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Facebook, Manufactured Housing, and American Drama

June 12th, 2018 No comments
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What do you see?

Facebook has a neat feature that reminds you of some post from the past. This morning, that Facebook feature reminded me of a post about MHVille that was from two years ago.

 

We’ve begun to use the phrase – “wheat and chaff” – more often to describe the point that people and sources of information must be discerned. Keep the good, toss what’s not useful or is incorrect.

It’s hardly a new thought. Wheat and chaff are an ancient piece of Biblical wisdom.

When we put together the story early this morning about the outcome of the presidential summit, it was the result of hours of input from a variety of sources. It is an example of wheat and chaff in action.

Perhaps 10 (+/-) sources were checked, before we drilled down what we thought was the meaty items for industry pros and investors to know.

Then, we provided the context of what it matters to manufactured housing. “That news through the lens of factory-built housing,” ©; one of our tag lines that describes what MHProNews uniquely does for the manufactured and modular home industry professionals and investors. 

It’s about American drama at its finest. Check out that report, linked below, compare it to anything else that might be used for an MH Industry pro, and please tell us what you think. 

 

Facebook, Wheat and Chaff 

I recall how Triad Financial President Don Glisson, Jr. gave us a backhanded compliment that we treasure. He said he thought we were crazy when we launched what we call today, MHProNews.  The launch was in mid-October 2009, and was near the industry’s lowest point ever in new home shipments.

Now, approaching a decade later, we as an industry are clearly not heading to extinction, as some then believed could happen.

When asked by the Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation (MMHF) to help bring back the Louisville Snow, we jumped in with both feet. The pay was very modest, considering all that had to be done.  But we did it, and the show was a success, the first one in years. 

Tim Williams from Ohio’s association was one of several who praised our work in writing.

TimWilliamsOhioManufacturedHomesAssocExecDirectorRecommendationTonyKovachMHProNewsLouisvilleManufacturedHousingShowPromotion

One of over 1000 endorsements and recommendations, most were given without being requested. We thank each sender for that honor.  

Facebook has wheat and chaff. Pretty much everything and everyone does, starting right here.

We are pro-free enterprise. We cheer all honest and ethical forms of success. We stress honesty, and ethics, because some professions are built on the suffering of others.  From illicit drug pushers, to pimps, pornographers, thieves, racketeering, coyotes, and so on, there are illicit businesses that generate tens of billions annually.  We don’t cheer those at all.  

But if we are fair and objective, even the darkest parts of human nature reveal truths worth learning.

We must learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

 

Breaking Up

Count us among those who hope and pray that the Feds break up Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other monopolistic U.S. giants. Think back, if you are old enough, to the breakup of the telecoms. AT&T was charged under antitrust laws. 

Based on Judge Harold Green’s Modified Final Judgement of 1982, AT&T on January 1 1984 became a long-distance company, while seven regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) took control of the nation’s local phone networks,” says the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

 

Some say that the monopoly over the phone business delayed the development of cell phone technologies by a decade.

It is just one of several reasons why corporate giants must be held in check and/or broken up.

To me, it isn’t just about price, which is an arguably flawed standard that antitrust regulators often use.  How many businesses has Walmart and Amazon wiped out? How many jobs has that cost the nation? Would we have seen the shift to buying so much product from China, had Walmart not become so big?  

They too should be broken up under antitrust law.  As NY Stern Professor Scott Galloway has argued, it is how you bring oxygen back into the marketplace for startups and investors.  That’s were jobs are created, instead of destroyed.

England, we’ve read, has a supposed standard of 25 percent market-share as the threshold for anti-monopoly (anti-trust) action. That might be still be a bit too high. Once a firm hits 20 percent of a given market, there are inevitable impacts on consumers, businesses, innovation, the economy, politics, etc.  

Wheat and chaff. We must learn from whatever is good, and toss out whatever isn’t. The prism of the Ten Commandments – which clearly respects private property – ought to be the standard, timeless measure of behavior. 

What Facebook reminded me of this morning is that it has been about two years since I got a tip from a then-fellow Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member. That member pointed me to a CSPAN video about Richard Cordray and Senator Joe Donnelly. When I watched it, I got what that other MHI member as telling me.  

MHI had distorted the exchange, saying only what was good for their narrative, while ignoring what was problematic for their stated agenda.  

It seemed deliberately deceptive. It came from MHI VP Lesli Gooch, but our sources then said that MHI President Richard “Dick” Jennison had to okay it.  

It’s was at best a half-truth, designed to mislead members. As a member myself, I was outraged. We can call these things allegations, because that is what the legal guys say it should be termed. But if you look at the CSPAN video we watched, and then look at what MHI then said… 

Logically, if top MHI staff would deceive members about that, what else have or would they attempt to trick their own dues paying members about?  

They had to be held accountable. I called publicly For Jennison’s dismissal along with that of Lesli Gooch. 

It wasn’t the first or the last news tip. 

Please, we’d rather get a news tip 4 times, than not at all. Don’t presume we have something. We know the generalities, but not always the specifics. Help us, help you help the industry get the most accurate reports by sending association emails, documents, and your own insights. Our default is that we treat comments as off the record, unless you and we specifically agree to make it on the record. 

One step at a time, we’ve seen how MHI has weaponized reports. It was tricky, because no one else in the industry had directly named names and cited examples of what was happening, and who was authorizing it, the way we did. 

That incident from 2 years ago led to a series of events and reports that has arguably contributed to what has brought us to the point we are in reporting in MHVille today.  

Today, we can look back and see MHI, and their debatably Berkshire Hathaway puppet masters as they are. We give them a routine opportunities to comment before, during or after a Daily Business News story. We accurately quote from their own documents. We’ve offered to discuss or debate publicly via video, so all the industry can see. 

They duck, dodge, detract, distract, and defame in response, don’t they? Doesn’t all of that speak volumes?  If the truth was on their side, why don’t they just clear the air? 

It’s been about 1 1/3 years since they have directly responded publicly. We suspended our industry famous Cup of Coffee series for a time, because it was too politically charged for many. We plan to bring that feature back, because more of the industry’s members are beginning to see — that what we’ve been reporting sadly makes sense. 

It’s time to use antitrust laws to break up Berkshire Hathaway, not just Clayton Homes and their lending, retail, and others unit arms. 

MHI must be investigated and/or perhaps sued.  They’ve arguably misrepresented to the industry what they are and what they do. 

MHI award winner Marty Lavin is sadly correct. MHI works only for the interests of “the big boys.” They work for the smaller companies only if their interests align with that of the big boys.

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

The rationale and evidence seems to be that smaller companies are there as a meal for the big boys that want to gobble up smaller firms for a cheap price.

The smaller firms are there to also help pay for what the big boys want. Paraphrasing what another member said, ‘the big companies figured out how to use MHI to help get the smaller companies to pay for what the big companies want.’

Manipulation is often an ugly thing. 

No one wants to believe that they were conned.  It’s not fun to have to report about such problems, but it must be done, for the sake of all those who are debatably being victimized.

George Allen Blasts MHI, NCC Ignoring Own, Spencer Roane, SECO, COBA7, Tom Lackey Controversies

These are serious allegations. but there’s also serious evidence. There are several federal investigations already underway, because where there is smoke, there is often fire.

 

For manufactured housing industry professional and investors to thrive and achieve their full potential, the industry must recognize reality.

Then, each company must decide how best to deal with reality. It’s an American drama that you and hundreds of thousands of others are caught up in, like it or not. More on that drama and its solutions in the days ahead. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

(Third party images, and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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HUD Secretary Carson, Advocacy Groups, Politicos, & Manufactured Housing Shock

April 7th, 2018 No comments

 HUDSecBenCarsonAdvocayGroupsPoliticosManufacturedHousingIndustryShockMastheadManufacturedHomeIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

Affordable housing, including manufactured homes, is not a partisan issue.

 

At least, it shouldn’t be.

When HUD Secretary Ben Carson, M.D., and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) shared the brief exchange below, there was an energy in Carson’s words.

 

 

It’s an energy – “a shock” – that many have experienced over the years when it comes to the surprising realities vs. the unjust, troubled stigmas attached to manufactured homes.

“Trailer House Trauma,” Fresh Look at Manufactured Housing’s Opportunities

 So, why aren’t their more such moments of positive shocks for the manufactured home industry?

 Let’s look at the facts for some clues.

  

MH Cohesion?

Whenever the manufactured housing (MH) industry acted in a rational, and cohesive fashion, it has routinely been able to accomplish in Congress what it needed to do.

That’s true because at its heart, the MH industry has a great, and non-partisan story.

That’s what a dispassionate look at the periodic history of the industry reveals.

For example,

      in 1974, when the HUD Code was first passed into law.

      Or in 2000, when the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) was passed.

      And again in 2008, when the Duty to Serve (DTS) Manufactured Housing was passed as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA).

So when the industry acts cohesively it succeeds. So, why doesn’t it do so more often?

 

Big and Small…

Since before the founding of what today is called the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), there’s long been a split between larger and smaller “independent” producers of HUD Code manufactured homes.

MHARR was a breakaway from the body that today is known as the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). MHARR was created precisely because of those differing points of view between bigger and smaller producers of federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes.

  

“Consumer Groups” and Manufactured Housing 

In several states, there are manufactured home consumer groups that emerged some years ago.

While “resident groups” engage on issues such as finance, those residents/manufactured home owner associations tend to focus on issues relating to land lease communities. 

In California, there tends to be fast and hard lines between the MH Industry and resident groups. 

Meanwhile, in places such as Ohio and Florida, those state MH Industry trade associations have at times meet and worked successfully with resident groups on key issues.

  

Non-Profits, Advocacy, and Manufactured Housing

Foundations and nonprofit groups have a history of positive interest in manufactured housing dating back at least some two decades. 

For example, as a Daily Business News yesterday reported, CFED – which rebranded as Prosperity Now – is largely a serious and positive advocate for manufactured homes. 

 

ManufacturedHousingTopTenTruthsCFEDManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews500

For years, CFED/Prosperity Now worked on projects that taken as a whole, promote manufactured homes as a tool for personal wealth building, especially for minorities, and lower income Americans of all ethnic groups.

 

CFED/Prosperity Now research has produced reams of documentation that arguably ought to be done by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

 ManufacturedHousingTopTenTruthsImHomeInnovationsinManufacturedHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews5-10-600

 

Based upon their overall positive work advocating for manufactured homes, it’s a little baffling for outsiders looking in to see conflict between MHI and Prosperity Now.

But conflicts do exist between MHI and Prosperity Now, on issues that include land lease communities, but also on financing. Prosperity Now has been a loud opponent to the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. 

 

Like them or not, consider for a moment the perspective of Prosperity Now on these two issues: 

      the issues of “insecurity” for residents in land lease communities,

      and MHI’s position – notably on higher points and fees that benefits primarily the Berkshire Hathaway owned manufactured home lenders.

Absent those two bullets, Prosperity Now should be seen by the vast majority of industry pros as a strong advocate for manufactured housing.

So why hasn’t MHI – the industry’s self-proclaimed “umbrella” and “post-productionassociation – found a way to work directly with Prosperity Now, when Ohio and Florida have found ways to work with their resident groups? Fair question, right?

So for any who believe that it is only MHI and MHARR alone who ‘can’t get along,’ they are mistaken or misinformed.

 

MHI, MHARR and Consumer Groups

This writer, while an MHI member – perhaps naively – attempted for years to get MHI and MHARR to work together.

MHI's New CEO, Dick Jennison

This was one of the photos taken by MHProNews, reflecting routine behind the scenes effort some years ago to get MHI and MHARR to work more closely together. Richard Dick Jennison, MHI President and CEO, left, Mark Weiss, J.D., MHARR President and CEO, right.

The photo taken by MHProNews of Dick Jennison and Mark Weiss, J.D., shaking hands was just one tiny example symbolic of that effort.

MHI in meetings has reportedly told their members that the consumer groups “can not be reasoned with.”  

Something similar has been said in MHI meetings about MHARR. One elected executive committee member stood at an MHI meeting a few years ago, and proclaimed that the “elephant in the room” was MHARR’s then president, Danny Ghorbani.

Yet as noted above, history shows that MHI and MHARR have achieved good things when they pulled together. 

MHARR seems to have a better working relationship with the resident group, NMHOA than MHI does. 

We’ll pose a question that we will leave dangling for now.

Why is it that MHI can get along with MHARR, but only at times? 

 

Yet for most of the the past 20 years (+/-), the two are at odds, because one association arguably favors larger players, while the other fights for the rights of smaller, independent companies.

It’s against that backdrop of more tension than cohesion that the following undisputed facts ought to be considered. MHI hired a man a few years ago, part of who’s de facto job description was to recruit MHARR members into MHI.

Clayton and Cavco have in recent years both purchased companies that are MHARR members.

Is the trajectory of MHI’s and their larger members’ efforts to eliminate MHARR?

 80PercentClaytonChampionSkylineCavcoMastheadBlogManufacturedHousingIndustryConsolidation

 

Dr. Carson, HUD, and Manufactured Housing

It is against that brief history that Secretary Carson must consider the internal political minefield of manufactured housing.

On the one hand, manufactured homes are just as “amazing” as Dr. Carson said.

The regulations and “guidance,” most notably during the Pam Danner era, have been just as “ridiculous” as Secretary Carson told that Senate oversight hearing, as the video above attests.

