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DC Complexity plus Rising Sales, Rising Pressures on MH

February 5th, 2016 No comments

Reminder: like so many of you, we love the manufactured housing industry, and believe strongly in its future. Good news exists like the wine that cheers us ahead; troubling news is there for us to identify, navigate and overcome so our home owners and we as professionals can grow even more.

rising-home-sales-shutterstock-masthead-blog-mhpronews-Let’s note the rising new home MH shipment report, linked here, and look at a positive step forward.

DC Complexity

MHI issued a statement, which reads in part as follows:

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved an amendment by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) to increase the flexibility for low income families to use a Section 8 voucher to purchase a manufactured home.  The amendment was approved by voice vote…”

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Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).

This amendment, which was supported by Financial Services Committee Chairman Hensarling (R-TX) and Ranking Member Waters (D-CA), allows vouchers to be used not just for the cost of leasing the land (which is currently permitted) but also for other monthly costs of purchasing a manufactured home loan, including mortgage payments, property tax, and insurance. The change would allow families that receive a tenant-based Section 8 voucher to help pay for an alternative to renting an apartment – allowing them to actually purchase a home.  The amendment does not provide any direct funds or require anyone to use a voucher to live in a manufactured home. However, with this change the approximately 2.1 million Section 8 voucher holders in America will now have the option to use their Section 8 voucher to buy a manufactured home.  

The broader bill that now includes this provision, H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 472-0. It will now be sent to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

Among the comments from readers on this was this:

More than ten years ago at an MHI convention (name withheld) suggested to Barney Frank that this was the one thing gov’t could do which would help everyone.  It went nowhere as he wasn’t listening.

Under the right circumstances this measure could be the most exciting thing since the HUD Code.

But, things are never as good or as bad as one thinks.  This does however, have the potential to really help. Why piss away apt rent money? Let people use that money to buy their MH.

Now let’s see the details and hope for the best.”

The reason the Masthead will refer to this as DC Complexity is this easily overlooked part of the MHI release:

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Maxine Waters (D-CA), ranking member, Financial Services Committee.

This amendment, which was supported by Financial Services Committee Chairman Hensarling (R-TX) and Ranking Member Waters (D-CA), allows vouchers to be used…”

Recall that it was Maxine Waters that recently lead a public charge to have Clayton Homes investigated by the Department of Justice?

We shouldn’t look sideways at this potential for this gift to MH. Congressional Representative Waters is on the attack on MH on one topic, and yet supporting MH on this issue. That reveals how complex DC can be.

In this political environment, it doesn’t pay to burn a bridge in the nation’s capitol, does it?

Unreported in the release where acknowledgments of others who have publicly called on HUD for like reforms, including MHARR, MHI and another as seen from this link here.

Seattle Times –The Beat(ing) of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Clayton Homes and MH lending goes on…

The news alert read like this…

Washington state moves to protect mobile-home buyers

Center for Public Integrity

The ongoing investigation of the industry, “The Mobile-Home Trap,” has focused on Clayton Homes, a company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire …

In the wake of the above and related, we received this comment that was initially sent on the record by a well know industry leader, and then a follow up message requested it not be on the record.

Tony,

In my opinion the Section 8 MHI posting and the DOJ investigation of Clayton Homes financial entities appears to be a concert conducted to appeal to the 98%ers and to get local NIMBY’s to remake the LLC communities into a new type of affordable housing.

The goal is to offset troubling local affordable housing issues nationwide.  Since Socialism and Rent Control appear to be a Democrat and Progressives theme and a claim to equality in housing. Only one “Gotcha” is needed to validate and prove Clayton Homes finance arm’s troubles.

The trend and recent actions clearly shows a path to change for the future of HUD (Code manufactured) housing.” (Editor’s note – the words “Code manufactured” – was implied, but not in the original, and was inserted above for clarity of meaning).

Follow ups made it clear that this writer wasn’t throwing someone under the bus, nor necessarily favoring what is happening on this issue. Rather, that professional suggests that the HUD Code MH and MHC industries are being forced into changes, whether it wants them or not.

About Lesli Gooch’s Op-Ed

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Marty Lavin, JD looking happy and trim in the dining area of his winter residence in Miami Beach, the 70′ custom Italian ship, the Spy Sea.

Marty Lavin, JD, is a successful, award-winning attorney who’s business interests included MH lending, communities and retail sales. His opinion is worth noting, because he worked with one of the GSEs during the 2000s. When he read Dr. Gooch’s OpEd, he shared the following comment on the record to us:

I think Dr. Gooch is very well intended, but the industry position doesn’t necessarily align with the ends of the GSEs. Perhaps a better understanding of their position might lead to a better outcome…if that is possible. It’s much more than just helping consumers buy homes. The GSEs need these folks to be able to stay in them. Therein lies the rub.”

Once more, a close reading of his observations aren’t a slam on Lesli Gooch, or MHI. Marty Lavin has years of experience working with a particular GSE. He understands where they are coming from. Lavin is applying good reasoning: in the absence of meeting the GSE’s concerns, he believes they won’t voluntarily budge.

MHI-itis?

This leads to a broader issue, one we’ve raised in a slightly different way before.

What is keeping MHI from achieving its goals?

Yes, among other factors, there’s opposition in DC from so-called consumer groups. But those same groups claim to champion manufactured housing as a good solution for affordable quality living.

Manufactured housing and its lending ought to be seen as non-partisan issues. Yet all to often, it’s precisely in political and ‘crony capitalist’ terms how MH and it’s lending are being portrayed. That’s tragic, because the status quo is harming millions of owners of low cost MH, and untold thousands of buyers annually who in pre-Dodd-Frank had financing, and thanks to the CFPB’s 2014 implementation of those rules, today do not.

We know that DC works differently than many states do. But the principles are similar. State governments and the federal government mirror each other in the sense there is an executive, legislative and judicial branch and then there are executive branch agencies that enforce rules and regulations. There is lobbying at the state level akin to what happens in Washington, DC.

We know a number of MH state associations that are getting the job done for their members, while working in concert whenever possible with consumer groups. Let’s suggest that’s a model that MHI needs to better implement.

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Ishbel Dickens, NMHOA, photo credit Madison Park Times.

Why? Until we either get consumer groups on the same page as the industry – for the sake of consumers and for

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Doug Ryan, CFED’s point man on manufactured housing.

professionals alike – there exists an often adversarial relationship with non-profits such as Ishbel Dickens of NMHOA and Doug Ryan at CFED, to name but two examples.

Those groups are linked with what is going on in the ongoing media war launched against Clayton Homes et al, as the Center for Public Integrity’s own release indicates, “The ongoing investigation of the industry, “The Mobile-Home Trap,” has focused on Clayton Homes, a company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire…”

Our Daily Business News take on this thorny issue is below.

Seattle Times announces State Investigation of Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes, as expected – Analysis –

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Image credit – collage of Industry Association logos by MHProNews, each logo is the property of their respective organization, and is used here under Fair Use guidelines.

DC Talk and DC Complexity

Once more, your Masthead scribe will be in DC to listen to what is going on there, first hand. The rules of the association are clear. I can’t report on what goes on in the meeting, but what is said in the hallways outside the meeting rooms and beyond the event are fair game.

We’ll see what that hallway and beyond – DC talk – will reveal.

We still want to see S 682 passed, because it is good for consumers and good for the industry. There are those who say Preserving Access is “dead, dead, dead” – that we might at best save the MLO comp rule portion of it.

Another well placed source says the entire bill is still at play, and that’s exactly why the Seattle Times et al are continuing their assault on MHI’s backed bill.

Is passage of the bill doable? Yes. Will it get done the way things are moving now? What do you think?  We Provide, You Decide. ©

Quoting from the MHI website…

MHI Mission Statement – MHI is the national trade organization representing all segments of the factory-built housing industry. MHI serves its membership by providing industry research, promotion, education and government relations programs, and by building and facilitating consensus within the industry.”

Let’s ask: is this mission statement being fully lived up to?

