Posts Tagged ‘government accountability office’

TV Star Donates Modular Home, Provides Industry Recognition

May 18th, 2017 Comments off

Credit: Deadline Detroit.

In Detroit, Michigan, Shamayim “Mama Shu” Harris had a dream. That dream was to create a sustainable eco-village in the heart of her Highland Park neighborhood.

I converted my neighborhood from blight to beauty,” said Harris. Another part of that dream was a main building to handle things.

Nationally syndicated TV host Ellen DeGeneres made a promise to Mama Shu last year to help, and earlier this week she delivered.

According to Deadline Detroit, DeGeneres made good on that promise and delivered a $100,000 prefab home to Harris.

Mama Shu stood on her porch and watched as the home, wrapped in white plastic, was hoisted from a flatbed onto the property across the street. Prefab home company Cocoon9 teamed with DeGeneres to make the donation.


Harris sees her home. Credit: Deadline Detroit.

You know how cities have like a city hall?” asked Harris.Well, that’s how I feel about this house. This is like the main building where we’ll handle all of our business and everything. It is really a blessing.”

Harris says that the vision for the village came to her after the death of her son, Jakobi Ra, in 2007. He was 2 years old when a hit-and-run driver struck him while crossing the street.

She wanted to do something to turn the blight all around her into beauty, so she purchased a rundown house on Avalon Street for $3,000 and created a park in the lot next door in her son’s name.

I thought maybe we could put all of this in one block, and basically to respect and honor the things that I think as citizens we deserve, too, to have,” said Harris.

A library, a Homework House, a cafe, somewhere where you can get fresh fruits and vegetables from, things like that. And streetlights! Avalon Village has the very first solar street lights here.”


It’s Not What Many Think…


Millionaires, such as actress Betsy Russell, are living in manufactured homes. To see a photo spread of her manufactured home which listed for two million dollars, click here. Credit: MH Living News.

MHProNews and MHLivingNews have covered the case for manufactured housing as a viable solution to hope for the American Dream of home ownership at a reasonable price extensively, including Bloomberg making a statement to the same effect.

Power players such as former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee see the value of manufactured housing, along with a number of millionaires, as covered in an MHLivingNews feature linked here.

Imagine engineered homes, that meet or exceed strict federal safety, energy and performance standards, built to the nation’s only preemptive code for permanent homes,” said Daily Business News Publisher L.A. “Tony” Kovach.

By using the same proven systems that keep costs down on cars, smartphones, clothing or other produced products, you save on labor, time, have about 30% less waste, can buy in bulk and thus save money.”

And the U.S. Census Bureau and Government Accountability Office state our homes are about half the cost of conventional construction,” he added. ##


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



RC Williams, MHProNews.

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


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Waste! Fraud! Abuse! Its Impact on Business

April 18th, 2017 Comments off

(Pork Barrel credit: Citizens Against Government Waste)

As part two on our series on federal taxation, the Daily Business News spotlights today what private and federal research reveals to be hundreds of billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. The Trump Administration has made tax reform a hallmark of their agenda, and President Donald J. Trump pledged to cut the waste and inefficiency of government.

Reforming spending and taxations, along with regulatory reform, are among the factors that caused so many manufactured home professionals to vote for the nation’s new president.

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW)

With the national debt at a hefty $19.3 trillion and estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to grow another $534 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2016, which runs through Oct. 2017, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) suggests 618 recommendations that would save taxpayers $644.1 billion in the first year and $2.6 trillion over five years. CAGW says it has helped save taxpayers $1.4 trillion since 1984 when it began.

As an example, Prime Cuts, CAGW’s house organ, proposes eliminating the Market Access Program (MAP), which aims to help agricultural producers promote U. S. products overseas, but is in fact a corporate welfare program that sends millions of dollars to profitable, large corporations and trade associations that can afford their own promotional efforts. This would save $1 billion over five years.

Prime Cuts goes after just about every department of government, attacking many programs that been considered sacrosanct for years. Eliminating the Rural Utilities Service, which originally provided electrification to rural areas and now expanded to provide broadband to those areas would save $9.6 billion in one year, $48.1 billion over five years; since FY 2002, members of Congress have added six earmarks for high energy cost grants totaling $113.5 million.