If MHI wanted to get along with the industry voices that don’t agree with them 100 percent of the time, logically the Arlington based group would only need to do is what it did at times when cohesion existed.  Namely?

Listen, understand, and compromise.

MHI can posture beautifully, but it is their actions – not words alone – that must be the focus.  Their members are buying up, and they are actively recruiting MHARR members.

There are MHARR members, and some in MHI, that believe that Pam Danner came to be HUD’s MH program administrator as part of a specific MHI team member’s efforts.  If so, that means those  “ridiculous” excesses are courtesy of one or more MHI staffer’s efforts.

Since: 

   Danner was removed from the program a few weeks ago

   Lois Starkey was dismissed from HUD,

   and Danner’s overzealous and “ridiculous” regulatory burdens were put on hold by Carson and the Trump Administration,

an opportunity for a new beginning exists. What will happen next?

 

Absent trust and cohesion between

      MHI and MHARR, or between

      MHI and nonprofit Consumer Groups,

several risks exist.

 

Widely Recognized Fact

In finance, or production, in or out of manufactured housing, there is a simple principle at work.

The heavier the regulations, the harder it is for smaller companies to compete against larger ones.  The following third-party research illustrates the point.

NationalAssocManufacturersNAMCostForComplianceMastheadManufacturedHomeIndustryBlogDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

While MHARR was audibly protesting Danner’s work – and sought her removal from the MH program – by contrast, MHI went through various gyrations that did all — save ask for Danner’s removal.  Odd?  Or shadow boxing?

Let’s consider that as consistent with MHI’s apparent and alleged goal of acting in ways that are more burdensome for smaller companies (see Related Reports, linked at the end, below).

This is why CFED’s Doug Ryan accused Berkshire Hathaway (BH) of having monopoly power in manufactured housing over financing. While MHI all too often fails to respond to negative media, in that case their SVP Lesli Gooch leapt to respond and defend Berkshire brands in manufactured housing. By doing so, the Arlington association reflected anew who’s interests there dominate.  Yet the fact remains, that 3 of the 3 largest MH lenders are owned outright by BH – 21st Mortgage Corp and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), or they have a large stake in their company (Wells Fargo).

DougRyanCFED-MHI2016CongressExpo-ManufacturedHousingIndustryNews-MHProNews

Doug Ryan, CFED/Prosperity Now, credit MHProNews. 

When Democratic Congressional reps target Berkshire Hathaway and MHI – also using the words “near monopoly” – it should make CFPB, more in Congress, leadership at HUD and others in the Trump Administration stop and think.

Nonprofits, President Trump, and political voices across the left-right divide are calling “foul” with regard to giant companies dominating and pushing around smaller ones.  

From as far left as the Nation to as far right as Breitbart, the issue of monopoly has been raised. The Nation specifically cited Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Clayton Homes. 

It’s no secret that Buffett opposed Trump in 2016, by strongly supporting the candidate – Secretary Hillary Clinton – who favored the continued use of heavy regulations.

How many see various movements at work nationally, and in the halls of Washington, D.C.?

 

It’s Not a Vote…

The fact that many inside and outside of manufactured housing have raised similar concerns and issues about monopolistic power ought to be carefully considered by members of Congress and the Trump Administration.

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Pam Danner, addressing MHI members. Photo credit, MHProNews.

MHI SVP Gooch’s Regulatory Comments Letter to HUD in January were overall good.  But oddly, Gooch failed to mention:

  • who will replace Danner?
  • And what about the harm already done by Danner’s leadership to smaller independents? 
  • Or why did MHI stand mute for years, and promoted Danner on various association event stages?

 

Reenergize?

Secretary Carson and the HUD team have a unique opportunity to reenergize the “amazing” manufactured housing industry in several ways.

The next steps taken at HUD and beyond could tell us who understands the fact that

  • with robust competition,
  • and unleashing the private sector,
  • that HUD could over time do exactly what Senator Tillis and the nonprofits alike suggested.  Save tax dollars by liberating private sector produced manufactured homes. That, argued Tillis, will allow more dollars to be used for others that need a hand up.

That would achieve some of what advocacy groups desire: raising more people out of poverty using modern manufactured homes.

Save tax dollars, give more people a leg up. Learn more in the related research reports, linked below. ## (News, analysis and commentary.) (Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.) 

Related Reports:

“Move, Open, Live” De Rose Industries & Senator Thom Tillis’ Mobile Home Comments

“Kevin…the Problem of Your Industry…”

MHI Lender Shakes Up DTS and MLO Rule Discussions

 

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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What Tim Williams, Dick Jennison, Rick Robinson, Lesli Gooch, et al, Taught Me About the Manufactured Housing Institute

February 11th, 2018 No comments

 TimWilliams21stMortgageMHIChairmanRichardDickJennisonPresidentCEORickRobinsonSVPGenCounselLesliGoochForCongressMHISVPMastheadDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Hindsight is twenty-twenty. Warren Buffett doesn’t need to convince me or gain my agreement with him on that point.  On that and the value of history, Mr. Buffett and this Masthead writer would agree.

Buffett and we agree too on the value of research, reading, asking, listening, probing, and understanding.

For the record, people can disagree professionally, without disparagement.

We’ve said not one word against Clayton Homes’ products, nor against the vast majority of their people, nor against most of those in MHI’s membership, etc. In fact, professionals from those operations and 21st are among our sources. That should be obvious from the kinds of insights, quotes, etc. that we’ve produced over the last year or so.

We agree with the Urban Institute’s stated principle that evidence and the facts should guide research.

There must be good reasons why leaders at Clayton Homes, 21st, and MHI won’t engage us in a public, video-recorded discussion or debate forum. One of the reasons why they won’t do so was suggested in yesterday’s blockbuster Daily Business News report on the Urban Institute, linked below.

 

Was the Urban Institute Misled, Duped, or Part of a Manufactured Housing Industry Scam?

But another point to consider in why they won’t publicly discuss our concerns and allegations is this. Logically, if they were correct and we were honestly mistaken, they could prove it, right? Or logically, even if they know they were wrong, they could attempt to spin the truth, etc. But how do they argue against so many of their own facts, documents, track record, and their on-the-record statements, and quotes?  Isn’t that a compelling reason for them to duck, dodge, distract, and delay, instead of engaging?

21stMortgageCorpTimWillamsJune112009LetterBerkshireHathawayWarrenBuffettClaytonHomesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-704x768 (1)

Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO

 

What They Said, Did, and Didn’t Do That Taught Me About the Realities of the Manufactured Housing Institute

Give MHI credit.  Their mixers are pleasurable.  You’re at some nice resort.  The networking has value.  All of that ‘social glue’ is arguably part of their way to keep people distracted from the sad reality that as a lobbying organization, MHI has failed to advance an agenda that helps the majority of the professionals in the industry.

We’re far from alone in believing that to be true.  State associations have now quit MHI for exactly that reason.

Maybe you have to be an ex-smoker to learn how to passionately oppose cigarettes. FYI, that’s an analogy, I’m not a smoker. Or with the same proceeding disclaimer, maybe one must be or know a former drug addict to realize just how horrible addictions can be.  As an ex-multiyear, MHI member, I’ve learned the hard, painful, and expensive lessons.

Media Should Re-Visit Dodd-Frank Reporting in Light of Congressional Testimony

 

One need not look too far back on MHProNews and MHLivingNews to realize that we supported MHI on several, but not all, issues.

Renters’ Nation: The Dark Side of Dodd-Frank and Its Impact on Affordable Housing

RichardCordrayCFPB-ManufacturedHousingRegulationsCSPANstill-InsideMHvideoPostedMHProNews-com-

While still an MHI elected board member, MHProNews created this graphic. It summarized key admissions by Cordray. Why did MHI never use it?

How Did We Come to Be Members of MHI?

Years ago, MHI members convinced me that if our organization – MHProNews/MHLivingNews/consulting, et al – wanted to be a force for positive change in the manufactured home industry, we simply had to become members of MHI.  Those voices – however well-meaning they may have been – where they in hindsight mistaken?  Or perhaps unwittingly, did those voices lead us into an unsought, unexpected, and undesired – dark grace?

A current MHI member company president told me at Louisville that what MHI has been doing for years ‘has made no sense.’ He reminded me that ‘Tony, you [MHProNews] are challenging people’s paradigms.’ He said what we know: some don’t get it. But others, like him, do get it.

Others are in between.

If that company president had a choice, I’m not sure he would be an MHI member. Why do I say that? Because he thanked me for all that we are doing to spotlight what is actually going on in our industry. As in the case of many companies, he too reports to others…

That MHI member is not alone, others have personally told me similarly.  Clearly, there are MHI cheer leaders too.

RichardDickJennisonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIPresidentCEOIndustryMHLivingNewsDailyBuisnessNewsMastheadBlogMHProNews

MHProNews and our sister operations spent thousands upon thousands of dollars supporting MHI efforts on Preserving Access. It was a waste – save this. It forced us to look deeper into what was really going on at MHI. The photo is a still from a video, and on that video, Jennison promised – promised dozens in that room that Preserving Access would be passed. It failed. In hindsight, given POTUS Barack Obama’s promise to veto the bill, what where they thinking?  Or was it there as a show of effort, while the industry consolidated in the hands of fewer and fewer big ccompanies?

 

With that backdrop, the truth is I had several industry voices telling me – literally from the day they met Dick Jennison – that they didn’t trust the man.  I freely admit to arguing against their view, Jennison seemed like a fine gent to me. But they in time were proven right. I was mistaken.  You may have heard the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  It was Jennison himself over time – by word, deed, and omission – that proved their points.

A different, high profile, MHI member president told me recently that he wished Jennison had never been hired.

But as noted, for some time – I liked Dick, mostly up to the point that:

Ø  women then working in the MHI office made a point of contacting and asking me to help them with a ‘hostile workplace’ issue, and they pointed specifically at Dick.

Ø  and up to the point when on camera, he began to argue for slow growth.

I was stunned at both of those bullets.

I think Tim Williams/21st would not deny in a court of law that I was stunned by Jennison’s on-camera statement, because I took it up with him personally not long after that occurred.  What association president worth their salt – working in an industry where most were then struggling for sales – would argue for slow growth?  Perhaps the most logical way to understand it, was covered in yesterday’s Daily Business News special report.

 

Nathan Smith

I liked Nathan Smith too, he’s an easy to like guy. To this day, Nathan is likeable! But how did it square with his electric personna of his that he didn’t lift a finger to even inquire about the allegations of those women in the MHI office, complaining about Dick Jennison?

In the #metoo era, in hindsight, doesn’t that looks bad?

Sexual Harassment-Not Just Hollywood, Media, Politicos-Manufactured Housing Workplace Claims, High Profile MH Cases Too?

 

Tim Williams, President & CEO of 21st Mortgage, Prior MHI Chairman

Tim Williams and I had several fine conversations over the course of many years. I quite liked the gent. I recall Jim Clayton telling me how smart Williams is.  I to this day, I would honestly agree. Tim Williams/21st is a very smart man. Judging from the kind words he gave MHProNews to publish, he liked us too.

TimWilliams21stMortgageCEOPresident-currentMHIChairman-onValueMHProNews-MHLivingNews-

 

But how did it square with Buffett’s claimed support for integrity, that Williams defended Jennison and Gooch, who had sent out a message to MHI members that was pure spin, deceptive half-truths, and not the full truth?  Why did he defend Jennison, when he arguably should have been removed his MHI president?

Or why would you reward Jennison with a raise and bonuses – a national association CEO – who year after year, failed to accomplish what the assocation said was their goal? Once more, perhaps the best way to understand that decision or those bonus/raise is covered in yesterday’s MHProNews special report.

 

Rick Robinson, SVP and General Counsel for MHI

Rick Robinson is a nice guy too. Rick is witty, clever, and a fine writer. But he was also apparently happy to look the other way when questionable things were happening at MHI.  Perhaps you can chalk it up to doing his job as an attorney for his client?

TonyIWillNotBeTakingQuestionsFromThePressRickRobinsonMHISVPGeneralCounselMastheadMHProNews

The topic was HUD, and Rick Robinson would not take questions from MHProNews, at the very time that the HUD issue was raging in MH industry circles. As a state executive told MHProNews, if they liked their position, why not get as much publicity as they possibly could?

 

These are just a sampling. These and other examples that could be cited took this writer from someone who was pro-MHI, to now, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ vantage point about that same organization.

 

Tim Williams in San Antonio

I didn’t need extra sources to tell me that Tim Williams stated in a room with a few dozen MHI members in it, the following. That neither Williams/21st, nor Vanderbilt (VMF), turned over data that the GSEs wanted to make DTS happen in a more robust fashion. Having sources is arguably often better than relying on yourself. But I heard Tim say as much with my own ears, and I was watching the then MHI chair saying it when he was only a few yards away from where I sat in the same meeting room.

It was a stunning set of statements.

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

 

HUD and MHI

There came a point in time when I no longer needed sources to tell me that MHI was shadow boxing.  MHI was posturing that they wanted to modify HUD’s over-regulation. As noted above, having other sources – which we do – is often better.

That said, I personally asked numerous top-level MHI people face-to-face in San Antonio a variation on the following question. Where they going to support the removal of Pam Danner from her role at HUD?

Not one person in leadership would answer that face-to-face question!

