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National and CA State SAFE Act NMLS Tests

Preparing for the National and California State NMLS Mortgage Loan Originator SAFE Act Tests

Beginning 2010, in order to comply with the SAFE Act, all mortgage loan originators must pass two tests and pay substantial fees. Please read below for purchase information for the study aids, both for California and National NMLS Tests.

The law covers loan originations for 1-4 unit residential dwellings, and a unique NMLS assigned number evidences compliance. The question is, how do you gain enough knowledge to pass the tests?

As a Mortgage broker, with over 35 years experience in the real estate industry, I felt confident. I was tempted, not to study, but to simply take the test. NMLS guidelines provided that, if you took the test and failed, you could take it again in 30 days.

What it didn’t say in an obviously way was, each time you re-take the test; you pay another $92 for the pleasure. The costs didn’t appeal to me, to say nothing of having this test hanging over my head for another 30 days. There was no escape. I decided to pass it the first time, I hoped.

My over-achiever friend pushed me into taking the national test early. I took it in January 2010 and he took it even earlier. I believe he was one of the first to take the national NMLS test. He had to be. We couldn’t even sign up via the California SAFE Act entities, because they weren’t available yet. We had to choose another state in order to get our application numbers, but we did it, and obtained permission to take the national test.

Not having anything to study, we found some on-line study aids, mostly just practice questions, and we gathered information until we knew as much as we could know without having a textbook. I made an outline from the questions and studied that.

The difficulty, with this type of national test, is that we all have specialties, and the national test requires a broad knowledge of quite a few subjects, not just our specialty loan programs. Mainly, you have to know the agencies that regulate real estate law, and the ins and outs of those laws.

Well, we both passed the national NMLS test. We both have law degrees and we studied as if preparing for the difficult tests we took at law school. Even so, my palms were perspiring by the time I finished the national test. Where were these questions coming from? Perhaps it was the way the questions were structured, but they all looked unfamiliar to me. I pushed the program exit button and estimated my chance of passing to be 50/50. Miracles happen, and I passed with an 86%. By the time I arrived back at the office, I viewed my score on the NMLS site.

Determined to be better prepared when I took the California test, I wrote a study book.

I used every law and code reference given by the State in their Study Outline.  It took me three weeks to find all the SAFE Act law. It took another four weeks to write the text and the on-line presentation. However, it was worth it. When I sat for the California SAFE Test, I was overly prepared. After the first five questions, I knew I had it. Happy to say, I scored 90% on the test. I did miss five questions out of fifty, but some answer choices were close.

The other hurtle is learning the NMLS procedures. The website has a lot of information, and a 70-page help guide. Simply type NMLS into the search engine box, and you will find the NMLS Research Center Website.

I recommend calling NMLS and asking them each question you have. When you think you are done, you won’t be. All the staff is helpful and nice and they treat you as if you are their only caller. Unless you call and ask about procedures, you will miss a deadline and have to pay more money.

The fingerprinting experience was superb. I don’t have much in the way of fingerprints, but they got it the first time. The Go-To fingerprinting stations are a necessity. Fingerprint cards can be sent back, and again, more money out of your pocket.

Obviously, I recommend studying for both tests.  There is more preparation information available now than there was when I took the national NMLS test. I know I would not have passed the tests without studying. Good Luck. Judy Evicci

If you are interested in purchasing the California textbook with 100 practice questions and the PowerPoint Presentation, please choose one of the payment options below. The download price is $79.00.  You will receive an email to download the book and questions.

Click here to view the California Outline of the Study Course

You may pay with a Credit Card.

This is a PayPal payment option.

If you have questions you think I can answer, please write me here, judy@writer-spin.com or visit my lending site at SellensLending

I am happy to discuss more of the licensing process and what I learned in doing it.


Feeling a little out of focus at the testing center.


The government is  adding salt to the bad-economy wound, by imposing these expensive new regulations.

I hope this works for the best and fair completion is the result of the new laws.

Borrowers deserve fair and honest loan transactions.


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