance aspirations, offering ALL lines of authority.

A career in insurance means flexibility, unlimited earning potential and the opportunity to make a real difference in someone’s life. On top of that, entry into the profession is fairly easy. Once you study and pass the exam, you can begin selling insurance instantly. No college degree or prior experience is required, unlike most finance-related positions. So, if you’ve recently had a significant life change or are interested in making a career move, insurance is hands down one that is worth exploring.

What’s Required?

An insurance producer license is required before doing any of the following activities to begin making money in Illinois:

  • Selling insurance.
  • Encouraging someone to purchase insurance.
  • Negotiating the terms or conditions of an insurance product.
  • Advising about insurance.

To become licensed as an insurance producer, a person must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Complete the required pre-licensing education.
  • Pass the applicable state exam(s).
  • Pay the applicable licensing fees.
  • Have a level of character acceptable to the Department of Insurance (DOI). (There are several cases where a licensing application can be denied, such as when someone has committed a felony, failed to pay child support, had a license revoked in another state, etc.)

As an insurance agent, you help people prepare for:

  • Future retirement  
  • College for loved ones    
  • Succeeding in financial goals.
  • Brace for any major financial loss.
  • Unfortunate events, as they can’t always be avoided. 

With that said, are you interested in insurance but not necessarily all four major lines of authority? No problem! At Real Estate Institute, you can take our pre-licensing course for Life & Health as a standalone, as well as Property & Casualty.  

Why Choose Real Estate Institute?

We’re an established leader in insurance education in Illinois. If you’re still unsure, we’ll lay out the facts:

  • Our life and health program is perfect for anyone looking to sell life insurance, annuities, major medical insurance, disability insurance and more.
  • Our All-in-One package is perfect for anyone looking to sell practically all kinds of insurance, including life, health, property and casualty.
  • The insurance licensing process is intimidating. Approximately 40 percent of people who attempt the Illinois insurance licensing exams don’t pass. With us, we will help you prepare for the exam with confidence.
  • Our insurance pre-licensing courses are by Illinois insurance producers for Illinois insurance producers. Our materials were created with attention to Illinois insurance laws and rules. We’ve reviewed the topics found on the Illinois licensing exam outlines, and we cover all of them in appropriate detail.
  • Our instructors are skilled public speakers who can explain complex topics comfortably, and practically. They’ll communicate the need-to-know information in an exciting and engaging way without subjecting you to confusing legalese.

If that wasn’t enough, our comprehensive textbooks include essential study tools, such as extensive glossaries and helpful charts. The 100+ practice questions will help you test your comprehension of the material prior to attempting the final exam.

Read what the alumni who have taken our insurance courses are saying:

  • “The study material was excellent and relevant to the business of insurance. The material was easy to understand and provided a great deal of knowledge on the different courses. I would recommend the Real Estate Institute to my fellow insurance agents.” – Willie
  • Always get great service from Real Estate Institute. Best company for me for study materials and exams for my Real Estate License & Insurance License. Longtime customer. Never had an issue. Very helpful and professional team.” – Daniel
  • “Anytime I had a question or concern Real Estate Institute answered my questions when I would call to get an answer. Also, that they mail the workbook to my home when my insurance license would be coming up for renewal.” – Donna
  • “Good service. Professional. Prepared me for insurance exams.” – James

Read what more of our alumni are saying via Trustpilot.

Enroll today in our All-in-One package for Insurance Pre-Licensing that includes Life, Health, Property and Casualty courses. If you have any questions, please give us a call at 800-995-1700 or visit us online and enroll with us today! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to stay up to date with course offerings, news and discounts! #ChooseREI

Loan Originators – It’s that time of the season, and Real Estate Institute is going National!

Don’t blink! You read that correctly – this is not a drill! Real Estate Institute is going nationwide by the end of this year. That means mortgage loan originators (MLOs) will soon be able to satisfy all their state-specific continuing education (CE) requirements through our top-rated NMLS-Approved mortgage courses.

The courses we offer aren’t your typical boring textbook-led snoozefest. Actual loan originators designed the material for loan originators like you. Our industry veterans turned instructors will make sure you’re engaged, present, and interested in what’s being delivered to you. We know it’s required for you to satisfy your CE requirements, and we’re not trying to waste your valuable time.