LesliGoochforCongressManufacturedHousingInstituteMHISVPGovtAffairsRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMastheadDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

Think about it. Lesli Gooch has been exactly as successful on getting the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act passed into law as she was at getting elected to Congress…. think about it, because it isn’t a put down. Those are the sad facts.

 

Lesli Gooch, MHI SVP

Lesli Gooch’s otherwise fine letter last summer about Regulatory Reform – re: those executive Presidential orders – missed what is arguably the key point. Gooch never mentioned removing Pam Danner at all.  That statement of her’s is now public record.

How is that possible?  These are intelligent people. I’ve never called them unintelligent.

So, they surely knew that logically, the head of HUD’s MH department had a lot of power, for good or ill. Not removing Danner could make everything else they claimed to be trying, useless.

That’s how shadow boxing works, isn’t it?  All show, no go?

When the most award-winning independent retailer in MHI history told us on-the-record that he supported Danner’s re-assignment – and Doug Gorman considers Danner a personal friend – how could MHI turn a blind eye to that, and so many others who raised concerns with MHI about Danner?

Cowards?

It was after returning from San Antonio that MHI sent me an unsigned letter, with no names on it, saying I’d been removed for membership because it came to our attention that I was trade media. ‘We have no such category for membership.’  What? Don’t they claim to represent ‘all aspects of factory-built housing?’  Doesn’t MHI have (and had) members who publish, not just us?  Hypocrisy?

It was pure farce.  A cowardly fiction.

LATonyKovachMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHCMD-com

Because my last MHI meeting badge – which we’ve kept as evidence – clearly reflected that we are both media and provide other industry services.

 

What These Talented People Taught Me

Talent can be used, or misused.

Rephrasing the above.  It was their own behavior, time after time, plus ongoing feedback from MHI members — including voices within the Clayton-21st circles – that began to compel me to rethink MHI.

Add to that MHI staff action, inaction, and years of failure that forced me one-step-at-a-time to realize what they in fact are doing to this great industry.

They don’t actually fight regulations, do they?  How could they claim otherwise, when in the DOE rule they are on the record as having advocated for them?

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Shifts on DOE Regulatory Rule, Report, Analysis

They don’t fight the CFPB, when their own Government Relations Vice President said that it Would Not get past then President Barack Obama’s veto – if it ever made it that far.  It never made it that far.

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

It was prominent MHI member Frank Rolfe who told me that his congressman told him that it was a waste of time to try and pass the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.  Ouch.

 

 

We editorially disagree with Ishbel Dickens on rent control, and a number of other industry and communities’ issues.

MHCs and Rent Control – Cure or Cause for Affordable Housing Crisis?

Candidates, citizens talk rent control, manufactured home community issues at ice cream social

But Dickens told me she offered MHI a compromise – to modify the MLO Rule that harmed everyone – if MHI/21st/VMF would drop their desire for the higher points and fees stance. Others in MHI later confirmed what Dickens said. Her email, is below.

IshbelDickensPhotoNationalManufacturedHomeOwnersAssocNMHOALogoDailyBuisnessNewsMHproNews

No open minded, thinking professional can ignore so many things, without putting a head in the sand.

Remember, these are just a few examples, there is far, far more.

In my own defense, I was never MHI’s yes man. Tim Williams said as much. I thought them wrong on the DOE Rule, and we editorialized on that point. I thought them wrong on the MHI stance on the fire sprinkler issue, etc.  We supported what we could, and asked politely about what seemed to make no sense.

MHI’s 990 claims they want member input, but apparently they don’t mean it?

 

Some Members Have No Choice…

I get it that many MHI members have no choice.  They tell me that they are compelled by fear, and other forces to be MHI members.

As a long-time MHI guy warned me, “Tony, these guys have long knives.”

I heard that, we understand.  But nothing changes until it is challenged.  Besides, frankly, the more public the challenge, the safer you are likely to be, IMHO. Look at Andy Gallagher. He may have committed, in the eyes of some at MHI, a faux pas. But because it was public, Gallagher is still safe in his job.

Andy Gallagher, “Ousting” Pam Danner, MHI, Clayton’s RVP, WVHI – “Transparency”

But Gallagher and Ayotte made just the point that we did, only differently. Pam Danner must go.  They were waiting for some magic green light to say what MHARR, Bob Crawford, Doug Gorman, MHProNews, and numerous others had said for some time.

After months of MHARR, MHProNews, some states and businesses pushing for the change, now Danner – thankfully! – is gone from the job over the HUD Code manufactured housing program administrator’s role that she had held.

But Danner is not gone because of MHI!  Rather, Danner was removed in spite of months of foot dragging by MHI.

Shake Up at HUD Manufactured Housing Program May Stop Industry Overregulation, per MH State Association

Isn’t that what the record reflects?

Are they going to seriously point to their silly resolution in Congress, rather than the obvious ask of directly calling for the removal of Danner – plus add those same concerns, as examples of why Danner needed to go?

Why has MHI so routinely been the last one to take the correct stance?  Even their former chairman admitted that the assocation had made numerous past mistakes.  MHI failure to get it right is why one of the states – see link above or below – dropped out of MHI, and they explained their reason for withdrawing.

It’s a sad, but necessary indictment of the truth about their record. Years of failure for the majority of MHI members, but those years of failure pays off for those big companies looking to consolidate the industry’s smaller companies at bargain basement prices.

That’s why the letter from AZ is so important. One of their points was along those very lines.  They pointed to success by the RV industry battling regulations that MHI failed to accomplish.

State Associations, Companies Quit Membership in Manufactured Housing Institute, (MHI), One Explains in Writing, ‘Why?’

Great point, isn’t it?

 

The End of the MHI Charade?

The

Ø  MHI charade,

Ø  or con job,

Ø  or whatever allegation or terminology one might want to use to describe it,

is not over.

 

But the MHI mask is falling off for many.

No doubt, some big companies benefit from MHI.  That’s why the organization still exists.  The big boys are happy with it.

Pragmatically, we know some who feel that they must stay, because they have no choice. But doesn’t that arguably make MHI more of a protection racket, than a normal trade association?

Extortion? RICO? Allegedly Illegal, and Dirty Side of Manufactured Housing, Exposed

 

But every single small-to-mid-sized member is arguably feeding the hand that bites their own.

MHI is firmly in the Buffett-Clayton outlined moat that uses non-profits and foundations as part of their moat-building process.  Invest the time to hear Kevin Clayton say so in the video linked here, in his own words.

GoodBusinessStrongCastleMoatAroundItUntouchableWarrenBuffettQuoteMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

 

The MHI Berkshire Hathaway Challenge

In fairness, MHI only does what their masters allow them to do.

Let them publicly debate in Tunica, on a video recorded discussion they and we can video too.

DebateMastheadblodTonyKovachMHProNews

MHProNews.com/Pixabay.

Let them have a panel of their experts – whomever they want! We’ll bring a panel of industry pros, and our experts too.

Let their panel try to prove our panel wrong, on any of the claims or concerns voice here or elsewhere on this pro-industry trade media site.

WithoutDebateWithoutCritismNoAdminNoCoutnryCansucceedNoRepublicCanSurviveJohnFKennedyManufacturedHousingIndustryMastheadCommentaryMHProNews

 

Do you think they have the guts to do that? If they were in the correct, why wouldn’t they?

 

The MHI Mask

Their act of trying to mitigate regulations, when they routinely fail in that – that’s getting harder and harder for them to say with a straight face.  Their clever MHI mask is falling off, slowly but steadily. Their track record is sad, isn’t it?

We editorially applaud MHAZ and their colleagues in Nevada who had the wisdom and the guts to quit MHI.  Let me assure you, that wasn’t an easy choice for them to make.  I don’t have to ask that, its understood for anyone who understands the tragedy that has been taking place in this industry.

MHCommunitiesOfAZNealTHaneyPresidentWhyTheyQuitManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

As the Trump Administration slowly gains more control at HUD and elsewhere, expect MHI to lose credibility as a result.  That doesn’t mean they won’t have short term connections that still periodically pay off in D.C., for what Buffett called their Moat.

MH Lending, FEMA and False Profits (and False Prophets)

Circling back to the opening headline.

Tim Williams. MHI President and CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison. Rick Robinson, MHI Senior VP and General Counsel, SVP Lesli Gooch, and others – one-step-at-a-time – helped me to see what’s really going on.

There’s far more.

But let me draw towards wrapping up this analysis and commentary, with the following.

Like Frank Rolfe, it didn’t on its face make sense to me why MHI would so often not defend the industry from media missteps, nor celebrate good news when it came from someone besides themselves.

Weather Expert’s Surprising, Bombshell Statement on Tornado Deaths and Affordable Manufactured Homes

For years, as an MHI member, we promoted the good news of manufactured housing, in the most robust way in the industry’s history, on MHLivingNews.

Why didn’t MHI support those efforts?

We were members for years, why didn’t they routinely draw attention to the good news about manufactured housing we were promoting?

Even now, when we are clearly in different camps, why wouldn’t they call attention to important pro-industry news, like the two examples posted above?

Paraphrasing Rolfe’s parallel point, it made no sense…

FrankRolfeNegativeArticlesOnIndustryNoCommentbyManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIRVHorizonsMobleHomeUniversityPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

*** …unless one realizes that MHI for many years has worked with Clayton, 21st etc. to keep industry sales low. *** Why? Arguably, by keeping sales low, that allowed Warren Buffet Moat to consolidate more of the manufactured housing – into the Berkshire/Clayton/21st et al “Moat.”

It’s shrewd.

It’s long term.

It’s exactly in keeping with Mr. Buffett’s and Kevin Clayton’s own words.

We were never alone in being betrayed by MHI. That’s other stories, for another time. Because numerous others have been betrayed too.  I’ve listened to the stories of some, and they are often heartbreaking.

I can picture the faces of some who had that stunned ‘deer in the headlights’ look, as they described their professional plights and tragedies to me.

At the time that some told me, some of that I didn’t understand in its full significance. Now, in 20-20 hindsight, I do.

Later, as the truth slowly dawned upon us here at MHProNews, after all those voices and examples and more added up, it became clear that harming independent professionals by the thousands didn’t matter to these people.

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Gives Written Responses – “Part of a Rigged, Corrupt System”

That in turn hurt millions of Americans, who may – if MHI had defended the industry every time the media or some researcher gets it wrong – have been living in a manufactured home happily for years.

Defining a Problem without Offering a Solution is Just Whining. So, What’s Next?

In no particular order of importance, the following should occur.

Given all that we now know, it is my sincere hope that for the sake of the industry, MHI be disbanded, as a hopelessly tarnished brand.  That won’t happen overnight. They were given many chances to change course and reform.  They declined that every time. So, given all of the above facts, evidence, concerns, failures, and allegations — how could that mess in Arlington, VA seriously be reformed?

It is my belief that MHI’s being disbanded may happen to them,

Ø  through legal actions, started by aggrieved members, and perhaps non-members too,

Ø  as part of anti-trust efforts, that they will likely be caught up in,

Ø  unless MHI disbands themselves, voluntarily, before-hand.

As we noted in yesterday’s report, people are innocent until proven guilty.  But an attorney we asked told us they see anti-trust action as a real possibility.  As we’ve done throughout, we must call all of these matters allegations, because that is what the suits tell us we should say.

But you as readers have the ability to discern fact from fiction, with common sense, and by looking at the facts.  Skimming these facts will never lead you to the correct conclusion. That’s Buffett’s biggest edge, he reads!  He invests the time!  Only for those who make a serious study, a half a day, a day, could do it.  Start with the videos and links, above and below.

Superficiality-is-the-curse-of-the-modernWorldMatthewKellyQuoteFancyInspirationBlogMHProNews720

Seek first understanding. Don’t skim. Don’t jump to conclusions.

I don’t believe MHI can survive the string of alleged abuses long-term. So, the industry needs to prepare another option for the post production sector. Thankfully, for producers, there is already the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

But all others need their own voice too, as MHARR has long advocated.

Others, like the AZ community owners’ association, are hunting for their own representation in D.C.

These are de facto votes of no-confidence in MHI.  Whatever modest role we may have played in exposing the MHI charade, we’re happy to have done, within the norms of remaining pro-manufactured housing industry.

Because we don’t believe the industry can achieve its great potential, until Berkshire Hathaway’s brands and their allies are at least put into check, and MHI is supplanted.

NewManufacturedHousing1trillion9PercentNew1percentExistingHomeSales2016CreditManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

If any of the above is wrong, please. MHI, Clayton, 21st – show me where, and I’ll modify this post.

If any of this is wrong, then let Clayton-21st-MHI gather a panel, and let us gather a panel  We’ll debate it publicly in a third-party moderated forum, and video the entire discussion, so that the entire industry can see it. There is not a day go by that we don’t pray for them, pray for the honest liberation of this great manufactured home industry, and pray for you too.

ProblemSolutionTiredOfFightingGiantsInARiggedSystemMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews600x2345

iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com Put “News Tips” in the Subject Line.

What more needs to be said today?

AllTruthPassesThrough3StagesRidiculedViolentlyOpposedAcceptsSelfEvidentArthurSchopenhauerQuoteGalleryMastheadBlogManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, fact checks, commentary.)

(Third party images and information are provided under fair use guidelines.)

L. A. “Tony” Kovach is an award winning manufactured housing industry veteran, and is the managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – the parent company to MHLivingNews.com, MHProNews.com and professional service provider to the factory-built housing industry.

