U.S. bank regulators have mortgage license plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mortgage originators will have to submit fingerprints and other personal information to federal authorities who will maintain a database of the agents who help homebuyers secure loans, according to a plan released by U.S. regulators on Monday.

The new standards were conceived by Congress last summer and were part of a broader plan to help stabilize the rattled housing markets, stem foreclosures and increase consumer protections.

Consumer advocates attest that unethical mortgage brokers duped many borrowers into high-cost loans that ended in foreclosure.

The Federal Reserve helped set the standards that have been agreed to among the top federal banking regulators and that will establish a database accessible by consumers.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations will use fingerprints to perform a criminal background check on loan agents who must annually register under the program.

The lending industry may comment on the regulators’ outline and the database is due to be in place by the end of July. The program was conceived under the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act.

Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Leslie Adler