Posts Tagged ‘MHI’

Defiant Independence!

August 18th, 2013 No comments

In the wake of recent columns on captive finance, regulatory over-reach and related topics, some have thoughtfully taken the time to reminded me there is a strong streak of independence among many manufactured housing pros, especially so among business owners.

They are telling me, they are NOT 'head in the sand.' Rather, they opt to defiantly stand independent, even if – or because of?! – government regulations.

"Tony, I was born free!" says one. "And I fully intend to live and die as a free man."

This fellow isn't alone. There are perhaps thousands more who might say it differently, but see it similarly. Here's another example.

"Tony, I built my park. It's paid for. I own the houses I lease purchase to a new tenant. I feel as strongly about not doing some of what Uncle or the governor tells me as I would about giving up my unregistered firearms. Its a matter of principle."

Or how about this comment.

"Tony, it isn't just about all the regs on Lonnie deals. To keep low key, I have more than one set of books. I'm not the only one (I know) that does, other park owners do too."

Before moving on, let's recall that many outside of MH also keep more than one set of books. Heck, for that matter, it seems the FEDs have officials that have more than one email, more than one set of files, more than one set of reports…but that is another topic, for another time.

Having shared other comments in prior posts on this subject, it is only fair to share these too. As this article loaded with quotes from industry pros and experts demonstrates, or the initial post on this subject proved, there is full range of thinking, emotions and reactions at play.

But this particular sentiment of defiant independence was not well covered before, so given these messages, let's explore it.

For the Record

As a constitutionally-minded political independent, I certainly understand their thoughts.

It's just such independent souls who rejected the old world in favor of the risks – and rewards – of the New World.  As a history lover, it would feel uncomfortable for me to even imply a condemnation of such hearty spirits.

At the same time, if there is a potentially better path for these ruggedly independent thinkers, isn't one duty bound to share it?!

Some of these same independent owners are also not in an association, because they don't want to be told what legislation to support or don't want to feel like they are taking a back seat to larger industry players. These are truly…independent.

Let me echo and paraphrase what one executive told me, 'Tony, there are times that associations need to make the broadest possible appeal. We should have asked for a federal de minimus exemption as part of HR 1779. That would have drawn more grass roots support and would have energized the industry's base. We should have done that, even if we didn't get that accomplished in this next round.'

More on the above later.

Some successful libertarian and free enterprise/constitutionally-minded owners are OK with being loosely aligned with this or that personality or organization. But they demonstrate often that they are not ready to march in lock-step with anyone. In fairness to those, their perspective is not denial, or "head in the sand."

Theirs is a defiant independence.

They built their businesses during a time when such things as lease purchase was legal. Now, they don't like being told that it is suddenly no longer kosher for them to do so.

What made America great

These owners are made of the stuff that made America great. In another era, we may stand up and cheer them.

Such defiantly independent women (yes, women) and men may in some cases be in denial to the extent that they think they will get away with ignoring federal regs or law. Our cautionary articles, messages and posts on MHProNews are not to oppose their independence. Rather, it is to say that another approach may make the independents more successful and more likely to retain the fruits of their labors.

"Better Together…"

One of our nation's founders said:

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." – Ben Franklin

America won it's independence from England not through 100% participation in the revolutionary war. It only required roughly 1/3 of the American colonials to support independence to achieve it.

Similarly today, there is no thought here that 100% of our industry will ever agree on any one thing. But what if we organized and activated even 1/3 of the tens of thousands who are working in manufactured housing? Could we get HR 1779 – and later get de minimus exemptions, etc. – passed and/or effect the needed legislative and regulatory changes?

The odds would be better.

4 Independent Retailers Sounding Off

At a recent event, four independent retailers came up as a group to sound off, face to face. Paraphrasing their thoughts, 'Tony, the association in our state hasn't reached out to us to get our support. They are too busy focused on what their bigger members want.'

In sharing these thoughts, let me underscore that this is reporting other people's thinking.

In my professional view, associations are needed, and it's a very real challenge to balance the interests or all members. Good communications, listening to and responding to the needs of all, is vital.

Another True Story

charlie-lott-fleetwood-homes-credit-research-alliance-posted-mhpronews-com-masthead-blog-_001.pngAs a reply to those who want to stand apart, let me tell a true story to hopefully make a point.

Some years ago (2008?), the president of Fleetwood Homes, Charlie Lott, stood before a room full of retailers during the annual industry trade show at Louisville, KY. Charlie's message was poignant and sincere.

Boiling it down, Lott told the audience that Fleetwood had made a mistake in not giving the respect and support to their independents that they deserved. Fleetwood's move in the late 1990s to acquire ever greater numbers of company owned retail stores proved a costly failure. Charlie asked the assembled retailers for forgiveness and support, as they realigned, assuring all that Fleetwood had learned the lesson.

To me, Charlie's words were classy and moving. The truth well told is powerful. Apologies well told go a long way towards healing what may otherwise divide us.

My Mistake

There are plenty of times when the words "I'm sorry" are sincerely spoken. While it doesn't always start the healing process, it often does work wonders when I (or others) admit an error, explain it and then make the effort to correct the course.


Charlie Lott and DJ Pendelton 

dj_pendleton__credit__mhpronews.pngIn a July article, Texas Manufactured Housing Association Executive Director DJ Pendelton wrote in The Ties that Bind how during their capitol visits:

Community members stormed into offices to talk about retailer and modular housing issues. Just like finance and insurance minded members talked to their representatives in defense of communities.