Connect on LinkedInhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Correcting the Record – MHI, Jennison and Gooch

July 7th, 2016 No comments

There are those who believe that certain MHProNews articles and my editorials or analysis on the “MHI Housing Alert” sent out by MHI’s Lesli Gooch under Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison’s authority are driven by a desire to do a frontal attack on the association or large companies. 

There are those who think that MHI is just shadow dancing in its claims to advance DTS, or to get more lending into the industry, as well as those who doubt that MHI seriously wants to see HR 650/S 682 enacted into law.

Let’s tackle those and other, recently raised and related perceptions.

We’ll start by saying that skimming this article will result in more misunderstandings, rather than clarity. Whatever you skim, might be the key points you need to understand what, in fact, has been and more recently is taking place.

You care enough about this issue to be reading this, so kindly care enough – to Please – Do Not Skim This Article.

Superficiality is the curse of the modern world.
― Matthew Kelly

MHI-MHARR-MHEC-DC-MHProNews-collage-copyright2016WeProvideYouDecide

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.

1) We know from a variety of sources that MHI as an organization – as well as finance-focused operations from across the MH spectrum, which are often members of MHI – are making good faith efforts to get the GSEs to better understand MH and to do chattel (personal property, home only) loans on manufactured homes. For example…

There are

  • detailed disclosures by MH lenders on chattel loan performance, and there are:
  • Trips to communities,
  • Trips to retail centers,
  • Trips to factories,

and other efforts that are all geared toward gaining the buy-in of the GSEs for Duty to Serve (DTS for manufactured housing), and/or to obtain the support of FHFA with the GSEs on DTS, etc.. These facts and insights come from lenders, finance pros, people “in the room,” and others.

  1. Those facts in no way militates the efforts of MHARR or others toward accomplishing the goal of making DTS for MH personal property lending a reality.

2a) So to say that MHI has no serious interest in getting DTS into reality would fly in the face of evidence to the contrary.

2b) That said, is MHI doing the best possible job on that issue?  That’s a different question, and a fair one. For example, why has no one from MHI contacted Titus Dare to see what they might learn from him on DTS?  What causes opportunities by MHI staff to learn from others to be missed?

2c) Mindful of #3 below, why doesn’t MHI ask for transparency in releasing the minutes to its private meetings with the FHFA? That transparency, the Masthead  believes, would be good for all in the industry. Further, FHFA ought to release minutes from other private meetings — for example, those with consumer groups.

2d) The more industry leaders and pros know the full picture, the more likely we are going to come with a happy outcome on DTS. Transparency pays.

2e) That the Masthead  isn’t anti-MHI or anti-large operation ought to be self-evident to someone who actually cares about the facts and are fully informed.  Just this month, support for MHI is suggested by the Jayar Daily Congressional testimony article on the home page this month. More to the point, MHProNews has years of history sharing positive insights on and about MHI, and the same can be said about other associations.  

2f) Properly understood, MHProNews’ calling attention to issues has, as its implied aim, for MH Pros to be goal and solution oriented.  A critical analysis is done to help MHI and all other associations, too, not to harm, and thus to help the industry advance, too.  A close reading – not skimming! – will make that evident.

stock-freevector-boxing-gloves-postedMHProNews-

Image credit, Shutterstock, FreeVector.

3) There are reasons why MHARR and MHI often don’t get along – and we won’t go into detail on that today – we just mention that each organization has their suspicions of the other. That reality is entirely apart from any editorializing we or others may or may not do – that MHI-MHARR tension existed decades before MHProNews published its first edition in October 2009. Our writing about it – or not – makes the tension no more or less real.

  1. We will note for today that it’s in the industry’s best interest when MHI and MHARR are on the same
    don-glisson-jr-triad-financial-service-manufactured-housing-loans-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-

    Triad Financial Services Chairman, Don Glisson, Jr.  For Another Cup of Coffee with…Don Glisson Jr, click here or the photo above.

    page; we agree on this point with Don Glisson, Jr. Because for over 17 years, the only time the industry gets what it wants in D.C. is when the two associations – plus state associations – are working in concert. We’ve made that point numerous times in the past.

  1. In a perfect world, both national associations and their respective interests would be at the same table. At various times, MHI and MHARR have in fact been at the same table. Yes, it’s idealistic, but it has been done before, so there are good reasons to think it’s achievable now.  Industry pros like Don Glisson, Jr. have at various times tried to bridge that gap.
  1. Further, while it’s idealistic to think that small, medium and large organizations – and consumers, as well as businesses – can and should all come together to work for the common good, that, too, is attainable. The MH Industry will never hit it’s potential until we are seen as being very pro consumer, which the vast majority of MH Pros already are!
BobCrawford-left-FrankRolfe-rightInsideMHMHProNewsVideo-postedMastheadBlog-MHProNews-

Bob Crawford – left. Frank Rolfe, right. Still from MHProNews video on this page.

Fair and Balanced…

  1. This month, we have two articles that present differing viewpoints. One is an interview with Frank Rolfe, that defends MHI. Interestingly, Rolfe doesn’t defend Jennison or Gooch, at least not by name. Let me underscore again:Literally no one has given us a cogent defense for the “Housing Alert” or other items linked above. No one.  By contrast, we’ve had numbers of people who think MHProNews has done the industry a favor by bringing these issues to light. There are also those who have chided, or politely suggested, that our coverage on this topic helps no one. We’ve also had those who have asked us to clarify — are we attacking MHI’s very existence?  Are we attacking big businesses? We strive to keep all of these perspectives in mind, and they are in fact one of several good reasons for this in-depth column.  We want to be responsive to our readers and industry leaders, just as we want MHI to be responsive, too.

7a) Readers should consider the fact that the CSPAN video was first brought to our attention by a highly placed pro at a large industry operation. As in many of the issues we tackle, they arise from input or grow from insights from readers and industry professionals who are in the know.  We don’t just start sounding off on a topic, we seek to understand it first.

7b) For those who mistakenly think we are attacking a large firm by attacking MHI, that too is clearly contradicted by the full context of how this issue has been brought to the industry and public’s attention. The video we produced, linked here, includes an article that very clearly calls on the media to correct the record of their previously errant reporting about MH industry lending and related issues. A close view of the video will reveal that Richard Cordray offers a surprisingly helpful defense for the industry’s lending, which The Seattle Times/Buzz Feed and others grossly misrepresented.

7c) Before we published our critiques of Jennison and Gooch and their now infamous “housing alert,” they had ample opportunity to correct the record themselves. They failed to do so.  We routinely ask for input, prior to publishing; if a source fails to respond, isn’t that on them?  Did they think their controversial alert and apparent errors would be overlooked, forgotten, ignored, what?

  1. We also published an article by Bob Crawford, calling for a new independent post-production association. It includes a video where he talks about that topic. He rates MHI’s effectiveness in their work on behalf of independent retail and community operators, of which he is one.
  1. Those two viewpoints – Crawford or Rolfe’s – don’t exhaust such a topic. We’ll gladly publish others on such issues. Once more, We Provide, You Decide. © Let me observe anew that the best way for MHI – or any association – to avoid such issues about division within a membership is to make sure they are, in fact, listening to and serving the broadest possible interests of the industry.

9a) At the core are issues of credibility and accountability.  Part of the challenge for manufactured housing is that too many outside of our industry don’t believe what the industry says.  That’s an educational issue, but it also means that MHI’s communications should always be unquestionably accurate.  When that fails, then doesn’t that cast a question mark on other things MHI says, or the industry attempts to do, in D.C. and beyond? 

MHProNewsAnalysisMasthead-JennisonGoochMHI

The infamous April MHI Housing Alert isn’t the only such issue, but the housing alert is one that is easy to review and thus easy to see analyze what took place. Its pretty black and white.

10) That, too, is a reason why editorially we believe that both MHARR and MHI serve important and useful purposes. Ideally, they will work together as much as possible. Stating the obvious often brings clarity. Talk of a third or fourth national association would be at zero if there was a wide perception that all needs and perspectives in MH are being addressed.

JDHarpercreditLinkedIn-postedMastheadMHProNews-

JD Harper, photo credit, Linkedin.

10a) Some will recall that Arkansas’s JD Harper floated a balloon a few years ago for a bridging voice between MHI and MHARR that could advance the MH cause in D.C.

10b) All such efforts ought to send a message. And that message is? Clearly, not everyone believes their needs or interests are being heard! If they were, there would not be MHI members who verbally and in writing communicate their concerns to MHProNews about how national issues are being (mis)handled.

10c) We don’t take on that role lightly. We ask questions, gain insights, do research before we publish on a sensitive topic. So a careful read, starting from the headline on the MHProNews home page says that it’s Staffers who are questioned, and that’s a clear distinction between staff and the organization as a whole.

  1. Look at Frank Rolfe’s comments, part of which is almost humorous (ironic…). He says that people should join MHI to find out what they are doing. The irony is, until Dick Jennison pulled the plug – first on the Journal, months later with MHProNews – there was a level of MHI addressing the industry in its own voice on the pages of MHProNews.

11a) It was Jennison who ended that communication to the industry, at his request, long before we raised issues about his leadership at MHI.  So for those who allege that Jennison is only reacting to what we’ve published, sorry, but that’s hogwash.  For whatever reason, Jennison cut publishing ties to the Journal first, and later with us.  It’s all on him.

  1. There are some long-term MHI members – some of whom no longer attend meetings – that say, ‘We don’t always know why MHI does 
    MHI's New CEO, Dick Jennison

    This was one of the photos taken by MHProNews, a behind-the-camera, behind-the-scenes effort some years ago to get MHI and MHARR to work more closely together. Richard Dick Jennison, left, M. Mark Weiss, right.

    what it does.’ Isn’t that an obvious internal communications issue? Who besides MHI caused that? It wasn’t the Masthead, so isn’t that clearly an internal issue for MHI to address? Even their so-called Week in Review isn’t actually weekly. WiR is published roughly 20+ times a year, in the last few years that Jennison has taken over the helm at MHI.  Does anyone sense a pattern there in Arlington, where Jennison’s MHI office is?

12a) Among the callers yesterday was an industry voice that said, we (MHProNews) should be encouraging more attendance at MHI meetings. Fair topic, which at times past, we’ve done just that; so once more, a complete and balanced-by-the-facts viewpoint is needed. We often talk about MHI meetings, before during and after an event, as regular readers well know. That said, the other perspective might be: Why don’t more pros want to come to MHI meetings?  Apathy happens for a reason.  Isn’t apathy a kind of vote of disinterest or lack of confidence that the effort is worth the time and cost?

  1. We publish MHARR news unedited, and we did the same for MHI for years. Let me state for the record: I can send a request to MHARR for comments or follow up or to address a concern.  I’ll get a prompt answer from MHARR. As our email records and text messages would show, we can address MHI staff on questions, and they routinely won’t answer. Why not? Jennison? Some other reason?  

13a) That’s the opposite of how it was between MHI and MHProNews in years gone by. We used to get prompt responses from Jennison early in his tenure, and also from Thayer Long before Dick came on board.  It wasn’t MHProNews that changed efforts at good communications to none, so why did someone at MHI change that past dynamic between us, as the leading MH publisher, and staff at the Arlington-based association?  Who was the whiz kid who decided it was smart to ignore the industry’s trade media?

14) We still do articles in the Daily Business News that report on both associations. Then there are editorials, some by myself or others, on issues relating to MHI or MHARR. Again, We Provide, You Decide. ©

MHI-staffon-DTS-CFPB-lobbying

Are opportunities to get more lending into MH being missed or slowed by mishandling by key MHI staffers?  These are issues regardless if MHProNews chose to report on them or not. Some are thanking us for covering these matters; others think they should be kept out of the public view.  But when off-the-radar efforts fail, the next step is to go public with industry members. This analysis and those linked provide more insights on finance-related topics.

Bottom Lines?

  1. Calling out realities at MHI ought to be seen as MHProNews doing MHI and its leadership a real, sincere favor. Otherwise, issues will fester until there is a rupture.
    mhi-logo-in-the-spotlight-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-

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

    15a) Some members get great attention, while other members feel ignored. That’s a fact we hear from members often.

  2. Calling on MHI’s top staff to speak to members in a candid, forthright manner is Ethics 101. I make no apology for holding them accountable — that’s a valid role of objective trade media. Before this issue burst on the scenes, MHI Chair Tim Williams defended that value of MHProNews precisely for our independent perspective. 

16a) If we, as an industry, are to showcase our amazing value – if MH, as an industry, is to be seen as the caring professionals most of us strive to be – then collectively, the MH Industry has to be willing to look at allegations like the Jennison/Gooch issue for what they are — more on that, linked here.

  1. That we are pro-MH or pro-association ought not to be doubted. That we are only for small businesses would be a wrong interpretation of reality, as noted above and by the fact that we serve a wide spectrum of MH-related firms and firms in MHI, MHARR, state associations or those in no association, too.  
  1. As further proof of our years of balance on MHProNews, we’ve done interviews with mom-and-pop,
  • consultants,
  • large, medium and small operations,
  • and those in between. We’ve published hundreds and thousands of statements and accounts we don’t necessarily agree with, but it was what the speaker said.  Some industry pros completely get that we are doing what other trade publications in other industries do; some just don’t see that yet. 
CollageofVideosInterview-MHProNews-LATonyKovach

Mostly stills from videos in our industry-leading Inside MH Video series, published on MHProNews and/or MHLivingNews, depending on the topic.  This is a cross section of operations from single location operations to the largest in MH. We strive to be balanced in our coverage and in our analysis.  We invite and publish other viewpoints.  What could be more fair than that?  Only those who skim or don’t read would accuse us of being unfair or unbalanced, or of attacking any size organization or association.  Accountability issues ought to be seen as pro-industry, not anti-industry.