If the mission statement were a reality, would we be further along or perhaps have even already passed the highly modest CFPB/Dodd-Frank reform legislation sought in HR 650-S 682?

What the high numbers of comments, forwards and thousands of reads on our recent Masthead on a related topic suggests is that change must come to MHI, the only question is how and when.

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Graphic credit, OpenSourceway and FlickrCreativeCommons

We want the bill passed, for reasons noted numerous times over the years. It might get passed with no changes at MHI, just rocking along with business as usual there. But my sincere concern is that without change, we are whistling in the wind.

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1I’m looking forward to visits on Capitol Hill.

We’ll catch up with another Masthead after the MHI meetings, perhaps next Wednesday.jan-hollingsworth-for-mhlivingnews-com-55

Until then, stay current with Matthew Silver’s Daily Business News, and you’ve simply got to read Jan Hollingsworth’s latest:

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-frugal-manufactured-mansions-take-their-place-in-the-california-sun/

Your insights and thoughts? They’re valued.

Let’s end as we began. Good news cheers us on, issues are there for us to learn from and navigate. Onward! ##

l.a.'tony'kovach-us-supreme-court-washington-dc-mhpronews-com-By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

 

Manufactured Housing – Losing, Lemmings and MH Winning

January 26th, 2016 No comments

Housing isn’t a partisan issue. It’s a human necessity. Physically – not spiritually – speaking, there is food, clothing, transportation and shelter. In the natural order, all else is a bonus.

In the USA, affordable housing is a growing need. No industry – on paper – can make a better case for being the affordable housing solution. Manufactured homes – MH – is a uniquely American industry.

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The collage above is both real and symbolic.  The homes shown are from independent producers and from major firms alike. There is work to do to make the collage a reality. Image credit, MHLivingNews.com.

The facts noted aren’t opinions, they are indisputable realities that if debated we could easily make the case for, and we do that digitally daily here, and to the public-at-large on MHLivingNews.

As the industry’s premier professional trade media – and most respected independent voice – the Masthead blog on MHProNews brings you views today and moving ahead that will take a politically incorrect, but pro-goal and solution oriented look at the following question.

So why doesn’t the MH Industry win more often in DC?

It’s a multi-billion dollar a year question. That means, your share of lost profits could be in the millions. Why doesn’t MH do better in the media, and better politically in DC?

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Housing is a trillion dollar a year industry. MH is doing maybe 5 billion a year in sales. When will we take the steps necessary to advance the industry’s cause successfully, so that professionals and investors can earn what the industry’s true potential is? Image credit, blah-blah, blah.

We asked, here are examples of what we’ve been told.

The industry blew it during the early part of the Obama Administration and in the waning days of the Bush era,” an insider told MHProNews. “We had the opportunity to do great things for MH in Washington (DC), and fumbled it away.”

MHI’s CEO has the solid support of the Executive Committee,” another said. “A strong statement of support was made for Dick Jennison when his contract was extended.”

The flip side of that are those who say that Jennison has a tenuous relationship with staffers, and has a series of what some would say are notable – and avoidable – missteps with non-profit groups such as CFED, with MHARR and with others.

Example. While we see the world very differently than anti-MHC activist Ishbel Dickens on most things, please note her quote to us below:

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Isbhel can tell you as well as anyone that we disagree on most things, but this statement of her’s we happen to have confirmed – quite by chance – by MHI. Ishbel Dickens, NMHOA, photo credit Madison Park Times.

Tim and I have met with the Board Chair and the in-house counsel for MHI and offered to try to negotiate acceptable compromise legislation regarding HR 650. However, to no avail.”

The “Tim” above means Tim Sheahan, NMHOA President. MHI’s Chair at the time referenced was

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Tim Sheahan, President, NMHOA. Photo credit. National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA).

Nathan Smith, of SSK Communities. MHI’s attorney naturally reports to its president, Richard “Dick” Jennison.

Some of the other missteps made by paid MHI staff were documented – by MHI! – on MHProNews. An example is linked here, where Dick Jennison is said to have instructed Jason Boehlert to pull the trigger on issuing the victory-lap statement on meetings with the non-profits.

So what?

The problem was, that Jennison and Boehlert alledgedly didn’t clear the comment with the non-profits.

He wanted a victory to report, and we were personally asked to report it, to maximize the spread of the RichardDickJennison-MHI-CEO-PostedMHProNews-com‘good news’ on this topic to the MH Industry at large.

We did, word for word as we were asked to publish it. They were pleased, and thanked us for publishing their letter by Jason.

However, when the non-profits saw what they had published on MHProNews, they let Dick know they wanted to rip Jennison a new one.

We’ve sat on facts and insights like these and numerous others we have in hand, hoping the mistakes at MHI were going to be corrected.

In that hope, let me hereby admit my being wrong.  In the wake of the ongoing mishandling of the media, non-profits, politicos, MHI’s own members, etc. – and others that we won’t mention or publish today, but may soon – we are past tired of waiting.  

Moi had to look in the mirror and ask a tough question.  Are all in MH going to suffer and wait endlessly for the next track to replay on the same scarred vinyl record?

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Vunyl record, stuck playing the same track, over and over. Royalty free image credit, dreamtime.

Inside MH

For those who don’t understand DC politics, the support of CFED and other non-profit groups such as Dickens-led NMHOA for MHI’s Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act bill would have meant the difference between a fight to pass the earlier or current versions of HR 650/S 682, and smooth sailing with both major parties in an agreement.

Dickens knows that reality. So read her words again with that context:

Tim (Sheahan) and I have met with the Board Chair (Nathan Smith) and the in-house counsel for MHI and offered to try to negotiate acceptable compromise legislation regarding HR 650. However, to no avail.”

I recall the briefing Nathan Smith gave to MHI members in attendance at MHI about the then-latest meeting on Preserving Access. It was what you’d expect from the opposite side of NMHOA’s pole in politics.

Those same non-profit groups may be wrong on the facts of industry financing and much else; and in the case of CFED, they may have a conflict of interest with the CFPB – which we exclusively broke the story on – linked here. To my knowledge, CFED hasn’t tried to explain that reported conflict-of-interest away. When something is true, it makes it harder to deny.

We’re doing our job today as pro-industry trade media by exposing what too few would know otherwise. The repeated missteps in Arlington directly and indirectly can costs your operation serious money. The graphs below tell the tale.

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Facts and image credit – US Census Bureau, Reed Construction and MHProNews.

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Credit – Bipartisan Policy Center.

When And Why Facts Don’t Always Matter…

In a normal world, having the facts on your side should mean victory. In the topsy turvey world of DC, that’s not always true.

But to screw up repeatedly, to snatch a bloody nose at the hands of PBS rather than be taking another step toward industry victory on a key finance issue that harms millions of MH home owners and thousands of MH businesses, that takes real talent.

Here are some comments and insights from MHI members and loyalists:

1) A prominent state executive first said a couple of years ago that the way the Preserving Access was being handled was going to lead to its likely defeat. That same exec did what he felt he could to advance the cause with his members. In the aftermath of the ST/BF and PBS reports, the statement yesterday to us was, has said exec now been proven right? The exec and others believe so.

2) After a briefing, another industry figure described Dick Jennison – almost three years ago – as sounding “clueless” on key industry issues being pushed then and still now in DC. That professional was telling MHProNews how concerned he was about how things were being managed in negotiations with the CFPB, and in promoting the prior version of Preserving Access to Congress.

Ironically, that person is working today for MHI. Perhaps that pro is patiently waiting for Jennison to be replaced?

3) Nor is that person alone in seeing how things are being handled in Arlington. Another at MHI is also awaiting Dick’s retirement – or other exit – with an eye on Jennison’s desk and chair.  Can you image how such inner-office rivals manage to make good things happen?

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Our private and other efforts to stop the chaos have born no fruit.  So now, to end the repeated bottle necks the MHIndustry encounters in its political efforts, we and others must be willing to boldly identify the choke points. The above image is credit to Google’s online definition.