Unity. Strength in numbers. So go’eth one, so go’eth us all. You mess with one, you mess with the whole trail…you get the idea. These idioms we all know.

But it is the practical application that matters.

Let me suggest that it is a fine article, well worth reading/re-reading.

DJ's thinking also serves to underscore my point. While we respect those who may be defiantly independent, or those who think that this or that association has ignored them, there is still wisdom in working within the system to make good things happen.

In Texas, NY, FL, CA, IA, KY, OH, GA, OK or other states and jurisdictions I'm familiar with, I see the reports on how this or that industry harming measure is defeated by associations and their members pulling together. I also see the reverse, how pro-industry measures are passed to fuel the opportunities for industry owners and professionals.

My point in Scaring Professionals wasn't to ignore those who are Defiantly Independent. I apologize to anyone who read it that way and thank those who sounded off, as shared above, which allows me to share their perspective.

My point was rather to say, there is potentially a better way.

We have to face facts, even if the facts are nasty ones. DJ Pendleton said it well, there is more power in Unity. Charlie Lott said it well, when a mistake is made, let's learn the lesson and correct it. 21st Mortgage's Tim Williams in his interview with us, referred to our industry's members as a fraternity. These are all different expressions that point in a similar direction.

I don't doubt for a second that some in or outside of associations may think they were slighted on some subject. I've felt it, others I know have, but that doesn't mean there isn't still real value in being a visible part of an association. It takes time and effort to develop the kind of powerful and effective synergy that DJ described in his article linked here and above.

There are times that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) – of which I am a member – does something I like less than what say MHARR (Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform) proposes, but the reverse is also true. The secret is to listen and learn and thus learn how to work effectively together.

We can't toss bombs or plant booby traps every time we disagree on something. Disagreements can be worked out behind the scenes, for the benefit of all involved.

Dr. Stephen Covey in his classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People said it well. “Good! You see it differently!” When I first read that, at first my thought was, huh? It took me time to see the wisdom in gaining other perspectives and to work in a collaborative fashion for broadly common goals.

The purpose of our article: Manufactured Housing and Captive Finance: Can it be done successfully in Today's Environment? was to present in their own words the perspectives of a variety of pros and experts on the same subject.

At a big meeting, usually only a few speak, and they only for a few minutes. By contrast, we at MHProNews are uniquely able to bring different voices to the table, so that each can be heard and shared with the industry at large.

If the founders who lead America's colonists hadn't pulled 1/3 of their people together to fight for independence from England's king, we might be sending our tax dollars to London today. But enough people from 13 different colonies did pull together, and they didn't quit until they achieved their victory.

Before we had the U.S. Constitution, we had the Articles of Confederation.  One lesson is that we don't always get it right the first time.

A Good Offense, a Good Defense

In my mind, there is wisdom in being part of an association that is working for the passage of HR 1779 and its soon to be filed companion Senate bill (defense). But it is also equally important to be working together to advance our industry's image (offense)! Points on the board in our industry are measured in part by how many tens of thousands of new homes we've sold and how many vacant home sites we have profitably caused to be occupied. We have to put more points on the board. Besides, sometimes the best defense is a good offense.

With a good offense in mind, we'll share an update on the momentum we are gaining on the image building in the coming days.

Associations strive daily to protect, educate and promote. We need to work harder and smarter to protect our access to personal property (chattel) lending, including “buy here, pay here,” lease purchase and other options. We also need to make sure that it is done in a fashion that protects consumers, or we are shooting off our own foot. Defiant independence minded pros are needed in that effort!

But we also need to drive more sales and create more business. We need to grow our industry's appeal to accomplish that, and thus we need more involved in the image building/educational effort we have started with the support of others at

Together, we can achieve greater things than any of us could do alone. There is a place for defiant independence. But there is a also a place and time for teaming up with others. The best time for that to start happening is right now. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red HotFeatured Articles for August and see the other new stories at too.

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 815-270-0500 |

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Cocktails and Dreams

August 4th, 2013 No comments

Tom Cruise did a movie a number of years ago, with 'cocktails and dreams' being the theme of a pub the fictional entrepreneurial bar tender wanted to open. While Cruise won't be present, dozens of the leading lights from the RV and Manufactured Housing industries will be at the 2013 induction ceremonies, which will include cocktails, dinner and a mixer.

Richard “Dick” Jennison, the Manufactured Housing Institute's (MHI) president and CEO will deliver the keynote address.

The event starts at 5:30 PM Monday August 5th, and is scheduled to run to 9:30 PM. That said, don't be surprised if it runs into overtime. There is a lot to cover in a short time during the dinner and induction ceremonies.


The 2013 inductees to the Hall will include:

  • Craig M. Bollman, Mobile Home Communities
  • Theresa Desfosses, State Manufactured Homes
  • Kirwan Elmers, Custom Coach
  • C.M. Fore (deceased), Foretravel, Inc.
  • Lawrence C. Lippert, Lippert Components
  • Thomas P. Meyers, Guerdon Industries
  • Claude N. Palmer (deceased), Palmer Homes
  • Matthew Perlot (deceased), Safari Motorhomes
  • Thomas Walworth, Statistical Surveys, Inc.

More details can be found at this link.

The main points I'd like to emphasize – beyond the value of being there and supporting this fine venue! – are as follows, not necessarily in their order of importance.