Just page through the years of our A Cup of Coffee with…interview series as proof.

  1. As an example that MHProNews isn’t anti-big business (or business or organizations of any size), we’ve defended ELS when they were wrongfully attacked – and ELS, to my recollection, has never been a client of our firm at any time or level. We’ve defended Clayton and MH lending more than any other publisher anywhere in the past 18 months, and that took place prior to their being an advertiser – and it wasn’t the cause of their becoming an advertiser.  Publishing and marketing have an intersection, but they are two different things in trade publishing. We respect that line, and trust that our sponsors understand that point very well.
  1. The record reflects our independence and the record reflects we defend and promote the MH Industry far more than we criticize it.
    im-williams-CEO-and-President-21st-mortgage-corporation-postedMastheadBlog-MHProNews-com-

    Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage CEO and current MHI Chairman. Click his name to see the interview with Tim.

    Again, Tim Williams point above is spot on.

  1. We’ve criticized CFPB or HUD far more than we have George Allen, MHI, MHARR or anyone else.
  1. My 80 percent friend is not our 20 percent enemy. We may bridge the gap by calling people to account when necessary, but isn’t that an important and valid role of good trade media?
  1. So yes, this writer has editorialized why Gooch and Jennison should go, while not harboring any illusions that we can force that issue. Leadership will do what it wants, for whatever reasons they may have.  Nor will MHProNews plan to make this an eternal mission to write about them every day or week. That would get boring pretty quickly.

24) A tiny minority of what we publish has been about those two MH senior staff members, and a tiny minority of our MHI coverage has been a critical analysis. So the fact that it has raised so many eyebrows points to the fact that the issue is real and needs to be addressed, doesn’t it?!

My80%FriendIsNotMy20%EnemyRonaldReagan-postedMHProNews-com

Optics and Perceptions 

  1. Writers are often reminded that numbers of people skim rather than actually read.  As a writer or publisher, we are not responsible for that reality. If someone or a number of others misread what is published, that’s solely on those doing the misreading.
  1. A careful reading of what we’ve published recently – or over the years, as well, plus behind-the-scenes efforts – ought to prove that we try to bridge gaps, not create them.
  1. But when a gap exists, it does no good to ignore or gloss over it. That’s not negative, that’s reality. We do the industry a favor when we spotlight an important issue that is going unaddressed, or when behind-the-scenes efforts have failed to produce a good outcome.
    gaps-method=credit-postedon-MHProNews

    We will look at the GAPS Method in the near future, as one of the tools to analyze the road blocks to MH advancement.

  1. By analogy, lancing a boil brings out puss and blood. It’s ugly. But once done properly, healing comes in its wake, and the lanced skin grows stronger, not weaker, as a result. Let’s ponder how that analogy applies to MH, or MHI.LancingTheBoil-drawceptioncredit-postedMHProNews-
  1. As a matter of record, we’ve made it clear that calling into question the judgment of Gooch and Jennison on this (or other?!) issues doesn’t represent an assault on MHI.  That’s a bad misread. Please see the linked article, and note the quotes from me. Beginning with the headline, the statements focus on performance by staff members, and how that impacts MHI and thus our industry, too. MHI is not being attacked.  MHI’s effectiveness has been questioned, at the staff and bottom-line-results levels.  Those are two entirely different things!
  1. As a matter of record, we’ve alleged there has been no good rationale to defend the infamous April Housing Alert from Jennison and Gooch, which sparked this recent controversy. It’s not the only reason, but given they had an opportunity to correct the record after we produced the video, and days before we published our first critique on this topic – isn’t it a plenty good reason to see them go? As an executive told MHProNews about the Gooch/Jennison Housing Alert off-the-record, there are no good reasons to deceive or mislead any member, much less in writing in the fashion that Gooch and Jennison advanced.AmericanBankingNews-KEY-MHI-StaffExcoriatedFailingMissionMembers-postedMastheadMHProNews-
  1. I’ve assured colleagues, clients and others who’ve contacted us that the Masthead  doesn’t plan to make a career out of writing or publishing on this one issue, as important as it is. Hindsight is 20/20 for us all. Time will tell if the leadership at MHI was correct in standing by Gooch and Jennison. But I’ll stress again, no one, NO ONE, has yet to offer a good explanation that justifies what that pair did. Isn’t that troubling?  
  1. Don’t shoot the messenger or the analyst – the focus ought to be on what Jennison and Gooch did and/or failed to do.  If someone wants to offer a defense of that memo, please bring it on – we routinely publish perspectives different than our own when they are well reasoned. Isn’t that fair enough?

33) In fact, we demonstrated in MHLivingNews.com, that the comments from Senators Donnelly, Corker and Richard Cordray could have been used by Gooch and Jennison to advance the cause of the pending legislation (HR 650/S 682). Why not let Gooch and Jennison explain why they missed that fact? Aren’t they the paid staffers? And why are they still missing that opportunity?  Ego?  Agenda?  Poor judgment?  What?

RichardCordrayCFPB-ManufacturedHousingRegulationsCSPANstill-InsideMHvideoPostedMHProNews-com-

Richard Cordray quotes and those from the report and video on this page, linked here. Why didn’t MHI’s Gooch and Jennison do a similar graphic, and use it to advance the MHI bill in Congress?  Or even easier, why didn’t MHI use this information already published, and simply ask us as an MHI member to share it?

  1. I’d further say that MHI – which means staff at MHI – missed an opportunity to draw positive attention to the industry on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of HUD Code Manufactured Housing. Perhaps it’s still not too late? 

35) People make mistakes. I certainly do; all of us do. Do the mistakes made by Jennison and Gooch warrant replacing them? Do missed opportunities by MHI staffers to promote more financing or ease the CFPB rules which harm MH warrant a call for new faces in Arlington? One of our slogans for years has been:

We Provide, You Decide. ©

E Pluribis Unum – From the Many, One

  1. On our recent first-of-the-month Masthead, we published the graphic below/left. We believe in unity, but we see little or no value to a fictional or paper-only unity.
UnityStrengthDivisionWeakness-SwahliProverb-ilovebeingblack-twitter=credit-postedMHProNews

There have for centuries been those who worked for unity, and towards division, in all nations and places.  See that Masthead, linked here.

37) I won’t dive into GAPS Analysis today, but will once more mention that as a pro-industry digital publisher, we can do critiques that are professional, rather than personal attacks in nature. See the last Masthead to better understand the topic.

  1. We hope enough readers of good will can step back and look at ALL the facts objectively, to see clearly anew we that we at MHProNews and on MHLivingNews are what we have always been. We are Pro-the-MH Industry. We are Pro-Associations at all levels; they’re all necessary! And when properly led, they have, and will do much good.

Conclusions

At the end of the day, we publish with the goal of solving or promoting solutions to real issues – to report Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use©

mhpronews-logo-dropshadow-manufactured-home-pro-news-logo (1)

We bring plenty of attention to the good news in MH!

A wise man once said that if you have only positive, or only negative poles – in electricity – then you have no power. It takes reality – both positive and negative poles – to produce useful energy.

So when we spotlight a challenge, we hope, work and pray that through thoughtful consideration and action, that will lead to solving real problems.  Burying heads in the sands solves nothing.

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Some don’t want to hear what they might take to be bad news. Image Credits – Dilbert, WikiCommons

Our MH industry has a great story, we strive to tell those stories routinely on MHLivingNews and on MHProNews as well. We plan to stick with that effort until we close more gaps, and until the day comes when we pass on the baton to those who will follow in our wake.

In the meantime, the summary of the above is this.

We can critique MHI’s staff without desiring in any way its destruction.

We can critique MHI without attacking any member company of any size.

We want to see the industry advance, which means that MHI and others must grapple with reality, not sweep it under the rug.  

Our spotlighting issues is doing MHI and the industry a favor, so long as that favor is acted upon in a solution oriented vs. a sweep-it-under-the-rug-fashion. 

We believe the evidence shows that MHI and MHI members are making real efforts to do what they say they are trying to do on DTS.

That said, the questions include, could MHI be more effective at advancing more MH lending?  Are key MHI staff doing all that is possible to advance the association’s agenda? Are opportunities being missed?

Reports from MHI members to MHProNews and the word from others tell us that opportunities are being missed, and that more could have been done.  One example is word from those “in the room” is that the MLO rule change could have already been effected, with a different approach. 

MHI has an opportunity to turn the lemons of these issues into lemonade. The ball is in their court, right where it always has been. We’re bringing reports and analysis, it is up to others to act upon them, or not. We Provide, You Decide. ©  ##

LATonyKovach-QuestioningNYSAAteam-NewYorkHousingAssociation-MHProNews-com-PhotoCreditMarkSimon--250x167

Photo taken during New York Housing Association meeting; L. A. “Tony” Kovach questioning regulators.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Managing Member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC.
Publisher of Industry leading 
MHLivingNews.com,MHProNews.com
and 
Inside MH video series.
MHI member, elected MHI Suppliers Division board member.
Consultant and service provider to the MH industry.

Office 863-213-4090.
Connect on LinkedIn –
https://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

Publisher – MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com

It’s #1! Get our industry leading, free, Twice Weekly emailed news, tips updates (our emailed Newsletters look like this) – sign up free in seconds at MHProNews.com/Subscribe. 

40 Years of Manufactured Housing, 240th Birthday for America, July 4, 2016

July 4th, 2016 No comments

ManufacturedHousing40-US240USIndependenceDay-postedMastheadBlog-

There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”
– Warren Buffett

Superficiality is the curse of the modern world.
Matthew Kelly

There are both keen truths and potent tensions between the two quotes above.  The subject is easy, but we’ll avoid an overly superficial look at the topics for this month.

Unity and Disunity in America, The World and MH

When the 13 colonies declared their independence from England there was a conflict fought. Just days ago, in a heavy voting turnout, England (the U.K.) peacefully voted for independence from the EU, a “Brexit.” The U.S. then, or the British today, wanted to be freed from the rule of others. At the same time, they wanted to band together as a people.

UnityStrengthDivisionWeakness-SwahliProverb-ilovebeingblack-twitter=credit-postedMHProNews

There have for centuries been those who worked for unity, and towards division, in all nations and places.

So independence has in practice an interdependence.

The American colonies would forge a system designed to end England’s power, as well as limit the power of the federal system that came into being here in the U.S. once the war for our nation’s independence was won.

It’s a fact. The Soviet Union split into 15 nations. Yugoslavia split into 7. China has two significant areas where separatists are at work. The U.K. will face another Scottish exit effort. Across Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond – there are movements whose aim is to break larger nations – larger powers – into smaller ones.

Those who seek regional or global orders in America today have watched a strong anti-Democratic-establishment effort by Bernie Sanders followers.

They are watching an “America First” populist-nationalist camp led by Donald Trump lay claim to the party that Bush, Romney and a few Republican elites have previously led.

Perhaps 5 percent to 10 percent of the USA is libertarian, and smaller movements of Green Party or other forces are busy in our land too. Some pundits say Ralph Nader’s Green Party run in 2000 cost Al Gore the election against George W. Bush (fyi – your Masthead  scribe is an independent).

Struggles over unity and division are ongoing. Never think that what’s happening today is so totally different than other parts of the world, or other eras of history.

Efforts for unity or division go all the way back in time to when the people of the world are said to have lost a common language, after the Tower of Babel was toppled by the God of the Jewish and later Christian people.

There is unity, and there is disunity.

There is Independence as well as Interdependence.

Manufactured Housing and Our Times

On this 240th 4th of July, some might say that within Manufactured Housing, there are – and historically have been – similar forces for independence and interdependence at work.

At one time, Fleetwood and Champion dominated the manufactured housing industry. Today pros speak of the three Cs of MH – Clayton, Cavco and Champion. There were numerous independents then, and now.

There are consolidations taking place on the manufacturing side of MH. Far more consolidations are occurring on the community side of MH.

GoFaster-GoAlone-GoFartherGoTogetherAfricanProverbPinterest-postedMHProNews-

Image credit, Pinterest.

Retail by independents have risen and fallen, but could be rising again.

A new paradigm has been coming to birth in MH for about a decade, as a growing percentage of home sales are done by MH land lease communities – aka “mobile home parks” – or more properly MHCommunities. While most MHCs buy pre-owned homes – or new homes from factories – solely for their own use to fill vacant homesites; in some places, retail off-property by MHCs are in motion. That’s a trend to watch.

The point is that there are in business as in politics, larger forces at work in MH, as well as thousands of smaller ones.

On the association/lobbying/advocacy side, most states have their own associations, some have separate community associations plus an “umbrella” association. A few have associations that span RVs and MHs or even other groups seeking collective advocacy.

In factory-built housing, there are more groups than are generally spoken of in MHVille – we hear the most from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), or the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). But the NAHB has their Systems Building Council. And there is the Tom Hardiman led Modular Home Builders Association (MHBA), which differs from the modular housing group under the MHI umbrella. There are others in Canada too…

BobCrawford-left-FrankRolfe-rightInsideMHMHProNewsVideo-postedMastheadBlog-MHProNews-

Bob Crawford – left. Frank Rolfe, right. Still from MHProNews video.