We offer our 7-Hour Core or 8-Hour Comprehensive SAFE CE courses in three formats: Classroom, Live Webinar or Online-Self Study.

This year’s topics will include:

  • All NMLS-required compliance topics
  • Cybersecurity concepts and challenges
  • The MLO Compensation rule
  • ARM lending review
  • Title commitments and common issues arising with property vesting

Cybersecurity – A HUGE threat!

Is your company protected? In 2020, it was reported by Mortgage Professionals America (MPA), that cyber-attacks on mortgage professionals were on the rise during COVID-19. Our 2021 CE course will dive into the critical topic of cybersecurity. We’ll cover concepts you need to know and challenges to overcome as you navigate the ever-changing world of data protection. Are you aware that all companies in the mortgage industry must have a written plan to ensure data security under the Gramm Leach Bliley Act? Do you know how your company’s information security plan relates to, and supplements, the Red Flags Rule plan required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)?

In both of our Core and Comprehensive courses, we’ll discuss all of this in addition to the shifting regulatory expectations of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), and your state regulators.

You’re required to do it, why not choose Real Estate Institute?

So, as we all know, you have to satisfy your CE requirements, and with that said, wouldn’t you want to do it with the best? Don’t waste your time taking a boring CE class that will have no takeaway. Let our top-notch instructors who not only know the entire profession like the back of their hands, but actively practice the profession deliver you engaging content. You’ll get real-world experience and knowledge in an ever-evolving industry that you cannot get anywhere else. We said we deliver, so let us prove it, and develop a long-lasting relationship for all your CE requirement needs.     

Register today!

If you enroll today in our 7-Hour Core or 8-Hour Comprehensive SAFE CE course, you will be taking advantage of our Early-Bird Special! You pay $98 today vs. the regular price of $149. We also have our Online Self-Study program that is only $64 with the Early-Bird Special. Both offers end on Friday, August 20, 2021, so don’t wait and miss out! We will notify you once all state-specific courses are available.

Still not sold? Read what our alumni who continue to come back to us year after year are saying:

“Instructor was fabulous and very knowledgeable. His experience as a Mortgage Lender provided excellent insight on the business of mortgage lending and his real-life examples validated the learning materials.” – Elida

“I use Institute Online for all my CE Courses whether for Real Estate or Mortgage and it is always top notch. This is the first time I took the Flex Managing Broker and it was outstanding. The Instructors were very good and very knowledgeable. I will be back for my next CE Course!” – Elizabeth

“Considering the “boring” subject matter and the fact that I’ve taken the same classes a million times over my 36-year mortgage career, I thought the teacher made it pretty interesting and he seemed to sincerely care about the subject matter…and the history and future of the mortgage business. Kudos to him!” – Alison

Read what even more of our alumni are saying via Trustpilot.

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 800-995-1700 or visit us online and enroll with us today! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to stay up to date with course offerings, news and discounts! #ChooseREI

Do you hear that? A Career in North Carolina Real Estate is calling YOUR name!

Back in June, we told you it was coming soon, and now, the wait is finally over. Real Estate Institute is offering a 75-hour credit Pre-Licensing Program to become a real estate broker in the state of North Carolina. Even better, this course is entirely online. Beachside? No problem, as you can learn anywhere, anytime, on any device!

Join the 3,800+ alumni who can speak to the quality of education we deliver via TrustPilot.

Why North Carolina?

The North Carolina real estate market has been heating up as people are ditching their expensive lives in cities around the country and opting for more affordable living in suburban areas and states like North Carolina. Locations most people thought they wouldn’t call home until retirement are now a reality with permanent work-from-home positions.

Raleigh and Durham rank at No. 2 on the U.S. News & World Reports’ 150 Best Places to Live in 2021-2022.

The market is so hot that there currently isn’t enough inventory to meet the demands of people looking to purchase in North Carolina. It’s been an excellent time for people looking to sell, but it can be aggravating for buyers. But there’s hope, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), inventory is expected to grow by fall.   

With inventory expected to increase, a career in real estate in one of the hottest markets is calling your name! According to Millionacres, a financial and investing advice company, Charlotte, NC, is one of the most desirable markets in the Southeast United States with record demands.

With our online program, we can offer you self-paced courses, so you can learn at your own speed, wherever that may be.  