  • Kudos to Fairmont Homes for stepping up to the plate and providing a new multi-sectional for display at the Hall. While it won't be ready for this ceremony, it should be by the end of the month. We plan to bring you the story, once the display model is in and ready.
  • According to my sources, that the manufactured housing industry has in recent years done maybe 1/10th of the support for the Hall that the RV industry has done in the same time frame. While our industry has certainly suffered a bigger down-turn, nevertheless this is somewhat akin to the image campaign that never got off the ground in the mid-2000s. If we had had such a campaign, as the RV have their GoRVing campaign, would we have hit a low as low as we have?
  • The Hall deserves support, because this is a terrific venue which has the promise for ongoing improvement. Our MH side of the Hall needs to build upon what Fairmont is starting this year.
  • For those who have never come, there is great networking there, besides being a classy event which honors the dreams, efforts and accomplishments of over 300 who have been inducted into the Hall so far.

Barring the unforeseen, I plan to be there, and hope to see many of you there too.

Shifting Gears!

Speaking of an MHINdustry Image Campaign, we have word that 3 more industry firms are in the process of stepping up to support image building effort.

One company – a well known and widely respected community operator – has already sent their support payment to us and they are designing some of their elements to be used within the site. Others are in process, more details soon.


We are also seeing more companies and organizations that are linking up via RSS and/or a hot link. Either of these are easy to do, as your website professional (webmaster) knows.

Either or both of these are helpful to those taking part and for the Industry at large.

More pros are also in the process of doing our new periodic series for MHLivingNews, A Breakfast with…

The first one, A Breakfast with Tim Williams has been very well received, and has jumped near the top of all July articles read, even though it was only on the site half the month!

Readership and page views overall are rising fast on the image building site! All of this is good news for the industry at large and particularly so for those taking part and supporting the effort.

On the MHProNews side…

Our Cup of Coffee this month with Champion's Phyllis Knight and New York Housing's Nancy Geer, are off to strong starts! This continues the pattern we've seen with our interviews in the last 9 months with top industry pros.

That said, let me draw your attention – especially those of you who are in the Communities business or have interests in the communities world – to this article by a pair of seasoned MHC veteran attorneys. American's with Disabilities Act (ADA), does this apply to your existing community? Here is where reading or not reading an article could make the difference between avoiding a legal action or not! I learned from this, thousands of others need to as well.

MH Captive Financing

Our captive chattel finance report is another one with strong implications in the MHC world and for a number of retailers who generate their own paper too, or for those considering this option. With half-a-dozen experts and well know industry personalities having sounded off on this topic in this article, it needs to be on everyone in the MHC space's must read list.

For marketing, sales, management, yet another finance article, inspiration, interviews and more, the 14 featured articles this month gives you plenty to consider as you seek to build and navigate today's waters. Our Daily Business News articles by our own Matthew Silver are perennially well read, and still to our knowledge the only Daily Business News the factory built housing industry has in North America!

Scientia sit Potentia

Knowledge is potential Power, or “Scientia sit Potentia” as they said in Latin in ancient Rome. We gather here to read, learn, share, protect and grow. I'm looking forward to sharing cocktails and dreams with many of you at upcoming industry events, the next one being in about 30 hours! ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for August and see the

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 815-270-0500 |

Connect on LinkedIN: 

Manufactured Housing and Captive Finance: Can it be done successfully in Today’s Environment?

July 26th, 2013 No comments

1) – Introduction and background. Let's set the stage for what I sincerely hope will be an important dialogue within our industry. I've seen estimates that there are some 5 to 9 billion dollars worth of captive finance paper created by manufactured home professionals, mostly in the land lease community side of the industry. Much of this was created prior to the SAFE Act, Dodd-Frank and the sea change that took place in the U.S. financial landscape since 2008.

Even prior to 2008, states typically had regulatory requirements for initiating the creation of a note or financial instrument used for lending. The regulatory burden has only grown since then.

That captive finance has been a useful tool to sell homes ought to be self evident. The question before us today is, can captive finance (buy here, pay here, related finance, etc.) be done successfully in a legally compliant fashion in today's more intense regulatory environment?

A couple of days ago, I sent out a message to a cross section of professionals – including those well known for promoting captive finance – with the following subject line: We'd like your feedback. Let me stress that these initial comments are not the end of the subject. Pros can post comments on the website via the Disqus system, or can email them to me, in the same way that what follows in #2 below was done.

Here was the invite:

We have already received an interesting range of comments on the last topic in the blog post linked above.

Some of the comments, on captive finance, to spark yours:

> only medium to large sized operators will be able to keep up with the compliance burden, smaller players will not be able to do so.
> most MHCs and those retailers who use captive finance would be better off working with an industry lender or local bank.
> yes, it is doable, but it will take intense and costly work to do so.
> our Industry has to learn to attract finance-able customers, which avoids the entire problem.
> true, it is not possible for smaller operators to keep up with the regulatory compliance needed in the current environment, and the best proof are the community banks who are getting out of lending.  If small banks can't do it, how can a mom and pop MHC owner hope to pull it off?

We'd be interested in YOUR comments.  Please use the subject line:

>>> Captive Finance in today's regulatory environment

There is no word limit for your comments.  We ask that any comment not be promotional in nature, but rather fact, experience or opinion based.  Then let us know If you'd like your name used or if you prefer an anonymous comment. We will honor either request.

We Provide, You Decide. Against that backdrop, we will share some fresh replies, and anticipate sharing more in the days ahead as they come in from readers and professionals like yourself.

2) The reply that follows was from a lender, who asked to remain unidentified (anonymous). Quoting:bank-credit-finmarkusa-posted-manufactured-home-pro-news-.jpg

Why on earth would a manufactured home park enter the finance business?

