U Memo 12-4

Posted on Mar 14, 2012 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 12-4
March 14, 2012
Identifying Numbers Assigned to Individuals on the
Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS)

Requester asked whether the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs, Division of Financial Institutions (DFI) properly denied Requester’s request for a list of identifying numbers assigned to individuals who applied for licensure as Mortgage Loan Originators (MLO). All MLO applicants must register and submit their applications into the NMLS, and DFI is mandated by federal law to use the NMLS information for MLO licensure in Hawaii.

DFI informed Requester that it will disclose the NMLS numbers of active MLO licensees but that it “is unable to disclose records of persons who applied for an MU4 [MLO license] with the DFI and whose applications are still pending; withdrew their applications, or were denied licensure.” Therefore, this opinion is limited to addressing whether the Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA) requires the disclosure of the NMLS numbers for those individuals who are not currently licensed as MLOs and whose numbers will not be disclosed by DFI.

OIP found that the UIPA does not require DFI to disclose the NMLS numbers of applicants whose applications were denied, withdrawn, or are undergoing DFI’s review. DFI is not required to disclose lists of NMLS numbers of either withdrawn or denied applicants because DFI does not maintain either of these applicant lists, and the numbers are thus not government records subject to the UIPA. HRS § 92F-11. DFI does administratively maintain lists of applicants whose applications are currently undergoing DFI’s review, but those applicants’ NMLS numbers could reasonably lead to actual identification of the applicants and may be withheld under the UIPA’s “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” exception.