The sugar subsidy adds $1.5 billion to the budget annually, and additionally costs consumers of baked goods ”$3.5 billion more each year in artificially inflated prices for commodities that use sugar, including baked goods, beverages, candy, cereal, dairy products, snack foods, and hundreds of other products.” The program needs to be replaced with a market-oriented system.

Similarly, the U. S. dairy price supports add $1.1 billion annually to the budget, and eliminating the peanut subsidy would save taxpayers $275 million over five years.

The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (HMEP), named for U. S. Senator Ernest ‘Fritz’ Hollings was designed to increase the efficiency and profitability of American manufacturing firms, but amounts to corporate welfare for advisors and consultants. Potential savings if halted: $715 million in five years.

The Department of Defense has multiple contracts spread over numerous congressional districts, but representatives cry “national security” and the programs continue. One example is the M1 Abrams tank retrofit program. “In 2011, Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno told Congress that the Army had a sufficient number of tanks; the Pentagon proposed suspending production until 2017, saving $3 billion.” Earmarks to the budget have increased continually, adding jobs for constituents, including a $40 million project in FY 2016. Since FY 1994, there have been 39 earmarks for the M1 Abrams program, requested by at least 13 members of Congress, costing taxpayers $948.6 million.

The Southeastern Power Administration, which consists of 23 hydroelectric projects in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, southern Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s electric power assets could be sold and privatized, saving $2.3 billion over five years. Fears of huge rate increases to consumers are unfounded.

Reducing the fraud and waste in the Medicare system would save taxpayers $21.7 billion over five years. Congress has fortunately enacted the Recovery Audit Contractor program which has recovered $11.3 billion for the Medicare Trust Fund since it began doing audits in 2005. RAC has an average accuracy rate of 96 percent.

As the average life expectancy has increased. raising the Normal Retirement age for Social Security beneficiaries would save $119.9 billion over the next ten years. Raising the eligibility age for Medicare recipients by two months every year until it reaches the age of 67 would reduce Medicare costs by ten percent by 2035, saving taxpayers $124.8 billion over the next ten years.

(Image credit: Citizens Against Government Waste)

Eliminating Community Development Block Grants in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would produce a $15 billion savings over ten years. Intended for infrastructure investments, housing rehabilitation, job creation, and public services in metropolitan cities and urban counties, the program has fallen short on both accountability and results.

For the entire CAGW report on savings in the Department of the Interior with its vast swaths of land that could be leased, the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services which has failed to meet its goal of reducing crime and has become an overlay of hundreds of million of dollars in waste and fraud, and the Davis-Bacon Act which requires employees of federally-contracted projects to be paid a prevailing wage, click here.

Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has similarly produced a report documenting 92 actions that could be taken by Congress or the executive branch to reduce waste and improve efficiency in 37 areas covering a wide range of governmental functions.

The Internal Revenue Service has referral programs to award individuals who help uncover tax noncompliance by others in its attempt to reduce the $385 billion taxes that go uncollected. This information referral process, which covers under reporting of income, false tax claims, failure to file a return and failure to withhold and pay taxes resulted in 87,000 referrals in 2015 and $209 million in tax assessments.

In Medicaid services, the GAO uncovered federally facilitated exchanges that allowed for duplicate coverage. One state reported duplicate coverage for 3,500 people from January to July 2014.

In 2014, the Departments of Defense (DOD), Energy (DOE), and Commerce (Commerce) collectively had signed agreements to establish 11 manufacturing innovation institutes involving partnerships with private nonfederal entities, but a review determined that agencies that could benefit the program, such as the Department of Labor, were not included in the projects.

For the full report, click here.  For our prior report on Tax Facts, Business and You, click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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

Congressional Testimony Negates Sensationalized Charges of Predatory Lending

June 11th, 2016 Comments off

IDontThinkThereWasEverMuchHighCostLendingInTheManufacturedHousingMarket-stillcreditCSPAN2--RichardCordrayCFPBdirector-Posted-MHLivingNews-com-With all the negative publicity swirling around alleged predatory lending for purchasers of manufactured homes by the Seattle Times, National Public Radio and BuzzFeed within the last year, it’s time the media paid attention to congressional testimony that refutes these notions, according to L. A. “Tony” Kovach, publisher of MHLivingNews and MHProNews.

