Mortgage brokers are fleeing Florida in droves, the Miami Herald reported, with the number of brokers down 90 percent in the last four years thanks to tougher loan requirements, tighter regulations and increased license application fees. More than 82,000 Floridians were licensed just four years ago, the Herald said, but today only 10,600 licensed brokers are working in the state.
“Everybody wanted to be a mortgage broker or a realtor, because it was just being an order-taker,” said Mike Ferrie, district vice president for the Florida Board of Realtors. “It was easy pickings. When the bottom hit, it got a lot more realistic.”
A Florida law that took effect late last year increased the requirements of brokers, in a bid to tackle mortgage fraud which is prevalent in Florida. Brokers must now renew their licenses annually for $254 and have annual criminal background checks for license renewals.
The new system is almost as flawed as the old, said broker Linda Knowlton.
“There just weren’t any checks and balances in the [old] system,” said Knowlton, vice president of Mortgage Group Services in Fort Myers. “There are now so many it’s sometimes difficult to do your jobs.” [Miami Herald]