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Whistleblower! Ex-Clayton Homes Team Member on TV Denounces Manufactured Housing Giant’s Practices

December 5th, 2018 No comments

 

WhistlblowerExClaytonHomesTeamMemberOnTVDenouncesManufacturedHousingGiantsPracticesDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Foreword: a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member messaged our publisher, “You seem to have conceptual IQ [and] that is more important than spelling ability.”

 

That there are divisions in manufactured housing ought to be self-evident. That’s true for any industry or large group. But among the many questions that ought to be asked, are those divisions in manufactured housing (MH) bad?

Are some distinctions within the MH Industry useful — or even good?

Within companies there are different points of view too.  The larger the organization, the more points of view will exist.

It goes without saying that Clayton denies recurring allegations that have surfaced in 2018, that have been visible for some years in mainstream media. Before we get into the Clayton whistleblower mainstream TV news video, this topic is serious enough where it merits a giant step back for perspective.

 

MH Divisions

It goes without saying that neither MHI, nor the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), are entirely monolithic organizations. Because there are some dual members of both national trade groups, there have at times been some in MHVille that mistakenly believe that the two are one in the same.

Hardly. A close look at the track records of the two trade groups make it abundantly clear that there are real differences in style, goals, and more.

There are those in manufactured housing who believe there should only be one national trade group.  To that point – we ask, if that is logical – then why are there so many trade groups in:

  • Mainstream housing: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), National Association of Realtors (NAR), Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and on down the list or remodeling, finance, and more.
  • Automotive – According to Wikipedia, there are some 29 pages of associations in the automotive field. Just starting with A: Auto Care Association. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. American Automobile Association. American Highway Users Alliance. American Hot Hod Association. American Motor League. Association of Global Automakers.
  • How about RVs? There are producers, dealers, owners, suppliers, and a plethora of trade groups that represent the varied interests of Recreation Vehicles (RVs). FYI – for those who aren’t into RVing, an RV is not just a motorized vehicle, towable RVs are a huge part of the RV business. Some of those towable RVs are de facto a competitor to manufactured housing.  FEMA orders for RVs vs. MH are but one example.

So, if there are so many trade associations in other industries, why are there so few manufactured housing national trade groups?

That is arguably a problem for the manufactured housing industry.  There are inherent conflicts of interest in having manufactured home (MH):

  • Communities
  • Producers
  • Suppliers
  • Lenders and Financial Services
  • Retailers
  • Transporting and Installation
  • Professional Services and more

all in one trade association.

The proof is found in the results vs. the claims of MHI.  For all the bluster and what one ex-MHI member called their ‘Razzle Dazzle’ at appealing getaway spots, the declining sales of HUD Code manufactured housing for two straight months is all the evidence needed that MHI is at its core ineffective at best.  The report hot-linked via the box below can be read later for greater depth of understanding of this issue.

 

“Pants on Fire” – Latest New Manufactured Housing Shipment Report

 

As fabled author Adam Smith said in the Wealth of Nations,People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” Merely readingantitrust guidelines at an MHI meeting doesn’t automatically mean that monopolistic activity isn’t at play. When a high-profile congressional representative (see further below) and others in Congress raised that very concern about monopoly, why haven’t others in manufactured housing trade media done the same, save MHProNews?

 

The Elephant in the Room 

It was almost funny when some years ago when a now-former MHI leader said at one of their meetings that the ‘elephant in the room’ was Danny Ghorbani and MHARR. That’s a tip of the hat to the outsized-shadow they’ve cast, but the obvious actual elephant in the room is Clayton Homes, and the array of Berkshire Hathaway brands working in manufactured housing.

There is one kind of value to having Berkshire in manufactured housing, but it arguably already existed with Sam Zell of Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) fame and is limited to this next point.

Warren Buffett has given his seal of approval on the common sense value of manufactured housing.

But beyond that, there has been years of “consolidation” of manufactured housing production, retail, lending, supply, and more in our industry ever since Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway entered our industry.

Our HUD Code manufactured home industry’s sales have overall declined – not rose – since Clayton and Oakwood were acquired by Berkshire.

 

ManufacturedHousingSHipmentsBloombergQuintFactoryBuiltRebuidRecoveryDailyBusinessNEwsMHproNEws

See related report, linked here.

 

There are a variety of reasons why the Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has argued that there must be one or more new post-production trade groups. We’ll refer readers to MHARR’s report, when they declined expanding to compete with MHI, because they believe that the industry should be more like housing, automotive or other industries with a myriad of representative bodies.  That is a natural way of blocking conflicts of interest that are arguably evident at MHI.

 

MHARR Releases Study Recommending Independent Collective Representation for Post-Production Sector

 

It should be noted that the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA) was achieved when MHARR, MHI and state association came together on areas of mutual interest.  But that is different than unity under one umbrella, which has demonstrably resulted in far lower shipment levels than existed in the late 1990s.

Kevin Clayton has been in the mainstream news several times in recent weeks, since the MHProNews exclusive in the hot-linked box below was published.

GIGO, Esther Sullivan, Clayton Homes, Boston Globe, GSMOL on ‘Manufactured Insecurity-Mobile Home Parks and Americans’ Tenuous Right to Place’

 

But the reality is that what could have been done in 2011 to promote the industry and growth – according to Kevin’s own statement in a friendly video interview – has been allowed to drag on until 2018.  For whatever reasons, there is no denying that what MHI and Clayton have done in the last two years has had no appreciable change in the modest growth the industry has had, especially when compared to the strong growth of the RV industry.

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017DailybusinessNewsManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

RVsshipmentsTrailedMH1998WinnebagoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

So while

  • MHI’s Lesli Gooch has defended Clayton/Berkshire against charges of monopolizing the industry in a response to Doug Ryan at Prosperity Now, or
  • Clayton Homes has denied to local, regional, and national media the varied allegations against them,

there is also no denying that the claims keep popping up. In fact, when MHProNews offers MHI or Knoxville’s brands the opportunity to respond to reports like this, they’ve passed.  Why, if they had a good defense, would they miss out on the opportunity?

It is arguably absurd that the elected leadership of MHI’s current and prior 2 chairman have had serious negative media coverage, and yet have been allowed to continue as chair.  What image does that give the outside world about manufactured housing, or MHI?

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIBoardofDirectors1242018DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It is also absurd that that all three of the current and prior chairs have clear and deep ties to Berkshire Hathaway.  The real elephant in the room is Clayton and the Berkshire brands. If they want to claim leadership of the industry – and MHI and Clayton repeatedly do so – then the results of the industry logically fall at their feet.

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Louisiana is one of the top ten states for manufactured home shipments in recent years, per data collected by HUD and reported by MHARR. Clayton Homes has a serious presence in the state. Yet, sales are declining. Why???

And those results have been towards ever more consolidation of the industry in the hands of a few, including Clayton Homes and their sister companies involved in manufactured housing.

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003DailyBuisnessNewsMHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

One more point must be made. When the allegations of racism and other claims of financing malfeasance were lodged against Clayton and their related lenders – 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance – first surfaced, MHProNews and MHLivingNews leapt to their defense. Why?  Because we knew of no such examples, and asking some industry pros, they said similarly.

Lies, Advocacy Journalism and Statistics – Seattle Times/BuzzFeed Attacks, Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes Defends – charges of Racism and Discrimination – Critical Analysis

 

But as the claims have continued, and other facts emerged, we looked deeper.  Our understanding of the issues has matured, in part with input from others in manufactured housing.  Unlike MHI or Clayton, which rarely wants to admit in public an error, our publisher has said ‘mea culpa’ several times, as we have pivoted to our clarified understanding.

 

ClaytonHomesSkylineChampionCavcoIndustriesMarketShareManufacturedHousingIndustryConsolidationGraphicPieChartMHProNews-e1528746976415

With that tee up, we now show the video from the Clayton headquarters – the Knoxville metro’s own TV news media – is shown below.

 

 

Former Clayton Team Member Blows the Whistle on TV on Clayton Homes Business Practices

With that backdrop is this ongoing controversy about Clayton Homes and concerns over racism and unjust lending practices.

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Maxine Waters is among those who signed the letter that this local Knoxville TV news media report reflects.

ClaytonHomesSubsidiariesDiscriminateLowModerateIncomeMinorityBuyersHighCostLoansLeaveMaxineWatersCA-DClaytonlogo21stMortgageLogoVanderbiltMortgageLogo

One of several reasons to provide this to 2018 Knoxville TV news report to industry members at this time is that Waters will likely become the next chairperson for the important House Financial Services Committee.

 

CongressAsksDOJInvestigateClaytonHomesCreditTwitterWikipediaMHProNews

U.S. Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Mike Capuano (D-MA). Image credit, Twitter, Wikipedia.

 

Waters has called Clayton and Berkshire ‘near monopolies.’ That charge may take on new meaning in 2019. The Democrats have an anti-monopoly plank in their revised platform.

 

As the Daily Business News on MHProNews has previously documented, there are voices across the left-right divide that are seeing the challenges to small and independent businesses from monopolies.

Monopolies and growing consolidation over time causes ripples in costs to consumers, and for employment opportunities and thus wages too.

Some will act out of habit and ‘stroke the check’ to renew their MHI membership.

Others will feel compelled for reasons that sources say are akin to RICO related concerns.

For those who don’t want to be part of feeding the hand that bites them, this is a good time to step back and decide to cancel membership in Berkshire dominated MHI, and explore other options.

To learn more, see the related reports, and click on the hot-linked boxes further below.

Finally, it should be noted that Berkshire vice-chairman, and longtime Warren Buffet partner, Charlie Munger has said on camera that he doesn’t doubt that some wrongdoing has occurred.

 

 

While denying the thrust of the anti-Clayton claims, Warren Buffett has said similarly to what Munger has said.

It’s a complex puzzle.  But MHProNews is committed to providing the facts that unravel the fog in a way that no others in MH trade media will give you.  That way, you can make more informed decisions to operate your business.

DearTonySoheylaNoGreaterResourceSpeakstoIssuesOpportunitiesWeFaceAsIndependentRetailersGusRodriguezTejasHomesTX

Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies, and opportunities.

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NOTICE: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two browsers.

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Related Reports: Click the Boxes Below to Read More…

Center for Public Integrity – Stunning Clayton Homes-Warren Buffett-Berkshire Hathaway Manufactured Home Lending Truth Outs

Machiavellian “Godfather” – Sam Zell, Warren Buffett, Capital, Lending and Crossed Lines in Manufactured Housing

Manufactured Housing – MHVille, It’s Not a Matter Open to Interpretation

Housing Choice, Where Modular, Manufactured, Tiny, Conventional Housing Crisis, MHI and MHARR Intersect

Crisis of Misinformation, Fact Checks, and Manufactured Housing

New York Times-David Leonhardt-“The Monopolization of America,” Manufactured Housing Slant

#$2Trillion U.S. GDP Growth via Affordable Housing Plan Few Discuss – Introducing #YimbyVictory2020

 

 

 

 

“Why Advocates Need to Rethink Manufactured Home Quality,” Harvard, GSE, Genz, “High Satisfaction”

July 5th, 2018 Comments off

RichardGenzWhyAdvocatesNeedRethinkManufacturedHomeQualityHarvardGSEHighSatisfactionDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

There are those who slam manufactured housing as being less expensive due to inferior quality. But a “Harvard study refutes that, labeling as “exaggerated” the “concerns about the difference between manufactured homes…and [homes] built to applicable local building codes” (Vermeer and Louie 1995, section IV, 2). The study found that code standards have little to do with manufactured housing’s price advantage.”

 

So wrote Richard Genz in a 22 page research report on manufactured homes for a foundation for a Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE).

The document also stated that:

Housing advocates might find it surprising to walk through a couple of new homes at a dealer’s lot, keeping the monthly payment in mind and mentally comparing the local rental stock available for the same price. Interiors have good light. Insulation standards are solid. Floor plans have come a long way from the time when residents said that living in a mobile home was like living in a hallway.”

RichardGenzManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNewsWhy take a flashback look now at the 2001 report by Richard Genz for Housing & Community Insight?

Because the report was done for the Fannie Mae Foundation.