Requirements for becoming a real estate agent in North Carolina

To get your provisional license, you must:

  • Be over the age of 18 and pass a background check
  • Be a US citizen, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien under federal law
  • Complete the necessary pre-licensing education to sit for the state licensing exam
  • Pass the NC state licensing exam

North Carolina = Opportunity

Opportunity is defined as a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. If you are still unsure about making the leap to a new industry, we have compiled a list of reasons to potentially start a career in North Carolina real estate, and better yet, with Real Estate Institute:

  1. The market is on fire!
  2. Flexibility to create your own schedule.
  3. Be your own boss.
  4. Work from home.
  5. High earning potential (Unlimited).
  6. No college degree is required.
  7. You never stop learning (That’s what we’re here for).
  8. You’re constantly meeting new people.
  9. You get to help those people.
  10. Outlet for creativity.
  11. Our course is completely online and on-demand.
  12. We offer over 25 years of high-quality real estate education with a purpose.
  13. Enroll now and pay later option with financing through Affirm.
  14. Unlimited instructor support.
  15. Exceptionally trained and caring student support team.
  16. We create unique, interactive content to make your learning fun.
  17. Program includes ExamSmart review videos.
  18. Includes FREE skill-building bundle to help you grow your business.
  19. We guarantee student success (That’s how confident we are in our program).

If a North Carolina real estate career seems like your next move, give us a call at 800-995-1700 or visit us online and enroll with us today! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to stay up to date with course offerings, news and discounts! #ChooseREI

Real Estate Institute is approved by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. Education Provider Code 1693.

Ready to become a real estate agent in North Carolina?

Are you over being tied down by a 9-5 or otherwise standardized shift job? Eager to answer to only yourself and have more control over your earnings? No, this isn’t a pitch for you to begin selling a “miracle” product in a pyramid scheme – this is an invitation to enter the professional world of real estate!

Real Estate has very few barriers to entry, making it ideal for those who may have been barred from opportunities in the past due to traditional educational requirements. If you are a people person ready to help connect folks to their dream homes, let’s get started!

With nearly 30 years of experience providing professional education to thousands of students, Real Estate Institute is excited to announce the upcoming launch of our North Carolina Broker prelicense program. This course will put you on the fast track to your new career in a matter of weeks.

With North Carolina consistently ranking as one of the US’s top 10 population growth states, the need for professional real estate brokers is rising. If you’re ready to take your career into your own hands and optimize your earnings and work flexibility by becoming a licensed real estate agent in NC, continue reading.

Requirements for becoming a real estate agent in North Carolina

To get your provisional license, you must:

  • Be over the age of 18 and pass a background check
  • Complete the necessary prelicensing education to sit for the state exam
  • Pass the state exam

Real Estate Institute will offer a fully online, self-paced prelicensing course for those interested in becoming a broker in the Tar Heel state. 

Soon, Real Estate Institute will be releasing a 75-credit hour program that can be completed from anywhere at any time, on any device. A score of at least 75% on the course final will qualify you to sit for the NC licensing exam. After that, you’ve done it! A new career is on the go.

To dive deeper into North Carolina’s Real Estate Licensing requirements, view their licensing booklet here, or reach out to our professional experts at Real Estate Institute with your questions.

The Importance of a trusted real estate school

Embarking on a new career path is a profound transition; you need supporters you can trust. Take comfort knowing that the Real Estate Institute is built of professionals dedicated to providing our customers with unparalleled service and support. When choosing us, you will gain a team of expert instructors and student support representatives, course developers, and extensive client success specialists. All of our programs are thoughtfully designed to be high-quality and efficient while allowing you the flexibility to complete them at your own pace.

We give you the proper education, encouragement, and confidence to become a licensed real estate agent in North Carolina. Join our thousands of student alums today! Consult with our team of real estate professionals online or at 800-995-1700 with any questions, and we’ll get this party started!

Insurance Prelicensing - Property and Casualty | Blog Post

How to Launch Your Career in Illinois Insurance

Selling insurance in the state of Illinois provides many with financially stable and fulfilling careers. The landscape of Finance & Industry is evolving, and insurance agents are in demand. Continue reading to explore not only why this career is alluring to many, but how to get started yourself.

Why become an insurance agent?

