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The Report, Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton and Clayton Homes

February 28th, 2017 Comments off
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Buffett and Kevin Clayton. Credit: Reuters.

When the “Oracle of Omaha” speaks, people listen.

Actually, millions of people listen.

On February 25th, Warren Buffett delivered his annual letter to shareholders. In his letter, the manufactured housing industry was front and center, as Buffett discussed Clayton Homes.

Clayton and Berkshire have been a wonderful partnership,” wrote Buffett.

Kevin Clayton came to us with a best-in-class management group and culture. Berkshire, in turn, provided unmatched staying power when the manufactured home industry fell apart during the Great Recession.

According to the Knoxville Sun-Sentinel, for the second year, Buffett also defended Clayton’s financing practices. In 2015 a joint Seattle Times, Center for Public Integrity and BuzzFeed investigation accused Clayton Homes of pushing minorities into high-interest predatory loans, which Clayton has strongly denied. The Daily Business News covered this story extensively, separating fact from fiction.

That story is linked here.

Last year Clayton had to foreclose on 8,304 manufactured-housing mortgages, about 2.5 percent of its total portfolio, wrote Buffett.

He also spoke to Clayton’s efforts to assist those who were having trouble with payments, writing about Clayton’s loan-extension and payment forgiveness programs.

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Buffett with Clayton team members. Credit: CNBC.

Last year about 11,000 borrowers received extensions, and 3,800 had $3.4 million of scheduled payments permanently canceled by Clayton. The company does not earn interest or fees when these loss-mitigation moves are made,” wrote Buffett.

Since we lose significant sums on foreclosures – losses last year totaled $150 million – our assistance programs end up helping Clayton as well as its borrowers.”

For all of 2016, 94 percent of Clayton’s loan balances were current on payments.

Clayton’s pretax profit rose 5 percent to $744 million, primarily from its $13.3 billion mortgage portfolio.

Revenue rose 18 percent to $4.23 billion, and with the sale of 42,075 homes, accounted for five percent of all new home sales nationwide.

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Clayton Homes figures from Warren Buffett’s annual letter, listed as Manufactured housing and finance.

The company accounts for about 2 percent of Berkshire’s overall profit, and employs 14,677 people throughout the U.S.

Clayton Homes is the largest producer of manufactured homes (MH) in North America. Vertically integrated, the company has several hundred retail centers nationwide. Through its affiliates and family of brands, Clayton builds, sells, finances, leases and insures Clayton-built manufactured and modular homes.  The operation also buys products and uses services from other producers.

For the most recent closing numbers on all Berkshire Hathaway – and all MH industry-connected tracked stocks – please click here. 

Buffett’s annual letter is linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronewsSubmitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Why did Ishbel Dickens/NMHOA decline a Debate with Carla Burr about PBS NewsHour’s Manufactured Housing Report?

January 14th, 2016 Comments off

bad_news_good_news__Jan_14_2016Opening with an analysis about the dynamics behind mainstream media coverage, MHLivingNews publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach used that to focus attention on the recent PBS NewsHour report that featured Carla Burr, titled Bad and Good – Two Sides – Manufactured Home Living and News Reporting.

Kovach reminds us of the rule of thumb in the newsroom: “If it bleeds, it leads!” Bad news travels fast and gets there first, and is often the lead—on TV and other news media. He provides examples of that, before moving onto the thrust of the article, which is the recent PBS NewsHour and Seattle Times/BuzzFeed stories.

Kovach acknowledges that there are rotten apples in every industry, and provides linked examples of how MHProNews and MHLivingNews has drawn attention to apparent bad actors from MH in the news. Thankfully, there are not many examples of criminal behavior in MH today. But when other media misrepresents or unjustly slants the news, Kovach makes it clear that we have and will spotlight errors and correct the record.

Carla Burr/Ishbel Dickens and NMHOA invited to debate PBS NewsHour topics, they decline

However, Kovach says it’s not just that the reporting was slanted on the PBS video and on the seattletimes/buzzfeed  “stories,” but there is a hidden agenda: interviewee Carla Burr is not a typical resident of a manufactured home community that the PBS happened upon. Burr is the vice president of the National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA) and a known activist on MH finance and community issues.

Burr’s role in the activist group was not mentioned in the PBS broadcast. Moreover, a close look at the PBS report reveals she does not fit the profile PBS painted of MHC residents in general.

Kovach has since offered to debate Burr or Ishbel Dickens, the executive director of NMHOA on the PBS NewsHour video in Washington, D. C. in early February. Dickens formally declined. For the correspondence, click here.

