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Anti-Monopolistic or “Antitrust” Action Heating Up in Washington, D.C., What It Could Foreshadow for MHVille

March 7th, 2019 Comments off

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On the left or so-called progressive side of the political aisle, several Democratic candidates for the 2020 race have made strong statements about doing more antitrust action. One of those are linked further below. Then, on the conservative side of the aisle, some Republicans and others are condemning what they see as a trend toward bias by Big Tech that violates their free speech rights.

 

Furthermore, President Donald J. Trump has purportedly had drafted an executive order (EO) on antitrust action. See that prior report, from the linked test image box below the byline and notices.

Against that backdrop, there is talk of how this talk of antitrust could play out in MHVille. That talk about the issue is more behind the scenes of late, but it exists. Some firms, per sources, are shoring up antitrust and other legal experts.

With that, there is a growing move in Washington, D.C. to take a more serious look at antitrust, most of the news revolves around big tech. But it should not be though that it would end there.

There’s discussion, for example, of how Cavco and their SEC woes may or may not include possible antitrust issues.  If so, that could prove difficult for Clayton Homes and their related Berkshire Hathaway manufactured home lenders.

These two videos and the pull quotes from Bloomberg Law, therefore, should be construed not only on the obvious level of big tech. Big Tech also obviously impacts manufactured housing, via marketing and in other ways.

While there is debate back and forth, one could argue that there is growing energy behind antitrust action in Washington and beyond.

So, these videos and the Bloomberg Law commentary should be construed through the lens of how this may play out for members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

 

 

Antitrust Enforcement in Spotlight at Senate Hearing

  • Posted on Bloomberg Law, at this link here, March 5, 2019, 5:46 AM Updated March 5, 2019, 5:20 PM
  • Senate antitrust hearing comes amid heightened pressure on Alphabet’s Google, Facebook
  • Robert Reich, Joshua Wright testify
  • The Senate’s top Republican [Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)], on antitrust issues March 5 cautioned against using competition law to address growing concerns about big-tech companies.

By contrast, Bloomberg’s recent video discussion, posted below, said the following

Feb.27 — U.S. antitrust enforcers are zeroing in on technology giants following years of criticism that they haven’t done enough to rein in dominant internet companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. The Federal Trade Commission said it’s creating a task force led by senior competition officials and 17 staff lawyers to investigate potentially anticompetitive conduct by technology companies. Matt Stoller, Open Markets Institute fellow, and Bloomberg’s David McLaughlin discuss on “Bloomberg Technology.”

 

 

Note that the Open Market’s folks have taken specific aim at Clayton.  Some tweets are shown below.

AustinFrerickOpenMarketsAntiTrustAntiMonopolyClaytonHomesWarrenBuffettPredatoryLenderMinoritiesMoreDailyBusinessNewsManufacuredHousingIndustryMHProNews

HowClaytonHomesMakesMoneyAustinFrerickTwitterOpenMarketsDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

See the related reports below for more that is more manufactured housing specific, and ties together mentions of the above.

 

Independent Businesses, Affordable Manufactured Housing, Open Markets, & Robust MH Sales Growth

That’s this evening’s “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

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Brad Says POTUS Trump is Right: More than Facebook & Twitter, Google Threatens Democracy, Online Freedom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MHARR: EPA Action on Formaldehyde Rule

May 24th, 2017 Comments off
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Capitol Building credit, Wikipedia. MHARR, Mark Weiss images MHProNews. MHARR logo is their intellectual property, and is shown here under fair use guidelines.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) tells MHProNews that the organization has succeeded in winning a delay of the effective date(s) of the Formaldehyde Emissions Standards for Composite Wood Products final rule published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December 2016.

 

The EPA announced the action yesterday in a notice, which fulfills the original request by MHARR for a delay.