4) We hear from a growing list of long time MHI devotees – people who have paid dues and have served the organization for years – lament off-the-record why things are SNAFU’d. A polite Google definition of snafu is above, but do a search for the Urban Dictionary definition of SNAFU, please…

5) There are plenty of supporters for Arlington-based MHI’s measure. So why does MHI so often come up short? As we opened this column, affordable housing is a bipartisan issue. With the above fumbles, infighting and lack of confidence in leadership in mind, are you getting the picture of why we don’t win in DC?

Is the following quote the answer?

Tony, I’m tired of being a lemming, running off the cliff in support of the endless chase of MHI’s bill. Most of the state associations we are members of work far more effectively than MHI. You’ve been promoting passage of the current and two prior versions of Preserving Access for years. Let’s be honest. The PAC money, time and effort are being wasted. The way it works there is a mess. I was told that when Nathan (Smith) called the office, other staffers said Jennison would run to the phone. Okay, great. Dick has the (MHI) budget balanced, but the bill (HR 650/S 682) and regulatory reforms MHI lobbies for aren’t getting done. I’d rather he’d slowly swagger to the phone, because he gets the job done, than have him run because there is no good news to report.”

6) We are told there are *** larger battles looming in DC. *** Can MHI afford to keep hoping to get it right? Can we keep watching missed field goals and missed opportunities to score touchdowns? When the same mistakes keep coming up in sports or any other profession, sorry – but sooner or later – doesn’t a change have to be made?

One long time MH veteran told me a total house cleaning has to happen at MHI. Nothing less than that will do, was that professional’s take.

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Total house cleaning? Pardon me, but the Masthead doesn’t see it that way. At the same time, the question of some degree of clean-up being necessary…isn’t that a different story?

We Provide, You Decide. ©

Releasing the MHI letter to PBS

Jennison has been asked and asked to release the 3 page letter sent to PBS by MHI. What good is that letter if it is read once at PBS and then tossed into file 13?

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MHI logo is their trademark, and is used here for editorial purposes only. MHProNews Spotlight, credit, MHProNews.

Tony, please stay on that getting that alleged 3 page letter sent by MHI to PBS. The lack of transparency at MHI is stunning. Maybethe letter they sent PBS is great. Maybe it’s weak. Who the hell knows? Members paid for the work that went into that letter. We as dues payers deserve to see it published! Please, keep the heat on them regarding this issue!”

Ok.

I was asked, when was the last MHI Week in Review (WiR) published? As I told an MHI staffer a few weeks ago, sometimes that goes into my spam, so I don’t always see it. So the question intrigued me. Given the query, I did a careful check. I came up with the date, January 8th. Surely, with a growing staff at MHI, that couldn’t be correct, so I called an MHI board member, he double checked too, and the last time MHI sent out WiR. He also said, January 8th.

Why call it “week in review?” One message to MHProNews said:

There are some things they print in Week in Review and in their Housing Alerts that are so clearly fluff, one has to wonder why they bother at all. To call the FHFA outcome on Duty to serve a “significant victory” is pure spin. Total propaganda.” 

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“Total propaganda?” That’s too strong a comment, but it reflects the mood of some MHI loyalists. MHI’s logo is their property, and the above is used here under fair use guidelines.

Here above is the full MHI alert, to set the context of that writer’s comment. Please *** closely read paragraph two *** which is clearly contradictory. The above is used here under fair use guidelines, to spotlight the point of pure spin by MHI being given to members and through them, to the industry.  Is that reporting?

Let’s be clear. A truly “significant victory” for manufactured housing would mean, DTS for MH chattel lending was going to be included in the proposed rule. The word for months was that it was an all but done deal. By contrast, the reality check is that asking for public comments, means the odds are now against you. Some say, its a conspiracy. We think that’s unlikely. Candidly, isn’t the more likely case that this issue too has been badly mishandled?  More incompetence?

Release the Federal Minutes!

Do you see why some are calling for MHI to ask FHFA to release the minutes of their closed door meeting with FHFA?

MHI members can be loyal, and most are! But what does it say about those in Alrington who ok’d the Housing Alert letter above – which we’re told had to pass through Dick Jennison’s hands before going out to members – are being given spin instead of the obvious truth?

Yes. Given the pattern of recent years, the reason for frustration with Arlington and this or that particular person there is increasingly clear. Some loyalists who used to go to MHI meetings, no longer do. They send someone else from their operation, or don’t go at all.

Another MHI member told me there was no other option, no other national association “game in town” for his segment of the industry.

No competition might be helpful for job security at MHI, but in the real world, when you go years with minimal or no real results, you don’t keep large checks and big desks.”

Filling the Vacuum?

Compared to such serious issues, it seems petty to talk about the difference between how MHI and MHARR respectively count new home shipments. That’s like an American debating the cost of tea in China. That puts not a nickel in anyone’s pocket, save those who peddle that petty stuff.

But there is a big difference – a costly one – when top MHI staff are said to be keeping important facts from others, including secrets that ought to be known by other office or remote staff – or most espeically – from dues paying members, whose livelihoods are being impacted by MHI.

To be fair and balanced, there are some issues we get answers from top staff in Arlington, but on others like the 3 page letter to PBS issue – silence.  To be equally fair, we invite MHI’s president to respond to the specific issues raised by this column. Will he?

Or will something else fill that MHI vacuum?

No Third Party…not yet

The 40 billion dollar man – former NYC Mayor, Michael Bloomberg – has floated a trial balloon. Should Hillary falter in Iowa and lose big in NH – and/or get indicted by the Feds – Bloomberg could toss an independent hat in the ring, and fund himself to the tune of $1B for the 2016 race.

Is there a trial balloon floating in MH, about a breakaway group born of the rifts and frustration within MHI?

Hmmm, yes, but at this point, they are no more serious than Bloomberg’s is, likely less so. But…

Don’t throw in the towel…

For those tired of DC politics as usual, let me say, please don’t throw in the towel yet.

Your voice matters. Who is the industry?  James Cook answered that by saying, each of us are.

These issues impact your businesses. They impact the value of MH home owners. They cost the industry billions of dollars a year.

We will continue to promote success for home owners and businesses alike. But we aren’t going to encourage lemming-like behavior that gets us no where good, and does that slowly.

Frustration-lead change looks to be coming in both major parties. Could frustration lead change be coming to MHI too?

Manufactured housing is a non-partisan issue.  The industry’s thousands of businesses and millions of home owners deserve a more cogent, cohesive effort than what we see from the Arlington, VA based MHI efforts in DC.

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Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.  Loyalty isn’t about being a yes man, its about doing what’s right for the whole organization and industry. It doesn’t take an genius to know that you don’t keep doing the same things, the same way, and expect to get a new and better result. Photo credit, WikiCommons. Poster credit, MHProNews.

We Provide, You Decide ©

Next up…Tunica!

There will be news about Tunica, and one – possibly two – new Cup of Coffee interviews for the rapidly approaching February issue of MHProNews featured articles. Look for that in under a week, and please check back this weekend for more views from the Masthead that are Inside MH.We Provide, You Decide.” © ##

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Standing Room Only seminars are scheduled for the 2016 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, including SuperCharged Marketing and Sales, Financing and MHC/Retail Lessons Learned. More Tunica Show details, linked here.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Serious September – Manufactured Housing Industry Newsmakers, Reports, Articles and Interviews

September 2nd, 2015 No comments

Serious September 2015. It could just as easily be named, how to Scale Success, or Sliding Sideways September.  Which of the later two it will be depends on how each of us views and responds to events and opportunities.  Before outlining our STRONG Serious September Featured Articles and Interviews line up, let me explain what I mean.

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We could use as an executive summary for the next few paragraphs below that Media Engagement by MH Matters, and that Engaging the Media as Media is Very Useful.

1) We spent the early part of the summer documenting MH potential and opportunities on MHProNews.com.  As with the rest of our content, you can still see and access those articles. June is here and July, linked here.  We could summarize it by saying that with rents rising, site-building through the roof (on costs…) and inventories of ‘affordable homes’ in short supply in many markets, MH has plenty of opportunities for a record rebound.

