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South Carolina Mortgage Broker License: Step-by-Step Guide

In South Carolina, entities engaged in the mortgage loan business are required to be licensed by the state. The two agencies responsible for regulating and issuing mortgage licenses are the South Carolina State Board of Financial Institutions (BFI) and South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).

The SC mortgage license application process is handled by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). NMLS allows companies and loan originators to apply, update, and renew a mortgage license.

Types of Mortgage Licenses in South Carolina

Mortgage licenses in South Carolina are issued by two separate agencies: South Carolina BFI and South Carolina DCA. The license types depend on the work you are going to engage in.

In this guide, we’ll cover the most common licenses only. You can review the full list on the NMLS BFI page and NMLS DCA page.

Most Common BFI Company License

  • Mortgage Lender/Servicer License - allows entities to make, service, solicit, process, or place mortgage loans.

Most Common DCA Company License

  • Mortgage Broker License - allows entities to engage in mortgage table funding and brokerage activities such as placing, processing, and soliciting mortgage loans for borrowers.

Most Common DCA Individual License

  • Mortgage Broker Qualified Loan Originator License - required of individuals who are not employees of mortgage brokers but work (exclusively) as loan originators for a mortgage broker licensee. The licenses permit soliciting, accepting and negotiating applications for mortgage loans with (prospective) borrowers.

South Carolina State Requirements

All license applications must be submitted in NMLS. Please note that some state-specific documents, such as the surety bond form, must be mailed directly to the appropriate agency.

Mortgage Lender/Servicer License applicants, please mail your documentation to South Carolina Consumer Finance Division, 1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 306, Columbia, South Carolina 29201.

For further information regarding the BFI Mortgage Lender/Servicer license requirements, you may contact BFI at (803) 734-2020 or [email protected].

Mortgage Broker and Mortgage Broker Qualified Loan Originator License, please send your documentation to South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 5757, Columbia, SC 29250-5757.

For additional information regarding the DCA license requirements, you may contact the Department at (803) 734-4200 or [email protected].

For questions regarding NMLS, you may contact NMLS call center at (855) 665-7123.

Education and Exams

In South Carolina, passing an exam is obligatory for some, but not all license types. In order to obtain a Mortgage Broker Qualified Loan Originator license, applicants need to complete a pre-license course and pass an examination.

Exams for DCA Individual Licenses

  • Mortgage Broker Qualified Loan Originator License - To obtain an individual license in SC, you must complete an NMLS-approved pre-licensure course of at least 20 hours. Note that the course must include 3 hours of South Carolina specific content. For additional information, as well as a list of approved providers, you may visit the NMLS Education page.

    You can enroll for the test and pay the fee through NMLS. To schedule an exam date visit your NMLS profile or contact the exam administrator Prometric at (877) 671-6657.

    Further information on how to schedule and take the Mortgage Loan Originator exam can be found on the NMLS testing page.

SC Mortgage Broker Bonds

Bonds for BFI Company Licenses

  • Mortgage Lender/Servicer License - All applicants are required to furnish a surety bond. The bond amount depends on the volume of loans originated by the applicant in a calendar year.
    • $50,000 surety bond for 0 - $49,999,999 in loan volume.
    • $100,000 surety bond for $50,000,000 - $249,999,999 in loan volume.
    • $150,000 surety bond if the loan volume exceeds $250,000,000.

    Note: To verify accuracy, BFI requires applicants to email the bond to [email protected] prior to mailing the original bond.

Bonds for DCA Company Licenses

  • Mortgage Broker License - Mortgage Broker applicants must upload and mail an original surety bond in an amount based on the total dollar volume of loan originations and is not less than $25, 000 .

Bonds for DCA Individual Licenses

  • Mortgage Broker Qualified Loan Originator License - Applicants for this individual license must provide an original $25,000 surety bond.

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Licensing Fees

The fees are non-refundable and must be submitted through NMLS.

Fees for BFI Company Licenses

  • Mortgage Lender/Servicer License
    • $1,000 application fee.
    • $100 NMLS processing fee.
    • $15 credit report fee (if required).
    • $36.25 background check.

Fees for DCA Company Licenses

  • Mortgage Broker License
    • $750 license costs.
    • $100 NMLS processing fee.
    • $15 credit report fee (if required).
    • $36.25 background check.

Fees for DCA Individual Licenses

  • Mortgage Broker Qualified Loan Originator License
    • $100 license costs.
    • $30 NMLS processing fee.
    • $15 credit report fee (if required).
    • $36.25 background check.
    • $100 exam fee.

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