As MHProNews covered earlier this week, the call came from MHARR President and CEO Mark Weiss, JD, during a May 1st meeting in Washington DC. That meeting was convened by the EPA to solicit comments from parties on a new rulemaking docket concerning regulations adopted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and other laws that could be “repealed, replaced, or modified to make them less burdensome” in accordance with Executive Order (EO) 13777 issued by President Trump on February 24, 2017.

We’re calling for the elimination of certification requirements for finished goods included in the final rule, which apply to manufactured housing producers but expressly exempt site-builders using the same materials,” said Weiss.

MHARR was the only manufactured housing industry organization to participate in the meeting and address the formaldehyde rule specifically in relation to manufactured homes.

MHARR also noted that the final formaldehyde rule published by EPA (during the last days of the Obama Administration) was significantly different from the proposed rule, published on June 10, 2013. In essence, the original rule stated that both manufactured homes and site-built homes would have been deemed “finished goods,” and subject to the certification requirements applicable.

In contrast, under the final rule, only manufactured homes and manufactured homebuilders are subject to those certification requirements and related regulatory compliance costs.

MHARR tells MHProNews that, in accordance with EPA’s delay notice with formal publication in the Federal Register expected on May 24, 2017, compliance dates for formaldehyde emission standards, recordkeeping, and labeling provisions would be extended until March 22, 2018. Import certification provisions would be extended until March 22, 2019, and laminated product producer provisions would be extended until March 22, 2024.

 

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Mark Weiss. Credit: MHProNews.

MHARR will closely monitor this rulemaking, which is an integral part of the Trump Administration’s effort to reign-in or repeal federal regulations that eliminate jobs or inhibit job creation, or are otherwise outdated, unnecessary, ineffective, or unduly burdensome,” said MHARR President and CEO Mark Weiss, JD.

As this proceeding goes forward, MHARR will continue to aggressively oppose any discriminatory mandates on manufactured housing, HUD Code manufacturers and/or manufactured homebuyers.”

 

The full announcement from MHARR is linked here. ##

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

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Analyst, Investor Action at Skyline – What’s Happening?

May 5th, 2017 Comments off
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Credits: Skyline, Pinterest.

For Skyline Homes, a recent rough patch has analysts and investors making moves.

According to the Cerbat Gem, TheStreet downgraded shares of the company from a “c” rating to a “d” rating, in a research note issued to investors late last week.

The move comes as Skyline’s stock price has declined over 26 percent since September 2016, which the Daily Business News has followed closely in the daily market wrap.

Also of note is the announcement regarding the shutdown of their Mansfield, Texas production facility, and the subsequent announcement that Champion Homes will acquire it.

Skyline followed up that announcement on March 9th, saying that it had suspended operations at its Elkhart, Indiana plant.

It’s not that we didn’t have the orders or the business or the customer base,” said Skyline president and CEO Richard Florea. “Despite demand from manufactured housing dealerships and manufactured housing communities, the leased facility used for production prevented daily volumes to reach and maintain profitable efficiencies.

Skyline has taken steps to ensure the 90 or so employees affected by the move are not without work, offering them jobs at other Skyline facilities in Wisconsin or Ohio or connecting them with other job opportunities.”

The SEC filing from Skyline said that the company was unable to profitably operate the 50,000 square-foot facility, which it began leasing from Forest River last year.

Investor Activity 

These developments have investors making moves, with Renaissance Technologies LLC raising its position in Skyline by 51.6 percent in the fourth quarter, now with a value of just over $5 million.

Wells Fargo & Company increased its position in Skyline by 2.5 percent in the first quarter, and now owns nearly 1.2 million shares valued at $11,233,000.

AnalystInvestorActionatSkylineWhatsHappeningcreditBloomberg-creditdailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Skyline 1 year look. Credit: Bloomberg.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, Skyline is also one of the industry stocks monitored each business day. For the most recent closing numbers on all MH industry-connected tracked stocks, please click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Manufactured Home Community Residents Reach Settlement In Legal Action

April 24th, 2017 Comments off
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Credit: Lowell Sun.

