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Posts Tagged ‘Lobbying’

Update on Fannie Mae Lobbying, and Manufactured Housing Controversy

May 22nd, 2018 Comments off

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The recent report from the House Financial Services Committee Chairman, Jeb Hensarling, to MHProNews late last week pointed out that Bloomberg – and the Daily Business News – had identified ways that appear to reflect that Fannie Mae has violated the FHFA mandate that the GSEs are barred from lobbying.

 

An attentive MHProNews reader provided a tip today that indicated the following “explanation” already published by Fannie Mae on this concern over lobbying.

On page 22 of the Fannie Mae manufactured housing plan, is the following.

Fannie Mae will undertake the following measurable Actions in the years indicated.

Year Actions 2018 · Actively participate in the manufactured housing industry as a member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) (excluding any lobbying activity) in order to maintain an industry presence and remain current on activities and developments facing the market.”

One might ask, did Fannie Mae join other industry associations?  If not, why not?

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If their purpose was to stay current on industry activities, can’t that be done by meetings and reading?  Does it require membership in MHI?

DSNews reported that Fannie Mae said in response to Hensarling’s concerns that, “Fannie Mae does not lobby and has not advocated for any specific policy.”

As a legal source we checked with on this issue said, ‘Money is fungible. It is disingenuous to say that just because they claim not to be supporting lobbying, that whatever their [Fannie Mae] dues are that the money hasn’t in some sense advanced MHI lobbying.’

The statement by Congressman Jeb Hanserling, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, on this topic and the MHProNews related analysis are linked below.

Chairman Hensarling, Fannie Mae’s Latest “Backdoor Schemes,” Illegalities? MH Connections, Implications

MHProNews invites a formal statement from Fannie Mae, MHI, MHARR or others on this issue. “We Provide, You Decide.” ©  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

MIA from Fannie Mae’s Latest Housing Survey, MHI Producer Sounds Off

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Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

 

Chairman Hensarling, Fannie Mae’s Latest “Backdoor Schemes,” Illegalities? MH Connections, Implications

May 19th, 2018 Comments off

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Late Friday, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said that “high ranking Fannie Mae employees have been intentionally violating their government prohibition on lobbying through a series of secret meetings to remove the failed mortgage giant from federal oversight.”

 

According to Congressman Hensarling’s  statement to the Daily Business News, legal and ethical issues are at play in the latest controversy involving one – or more – of GSEs.

Attentive, long-term Daily Business News readers recall last year the editorial call by MHProNews for transparency, and the release of the minutes from closed door meetings between members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs).

Neither MHI, nor the GSEs responded to those concerns by releasing said private meeting minutes.

Will Hensarling’s Friday warning prompt the parties to belatedly release their minutes? If not, what are the parties involved hiding?

 

Bloomberg Exposes Concerns

For nearly a decade, a top U.S. housing regulator has restricted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from trying to influence the raging debate over whether they should live or die,” said Bloomberg.

But despite those limits, a top Fannie Mae executive has done just that…Brian Brooks, Fannie’s general counsel, has a specific goal,” per Bloomberg, adding that “Brooks, who has ties to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, wants this done without the involvement of Congress, which has failed since the 2008 financial crisis to come up with a legislative fix for the mortgage giants.”

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When Fannie Mae went broke, it came begging taxpayers for what has turned out to be $120.836 billion in federal bailouts so far.  As a condition of receiving those funds, Fannie Mae was explicitly prohibited from engaging in “all political activities—including all lobbying,” a prohibition which it is now being reported Fannie has deliberately violated,” Hensarling said.

 

Investigation Launched

If true, this violation is more than an outrage, it is a direct affront on taxpayers and the current structure of the federally-back conservatorship that has allowed Fannie Mae to operate for the last decade.  It is a slap in the face of taxpayers that Fannie Mae thinks it can take their money and blatantly ignore the rules that came with it.  The American people deserve better.  That’s why the Committee will be launching a full investigation into these allegations to identify those responsible and hold them accountable to taxpayers,” per Hensarling’s statement to the Daily Business News.

