Finding out that your license application has been approved is a celebratory occasion, with the news delivered, in some cases, in the form of a license certificate. Here are a few key things to know about certificates:

Paper certificates are increasingly uncommon

In the past, it was common for regulators to deliver paper license certificates to new licensees. Now, regulators more often provide new licensees with electronic certificates or forego providing certificates all together. Those regulators that no longer issue certificates instead direct consumers looking for confirmation of licensure to their websites or, if applicable, to NMLS Consumer Access.

Display of certificates

Those regulators that still issue license certificates (whether paper or electronic) typically communicate to licensees that they are to display them conspicuously in a public place at the licensed location. The most obvious place satisfying this requirement is a wall in the reception area, but any public place where it would be easy for consumers and examiners to review the certificates should suffice. Some licensees have responded creatively to this requirement by scanning their certificates to a digital photo frame that is on display in the reception area.

Amendments and renewals

Some regulators issue new license certificates whenever licensees amend their names, addresses, or other information reflected in the certificates, and some issue new certificates every year following renewal. In either case, licensees should promptly append their new certificates to their old ones or replace their old certificates with their new ones, as instructed by the regulator. We recommend that licensees always keep on file old certificates that are not required to be displayed.

Lost certificates

In the event that a licensee misplaces its original paper license certificate, the regulator will often issue a new one for a fee. Similarly, if a licensee needs to submit its original certificate in connection with a change or to surrender the license, but has lost the certificate, it can typically submit a lost license affidavit to the regulator instead.

Oregon’s new requirement

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation has recently adopted a relatively unique requirement when it comes to license certificates. As of this year, licensees will no longer receive paper certificates from the Division and are instead required to complete an Oregon Licensing Notice and display it in a public space in the licensed location. We will let you know if other states follow suit.