In Massachusetts, residents of the Chelmsford Commons manufactured home community have reportedly reached a six-figure settlement in a class action lawsuit against community owner, Michigan based RHP Properties.

According to the Lowell Sun, the suit alleges that RHP improperly raised rents on residents over the last five years. As a result of the settlement, residents have started to see reductions in their rent rates, and RHP has agreed to pay out more than $100,000 to about 350 current and former residents.

I’m hoping that we can get something to bring us all back down again,” said resident Sally Walters, who received a letter earlier this month that RHP was reducing her rent by $9 as a result of the settlement.

Three community residents, who claimed that RHP violated a 1990 master lease agreement that stated that rent increases were to be based, in part, on changes to the Boston Consumer Price Index, filed the lawsuit earlier this month.

Instead, the suit claims RHP based the increases on the national CPI, which rose faster than the Boston index, resulting in inflated rents.

The new owners, if the cost of living doesn’t go up they’re still going to charge you,” said one resident.

They know lots of the residents are on social security and disability.”

Additionally,the lawsuit also claimed that RHP added the cost of repairing a water main break to residents, and that as a part of the settlement, RHP has agreed to set aside an additional $10,000 to compensate residents.

For residents, even though the reduction amounts may be small, they have a significant impact. Many residents, who are on fixed incomes, have had to leave the community due to rent increases of $20 to $30 per month.

Anything helps, there’s no doubt about it,” said resident Jerry Robinson. Robinson has seen a reduction in his rent of $16 so far.

A Middlesex Superior Court judge still has to approve the settlement before notices are sent to residents. RHP has not commented on the settlement. ##

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews

NIMBY in Action – Commission Delays Zoning Ordinance

April 12th, 2017 Comments off
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Nimby comic credit as shown, used here under fair use guidelines.

The Mt. Vernon, Illinois Zoning and Planning Commission has once again tabled conversation on a proposed zoning change that would clear the way for a manufactured home community.

According to the Register News, the decision came after a two-and-a-half hour hearing, which featured a number of residents speaking out against the proposed location.

I’m talking about green-space, people,” said Dianne Klein.

You guys are the zoning board. We are not going to get any more green-space back if you let this development go through. … We don’t want residential. We don’t care if they’re million dollar houses. We want green-space out there.”

The City Council also recently tabled discussions on the proposed community, to work on further establishing guidelines around what would happen to an adjacent park.

Developers Rob Berneking and Andrew Edwards are currently in discussions to purchase the property for the community, and they provided a detailed presentation on the project during the commission meeting.

We are ready, willing and able to develop this project. … The extensive history of managing manufactured home communities gives our group unrivaled experience in quality control, HUD installation, property maintenance, and customer satisfaction.”

postedtothedailybusinessnwsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Google.

At least one member of the audience disagreed.

I object to the stats that have been cited here that indicate manufactured homes perform as well as regular homes during storms,” said audience member Mindy Goss.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, officials, news agencies and the general public continue to specifically point out manufactured homes and communities – often identified incorrectly as “mobile homes” and “mobile home parks” – vs. site-built homes in damage reports.

On average, about 1 in 5 structures identified as “mobile homes” by the media are in fact pre-HUD code mobile homes.  They are routinely the ones that suffer the most damage, because HUD Code manufactured homes are more durable by design.

Zoning board members referenced a petition signed by 438 people objecting to the proposed location of the manufactured home community during the meeting, and the zoning board approved a motion to table the matter until the revised city ordinance regulating manufactured home communities is adopted.

ProposaltoKeepManufacturedHousingOutSentBacktoPlanningCommissioncreditAikenStandard2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Danny Feagin. Credit: Aiken Standard.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of potential NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard) stories recently, where current residents appear to be working to keep manufactured homes or communities out. Most notable is the case in Aiken, South Carolinawhere Councilman Danny Feagin was quoted as saying “As long as it keeps the mobile home parks [sic] out, I think the folks would be satisfied,” in relation to a proposed rezoning ordinance.