As readers will see below, this month we’ll provide an article that promotes a new, independent post-production association – which the author of that column asserts that MHI is at best a 5 out of 10  in terms of its effectiveness in working for the interests of independent MH Retailers and MHCommunities. That author – Bob Crawford, and his mentor Dick Moore – have advocated for an independence movement from MHI before. Time will tell if there is more momentum behind it now, than previously.

The MH industry hitched its wagon to the federal oversight star 42 years ago. Just over 40 years ago, the first HUD Code manufactured homes rolled off the assembly lines in the U.S.

There were once more ‘national,’ ‘regional’ or ‘federated’ MH associations than there are today. Will history repeat?  

Our reporting on issues isn’t  always the same as advocacy of a perspective.  Our taking a position doesn’t mean we’re looking for a do or die battle. We have clients, readers and supporters in both major national associations.  In a professional world, the Ronald Reagan ideal below should apply.

My80%FriendIsNotMy20%EnemyRonaldReagan-postedMHProNews-com

As a disclosure, this writer broadly-speaking wears two hats. One is as a trade publisher of MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com – the other as a provider of business development and consulting services, all of which operates under the LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC banner, of which I’m the managing member.  

What brings those two hats together is a passionate love for this MH Industry, and for seeing MH advance in every possible way.  Everything else we do can be seen through that prism. 

News, Tips and Views

As a publisher, we report news as well as do commentary and analysis.

The following is another fact. Manufactured housing trade publications, with no disrespect for the Journal  or others who have gone before us, have never had the same kind of publications we provide on professionally-focused MHProNews.com (aka MHMarketingSalesManagement.com, also known by some as MHMSM.com) or the public via MHLivingNews.com.

As a result, it’s no surprise that too many in our MH industry think of any critique by me of another person, persons or group as a personal attack.  Not so!  It’s purely professional.  

It’s standard fare for the business of being a trade publisher. MH can’t or won’t advance to its potential until rigorous and candid discussions identify and resolve all those things that hold us as an industry back.

gaps-method=credit-postedon-MHProNews

We will look at the GAPS Method in the near future, as one of the tools to analyze the road blocks to MH advancement. Good analyis is – or should be – objective.  If you or others have a different point of you that you want to publicy or privately share, please write or call.

Unlike Jim Visser – whom I respect – or others who are no longer in the MH trade publication business, this writer spent many years in the trenches of MH long before picking up a digital pen and paper. We still earn our keep by boosting manufactured and modular home sales!  Some of that personal/professional history will be rapidly reviewed in an article linked below.

Suffice it to say for now, that I’ve worked with some of the largest operations in MH, with assocations and with some other operations more modest in size, and also “mom and pop” businesses.  All small firms hope to do well, some aspire to be big firms someday.  We salute all those MH entrepreneurs, professionals and captains of industry.

So we come at MH related topics from a different viewpoint than someone who only prints articles and ads (no disrespect intended to other publishers, just stating facts).

When we write about Dick Jennison or Lesli Gooch at MHI, and raise questions about their effectiveness or the ethics of their communications practices, that’s a valid topic as they are public figures in our industry.  If there is a critique of them, it is not necessarily a blast at MHI, of which I am also an elected board member.  A critique is part of a GAPS analysis, pure and simple. If you or others you work with have a different take than ours, you can share it, as we share a Pro-MHI column this month (see below), and one that takes a we-need-a-new-association viewpoint.

That’s balanced trade publishing.  “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

As both a publisher and as an MHI board member, others have encouraged as well as expressed concerns to me, and we have published some of those concerns by reference when off-the-record, or under the person’s name, when OK’d to do so.

When someone is a manager, executive or even an owner of a company or organization which supplies products or services to XYZ, it is entirely understandable that such a person does not want to publicly say something that XYZ may not want to read or hear on video.  Other media do such off-the-record reports, we do too.

Let’s reframe some of the above.

In the automotive industry world, there would be thicker skins about Car and Driver  or some other auto-trade publication critiquing a publicly visible professional person’s performance, or that of an organization. It’s pretty common in other industries!

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The featured story on this almost decade old Manufactured Home Merchandiser Magazine cover was one that your Masthead scribe wrote for them.

What makes it uncommon in MH – and thus, perhaps a little shocking to some in MHVille – is precisely that our industry has heretofore had no similar trade publishing. Even in its heyday, the venerable MH Merchandiser Magazine  was only a monthly, with some news and mostly columns and ads. Only MHProNews has produced an industry business daily news in the MH World.

Jim Visser at the Journal  rarely does an editorial. Herb Tieder’s Merchandiser did an editorial column, but those that recall know it wasn’t much like those you’ll find here on the Masthead.

That’s no slam, it’s reality. In fairness to those others, how could they? Those other publishers never had the first-hand view from the MH trenches we have, then or now!

MHProNews  has changed all that for trade publishing in our industry.  That’s why thousands of MHPros flock here daily.

Investors, media, academics, public officials, policy advocates and researchers from around-the-world read this publication too.

MH today is, as Nathan Smith said on video, a boutique industry and thus a relatively small audience. Comparing us to the Dallas Morning News, Chicago Sun Times or Tribune, the New York or Los Angeles Times – or even a more financially focused professionals’ publication like Forbes – our audience is signficantly smaller.

But MHProNews has articles that get more hits than some articles on Forbes gets.

That’s a fact.  Here’s an example for proof.  We’ll have more hits on dozens of articles on MHProNews this and every month than what this Forbes article reflects.

TaxWaste6.1BillionHoursSpentComplyingFederalTaxCodeForbes-2016-07-04_1455-postedMHProNews

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2,525 visitors on MHProNews at the time and date shown. That’s not cumulative, that’s readers at that specific time. Typical reader views 8+ pages, per Webalizer. Screen capture of base of MHProNews.com home page.

Some in our industry have never known anything but MHProNews, or perhaps some less popular bloggers or emailed PDF newsletters done by consultants, in which those other writers naturally promote their own products and services.

But none, none of those other publications have the same domestic or global reach that MHProNews has. It’s not bragging or hubris if it’s true, and these are facts.

It’s no surprise to us that a group out of Singapore is making a two billion dollar plus play for MHCs in the U.S., international business and investors interested in factory built housing are on our pages routinely.

While our audience is absolutely dominated by those in the U.S., as we’ve shown before, our webstats and contacts from professionals living in “investor nations” in Europe, Asia and other parts of the globe is steady and growing, as is our reach in the United States.

So the view from the Masthead  matters to MHVille, and to a real extent, MHVille benefits from MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com. As but one example, every company that attends the Louisville or Tunica Shows in the past several years has benefited from our promoting those events.  

The Masthead  shares these insights, hoping to limit misunderstandings.  I have no personal animus towards say MHI’s Jennison or Gooch; it’s professional and the questions are simple.  Do they get the job done?  Have they behaved in an entirely professional and ethical fashion? Are they helping or harming MHI and its goals?

Setting the Manufactured Housing World on Fire

Some have cheered our reports, others – including highly placed officials – have provided respectful feedback that disagrees with our take, and advises us to handle it differently.  One was very kind in saying that they know I mean well, but that I’m going about this all wrong.  I hear all of that, and to all who have sent their thoughts for, against or nuanced – my sincere thanks to each of you.

We respect all of those takes, encourage them, promise to take them all into consideration and we’ll gladly publish them when asked and thoughtfully presented. 

We don’t seek conflict or controversy for its own sake.  

We do have goals for the MH industry and for all those our great industry serves.

The executive summary for all this could be – the Truth sets us free. Everything else – are details and commentary. 

With no further adieu, let’s dive into our July 2016 Featured Articles.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 7, No. 10, 2016

Alphabetically by Category

 

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

 

• How Peace of Mind Attracts More Qualified Clients and Boost Sales

by Tifanee McCall

TifaneeMcCall-MHWC-ResidentialWarrantyCompany-55x55Every day, hundreds of thousands of big TVs and electronic items like computers are being sold.

Read more…

 

•  Colorado MHC Portfolio | 719 Sites | Colorado

by Christopher Nortley

ChristopherNortlyMHREinc=postedMHProNews-comy50x50-MHRE Inc. is pleased to present the Colorado MHC Portfolio, which consists of 3 communities with a combined site count of 719. The Home Portfolio consists of 243 homes throughout the 3 communities.

Read more…

 

• UMH Properties hits 52-Week High, Projections Skyward

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1As investors await the Aug. 4, 2016 earnings report from manufactured housing community (MHC) owner UMH Properties, Inc. (NYSE:UMH), the stock has hit a new 52-week high at $11.25, with a target of $26.10, a 132% increase.

Read more…

 

FINANCING

 

Identifying and Resolving Barriers of Entry for more Manufactured Home Lending

by Titus Dare

TitusDareEagleOneFinancial-postedMHProNews-50x50-Getting more lending into the manufactured housing space is not a simple snap of a finger and “poof!” it’s done. Getting more lending starts, as I noted a few days ago, with the three prongs of needed Education. It relies too on the 4S’ of good lending – Safe, Sound, Sanitary and Sustainable.

Read more…

 

• Northpoint Commercial Finance Expands Field Sales Organization

by Northpoint Commercial Finance

NorthPointcommercialFinance-logo-postedomMHProNewsAlpharetta, GA, June 26, 2016 – Two new Directors of Business Development have joined Northpoint Commercial Finance’s Field Sales Organization.

Read more…

 

• Why Manufactured Homes Are Being Chosen By Today’s Homeowners

by Triad Financial Services

Triad Financial-bannerad-MHProNews-comMany of us are aware of the current affordable housing crisis. Whether it be the significant increase in rent or lack of affordable options in today’s site built homes, consumers are looking for a solution and manufactured homes are providing a viable choice.

Read more…

 

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

 

• Clayton releases top energy efficient features for manufactured and modular homes.

by Clayton Homes

ClaytonHomes-logo-50x50Top energy-efficient housing features every new homebuyer should know

Most Americans want an energy-efficient home, and they’re willing to make the necessary changes to help improve efficiency, whether it’s changing their habits or buying more energy-efficient appliances.

Read more…

 

• You’re Invited – 2016 RV MH Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

by Barry Cole

barry-cole-rv-mh-hall-of-fame-postedonmhpronews-com-65x65You’re invited to the 2016 RV MH Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony!

Read more…

 

 

• Bob Crawford – On MHI, MHARR and a New Association

by Bob Crawford

BobCrawford-DickMooreHousingPresident-ManufacturedHousingProfessionalNewsViews-postedMHProNews50x50In reply to your request to rate MHI’s effectiveness at advocacy for independent retail/non-corporate MH business, I would have to rate it at best a 5.

Read more…

 

• Proof MHPros Can Attract the Site Built Customer to Manufactured Homes and MHCommunities

by Tom Fath

Tom Fath-Operations Manager New Durham Estates and Home Sales55x55We met Tony (Kovach) in 2014 at the Louisville Home Show and found his firm’s vision, professional services, and expertise to be in the direction our business and the industry as a whole needed to move at a fast pace.

Read more…

 

• Frank Rolfe – Interview on MH Industry Business, Politics and Associations

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachThere has been a wide range of comments – for, against or in between – regarding the MHProNews critique and analysis of MHI’s lobbying activities, centering on Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison and Lesli Gooch.

Read more…

 

• Congressional Testimony by Jayar Daily, COO, American Homestar Corporation on – Future Of Housing In America: Government Regulations And The High Cost Of Housing

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachThe written testimony (linked here) to Congress by F. R. Jayar Daily, Chief Operations Officer for American Homestar Corporation and a member of MHI’s board of directors is dated March 22nd, 2016.

Read more…

 

• The Next American Political Revolution? The Next 4th of July

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachThose who neglect the lessons of the past are condemn to relieve them.

Read more…

• Off The Record – Musings Of A Warped MH Mind

by MH Industry member

MH-industryMemberOffTheRecord-MHProNews-com-The recent allegations concerning MHI staff members are troublesome.

Read more…

 

• Singapore Investors Turn Sights on Yes! Communities for $2Billion+

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1MHProNews has learned from The Wall Street Journal that Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, is in talks to acquire Denver-based YES! Communities from private-equity firm Stockbridge Capital Group for over $2 billion.

Read more…

 

•  American Banking News – Key MHI Staff “Excoriated” for Failing Their Mission, Members

Matthew J Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comWith Dodd-Frank, financing and CFPB related issues routinely on the minds of manufactured housing industry professionals, TheDaily Business News  has learned fromAmerican Banking News the following report on the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which is made available below.

Read more…

 

• Mary McBrady says Massachusetts is Smacked with Shortage of Mid-range Homes

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1Mary McBrady, executive director of the Massachusetts Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA), noting the shortage of mid-priced housing in Mass., and a plethora of schools and researchers interested in housing policy within the state, says, “We, as an industry, need to be part of that conversation and dialogue.”

Read more…

 

• Skyline Outshines other MH-related Stocks; Dow Regains 235 Point

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1In the news from CNNMoney: A Tesla 2015 S on autopilot has fatal crash, spurring Federal investigation.

Read more…

 

• Tony Prevatte Chosen to Head NC MH Association

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1MHProNews has learned from robesonian that Tony Prevatte, owner of Prevatte Home Sales in Lumberton, NC has been elected president of the North Carolina Manufactured and Modular Homebuilder’s Association’s board of directors.