I am a lender so obviously I am biased and feel that the parks should let the Bank be the Bank. However, if the entity is very large, I suppose it could make some sense. The larger mega park owners can surround themselves with quality experienced lending talent, law firms that have experience in consumer collections and bankruptcy laws, as well as a good software platform that is compliant with all current and changing lending laws. All of this does not come without a price.

For smaller park owners you should answer the following:

  1. Do I have a thorough understanding of regulations B and Z.?
  2. Do I understand the Safe Act, the Patriot Act, Dodd-Frank, HMDA and HOEPA?
  3. How do I know that my documents are compliant?
  4. Do I have a firm written credit policy and is the criteria of this policy applied constantly to every applicant?
  5. Is my support system compliant with interest accruals, late charge assessments,

payment posting and APR tolerances?

  1. How much do I know about debt collection laws in regards to what I can say, what I can do and what verbiage can be put in a collection letter?
  2. Am I prepared to deal with chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies?
  3. Am I prepared to promptly deal with complaints from the CFPB, States Attorney and other government agencies the consumers often complain to?
  4. How much do I know about the legal requirements of repossession procedures, required time frames and repossession title procedures?
  5. Am I willing to take on fair lending risks in addition to fair housing laws?
  6. Do I understand insurance escrows, proper monitoring and force placing?
  7. Can I deal with the time and expense of a delinquent that won’t pay and refuses to vacate the home?
  8. Do I have the time and available sources and reserves to return repossessed homes back into a sale-able condition to retail? Average is $5,000 to $8,000 per home.

I ran some numbers on a typical MH loan at a typical interest rate. Wow the profit looks like the finance business is the way to go. Even if the money is borrowed to support a captive finance company, the margin is huge.

Is the risk worth the reward? Am I going to build a monster? I understand that financial institutions spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on compliance and a compliance staff every year? If a bank won’t approve a loan to an applicant, should I really be approving it? I think all of this compliance stuff will get better and go away? I don’t think all of these regulatory agencies will really bother me?

If all of your answers are “yes” go for it.

3)The following are notes from a conversation with a community owner that called, this is not a word for word quotation, as the above was, so we willmanufactured-home-community-credit-finmarkusa-posted-manufactured-home-pro-news-.jpg bullet point the community owner's comments.

  • I've done a number of loans on homes in my communities.
  • We've had pretty good loan performance overall. The business has been profitable.
  • I know that we are not legally compliant. We are 'flying under the radar.'
  • I don't think that it is possible to get and stay legally compliant for an operation of my size. Too much paper work, too many laws, too costly to do it the way the state or federal government requires.
  • We are currently researching options that would let us bring in a manufactured housing lender that will take over this book of business. I know the risks are too great to continue to do what we have in the past. So I want to off-load those risks in a responsible, legally compliant fashion with an MH lender that knows the ropes.

4)The following are bullet points from a phone call with a veteran MH Industry expert.

    • It is not possible for a small community operator today to get and stay legally compliant in the current regulatory environment.
    • The risks are too great, the compliance burdens are too many and the rewards are too small.
    • Community banks are getting out of lending because of the high costs of compliance. How can the small or even mid-sized communities think they can become compliant when lending professionals are exiting under the burdens imposed by Dodd-Frank and the CFPB?
    • The industry must seek de minimus exemptions. It is the only way for the mom and pop operation to hope to do captive lending.

    5)There are some topics – this being one of them – where anonymous comments will be the most likely way to get people to respond. The community owner who called to say, they are making loans without all the licensing needed is but one example of why this is so. The lender who doesn't want to sound like they are taking aim at an person or company is another example.

    We welcome more comments on this captive finance topic. You or others are welcome to join in this conversation and discussion. Please follow the guidelines spelled out in #1 above. We plan to publish more comments on this topic in the days ahead.

    As this is an important subject that impacts literally thousands of locations in our industry, we won't segue today into other topics. For the latest, please check out the Daily Business News, MHI and MHARR news, Corporate Press releases and Industry Voices on other subjects, or click here for this months Featured Articles.

    Let's catch up mid week; my thanks as always for being a regular reader here on MHProNews. ##

    PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for July and see the

    L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | |
    Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
    Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 815-270-0500 |

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    CuBes and Angles

    July 24th, 2013 No comments

    I had to smile to myself about an incident from a few months ago. I'd started a discussion on LinkedIn about re-branding single section homes “The CuBe Home,” a name that Lifestyle Factory Homes, LLC has the copyright. Some where poking fun at the re-branding concept, others clearly got it. The reason for the quiet smile we can now begin to reveal, because this wasn't just a theory, we'd already tested this with positive results.


    Please see the article, What's in a Name? The Cube Home! – and the video! – at the link shown. Noting that dozens of these models were sold – at hefty prices for a single sectional – during the worst housing decline since WWII also ought to be noted. Thousands viewed the video.

    Your private or public feedback is appreciated on The Cube Home and rebranding concept.

    While you are at ManufacturedHomeLivingNews, check out the other new articles, featured homes and so much more. The site is growing in size and popularity. Please join the growing numbers of those who link it as a resource for home shoppers or provide an RSS feed to it or are sharing it with family, friends and others. For more, see the 300,000 Shipments article.

    The Angles

    GSE reform. Consumer Groups. HR 1779 and Nathan Smith's leadership/efforts. Tim Williams. A cadre of key pros have shared insights, tips and whispers that I'd like to allude to for the next few moments.