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The reports, linked via the image above, were part of a hot, hot summer on MHProNews.

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Dick Ernst, FinMark USA and Chariman of Financial Services division at MHI.

2) Among the reasons given for not rising higher in new home shipments than we have include financing and new regulations.  More on that shortly, but I’ll refer back to what Dick Ernst, now Chairman of MHI’s Financial Services Committee, has said.  There is no lack of capacity for our MH lenders to finance many more people, who are financially qualified. That could be rephrased as ‘we need to attract better credit customers,’ without ignoring providing the millions – who have no chance for a site built house – the opportunity to buy from us.

3) We have to broaden our industry’s base.  We have to attract the more credit qualified customers, without ignoring the traditional, affordable, entry-level side of our market.  There are retailers and MHCs who are doing it. That means, it can be done in your market too.  How do we do that, you ask?  Many ways, including through media and PR strategies.

Not Letting CFPB and their cheer leaders off the Hook

It is offensive to think MH pros can collectively do only one thing at a time well.  The people I know can walk, chew gum and carry on a cogent conversation all at once. En masse, there are tons we can do, together.

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CFPB-ManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-CFPB-Regulations-commentary-posted-MastheadBlogMHProNews2com-

Any serious researcher is going to find what you see in the screen capture above. MHProNews, MHLivingNews and our other related media efforts are in-the-mix of the conversation on CFPB regulations and their impact on MH.

So while there absolutely has to be a focus on regulatory relief – that we support in word and deed – we ought not make that the one-and-only-thing needed for industry recovery.  Frankly, the regulatory relief sought is as much or more for those estimated 1.7 million households that have a home under 20k in value, as it is for professionals selling the industry’s pre-owned homes.

So we applaud the efforts of the national and state associations in MH that are working to correct those terrible ‘unintended consequence’ of Dodd-Frank. We’re doing more than cheering. We’re doing the meetings, the legislative outreaches, PLUS providing digital cover for the effort in the form of serious research that makes policy types and Senate staffers say (paraphrasing what a Democratic Senate staffer told me), Hey, that’s a pretty compelling argument.

Dodd-Frank-ManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-CFPB-Regulations-commentary-posted-MastheadBlogMHProNews-com-

Dodd-Frank-ManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-CFPB-Regulations-commentary-posted-MastheadBlogMHProNews2com-

Again, any serious researcher on Dodd-Frank and Manufactured Home Loan regulations will come across the MHProNews, MHLivingNews and our OpEd on The Hill Congress blog. We are woven into the conversation, which means that the REAL consumer and industry views are being presented.  Ditto someone checking out Doug Ryan/CFED comments, they are bound to find one or more of our articles that will correct the record, and are in favor of reforms sought by the MH Industry. 

DougRyanCFED-ManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-CFPB-Regulations-commentary-posted-MastheadBlogMHProNews1com-

DougRyanCFED-ManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-CFPB-Regulations-commentary-posted-MastheadBlogMHProNews2com-

As further proof of the digital cover, Jan Hollingsworth’s latest column, “Renters’ Nation” has lit up since it was published.

RentersNationTheDarkSideDoddFrankImpactAffordableHousing-MHLivingNews-postedMHProNews-com-

Click here  to see this read hot, new story….

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/renters-nation-the-dark-side-of-dodd-frank-and-its-impact-on-affordable-housing/

87 hours and 38 minutes after the above was published, Webalizer reports there were 42,917 hits on that one article In MH Land, that’s astonishing.

What has to be done now is to scale that outcome

If you want the CFPB and/or the Senate to agree to changes in MH regulations, let me repeat that: what we now have to do is scale that readership result cited above. Please share the link above to Jan’s article with your local editor, and with your  Congressional Rep, your 2 U.S. Senators and the CFPB.

Let’s put this total readership of Jan’s article into perspective.

Just because some publication may have a million readers, that doesn’t mean that each article is read.  Case in point.  We took respected and popular Forbes’ article, shown below.  On July 29th, 2014 on a hot subject, it had 6,701 views.  13 months later, you see that the total views on that article are now up to 7,732.   What that Forbes article has in views in 4 and 2/3rds years, Jan’s latest article accomplished in less than 4 days.

Forbes=credit=taxWaste6.1BillionManHoursComplingFederalTaxCode-JanetNovack-postedMastheadBlog-MHProNews-com

Do you recall when this was big news for a while in the media? Look at the actual views on the article, this screen capture dated 9.2.2015.  7, 732 total views.  It isn’t just how many see it, but who sees it an then acts upon it.  Credit – Forbes.

Side Show September?

Word has it from certain hot spots that some are already grumbling that we gave Frank Rolfe his right to free speech via a featured interview in this month’s issue.  Why would we, as a pro-MH publisher, allow Frank to be quoted as he shared it?

Wouldn’t you want to be quoted accurately?

To be taken seriously as trade media, we have to be fair and balanced, or we risk sliding into irrelevance.  We quoted Doug Ryan accurately too, and I’m not equating the two by any means. When we quote:

  • Jim Clayton, or
  • Nathan Smith, or
  • John Bostick, or
  • Mark Weiss, or
  • Dick Jennison, or whomever,

we ought to quote them accurately. And we do.

Indirectly Related – a Note of Caution

There are already whispers about the wisdom of MHI VP Rick Robinson and MHI Chairman Nathan Smith going to a stage in about a week, when the person providing the stage is said to be in conflict with MHI and the NCC.

Policy

As a matter of policy, we’ve allowed people to critique me and our publication, on our own pages.  So we do this very fairly.  I don’t have to agree or disagree with Frank on his statements regarding MHI and the NCC to protect his right to speak out on those subjects, even though it was not at all on our minds when we asked him the questions. We had no idea what Frank’s replies would be.

If MHI wants to respond, they are welcome to do so.  We are willing to share that response, publicly. Fair and balanced reporting. Period.

We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Something we strive diligently to avoid is any FALSE or errant statement (this, in contrast to an unpopular opinion).  When someone says there are 50,000 or 55,000 MHCs in the U.S. (for example), we’ll either want them to correct that number (that totals is likely more like 45,000, according to informed sources) or we would want to cut the statement entirely.

But that’s not what Frank Rolfe did.  Frank stated his views, and in no way shared a claim that is not grounded in a fact, though those facts can be understood in a variety of ways.

The issues raised by others of late are not new, and are not a side show.  They are on the minds of many in MH; we know, because we’ve heard them often enough.  Its just that this was the first time someone wanted to say so, on the record.

“We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Listening and Taking Correction Well

We had a nice message recently that praised our reporting and commentary work, but then included two typos that needed to be corrected (only 2? ;-).  The writer explained, he didn’t want the corrections to be taken the wrong way.  My rapid response was to make the corrections, and thank him.

An MHI staff officer also sent us a correction on a typo recently. Same outcome as the above.  We want to get the facts right.  We thanked the party.

We published the early comments on Jan’s article, one was that ‘it was long.’ We worked that perspective into the article, linked below.  My response?  I thanked the person for the comment.  That said, the challenge with what we face is in MH as an industry is that we’ve let too much stuff build up over the years, and now we need more than 800 words to dig ourselves out.  The fact that there are so many hits on Jan’s article so fast strongly suggests the content is ‘just right.’

You Can’t Please Everyone, All the Time…

Nor should that be our goal.  If everything was perfect in MHVille, then maybe we’d only need 300 to 400 word columns that all say, ‘everything’s great!’

The reality is there is work to do. Plenty of it. Grab a tool, and let’s get to it.  Failure to address the issues that nag us costs new MH sales.

Record Setting!

MHProNews had 5 days in August that topped 100,000 hits.  Again, in an industry our size, that’s amazing.  On On August 21st, Webalizer reported the daily count was 180,959 hits.  Our readers don’t have to like every article, for there to be value.