It cited sources such as Harvard, Foremost Insurance – plus other third-party, often peer-reviewed – researchers.

While some of the data points have shifted since Genz penned them, it has generally been improvements in the manufactured home product quality, as the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 standards have fully kicked in since Genz published his insightful work.

It’s equally valid to review this now, given the arguable short-shrift Fannie Mae has been giving to the legally mandated Duty to Serve (DTS) implementation. Compare what Genz said then, vs. what Sarah Edelman recently wrote. That linked report below, which includes Edelman’s article for Fannie Mae, can be read later for greater depth of understanding.

“Take the MH Advantage Challenge – Can You Tell the Difference?” Fisk of Sarah Edelman, Director of Duty to Serve, Single-Family Mortgage Business for Fannie Mae

Further, because the HUD Code and new home standards keep improving, what was true when Genz said it back then, is arguably as or more accurate now.

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That said, the analysis that follows notes that while Genz often praised manufactured homes, he did not turn a blind eye to problems then existing in the industry. That too will be reviewed herein, because manufactured housing cleaned up key issues that Genz identified.

So, while the total numbers of residents and manufactured homes has grown since his report, and pricing has obviously changed, the percentage of savings remains the same. Then and now, the United States Census Bureau has noted consistently similar levels of statistical savings for decades.

SunCommunitiesSUI-InvestorPage11ManufacturedHomeVsSingleFamilyHousingManufacturedHomeCommunitiesIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Graphic, data, per Sun Communities (SUI).

Thus for a variety of reasons, Genz’s 22 page document merit the careful consideration of the manufactured home industry’s:

  • professionals,
  • advocates,
  • public policy pros,
  • politicos,
  • and investors careful consideration.
SunCommunitiesSUI-InvestorPageComparetoMultiFamilyHousing10ManufacturedHomeCommunitiesIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Graphic, data, per publicly-traded Sun Communities (SUI).  Note that Sun’s rental rates may be higher than some others in the industry..

With that introduction, the Daily Business News will review and analyze key highlights of what Genz unearthed.

It’s a potentially multiple billions of dollars worth of housing insights. Thus it’s a potentially rewarding, and highly insightful, reading experience.  As you read this analysis of Genz, keep the points previously shared in the report below in mind, which can be read or reviewed later for related insights.

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact

 

Stigma and Manufactured Homes

Genz goes after the stigma attached to manufactured homes and their owners early, and often.

Here’s an example.

There is a palpable stigma attached to manufactured homes, dating back to when workers towing trailers moved from city to city, chasing jobs and crowding into muddy, unsanitary trailer parks… However, these serious shortcomings [in public policies, perceptions] are not inherent in the factory-built home itself. Rather, they are the product of laws, policy choices, and business practices that are selling millions of people short.”

Genz notes that while values weren’t the same, he explains that it was because of reasons not connected with the homes themselves.

That’s arguably a valid point then, and now.

The Fannie Mae Foundation researcher also noted that the net worth of manufactured home owners was dramatically higher – even then – than the $5,000 renting households average worth now have, per data cited repeatedly by HUD Secretary Ben Carson last year.

Median net worth is $59,000 for owners of manufactured homes, compared with $102,000 for all homeowners.”

Rephrasing that as a takeaway.  Those who own a manufactured home enjoy a significant improvement in their collective standard of living.  That’s a point that advocates like ROC USA, Prosperity Now (formerly known as CFED), or this trade publisher have often made.

Genz notes another point that MHLivingNews and MHProNews has hammered home repeatedly. It’s this.

One of the industry’s strong points is its appeal to distinctly different market segments. Owners tend to be either very young or elderly (Vermeer and Louie 1995). Although most buyers have low incomes, one segment of the market is quite well off: About 10 percent of manufactured home residents report a net worth of more than $250,000, and another 19 percent are worth more than $100,000 (Foremost Insurance Group 1999).”

Genz added to that point above, “Many of the owners with high net worth live in well- planned subdivision-style communities with recreation centers, pools, and even golf courses. These high-end communities demonstrate the potential of factory-built homes, but also represent a continuing shift away from the industry’s original focus on serving the affordable housing market.”

 

tristar-estates-bourbonnais-il-CreditMHC-MD-com, posted MHPorNews.com.

Arial photo credit, TriStar Estate, credit MHC-MD.com. Note that all of the illustrations shown were provided by MHProNews, not the original document written by Genz.

Stated differently, he makes sure that his readers know that manufactured homes are not just housing for the poor, or those who have no other options.

It’s a key factoid that some in the industry’s association world need to take notice of, and perhaps now will begin to do so?

Despite wide-spread perceptions of low quality and short life, Consumer Reports says that “manufactured housing can last as long as site-built housing,” (“Manufactured Housing ” 1998, 30).”

Readers should keep in mind that the improvements mandated by the industry-sought Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA). So whatever concerns were noted then about installation have since been dealt with.

Industry professionals, policy wonks, officials, and advocates should note that it was the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) that led-the-charge for the MHIA 2000. They did so by aligning the Texas Manufactured Housing Association’s leadership, and then finally found a change in leadership at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) they could work with. That permitted the three to then advance the MHIA through Congress, per our sources.

That segue noted, the review of Genz’s fertile work continues.

Fresh, new, private living space; easy shopping and financing; adequate quality; and homeownership now add up to a powerful appeal, and with a little reflection, it becomes easier to see why manufactured homes have been chosen by an average of 29 percent of new home buyers every year since 1980 (Manufactured Housing Institute 2001).”

MostMenAppearnNeverConsideredWhatHouseIsNeedlesslyPoorAllTheirLivesHenryDavidThoreauManufacturedHomeLivingNews

For newcomers to this website, or otherwise not familiar with modern manufactured homes, you can learn more by clicking the image above or the link here.

That was debatably the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) that was, prior to the power being exercised over the Arlington, VA based trade group by Berkshire Hathaway acquired Clayton Homes in 2003. Their related lenders were acquired too, as were several other industry connected suppliers and other firms since.

Instead of MHI’s allegedly weaponized ‘research’ and maneuvers to promote a controversial, “new class of homes,” and the like – why hasn’t MHI provided encouragement for more such independent study as Genz did?

Or why does MHI fail to publicly mine such useful research today?

Those questions noted, continuing with the Genz’s analysis, there are far more gems to discover.  They are potentially as useful now as then.

 

Not Enough Advocacy, Said Genz

RichardGenzHousingCommunityInsightLinkedInSydexManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Richard Genz.

Some consumer advocacy is taking place, but not much in view of the scale of the manufactured housing sector. Government, nonprofit, and philanthropic involvement is strikingly less than in the world of “real homes.”

When one ponders the foot-dragging by the GSEs, apparently brooked by the FHFA, this quote is also noteworthy: “…a majority of buyers have held the same job for 5 to 10 years, a Freddie Mac economist notes that “except for lower incomes, the profile of manufactured home buyers seeking financing does not appear to differ greatly from site-built loan borrowers” (Bradley 1997, 4).

Note that in a systematic fashion, Genz cited his third-party, often peer-reviewed sources. Again, as the Daily Business News analysis above noted, much of what has changed since 2001 have been equally well documented improvements.

So the case made by Genz is still useful.  It is also historic.

Genz provides an independent yardstick to see what the industry’s ‘leaders’ have or have not done.

 

Identifying Valid Concerns

For those who never knew or witnessed sellers loading up customers with years of insurance or credit life, etc. the next quote will be a dose of reality.

For those pros who will recall, it’s a blast-from-the-past that explains some of the stiff losses by the subprime lenders of that era. “[manufactured housing] retailers can and frequently do earn commissions, rebates, or other payments on loan originations, credit life insurance, property insurance, and other services arranged for at the time the loan is closed” (HUD and NAHB 2000, 41).”

That was then, not now. Thus the report by Genz isn’t all glowing, as he takes on some industry practices in lending, some that apparently had a level of MHI support.

Rephrased, this researcher for Fannie didn’t mind questioning MHI.

By contrast today, Fannie and MHI seem to be “playing footsie,” according to several sources in MHI.

Among the examples that have been cited by those sources, MHARR and others, is that Fannie is now a MHI member. Furthermore, Fannie and MHI have reportedly held closed door meetings, without producing for the public those meeting minutes.

What’s there to hide?

Fannie Mae Touts MH Advantage Program, But Manufactured Housing Association Slams Plan as “Illegitimate,” “Bait and Switch”

 

GSE Commitment Canceled?

As recently as last week, Sarah Edelman, Director of Duty to Serve, Single-Family Mortgage Business at Fannie Mae and others there respectfully declined to provide minutes or any explanation of such meetings with MHI, in inquiries by this publication to the federally regulated mortgage giant.

Note that a communications team member committed to MHProNews that Edelman would answer several questions on-the-record.

Those promised replies to several specific inquiries were later delayed. Finally, the same communications team member at Fannie said they were not going to answer the questions asked.

Why not?

So much for transparency at Fannie today?

It is also worth mentioning for later review that House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling has told MHProNews via a statement that he has serious concerns about lobbying by the GSE.  If so, that’s important because it would be in contravention to federal law while they are in receivership under FHFA. That related report can be reviewed later, and is linked below.

Update on Fannie Mae Lobbying, and Manufactured Housing Controversy

 

How Many Pre-HUD Code Mobile Homes?

Back to the research by Genz, he stated then that nearly 3 million pre-HUD Code mobile homes were still in service.

According to Gentz, “As many as 3 million homes in the nation’s current manufactured housing inventory were built be- fore the implementation of the HUD building code in 1976, when some homes had a useful life as short as 10 years (Meeks 1995; Vermeer and Louie 1995). Many of these were built in the boom years of 1968 through 1973, when 2.7 million new homes were sold.”

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

Once more an aside is warranted. Because the data that Genz cited demonstrates that the Rollohome experience was not a one-off.

What occurred during the Rollohome era in terms of the rapid ramp up and production of more factory built housing pre-HUD Code could arguably be done today too.

Rollohome, Creating 60,000 Factory-Built Homes in 2 Years

Investors, public officials, advocates, and industry pros? Are you seeing how enormous the manufactured housing industry’s potential is? This is a theme that MHProNews and MHARR have said for years can be accomplished, because it has in fact already been previously proven to be doable.

Given the correct support, the 8.3 million housing unit shortages cited by Lawrence Yun at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) could rapidly be corrected. But if HUD Code producers don’t step up to the plate more seriously, other prefab builders cited at the end of this report have already said that they will.

Potentially tens to hundreds of billions of dollars in business annually is up for grabs.

Once more, it is almost inescapable how these facts point to what award-winning independent retailer Alan Amy said. Manufactured Housing could be the future, which is why he and others have said that the billionaires are gobbling up the industry’s assets.


Ouch, and another Ouch, but then…

Regarding gains or losses in value, “…Consumers Union reports that two-thirds of units depreciate. However, the converse is that one-third of manufactured homes have held their value or appreciated (“Manufactured Housing” 1998). Several other studies establish the simple fact that some manufactured homes increase in value, and some decline.

But Genz uses logic akin to what MHProNews has utilized, noting that “Research is needed to sort out the factors that cause values to go up or down. With better information, policies and practices that build wealth for owners of manufactured homes can be designed.

In fact, Genz has outlined several of the causes of a loss in value. He also suggested some of the keys to supporting value, like no more credit life or others previously noted.

Thus, the initial groundwork for more appreciation – which even the problematic Urban Institute report noted by the Daily Business News said is already underway – is now largely in place.

Rephrased, there are no valid reasons for the GSEs to slow-walk implementation of robust yet sustainable chattel and other manufactured home lending. There is no need for yet another apparent dodge, this time in the form of a MHI’s questionable “new class of homes.”

Secretive “NEW” Class of Manufactured Housing Raises Serious Concerns

So in retrospect, what Genz laid out was this.

marty-lavin-jd-manufacturedhomefinanceexpert-DailyBusinessNews-mhpronews

Marty Lavin, JD.

When insurance is loaded up on a contract at the time of sale, or prices may vary 5k-10k per identical homes in the same market, the natural outcome is those homes ‘lost’ value. That’s similar to concerns that MHI award winner Marty Lavin raised for years.