The Dodd-Frank Act that was supposed to protect people of modest means has had the opposite effect, hindering buyers, sellers and lenders in the affordable housing market.

Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Richard Cordray explained to a Senate committee why, percentage-wise, it is more expensive to originate and service conventional housing and manufactured home loans under $100,000, its just business math. He also said “there never was much high-cost lending” on MH, thus refuting news stories that accuse the industry of predatory lending.

During a hearing last spring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) tells Director Cordray that some of the regulations prevent homeownership, and in some cases it costs more to rent than to buy a home. Cordray responds, “this isn’t optimal for anyone.” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) spoke extensively about CFPB’s regulations that hamper MH sales.

A separate video linked in the MHLivingNews story documents how Don Glisson Jr., an MH lender who is chairman and CEO of Triad Financial Services, sheding light on this same topic.  Glisson explains on camera that without federal subsidies and with no taxpayer risk, chattel loans are made at the lender’s risk—without a secondary market, the lender has to hold the loan. If other lenders could charge less and still make a profit, they would quickly move in. That they don’t indicates MH lending is some fat profit and is clearly not predatory.

So both industry professionals and Cordray agree that MH lending isn’t predatory.  Then why has some in the mainstream media tried to paint a different picture?

A report from a 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that even with two-thirds of manufactured home loans at slightly higher rates, the payments on MH are often significantly lower than rent or other housing options.

Kovach says: “With the affordable housing crisis growing, there is an urgent need for fresh, accurate reporting that shines a light on the unfortunate consequences of federal rules that were well intended, but instead hurt the very people they were meant to help.”

Despite these barriers to affordable housing, MHProNews understands the sale of new manufactured homes is up 20 percent over last year’s total. Imagine how production might be if the barriers came down.

For additional reports and links to this information, please click. ##

(Photo credit: MHLivingNews Inside MH video, still from CSPAN2, graphic text, credit – MHLivingNews.)

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

Sunday Morning Recap-Manufactured Housing Industry News Jan. 3 -Jan. 10, 2016

January 10th, 2016 Comments off

mhpronews_sunday_morningWhat’s New in public focused Manufactured

What PBS NewsHour Missed About Manufactured Home Living

Nicole Barker compares her Modular Home with conventional construction

What’s New in Manufactured Housing Industry Professional News

FHFA may securitize chattel loans. PBS NewsHOur critical of MH industry, as HUD Code production gains sharply in Nov. RV/MH Hall announces inductees. CFPB seeks feedback on mortgage disclosure act. Start of year worst ever for Dow Jones. Modular homes for homeless in Ireland dealt another setback. FEMA manufactured homes readied in Calif wildfire region. Marcus & Millichap arrange two MHC sales. GAO evaluates Dodd-Frank. Domestic modular home industry may lose to imports, as modular development is approved in NC. And much, much more in MH industry news and views for you to pursue.

Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016

FHFA “May” Open the GSE Door to Purchase MH Chattel Loans

Friday, Jan. 8

RV/MH 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Dow Continues its Fall; Most MH-related Stocks Follow Suit

Marcus & Millichap Arrange sale of Fla. Manufactured Home Community

Controversy Escalates over Modular Homes in Cape Coral

CFPB Seeks Feedback on the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act

Former MHC Titan’s Tony Condo Yields $4.25M

Thursday, Jan. 7

Marcus& Millichap Notches another MHC Sale

Dow Starts the New Year down 900 points; Most MH-related Stocks Fall, Two Rise

Clayton Teams with Electrolux

21 FEMA MH Near Ready for Occupants in N. Calif.

Foreclosures Waning Steadily in Colorado and Ohio

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Completion of Modular Homes in Ballymun Set for mid-January

Dow Stumbles, Skyline Flies High, AMG Drops

Capital One Provides Loan for Purchase of Calif. Manufactured Home Community

Subdivision Approved for Modular Development in North Carolina

New Home Sales Rise Sharply from Last Year

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Modular Home Development has Begun in the UK