#1-mhpronews-com-

MH Professionals, enthusiasts, educators, media, government officials and investors are among the key groups reflected in software and stats. You and thousands of others have made us the runaway #1 place for MH Industry News Tips and Views Pros Can Use. ©

I explained to an industry leader recently that we publish bad news on the Daily Business News; we do so in part, because it happens; but also because when someone gets (for example) arrested for swindling down payments from a buyer, publishing that acts as a cautionary tale.  Good practices are often rewarded with success, while bad ones are discovered and punished.

When there is a controversy, we ought not ignore it, unless paying attention only fuels something that needs the oxygen removed.

In the matter of MHI/NCC and Frank Rolfe, MHI has to consider why they wanted him on stage, and then they need to consider what might happen if they fail to heed the cautionary note above about the upcoming non-association event.

My bet?  If Nathan Smith and Rick Robinson go to that fast approaching private event of an allegedly disgruntled member as planned, the day will eventually come when they wished they had opted not to do so.  That’s my two cents, they can take it or leave it.

But there should be no doubt that we want what’s good for the organization and good for the industry!  We prove that day by day, showcasing the good, and periodically reminding people there are issues to address that need mending.  You’re reading because you know what’s published here matters and has influence.

Intro for our Featured Articles, Reports and Interviews for September…

As we reported above, we had an August that set records.  When you see the incredible line up we have for our Featured Articles for September, perhaps you’ll agree that this month could set new records with readers like you.

  • We have 2 New Cup of Coffee with…interviews. Chris Parish and Dan Rinzema are featured in their own interviews, which many will find inspirational, useful and insightful.
  • These “Cuppa” interviews will be quite different than the interview with Frank Rolfe, who took some very tough questions put to him, and he responded in what will no doubt be seen by many in wave making ways.  We have no direct connection to Frank, so when I commend him for taking the tough questions we gave him head-on and in a timely fashion, that’s sincerely meant.  Others should think to consider that practice.
  • We have a video interview with Matt Webb, in what ought to be a must-view for anyone interested in improving their management and bottom lines, especially in the MH Community sector, but frankly useful beyond that realm too.
  • We have 4 columns by 5 respected attorneys; you’ll see their important topics that can protect your business, below.
  • We have 2 unique reports on how the new Appraisal Rule roll out is going, with our related MH Industry Survey results coming out soon.
  • There is New York Housing Association’s upcoming regional trade show and educational event.
  • Researching Manufactured Housing Industry Personalities, Organization’s and Topics.
  • A look at the hot early response to Renters’ Nation, the Dark Side of Dodd-Frank’s Impact on MH.
  • Ken Haynes Jr. sounds off on a recent media report.
  • AIA celebrates their 15th anniversary, kudos to them and check out their press release.
  • There are 2 inspirational/motivational articles.
  • Certainly not least for anyone who wants to close more sales, there are videos and an article on reputation management.

With no further adieu, let’s jump into this month’s new Featured Articles, Interviews and Reports.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 6, No. 12, 2015

Alphabetically by Category

 

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

 

• How To Keep Peace and Harmony In Our MH Communities (at a low cost) 


Robert-Coldren-JD by Rob Coldren, Esq and Dan Rudderow, Esq.

The rule breaking tenant can be handled in many ways. Options include:

Read more…

 

• Water, Water, How Much Is That Water?
by Bill Dahlin, JD

bill-dahlin-hkc-law-california-posted-manufactured-housing-pro-news-com-50x50-
Any Californian who has picked up a newspaper, listened to the news, or not been a bonafide Rip Van Wrinkle, is aware that California is in the midst of a significant drought.

Read more…

 

FINANCING

 

• The Appraisal Rule – Six Weeks Report Card

By Lance Hull
LanceHull21stMortgageCorporationPostedMHProNews-com-55x55.jpgOn July 18th, 2015, the Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans (HPML) Appraisal Rule went into effect for our industry.

 

Read more…

 

• Answers to Questions About the New Appraisal Rule

by Darren Krolewski
darren-krolewski-vp-mhvillage-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-55x55The following were answers provided to questions posed by MHProNews.com to DataComp about the new Appraisal rule implementation.

 

Read more…

 

• S. 682 Offers Possible Relief for Consumers Stranded by CFPB

by Bill Matchneer, JD
bill-matchneer-hud-manufactured-housing-division-cfpb-mhpronews-com-50x50Recent history has shown that the regulations designed to…

 

Read more…

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

 

• 65th Annual Convention, Trade Show and Expo – New York Housing Association – Oct 8-12th, 2015 

by Nancy Geer

nancy-geer-new-york-housing-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-50x50-We hope you are well. I have attached the event brochure for you reference. Please see the PDF that is attached.

Read more…

 

• I Can’t Be the Only One.

by Ken Haynes Jr
ken-haynes-jr-new-mexico-manufactured-housing-association-past-president-manufactured-housing-living-news-com55x55It literally drives me temporarily insane when I read or hear manufactured housing referred to by the media, by any other nomenclature than manufactured housing, or manufactured home.

 

Read more…

 

• AIA – Manufactured Housing Specialty Insurance Agents Alliance Celebrates its 15th Anniversary

by Kurt Kelley, JD

kurt-kelly-american-insurance-agency-aia 50x50Bellingham, WA August 25, 2015.

Read more…

 

• Renters’ Nation – Dark Side of Dodd-Frank, its Impact on Affordable Housing – what 38 hours and 25 minutes reveal 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach


tony- kovachWe’ll let John Caron – whom we interviewed for this episode of 
Inside MH – tell you about his significant history in manufactured housing, MH Communities and in real estate investing in his own words.

Read more…

 

• Controversial Media Reports – The Guardian & KVUE – On-The-Record Interview with Frank Rolfe of Mobile Home University, MobileHomeParkStore, RV Horizons 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachOne of the most controversial figures in the MHC world today is Frank Rolfe.

Read more…

 

• Do People Research Manufactured Home Personalities, Companies and MH Industry Subjects? Yes! 

 by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachDo people research companies and people on MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com?

Read more…

 

• A Cup of Coffee with…Chris Parrish

a-cup-mhmsm-com1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at Parrish Manor).

Read more…

 

• A Cup of Coffee with…Dan Rinzema


a-cup-mhmsm-com1) 
Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at MHVillage/DataComp)

Dan Rinzema, President and CEO, Datacomp Appraisal Systems, Inc. and MHVillage, Inc..

Read more…

 

MARKETING

 

• You Like Me, You Really Do Like Me!

by Wayne Coakley
WayneCoakleyGrenadeMarketingGroupReputationMarketing-ManufacturedHousing-55x62 headshot_MHProNews-com-As you know, nowadays people search online before they buy just about anything.

 

Read more…

 

Matt Weaver, Campbell Caron Properties on IREM, Management, More! Inside MH Road Show Video 

 by Soheyla Kovach

s-k“Failure is Not an Option.”

 

Read more…

 

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

 

• Living with Wisdom – 3 Tips for Today

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comWisdom – the blending of – information, knowledge, experience, judgment, truth, reality, maturity – to achieve dreams, goals, life purpose, inner peace and happiness…

 

Read more…

 

• ZigOn Work

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglarOne of my favorite quips about work is this: Someone asked a worker how long he had been working for his company and he smilingly responded, “Ever since they threatened to fire me.”

Read more…

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-

 

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Manufactured Housing Pros, Want More Lending? Ready to Change CFPB Regs? DON’T Miss This…

July 22nd, 2015 No comments

I’m picturing a manufactured home community owner who was standing at the entry door in the back of an association meeting.  He looked stunned, bewildered and lost.  When asked, he tried to express to me his frustration, and sense of helplessness, over federal finance regulations that hit his business. He’d served MH owners and buyers for decades.  Now, it was all changing so rapidly, his head was spinning.

Next image was another MHC owner, in different state and another association’s meeting.  That man explained how his family business jumped-the-hoops to get an MLO on staff.  However, that MLO left him after a few months.  Their volume of loans was too low, he said, to keep someone.   This MHC owner was trying to comply with rules that did not help buyer or seller, as they made no money on financing of a home. “Angry” is how I would describe him.