But it must also be noted that Lavin said in a video interview with MHProNews that the industry cleaned up that act.

So once more, the rationale for slow-walking the potentially robust GSE entry into manufactured housing is missing.

Quite the opposite exists. Genz gave a veritable road map of why and how manufactured housing lending could and should be done successfully in ways that are as sustainable, as Titus Dare exclusively encouraged in statements to MHProNews.

So those abuses Genz reported then were wrenched from the chattel lending system by the lenders who remained in the market during the post-Conseco/GreenTree meltdown.

Rephrased, as Lavin noted, the remaining marketplace lenders corrected the issues.

Said Genz, “The accurate answer to the question “Can manufactured homes appreciate?” seems to be “It depends.” Like the value of any home, the value of a manufactured home over time is contingent on many factors. Unfortunately, the perception that depreciation is somehow inherent in manufactured homes is widespread. It is at the root of disinterest about them among development bankers, advocates, planners, and nonprofit developers. These professionals are rightly concerned that housing should be a foundation for building wealth, but if advocates simply write off the preference of so many home buyers for lower-cost manufactured units, we passively contribute to a problem we should be helping to solve. Available data suggest that depreciation is not a mystery. It can be understood and, in many cases, reversed.”

What Genz did was argue that the industry could reverse much of its image and fortunes.

Make some common sense changes, and much could be done.

More than 8 out of 10 manufactured homes placed in 1998 were titled as personal property, or chattel (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1998).” That number is similar today.

Genz buys into the argument made by those who want to reclassify manufactured homes, forcing all to be real estate loans. That’s a non-starter for most lenders in the industry. It is an example of how the “wheat and chaff” approach must be used with any person, or any organization.

That said, he next makes another point similar to what Marty Lavin has made.

Discriminatory treatment of manufactured home residents flows from the unexamined matrix of law, finance, taxation, land use regulation, and custom within which manufactured housing exists.”

Lavin put it more bluntly, by calling the HUD Code “a discrimination code.”

But discrimination – past or present – could be a motivation in urging industry pros to act for change in the future.

That said, what exists today are policies that can include “…many tax systems automatically depreciate manufactured homes like vehicles, regardless of their actual market value. This practice worsens the budget drain.”

Genz demonstrates how a simple change of mind can yield positive change.

Recognizing the real character of manufactured housing contributes to the asset base of an entire community. For example, the tax assessor of Henderson County, NC, decided to begin taking manufactured homes seriously in the early 1990s. Once values were established, the assessor determined that the use of depreciation schedules had systematically undervalued this stock of residential property. The result was a $53 million increase in the tax rolls over two years,” Genz said.

Then he stated a point routinely made by MHLivingNews and MHProNews. How education by that North Carolina county and discipline in the proper use of terminology could yield positive changes measurable in dollars and cents.

They [local officials] repeatedly had to explain to concerned taxpayers that a “trailer” is something you haul around behind a vehicle and that their increased valuation was based on the actual market value of a home that happened to have been built in a factory.”

Today, there are numerous studies that demonstrate that manufactured homes can and do appreciate for the same reasons as conventional housing. But the way to accomplish that isn’t by creating a problematic, unnecessary, and controversial “new class of homes” promoted by MHI.

Rather, an important part of the industry’s potential progress is achieved by education of consumers on existing homes.

 

 

That education comes in part by speaking with those who know on camera.

Education also can obviously be accomplished in part by engaging the mainstream media.

Retiring MHI Ann Parman previously praised MHProNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach for promoting that plan. But as numerous industry members – like Frank Rolfe, who previously blasted MHI for not properly engaging the media – know, MHI has allowed most slurs, miscues, and errors that slight manufactured housing to go unaddressed.

Rephrased, the facts and legitimate third-party research needed to successfully promote the manufactured home industry are available.

While the Arlington, VA based trade group has done problematic advertorials – which have at times cited ‘facts’ that other MHI ‘data’ contradicts – has posted a few lightly viewed items to YouTube, or social media, there’s been no discernible, systematic and robust effort by them to defend and/or promote the industry as needed.

MHI member MHVillage’s own data proves just how ineffective the efforts to date are.

2018-06-22_0521ConversionRatiosPerMHVillageLogoManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Data per MHVillage, collage by MHProNews. 

So it is little wonder that a pair of state associations broke away from MHI, and have announced they are forming a new post-production association.

Rephrased, there is a growing body of evidence and numbers of industry voices that in various ways have alleged that MHI is debatably blowing it for the small to mid-sized operations that make numbers of that trade group’s members.

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

As attorney Lavin succinctly put it in the report linked above, the big boys work for the interests of the rest of the industry only to the extent that it benefits the big boys.

 

Genz Makes the Case Concerned Industry Voices Have Advocated

Said the Fannie Mae Foundation’s researcher Genz. “Low- and moderate-income people should not be left to learn about asset-building and the meaning of homeownership from their tax assessor. The protests from mobile home dwellers confirm what our housing system has inculcated in them: that their housing is a depreciating asset, like a vehicle. How many buyers of conventional homes would trade a lower annual property tax bill for depreciating home value?


As a Deer Valley Homes sales manager James McGee, and their current president, Chet Murphree said, “It’s all about education.” as they and others praised the work done here and on MHProNews to educate.

Meanwhile, sources and evidence suggest that MHI, their surrogates and masters, have arguably sought to stymie the education necessary for the industry’s robust growth.

Why?

Warren Buffet has arguably given the correct answer. He likes a bargain.

Best Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Competition, and “the Moat” Video Collection

By choking off other sources of lending, and limiting the capital flow into the industry, Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway has gobbled up large chunks of the industry.

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003DailyBuisnessNewsMHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

MHI’s President Richard “Dick” Jennison, and others there or working for Berkshire Hathaway units have declined or ducked public discussion and debate on such vexing questions.

ClaytonHomesSkylineChampionCavcoIndustriesBalanceofIndustryManufacturedHousingIndustryConsolidationGraphicPieChartMHProNews

Graphic by MHProNews, using information provided by each corporation, or named entities.

Isn’t that a kind of tacit admission that these published concerns are valid?

When The Daily Business News has given repeated opportunities for MHI or Berkshire brands to respond publicly, why have they instead remained silent?

21stMortgageCorpLogoLetterheadJan302009TimWilliamsRetailersBrokersCutSpecifiedLendingMonopolisticPloyConcernManufacturedHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

This document was provided as a news tip to MHProNews. To see the related video with Kevin Clayton, click to read and view – Smoking Gun 3

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

 

Genz’s Finale “Conclusion”

Clearing up misperceptions about manufactured housing and addressing the problems of buyers, owners, and renters should be the first priority for advocates. On a separate front, it should be possible to incorporate the cost advantages of manufactured homes into nonprofit housing developments (Wallis 1991). If stereotypes can be overcome, the nonprofit development community could eventually help reinvent manufactured homes as quality, wealth-building, affordable housing.

The report said that author “Richard Genz is Principal of Housing & Community Insight and a Project Manager with ICF Consulting, Inc.”

Genz’s report was written for the Fannie Mae Foundation.  The entire document is available as a download, linked here.

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Related Reports:

Manufactured Home Owners – Satisfaction Survey Redux

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

 

Clayton Homes, Top 25 Manufactured Housing Industry Report, Trend Lines

 

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MHI Lender Shakes Up DTS and MLO Rule Discussions

March 23rd, 2018 Comments off

MHILenderShakesUpDTSMLORuleDiscussionManufacturedHousingIndustryFinancingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

A veteran Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) lender’s controversial comments to the Daily Business News are bound to shake up discussions about two hot button industry topics.

 

Those two subjects are:

  • the Duty to Serve (DTS) Manufactured Housing, mandated by Congress a decade ago, and
  • the Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) Rule, established by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) during the Obama Administration, and run under Richard Cordray’s leadership for several years.

A senior lender in manufactured housing, whose company is an MHI member, said that Triad Financial Services turned over their data to the GSEs “about 5 or 6 months ago.

The same informed source said that Credit Human, formerly known as CU Factory Built Lending, committed to turning over their data to the GSEs as well. That hand-off was reportedly more recent.

Therefore, the two Berkshire Hathaway owned lenders – 21st Mortgage Corp and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) – were the 2 major holdouts.

The industry’s larger chattel lenders split along ‘party lines,’ with Berkshire Hathaway not providing data to the GSEs, and non-BH lenders providing data to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

That loan performance data, said the GSEs, was needed to responsibly implement home-only “chattel” loans.

Despite assurance from MHI to members that they were doing ‘all that can be done’ to promote the Duty to Serve, the revelation that the Berkshire Hathaway owned lenders gave no data to the GSEs undermines that contention. MHI and the Berkshire Hathaway companies have previously been invited to clarify or confirm these concerns. Doesn’t their silence speaks volumes?

The comments confirmed once more the public statement in Tunica that Fannie Mae’s Paul Barretto made earlier this week, that Berkshire Hathaway failed to provide them with any relevant data.

According to Barretto, that meant that the bulk of the data they had was from the Conseco loan pool, which dated back to the late 1990s and early 2000, and were widely known for problematic origination and thus poor loan performance.

The combination of comments by the MHI lender and Fannie Mae’s Barretto underscored key revelations that help explain a decade of delays in implementation of the Congressionally mandated Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing.

That lack of data claim was in turn was used by the GSEs to do only a relatively modest pilot program by Fannie and Freddie. Those pilot projects are to be rolled out over 3 years, in support of the most affordable permanent housing in America.

 

Preserving Access…err…S. 2155

Once more, the potential for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to make a deal on the Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) Rule – which some in media are mischaracterizing as “steering” – directly with the non-profit consumer groups was asserted by an MHI member lender.

Why does it matter?

First, because while the odds of passage on S 2155 are up, it is no guarantee that the manufactured housing amendment to the bill will survive a House/Senate conference committee.

2018-03-23_0736S2155ManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews_001

As or more important, the recent reveal by the lender and Barretto both belie MHI’s official claim that they’ve been doing everything possible to advance the cause of more lending in manufactured housing.

If Barretto’s public comment in front of dozens of industry pros, plus the MHI lender and other sources are to be believed, then what MHI claims “just ain’t so.”

As MHProNews exclusively reported, the lender noted above confirmed what other sources have already said, which is that the non-profit “consumer groups” were ready to deal on the MLO rule, so long as the points and fees that mostly Berkshire Hathaway lenders wanted would be dropped from Preserving Access.

IshbelDickensPhotoNationalManufacturedHomeOwnersAssocNMHOALogoDailyBuisnessNewsMHproNews

Dickens and others reportedly offered a compromise, which MHI declined. Consumers and independent industry professionals alike have suffered as a result.

 

As the MHI member lender told MHProNews, the art of compromise is the essence of political advancement.

Yet, “MHI’s leadership” was unwilling to compromise at all.

To rephrase, and emphasize – per our sources — MHI allegedly misled their own members and the industry at large

Why?

The likely answer has been supplied by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), which tacitly supported Preserving Access, but felt that bill had no chance for passage.

MHARR President and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, said that every day that DTS isn’t fully and robustly implanted is “a gift” to the Berkshire Hathaway owned lenders.

MHARRMarkWeissIfCongressHadMeanttheDutytoServeToBeOptionItWouldNotHaveCalledItADutyDefintionofDutyIsMandatoryResponsibilityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

MHARR tacitly supported Preserving Access, but also privately felt the bill had no chance. Years later, they’ve been proven correct.

The same logic can be applied to S 2155.  By creating a burden for competitors, the larger Berkshire Hathaway companies could endure the discomfort, knowing it would cause their industry competitors even more pain.

MHARR has called for a congressional investigation of the DTS matter, and has hinted at other possible steps that they may take.  MHI’s failures – whatever the cause or motivation – to get meaningful relief, has resulted in hundreds of once independent retailers and several HUD Code home producers vanishing in a few short years.  That fact is demonstrated by MHI’s own data.

 

State Association Voices Largely Silenced 

Even more state association executives have privately confirmed for the Daily Business News what then MHI Chairman, Tim Williams, said after he took over a conference call.  Williams reportedly threatened and pushed reluctant state executives to promote the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act with their state members (see Gold Rules report, linked below along with other resources for more details).