Additionally, some of Dick Ernst’s key comments were edited from the script. Based upon Dicken’s emailed message noted above and other factors, Kovach suggests that special interests working against MHI supported legislation aimed at stopping the common-sense reforms in Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act reform of Dodd-Frank that would benefit millions of MH home owners and businesses was the aim behind both stories.

Just as bad news travels faster, one may not hear from media reports about the millions who live in manufactured homes who love their lifestyle and affordability. According to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), manufactured homes have lower payments and lower cost than conventional housing or most rentals.

For the full story with related videos and downloads, click on – Bad and Good – Two Sides – Manufactured Home Living and News Reporting##

(Image credit Deer Valley Homebuilders and MHLivingNews)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Democratic Lawmakers want DOJ to Investigate Clayton Homes, lenders in wake of Seattle Times/BuzzFeed report

January 13th, 2016 Comments off

maxine_waters_democrat_from_calif__bet__creditFour Democratic House Representatives have asked the Justice Department to look into allegations of Clayton Homes and their related lenders alleged targeting of minority borrowers, based on the advocacy journalism of the Seattle Times and BuzzzFeed’s Mike Baker and Daniel Wagner. Baker and Wagner have been described as making a career attacking Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway

Baker and Wagner have alleged that minorities are charged higher rates than their white counterparts, a claim Clayton Homes has strongly denied, providing their own facts to make their case.

Rep. Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, has been joined by Keith Ellison, Emanuel Cleaver and Michael Capuano in writing a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray asking for an investigation into the charges.

The allegations raised in the news report are squarely within the agencies’ authority to investigate and pursue appropriate corrective action,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote. According to Bloomberg, The Seattle Times and BuzzFeed have updated their attacks on Clayton Homes and related lenders.

Calling the news accounts misleading, Clayton said, “race and ethnicity don’t factor into how it prices loans, that it doesn’t target minority communities and that it doesn’t tolerate discrimination against employees.”

MHLivingNews checked with industry sources, who dispute the Seattle Times/BuzzFeed accounts, based upon their own knowledge and experience of Clayton Homes, and their related lending arms, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, and 21st Mortgage.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns Clayton, says he makes no apologies for the lending practices of what is the largest producer of manufactured homes in North America.

Neither the firm nor Warren Buffett had any immediate comment following the most recent charges.

Sam Gilford, a spokesman for the CFPB, said last month that “the allegations of discrimination and predatory practices raised by the reporting are obviously very concerning to the bureau,” although Gilford declined to say whether Clayton was being investigated. ##

(Editor’s Note: MHC activist, Ishbel Dickens, in comments to MHLivingNews connected the PBS NewsHour report to the Seattle Times/BuzzFeed stories and the pending Dodd-Frank related reforms of CFPB regulations of manufactured home personal property loans. See Dicken’s comments, as a download to a related report, linked here.)  

(Photo credit: bet–Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), minority leader, House Financial Services Committee)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com

Article submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily BusinesNews-MHProNews.

Michael Bloomberg says Dodd-Frank “Stupid,” slamming it and ObamaCare

November 12th, 2014 Comments off

former-nyc-mayor-bloomberg-credit-nypost-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com0Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said harsh regulation on financial institutions are hurting Main Street. Speaking at a conference, Bloomberg lashed out at laws that are arguably helping his own firm, which provides servcies to the financial industry. It’s good for the terminal business,” he said. “Some of these firms have 10 or 15 thousand people working on [compliance]; if that’s not an opportunity to provide software, I don’t know what is.” BuzzFeed tells MHProNews.

CNNMoney reported Bloomberg saying, The trouble is if you reduce the risk at these institutions, they can’t make the money they did. If they can’t make the money they did, they can’t provide the financing that this country and this world needs to create jobs and build infrastructure.”

Bloomberg, is the founder of financial data company Bloomberg L.P., as well as a billionaire philanthropist.

What happens is every little group in Congress has to add something to that bill in return for their votes, and a lot of those things are just mutually exclusive,” Bloomberg said. “Years later now we don’t have the regulations that are required and complying with it is just really impossible.” The same goes for Obamacare, Bloomberg asserted.

The NewYorkPost stated the former mayor said, The world adjusts to stupid laws. They just don’t pay attention to it and you get burned later on. That really is what happens, like a 25-mile-an-hour speed limit.”

Bloomberg sounded off on a range of topics, the NSA, Google and the president being “a wuss” after his party lost the mid-terms so badly.

Google and Facebook and Twitter, they want to collect data on everything you do, everybody you sleep with, every place you eat and what you ordered at the venue, and then they’re going to sell it for their own personal profit,” he said. “And we’re complaining about the NSA?” ##

(Photo Credit: NYPost)