I-am-only-one-but-I-am-one-I-cannot-do-everything-but-I-can-do-something-do-interfere-with-what-I-can-do-EdwardEverettHale-image-wikicommons-posterc2015-mhpronews

Retailers and others have approached me at trade shows like Louisville and Tunica, often to vent.  Sometimes, they wanted to explain that they were trying, but afraid that all these changes would drive them from the business they’d worked in for x number of years.

Odds are good you know stories like these. Maybe you have one of your own?

LISTEN-ky-olsen-flickrcreativecommons-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-

Image credit – KY Olsen, Flickr Creative Commons.

The other stories going untold

Then there are the MH home owners who can’t sell his under $20,000 home for what it was worth, because once the CFPB regulations hit, lenders that made those loans pulled out from that segment of the MH market.  It was no longer possible to make those loans without more risk than their was chance for profit.  Yes, we’ve spoken or heard from consumers impacted too.

cash-bag-wikicommons--posted-mhpronews- (1)

Closed cash bag…Photo credit, WikiCommons.

If you love  all the ways that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is implementing regulations relating to on manufactured home financing, brought on by 5 year old Dodd-Frank legislation, save sometime and stop here.

On the other hand, if you feel that the regulations should change, that MH homeowners and businesses need to speak up NOW…then please do two things, right now today. Both are easy, 10 minutes and you’re done.

u-s-capitol-building-creditdc-shpo-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-

Photo credit -SHPO. Please click on the photo above to take you to the Congressional Blog, its awaiting YOUR comment.

  • Please read this article linked on The Hill’s Congressional Blog,  Congress and their staffs, Policy Advocates, the CFPB, the media and others read this blog.

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/248665-regulations-for-manufactured-home-loans

  • Briefly tell your own story in their comments section. Congressional staff, House and Senate Members, regulators and even the WH reads The Hill

Here are 4 MH Industry examples…

ChadHausenfluck-FairfieldHomes-PassS682levelPlayingField-HillCongressionalBlog-postedMastheadMHProNews-com-

TomFath-CFPBshouldImplementHR650S682onTheHillCongressionalBlog-ManufacturedHomeLoansDwayneSomerville-FairfieldHomes-PassS682levelPlayingField-HillCongressionalBlog-postedMastheadMHProNews-com-

RossKinzler-comment-TheHillCongressionalBlog-RegulationsForManufacturedHomeLoans-posted-mastheadblog-MHProNews-com-

...please join them.  Perhaps 5, 10 minutes and you’re done.


Its-better-to-light-one-candle-than-curse-the-darkness-theChristophersMotto-wikicommons-candle-MastheadBlogMHProNews-com-

Don’t curse the darkness, light the candle. Yours. Don’t wait for someone else to do it, you be the one. Let’s let DC know that this issue matters to manufactured home owners and businesses. HR 650 passed the House by a wide margin.  The Senate vote looms.  Send a messge. ##

l.a.'tony'kovach-us-supreme-court-washington-dc-mhpronews-com-

 

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

CFPB Imposed Appraisal Rule for Manufactured Housing Looms, July 18, 2015!

July 8th, 2015 No comments

Ten days from today, the CFPB imposed appraisal rule for manufactured housing goes into effect. There are those who suggest that this is a consumer protection. That reminds me a bit of the Ronald Reagan punch line, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.”

cfpb-parody-logo-credit-plus1properties-cartoon-credit-MHProNews-com-(c)2015-all-rights-reserved-

Original CFPB logo parody credit – Plus1Properties. Cartoon credit – MHProNews.

First, for those who aren’t among the thousands who have already accessed one of the three reports we have on manufactured homes and appraisals, let’s share those links below.

21st Mortgage

http://www.MHProNews.com/home/featured-articles/july-2015/137-financing/9809-new-consumer-financial-protection-bureau-appraisal-rule-effective-july-18-2015

Triad Financial

http://www.MHProNews.com/home/featured-articles/july-2015/137-financing/9813-triad-financial-services-position-regarding-7-18-15-implementation-of-new-appraisal-rules

This third link is about appraisals, but not per-se about the new appraisal rule. Nevertheless, it is an important topic for all doing MH land/home deals!

Cascade Financial

http://www.MHProNews.com/home/featured-articles/july-2015/137-financing/9815-about-appraisals-on-fha-and-va-land-home-manufactured-housing-loans

Lemonade_photo courtesy of_jaimeanne

“When Life hands you Lemons, make Lemonade” photo courtesy of jaimeanne

Making the Bitter, Sweeter

There are those who are working to make, as they put it, lemonade out of lemons on this appraisal rule. That is as it should be. Our team and myself truly do hope it works out for all involved.

That said, let’s briefly explain why this rule was logically unnecessary.

The Market At Work

No lender wants to finance a home for more than it’s reasonably worth. For decades, there has been ways of getting a third party appraisal or estimated value on a manufactured home that was selling either chattel or as part of a land/home package. The new rule is focused on home-only transactions, those not in the CFPB’s QM (see the top two links above).

So because a smart lender wants to make a good loan, there was already consumer protection in place.

Because MH lenders are lending their own dollars – vs. government-backed loan dollars – by MH lenders protecting their interests, they are also protecting those of the consumer buying the home. That’s the natural beauty of the free enterprise system at work. A lender won’t knowingly finance a home for more than its worth, thus the consumer isn’t paying more than a home is worth.

Because government is far from free – every regulation has a cost and impact – the CFPB’s new rule is simply adding a new layer of expenses on businesses. Sooner or later, those government-imposed added costs have to be paid by John Q. Public, or those businesses won’t stay in business.

conflict-of-interests-corporation-for-enterprise-development-cfed-consumer-financial-protection-bureau-cfpb-posted-manufacturedhomelivingnews-mhlivingnews-com--575x330

Each logo above is the property of their respective organization.

On read-hot MHLivingNews.com, we documented cases of companies that were making MH loans that no longer are doing so because of CFPB’s imposed regulatory burdens and risks. CFED’s Katherine Lucas McKay can cry on their blog all they want to on this topic. But the reality, as we documented in this report, is that there is an apparent conflict-of-interest involving CFED and the CFPB.

Please note that nowhere in her column on the CFED blog has McKay refuted any point made about their alleged conflict-of-interest or our other various reports on the negative impact of CFPB regulations on MH owners or potential customers. Ms. McKay simply recycled the same talking points that Doug Ryan used before her. By the way, Mr. Ryan, what happened to that video debate on the impact of CFPB regulations on manufactured homes you were going to do with me?

DougRyan-CFED-LATonyKovach-MHProNews-

Part of the comments posted by CFED and MH Pros to date.  To see all, click the link here or the image above. Note, we credit CFED for leaving the comments posted up, and have been doing screen captures on them periodically.

One last point for now about Ms. McKay’s column.  Stop and think about her title:

I’m Home Fights Back Against Regulations that hurt Owners of Manufactured Homes

We can only hope for that today!

What they published in their headline was a faux pas from their own viewpoint. They aren’t pushing back on regulations. Rather, what they want to do is fend off the proposed reforms to amend CFPB regulations. So not even their headline is logically correct. Should you decide to read Ms. McKay’s column (see link below the comments graphic or click on the comments graphic), do make sure you read the MH Comments posted there.

It’s manufactured housing professionals, businesses and associations that are protecting MH home owners by fighting back against regulations that harm consumers and businesses alike. There is a bi-partisan push for HR 650 – which passed overwhelmingly – and the companion Senate bill, S 682, which has a Democratic sponsor. What CFED and others are doing is fighting to keep the regulations that are proven to harm MH buyers and residents alike.

More National Media Coming Soon…?

We have sources telling us that a national news outlet will be covering this MH finance issue on TV in a few weeks. More on that and other pending MH news in the media, soon.

Thanks to those who see a government solution to almost every imagined problem, consumers now have a new rule that impacts manufactured home retailers and communities just days away. What will the impact of the appraisal rule be? Time will tell, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see why there needs to be a re-balance in how business is done in DC. If you missed the two prior Masthead  posts, kindly check them out.

