Mortgage assistance rules eased in N.H.

As of Aug. 26, New Hampshire consumers will be able to get help in obtaining a mortgage without a license, as long as they don’t actually take the application or try to negotiate or arrange the loan.That’s the fine distinction that lawmakers tried to make when they passed House Bill 189 last session.The bill altered a relatively new law the state enacted to conform to the federal SAFE act, which itself was in reaction to the subprime mortgage meltdown that was blamed in part on unsavory and unlicensed mortgage originators.Many of the originators encouraged consumers to take out a larger mortgage than they could afford by not verifying, or sometimes falsifying, a borrower’s income, or not adequately explaining crucial terms of the mortgage. But backers of the HB 189 said the law went too far and prevented accountants and other professionals from even discussing a mortgage, or giving advice about it, without having to go to the state Banking Department to get a license.So on Friday, certain professionals will no longer be required to have a license to help assist consumers in “obtaining or applying to obtain a mortgage loan by advising on loan terms (including rates, fees and other costs, preparing loan packages, or collecting information on behalf of the consumer with regard to mortgage loans,” as the previous law specified.But those who are paid to take a mortgage application or offer, negotiate, solicit, arrange or find a mortgage loan or who offer or negotiate terms of a residential mortgage loan are still required to obtain a license.Employees of originators who “perform purely administrative or clerical tasks” don’t need a license either.Also on Friday, all pharmacists (not just those practicing for three years) can administer flu shots, and they will now also be able to administer septicemia, meningitis and chicken pox vaccines.The pharmacists will still have to take a training course, and for the new vaccines, they will contact the primary care doctor and keep records. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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