    For those who have called, emailed or otherwise messaged their concerns about the progress of our legislative and regulatory industry efforts in DC, take heart! Let me admit, I was getting a bit nervous myself, until I reached out to these key pros for insights. We have work to do, but progress is ongoing.

    First, on the regulatory side, there is promising news on the LO comp rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This is significant, and we will ask one of the resident experts to do a column for us on this topic in the days ahead. For now, let's say this looks like a significant win for the MHIndustry in projecting financing.

    On the legislative side, I can't say much because key meetings are looming in DC just over the horizon. Among the comments shared with me privately has been strong praise of Nathan Smith's “stalwart leadership” in moving items ahead, hand in glove with other leaders like Tim Williams, see his exclusive interview with us linked here.

    It would be great to drop a bunch of names and details here, but I was given a reminder from a seasoned veteran of DC, who told me Monday that sometimes it is better to keep things quiet and advancing than to make a lot of noise, and suddenly pick up dissent, distractions or worse.

    Let's summarize this by saying the angles in DC and at the grass roots are being worked. Please do your part by:

    • Calling your House Rep. OR faxing, emailing or writing them to ask for their support for HR 1779.
    • Having your associates, family and friends call too. IF you are a manager or owner, why not have your staff and contractors reach out? The more, the merrier.
    • Check in with your association and see how you can be a part of the solution.

    Louisville Show Site Update Coming!

    We are very pleased to say that besides having us continue the show promotion and other related activities for 2014, that Show Ways Unlimited and the Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation have asked us to update the Louisville Show website for the 2014 show.

    Look for that website update in the coming weeks, you can count on an announcement.

    Thanks to the momentum built up over the past three years of growth at the Show, IF you are a business looking to do B2B, please check in soon with Dennis Hill for the initial info found here, because booth space and home space are going fast.

    Parting is Sweet Sorrow…

    rob-coldren-hkc-law-posted-manufactured-housing-professional-news-masthead-blog-.jpgBeing a fan of fabled play-write William Shakespeare, I have to borrow his 'parting is such sweet sorrow' line. Our friend, Rob Coldren of HK&C Law fame announced his retirement a few weeks ago. I had mixed feelings about this, because Rob is an amazing wit besides a talented gent! At the same time, he's earned this 'retirement,' which will not completely remove him from our industry's big fraternity. So we will wish him 'all the Best!'

    HK&C has a strong cadre of legal talent, as members at the WMA and beyond can attest, so the industry's communities still have that fine firm to look to for specialized$100s-posted-manufactured-home-pro-news-mhpronews-com-.png

    In the current Regulatory Environment, Is Captive Finance Still Viable?

    For those manufactured home communities or select retailers that engage in captive finance operations, we plan an article or post soon that asks the challenging question: Is Captive Finance Still Viable for manufactured housing?

    Some may not like what they read…

    …but this won't be my opinion. We've gathered input from various experts on this timely topic, and are open to more from readers and industry pros.

    Please watch for it, as it is one of the angles that savvy pros need to consider carefully. If you have a comment you'd like to share on the topic of is captive finance still viable in this regulatory environment, please send it to Let me know if you want your comments to be anonymous or public when you email your thoughts, with my thanks.

    Let's catch up this weekend here, until then, please sell some more of your products and services! ##

    PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for June and see the

    L. A. 'Tony' Kovach | |
    Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
    Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 815-270-0500 |

    Connect on LinkedIN: 

    Bigger Fish!

    July 10th, 2013 No comments

    It seems that some are insistent on focusing on division vs. unity at a time when unity is so valuable. Part of this is due to 'divide and conquer' style strategies. The question for this column is simple. What is the biggest fish that we need to fry? What are our top priorities as an industry or professional members of that industry?

    Could FINANCING be at the top of that list? Isn't that the reason that we should be focused on HR 1779? Sure other items are important, but if we can't finance enough homes…

    donnelly_joe-u-s-senator-indiana-posted-mhpronews-com-.jpgMy district's congressman emailed a few days ago, advising he is on board with HR 1779. It wasn't just one call, or one message or one meeting to make that happen, but it got done! If it is worth doing, then it is worth more than a half-hearted effort.

    I won't spend much time focusing on why some 'industry observers' are trying to highlight a relatively minor issue, or drive a wedge between MHI and MHARR, for example.

    No two people agree on everything, every time, much less no two organizations. But MHI and MHARR agreed upon working to get the appointment of Vic DeRose for the HUD position. HUD announced a twist, but they published that job as being open in a recent announcement for their manufactured housing program's division.

    Key MHI and MHARR members and staff reached out to Senator Joe Donnelly in Washington, who as a result has sent HUD's Shaun Donovan a letter on behalf of Vic DeRose's qualifications for the role. See that download at the end of this article. Based upon the fluid dynamics, that looks like a step in the right direction! That sounds like it is in keeping with the agreement between MHI and MHARR have to work together on three issues. We want to take a moment and thank Joe Donnelly for that letter to HUD!richard-a-dick-jennison-posted-mhpronews-com-masthead-blog- (1).png

    “Due to the hard work and relentless persistence of the entire MH industry we all should  be celebrating the fact that HUD has finally taken action to fill the Administrator position.” said the Manufactured Housing Institute's (MHI) CEO Richard “Dick” Jennison.  

