Who is Required to Obtain License or Branch License under the California Residential Mortgage Lenders Law (CRMLA)?

In general, any form of organization may get a license. This includes natural persons, sole proprietorships, corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, associations, trusts, joint ventures, unincorporated organizations, joint stock companies, governments or political subdivisions of governments and any other entity.

The CRMLA requires that any person engaged in the business of making or servicing residential mortgage loans within California do so only under the authority of a license under the CRMLA. The following entities are exempt from the licensing requirements:

  • Banks, trust companies, insurance companies, and industrial loan companies;
  • Federally chartered savings and loan associations, federal savings banks, and federal credit unions;
  • Savings and loan associations, savings banks, and credit unions authorized to conduct business in California;
  • Persons engaged solely in business, commercial, or agricultural mortgage lending;
  • Wholly owned service corporations of savings and loan associations or savings banks;
  • Federal, state and municipal governments;
  • Pension plans making residential mortgage loans to their participants;
  • Persons acting in a fiduciary capacity conferred by the authority of a court;
  • Licensed California real estate brokers;
  • California finance lenders; and
  • Trustees in a foreclosure proceeding.


Do I Need to Authorize my Branch Office(s)?

Each branch location desiring to conduct business under a CRMLA license must be separately authorized and will require the filing of Form MU3 through the NMLS. All locations in California must be authorized.

A branch office is any physical location of the entity, other than the “home/main” office location, which is either located in California or if located outside of California conducts activities subject to the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. Every location in California must be an approved location. In addition every location outside of California which conducts California business subject to the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act must be an approved location.

Business locations outside of California which do not conduct California business under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act do not need to be approved.