On March 5, the governor of West Virginia signed HB 4353, which, among other things, amends the state’s Safe Mortgage Licensing Act as it relates to the issuance of mortgage loan originator licenses. HB 4353 creates “a rational nexus requirement between prior criminal conduct and initial licensure decision making,” to guide commissioners or commissions with licensing authority. The law also details the consideration of past criminal conduct in the initial licensing of an MLO and eliminates offenses of “moral turpitude” from disqualifying an applicant from receiving a license, provided the crime does not have a “rational nexus” to MLO licensure.
New provisions added to the license issuance section of the Safe Mortgage Licensing Act address disqualification from license issuance. Under the new law, the commissioner may not disqualify an applicant from initial licensure because of a prior criminal conviction unless the crime bears a rational nexus to MLO licensure, as determined by consideration of (i) the nature and seriousness of the crime; (ii) the passage of time since the commission of the crime; (iii) the “relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity, and fitness required to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of the profession or occupation”; and (iv) any evidence of the applicant’s rehabilitation. In addition, the law permits an individual with a criminal record who has not previously applied for licensure to “petition the commissioner at any time for a determination of whether the individual’s criminal record will disqualify the individual from obtaining a license.” The amendments take effect on May 19.
This content originally appeared in Buckley’s Infobytes blog, a collection of news and alerts covering the financial services industry. To read more or have the Infobytes weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox, please visit infobytesblog.com.