Read more…

MARKETING

• Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales Makeover

by Soheyla Kovach

SoheylaKovach-WebsiteDevelopment+SupportServices-MHProNews-com-photo83degreesmediaJulieBranaman-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-To get a different result, you obviously have to do some things differently.

Read more…

 

• Award Winning Manufactured Home Retailer Perspectives on Sunshine Homes, Red Bay AL

by Soheyla Kovach

SoheylaKovach-WebsiteDevelopment+SupportServices-MHProNews-com-photo83degreesmediaJulieBranaman-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-Our family, videographer, drone pilot and I went to Hattiesburg MS to meet with award winning manufactured home retailer, George Campbell of Southern Colonel Homes.

Read more…

 

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

• Letting go

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comLetting go is accepting that it is time to move on, to begin again and to say goodbye to your present circumstances is to make room for the new learning from different sources.

Read more…

ZigOn Quantity

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglarFor some strange reason there are millions of us who believe that if a little of something is good for us, a lot would be even better. Sometimes that is true, but frequently it is not.

Read more…

SALES

• The Manufactured Housing Revolution – How the MH Industry Claims its MoJo

by L.A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachNo person, profession or organization is without challenges. The question is, what does one do about those challenges? Challenges can make or break you, a company or an industry.

Read more…

Lender Says MH Loan Option Hidden by MHI President, Manufactured Home Sales Lost

June 25th, 2016 No comments

Politics is really about the story you tell and getting the people on your side.”

— Julie Pace – Chief White House Correspondent for the Associated Press

LesliGooch-PhD-MHIvicePresident-GovernmentRelations-postedMHProNews75x75-

Lesli Gooch, PhD, MHI.

At an MHI meeting in 2015, Lesli Gooch and a room full of industry professionals were introduced to a proposal about how good storytelling could enhance MH lending regulatory relief efforts.

By spotlighting current manufactured homeowners and MH shoppers who have been impacted by the CFPB’s implementation of Dodd-Frank rules, a clearer understanding of the harm caused to real people could be told in a compelling way.  

It’s the “poster child” approach many other industries and businesses use successfully.

Why not have a series of MH “poster child” stories, told through video, pictures, graphics and the written word?

Then allow those real-life experiences of MH shoppers, MH homeowners and MH industry professionals convey the issues in a fashion that helps others connect to an otherwise technical and dry regulatory story.

Gooch’s reaction?

Gooch immediately dismissed and shot the “poster child” concept down at that meeting.

As the initial advocate and others outside that meeting room later discussed, the storytelling approach could be useful in countering a negative media narrative promoted by others opposing the Manufactured Housing Institute’s sponsored legislation — HR 650/S 682 (Preserving Access...).

Decades of lobbying experiences by other industries proved that the poster child method could also help elected or appointed officials, policy advocates and their staffs to connect with those in the stories.

So why would Gooch, with her PhD in hand, nix a widely proven method of political engagement?

More Manufactured Home Lending Opportunities Missed, Lost or Buried by MHI? 

RichardDickJennison-MHI-CEO-PostedMHProNews-com

MHI President and CEO, RIchard “Dick” Jennison.

In 2013, the day prior to the opening of the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show, a national lender was a featured speaker at a semi-private industry educational/promotional event attended by Richard J. “Dick” Jennison, the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) president.

Jennison issued a statement that praised the event and its content.

But that national lender/speaker has told MHProNews that neither MHI’s Dick Jennison, nor the National Community

jenny-hodge-manufactured-housing-institute-mhi-national-communities-council-ncc-posted-mhmarketing-sales-management-mhpronews.com

Jenny Hodge, MHI VP and National Communities Council (NCC)

Council’s (NCC) Jenny Hodge made any effort to advance an untapped option for more MH lending — that a creative and appealing loan program useful in both land lease and in land/home sales already existed, but was grossly overlooked.

Then, as now, MHI officially said that promoting new lending in manufactured housing was a top priority for MHI.

In an opinion column published by AmericanBanker, Gooch wrote:

For the record, the Manufactured Housing Institute has been leading the campaign to bring more lenders into the manufactured housing market for years.”

She went on to say that “MHI wants to expand access to financing for manufactured housing and increase the number of lenders that offer such financing. It is time that we all work collaboratively toward constructive and actionable solutions.”

Those solutions, Gooch’s column noted, should include the FHFA encouraging the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) to do chattel lending.

Gooch is partially correct, in as much as MHProNews confirmed sources closely connected with various non-Berkshire-Hathaway lenders that they were included in Duty to Serve (DTS)-related meetings.

But numerous industry lenders – and lenders not in MHI that sought to advance programs for manufactured housing – have given insights that conflict with the rosy picture Gooch painted in American Banker.

The known facts suggest that for whatever reasons or motives, MHI has missed numerous opportunities to expand manufactured housing home-only and land/home lending.  The impact on the factory built housing industry in terms of lost sales could be in the billions of dollars annually.

The Titus Dare

TitusDareEagleOneFinancial-postedMHProNews-50x50-

Titus Dare, Eagle One Financial.

Dare’s first article A Deeper Look at why the GSEs say no to Securitizing Chattel Loans, includes this comment:

It is MHI’s lack of understanding of the function the GSEs have in providing paper to their core secondary lenders, such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America (BOA) and U.S. Bank.

If Gooch and MHI were sincere in their desire to work collaboratively to increase lending, then why have Dare’s insights been ignored?

According to a comment we received on Friday (6/24/16) from Dare:

After my articles in MHProNews were published, I heard from industry and MHI members. But not a word or any follow up from anyone at the Manufactured Housing Institute.”

Other Missed Lending Opportunities? More non-MHI lenders ignored?

This writer has made numerous efforts during the presidency of MHI CEO Jennison to address the need for more lending in manufactured housing.

Meetings open to industry members were held in Tunica and Louisville.

Underused or unused programs were examined that, given the proper attention and effort, could have then – and still today – significantly increase MH sales.

bank-vault-door-closed-credit=flickr-creative-commons-

How much does the locked door on more lending options cost manufactured housing industry members every year? Photo credit, FlickrCreativeCommons.

Dozens of industry pros who came to each of those sessions and events, and thousands more who read about them wondered: What happened?

Good questions. Some of those took place prior to Lesli Gooch coming on board, but they were known to Jennison, MHI’s president. Why did he fail to engage on those opportunities?

Looking Back at U.S. Bank

This writer signaled in the summer of 2014 The High Cost of Low Volume MH Sales. Within months of that column, U.S. Bank pulled out of the manufactured housing lending market.

Our high-level contacts at U.S. Bank reported, both off-the-record and in official statements, that low volume and regulatory risks caused them to walk away from a home-only lending program that was profitable, but whose volume was too low to continue to fight the long-term regulatory battles.

So it isn’t just MHARR that suggests that MHI has failed to correct the problems with MH industry home lending. Nor is it just sources inside or close to MHARR that accuse MHI of de facto choking off lending with the goal of causing independent businesses to sell off to MHI member companies, or close shop.

In the light of such facts, do concerns raised by MHARR CEO M. Mark Weiss, JD,

M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-75x75-

M Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR.

asking for the minutes of the closed-door MHI meeting with FHFA about getting the GSE’s to do chattel lending on manufactured homes take on a more urgent look?

View from the Masthead

Management from one of the GSEs met privately with me, at their request, in Las Vegas at the MHI Congress and Expo event. As the Masthead  previously reported, we were told, off the record, that there was not much respect at that giant organization for MHI.

MHProNews was also told that the GSEs would not do chattel lending on manufactured housing, unless the FHFA ordered it.

It was that report that caused Titus Dare to reach out and share his insights on how MHI has fumbled this opportunity in recent years.

Dare’s reporting seems balanced, in as much as he reminds the industry that, prior to the current MHI regime, there was progress made with the GSEs, and that some $150 million in lending in land lease manufactured home communities was successfully done.

Dare is currently involved in a non-MH project, so he has no obvious axe to grind, other than his desire to see manufactured housing prosper well beyond its current low levels.

Deliberately Misleading the MH Industry?

MHProNews has shined a spotlight on the fact that Lesli Gooch, with Dick Jennison’s okay, issued a statement to industry members that was technically accurate, but completely missing the fact that Senator Joe Donnelly’s pro-MH statements were strongly resisted by the CFPB’s Richard Cordray (see the MHI Housing alert, CSPAN video and analysis linked here.)

MHProNews provided MHI repeated opportunities to answer questions on these topics; in each case, they declined or opted not to reply.

USsenatorJoeDonnellyD-IN-posted-Masthead-blog-ManufacturedHousing-MHProNews-com-

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, (D-IN).

When MHProNews formally requested that MHI permit a video and questions for Sen. Donnelly’s upcoming talk to MHI members in Indianapolis, MHI responded with a strongly worded no.

Gooch claimed in her op-ed to American Banker that now is the time “that we all work collaboratively toward constructive and actionable solutions.

Yet it is Gooch – as noted above – who publicly declined using any supportive video and other poster child -type storytelling efforts by MHLivingNews or MHProNews on behalf of MHI’s bill.

Do they really want it to pass?

It is Gooch and company that have failed to follow up with Titus Dare, to see what they might learn from him on getting the Duty to Serve (DTS) successfully implemented by the GSEs.

Do they really want DTS to become reality? If not, why not?

When Gooch, writing on the association’s behalf, says that MHI “has been leading the campaign to bring more lenders into the manufactured housing market for years — doesn’t the evidence suggest otherwise?

 

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

If you look carefully, the money bag has the top choked off. Choking off manufactured housing lending options harms prospectiveMH  buyers, MH home owners and tens of thousands of manufactured home industry professionals. Indeed, the case can be made that lost MH lending options means lost new home and resales – thus  harming everyone in the industry’s mix. So why allow this pattern of lost lending opportunities to continue at MHI? Photo credit, WikiCommons.

How does one explain the repeated failures by MHI staff to embrace options and opportunities or new lenders into the MHI space that could lead the industry into more competitive lending and more new manufactured home sales?

Respected and High-Profile Members Who Won’t be at the MHI meeting in Indy

There are numerous voices that are telling MHProNews, off the record, that they won’t be in Indianapolis for MHI’s Summer Meeting. Others are saying they will go, but still expect more of the same.

One pro stated they were shocked that MHI was indirectly admitting they were once more being blind-sided on the “anti-MHI rider” that a message from Jennison urgently called on industry professionals to oppose.

As some are quietly asking: Is it all a show?

If the staff was serious about getting more lending and passage of their bill, how to explain the numerous obvious, yet missed, opportunities outlined in this article? Theories and allegations on these issues abound.

In our rapidly approaching July issue, we will feature on the record comments from well-known and respected operations that say:

  • they support MHI, but suggest that nothing much is getting done

  • that MHI may benefit a select few, but has failed the industry at large and are calling for a new association to be formed

  • We may have more details on a source that says he has spoken with industry professionals prepared to put over a million dollars into funding a new post-production association and promotional effort.

The Masthead  has been sounding the klaxon that if MHI is to avoid more embarrassment or further internal divisions, changes — including some level of house cleaning — must take place.

There have been rumors that one or more MHI staff members — seeing the coverage and the growing revelations — are polishing resumes and looking for new opportunities outside of manufactured housing.

Pulling the Threads Together…

The AP’s Julie Pace is correct. “Politics is really about the story you tell and getting the people on your side.”

MHI’s communications to industry, and to those they claim to want to influence, could be termed lackluster, dry and — given that Preserving Access is stalled — ineffective.

They failed to get the GSE’s or FHFA to say yes to chattel lending.

There are many bright spots in MHVille, but how many are directly attributable to MHI?

As a dues-paying, elected MHI board member, this writer has as recently as this week written Congress on behalf of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. Not many in the industry could claim to have created more educational storytelling than MHLivingNews.com has, all accomplished with the support and involvement of a range of MH companies and our team members.

We believe in the industry. We believe, too, that the facts show that something dramatic has to happen at MHI, because it clearly is ineffective as it is currently operating.

Gooch wrote about “numerous articles about MHI’s strong support for the inclusion of chattel lending in the rule.” A recent MHI message told their members that MHI “urged” HUD to make changes in their regulatory regimen.

If writing and urging were the only things needed to get implementation or regulations to change, or bills to pass, they would have succeeded long ago.

But the opposite is clearly evidenced by Gooch’s own letters to American Banker, when she says they’ve been working on these issues for years. Isn’t that like saying, they’ve failed to move the ball for years? How long does one keep a coach or player that doesn’t score points for the home team?

Yes, D.C. is in gridlock, as MHI defenders say. But if they can’t get something done, why does the MHI staff continue to grow? What are they all doing now to successfully address issues, rather than “urge” and “strongly support” a change?

It is MHI members who are quietly telling the Masthead that MHI had the opportunity to get the MLO rule changed. Those same voices tell us that achieving that success could have led to others on points and fee thresholds, the twin goals of Preserving Access.

If MHI’s leadership wants to move the ball down the field and score points that sell more homes, a serious series of changes must take place at MHI.

As strong supporters of MH industry professionals and homeowners, only success should be accepted.