Yet, former MHI Vice President Jason Boehlert said in a formal statement that Preserving Access was unlikely to pass while then President Barack Obama was in the Oval Office. And it was Warren Buffett who supported then POTUS Obama’s reelection effort.

JasonBoehlertManufacturedHousingInstituteSeniorVPLogoMHIlogoQuoteMHProNews

Those numerous and clear disconnects between what MHI claimed, and what Warren Buffett did are so blinding, some fail to see it.

But a growing number are grasping the apparent sham of MHI saying one thing, while Buffett was personally working for the opposite.

The only logical implication is that MHI’s elected and staff leadership were driving the MH Industry at large into years of wasted and costly efforts.

Why?

Publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach has observed what other voices inside or outside of MHI have said. Berkshire Hathaway owned companies benefit if the Preserving Access bill passes, or not.

Furthermore, the longer more new HUD Code home shipments are diminished, the more retailers and communities sell out for less than their value, or are forced out of business.

That in turn would lead to more closures of the independent HUD Code producers, who once supplied the failed or consolidated independents retailers and communities.

IBISWorldAtlanticManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsResearchReportsMHProNews

If MHProNews were the only source with these concerns, then one might be more inclined to dismiss it. But several sources inside and outside the industry raise the same or similar concerns. Where there is smoke, there is fire, right?

So while the affordable housing crisis rages, manufactured housing had the brakes put on it.  Frank Rolfe, an MHI member, said last year that the industry is its own worst enemy.

It’s a process the fits perfectly with Warren Buffett’s “the Moat” principle, which the two posted videos below confirm.  But for someone to really understand the issues Kevin Clayton and Buffett himself raise, they must do what Buffett does.  Invest the time to research and read.

What Buffett says in brief about “the Moat” – increasingly seen as a monopolistic plan – Kevin Clayton confirms in detail.

This is parallel to the reasons why the Nation recently named Buffett as a monopolistic player in industries, including manufactured housing.

The Nation specifically pointed a finger at Clayton Homes, and their Berkshire Hathaway sister companies.

 

They Win, While a Growing Number of Independent Businesses Lose…

 …or is There Another Option?

MHProNews has received multiple contacts from veteran attorneys who believe that an antitrust case could be made, by federal authorities, but also by independent businesses suing under civil antitrust laws that carry triple damages.

Among those attorneys are those who would do the case on contingency.

Meaning, the law firm collects only if they win the case or come to an agreed upon settlement. With many contingency cases, the attorney doesn’t require the normal hourly fee.  The reason an attorney does a case on contingency is because they believe they can get more by taking a percentage of a case, then the hourly fee would be. That reduces the risk for the plaintiff, while increasing the drive by the suing law firm.

As the nation is caught in an economic vice that the affordable housing crisis has fueled, manufactured housing is – as MHLivingNews touted years ago – the solution that’s hiding in plain sight.

MHI’s shadow boxing on regulatory issues has stymied and delayed the industry’s recovery. The very professionals who are paid to promote the industry, in this view, have been rewarded for failure to achieve any meaningful regulatory relief.

Given several on-the-record statements by

  • Clayton Homes CEO, Kevin Clayton,
  • Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage,
  • Warren Buffett’s well publicized principles,
  • and documents obtained by MHProNews on 21st letterhead,

there is mounting evidence which seems to support the allegations that the thousands of industry retailers – and numerous producers – failed or sold out cheap, all while MHI postured ‘advocacy’ on their behalf.

Some believe that the push for S. 2155 compromise now, is precisely because of the ‘heat’ that MHI has been getting from MHProNews coverage of their problematic handling of Preserving Access.

As was reported yesterday, a growing number of the industry’s professionals have taken these MHProNews reports seriously.

While some continue to believe MHI et al, others were in Tunica this week taking practical steps to distance themselves from options linked to Berkshire Hathaway owned brands.

 

The Return of Common Sense?

Common sense says you don’t feed a dog that’s proven to bite your or others’ hands,” says Tony Kovach.

LATonyKovach-QuestioningNYSAAteam-NewYorkHousingAssociation-MHProNews-com-PhotoCreditMarkSimon-250x167

L. A. “Tony” Kovach, photo by Mark Simon, shows Kovach engaging with SAAs in NY. Kovach is the publisher of the industry’s two largest and most popular trade media, MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com.

The pattern seems to be this.  MHI takes the wrong position on an issue, and only after extended pressure, do they finally relent and pivot to the more logical stance for industry independents.  So there is no glory for them in finally taking a correct step, after months or years of allegedly bad ones.

Meanwhile, the majority of the industry’s independent members have suffered. Some have sold out for less than the true value of their business, or lost their once successful businesses altogether. No wonder law firms are interested in working a legal action against this sort of behavior on contingency.” Tony Kovach said.

While MHProNews naturally values on-the-record comments, such off the record insights from the lender noted above can be invaluable for the industry’s independents.

The concept can be digested in minutes.

But to fully digest the nuances of what is taking place, one must do as Warren Buffett himself does: it may take a few hours of reading for all of the facts to be fully understood.

Buffett sees the value of studying the issues, but how many independent professionals do? Will more dig deeper in the days ahead? “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Related Reports:

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

Busted! “Failure Bonus” Paid-Richard “Dick” Jennison, CEO Manufactured Housing Institute-per MHI Document$

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

“Follow the Money” – Controversial Urban Institute Report on Manufactured Housing

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

Keith Anderson, CEO Champion Homes, MHI ‘New Class’ Monopoly Concerns Memo, ‘Harms Owners, Independents’

Inside Scoop Mulvaney-CFPB and MHI, Berkshire Hathaway Company Meeting Detail$

State Associations, Companies Quit Membership in Manufactured Housing Institute, (MHI), One Explains in Writing, ‘Why?’

Lawsuits for Triple Damages – Anti-Trust, Anti-Monopoly Law, Manufactured Housing, and You

Plot Twist – Duty to Serve – Freddie Mac CEO Layton Called to Accountability w/Congressional, Administration Leaders Over New Manufactured Home Lending Revelations

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

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Warren Wages War

March 9th, 2018 Comments off

WarrenWagesWarBombersManufacruredHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Investors routinely say that they prefer “certainty.” That’s true for investors in manufactured home communities, stocks, or businesses.

 

The growing economic confidence during the year following the 2016 election witnessed a well-reported rise in stocks.  That was fueled in part by regulatory rollbacks – the “certainty” caused by an easing of business conditions imposed by the federal government.

The run-up and final passage in late 2017 of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act fueled more investor enthusiasm.  Again, ‘certainty’ – plus higher returns on investments – were part of the motivating factors for those who don’t want excessive risk for their capital.

But in the last two months, Wall Street’s equity markets have become choppier.

Among the reasons?

Less certainty over issues like Federal Reserve policies. In the last few weeks anxieties over the looming issue of the Trump Administration’s tough talk on tariffs have emerged.

The headline for this Daily Business News report is an interesting, because there are “two Warrens” that have impacted manufactured housing, and business in general America.

Both Warrens are Democrats.

One is Warren Buffett, and the other is Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Both Warrens are waging wars.

But one Warren has in a sense declared war on the other one.

WarrenBuffettBerkshireHathawaySenElizabethWarrenDMAInquistrTheNationManufacturedHousingIndsutryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Strange Bedfellows, and the Upcoming 2018 Midterm Elections

 Politics makes for strange bedfellows,” said Charles Dudley Warner, per Brainy Quotes. It means “Political interests can bring together people who otherwise have little in common,” says Dictionary.

Elizabeth Warren and President Donald J. Trump can fall into that category, with each trading public barbs on the other.  Yet, on the issue of concerns over monopolistic practices, the two may be become de facto political allies. Both are and have been expressing concerns over monopolies, and how they those monopolies harm competition in the marketplace, the economy, and ultimately, job losses, and wages.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Warren Buffett both supported Secretary Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. In 2020, sources say that the Massachusetts Democrat may be among several hopefuls for her party’s nomination to oppose presumptive GOP favorite, POTUS 45 Trump.

IBTInternationalBusinessTimesWarrenBuffettHillaryClintonDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Senator Warren has been an outspoken supporter of the Dodd-Frank legislation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that bill created under President Barack Obama. She supported Richard Cordray’s handling of the CFPB.

While it reportedly makes Berkshire Hathaway’s 21st Mortgage Corporation President Tim Williams unhappy to have it mentioned, Warren Buffett strongly supported both candidate Barack Obama in each of his presidential election bids, and he backed Secretary Clinton too.

VicePresidentMikePenceWifeKarenHandOverHeartPledgeColts49ersGameWashingtonTimesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Notice. One may agree or disagree with 21st Mortgage CEO and prior MHI Chairman Tim Williams’ presentation, from which the slide above was taken with permission. At the same time, one logically ought to question how Williams was being intellectually at odds with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett. Williams full presentation is linked here. http://www.MHProNews.com/industry-news/industry-in-focus/is-tim-williams-21st-mortgage-ceo-mhi-chair-at-odds-with-berkshire-hathaway-chairman-warren-buffett

 

Among the reasons cited by Mr. Buffett? His support for Clinton’s position on the CFPB and Dodd-Frank.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is championing the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (H.R.1699, S. 1751) legislation to repeal parts of Dodd-Frank harmful to manufactured home lending, retailers, and selling land-lease communities (a.k.a. ‘parks’).

MHI must ignore the logical disconnect between their then chairman Williams blasting “the progressive agenda,” and Buffett’s very public support for Obama-Clinton support for Dodd-Frank.

The graphic above “Threats and Challenges” is from a power point presented by Williams to MHI members.  It was provided to MHProNews by a source with ties to 21st and MHI. Again, note the obvious contradictions?

Is Williams seriously opposed to his boss Buffett?

After all, Buffett says he supports progressive causes, and Democratic candidates.

Or is it, as industry insiders say, a form of shadow boxing – political play-acting – made to appear like an effort to help retailers and communities is underway?  When in fact Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman openly supported Clinton’s support, which included her support for Dodd-Frank?

The contradictions are too great to ignore.  Nor will MHI, or the Berkshire Hathaway brands in manufactured housing explain it, as repeated opportunities to do so have been offered by MHProNews.

 

Some Things Defy Logic…

Clinton Delivers DoddFrank Defense to Wall Street. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett will fundraise with Hillary Clinton,” reported Bloomberg in December 2015.

Yet just days before, Secretary Clinton wrote in a New York Times op-ed that, “As president, I would not only veto any legislation that would weaken financial reform, but I would also fight for tough new rules, stronger enforcement and more accountability that go well beyond Dodd-Frank.”

Why did Wall Street and Buffett support Clinton?  Because the big banks have grown under Dodd-Frank, as even Senator Warren admits.

It’s the smaller banks and lending institutions that have suffered.

If it seems confusing, it is simple once one thinks as Warren Buffett does – long-term, and per the thesis of the Nation’s recent series on monopolies – in terms of crushing the competition.

How handy is it from Mr. Buffett when the federal regulators – in this case, the CFPB – are the ones doing the crushing for the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway?

It’s “Fair Warning,” not “I Told You So”

 

Warren vs. Warren, Strange Bedfellows, and Manufactured Housing

Sen. Warren opposes S 2155, which is currently the hot topic for MHI on Capital Hill. She opposes Preserving Access too. MHI’s prior chairman has reportedly given Democrat Sherrod Brown campaign contributions. Interesting, because Brown has also come out against S. 2155, as the Daily Business News recently reported.

Brown and former MHI Chair Nathan Smith, of SSK Communities, are said to be chummy. Cincinnati reported that Smith’s cell had Sen Brown’s personal number, and Open Secrets also reported his support for Democratic candidates, including Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton.

Senators Warren and Brown have both blasted S 2155.

Senator Warren has also stated her concerns over monopolistic practices and how that hurts the economy, workers and smaller business.  Warren’s House colleagues have specifically called out Warren Buffett on Preserving Access and the troubling business practices.

An Elizabeth Warren video is predominately promoted by Americans for Financial Reform, which boasts 50 organizations opposing Preserving Access, with several manufactured home owner groups named among them.