Real Estate Losses in Western North Dakota Start to Mount

Skyline, Sun, UMH all Rise; Patrick Falls

Government Accountability Office Evaluates Dodd-Frank Act Effects

Loan Application Defect Index Falling

In Depth Overview of HUD Code Production for November

Monday, Jan. 4

Mortgage Application Approvals and Home Values Rise

No Covered MH-related Stock Gains as the Dow Hits the Skids

U. S. Modular Home Builders need to Sharpen their Saws

HUD Code Production Spikes in November

More Patrick Stock Sold by Gendell

Really? “Bad bargain? Manufactured homeowners feel the financial strain, PBS NewsHour” MHProNews Flash Report and Analysis

Sunday Morning Recap-Manufactured Housing Industry News Dec. 27, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016 ##

(Photo credit: MHProNews)

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

Government Accountability Office Evaluates Dodd-Frank Act Effects

January 5th, 2016 Comments off

government accountability office--wikipediaAccording to a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as nationalmortgagenews tells MHProNews, the Dodd-Frank Act is expected to have a $100 million impact on the bottom lines of community banks and credit unions in the form of higher expenses and forgone revenues. Regulators continue to verify actual costs.

The full impact of the Dodd-Frank Act remains uncertain because many of its rules have yet to be implemented and insufficient time has passed to evaluate others,” the GAO said.

Regulators told us that it is still too early to assess the full impact of Dodd-Frank Act rulemakings on community banks and credit unions, and while they have heard concerns about the increase in compliance burden, they have not been able to quantify compliance costs.”

Particular rules in Dodd-Frank created an increased compliance burden, especially in smaller lending institutions. Fears about loans that are not qualified mortgages have led to reduced loan activities lest the lender face litigation or the inability to sell those loans to secondary markets.

While the GAO acknowledged there were some initial contractions of credit availability, trade groups see this as the need for more regulatory relief from Congress. Today’s GAO report confirms that Dodd-Frank regulations have increased compliance burdens on credit unions,” Dan Berger, president and chief executive of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, said.

Meanwhile, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the only federal financial regulator to leave a comment, said it would like to see the differences between banks and credit unions in a more detailed analysis.

The appropriate indicators to use in assessing the effects of the Dodd-Frank Act may be different for very small institutions – where most of the credit unions are clustered – than they are for larger institutions,” said the NCUA’s Executive Director Mark Treichel, in a response letter. “Using a set of indicators better-calibrated to the business models may be more helpful in assessing the effects of the Dodd-Frank Act.”

The GAO, noting that the indicators they developed were reasonable, stated, “While we presented similar indicators for banks and credit unions, comparisons between the two types of institutions may not be appropriate and that certain indicators may be more relevant than others for each type of institution.”

The GAO is required to present an annual report on the effects of the Dodd-Frank Act on community banks and credit unions, the impact on financial market stability, and how federal regulators implemented the rules. ##

Senator Elizabeth Warren Raises Concerns over non-bank Mortgage Servicers

October 29th, 2014 Comments off

mortgage    andyenstallblog  creditInstrumental in the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and a strong proponent of financial reform, U. S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), noting the rise in non-bank mortgage servicers, is asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the risks to consumers.

A report by the Federal Housing Finance Administration-Office of the Inspector General says,The nonbank special servicers do not have the same capital requirements as a bank, which means they are more susceptible to economic downturns. Such downturns could substantially increase nonperforming loans that require servicer loss mitigation while at the same time impact the ability of the servicer to perform.”

According to housingwire, in a letter to the GAO, along with Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), they say,We are writing to request a study of the vulnerability of nonbank mortgage servicers to economic downturns given the lack of capital requirements applicable to these servicers and of the risks posed to consumers by continued growth in nonbank specialty mortgage servicing.”

A recent report from Fitch Ratings says of all private-label securities by loan count, nonbanks now service 74 percent, an increase from 48 percent in 2004, and nearly all of the 74 percent is in the hands of the top five nonbank servicers. Ocwen Loan Servicing, Nationstar, Select Portfolio Servicing, Green Tree Servicing and PHH Mortgage Corp. hold 64 percent of all non-agency servicing. Fitch Managing Director Roelof Slump said, “Nonbank servicers have grown significantly through the sale and transfer of difficult-to-service loans from large banking institutions.

