Breaking_NewsIn a surprise move, the IDFPR Division of Banking has rescinded the Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) education rule it proposed in late April, which called for an additional three hours of Illinois-specific pre- license education and an additional three hours of Illinois-specific continuing education annually. The Division of Banking also confirmed plans to move ahead with adopting the Uniform State Test (UST) for loan originator license applicants in Illinois, effective June 1, 2016. For those unfamiliar, the UST covers general state-level regulatory information applicable in most states and is included as a part of the National Component of the SAFE exam that all potential licensees must pass.

Illinois State Test Component Removed Effective 6/1/2016


  • If you are currently licensed as a mortgage loan originator in Illinois, this has no impact on you. You may continue to originate as you have been doing.
  • If you are not yet licensed in Illinois but have already passed BOTH the National Component AND the Illinois State components of the SAFE exam, your Illinois license application will not be affected by this change. Whether or not you have actually filed the application, you do not have any additional requirements and may apply for licensure at any time if you have not already done so.
  • If you are not yet licensed in Illinois AND you have passed the National exam with UST (meaning you enrolled for and passed the National SAFE exam AFTER April 1, 2013), you will be able to apply for an Illinois MLO license on or after 6/1/2016 (do not apply before this date). This situation also applies to anyone who enrolled in and passed the STAND-ALONE UST, which was available in 2013 and early 2014.
  • If you are not yet licensed in Illinois AND you have not passed the Illinois exam AND you enrolled for and passed the National SAFE exam WITHOUT UST (you enrolled for the National exam BEFORE April 1, 2013), you have two options:

    Option 1: Enroll in the Illinois State Component exam BEFORE June 1st, 2016 and pass that exam on your first take OR;

    Option 2: Enroll for and pass the current version of the National exam with UST. Yes, this will require you to re-take the full national component, as there is no longer a stand-alone UST option.

If you have any questions about which exam(s) you have taken and passed, you can find that information by logging into the NMLS (on the State side), clicking the “COMPOSITE VIEW” tab at the top right, then clicking “View Individual” at the top center and finally clicking “Testing Information” on the left navigation bar. You can also contact the NMLS Call Center at 855-665-7123 with questions about your status.

Refer to the IDFPR press release announcing this change.

Real Estate Institute has helped thousands of LOs pass the SAFE exams with Prep-to-Pass. Our recently updated test prep program includes the most recent NMLS content outline revisions. Try sample practice tests for free at our website.

Striking Results – How You Study Really Does Matter

Pass The ExamIn case you missed the recent article in the New York Times and the research published online in the journal Science, both discussed important findings about adult learning.  According to the New York Times, “students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used two other methods.”  Those other methods were reading the passage multiple times and making detailed notes and diagrams. 

According to the Times, many cognitive scientists and educators found these research results striking. Marcia Linn, an education professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told the newspaper that students who take tests as part of their studying process ”recognize some gaps in their knowledge” and “might revisit the ideas in the back of their mind or the front of their mind.” 

We only wish they had contacted the Real Estate Institute for a comment.  For years, the approach of having students use a study guide to read the material followed by taking practice tests has been our mantra.  Through our PREP-to-PASS programs, we have even taken it a step further by assessing students’ performance after they take the practice test and directing them back to the section in the study guide that they need to review again.   Thousands of licensees have successfully passed their licensing exams with our comprehensive exam preparation programs. 

For more information about these articles, please click on the following links:

Latest SAFE Test Pass Rates & FHFA goals for 2010-2011

On Thursday morning, the NMLS released new statistics regarding the pass rate for mortgage loan originators taking the national and state components of the SAFE Exam.  The pass rates on the national component aren’t improving.  In fact, they’re getting worse.  For the national component, as of August 31, 2010, only 70% of first-time test takers are passing the exam.  This has slipped from the previous report which showed that 71% were passing.  Like in previous reports, the “fail once, fail again” trend is evident, as the re-take pass rate remains at 44%.  Folks taking the various state components are faring better, with a first-time pass rate of 82% (up from 80% in June) and a re-take pass rate of 46% (up from 44% in June). 

If you haven’t taken your national or state SAFE exams, TIME IS RUNNING OUT!  Remember, if you fail you must wait 30 days before re-taking the exam.  Don’t put yourself in the position where if you fail the exam you can’t work.  Taking the pre-license or continuing education courses before you take the exams will help you prepare.  Supplementing with self-study material that is current and follows the entire NMLS content outlines is probably your best weapon.  Years of experience will not sufficiently prepare you to pass.  Finally, it seems that availability times are filling up fast at the various test centers.  BE SMART – schedule your exam TODAY!

Also worthy of note, yesterday the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its 2010-2011 goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Agencies) with respect to affordable housing.  The 71-page rule is effective on October 14th and can be found in the Federal Register.  It will appear in the Code of Federal Regulations at 12 CFR 1249.  Just a few highlights:

For 2010 and 2011:

  • Purchase money mortgages for low income homebuyers (defined as household income less than 80% of the area median income) should account for at least 27 percent of all of the purchase money mortgages purchased by the Agencies.
  • Purchase money mortgages for very low income homebuyers (defined as household income less than 30% of the area median income) should account for at least 8 percent of all of the purchase money mortgages purchased by the Agencies.
  • Purchase money mortgages for properties located in low income census tracts (LICTs) or for moderate income families in minority census tracts should account for at least 13 percent of all of the purchase money mortgages purchased by the Agencies.
  • Refinance mortgages for low income homeowners should account for at least 21 percent of all of the refinance mortgages purchased by the agencies.

These goals are for single family, owner-occupied units only.  There are other goals for multi-family housing and financing for rental units as well.