Perhaps it is that strong opposition that has been factored in by GovTrack and Skopos Labs, which give S. 1751 only a 3 percent chance of passage in the Senate.

 

SkoposGovTrack2018-03-09_1219PreservingAccessManufacturedHousingActDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act’s sad odds of passage that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is unlikely to publicly admit to, are at 3 percent. Why spend millions on a plan that has such low odds? This report and the details linked help shed light on that question.

 

Following the Money, and MHI Disconnects

The rather public disconnects between MHI’s stated positions and what key people at or behind MHI has been reported more widely in the past eighteen months on the Daily Business News.

MHI has literally written checks to candidates who support or even co-sponsored Dodd-Frank and the Safe Act. Berkshire’s Buffett, former MHI Chairman Nathan Smith of SSK communities and others supported Secretary Clinton, who opposed Dodd-Frank changes.

NathanSmithSSKCommunitiesFormerManufacturedHousingIndustryMHIChairmanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews2018-03-09_1245NathanSmithOpenSecretsContributionsDailybuinssnewsMHProNews1

NathanSmithHillaryClintonSSKcommunitiesDailyBusinessNewsOpenSecretsMHproNews2018-03-09_1243

Let’s be clear. Nathan Smith, Warren Buffett, or anyone else, can support whomever they want to. That’s not the issue. The controversy here is that Smith is a leader at MHI, was the Chairman, is on the MHI PAC and GR committees, and yet was supporting those who opposed Preserving Access. It’s the contradiction of saying one thing, and doing another. That’s the issue that MH investors, professionals, and MHI members must focus on. Where is the logic?  The solution to that is spelled out in this and linked reports.

As MHI asks the rank and file of the industry to support this or that cause, bill, or candidate, each industry member may be tempted to give the benefit of the doubt to the national association.

As one community-retail operation president told MHProNews, most people are too busy trying do their day-by-day operations to pay much attention to what may look complex.  So, they often work on trust, and that is an advantage that Warren Buffett and others apparently count on (see the resource links, after this article for quotes and more details).

So perhaps not enough industry pros are looking at the actual track record of MHI?

Because bills MHI claim to support, or positions they advocated for, have often proven to enrich or benefit a few, while harming or cutting off opportunities for the many.

Discovering that MHI track record of legislative failures doesn’t take much research.  Preserving Access is just one example of the disconnects between what MHI claims to want to do, and what leaders like Buffett, Smith and others actually are doing.

SupporterdByMHIVotedForDoddFrankSafeActDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It’s like supporting politicos with donations that have taken positions that the association claims to be against.  See the above.

While other’s in America are concerned about monopolies and how they harm different industries, by contrast, MHI prefers to deny it.

100YearsAgoTodayNationMonopoliesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Manufactured housing isn’t alone. But other industries are bucking up in their respective industries.  Why isn’t MHI doing the same as MHARR, which has sounded this alarm? See concentration in manufactured housing in the pie shaped graphic, further below.

 

Warren’s War on Monopolies, Like Buffett’s

Senator Warren’s theme that antitrust can be used to protect small businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators, workers and just about everyone else from the ‘rich and powerful,’” averred the National Law Review, “shows that increasing antitrust enforcement has become a key party line for the upcoming” midterms, said the right-of-center New American.

I was very pleased that the entire Democratic caucus signed onto a statement of principle that urged stronger enforcement of antitrust laws as one of our promises to the American people.” Elizabeth Warren, The Nation.

In recent years,” according to the Democratic “Better Deal” platform, “antitrust regulators have been unable or unwilling to pursue complaints about anticompetitive conduct.”

It was a rare rebuke to Obama’s record, reflecting a shift in Democratic thinking on monopolization,” says the Nation, which cited Presidents Obama and Bush 43 as both being weak on antitrust (anti-monopoly) enforcement actions.

I believe in markets,” Senator Warren said. “But markets work only when everyone gets a fair opportunity to compete.”

Just look at the numbers: 

 

  • Four airlines control over 80 percent of domestic airline seats. 
  • Five health-insurance giants control over 80 percent of the health-insurance market. 
  • Three drugstore chains have 99 percent of the industry’s revenues.
  • Four companies control over 85 percent of America’s beef market.
  • Two giants sell over 70 percent of all beer in America.

That’s a big problem. It’s a problem because, when a few big players control an entire industry, it has devastating impacts on both the economy and our political system,” Senator Warren said.

Left, right, or center, those facts are hard to argue.

She didn’t say so, but using MHI’s own data:Warren Wages War, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, Manufactured Housing Institute, MHI, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, VMF, Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, prior, former, MHI Chairman,

  • 3 companies control some 70 percent of manufactured housing.
  • If the Skyline – Champion deal goes through as expected, that will become some 75 percent market concentration in 3 companies.

Isn’t that the same pattern Senator Warren and others are expressing concerns about?

ManufacturedHomesMarketShareMHIMembersClaytonCavcoChampionDaiyBusinessNewsMHProNews

But it’s not just small-business owners who are forced to play a rigged game. When big companies control concentrated industries, as Bryce Covert makes clear in “Monopolies Harm Workers Too,” they can pay their employees less, because there aren’t other businesses around to make better offers,” said an editorial in the Nation, which cited Warren Buffett and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and others among the new breed of modern monopolists they are concerned about.

The big fight now is to make the Justice Department and the [Federal Trade Commission] and other agencies use the tools they already have to protect competition. I’ll give you three steps that the federal government can take to revive competition: Block anticompetitive mergers; stop anticompetitive conduct; and prioritize protecting competition,” Senator Warren said.

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

 

Summing Up…

Senator Warren has declared war on those who are monopolists and who support changes to Dodd-Frank. She has also prepared for battle on S 2155, or any other attempts to roll back Dodd-Frank.

Warren Buffett has, per the Nation, declared a different kind of war to take dominate certain sectors, and that includes manufactured housing. “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning,” said Warren Buffett, per Good Reads.

Kevin Clayton, Warren Buffett’s CEO over Clayton Homes jokes about Buffett’s hating two kinds of competition, foreign and domestic.

The Atlantic predicted years ago what has been coming to pass in terms of Clayton/Berkshire dominance over manufactured housing. Clayton freely says in the video linked among the resources below that Buffett wants the moat expanded.  Clayton said Buffett is willing to lose money (they haven’t, but would he said) for 5 years, so long as the moat kept expanding.

Isn’t that a classic anti-competition statement? One Kevin Clayton made on camera, in a video?

The logic of this is simple, once you understand the Buffet/Clayton/MHI moat concepts.

So long as competition is being harmed, passing Preserving Access or not means little to Warren Buffett/Berkshire/Clayton; so long as the moat is growing.

MHI has been dominated for years by Clayton dues, and Berkshire Hathaway brands holding 2 of the 4 key board positions on their executive committee.

That’s also obvious from quotes above about Buffett’s support of Secretary Clinton and President Obama, not to mention the linked information below.

Eric Belsky at Harvard believed manufactured housing could dominate home building by the end of 2010; but what he apparently didn’t count on was Buffett and their “Moat,” and how those sharks in the water work.

So, what is Preserving Access all about?  Insider sources say, it is a distraction.  It postures an effort, which win, lose or draw, benefits Berkshire Hathaway’s ‘the moat’ strategy.

There are reasons why a number of state associations quit MHI.

Others that haven’t quit are sticking in, some sources have told MHProNews, because of the power of 21st over independents (see report, linked below).

21st sources have told MHProNews, that they do business with those guys (Rolfe’s RV Horizons, MHU et al), and late last year, Rolfe announced he would not comment any more on such industry issues.

But if Rolfe never said another word, or if he completely shifted his tune, what he’s already said about MHI, their failure to defend the industry from outside attacks, and their doomed to ail Preserving Access plan were and are devastating. What more needs be said?

 

Independents, Defense and Offense

There are perhaps steps that could be taken by individual retailers and communities.  It could logicaly start with something as easy as no longer supporting MHI.

But survival strategies must begin with an understanding and acceptance of the painful reality that the industry’s largest association – MHI – is, as the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) said, working for the interests of a few conglomerates.

Independents, small to mid-sized players take note.  Once mighty Fleetwood retail finally failed, about the time that 21st sent out their ‘smoking gun’ letters (see resources, below).  The Fleetwood of today, and the Champion of today are rebirths of once giant companies that were bankrupted by forces that arguably included the Berkshire Hathaway onslaught.

With Buffett’s manufactured housing industry connected brands,

  • moves on subjects such as DTS,
  • their control or influence over much of the lending (21st, Vanderbilt Mortgage (VMF) and Wells Fargo,
  • their financial and political clout,

…the threat to independents must be seen as serious.

Even in the stable manufactured home community sector, if capital and lending are cut, the value of properties drops dramatically.

Consolidation has increased, according to MHI’s own data.  Forces across the left-right political divide are pointing to monopolistic practices, as key causes.

Will Democrats and some in the GOP, including President Trump and his administration work together to solve the crisis caused by what the Nation has called modern monopolistic forces?

That legal battle is one that manufactured home investors and professionals should consider. Because as this and other analysis have alleged and outlined, whatever happens on Preserving Access or other regulatory forces benefit Buffett’s brands, no matter what happens.

A growing chorus of voices from inside and outside of manufactured housing are saying that smaller businesses, workers, and Americans are paying the price for that kind of market power.

The Warrens have both declared war. Buffett on industry’s he seeks to dominate. Independents, workers and Americans are caught up in the smoke of war, in what Senator Warren, the 45th president, and others have called “a rigged system.” ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Related:

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Asks Industry Members to Ask Senators to Support S 2155, Behind the Scenes Details

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

Frank Rolfe: Pressured into Silence? Manufactured Housing Industry, and Journalism

Warren Buffett’s Annual Report to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders, Clayton Homes and Manufactured Housing

Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO

Federal Manufactured Housing Program Review Comments Due Next Week, 2.26.2018

Urban Institute Ask for Correction in Analysis of their Manufactured Housing Research, “Follow the Facts,” “Follow the Money”

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

State Associations, Companies Quit Membership in Manufactured Housing Institute, (MHI), One Explains in Writing, ‘Why?’

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

At the time Belsky made this prediction, manufactured homes were selling over 250,000 new units per year. This year, MH won’t reach 40,000 of that total. What happened?

Lawsuits for Triple Damages – Anti-Trust, Anti-Monopoly Law, Manufactured Housing, and You

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

GSE’s Duty to Serve MH Rigged, Benefits 21st, VMF, Clayton, Buffett’s Berkshire, Harming Consumers & Independents, per MH CEO, Calls for Congressional Investigation

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Warren Buffett’s Annual Report to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders, Clayton Homes and Manufactured Housing

February 26th, 2018 Comments off

WarrenBuffettBerkshireHathaway2017AnnualLetterReportShareholdersClaytonHomes21stMortgageVanderbiltNYTimesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

When examining an industry or an issue, such as the manufactured housing and regulations that impact an industry, common sense dictates that one spend time looking at the proverbial elephants in the room.

In manufactured housing, one elephant in the room is arguably Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway and companies such as Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance.

Using their own annual report, Buffett’s copyrighted document says Clayton has about 49 percent of the industry’s production.

Other elephants in the room?  Financing (capital) and regulations must surely be among them.

Consider this.

  • The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI),
  • the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR),
  • state associations,
  • and thousands of industry professionals and investors would – if prodded – likely say that federal, state and local regulations are an important impacts that influence their businesses.
  • Most if not all would all likely admit the importance that capital and financing plays in the industry.

The timing of the Berkshire Hathaway annual report is noteworthy.  It comes at about the same times as the deadline for public comments that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has made for the top-down-review of the manufactured housing program it regulates. Those comments to HUD are due at 11:59 PM tonight, 2.26.2018.

Federal Manufactured Housing Program Review Comments Due Next Week, 2.26.2018

The entire Buffett/Berkshire annual letter and report are found as a download at the end of this report, provided by the Daily Business News under fair use guidelines.

Let’s look at some notable quotes from the annual letter and report.  Those facts will be followed by analysis of the quotes and data.