New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky says Ocwen backdated letters to possibly hundreds of thousands of borrowers. “In many cases, borrowers received a letter denying a mortgage loan modification, and the letter was dated more than 30 days prior to the date that Ocwen mailed the letter,Lawsky writes.These borrowers were given 30 days from the date of the denial letter to appeal that denial, but those 30 days had already elapsed by the time they received the backdated letter.”

Ocwen apologized for the errors in their correspondence system, saying of the 283 borrowers in New York who received letters with incorrect dates, 281 continue to be borrowers. However, Moody’s, Bank of America and Evercore Partners downgraded Ocwen’s ratings, and company stock fell 20 percent. As MHProNews has learned, the stock remains 20 below the initial reading one week later. ##

(Image credit: andyenstallblog)

(matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comSubmitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews)

Manufactured Housing Label Fees to Rise Sept. 12

August 15th, 2014 Comments off

mhi  photo credit  mh under productionThe Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) reports that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will increase label fees on new manufactured homes (MH) to $100 per label effective Sept. 12, 2014 to help cover the costs of administering the program. Manufacturers that have already purchased the $39 labels will be assessed the additional $61 if the labels will be used on or after Sept. 12. A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report criticized HUD for not properly implementing the requirements of the Manufactured Home Improvement Act of 2000, and suggested the label fees be raised to cover program costs. MHI suggested the increase be based on production, as MHProNews has been informed, but while HUD maintains there is not a direct correlation between production and operating expenses, it will consider reducing the label fee if production unexpectedly rises. To view a copy of the final rule, click here. ##

(Photo credit: Manufactured Housing Institute–MH under production)

FHA Bail-Out? 50-50 Odds

February 19th, 2013 Comments off

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner Carol Galante, telling the House Financial Services Committee her agency will not likely need Treasury assistance this year, says the FHA has raised its insurance premiums five times since 2009, is raising them again April 1, and is issuing new regulations to reduce losses. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has the FHA in its sights of “high risk” government programs, and House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, says FHA’s designation as a high risk is not surprising. “We know the FHA is broke and is quickly approaching bailout-broke.” There are 734,650 seriously delinquent loans in its portfolio, and independent auditors estimate FHA will have to absorb $60 billion in claims by the end of FY 2014, most of which are on loans originated in those underwater days of FY 2007 through FY 2009. However, refinancings fourth quarter year-over-year doubled, totaling $32.7 billion in Q4 compared to $15.4 billion in the same quarter of 2011. FHA is refinancing 50,000 current FHA borrowers a month; and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says after updating its estimates, FHA took in $4 billion more than originally estimated. As nationalmortgagenews tells MHProNews, mortgage consultant Brian Chappelle says, “FHA is endorsing the best loans in its history.”

(Image credit: CNNMoney)

GAO: Ventilation Possibly Deadly in MH

November 15th, 2012 Comments off

According to usgovinfo, a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the air quality in manufactured housing may be compromised by carbon monoxide entering the homes. GAO says the problem stems from fresh air intake and exhaust vents constructed too close together, which could allow CO2 and other contaminants to enter the home, given unique wind patterns. Separating the vents with more distance allows for more dilution of the contaminants even if they do come in. The agency says HUD’s ventilation systems for manufactured homes has not been updated since 2005, and does not reflect standards used by the home building industry. MHProNews has learned the GAO recommends HUD require tests to validate the performance of ventilation systems.

(Photo credit: gfhomesandland)

Dodd-Frank Entities Lack Transparency and Accountability

September 14th, 2012 Comments off

The House Financial Services Committee says after an extensive nine month audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of the Financial Stability Oversight Committee (FSOC) and the Office of Financial Research (OFR), both creations of the Dodd-Frank Act, public information of their activities is limited. Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus, and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer, who requested the report, said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who is chairman of FSOC, “The actions that FSOC and OFR have taken, and will take in the future, have the potential to directly and significantly affect the financial stability of the United States. It is therefore critically important that FSOC and OFR operate in a manner that promotes greater congressional and public understanding of their actions.” MHProNews has learned in a letter to Secretary Geithner, Reps. Bachus and Neugebauer ask for more detailed recommendations, accountability, and transparency of the proceedings of the FSOC, and how the agency will promote more coordination among its member agencies.

(Image credit: Facebook)