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Posts Tagged ‘congress’

Most Manufactured Home Lenders Facing Major Changes Revenue Cliff for Some; Business As Usual for Others

October 10th, 2013 No comments

Wall Street calls this a “revenue cliff.” A sudden drop in cash flow. Dodd-Frank regulations that are set to take effect in mid-January 2014 will result in major changes in guidelines for most of our industry’s major Manufactured Home (MH) personal property lenders.

Among the non-captive lenders, the hardest hit will likely be 21st Mortgage Corp. This lender is expecting a decline of up to 47% in loan volume.

MH Retailers who rely on 21st Mortgage should brace for a sudden revenue loss of 50% – 75% including overall loan volume and an adjustment in origination fees.

This will be devastating for many.

An informal survey of our four credit facilities who primarily bankroll the MH chattel financing aide of the MH industry has revealed major changes expected by most, and business as usual for one lender.

Our lender headquartered in San Antonio, CU Factory Built, is at present reviewing their loan products and origination fee policies. Committees have been assembled, reviewing the new regulations and their guidelines.

Informed industry sources tell MHProNews, who advised us, that CU’s very popular “Step Rate” loan product will likely remain intact, surviving the new regulations.

However, this lender’s origination fee schedule could be cut by up to 50%, more closely resembling the origination fee guidelines of their competitor, Triad Financial Services. The final outcome is yet to be determined.

Thus MH reatailers and loan officers who rely upon CU as their primary lender need to brace for a “revenue cliff.”

Our office has learned that Triad, based in Jacksonville, FL, is expecting “business as usual.” Apparently their loan products and origination fee guidelines have been in compliance with the expected changes in regulations.

Our industry’s other major lender, US Bank, with their regional office based in San Diego, is being very tight-lipped about any changes. Their spokesperson recently declined to comment to us.

The anticipated changes in loan products and origination fees will impact everyone in the MH industry. As loan brokers, quite a few of our employees will be devastated.

Analyzing the changes at this juncture is like shooting a bullet at a speeding train. The best advice we can give you is to dig in and redouble your efforts in support of HR 1779 and related.

If each of us contacts our Congressional Representative and two U.S. Senators in favor of HR 1779 and its planned companion bill, there is still time to avoid this fiscal/financial cliff our retailers and communities who sell are heading towards. ##

dave-shanklin-mhmsm-com.jpegDave Shanklin
Loan Consultant
Empire Homes, Inc.
Santa Rosa, CA
800 – 401 – 3372
NMLS ID # 314463

(Editor's Note: All views expressed on MHProNews are those of the author, and may or may not represent those of publisher or our sponsors. We recommend that you contact the representatives of the lenders you work with and see for yourself what they expect. Take Action! You may also find this related article of interest.)

Open Letter to CFED regarding Dodd-Frank and its impact on affordable Manufactured Housing

May 24th, 2011 No comments

To: Kathryn Gwatkin Goulding
Cc: CFED Federal Policy

Kathryn,

I am receipt of CFED’s newsletter earlier today in which praises were heaped upon the Dodd-Frank Bill and its related Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Analysis of the bill by numerous manufactured housing industry financial services consultants have concluded that without modifications, this bill could destroy our industry which is currently only hanging on by a thread anyway.

The Dodd-Frank Bill is far too typical of Congress’ meddling with our system with devastating effects on lower income families. While boasting about protection for consumers, the results of the bill without alteration will be to eliminate the availability to finance home loans lower than $78,000. Since our loans average about $60,000, more than half of our market will be eliminated. Those unable to get loans will be the ones at the lower portion of our client base. I don’t think these wanted Congress to legislate them out of the ability to purchase a home. Rather than promoting the infallibility of the Dodd-Frank Bill, CFED should be rallying to support the changes needed to protect the lowest income home purchasers in our nation. Just because they are low income, they should not be forced out of the ability to purchase a home. As I assume you are aware, our industry is already at the lowest level of shipments since record keeping began in 1961. Unmodified, the Dodd-Frank Bill will most likely destroy any hope for a recovery. The sad thing is that the death of the industry will not result from the Free Enterprise rejection by the market; it will be the result of an ignorant Congress legislating low income consumers out of the ability to borrow the funds necessary to finance their home. Of course, Congress did the same thing to the US light bulb manufacturers so maybe we should have seen it coming.

Please note the comments below in a column written by industry expert and Industry Person of the Year, George Allen. Please join our industry to encourage Congress to make the modifications necessary to preserve the ability of our lowest income homeowners to achieve their goal of homeownership. I appreciate the efforts CFED has taken over the years to protect low income families. Removing their ability to purchase a home will not be to their benefit.