 

Notable Facts and Quotes

Keep in mind that while Clayton Homes is in the housing business, Berkshire lists it under financial services. From the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 2017 annual report, page 13 (hereafter, just annual report), copyright 2018 © by Warren E. Buffett, page K21:

 

Finance and Financial Products

Berkshire’s finance and financial products activities include an integrated manufactured housing and finance business, transportation equipment leasing and furniture leasing. Berkshire’s finance and financial products businesses employ approximately 25,600 people in the aggregate. Information concerning these activities follows.”

Clayton Homes

Clayton Homes, Inc. (“Clayton”), headquartered near Knoxville, Tennessee, is a vertically integrated housing company utilizing manufactured, modular and site built methods. Clayton’s homes are marketed in 48 states through a network of over 2,000 retailers, including 353 company-owned home centers and 118 subdivisions. Home finance and insurance products are offered through its subsidiaries primarily to purchasers of manufactured and modular homes.

In 2015, Clayton acquired its first site builder and has since added four additional site builders. Clayton plans to continue to seek acquisitions that fit its business model. Clayton delivered approximately 49,000 homes in 2017 at various price points. Clayton competes based on price, service, delivery capabilities and product performance and considers the ability to make financing available to retail purchasers a factor affecting the market acceptance of its products.

Clayton’s financing programs support company-owned home centers and select independent retailers. Proprietary loan underwriting guidelines have been developed and include ability to repay calculations, including debt to income limits, consideration of residual income and credit score requirements, which are considered in evaluating loan applicants. Currently, approximately 70% of the loan originations are home-only loans and the remaining 30% have land as additional collateral. The average down payment is approximately 15%, which may be from cash, trade or land equity. Certain loan types require an independent third-party valuation; additionally, if land is involved in the transaction it generally is independently appraised in order to establish the value of the land only or the home and the land as a package. Originated loans are at fixed rates and for fixed terms. Loans outstanding include non-government originations, bulk purchases of contracts and notes from banks and other lenders. Clayton also provides inventory financing to certain independent retailers and community operators and services housing contracts and notes that were not purchased or originated. The bulk contract purchases and servicing arrangements may relate to the portfolios of other lenders or finance companies, governmental agencies, or other entities that purchase and hold housing contracts and notes. Clayton also acts as an agent on physical damage insurance policies, homebuyer protection plan policies and other programs.”

From annual report, page K-49:

 

Manufactured housing and finance

Clayton Homes’ revenues were $5.0 billion in 2017, an increase of $780 million (18%) compared to 2016. The revenues increase was primarily due to higher home sales, attributable to an increase in overall unit sales (9%) and higher average prices. The increase in average prices was primarily due to sales mix changes, which reflected increases in site built home sales, a relatively new business for Clayton. Site built homes include higher land content and unit prices tend to be higher, although gross sales margin rates are typically lower than manufactured homes. Interest and financial services revenues increased 2% in 2017 compared to 2016.

Pre-tax earnings increased $21 million (2.8%) in 2017 compared to 2016. Pre-tax earnings in 2017 from manufacturing, retailing and site built activities increased, while earnings from finance activities declined slightly from 2016. Earnings in 2017 also included a gain from a legal settlement, offset by increased employee healthcare, technology, marketing and other expenses. A significant portion of Clayton Homes’ earnings are generated from lending activities, which in recent years benefitted from relatively low delinquency rates and loan losses and from low average interest rates on borrowings. As of December 31, 2017, Clayton Homes’ installment loan portfolio was approximately $13.7 billion.

Revenues increased $654 million (18%) in 2016 compared to 2015, attributable to a 30% increase in revenues from home sales, primarily due to a 25% increase in units sold and product mix changes. Interest and other financial service income increased 1.8% from 2015. Pre-tax earnings increased $38 million (5.4%) compared to 2015. Earnings benefitted from increased home sales and improved manufacturing and retailing operating margins, partly offset by lower earnings from lending and financial services and increased insurance losses.”

 

More Notable Quotes

From the annual report, page 5.

Let’s move now to bolt-on acquisitions. Some of these were small transactions that I will not detail. Here is an account, however, of a few larger purchases whose closings stretched between late 2016 and early 2018.

Clayton Homes acquired two builders of conventional homes during 2017, a move that more than doubled our presence in a field we entered only three years ago. With these additions – Oakwood Homes in Colorado and Harris Doyle in Birmingham – I expect our 2018 site built volume will exceed $1 billion.

Clayton’s emphasis, nonetheless, remains manufactured homes, both their construction and their financing. In 2017 Clayton sold 19,168 units through its own retail operation and wholesaled another 26,706 units to independent retailers. All told, Clayton accounted for 49% of the manufactured-home market last year.

That industry-leading share – about three times what our nearest competitor did – is a far cry from the 13% Clayton achieved in 2003, the year it joined Berkshire. Both Clayton Homes and PFJ are based in Knoxville, where the Clayton and Haslam families have long been friends. Kevin Clayton’s comments to the Haslams about the advantages of a Berkshire affiliation, and his admiring comments about the Haslam family to me, helped cement the PFJ deal.”

From the annual report, page 13.

A final lesson from our bet: Stick with big, “easy” decisions and eschew activity.”

 

Quotes and Insights, According to Rupert Hargreaves, GuruFocus on Nasdaq 3.28.2017

Rupert Hargreaves in a column entitled “Warren Buffett and the Importance of Moats,” wrote: “Buffett himself only invests in such businesses [those with moats], but the problem is he’s never really set out exactly what he’s looking for in the best moats.”

Hargraves compiled this list of Buffett quotes on moats.

But all the time, if you’ve got a wonderful castle, there are people out there who are going to try and attack it and take it away from you. And I want a castle that I can understand, but I want a castle with a moat around it.” – Warren Buffett.

From the 2000 Berkshire annual meeting:

So we think in terms of that moat and the ability to keep its width and its impossibility of being crossed as the primary criterion of a great business. And we tell our managers we want the moat widened every year. That doesn’t necessarily mean the profit will be more this year than it was last year because it won’t be sometimes. However, if the moat is widened every year, the business will do very well. When we see a moat that’s tenuous in any way – it’s just too risky. We don’t know how to evaluate that. And, therefore, we leave it alone. We think that all of our businesses – or virtually all of our businesses — have pretty darned good moats.” – Warren Buffett.

“…I don’t want a business that’s easy for competitors. I want a business with a moat around it with a very valuable castle in the middle. And then I want the duke who’s in charge of that castle to be honest and hard-working and able. And then I want a big moat around the castle, and that moat can be various things.” – Warren Buffett.  

“…Most people will assume the service is fairly identical among companies, or close enough, so they’re going to do it on cost, so I gotta be the low-cost producer. That’s my moat. To the extent my costs get further lower than the other guy, I’ve thrown a couple of sharks into the moat.”  – Warren Buffett. 

Note, these quotes may reference other products and services.  But industry readers and researchers must keep in mind that these are principles that Buffett himself and his partner, Vice-Chairman Charlie Munger, have applied to all of their investments.

“…Things are all the time changing that moat in one direction or another. Ten years from now you can see the difference. Our managers of the businesses we run, I’ve got one message to them, which is to widen the moat. And we want to throw crocodiles and sharks and everything else, gators, I guess, into the moat to keep away competitors. And that comes about through service, it comes about through quality of product, it comes about through cost, it comes about sometimes through patents, it comes about through real estate location.” – Warren Buffett. 

 

Other Sources and Quotes on Buffett about Competition and the Moat

WarrenBuffett.com says, In business, I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.” – Warren Buffett.

In Charlie Munger on Moats First of the Four Essential Filters, “

1.    A business with a moat,

2.    A business that can be understood by the investor,

3.    Management in place with integrity and talent, and

4.    A business that can be bought at an attractive price that gives an attractive margin of safety.” – Charlie Munger, Berkshire Vice-Chairman.

Stocks of companies selling commodity-like products should come with a warning label: ‘Competition may prove hazardous to human wealth.’” – Warren Buffett, per Sure Dividend. 

There are more such quotes about Buffett and the Berkshire philosophy, but perhaps among the most relevant for the industry are those from Kevin Clayton in the video linked in the report below.

Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO

 

Analysis and Commentary 

Against that backdrop, lets return to this year’s letter.

Starting bottom of page 8, top of page 9 of the annual letter.

I have told you several times about HomeServices, our growing real estate brokerage operation. Berkshire backed into this business in 2000 when we acquired a majority interest in MidAmerican Energy (now named Berkshire Hathaway Energy).  MidAmerican’s activities were then largely in the electric utility field, and I originally paid little attention to HomeServices.

But, year-by-year, the company added brokers and, by the end of 2016, HomeServices was the second-largest brokerage operation in the country – still ranking, though, far behind the leader, Realogy.

In 2017, however, HomeServices’ growth exploded. We acquired the industry’s third-largest operator, Long and Foster; number 12, Houlihan Lawrence; and Gloria Nilson. With those purchases we added 12,300 agents, raising our total to 40,950. HomeServices is now close to leading the country in home sales, having participated (including our three acquisitions pro-forma) in $127 billion of “sides” during 2017.

To explain that term, there are two “sides” to every transaction; if we represent both buyer and seller, the dollar value of the transaction is counted twice.

Despite its recent acquisitions, HomeServices is on track to do only about 3% of the country’s homebrokerage business in 2018. That leaves 97% to go. Given sensible prices, we will keep adding brokers in this most fundamental of businesses.”

  • The 97 percent statement about housing, isn’t that arguably a clearly monopolistic phrase? 
  • Or Buffett’s comments about Clayton growing from 13% in 2003 to 49% by 2017 – in the light of the quotes above and linked, isn’t it also part of a monopolistic pattern? 

For those who compete with Buffett, you must think years ahead, because Buffett and his unit managers do. 

It is worth recalling that Fleetwood was once a powerful presence in manufactured home production and retail – duking it out in the late 1990s, and early 2000s – with Champion for the top spot. But after the “smoking gun” incident, as Kevin Clayton noted in his own words in the video in the report linked further above, Fleetwood’s retail was acquired by Clayton. 

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

No doubt, in fitting with the Berkshire way, at a bargain price…

We Provide, You Decide.”  ©

Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders, and the Berkshire Hathaway annual report, are linked here as a download. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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How Many MH Independents, Retailers Have Been Lost Recently? “They Think They Own Us”

February 14th, 2018 Comments off

ManufacturedHomeRetailerMobileHomeDealerDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

I’ve always believed MHI does the bidding of the big manufacturers and now REIT communities,” said an email from a state association leader with ties to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to the Daily Business News.

 

It was a comment sent in connection to a forwarded news tip from another state association.  That message and related commentary about it from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – in reaction to the message – will be the focus of a report planned for Thursday, 2.15.2018.

The answer is for the states to rebel [against MHI],” said the same state association source. “But they [other states, beyond those that have already quit] won’t for reasons I’ve only lately understood.”

That reason? The association leader explained.

Why does Clayton [Homes] dominate many state association? Attrition. The decline in independent retailers who used to dominate the states.  AZ has lost 60% of their retailers since….wait for it…2011.”

The message went on with more details to MHProNews, that if published may reveal the source.

 

Another Source Comments

 A state association with close ties to Clayton and MHI sent a message out to a number of board members.

One (or more…) sources connected to that board forwarded the message onto MHProNews, as news tips.

That’s what the source above was reacting to, with the comments published above.  When another independent industry operation from yet another state was shown the message, and asked to react, that company president said to MHProNews,They think they own us.”

Industry readers are reminded of what the Atlantic and IBISWorld predicted in 2011.  Note what took place in the state mentioned above since that date? A reported 60 percent additional decline in independent retailers.

IBISWorldAtlanticManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsResearchReportsMHProNews

 

How Much for Selling Out to Clayton…?

 Industry retailers who have sold out to Clayton Homes, or have discussed a Clayton buyout have told MHProNews that the Knoxville metro based company “doesn’t pay much” for their business.

 

The main thing they [Clayton] do for you is if you stay and manage the sales center for them, you’ll sell more homes with VMF’s [Vanderbilt] lending.  They show you how VMF buys deals that 21st [both owned by Berkshire Hathaway] won’t.”