Many who enter this field are deeply personable professionals with a desire to help others. They are folks who enjoy connecting with clients, protecting them and ensuring their livelihoods against the unknowns. In addition, many enter a career in insurance due to the:

  • Easy of Entry
  • Flexibility
  • Financial Security

Easy of Entry 

There are very few barriers to becoming a seller of insurance – which is all part of what makes it such an advantageous career move. Essentially all you need is your will to learn, time to invest, and a passion for seeing the training through.

So, how long does it take to become an insurance agent? Becoming an insurance agent can take someone several weeks or a few months – it depends entirely upon the individual. 

All insurance agents must complete the required pre-licensing education from a state-approved education provider before sitting for and passing their state licensing exam. It is important to note that while the common term in the industry for this career is insurance “agent,” the actual license issued by the Department of Insurance is an insurance producer.

Real Estate Institute offers the required 20 hours of pre-licensing education per each line of authority – or type – of insurance you wish to sell. 

Real Estate Institute’s state-approved Property and Casualty licensing program is perfect for anyone in Illinois interested in selling:

  • homeowners insurance
  • auto insurance
  • liability insurance
  • commercial property insurance 
  • and more


The insurance industry has proven to be a stable source of income for many – especially during the 2020 pandemic. While many sectors struggled to find the balance between remote work and productivity – insurance thrived. 

So much so that employers are now actively seeking out insurance producers who are willing to work remotely.

And the best part? It appears the transition to remote work has improved the efficacy and satisfaction between clients and their insurance agents. Recent research from McKinsey revealed that:

“69% of customers felt their interactions with insurers were more efficient when compared with pre-covid interactions.”

What it looks like to be an insurance agent is changing – possibly for the better. We are moving towards a more digital interface with less frequent but more impactful actions. This paradigm shift only adds to the flexibility of this career. You can excel while working from any location, engage flexible work hours when possible, and boost your client satisfaction in the process. 

Financial Stability

“Unlimited earning potential.” An often-heard phrase that always causes ears to perk up.  With the ease of entry and flexible scheduling, what you earn as an insurance agent is primarily up to you. This career is driven and self-directed. 

While the salary can vary by location, Monster recently reported that some insurance salespeople earn more than $92,000 per year.

So when you’re asking yourself, “How much do insurance agents make?” The answer, in part, depends on where you live and how driven you are. They sky’s the limit!  Real Estate Institute supports Illinois agents and will prepare you to maximize your earnings.

How to Become an Insurance Agent in Illinois

It all starts with education. As mentioned, you must complete the state-mandated educational requirements before taking your state licensing exam. 

For a more in-depth look at how you get from pre-licensing education to licensed sellers of insurance, read this recent blog from the Real Estate Institute team.

And an exciting announcement: In addition to Property and Casualty, Real Estate Institute will soon offer Life and Health Prelicensing programs which will further your line of authority options and ultimately increase your earning potential.

Onto a Promising Future

Entering a new career is a huge decision – and we hope that this article has given you some resources to make an informed decision about becoming an insurance agent in Illinois. 

After all, “the U.S. insurance industry employed 2.8 million people in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Of those, 647,000 were Property and Casualty insurers.”

This career path is in demand, stable, and one that you can enter within a matter of weeks. If you’re ready for a change or seeking new career options, consult with our team of insurance enrollment professionals online or at 800-995-1700 with any questions about insurance education or licensing requirements.

Illinois Real Estate Market Is On Fire – Get Your Real Estate License Now!

There has never been a better time to get your Illinois real estate license! With COVID-19 inspiring people to re-evaluate what they want in a home, and often this deciding factor was access to a dedicated work from home space – not the couch or the dining room table. With so many folks now working remotely, studios and one-bedrooms in the city quickly lost their appeal. Chicago is experiencing a mass exodus of Chicagoans leaving for the suburbs – heating up the market. The experts at Real Estate Institute are here to support you in answering both the why and the how of becoming a real estate agent in Illinois.

Why now is the best time to get your Illinois real estate license

From the realization that green space, like a yard, was needed for continued sanity to creating makeshift offices for adult children who returned home to endure quarantine – 2020 made folks take a critical look at their current homes. Also, many first time home buyers quickly realized that their initial goal of a one-bedroom condo in a luxe downtown high-rise would not be an ideal home for remote working or quarantine living. Instead, first time buyers turned their sights to the suburbs, where spacious housing is abundant, creating an influx of demand and opportunities for real estate agents.