Considering everything presented, we feel that our project is clearly the highest and best use for the subject property,” said Berneking.##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

CFPB Takes Action, Faces Additional Scrutiny

December 21st, 2016 Comments off
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Paradoy of CFPB logo – credit, Plus 1 Properties. Cartoon credit, MHProNews.

As the year draws to a close, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is taking action, and is also facing scrutiny.

According to Mortgage Daily News, The CFPB has entered into a consent order with Moneytree to settle allegations that the company engaged in deceptive advertising, sent consumers deceptive collection letters, and did not obtain written authorization for electronic repayments.

The consent order requires the company to pay approximately $255,000 in consumer redress and a civil money penalty of $250,000 to the CFPB. Moneytree did not admit to any wrongdoing in the matter.

The agency has also taken action against took action against four pawnbrokers in Virginia for “deceiving consumers about the actual annual costs of their loans.

Lawsuits filed in federal court by the CFPB alleged that the four companies broke the law by misstating the charges associated with pawn loans, and the suit seeks to get restitution for customers in addition to imposing penalties.

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Credit: Wikipedia, CFPB, HubPages.

CFPB Hurting the Middle Class?

A scathing op-ed from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) says that the CFPB has “imposed rule after rule that hurts consumers and the middle class especially,” and lays out a number of ways that the organization could be causing financial problems, including the CFPB’s qualified mortgage (QM) rules, making short term loans difficult to get, encouraging suing in disagreements as opposed to arbitration and compiling mass amounts of consumer data.

On consumer data, CEI points to an article written by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in The Wall Street Journal.

Every month the CFPB … gathers data on 22 million mortgages, 5.5 million student loans, two million bank accounts with overdraft fees, and hundreds of thousands of auto sales, credit scores and deposit advance loans.

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Still from an Inside MH video, reflecting how Richard Cordray himself said that there was never much high cost lending in the manufactured housing industry market. To see the video of Cordray and others, click here.

Daily Business News readers are no strangers to the ongoing saga of the CFPB and the Dodd-Frank Act, with extensive coverage of the impact on the manufactured housing industry, the CFPB being ruled unconstitutional by a D.C. Circuit Court, and both Dodd-Frank and the CFPB being deep in the cross-hairs of President-elect Donald Trump.

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James Cox. Credit: Duke.

According to some experts, while an all out repeal of Dodd-Frank is unlikely, significant changes to key parts of the law are a real possibility.

I don’t think it eviscerates Dodd-Frank, but I think it takes away some parts,“ said James Cox, a Duke University expert on securities law speaking on the Trump team’s approach. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Trump/Congress Call on Federal Agencies to Defer Action on all Pending Regulations

November 17th, 2016 Comments off
Manufactured Housing production. Credit: MHI

Manufactured Housing production. Credit: MHI

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has made a major announcement regarding a request from President-elect Donald Trump and Congress.

MHARR tells the Daily Business News that, as was predicted and outlined in MHARR’s November 9, 2016 Washington Update, President-Elect Trump’s promise to “impose a… moratorium order on new agency regulations,” pending the review and elimination of regulations that “kill jobs” and “do not improve public safety,” has taken an important first step forward with a November 15, 2016 congressional communication – signed by the House majority leader and the chairmen of all standing House Committees — to the secretaries, directors and administrators of all federal agencies.

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MHARR president and CEO M. Mark Weiss. Credit: MHProNews.

MHARR says that this action by Congress sends a proverbial “shot across the bow” of each of the federal agencies in the waning days of the Obama Administration, against seeking to force “midnight regulations” through the administrative process in an attempt to tie the hands of the incoming Trump Administration.

MHProNews has more on the story here, and you can find the full MHARR November Washington update with a full analysis here. ##

MHARR November Briefing

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.