Zero Down Payment – not Land in Lieu – Manufactured Home Chattel Lending Program

That’s a complaint reported on previously by the Daily Business News, as the report linked above reflects.

 

“Lost Dealers,” Means Lost Independent Production Companies

 MHProNews  previously reported an MHI document, shown below, which reveals how many independent producers have been “consolidated since 2011.

MHI-21stMortgageKevinClaytonClaytonHomesManufacturedHoomeCorporationsPlantsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews_001

Notice that the number of production centers has held pretty steady for the years the statistics reflect, but the number of independently owned producers are 1/3 lower during that same timeframe.

 

Some independents believe if “the Feds” or other legal action don’t step in with an anti-trust action against Berkshire Hathaway, even more companies will be lost in the near term.

Lawsuits for Triple Damages – Anti-Trust, Anti-Monopoly Law, Manufactured Housing, and You

One of several points missed by the recent Urban Institute report on why manufactured housing isn’t doing better is precisely because there are fewer independent retailers, and producers than even a few years ago.

Former Clayton manager Ken Corbin called it the “10,000 [retailer] drop.”

Ken Corbin “the 10,000 Drop,” points to Industry Woe, Causes of Manufactured Housing’s 10 & 20 Year Collapse?

As an independent told MHProNews today, he knew many independents that closed or sold out for “nickels on the dollar,” adding three words. “Tragic, and heartless.”

We Provide, You Decide.” ©  ## (News, analysis, and linked commentary.)

NOTICE:  Watch for a Special Report on HUD’s reaction to Claims Attributed to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) , planned for Tomorrow, 2.15.2018.

 

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GSE’s Duty to Serve MH Rigged, Benefits 21st, VMF, Clayton, Buffett’s Berkshire, Harming Consumers & Independents, per MH CEO, Calls for Congressional Investigation

January 9th, 2018 Comments off

 KillingOffCompetitionHarmingConsumesGSEsDutyServeMHRiggedBenefits21stVMFClaytonBuffettsBerkshirePerMHCEOCallsforCongressionalInvestigation

About a decade has passed since the passage of the Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing, as part of the Housing and Economic Reform Act of 2008 (HERA).

CreditIsTheLifeBloodOfHousingEricBelskyHarvardDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

It’s a statement that most every manufactured home retail or community professional who experienced the slide from 1998 to 2008 know all too well. For more on Belsky, and his thinking on MH, click below.  http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/appealing-manufactured-housing-institute-mhi-marketing-finance-booklet-reviewed/

A fact-and-analysis packed statement from an industry business group CEO rips the plans announced steps, as too little, too late, and skewed in ways that benefits Berkshire Hathaway brands “every day.”

Executive Summary of MH Biz Group CEO’s Potent Quotes:

  • direct violation of their [GSEs] mandate

 

  • This utter failure to implement DTS in a market-significant way, some ten years after its enactment, now warrants congressional intervention, oversight and, if necessary, amendments to the DTS law.”

 

  • With approximately 90,000 HUD Code manufactured homes projected to be sold in 2017… Against this baseline, the chattel loan programs envisioned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – even at maximum projected capacity — would serve 4,000 purchasers, or a mere 1.85% of the manufactured housing market through 2020 – more than a decade after the enactment of DTS.”

 

  • “…would constitute a microscopic portion– far less than one-one-hundredth of one percent — of the total mortgage portfolios of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, representing: (1) a blatant, continuing failure by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve the manufactured housing market; (2) a continuation of blatant, baseless discrimination against the lower and moderate-income Americans who rely on affordable, non-subsidized manufactured housing the most; (3) a continuing abuse of – and failure to comply with – the Enterprises’ mission and role as prescribed by their respective charters; and (4) a flagrant failure by FHFA, as the Enterprises’ regulator and conservator, to enforce full compliance with the statutory DTS mandate.”

 

  • To rationalize this pathetic, totally inadequate level of support for the nation’s most affordable non-subsidized housing resource in direct violation of the DTS mandate and at a time when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2017 Worst Case Housing Needs report to Congress shows a resurgence in “worst case” housing needs (i.e., Americans “who pay more than one-half of their income to rent, [or] live in severely inadequate conditions, or both”) to near-record levels, the Enterprises both cite a lack of recent, relevant “data and information” concerning the performance and other characteristics of manufactured housing chattel loans.”

 

  • as an objective matter, Vanderbilt and 21st, through their trade organization, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), have pursued – as an organizational priority – statutory amendments to the Dodd-Frank finance reform law which would allow them to charge higher interest rates for manufactured housing loans without those loans being subjected to specific requirements applicable to “high-cost” loans.“This claim [by the GSEs of the need for more data] is not only disingenuous…but potentially has more sinister implications as well, which are only accentuated by the contents of the two final DTS plans.”

 

  • indicated both directly and anecdotally by multiple sources, those market-dominant lenders [21st, VMF] have failed to provide data allegedly sought by the Enterprises regarding the performance of the large number of manufactured home chattel loans that they currently hold, thus providing a ready excuse and rationale (repeatedly asserted in the final DTS plans) for the Enterprises to “slow-roll” and/or minimize the implementation of DTS to the point of irrelevance.”

 

  • every day that goes by without the full, market-significant implementation of DTS by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHFA, is a gift to Vanderbilt and 21st Mortgage, their corporate parent, Clayton Homes, Inc., its corporate parent, Berkshire Hathaway Corp., and Berkshire Hathaway scion, Warren Buffet.”

 

  • it appears from multiple aspects of the Enterprises’ final DTS “implementation” plans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have – and actively continue to – coordinate with these entities, as well as their affiliates and surrogates, to undermine the full and timely implementation of DTS.  This activity began with an off-the-record meeting between FHFA officials and such surrogates in 2014. Following those reports, MHARR and industry trade journalists sought copies of any and all materials connected with the meeting from FHFA, which were never provided. That coordination now appears to continue in the final so-called DTS implementation plans with multiple elements that discriminate against or ignore the interests, rights and concerns of smaller industry businesses, or put Vanderbilt / 21stMortgage / Clayton / Berkshire Hathaway / MHI companies, affiliates or surrogates in key positions to influence the implementation or character of DTS.”

The above is just a partial flavor of a detailed report provided in a statement released to the Daily Business News and other industry stakeholders, by Mark Weiss, JD, President, and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

The Other Take, from FHFA and GSEs

For balance, the FHFA and the GSEs actual plans are linked below, including a video that describes the Fannie Mae’s stated vision for their plan.

FHFA Publishes Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Underserved Markets Plans for Duty to Serve (DTS) Program

 

The video featuring Jeff Hayward, “Fannie Mae’s EVP and Head of Multifamily,” is “about our commitment to addressing the needs of America’s most challenging housing markets under the Duty to Serve Rule,” per Fannie Mae.

 

Several points about this video are noteworthy, including that as of 1:15 PM ET, it has only 191 views, and that the comments section for this video have been turned off. The video says they don’t consider the program a “duty” but an “opportunity.”

A previous report by the Daily Business News, focusing on statements by 21st CEO, Tim Williams and others, is linked below.

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

So,

  • we have an executive vice president for Fannie Mae speaking about an opportunity,
  • MHARR saying they aren’t meeting their legally mandated duty,
  • and 21st Mortgage Corporation president, Tim Williams, saying why this plan was a “waste of time” to pursue, and why it needed to be slow walked, for reasons he explains from the linked report above.

MHARR – Key Takeaways include:

  • a call for a Congressional investigation.
  • Point by point indicators as to why they believe this is harmful to the industry’s independents, and why Berkshire Hathaway and ‘their association’ the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) have not been transparent, and are in fact working against the interests of independents and consumers.

For their facts and analysis report, click here to see in on MHProNews. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Lawsuits for Triple Damages – Anti-Trust, Anti-Monopoly Law, Manufactured Housing, and You

January 4th, 2018 Comments off

AntiTrustLegalGavelAntiMonopolyManufacturedHousingMHProNews

The Clayton Act also authorizes private parties to sue for triple damages when they have been harmed by conduct that violates either the Sherman or Clayton Act and to obtain a court order prohibiting the anticompetitive practice in the future,” says the Federal Trade Commission website page, further linked below.

Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions where the effect “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly,” per the same federal facts page.

 

The Sherman Act outlaws “every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and any “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.””

Long ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Sherman Act does not prohibit every restraint of trade, only those that are unreasonable. For instance, in some sense, an agreement between two individuals to form a partnership restrains trade, but may not do so unreasonably, and thus may be lawful under the antitrust laws.”

On the other hand, certain acts are considered so harmful to competition that they are almost always illegal.”

These include plain arrangements among competing individuals or businesses to fix prices, divide markets, or rig bids. These acts are “per se” violations of the Sherman Act; in other words, no defense or justification is allowed,” their overview page states.

The quotes above are highlights from the FTC text below, which is shared verbatim as follows for their complete context.

Note that after this section, there will be additional comments and links to information for those impacted or researching this high-profile topic.

The Antitrust Laws, Per the FTC

FederalTradeCommisionWikipediaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews“Congress passed the first antitrust law, the Sherman Act, in 1890 as a “comprehensive charter of economic liberty aimed at preserving free and unfettered competition as the rule of trade.” In 1914, Congress passed two additional antitrust laws: the Federal Trade Commission Act, which created the FTC, and the Clayton Act. With some revisions, these are the three core federal antitrust laws still in effect today.

The antitrust laws proscribe unlawful mergers and business practices in general terms, leaving courts to decide which ones are illegal based on the facts of each case. Courts have applied the antitrust laws to changing markets, from a time of horse and buggies to the present digital age. Yet for over 100 years, the antitrust laws have had the same basic objective: to protect the process of competition for the benefit of consumers, making sure there are strong incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, keep prices down, and keep quality up.

Here is an overview of the three core federal antitrust laws.

The Sherman Act outlaws “every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and any “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.” Long ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Sherman Act does not prohibit every restraint of trade, only those that are unreasonable. For instance, in some sense, an agreement between two individuals to form a partnership restrains trade, but may not do so unreasonably, and thus may be lawful under the antitrust laws. On the other hand, certain acts are considered so harmful to competition that they are almost always illegal. These include plain arrangements among competing individuals or businesses to fix prices, divide markets, or rig bids. These acts are “per se” violations of the Sherman Act; in other words, no defense or justification is allowed.

The penalties for violating the Sherman Act can be severe. Although most enforcement actions are civil, the Sherman Act is also a criminal law, and individuals and businesses that violate it may be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Criminal prosecutions are typically limited to intentional and clear violations such as when competitors fix prices or rig bids. The Sherman Act imposes criminal penalties of up to $100 million for a corporation and $1 million for an individual, along with up to 10 years in prison. Under federal law, the maximum fine may be increased to twice the amount the conspirators gained from the illegal acts or twice the money lost by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is over $100 million.

The Federal Trade Commission Act bans “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” The Supreme Court has said that all violations of the Sherman Act also violate the FTC Act. Thus, although the FTC does not technically enforce the Sherman Act, it can bring cases under the FTC Act against the same kinds of activities that violate the Sherman Act. The FTC Act also reaches other practices that harm competition, but that may not fit neatly into categories of conduct formally prohibited by the Sherman Act. Only the FTC brings cases under the FTC Act.

The Clayton Act addresses specific practices that the Sherman Act does not clearly prohibit, such as mergers and interlocking directorates (that is, the same person making business decisions for competing companies). Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions where the effect “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly.” As amended by the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936, the Clayton Act also bans certain discriminatory prices, services, and allowances in dealings between merchants. The Clayton Act was amended again in 1976 by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act to require companies planning large mergers or acquisitions to notify the government of their plans in advance. The Clayton Act also authorizes private parties to sue for triple damages when they have been harmed by conduct that violates either the Sherman or Clayton Act and to obtain a court order prohibiting the anticompetitive practice in the future.

In addition to these federal statutes, most states have antitrust laws that are enforced by state attorneys general or private plaintiffs. Many of these statutes are based on the federal antitrust laws.”

The above is quoted verbatim from the page, linked below.