This increase in opportunities was so significant that “Illinois Realtors” reported an 18% increase in sales when comparing January 2021 vs. January 2020. This is in addition to a 15% increase in the median sales price, and the Illinois real estate market is showing no signs of slowing down.

The demand for homes and real estate professionals is continuing to skyrocket – if you have been considering getting your real estate license, now is the time!

Market security

Not only would you be joining an in-demand workforce, but you would also be joining a secure one. You may remember the 2008 Housing Bubble and feel a distrust of the housing market. However, a key differentiator between then and the current housing boom sweeping Illinois is that the post-covid demand for right-sized homes has created a Seller’s Market – “one in which there are more buyers than homes for sale.”

A seller’s marketing is stable and creates numerous opportunities for those considering a career in real estate. As a licensed Illinois real estate professional you will have unlimited earning potential and a healthy market to excel in. Becoming a real estate agent is an ideal career path for many because it allows you to create your own schedule. This flexible workflow is perfect whether you are juggling the multiple soccer practice schedules of your children or just don’t want to be tied down by a 9-5 lifestyle. You will also gain the freedom that comes with being your own boss – you manage your success!

A part-time career in real estate is also an option for those looking for a new side hustle. Why not help your friends and family while earning a little extra cash? Additionally, if you are planning to personally buy or sell property, allow Real Estate Institute to ensure you are properly representing yourself.

How to get your Illinois real estate license

Are you ready to gain your license and join the 170,000 alumni that trusted Illinois’s premier real estate school, Real Estate Institute, to support them from enrollment all the way through passing their state licensing exams? Whether you are just beginning your journey to becoming a real estate agent or are a tenured professional, Real Estate Institute will provide you with unparalleled and ongoing support.

Education and training are a key portion of gaining your real estate license and the educational requirements vary on which license you pursue. We make it simple to fulfill your pre-license education with real estate license classes that fit your schedule, learning style, and support your career goals. Real Estate Institute offers programs for:

Unsure which license is right for you? Compare Illinois real estate license types here!

The team at Real Estate Institute will help you get started in this next phase of your career. For more information or support from our licensed experts, contact us!

How to Meet the Upcoming Deadline for Illinois Managing Broker License Renewal in 2021

Illinois Managing Brokers – it’s go time. The window is quickly closing to meet the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s (IDFPR) deadline for license renewal applications.

If you have yet to renew your license, do not fret. Real Estate Institute is here to act as a resource to ensure you have completed your proper, and required, education to renew your license. We’ve informed you of what you need to know about Illinois Managing Broker License Renewal in 2021, but let’s review again in light of the April 30th deadline.

Note: if for some reason, you did not receive any communications from IDFPR about this renewal window, please update your contact information with the state to receive future notices. To update or add your email address, click here.

To renew your Illinois Managing Broker License Renewal, you must:

  1. Complete Continuing Education
  2. Submit Your License Renewal Application
  3. Download Your New License

Complete Continuing Education

If you are feeling the pressure of this deadline and having flashbacks to writing a school book report the night before it was due – take a deep breath. The team at Real Estate Institute is here to help.

You must complete: 

  • 12 hours of Core and Elective CE, including:
    • 4-Hour Core
    • 1-Hour Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
  • 12-hour Broker Management CE course (curriculum updated this year)

See, not so bad. With your brains and Real Estate Institute’s support – you can knock those CE courses out in plenty of time.

We do want to remind all Managing Brokers that you can now complete your entire requirement anywhere, at any time with Online Distance Education.

Please remember, if you are a newly licensed Managing Broker renewing for the first time, you may be exempt from Broker Management CE. Our team of professionals is happy to verify your requirement – reach out to us.

Submit Your New License Application

Once you’ve completed your required continuing education, the finish line is in sight. The next step is to renew your license with the IDFPR by application – you are required to pay a $200 renewal fee. Submitting your application can be achieved in one of two ways:

Real Estate Institute strongly recommends that you opt in for online renewal to ensure you meet the deadline. If you choose to renew by mail-in, request proof of delivery to ensure that it reaches the IDFPR by April 30th.

