The Conference of State Bank Supervisors announced this week that all U.S. states and territories can now use a single, common exam to assess mortgage loan originators (MLOs), simplifying the licensing process for and streamlining supervision of the mortgage industry.

The Uniform State Test (UST) is one of several initiatives being taken by state regulators, collectively known as Vision 2020, to improve the state licensing process for all nonbank financial services.

Previously, a mortgage license candidate would need to take multiple tests: one national exam and one exam for each state license. A license applicant who now passes the National SAFE MLO Test with Uniform State Content (National Test) will not need to take any additional state-specific tests to hold a license within any state or U.S. territory.

The National Test had nearly 33,000 first-time test takers in 2017. In addition to reducing burden, each state that adopted the UST has reduced the cost of licensure in its state by $69, CSBS says. In 2017, those 33,000 first-time test takers collectively saved more than $2.2 million. State agencies realized an average 56 percent increase in applications after adopting the UST, promoting competitive markets that drive down costs for consumers.