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/antitrust-laws

 FederalTradeCommissionWashingtonDCBuildingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Anti-Trust (Anti-Monopoly) Laws, Manufactured Housing, and You

During an affordable housing crisis, how is it possible that manufactured housing is doing so poorly?

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

At the time Belsky made this prediction, manufactured homes were selling over 250,000 new units per year. This year, MH won’t reach 40,000 of that total. What happened?

NAR’s Yun – No Quick Fixes Spell$ Manufactured Housing Opportunitie$

Was it a series of mishaps?  Or what is part of a plan, to allow the regulatory state to be used to crush many, so that those who built “the moat” could benefit?

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

Antitrust, or anti-monopoly laws exist, as the FTC said, because it harms businesses and consumers alike.

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

Are there reasons to think to think this may apply to manufactured housing?

That’s for a court to decide, and for attorneys who contemplate such a case to consider, and argue. That said, consider this.

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

As the Daily Business News has previously reported, there have been thousands of companies that have closed or were acquired in the manufactured housing industry by larger operations. Was this the result of a plan, part of the moat strategy, of Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway, as it applies to the manufactured housing industry?

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

There are certainly Democratic lawmakers who have raised this issue, and others, who have specifically called Clayton Homes and their Berkshire Hathaway sister companies of 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage, a ‘near monopoly.’

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

As MHProNews began reporting for almost a year, there are also those within the ranks of the industry, who have called out MHI – widely seen within and outside of the industry as dominated by Berkshire Hathaway – as a tool of Warren Buffett led brands.

CampaignForAccountabilityNearMonopolyRacismSteeringPredatoryLendingClaytonHomesVanderbilt21stBerkshireHathawayWarrenBuffettLogosManufacturedHousingMHProNews

Not because these reports are among the most read articles,
but because there are voices within and outside of MH that say that this matters,
and because readers thank MHProNews for “having the guts” to cover it on behalf of the independents and consumers – who allegedly have been, are being, or will be harmed – we’ve taken this issue on.

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

Allegations like those noted in or linked from this article have been carefully examined, per sources to MHProNews, from within Berkshire Hathaway owned brands and from MHI.

Given that MHProNews has invited replies we would publish, why have they not done so?

Given the fact that MHProNews’ publisher has invited a public debate MHI performance and related issues, why hasn’t Gooch, their attorney Rick Robinson (who as an attorney, is essentially trained in debating), or Richard “Dick” Jennison taken up the invitation?  Such a debate could be done via a recorded video, so that the entire industry could see it.

Why has MHI ducked out on that? Why didn’t MHI’s communication professional, Patti Boerger, join the panel discussion on “engaging the media” she was invited to at Tunica in 2017?

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) SVP Rick Robinson Ducks Serious Industry Questions in Deadwood

Such reporting is only possible because some have provided their keen insights, documents, insider information, or who have otherwise made these concerns and controversies publication possible.

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

When Doug Ryan at CFED (rebranded as Prosperity Now) leveled the charge of monopoly, MHI’s Lesli Gooch was quick to publicly reply.  Frankly, Ryan’s framing of the issue wasn’t the strongest, and Gooch’s reply was thus made easy.

DougRyanAmericanBankerManufacturedHousingMonopoly-postedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews-575x237

While MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch has denied the charge, Doug Ryan at CFED, and long time MHI member, George Allen, are among those who’ve raised the issue of monopolistic practices by MHI. Soheyla Kovach approaches this from a fresh and unique perspective, as her report and analysis linked below proves.

But after months of invitations to MHI – including Ms. Gooch – other staff, and their executive committee members, MHI stopped replying to these concerns roughly a year ago.  They have also expressed refused to take questions in public.

In what might be seen as a type of ‘replies,’

  • an MHI contracted outside attorney,
  • surrogates of theirs,
  • an apparently anonymous package that delivered a threat via U.S. mail (which can be a federal crime = FYI, we called that ‘bluff’ and nothing happened),
  • have all threatened the publisher ofMHProNews. We called their bluffs.

Extortion? RICO? Allegedly Illegal, and Dirty Side of Manufactured Housing, Exposed

  • They’ve arguably played games to harm us, but no legal action.

Note, these threats don’t deny what we’ve published. They are nibbles at the edges, not a denial. Last but not least, MHI sent an anonymous, unsigned letter, removing MHProNews as a member, under the pretense that they had no category for a news source in their association.

That’s demonstrably a ruse, but for reasons that will become clear in the days ahead, they would not give any of the documents requested that preceded that membership cancellation letter.

MHProNews is not alone as being singled out for a win-lose type of proposition. But all of this begs the question, what are they hiding?  Why are they hiding it?

“Accurate, but Misleading” MHI Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Alert – ‘Weaponized New$,’ Fact Check$

We hear from Congressional sources that investigations are underway.

We know from other sources that media and third parties are tracking these developments, and taking an interest.

Is there an anti-trust (anti-monopoly), case to be made?

MHARR vs. MHI on DOE Energy Rule, Pushback Pay$ Off?

Are there hundreds, perhaps thousands of manufactured home business that have been harmed by “the moat” and MHI’s arguably poor performance?

Has MHI begun ‘promotion’ (note, that favors a Berkshire Hathaway brand, a company that relies on Berkshire Hathaway product, and a company that is led by a former Clayton division executive) to duck the growing pressure to ‘do something’ demanded by this publication and numerous industry leaders, including MHI members?

Terry Decio, Skyline Homes, “The Secret” – The Rest of the Story

If MHI et al are serious about facts and defending the industry, why haven’t they corrected the documented cases of factual errors MHProNews has spotlighted, which have been disputes that arose from MHI’s own members?

TimWilliamsCreditLinkedIn21stMortCorpCEOManufacturedHousingIndustryMHIChairmanWarrenBuffettBerkshireHathawayChairman

Warren Buffett, right, credit Wikipedia. Tim Williams, right, credit, LinkedIn. Collage credit, MHProNews. Click above.

If MHI et al are serious about facts and defending the industry, why don’t they respond to each and every flawed media report, as was once floated as part of their reason for hiring Boerger in the first place?

Do you or someone you know have a case or claim against MHI, Berkshire Hathaway?

Triple damages may await those willing to jump into that fray.

We Provide, You Decide.” ## (News, review, commentary, analysis).

TwitterFacebookLinkedInNew Year’s Resolution: On this 11th day of Christmas, a request.

This writer already has one of the largest LinkedIn followings in the manufactured home industry. But we’ve frankly not asked for Twitter, or Facebook followers. That changes, starting today. If you want to keep up with posts relevant to the industry, you can connect via the links below.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach/

https://twitter.com/LATonyKovach @LATonyKovach
https://www.facebook.com/tony.kovach.71

 

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We agree with Warren Buffett on the value of the lessons of history, reading and research. Without those deep insights, the wool can be pulled over other people’s eyes.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Kovach is the award-winning managing-member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC,
parent to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
Both are #1 in their categories.

Kovach is one of the most endorsed and recommended MH industry professionals in all of manufactured housing.

Developing – CFPB Will Fine Berkshire Hathaway Manufactured Housing Units

September 25th, 2017 Comments off

FinesPixabayDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsAn informed and reliable source tells the Daily Business News (DBN) on MHProNews that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be fining Warren Buffett led Berkshire-Hathaway (BH) manufactured housing units.

The sum is not yet determined, per that source, but is anticipated at being in the $1 to $5 million-dollar range.

While they [BH manufactured housing companies] don’t want to be fined, $5 million to them is like $20 for you and me,” the source explained.

It will also give them [BH manufactured housing companies] the ability to say to the industry, ‘See, we hate the CFPB too.’ When in fact, Dodd-Frank has benefited them [by suppressing competition, due to the regulatory burdens].

Congressional Lawmakers, Non-Profits, Mainstream Media Accuse Clayton, 21st and VMF of Racism, Steering and Predatory Lending

MHProNews alerted the industry last month that the “Campaign for Accountability (“CfA”) seeks records from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) regarding consumer complaints related to Clayton Homes,” said Daniel Stevens Executive Director of CfA.

ClaytonHomesLogoFinesRefundsComplianceBugCFPBUAkronDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Fines and refunds to date by Clayton and their BH sister companies has been under $1 million dollars, but per our source, the coming fines could be several million dollars.

CampaignForAccountabiltyClaytonHomesLogoBerkshireHathawayVanderbiltMortgageRacismSteeringPredatoryLendingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews720x403

The report also includes downloads of several Congressional lawmakers who have asked the CFPB to provide their research into claims of racism, steering and predatory lending. To see that more detailed report, click here.

MHProNews was told by a source with MHI connections that those allegations have been dogging Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) since about 2007.

Neither MHI, nor the BH units in question have responded to MHProNews about these allegations, nor have they offered even a simple statement that denounces racism.

The Daily Business News will continue to track and report on this and related developing stories that could impact the industry’s image and ongoing post-2008 recovery efforts.  ##

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

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

Zero Down Payment – not Land in Lieu – Manufactured Home Chattel Lending Program

August 15th, 2017 Comments off

NoMoneyDownMHChattelLoan$DailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNewsMHProNews has been advised by sources that Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) has been testing a Zero Down Payment chattel lending program.

Per those sources – one of which is involved in manufactured home industry lending – the loan program doesn’t require “land in lieu” of down payment.

The assertion is that it is a true zero cash down payment, home only (chattel loan) financing plan.

The program, the Daily Business News is told by sources, applies only to Clayton Homes retail centers.

An inquiry to a senior VMF team member has not been replied to as of the time this post was published.

 

But an informed source at 21st Mortgage Corporation tells MHProNews that while they can’t confirm that VMF related information; they will state that they do not have nor have a current plan for a similar program for 21st customers.

NotRightVMFZeroDownPaymentChattelLoanManufacturedHousingIndustryNewsMHProNews

One of many screen capture of messages to MHProNews on the alleged VMF zero down payment chattel loan program.  Sources on this issue are kept in confidence, but they are free to reveal themselves, if they so choose.  MHProNews honors confidential source requests. 

Upshot?

If the information provided to MHProNews proves to be accurate – and Clayton/VMF become successful at selling it – on paper this could prove useful to selling the masses of buyers who have decent-to-good credit, but have heavy debt, may still budget, yet lack a down payment.  To rephrase, as the retailer above said in their messages, that this program tilt’s the playing field toward Clayton, saying, “Not right.”

VanderbiltMortgageFinanceVMFZeroDownPaymentChattelLoanManufacturedHousingIndustryNewsMHProNews

Zero Down? What Sounds Grand, May Not Be All Peaches and Cream…

An informed source tells MHProNews that VMF reps “are getting a little tired of the product because it has a “higher rate, points,” and a “23-year max loan” term.

As a result, well qualified buyers aren’t jumping for joy…

…at least, not yet. But that may prove to be a training issue.

But if the product proves real – and Clayton/VMF finds the best way to present and close sales with it – VMF rep enthusiasm could grow for the plan anew.

It should be noted that the sources on this report differed on what they thought the VMF interest rate was on these zero down loans.

DollarBillsManufacturedHousingIndustrylendingPixabayDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

News Tips, Documents, Insights Welcome

All mainstream media news sources rely on experts and tips.  MHProNews is no different. Ideally, when no documents are involved, a news sources wants at least two different sources to verify a claim.  MHProNews is no different.

This trade media site does not encourage anyone to break any law.

Many stories that MHLivingNews and MHProNews has done over the years has been the result of sources inside businesses, associations, from public officials and others providing insights and tips.  Our recent reports on planned protests at the upcoming MHI Orlando event are the result in part of initial news tips.

When those sources desire to be acknowledged, we do so.  When they want to remain “off the record,” we honor those requests.

IReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM-comMHProNews

Another new report – indirectly related to this one in more than one way – that came to us as a result of readers tips is linked here.

There are several details MHProNews is seeking to develop on this issue. Tips from readers, as well as the principles in the matter, are welcome. ##

(Note: as VMF and Clayton’s parent company are part of our daily market report, the most recent one, is linked here.  These industry connected stocks with publicly traded companies are normally available by 7 PM ET, and routinely include information found from other stock reporting services.)

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

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