There are two types of NMLS company users: account administrators, who have full access to a company’s NMLS record; and organization users, who have limited access. And while any individual can be an organization user, NMLS specifies in the NMLS Policy Guidebook and elsewhere that only employees can be account administrators. For example, the NMLS Add/Delete Company Account Administrator Form includes an attestation that “the new account administrator is an employee of the company.” Also, in an e-mail circulated to undisclosed recipients just a few weeks ago regarding NMLS user account sharing and third-party administrators, NMLS stated that account administrators “are required to be employees of the company to maintain control over access to their record.”
This seems straightforward enough; however, some companies that are required to hold a license in NMLS do not have employees, but instead have only officers, directors, managers, or authorized signatories. While the prohibition on unaffiliated third parties controlling NMLS accounts is prudent, the “employees only” policy can be unfairly burdensome and costly to those companies that do not have employees. APPROVED and Buckley Sandler co-authored an issue paper on this topic that was presented at the NMLS Ombudsman Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts on July 31, 2018. Our presentation was well received by regulators and industry alike, with assurance that the NMLS Ombudsman would take our suggestions to the NMLS Policy Committee for further vetting.
We are optimistic that the “employees only” policy will eventually be amended in line with these recommendations. But if you need to designate a non-employee officer, director, manager, or authorized signatory as an NMLS account administrator in the meantime, let us know. We would be happy to reach out to our contacts at NMLS to explore ways to make it happen.