Download Your New License

At this point in your Managing Broker license renewal journey, we hope you breathe a sigh of relief. All that’s left to do is download a copy of your license once IDFPR has processed your application and notified you via email.

Ready to Renew your Managing Brokers License?

You now understand what is required to meet the April 30th deadline – begin your renewal process by visiting the IDFPR website.

How to Get Your Insurance License in Illinois

With our recent winter storms and the property damage that have befallen many Illinois residential and business owners, there’s sure to be an avalanche of insurance claims and inquiries in the coming weeks and months. It’s yet another reminder that insurance will always be necessary and in demand. A new career path in insurance can provide job and financial stability for the people who sell it.

To sell insurance in Illinois, you need to get licensed, which happens at the state level. Although people who sell insurance are sometimes known in casual conversation as “agents,” “brokers” or “salespeople,” they are all known as “producers” for licensing purposes. There are four steps to becoming a licensed insurance producer in Illinois.

Step 1: Meet the Age Requirement

Licensing candidates must be at least 18 years old.

Step 2: Complete Pre-Licensing Education

You must complete 20 hours of pre-licensing education for each major type of insurance that you wish to sell. In general, these types, known as “lines of authority,” are property, casualty, life, and accident/health. The Illinois Insurance Code requires that each 20-hour pre-license course include at least 7.5 hours of in-person (classroom) instruction. However, the governor has issued an Executive Order that allows webinars through March 6, 2021.  The order has a history of being extended on a month-to-month basis.

Real Estate Institute can help you launch a successful career in the insurance industry. Our state-approved property and casualty licensing program is perfect for anyone who is interested in selling homeowners insurance, auto insurance, liability insurance, commercial property insurance and more. 

Step 3: Take State Exam(s)

Licensing candidates must take (and pass) a state insurance licensing exam for each desired line of authority.

Prepare for the state exams with confidence. Our pre-licensing program will help you pass the exams the first time so you can get on with a new career quickly.

Information about the state exam(s), can be found in the Pearson VUE Candidate Handbook & Outline.

Step 4: Apply Online for Your License(s)

After passing the state licensing exam(s), you must wait five days. At that time, you will be able to apply for your license online at Directions to help you with the online application process are available from the Illinois Department of Insurance.

Why Become a Property & Casualty Insurance Producer?

  • Enjoy Helping People. You will be a valuable resource by helping clients match their needs to a policy that will protect them from financial loss.
  • Unlimited Earnings Potential. Whether it’s solely commission or a combination of commission and salary, the amount you earn is based typically on how much you sell.
  • Getting Started is Easy. Sign up for our pre-licensing program, pass the state exams and you’re on your way to your new career.

Why not learn about what a career in insurance can offer you? Just think, if you enroll in pre-licensing education now, you can get licensed and begin working in a matter of weeks! Get started today.

For over 25 years, Real Estate institute has been a local leader in insurance continuing education approved by the Illinois Department of Insurance. Thousands of Illinois insurance producers complete webinar, classroom and self-study continuing education courses each year. Due to popular demand, Real Estate Institute now offers
insurance pre-licensing education
 for anyone looking to start or expand their insurance career. Please don’t hesitate to contact us online or at 800-995-1700 with any questions about insurance education and requirements.

There’s a New Kind of Fraud in the World of Mortgage

Employment and income fraud is nothing new to Mortgage Loan Originators. If you’re in the business long enough, you’re likely to encounter at least one client whose account of their income and employment proves to be, shall we say, less than truthful. The good news is that advances in mortgage technology and process automation since the crash of 2008 have made it more difficult for borrower income and employment fraud schemes to succeed.

New Hire Scams

If you’ve studied mortgage fraud, you know that it is constantly adapting to changing market conditions. Given the unprecedented nature of the past 12 months in the mortgage industry – and indeed the entirety of global society – it should come as no surprise that fraudsters have been looking for new angles of attack on the financial system. One such scam that hasn’t received a lot of publicity (yet) is a new twist on the old employment fraud trick, and it’s targeting HR departments at mortgage companies of all sizes in an attempt to gain access to sensitive borrower data.

