All businesses and individuals in Ontario who act as mortgage brokers, agents, brokerages and administrators are required to obtain a mortgage license from the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) as per the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006 (MBLAA).
FSCO is a regulatory agency of the Ministry of Finance and responsible for regulating the Ontario Mortgage Industry. FSCO regulates the industry by ensuring that all licensed mortgage professionals meet education, experience and suitability requirements. FSCO also acts to protect consumers from fraudulent mortgage practices. On the FSCO website, consumers can find a directory for all Ontario mortgage Agents, brokers, brokerages and administrators who have obtained an Ontario mortgage license.
There are four types of mortgage licenses granted in Ontario: mortgage agent license, mortgage broker license, mortgage brokerage license and mortgage administrator license.
A mortgage agent is an individual licensed to deal or trade mortgages for a mortgage brokerage. Mortgage agents must work under the supervision of a licensed mortgage broker.
A mortgage broker is an individual licensed to deal or trade mortgages for a mortgage brokerage. Mortgage brokers may be responsible for supervising the activities of mortgage agents.
To obtain a mortgage agent license or a mortgage broker license applicants must be at least 18 years of age; must have an Ontario mailing address that can receive registered mail; have no criminal record; conduct all business in accordance with the MBLAA and must work for only one mortgage brokerage which has authorized the agent or broker to deal in mortgages on its behalf. Individuals can be licensed as either a mortgage agent or a mortgage broker, however, are not permitted to hold both licenses simultaneously.
To obtain a mortgage agent license individuals must apply for their license within two years of successfully completing a mortgage agent education program that is approved by FSCO.
To obtain a mortgage broker license individuals must hold a mortgage agent license for at least 24 months during the three year period prior to application and must successfully complete a mortgage broker education course that is approved by FSCO within the three year period prior to application. This course is offered in English at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology and in French at La Cité Collégiale.
A mortgage agent license and a mortgage broker license are issued for a two-year period. To obtain a license the application must be submitted through Licensing Link, FSCO’s online application service, by the principle broker of the brokerage where that agent/broker is employed. In addition to the application, the brokerage must also submit the required fees on behalf of the agent/broker. Mortgage agents and brokers are required to clearly display their mortgage license on their business website.
A mortgage brokerage is a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship with a mortgage brokerage license that deals and trades mortgages in Ontario. A brokerage must employ a principle broker with a mortgage broker license to act as its Chief Compliance Officer in order to be a licensed brokerage. The principle broker is responsible for ensuring that all employed mortgage agents and brokers are licensed and adhere to MBLAA regulations.
If a licensed mortgage brokerage also conducts business as a mortgage administrator, it must have both a mortgage brokerage license and a mortgage administrator license.
A mortgage administrator is a business that holds a mortgage administrator license which allows the business to receive mortgage payments from borrowers and provide the payment to investors. Licensed mortgage administrators are also permitted to act on behalf of investors to enforce payments under mortgages, however a mortgage administrator must provide financial guarantee according to FSCO regulations.
There are a number of other requirements that must be met for a mortgage brokerage and mortgage administrator to obtain a license. Mortgage brokerages and administrators must meet FSCO’s suitability requirements; must have an Ontario mailing address; must always carry Errors and Omissions Insurance; must have an Ontario mailing address that can receive registered mail and must be incorporated in Canada if the business is a partnership or corporation. In the instance that the business is a sole proprietorship the proprietor must be a Canadian resident. Foreign owned businesses are still permitted to obtain an Ontario mortgage brokerage license provided that they meet all requirements determined by FSCO. The application for a mortgage brokerage or mortgage administrator license must be issued in the business’ legal name.
All currently licensed mortgage agents and mortgage brokers (including principal brokers and brokers employed by finance companies) will be required to renew their licenses by March 31, 2012 by completing a FSCO approved Mandatory Re-Licensing Course.
The Mandatory Re-licensing Education for Ontario mortgage agents and mortgage brokers will be available in November 2011 and will be offered by select education providers. An outline of the mortgage Agent and Mortgage Broker Re-Licensing Education, entitled MB Re-licensing Education 2012, is available on the FSCO website.
The objective of Mandatory Re-Licensing Education is to ensure that Mortgage Agents and Mortgage Brokers fully understand the requirements and regulations of the MBLAA.
Requirements for Mandatory Re-licensing Education following 2012 are still to be determined.
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Cynthia Legault works as an Executive Assistant at Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP). CAAMP is Canada's national mortgage industry association and the leading provider of value, service and advocacy for mortgage professionals. Feel free to visit their website at caamp.org/ to learn more on how they can help you to get your mortgage licensing/licenses in Ontario.
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