    HUD's Twist on the Administrator for the Federal Manufactured Housing Program

    Speaking of that twist from HUD, here is a comment from Rick J. Rand, of Great Value Homes, on the topic.

    rick-rand-great-value-homes-mhi-pac-chair-posted-mhpronews-com-.jpgThe HUD Job Posting was just meant to put the industry on notice!  They feel that they can screw with us whether we agree or fight the bureaucrats on their turf.  The shame is it is a waste of time.  We need to prove ourselves where we really make an impact!  HOUSING FOR AMERICANS.

    Screw everything else; focus on the target!  We provide housing for more families than all of these bureaucrats can even relate too.   They are out to lunch.


    Quote me!”

    Neither the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) nor MHI can force HUD to make the non-career administrator role – which is what the MHIA of 2000 seemed to call for – vs. making it a career administrator role.

    Community owner Rand's industry veteran's comment should remind all segments of the industry that we must stay focused on the goals.

    Political vs. Career Position

    As a major industry CEO told us off the record, “a non-career administrator is a political appointee. We may be better off with a career person than a non-career appointee."  Time will tell.

    Regardless of the job title, if we are fortunate enough to get Vic DeRose appointed to the announced position, it would mean someone at HUD who understands manufactured housing from our side of the fence!  Jennison is correct, that would be a victory.

    Do we support that joint effort? Sure.

    But the most important item on the industry's federal agenda is financing, and that is at the heart of HR 1779. Corporations, independent businesses, mom and pops, employees, associations at the regional, state or national level should easily agree to focus on that effort. Call, fax, email or visit your congressman in support of HR 1779, you can find yours at this link here:

    That's a lot of fire power lined up in favor of a goal that is good for independents, major operators and manufactured housing home owners.

    Controversy for Fun or Profit?

    So while controversy may be “fun” for some to stir up, let's not lose sight of our goals.

    Dr. Stephen Covey talked about beginning with the end in mind and focusing on what matters most. For manufactured housing, besides our day to day operational/business/career needs, that should include HR 1779 for the immediate future.

    rv-mh-hall-fame-logo-posted-mhpronews-com-.jpgIt would be great if other commentators would focus on what matters most too. Will they?

    A piece of Good News

    Let's end on a happier note. Fairmont Homes has agreed to the placement of a manufactured home at the RV/MH Hall of Fame as part of a permanent display.

    This is the first major item on the manufactured housing side of the hall in some time. Hats off to Fairmont; let's hope that others will get behind the effort, because this too is an image building effort that our industry can benefit from. Sources suggest that this home may be in place before the end of August.

    I hope to see many of you at their annual induction dinner, coming up in early August. ##

    HOT LINK to U.S. Senator Donnelly's Letter to HUD here.

    PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for July  and see the

    other new stories at too.

    l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

    Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

    Office –815-270-0500 or connect with me on Linkedin.


    Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

    6, 11 and Manufactured Housing’s 23 Million

    July 5th, 2013 No comments

    We saw about a week ago how rapidly the Senate moved to pass their so-called comprehensive immigration reform bill, with the political prize being the votes of Hispanics, some 11 million of whom now live in the U.S. without proper documents. Next, watch as the Congress races to pass legislation to help the estimated 6 million students whose Stafford loan rates just doubled. So will we manufactured housing professionals be pro-active and show our Congressman and U.S. Senators that there are some 23 million living in manufactured homes, who stand to be harmed if HR 1779 isn't passed? Does our 23 million count like those 11 or 6 million do?


    The Fraternity, the Ties that Bind and House on the Hill

    In DJ Pendelton's column this month, The Ties that Bind, he described how Texas retailers jumped into help member communities, Texas communities their association's retailers and others in manufacturing, finance and insurance all worked together on their state's issues. DJ's timing was extraordinary, because in our exclusive A Cup of Coffee with… Tim Williams, CEO of 21st Mortgage. Tim describes the fraternity, which your scribe pulled those common threads together on July 1 here.

    Nancy Gear and members of the New York Housing Association pulled together for their House on the Hill project.

    These are some of the living examples of efforts from coast to coast of how pros like you – working through their state, community or national association – are 'teaming up' to have an impact on the political process.

    Our Matthew Silver reported in our MHProNews Daily Business News how senior and Harvard's affordable housing report in general are in a shortage.

    All of these news items reveal disguised opportunities for Manufactured Housing!

    Tim Williams joined Cavco's Joe Stegmayer, ELS' Marguerite Nader, UMH's Sam Landy and star retailer Mike Evans, WHA's Ross Kinzler – among other! – who agree that Manufactured Housing could grow significantly with the right touches.

    Certainly protecting lending via HR 1779 is a key.

    But so are the bullets Green Courte Chairman Randy Rowe made regarding their 5 Point Plan for Industry recovery. One of Randy's 5 points included an image campaign, which is working very well in the RV business to drive more sales, even as the economy in general is still limping along.

    So we must do those political efforts, but also more! We must grow our personal businesses, through information and methods proven to improve your career and business interests and performance. We must do so in a fashion that serves our customers and the estimated 23 million who already live in manufactured homes.


    Stop Day-Dreaming About an Industry Image Campaign?

    There are a number in our Industry who say we should not even think about a national building image campaign. It is 'too expensive' is the main argument. Respectfully, I have news for them, there are already two image campaigns among many others afoot.

    • The de facto negative image campaign, that creates the need for projects like the House on the Hill. Nature abhors a vacuum, so if we don't define ourselves then others like the local weather or news person will step in and define us.
    • Our pro-industry campaign, which takes elements from past successful efforts in our Industry to create a modern way to improve our industry's image that can be tapped into locally in YOUR market(s) for free or at a modest cost. If you haven't read the latest on this NO BRAINER method, please click here.


