Last week, in an interview with The Miami Herald, Saxon said he never tried to change the law because he didn't think it would pass. But when asked who would have opposed such legislation, he couldn't think of anyone. "I don't have any specific names, " he said.
In his report Tuesday, Saxon also promised an "audit" of any licensed mortgage broker who had a criminal record at the time of their approval.
Saxon addressed several individual cases reported by The Miami Herald, including the agency's licensing of Anthony Hollis, of Orlando. Despite convictions for car theft and passing bad checks, Hollis was granted a license to own a brokerage in 2003.
Saxon said Hollis' background check came back with a confusing alias, and his staff granted a license without further review.
Saxon also brought up the case of Donald Smith, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for strangling his wife and dumping her body in Tampa Bay. Saxon said staff did not "timely review" information submitted by Smith and had to issue the license because an administrative deadline expired.
In the case of Richard Crowder, who went on to commit $37 million in mortgage fraud, Saxon pointed out that Crowder's grand theft and burglary charges dated back to 1984. But Crowder had no convictions since then.
The Miami Herald reported that between 2000 and 2007 only 29 applicants were denied based on their criminal records, after reviewing thousands of final orders issued by the agency. Last spring, OFR attorney Peter Fisher told two Miami Herald reporters that reviewing final orders is the only way to determine that number.
On Tuesday, Saxon said there had been a misunderstanding. In fact, his staff had persuaded 316 people with criminal records to withdraw their applications. "This process is employed by OFR, which has been dealing with an average of 20,000 applications per year, because it is time and resource efficient, " he said.
Rep. Dan Gelber, House minority leader, said Saxon should have made the proposals years ago and not waited for a newspaper investigation.
"It's a little late, " said Gelber, D-Miami Beach. "He was the guy on the ground who was supposed to see what's going on and was expected to ring the bell."
The state chapter of the American Association for Retired Persons joined the call for Saxon's resignation, saying it was "deeply disappointed in the state's lax oversight of mortgage brokers."
While Saxon is proposing reforms on the state level, a bill in Congress could impose the changes nationwide.
On Wednesday, legislation was passed by the U.S. House that includes provisions to license everyone selling home loans. The bill would require states to conduct competency exams and criminal background checks and deny a license to anyone convicted of a felony in the past seven years.