We have too good a story to tell! Why isn’t MHI effectively telling it? How many lost sales will we accept before change is demanded, or a new association is formed? ##

Footnotes

1) The following two MHARR Washington Updates each include references to the handling by MHI of the Duty-to-Serve rule, and MHARR’s allegations that this is being done to favor the largest lenders; i.e. the Berkshire-Hathaway owned lenders.

http://www.mhpronews.com/images/stories/uploads/MHARR_APRIL_21_2016_WASHINGTON_UPDATE.pdf

http://www.mhpronews.com/latest-news-from-mharr/11445-mharr-washington-update-report-and-analysis

2) For updates on queries and comments regarding this message from industry members, please see below. (6.26 and 6.27.2017)

LATonyKovach-QuestioningNYSAAteam-NewYorkHousingAssociation-MHProNews-com-PhotoCreditMarkSimon--250x167

Photo taken during New York Housing Association meeting, Tony questioning regulators.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Managing Member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC.
Publisher of MHLivingNews.com, MHProNews.com and Inside MH storytelling video series.
MHI member, elected MHI Suppliers Division board member.
Consultant and service provider to the MH industry.

Office 863-213-4090.
Connect on LinkedIn –
https://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

It’s #1! Get our industry leading, free, Twice Weekly emailed news, tips updates (our emailed Newsletters look like this) – sign up free in seconds at MHProNews.com/Subscribe. 

(Editor’s notes: we’ve had numerous messages and calls about this column, and previously about others that cited Titus Dare’s writing and work. Among the messages were those who have worked with Dare on these home-only GSE loans in the manufactured home community market, or did committee work with him, etc.  

Among those messages that came in on 6.25.2016, two questioned the total amount of those GSE originated loans.  We’ve therefor asked Titus Dare to double check his records, and we will update that if/as needed for accuracy.  MHProNews has been and will always seek to be for getting the facts correctly.  Dare has texted back saying he’s happy to double check on those figures next week and will advise as needed, so that too suggests a desire for accuracy.

A comment from a high level MHI member used words to the effect that MHI can’t keep a lender out of the manufactured housing market, regardless if such a lender was encouraged or discouraged by MHI. While that’s technically true, it misses two broader realities.

First, The low volume of MH loans – combined with other factors such as the CFPB’s onerous regulatory regime – is what drove US Bank out.  Low volume is a piece of the puzzle for new MH sales growth, which is why that factor was noted in the original column, above.

Opening up new lending, especially on a national scale, requires significant time, talent and financial resources. So anything a prospective lender can do to bring those up-front costs down before going to market will make it easier for a new lender to say – yes, we want to make loans on manufactured housing.  

That also means the reverse is true.  If a prospective lender finds they aren’t getting interest or support from a national association (in this case, MHI) that repeatedly states that new lending is high priority for them, isn’t that a reason to question the wisdom of entering into making loans in MHVille?

So logically – yes, failure for MHI to encourage lenders can be costly to the industry at large.

The second point is that Gooch’s article in American Banker, was it entirely accurate when it says that MHI wants to encourage new lenders, or not?  Doesn’t the evidence indicate otherwise?  Didn’t key MHI staff members – at a minimum – fail to encourage lenders and options that were presented to them in a meeting?  And that meeting had dozens in attendance, including me.

The objective reader can see that Gooch, with Jennison’s okay, sent out a MHI Housing Alert message to members that distorted what acctually took place in the hearing with Senator Joe Donnelly and CFPB’s Richard Cordray. Typos or honest mistakes can happen to anyone, and most people understand those for what they are. But once someone has deliberately decieved, it can be hard to regain trust.

Organizations are obviously made up of people, and an association has staff that does its work.  This pro-Industry trade publication has questioned the allegations, facts and concerns raised about members of the MHI staff.  These concerns are routinely brought to us by third parties. So MHProNews spotlighting staff at an organization isn’t the same as condemning the organization, of which this writer is a member.

So what needs no update is that whatever the precise amount of the loans involved, or how many lenders MHI staff members may have failed to encourage to lend in the MH market, the principles noted above all still apply.  Why did MHI not contact Dare?  Why did Dick Jennison or Jenny Hodge not encourage other lending in the MH space when, they met personally with a lender interested in doing work in the manufactured housing market?  Was Lesli Gooch incorrect in saying that MHI encourages more lenders?

MH has a good story to tell, and we are busy telling it.  

MH should be doing far better than it is, and part of the puzzle requires that collectively we must identify the roadblocks inside and outside of our industry that keep manufactured housing from advancing to its true potential, which Dick Jennison suggested in Louisville in 2015 should be 500,000 new homes per year. Are you for 600% growth for your business, anyone?) 

June Justice for Manufactured Home Owners, Professionals, Lenders and Investors

June 3rd, 2016 No comments

June Justice for Manufactured Home Owners, Professionals, Lenders and Investors 

Trade media and MH industry news, videos, commentary and reports ought to be a sobering responsibility. There are many topics, challenges and issues ever at play. We strive to bring you balance, insights, facts and more that you may not find anywhere else in MHVille.

CupofCoffeeWithKennyLipschutzHomeFirstCertifiedCommunities-MHProNews250x272For example, there is a need for spotlighting successful operations, as you’ll see great insights and takeaways from this month’s interview with an award winner…A Cup of Coffee with…Kenny Lipschutz at HomeFirst Certified Communities, see below.

There is a need to look more deeply and from a different angle at hot issues such as Duty to Serve Manufactured TitusDareEagleOneFinancial-postedMHProNews-50x50-Housing by the GSEs, as Titus Dare does in the follow up to his popular first Industry Voices column. That’s down under with 22 other articles too.

There is a need to keep up with what industry giant Clayton Homes is doing, in two featured articles this month, linked below.

Justice for Manufactured Housing – As Promised – Spotlighting the CFPB’s Richard Cordray

The mobile screen captures knitted together below done today at the time shown reveals how many hits this trade publications is getting on page one of Google on Richard Cordray, CFPB and MHLending. A named organization’s website should be first in a Google, and the CFPB’s is. But look what follows those CFPB links…

…about half are directly linked to our work on home owners and industry professionals behalf.  Someone has to set the record straight for online researchers, and as you’ll see below, we are actively part of the solution!

CFPBRichardCordrayManufacturedHomeLoanRegulations-postedMastheadBlog-MHProNews-

This required 3 screen captures to get all of page 1 of the keyword search shown at the top.  Image credits, Google mobile screen capture.

We’ve also spotlighted some issues that will be controversial to some, but are already being praised by others for our willingness to tackle what’s happening – and not happening – in Arlington, VA in the DC metro with MHI and manufactured housing regulatory issues – including finance and regulations. Look at the facts. Read, ponder, discuss and share those links below. We Provide, You Decide ©.

You’ll also find a robust line up of new videos, news, fair housing, marketing, sales, legal, inspirational, reputation management/marketing, a new subject on MH commercial lending, and much more! 23 featured articles in all!

With no further adieu, please dive into the June 2016 Featured Articles and Reports found on the home page of MHProNews, below the Daily Business News modules in the center column.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 7, No. 9, 2016

Alphabetically by Category

 

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

 

• “Whiny Neighbor”

by Nadeen Green, JD

nadeen-green-mhpronews-comWhen I teach others about reasonable accommodations required for persons with disabilities, we often talk about “whiny neighbors” – those folks who want to know why someone has an animal that is not pet-policy-compliant at the community, or why someone gets to have a reserved parking space.

Read more…

 

• Open Letter – CFPB Director Richard Cordray – On Taking Responsibility for Harming Millions

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovach6.3.2016-CFPB Director Richard Corday, As you know, you are tasked with Protecting Consumers, yet the evidence shows that you know that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations are harming millions:

Read more…

 

• How to do a Promissory Note and Security Agreement

by Marc Lifeset, JD + Jeff Barringer, JD

MarcLifesetandJeff_BarringerJD_postedonmhpronews_comMarc Lifset and Jeff Barringer will dissect for you our state-of-the-art form of chattel-loan promissory note and security agreement, or, as we will refer to it, the Note.


Read more…

• Lawsuit Charges Eviction from MH Community is Discriminatory 

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comMHProNews posted a story May 25, 2016 regarding the Waples Mobile Home Park in Fairfax, VA being charged with violation of federal and state fair housing laws for evicting residents who do not have Social Security cards, which a legal aid group says is discriminatory because it disproportionately affects Latinos.

Read more…

 

FINANCING

Northpoint Commercial Finance is Revolutionizing the Manufactured Housing Industry 

by John Durnien

john_durnien_NorthpointCommercialFinance-postedMHProNews50x50Northpoint Commercial Finance, headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, is bringing some innovative ideas to the inventory finance industry.

 

Read more…

 

• Dodd-Frank Act Remains a Stumbling Block to Manufactured Home Lending 

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1Steve Sinovic, writing in abqjournal, says sales of manufactured home sales are up, a popular and affordable housing choice for New Mexicans, some eighteen percent of whom live in manufactured housing.

Read more…

 

• Lawsuit Charges Eviction from MH Community is Discriminatory 

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1MHProNews posted a story May 25, 2016 regarding the Waples Mobile Home Park in Fairfax, VA being charged with violation of federal and state fair housing laws for evicting residents who do not have Social Security cards, which a legal aid group says is discriminatory because it disproportionately affects Latinos.

Read more…

 

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

• Duty To Serve by GSEs-Long-term Mortgages on Leased Land – It’s Already Been Done! 

by Titus Dare

TitusDareEagleOneFinancial-postedMHProNews-50x50-TOPIC – Did You Know? GSEs have already made chattel loans in Leaseholds & the “TOP SECRET” Chattel Loans purchased by Fannie

Read more…

 

• Clayton Home Building Group Selects Birmingham for Inaugural Home Show 

by Lexi Holdbrook

lexi-holdbrooks-MarkSteinConsulting-ClaytonHomesPR-postedMHProNews50x50Clayton Homes, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, hosted its inaugural Clayton Birmingham Home Show from May 17 – 19, 2016 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

Read more…

 

• Open Letter – Tim Williams, MHI Chairman – Correcting Errors, Crossing the Goal Line 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovach6.2.2016 – To: Tim Williams, Chairman, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

Read more…

 

• Clayton Homes Ashville Manufactured Home Show – Photos and Numbers 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachOur sources at Clayton Homes tell us the following about their recent Asheville Show. By photos and by the numbers, here’s the snapshot of their event in North Carolina.

Read more…

 

• Why has MHI Issued a News Release on DOE Proposals Prior to the Rule Being Published? Q&A with M. Mark Weiss of MHARR 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachAs regular readers of MHProNews know, MHARR’s new president took the reigns there almost 1½ years ago.

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• Why Richard “Dick” Jennison and Lesli Gooch at MHI Should Resign or Go 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachFor some years, this scribe and others have tried to correct the kinds of issues that will be cited in this column in an off-the-radar fashion.

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• Why did 4-9-16 MHI’s Housing Alert Mislead Association and Industry Members?

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachLet’s begin with the facts. On April 9, 2016 MHI sent out a housing alert to MHProNews and other industry members. It read like the copy you see below.

 • Bottom Line Change in MH Marketing and $ale$

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachChange is a constant in life.

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• Manufactured Home Retailers and Communities – Bottom Line Booster by Sunshine Homes – Tuesdays with Tony 

by Soheyla Kovach
SoheylaKovach-WebsiteDevelopment+SupportServices-MHProNews-com-photo83degreesmediaJulieBranaman-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-Sunshine Homes is offering the second round of their popular webinar – Tuesdays with Tony – a marketing and sales coaching session. See the video below.

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• A Cup of Coffee with…Kenny Lipschutz, HomeFirst™ Certified Communities 

a-cup-mhmsm-com1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at Brookside Companies/ HomeFirst™ Certified Communities and where your company is based).

I am Kenny Lipschutz, Chief Executive Officer of Brookside Companies and President of HomeFirst™ Certified Communities.

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• UMH Community Hosting Baseball Legend “Doc” Gooden; UMH Chair to Present at NAREIT 

by Matthew Silver
matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1UMH Properties, Inc. (NYSE:UMH) announces it will host three-time champion World Series pitcher Dwight “Doc” Gooden on June 18, 2016 at the manufactured home community owner’s Kinnebrook Estates in Monticello, New York.

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• CFPB Director Cordray tells Whistleblower to have her Attorneys “Back Down” 

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1Claiming senior managers within her office bullied and demoted her for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office, Angela Martin said in testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services that

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• Drew Hits New Stock High; Equity LifeStyle Properties Declares Dividend 

by Matthew Silver
matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1Drew Industries, Inc. (NYSE:DW) stock hit a new 52-week high Fri., May 27, $77.31, 44 cents shy of a ten dollar bill increase over the 50-day moving average of $67.63, and finally closing at $77.19.

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MARKETING

• The Power of Review Videos

by Wayne Coakley

WayneCoakleyGrenadeMarketingGroupReputationMarketing-ManufacturedHousing-55x62 headshot_MHProNews-com-Who loves to watch videos?

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PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

• Are you letting your past determine your present

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comThe past is history regardless of its positives or negatives.

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ZigOn Failing

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglarMost parents experience the joy of watching their children turn over, then crawl, then stand up and then take those first steps.

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SALES

• Frank Rolfe’s Ten Tips to Pros on Manufactured Home Selling – Video 

by L.A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachThis fast-paced video is taken from a longer panel discussion that featured Frank Rolfe, partner in Mobile Home University, MHP Funds and RV Horizons.

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