Background Report Certification Requirements and Checklist

The New York State Department of Financial Services investigates the character and fitness of executive officers, directors, stockholders, partners, qualifiers or individuals, as applicable, that are associated with applications for a de novo license or registration; changes in senior executive officers and directors; conversions of mortgage bankers, and changes in control of a regulated entity.

In connection with applications to organize or control a financial services entity supervised by the New York State Department of Financial Services, an investigative background report is required. It is the responsibility of the applicant and its principals (executive officers, directors, stockholders, partners or individuals, as applicable), to order such reports at their own expense from an independent licensed private investigation company.

Required Background Investigation Information

No background report will be considered complete unless it contains all information.

  1. Comprehensive Credit Report with credit score (include the actual report as well as summary)
  2. Civil and Bankruptcy Court Records (for the past 10 years) – must include search of federal court records as well as state and county level searches for all states in which the individual resided for the past 10 years. The investigation report must describe the type of search performed, court(s) searched, relevant time frame and legal name and aliases used to perform the search. For all identified civil cases or bankruptcy filings: the report must also include case/index numbers, name of defendants and plaintiffs; date of filing; final disposition and date of final disposition.
  3. Education Records – must include date(s) attended; city and state where school is located; diploma or degree granted, if any, and major field of study; date diploma or degree received; accomplishments, if any, and the source utilized to verify the education records
  4. Employment History – Verify and specify the name and address of all employers for the past 10 years; dates of employment, job position/title(s) and job related duties and responsibilities of the individual. The report must identify the date(s) such information was verified, the source used to conduct verification (automated service, person-to-person contact or written); the name and title of the individual providing such verification if contact was person-to-person or in written form. If the verification occurs through automated service, the name of the automated service must be provided, along with the date and time of such automated search.
  5. Professional References – Three individual written references, from a non-related individual who is in the position to verify the individual’s qualifications in terms of work duties and experience. Such references must specifically reference the period of time the individual performed the relevant job duties, the relationship and circumstances by which the person providing the reference has knowledge of the individual’s relevant work duties and experience and the length of time the person providing the reference has known the individual. Professional References must clearly address the individuals actual work experience in the area of credit evaluation or underwriting. Broadly worded references that address an individual’s work duties and experience purely in terms of their oversight and supervision of a process, group of employees, business unit or division will not be accepted as addressing actual work experience in the area of credit evaluation or underwriting. Note: References cannot be provided by individuals supervised or previously supervised by the person for whom the reference is being prepared. Professional references from existing employees of the applicant, its subsidiaries or affiliates will not be accepted.
  6. Media History (if applicable) – Must include an electronic search of national and local newspapers and business publications. The report must identify the date such search was performed, the database utilized to perform the media search and the timeframe searched (i.e. past 10 years, 20 years). Media search results should be summarized. Reports containing screenshots or images of internet pages or archived media search results will not be accepted.
  7. Regulatory History (if applicable) – Must include any relevant information regarding the individual’s history with regulatory agencies such as HUD, FHFA, CFPB, NASD, etc. If applicable, the date and parties to each enforcement action must be listed along with the type of enforcement action.
  8. Department of Motor Vehicle Records
  9. Judgments & Liens – Must include, at a minimum, information on judgments and liens filed with the county clerk in counties where the applicant worked and resided and all counties contiguous to those counties (within the past 10 years).
  10. Other Licenses – List all licenses granted by any governmental agency or judicial body and indicate if they are still in good standing.

Please note that all background investigation reports must be provided directly to the Department by the private investigation company. These reports should be sent to:

New York State Department of Financial Services
Attention: Mortgage Banking Division
One State Street
New York, NY 10004

Temporary COVID-19 Background Investigation Report Submission Process

To minimize the impact our remote operations may have on pending applicants, the Department will accept Background Investigation Reports electronically. Going forward, in addition to mailing the original documents to the Department, Private Investigative Companies can submit such reports electronically to [email protected]. Private Investigative Companies that choose to submit Background Investigative Reports electronically are reminded of their responsibility to ensure such documents are encrypted or password protected and to send the encryption key or password in a separate email.