§31-17A-5. Issuance of license.

(a) The commissioner may not issue a mortgage loan originator license unless the commissioner makes at a minimum the following findings:

 (1) The applicant has never had a mortgage loan originator license revoked in any governmental jurisdiction, except that a subsequent formal vacation of the revocation may not be considered a revocation.

 (2) The applicant has not been convicted of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, a felony in a domestic, foreign or military court: Provided, That any pardon of a conviction may not be a conviction for purposes of this subsection: Provided, however, That the commissioner shall apply §31-17A-5(b) and §31-17A-5(c) of this code in determining whether an applicant’s prior criminal convictions bear a rational nexus to the license being sought;

 (A) During the five-year period preceding the date of the application for licensing and registration; or

 (B) At any time preceding the date of application if the crime bears a rational nexus to the license being sought.

 (3) The applicant has demonstrated financial responsibility, character, and general fitness such as to command the confidence of the community and to warrant a determination that the mortgage loan originator will operate honestly, fairly, and efficiently within the purposes of this article.

For purposes of this subsection a person has shown that he or she is not financially responsible when he or she has shown a disregard in the management of his or her own financial condition. The commissioner shall not use a credit score as the sole basis for license denial. A determination that an individual has not shown financial responsibility may include, but not be limited to:

 (A) Current outstanding judgments, except judgments solely as a result of medical expenses;

 (B) Current outstanding tax liens or other government liens and filings;

 (C) Foreclosures within the past three years; and

 (D) A pattern of seriously delinquent accounts within the past three years.

 (4) The applicant has completed the pre-licensing education requirement described in §31-17A-6 of this code.

 (5) The applicant has passed a written test that meets the test requirement described in §31-17A-7 of this code.

 (6) The applicant has met the surety bond requirement as required pursuant to §31-17A-13 of this code.

(b) The commissioner may not disqualify an applicant from initial licensure because of a prior criminal conviction that remains unreversed unless that conviction is for a crime that bears a rational nexus to the activity requiring licensure. In determining whether a criminal conviction bears a rational nexus to a profession or occupation, the commissioner shall consider at a minimum:

(1) The nature and seriousness of the crime for which the individual was convicted;

(2) The passage of time since the commission of the crime;

(3) The relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity, and fitness required to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of the profession or occupation; and

(4) Any evidence of rehabilitation or treatment undertaken by the individual.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, if an applicant is disqualified from licensure because of a prior criminal conviction, the commissioner shall permit the applicant to apply for initial licensure if:

(1) A period of five years has elapsed from the date of conviction or the date of release from incarceration, whichever is later;

(2) The individual has not been convicted of any other crime during the period of time following the disqualifying offense; and

(3) The conviction was not for an offense of a violent or sexual nature: Provided, That a conviction for an offense of a violent or sexual nature may subject an individual to a longer period of disqualification from licensure, to be determined by the commissioner.

(d) An individual with a criminal record who has not previously applied for licensure may petition the commissioner at any time for a determination of whether the individual’s criminal record will disqualify the individual from obtaining a license. This petition shall include sufficient details about the individual’s criminal record to enable the commissioner to identify the jurisdiction where the conviction occurred, the date of the conviction, and the specific nature of the conviction. The commissioner shall provide the determination within 60 days of receiving the petition from the applicant. The commissioner may charge a fee to recoup its costs for each petition.