Washington, DC—The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) and financial services regulatory agencies from 41 states reached settlements with 441 mortgage loan originators nationwide who deceptively claimed to have completed annual continuing education courses as required under state and federal law.
“I am pleased that DISB was able to work collaboratively with its fellow regulators from across the country to reach this settlement,” said DISB Commissioner Karima M. Woods. “As regulators, it is imperative that we take every action necessary to protect consumers, ensure their financial well-being, and hold the mortgage industry to the highest ethical standard.”
Through the settlements, the mortgage loan originators agreed to surrender their licenses for three months, pay a fine of $1,000 for each state in which he or she holds a license and take continuing education courses beyond the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act) requirements.
Congress enacted the SAFE Act to enhance consumer protection and reduce fraud through minimum standards for the licensing and registration of state-licensed mortgage loan originators. The law calls on the states to implement and enforce these standards. The District of Columbia and all states have enacted their own version of the SAFE Act requiring mortgage loan originators to have at least 20 hours of pre-licensing education and an annual eight hours of continuing education.
Real Estate Educational Services (REES), a California-based course provider, was found to have provided false certificates to mortgage loan originators who had never attended nor completed the in-person and online continuing education courses for which they had been enrolled. REES is facing administrative enforcement actions.
The irregular education activity was discovered through a gesture-driven authentication tool called BioSig-ID, which is used to monitor all online courses approved under the SAFE Act mandate.
The mission of the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) is three-fold:
(1) cultivate a regulatory environment that protects consumers and attracts and retains financial services firms to the District; (2) empower and educate residents on financial matters; and (3) provide financing for District small businesses. For more information on DISB programs and resources, visit disb.dc.gov or call (202) 727-8000.
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