In 2001, long before “compliance” became the buzzword in the mortgage industry, John I. Vong co-founded ComplianceEase, which provides automated compliance solutions.
Over the last year, Vong concentrated on preparing his company and clients for the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule.
He’s been instrumental in the development of ComplianceEase’s product suite, including ComplianceAnalyzer with TRID Monitor, a new module within the company’s flagship product, which provides comprehensive, real-time auditing of TRID disclosure timing, changed circumstances and fee tolerances across all disclosures.
Vong originally designed ComplianceAnalyzer as an Excel spreadsheet 14 years ago, but spent two years redesigning it, rolling it out in early 2003. Today the company’s clients include: three of the country’s top five bank-owned mortgage lenders, seven of the top 10 nonbank mortgage lenders, federal and state banking and mortgage regulators, and more than 400 other mortgage-related entities.
ComplianceAnalyzer is also integrated with more than 30 industry-leading service providers, including top loan origination and loan document generation systems, and has performed over 15 million loan audits and more than 100 million legislative tests.
For the first half of 2015, Burlingame, California-based ComplianceEase’s revenue grew 64% from the same period last year. Earlier this year, the company acquired the assets of Mortgage Banking Systems (dba ProClose), which provides mortgage document preparation and closing software solutions.
Vong, a Hong Kong native who attended Berea College in Kentucky to study business and data processing, is no stranger to the regulatory and compliance sector. After college, he moved to San Francisco and founded mortgage bank Integrated Capital Group Inc., which he sold to The Money Store Inc. in 1997 and subsequently sold to First Union Bank in 2000.
“I was doing some consulting in the industry and my partner and I had invested in several tech startups,” he said. “We ended up managing some of them and [saw that] the mortgage industry had a need for advanced technology.”
His spreadsheet became a popular tool and the idea for ComplianceEase was born.
These days, Vong is preparing for the future beyond TRID, which includes the final Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) rule. This new rule is expected to dramatically increase reporting requirements and burden to some lenders, who have historically placed a lower priority upon HMDA reporting.
His company, along with its internal and external legal research teams, have been developing HMDA reporting best practices that include loan application register data processing as an ongoing — rather than once a year — activity. Staying on top of regulatory changes in every state has proven to be a full-time job, or rather five full-time jobs.
“We have in-house attorneys and a network of outside counsel that have been helping us track any movement on the legislative process,” he said. “It’s not just federal, but all the states. If they want to propose a legislative change we can follow the movement and start developing the rules.”
The federal regulatory changes often have longer lead times, but states aren’t as experienced and can introduce changes more quickly with instant ramifications.
The devil is in the details, he said.
“As we are in the automated compliance business, we need to translate the words and the spirit of the laws into bytes,” Vong said. “Therefore, attention to detail is very important to me. Bringing this philosophy to our products’ development and continuous improvement has made ComplianceEase the leader in the automated compliance space,” he said.
“In terms of leadership philosophy, contributing to the success of your partners and clients will always get you to the finish line faster.”