But we can’t stop there,” the Texas Congressman said. “In order to truly solve the problem of the broken GSE hybrid finance model, Congress must enact sustainable housing finance reform as soon as possible and once and for all get rid of any backdoor attempts to resurrect the old, failed ways of the past.”

Before the crisis, Fannie and Freddie commanded two of the most well-funded lobbying apparatuses in WashingtonBloomberg’s report said on the controversial topic.  “In addition to employing dozens of lobbyists, the companies funneled contributions to nonprofits and think tanks and pressured policy makers to abandon potential regulations or laws the companies thought would constrain them.”

 

Problematic History, Harmed MH and the Nation

Pre-2008 meltdown, Fannie and Freddie generously funded the lobbying of politicos, like then Congressman Barney Frank.   Chuck Schumer is among the names that comes up in the 3 minute 12 second video below, defending the GSEs as being safe and sound.

Congressman Frank and others returned the lobbying dollars from the GSEs with the favor of protection from calls to reform the mortgage giants.  Those lawmakers did so by delaying actions that could have mitigated – or perhaps avoid –  the meltdown that some warned were coming.

The video clip below is a reminder of the now-all-too-often forgotten history.

 

Depending upon how “lobbying” is defined, Fannie Mae could be in violation of lobbying with respect to the  manufactured housing industry.

How so?

Because Fannie is a member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), a trade group that does lobbying.

That MHI membership would appear on its face to be a conflict of interest for all involved.

Why?

Because if MHI is doing its job properly, it should have declined Fannie’s membership, to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

There could be ethical, and/or legal issues involved in the Fannie/MHI membership matter.

For instance, as the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) president and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, has said that ‘every day that the GSEs don’t robustly provide chattel and other lending under their Duty to Serve mandate to manufactured housing is a gift to Berkshire Hathaway’s manufactured housing lenders.’

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There is more involved in this developing controversy. Those related issues will be part of an upcoming Daily Business News report.

Stay tuned. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

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To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

1) To sign up in seconds for our MH Industry leading emailed news updates, click here.EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

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3) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

 

MBA’s Lobbying seeks to ease CFPB’s Mortgage Regulations

October 10th, 2014 Comments off

Dave Stevens-president-and-CEO-of-the-Mortgage-Bankers-Association-MBAAs midterms elections approach, the Mortgage Banker Association (MBA) is seizing the lobbying opportunity to fund Congressional campaigns; hoping to open more discussions to gain relief from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations currently in place in the U.S..

National Mortgage News told MHProNews that Dave Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), explained he’s unsure of the results the association’s efforts will receive because of the presidential election is also approaching, which has its own agenda.

Because we’re heading into a presidential election, the longer we go into 2015, presidential politics dwarfs much of the debate,” Stevens stated. “I question how productive the upcoming year will be post-election.

Nevertheless, the MBA is pressing ahead and requesting changes in the strict regulations on loans and mortgages that were implemented following the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the MBA is on its way to setting a new record in fundraising, with contributions of more than $950,000 going to Congressional campaigns.

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The MBA’s lobbyists explain their motivation is to allow more people to buy homes and be able to afford mortgage payments. A change in the regulations will clearly benefit the housing market, and thus the broader economy.

Speaking about the Dodd-Frank Act, the MBA recognizes the good intentions of such regulations. However, Stevens and other members point out different consequences. While the act aimed at protecting customers, it turned out they often suffer from these current legislations because of high fees and the too many documents required to prove their ability to repay a loan.

Steven’s point, in the minds of many MH pros, is particularly true in the manufactured housing market.

The uncertainty of regulations offers the Manufactured Home (MH) market the space to attract consumers who in some cases cannot currently access conventional mortgages with bigger down payments on site built homes, as industry leaders like UMH’s Sam Landy have pointed out.

Should the MBA succeed in having Congress make the changes, could offer MH investors, lobbyists and other professionals other opportunities to attract new customers seeking homeownership. ##

(David Stevens photo credit : MBA.org, chart credit Open Secrets and National Mortgage News)

(Daily Business News article submitted by Lucine Colignon)