In closing, we empathize with those who want to do right by consumers and the public. I don’t doubt there are many who act with good intentions.  We are pleased that CFED and others see the intrinsic value and growing need for manufactured homes.  On those levels, we have and continue to applaud them.  We’ve given CFED positive digital-ink before, and would gladly do so again, should they change course by correcting their clear errors on this financing topic.

rosskinzler-wisconsinhousingalliance-negativeimpact-manufacturedhomelending-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-

Our thanks to Ross Kinzler and the WHA for providing this chart. This shows the steep decline since CFPB regulations hit.  The facts above dovetails with information published in the report linked here that shows this is impacting lenders natinoally, not just in WI.

But the time is now to see how those good intentions have actually played out in the real world. We must look at how those CFPB regulations have actually impacted the marketplace! CFED et al can just look at the chart above, courtesy of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance, to see how in their state, the number of lenders making loans on MH dropped like a rock once the CFPB regulations went into effect.

Less lending? How does that help MH consumers and businesses? CFPB/Richard Cordray, are you listening? Seattle Times/Center for Public Integrity, are you seeing the facts linked above that you somehow managed to overlook in your reports?

Our sources tell us that a new anti-HR 650/S 682 push looms. Expect it to be visible anew in the media. The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act is just one battle in a longer struggle against over-regulation. Its a battle that the opposition is fighting hard to win. What are you and your associates doing to make sure that we protect more MH consumers by getting that bill passed in the Senate and signed into law? ##

LATonyKovach-Louisville-2015-mhpronews-com-275x156-1

L. A. “Tony’ Kovach shown here in an educational session in Louisville, KY.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Pants on Fire and Manufactured Housing

June 24th, 2015 No comments

The Wall Street Journal’s recent report on emails that documented Jonathan Gruber’s ‘heroic’ roll in putting together and passing the misnamed Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka ObamaCare) is just the latest reminder that public officials at many levels have embraced the strategy of Josef Goebbels, Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin or Chairman Mao. 

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Josef Goebbels

Should the intelligent laugh or cry when ‘StartUp NY’ – their state funded commericals – runs their zero-tax ads for new or expanding businesses on networks like Fox News? On the one hand, it contradicts the tax-the-rich views that NY, CA or other mostly D run states tend to have. Yet we know President John F. Kennedy (D) and others took positions that lowered taxes, and grew the economy in their wake. The Communists in China, along with now-booming economies that once were so-so, grow today due to easier regulations – and/or lower taxes – than what we see coming from high tax states like NY (they are rated near the bottom on most business climate lists) or for that matter, coming out of DC in recent years.

 

It is not my goal to carefully analyze the NY plan above, but perhaps the reason that Forbes  reports this program as getting off to a slow start is because the prospective business person has to wonder, ‘Okay, what happens to me in NY at the end of ten years?’ Uncertainty, we’ve all heard from the investor class, is harmful to business and growth.

the-power-to-tax-is-the-power-to-destory-chief-justice-john-marshall-image-wikicommons-(c)poster-mhpronews-com-lifestyle-factory-homes-llc-all-rights-reserved-

Photo credit WikiCommons. Poster Credit – MHProNews.

Growing an economy here in the U.S. is not magic! “The power to tax is the power to destroy.”  Likewise, the power to regulate is also the power to destroy. 

So the reverse of the above  implies that lower taxes and easier, common sense (vs CFPB style) regs fuels the kinds of growth that made America great. Herein lies one of many MH connections to the importance of truth-telling and the goal of policy sanity we in MH should seek.  Sure, we ought to fight for HR 650/S 682, but we are wise to also look at a longer term plan that promotes a healthy business climate for all in America.

Self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders’ campaign to be the Democratic presidential nominee is driving Hillary Clinton even further left. The reason I’m a political independent is because Republicans – who tend to be more for free enterprise – can at times play footsie with the facts or simply make bad judgments, as in the case of too many Rs being on board with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill.  If it is such a great trade bill, why all the secrecy?

When truth is harder to find, a responsible person goes to more sources, then applies reason to sort it all out. So your scribe reads the New York Times, Fox and a spectrum of sources – domestic and international – to triangulate reality vs. the various party lines. 

Let’s see how all of this applies to MH.

The Truth Matters

It is useful (above) to cite examples outside of our arena of immediate self-interest to make a parallel point. The truth about MH matters.  The truth about MH lending matters.

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Doug Ryan, CFED’s point man on manufactured housing related issues.

Yet we see forces like Doug Ryan led CFED – who are pro-MH on their website – take a position proven to be contrary to the interests of MH home owners, businesses and by extension, America in general.  

Doug, does the Truth Matter? Or does revenue to CFED from CFPB Trump the Truth? (Political pun intended). 

Relatively Speaking…?

Some say truth is relative.  They’re only half-right. The truth of your taste or mine, that’s ‘relative’ (meaning, subjective or personal). But gravity – for example – is not subjective. Gravity exists. The truth could be defined as ‘what is.’  The iPhone 6 Plus I’m typing this draft of my blog on, it is – it exists – even if no one besides me believes in it or knows it exists. 

So there are both Objective Truths and subjective truths. 

That said, the truths of MH we strive to focus on are objective realities.  The combination of Objective Truth, and the subjective praise from MH home owners is what is making MHLivingNews.com the positive force it is for those owners, and the professionals of our industry. 

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Is it any wonder there are sales being attributed by MH pros to stories on our public-focused sister-site?  Or is it any wonder that the traffic – already good! – on MHLivingNews doubled in April, and then doubled again in May? Is it any wonder that views of the Dennis Raper video, which went live only 5 days ago, have skyrocketed?

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It is simply amazing to think that a home like this could be purchased for around $40 per square foot! We must share the evolutionary truth that modern manufactured homes started out as trailers, became ‘mobile homes, and now today are the eco-friendly, amazing home value that this article linked here explains to the public.

 

We don’t make it easy for people to find my phone number or email from MHLivingNews.  Yet, we are seeing a growing number of home seekers calling my office to ask questions about: 

> who to buy from, 

> where and how to shop for an MH, 

> or who to turn to for MH financing. 

The truth well told is powerful. We have the right to our opinions, but no one has the right to make up their own facts. The truth – reality – matters. You don’t want to be deceived, right? You don’t want to be lied to about something consequential, correct? These are proofs that at some level, we all know that truth exists and that truth does in fact matter to us, and thus should matter to others.

It is my sincere hope that SCOTUS gets it right on the ACA when they hand down their decision.  Lies should not be rewarded.  It is my hope that Ryan/CFED will own up to their apparent conflict of interest, and reverse course to support MH home owners, MH shoppers, MH Lending and MH job creators.  

We don’t have to exaggerate to make the case for MH.  There were two old TV shows whose titles that come to mind. “To Tell the Truth” and…

“Truth or Consequences”

We’ll look at the profitable power of truth-telling in more details in our rapidly approaching July issue of MHProNews. ##

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L. A. “Tony’ Kovach shown here in an educational session in Louisville, KY.

 

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

President Barack Obama, Dodd-Frank reform and Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing – HR 650/S 682

June 20th, 2015 No comments

A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, ‘Huh. It works. It makes sense.‘” – Barack Obama.

There is momentum behind the common-sense changes sought by the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (HR 650/S 682).   MHProNews has sources that suggest that the bill could clear the Senate when it hits that chamber’s floor for a vote in late summer or this fall.

If that Senate passage happens, then the question will become, what will the president do should the bill hit his desk?

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The White House is correct that millions want to own homes, and can afford them. Will they therefor support the common sense reforms sought by HR 650/S 682?  Image credit: FlikrCreativeCommons.

Still, homeownership is out of reach for too many Americans — families who can afford to buy a home, but find themselves shut out because the lending market is too tight.” – White House website. (January 7, 2015).