    The Road to Hell

    We've heard the maxim that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I'm thinking about some militant MH owners groups in certain communities that have a good intent, but who in fact are harming themselves and their neighbors home values. How?

    The law of supply and demand alone are reasons for those 'home owners' groups to completely rethink their approach, because when they publicly dis-respect their community and the MHC's management, they are de facto dis-respecting the value of their homes and those of the voices who support them. These souls need to recall why living in a land lease can be a great deal. They need to work positively with management, not against them. Their failure to do so, arguably harms all involved.

    But the flip side is also true.

    Community owners, operators and managers need to routinely remind their residents about the value they enjoy as residents. When management fails to build on the MHC value proposition, then those militant residents who are blinded by their misinformed thoughts or their goals will fill the vacuum. If there are legitimate issues that need to be addressed, then let it be so.

    During the Congressional field hearings, members of these groups made statements that were arguably inaccurate, short sighted and ill informed. But until their errors are responded to cogently and respectfully, their voices may be a key one heard.

    Let's state the obvious again, nature abhors a vacuum. If we don't define ourselves, others will define us, often to our detriment.

    No Choice but to beat our Industry's own drums

    Ladies and gents, it is obvious that customers are our life blood. We have to do what we say, and the majority in the industry today get that fact. But we also have to beat a drum that reminds ALL in the pubic square, starting with our residents and customers, why manufactured homes – and land lease communities – are a sound value proposition.

    By using with current homes owners and community residents, we can begin to mobilize their good will.

    Human nature tells us that a number of these manufactured home owners and residents in turn will want to share this website with their non-MH friends and associates. Doing so will improve their own homes value, while protecting their self-esteem and image.


    One drop at a time

    We can fill the bucket of better image and acceptance one drop at a time, without spending millions! HR 1779 and its companion Senate bill will speed toward acceptance as more home owners and others see the appeal and common sense that modern manufactured home ownership and living provides.

    We can make this as fast or slow as our actions merit. The ball is in motion, will you and your associates

    help speed it ahead?

    Let's tap the potential power of more of those 23 million residents of manufactured homes. Share the link with them and others of often. You and tens of thousands of manufactured home pros will be glad you did.

    Each one, reach one, day by day. Together, yes, we can do this. ##

    PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for July  and see the

    other new stories at too.

    l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

    Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

    Office –815-270-0500 or connect with me on Linkedin.


    Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

    The Fraternity – Will the Ties Bind?

    July 1st, 2013 No comments

    The word fraternity is derived from the word fraternal. Wikipedia says: A fraternity (from the Latin frater: "brother") is a brotherhood, or a fraternal organization. In ancient times, fraternal – brother – meant 'kin' and in many societies it was understood in a gender neutral (male and/or female) fashion, that went well beyond immediate siblings.

    All our features writers this month – yes, female and male – are members of a fraternity.

    To learn more…

    Read what CEO of power house 21st Mortgage Corporation, wrote on this topic in our exclusive A Cup of Coffee with…Tim Williams.

    Then dive into DJ Pendleton's, TMHA's Executive Director, take on this in The Ties that Bind.

    Each look at the idea of fraternity – unity amidst the self evident diversity – in manufactured housing. The link to each article is found below.

    Also, don't miss our exclusive A Cup of Coffee with…Congressman Stephen Fincher, a co-sponsor of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – a.k.a. – HR 1779. Read carefully the Congressman's thoughts on a theme very related to the above.


    All for One, One for All

    Competitors, yes, but members of the Fraternity First

    For many years now, I thought it was pretty short sighted when someone put down a competitor in an intentional, public (and obvious) way. There is more that ought to bind us together than divides us.

    Let's get HR 1779 done, let's grow our industry! There is time to 'compete' in the noble ways that speaks of fraternal ties that bind.

    That is how we get the rising tide to raise all boats!

    Raising All Boats

    Speaking of the Image campaign that will raise 'all boats' involved, you can get an update on the strategy and who's cheering here, and some new articles that will showcase that strategy…

    …plus our new Featured Home for the week on the top right photo slider!

    Happy 4th of July!

    Last year, at the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association's annual meeting, we all sang a round of “God Bless America” to honor the vets in the room. If we were together, we'd sing that for our nation and for all across this grand land.

    All of our fine Featured Writers

    We have our normal 'all star line up' of experts who penned 17 new articles here in:

    • communities,
    • finance,
    • a column by New York Housing's Nancy Geer and her members grass roots policy efforts,
    • marketing,
    • sales,
    • management,
    • a new 'grass roots' featured industry member submitted by Arizona Housing Association's Ken Anderson,
    • general industry topics,
    • inspirational,
    • our exclusive, red hot A Cup of Coffee with…interviews
    • and much more!

    Plus all our exclusive blogs, MHI and MHARR news modules and the industry's first and still only Daily Business News you look to routinely to keep you connected.

    #1. Who says? You and Your Peers do 190,000 Plus Times Monthly!

    Who says we have the best line up? You and your peers do! We are truly appreciative of all the readers, sponsors, writers and team members who make this possible for us to bring to you.

    You vote with your web browser as part of the ever growing, ever record setting numbers of routine visits and 1,538,232 pages read. This is far and away more readers and pages than all other national platforms in our industry combined. Thank you and all who make this possible!

    That makes YOU part of 'this fraternity' made up of industry pros hungry to learn, earn, know and grow.