Simply put, criminals know that our companies have been dealing with volume-related operational constraints, especially in the underwriting and processing arenas, and most have been in the market to quickly hire new talent to reduce turn times. So, they’re creating resumes with falsified employment history and applying for open positions in the processing and underwriting departments of residential mortgage lenders. They’ve brushed up on buzzwords and industry terminology in the hopes that they can get through the interview process (which itself has changed dramatically and is now largely virtual in many firms) and start work which will give them access to borrower financial and personal information that they can either use to commit identity theft or sell to others to do the same. I have personally heard from multiple people that have either been victimized by it or work for companies whose names are listed in bogus work histories on resumes.

What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

Step 1: Awareness

If you’re an owner, sales manager, ops manager or HR professional at a company that is hiring, the first thing you need to do is immediately alert your recruiting and hiring team about the scam.

Step 2: Verification

If you’re not already doing so, your company needs to verify ALL recent work history for applicants you intend to hire. Just make sure to do it in a manner that is compliant with employment law and regulation in the state(s) in which you’re hiring. (Remember that some states prohibit collection of previous salary/compensation information in the hiring process, so don’t request copies of W-2s or paystubs where prohibited.)

Step 3: Control

Finally, if you have not already done so, please implement tight team and/or role-based access control measures for your Loan Origination System (LOS) so that only those employees with a legitimate reason to access a borrower file may do so. If you’re unsure about how to do this, please consult your LOS provider and/or an IT security company that can help. Given the massive regulatory focus on data and cybersecurity, you can’t afford not to do this even if you’re a small company and/or not currently hiring; just remember to update your Gramm Leach Bliley Act safeguards policy when you’ve rolled out any changes.

I hope that 2021 is treating you well and I look forward to seeing you for CE later this year.

Happy originating!

Real Estate Institute offers NMLS-approved Mortgage Loan Originator Pre-License and Continuing Education courses in three formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online. These courses were designed BY loan originators FOR loan originators covering topics you need to know to navigate today’s ever-changing lending landscape. Please don’t hesitate to contact us online or at 800-995-1700 with any questions about loan officer training or requirements. 

What You Need to Know About Illinois Managing Broker License Renewal in 2021

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) recently e-mailed Managing Brokers, announcing that these licensees are officially “In Renewal,” which means the department is now accepting online license renewal applications.

If you didn’t receive this e-mail announcement, you may need to update your contact information with the state to receive future notices. To easily update or add your e-mail address, click here.

Remember, you cannot renew your real estate license until you complete the required education.

Step 1 – Complete Continuing Education
Managing Brokers must complete 24 credit hours of continuing education (CE) consisting of 12 hours of core and elective CE plus the 12-hour Broker Management CE course. The specific CE requirements have changed for the 2021 renewal and include two new required courses: 4-Hour Core and Sexual Harassment Prevention Training.  Additionally, the Broker Management CE curriculum has been updated for 2021. 

Also new for 2021 – Managing Brokers can complete their entire requirement anywhere, at any time with Online Distance Education.

All of Real Estate Institute’s CE courses are compliant with the new requirements. To learn more about the recent education changes, click here

Note: Some newly licensed Managing Brokers renewing for the FIRST time may be exempt from Broker Management CE.  The licensing professionals at Real Estate Institute are happy to verify your requirement. If you are newly licensed, simply reach out.  We’re here to help!

Step 2 – Submit Your New License Application
After you have completed your continuing education requirement, you must renew your license with the IDFPR. There are two ways to renew your license:

  1. Renew Online – The IDFPR permits online license renewal applications to be submitted up to 90 days before the license expires. This option allows you to complete the entire renewal application and pay online. Click here to apply online.
  2. Mail Your Application – The application can be completed online, printed, and mailed with payment. If you use the paper application, we strongly recommend that you send it to the IDFPR via USPS Certified Mail so that you receive confirmation of delivery. Delivery confirmation will be critical in the event of a delay in license renewal. It will likely take the IDFPR several weeks to process your paper application.

Step 3 – Print Your New License
Once the IDFPR has processed your license renewal application, you should receive an e-mail indicating that your new license is available. Upon receiving this e-mail, you may log in and download or print a copy of your license. Note: Managing Brokers are required to carry a printed or electronic copy of their license.

Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for over 25 years. Our team of compliance experts is standing by to answer your questions about your requirements, our continuing education courses, and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us online or at 800-995-1700.