One big reason the MH ‘lending market is too tight’ is regulatory. MHProNews and MHLivingNews have documented step-by-step though various reports cited below that demonstrates how the reforms sought by the manufactured housing industry are good for consumers. HR 650/S 682 is also needed by current MH home owners; notably those who have homes that would sell for less than $20,000.

 

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Thousands of shoppers came – even in the cold rain – to the Eastern Ohio Manufactured Home Show. The demand for our homes is strong and growing. Will the CFPB relent in their choaking off the aspirations of tens of thousands of would-be MH buyers a year, from lenders willing to risk their own capital on loans where the ability to repay has been proven?

Doug Ryan/CFED and The Seattle Times are both…silent!

On our sister site, the Eric Powell story documented that consumers are being pushed into 36% interest rates when they could get a manufactured home loan for about 1/3 or less of that rate. What kept that lower rate from happening for the Powell’s was the need to reform Dodd-Frank. Because the CFPB – an agency implicated in a conflict of interest with CFED – has failed to respond to the lived realities of their current, clearly-flawed regulatory policies.

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The hand-written note obtained by MHProNews was part of a longer reply by the CFPB’s Richard Cordray to a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators.  Those senators asked for common sense changes to regulations on MH lending. What Director Cordray’s note completely ignores is the fact that MH lenders portfolio their loans; they don’t go to the secondary market. MH lending had ‘less than zero’ impact on the 2008 financial crisis. Thus, Cordray’s argument is logically flawed, as an association leader told MHProNews off the record.

Applying President Obama’s quote above to HR 650/S 682, this reform would make good sense for the Powell’s and thousands like them every year who are forced to choose between more renting, or paying an outrageous rate on a non-MH lender’s loan. More, competitive financing would return to the market – originated by firm’s such UMH and others referenced below – and they are only a regulatory or statutory change away.  “Huh. It works. It makes sense.” – Barack Obama.

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Triad Financial Services Chairman, Don Glisson, Jr.

Veteran MH lender Don Glisson Jr.’s on-the-record statement shows how a reasonable modification of the MLO rule, would make it as easy for an MH sales person as it is for a real estate agent to advise a prospective home buyer.  Those MH sales professionals aren’t getting paid by the lender. Where is the risk in letting MH sales people do what real estate agents do?

The current state of the CFPB’s regulations umjustly muzzles the free speech rights of professionals, and thus harms the consumers they serve. The proposed law (HR 650/S 682) helps fix that issue.  “Huh. It works. It makes sense.” – Barack Obama.

Let’s note too that MH lenders portfolio their loans. They ‘hold their own paper.’ The loans they make are thus very different than those that caused the financial melt down of housing and the mortgage market in 2008 that gave rise to Dodd-Frank.

We privately and publicly called out The Seattle Times and Doug Ryan/CFED on such topics. How can they defend the apparent errors in their positions and their own conflicts of interest we spotlighted?

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Rents are rising in many markets, due in part to the impact of potential buyers being denied access to credit. CFPB policy on MH lending is thus costing the federal government money in their affordable housing subsidy programs. Applying President Obama’s words to MH lending would benefit government budgets, as well as home buyers and business people too.

A Google search we did last night on the Seattle Times and CFED revealed…silence.  See the screen captures below.  Our facts, or those reported by Professor Cunningham (see link below), have to my knowledge gone unanswered. Why?  Could it be that both the Seattle Times/Center for Public Integrity and Doug Ryan/CFED are in a conflict of interest?  Isn’t it apparent they have no good response to the fact-based reports and common sense we’ve brought to the public discussion of HR 650/S 682?

As the Pledge of Allegiance reminds us, we are a Republic.  A nation under laws that are supposed to protect “We, the People.”

The current structure of the CFPB demonstrates that it’s unresponsive to the very body – Congress – that breathed it into regulatory life.  As the president once said, he is not the emperor.  Nor should the CFPB – or any other regulatory body – be so independent of those representing the American people – Congress – that it is essentially unaccountable for its actions. I’d suggest that the current state of the CFPB regulations of MH financing is un-American, and perhaps un-Constitutional too.

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Affordability is relative! All demographic and income groups are discovering modern manufactured housing. This two level manufactured home in a Chicago suburb rivaled conventional construction of about the same size being sold less than a mile away.  The home in the photo, comparable to that nearby site-built housing, sold for about half -the-price.

The CFPB must be reigned in.  With respect to its current policies regarding MH financing, it is demonstrably harming millions of Americans who own those MHs under $20,000.  The CFPB is hampering the access to credit and home ownership which the applied logic of the White House’s  previously cited statement wishes to correct; again quoting – “Still, homeownership is out of reach for too many Americans — families who can afford to buy a home, but find themselves shut out because the lending market is too tight.”

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The GAO 2014 report  dramatically demonstrates  that even with a somewhat higher  interest rate than conventional housing (which is indirectly subsidized by the federal government), MH is so affordable that it is the lowest cost form of new permenant housing in the U.S. today.

We support passage of HR 650/S 682 because it is good for consumers, good for home owners, good for job creation and good for business.  That meets all of the criteria President Obama has frequently outlined as being good for America.

We hope President Obama and all Senators who care about the millions currently being harmed by existing regulations will join the strong majority in the House or Representatives and support Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing – the most affordable form of quality, greener, appealing homes available to Americans today. ##

References, Sources and Footnotes

  1. Dodd-Frank and Manufactured Home Financing – the Place where Good Intentions and Unintended Consequences Collide, linked here. The article demonstrates that MH lenders are about 2/3 lower in interest rate than the kind of financing Eric Powell was forced into, due to policies supported CFED and enforced by the CFPB. The nuances of MH lending are reviewed in terms that make sense, and which undercut the false arguments advanced by Doug Ryan et al. MH lending experts are quoted in this article, as is Doug Ryan.
  2. Don Glisson Jr., Chairman and CEO of Triad Financial Services, on his company’s experiences and reasons for supporting reforms of the Dodd-Frank Act to correct problems created for manufactured housing lending by current CFPB policies., linked here
  3. Sam Landy, JD, UMH Properties CEO, and other lenders who have been pushed out of the market by current CFPB policies. It is noteworthy that the facts Landy and others present undercut Doug Ryan led CFED arguments and vividly proves that CFPB polices are costing untold thousands annually access to home ownership. See article and video, linked here. It must be noted that ManufacturedHomeLivingNews has contacted every major and some regional MH lenders. All favor changes to current CFPB regulations, so this is not a Berkshire-Hathaway/Warren Buffett issue.
  4. A bi-partisan group of Congressional representatives overwhelmingly approved HR 650,  two of them are cited at length in their own words as to why. She’s Black, He’s White. They are in Different Parties…
  5. Alan Amy, a veteran MH retailer, estimates that current regulations are depressing MH sales by about 30% a year. If so, the practical impact is that 20,000 more homes could be sold a year at the current pace and 20,000 new “good-pay jobs” could be created in the construction of manufactured housing. Amy’s comment came as part of a broader video interview, linked here.
  6. The Integrity of Clayton Homes and the Politics of “Investigative Journalism,” published by Professor  Lawrence A. Cunningham, JD. Cunningham’s arguments have yet to refuted by The Seattle Timeset al. Article linked here.
  7. One must also question why Daniel Wagner and Mike Baker, writing in the Seattle Times articles done in tandem with the Center for Public Integrity, used outdated and inaccurate terminology when referencing modern manufactured homes, improperly calling them ‘mobile homes.’  Was it a tactic on their part? For a better understanding of the terminology and why-it-matters, see the article linked below.
  8. Evolutionary! From Trailer House to Mobile Home to Today’s Manufactured Home
  9. Screen captures of Google Searches, shown below, demonstrate that neither CFED nor the Seattle Times have yet to refute the points noted in our MHLivingNews or MHProNews reports on these topics.

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L. A. “Tony’ Kovach is one of the most prominent experts on the MH scene. Kovach has interviewed more MH customers and experts than any other  journalist today. Kovach began his MH career in 1981. Shown here in an educational session in Louisville, KY.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.