    195,219 visits in the 30 days of June, from professionals, investors, politicos and leaders like YOU. That's about 16x the number who 'subscribe' to the next closest national MH platform.

    Our strong line up is THE reason why we keep setting records, and if you are new to us, then go to this link so you can access all of our FREE features at a glance.

    So our 'fraternity' is already binding tens of thousands of you together here daily.

    Now, let's pull together on those critical issues and 'get it done' through the grass roots efforts and business building activities you will see showcased here in July.

    With no further adieu, please dive right into the manufactured housing industry's premier line up of writers, experts and exclusive interviews.

    Featured Articles

    Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 4, No. 10, 2013

    Alphabetically by Category



    • Promoting Your Community “Together Everyone Accomplishes More . . .”

    by Chrissy Jackson



    Retailers . . .(WoW!) In some areas of the country, there is little or no local retailer base, or the retailer(s) are not 'into' selling homes into a manufactured home community.


    Read more…



    • “Buy-For” Loans for Manufactured Homes: Still in Big Demand

    by Dave Shanklin

    dave-shanklin-posted-on-mhpronews-com.jpeg“I need to buy a manufactured home for my mother. I want to go on the loan, even though I won’t be living in the house. Can you help me?”


    Read more…




     Grass Roots Featured Leadership – Shane Wilson, NW Chapter President, AHA

    by Ken Anderson


    Shane Willson is the owner of Copperstate Services and manager of Prestige Homes, Inc. in Kingman, AZ. He is currently serving as President of the AHA Northwest Chapter.


    Read more…


    • A Cup of Coffee with…Congressman Stephen Fincher


    a cup1)    Who, What and Where: (Your name, District and Party Affiliation in Congress).
      Stephen Fincher, TN-08, Republican.

    • Manufactured Housing's 2013 'Home on the Hill'

    by Nancy Geer



    Manufactured homes can be traced back to 1764 when a two story panelized home was shipped from London, England to Cape Ann, Massachusetts. In the 1870’s, homes were built by hand and driven by horses to the outer banks of North Carolina.


    Read more…


    • Visitability Issue and Manufactured Housing


    by Nadeen Green, JD


    Those who choose to read my articles or posts (or who stumble upon them) will soon realize that I have a focus on all issues related to Fair Housing.  In fact, that has led to the sobriquet of "Fair Housing Lady."

    Read more…


    • Sleeping with the Enemy?

    by L. A. 'Tony' Kovach


    The subject today is having a Better Working Relationship with Non-Profits. For some commentators and other thinkers in our industry, this topic will be seen as akin to “sleeping with the enemy.” But few things could be farther from the truth, as I plan to demonstrate below.

    Read more…


    • Caitlin goes Home Show'n

    by Caitlin Nauert

    caitlin-nauert-director-communications-texas-manufactured-housing-association-posted-mhpronews-com-50x50-.pngFebruary and March were busy months in the manufactured housing industry event world. TMHA had a presence at both the Louisville Manufactured House Show and the Tunica Manufactured House Show. Each show had great attendance and an excellent set up of homes and vendors.

    Read more…


    • The Ties the Bind

    by D. J. Pendleton

    dj-pendleton-mhpronews-com-executive-director-texas-manufactured-housing-association-50x50-.pngUnity. A seemingly simple concept and yet limitlessly complex in reality. Can everyone ever agree on anything? It seems an impossibility to ever answer that question with a yes. And yet it remains undeniable, unity is significantly stronger than the alternative.

    Read more…



    • A Cup of Coffee with…Tim Williams

    a cup1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at 21st Mortgage).

    Tim Williams, CEO and President, 21st Mortgage Corporation.


    Read more…


    • Developing Strategies Using Porter’s Five Forces Model

    by Lisa Tyler

    Lisa Tyler posted on MHProNewsPorter’s Five Forces model identifies competitive forces and underlying causes that reveal the roots of an industry’s current profitability while providing a framework for anticipating and influencing competition over time (Porter, 2008).

    Read more…





     The benefits of a slow economy

    by Tim Connor



    There are two attitudes you can take as a manager, executive or business owner when the economy slows or goes in the tank – you can:


    Read more…


    • Look Back but Think Forward!

    by Scott Stroud



    We are well into a housing recovery and you have a decision to make: Will you take what you’re handed by the market or the economy, or will you make the remainder of this year what you want it to be?

    Read more…





    • Time to clean up your website!

    by Beth Monicatti Blank

    beth-monicatti-blank-posted on MHProNews-comWhen was the last time you looked at your website? Not just a quick glance to make sure it’s still there, but really looked at it. Take some time to read through each page and look for anything out of date or not functioning properly.


    Read more…


    • Manufactured Industry Pros Respond to the new MH Image Campaign Movement

    by L. A. 'Tony' Kovach

    tony-kovach-2-50Manufactured housing's image issue's didn't start – nor will they end – overnight. But the need for such a campaign is widely believed to be important


    Read more…





    • ZigOn Pursuing Dreams


    by Zig Ziglar

    zig-ziglar-posted on MHProNews-com

    "Think about the following story while you consider what success means to you. As two brothers entered their adult life, one completed college and became a highly successful lawyer while the other preferred the outdoors and traveled the country working as a park ranger, outdoor tour guide, seasonal crop worker, etc.

    Read more…




    • Don’t practice on your best prospects


    by Tim Connor, CSP


    How much time do you spend practicing and developing your skills as a factory built housing professional? Do you  practice a new technique on a prospect or on a fellow salesperson or your supervisor first?  Do you not practice at all, but just show up?

    Read more…