George Allen–
Dodd-Frank Fallout. Geesh! This bill isn’t even law yet, and finance-related businesses are closing, simply to avoid having to put up with the more onerous of its proposed/planned regulations. Already, ‘former employees,’ perhaps even potential borrowers, are paying the price for what, to many of us, appears to be excessive regulatory reach into the financial sector. Here’s the plaint of one blog flogger (i.e., reader) writing to us this past week…
‘Dodd-Frank forced us to close our mortgage company in ___________ , and lay off several employees. Reason? Our capitalization with _______________ (a major bank) as our JV partner, was slightly in excess of $1,000,000. We were not a broker, but a direct lender, using the bank’s money. Under Dodd-Frank, unless you have a ten million dollar capitalization, you get classified as a broker. And as a broker, you have additional disclosures, the required language of which pretty much scares your customers away to a direct lender. So, we are out of business. Multiply that many times, in every community in America. An apt example of ‘the law of unintended consequences,’ as well as job and prosperity killing legislation!’ (lightly edited. GFA)

…the Dodd-Frank bill is maybe the ‘final nail in the coffin of chattel finance,’ where manufactured housing is concerned? Whereas the necessity of added fees will necessitate a minimum manufactured housing loan of $78,000.00, to simply ensure the return of basic and added fees to a chattel lender. And outside certain high-priced local housing markets, how many times do we see manufactured home loans, especially on resale homes, in excess of $78,000.00? # #

Thanks,

Doug Gorman
Home-Mart, Inc.
9516 East Admiral Place
Tulsa, OK 74116
800-364-4663 Toll free
918-835-0500 Office
918-835-8146 Fax
918-250-6867 Home
918-640-1357 Cell
doug@homemart.us
www.homemart.us

Editor’s Note: Please click here to read the CFED document.

MHI Briefs Congress on Finance and Energy Issues for Manufactured Housing

January 20th, 2011 No comments

MHI logoArlington, VA (January 19, 2011) – MHI industry members participated in a high-level briefing on Capitol Hill today focused on high energy performance in manufactured and modular homes. Emanuel Levy, Systems Building Research Alliance, and Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, Inc., presented to a standing-room only audience.

Manufactured Housing Congressional Caucus co-chair Ken Calvert (R-CA) kicked off the event remarking on the importance manufactured housing plays in employing some of the most cutting-edge building practices in the energy arena. Congressman Calvert also stressed that the lack of available financing limits consumer accessibility to manufactured housing, “Many Americans lack the ability to buy a manufactured home due to lack of credit and capital available,” he said, “that is not right and needs to be fixed.”

The briefing addressed “manufactured” housing, built in a factory to federal standards (the “HUD Code”) – and “modular” housing, made with prefabricated components and assembled on site to local code. The latest research and innovation to make housing more affordable for more American home buyers and more sustainable for everyone’s benefit was provided in addition to the many benefits of factory-built housing.

“We were pleased to have the opportunity to share with Congress the industry’s progress in making energy efficient housing available to homebuyers, but urge policymakers to focus on the balance between housing affordability and high energy performance,” said MHI Executive Vice President Thayer Long. “We believe that manufactured housing can be a leader in driving the market with cost effective, high performance energy efficient housing.”

Policymakers were urged to support the improvement of the Energy Star tax credit for manufacturers building Energy Star homes, provide a framework to help very low-income existing homeowners purchase new high energy performance homes, and remove existing regulatory barriers for adopting better energy standards for manufactured housing.

“Investing in highly energy efficient homes is a priority for the manufactured housing industry,” said Kevin Clayton. “We continue to push the envelope to find ways to deliver the best energy value for our customers. In the long term, this is not only a good thing for the industry, but it is also just the right thing to do.” Clayton also remarked on the limited ability of our customers to be able to buy energy efficient homes. “Adding any additional costs to our income challenged buyers is detrimental to their ability to qualify for a home loan. We need to advance energy efficiency in our homes, but we must also have fair and competitive financing to purchase manufactured homes.”

According to Emanuel Levy, “There is a natural synergy between the efficiency in constructing a factory-built home, and energy efficiency of the home itself. We believe reducing energy use is a practical approach for keeping homes affordable. Getting to the next generation of energy innovation responsibly will require coordinated public-private action.”

Attendees were advised that manufactured housing has accounted for over 20% of all new homes built over the past two decades, accounts for almost 100,000 U.S. jobs, and houses over 18 million Americans.

Factory-built homes have the benefits of being precision built inside a manufacturing plant, with a process that improves consistency and eliminates waste, and a design/build system that facilitates innovation and quality control. These characteristics allow manufacturers to produce high-quality housing much more quickly and cost effectively than homes that are site-built.

The briefing was hosted by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Congressional High-Performance Buildings Congressional Caucus. George Mongrell, President and CEO of Terradime, LLC also presented.

MHI is the national trade association for manufactured and modular housing industries, representing all segments of the industries before Congress and the Federal government. From its Washington, D.C. area headquarters, MHI actively works to promote fair laws and regulation for all MHI members and the industry. For more information on MHI, visit www.manufacturedhousing.org

##

Urge Senators to Co-sponsor the Advanced Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2010

November 2nd, 2010 No comments

(S. 3935) Measure Expands and Extends Tax Credits for Energy Star Factory-Build Homes

MHI logoCongress is currently scheduled to return for a lame duck session the week of November 15 to complete work on a number of must-pass legislative measures, including a potential energy tax incentive package.

MHI is seeking assistance to ensure legislation extending and expanding tax credits available for the production of Energy Star-qualified manufactured and modular homes is included in any tax package considered by Congress

Download Word doc of Sample Letter to Committee Members. (PDF version)

BACKGROUND:

At the end of September, Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced the Advanced Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2010 (S. 3935). The measure would extend a variety of tax incentives, including Section 45L for manufactured and modular homes.

The legislation would amend the tax code to provide a credit of $1,500 for qualifying Energy Star manufactured homes, an increase from the current $1,000 credit. The credit increases to $2,500 when new, more stringent manufactured housing Energy Star requirements go into effect in 2011.

For the highly price sensitive manufactured home market, tax credits are vital in helping offset the added costs associated with the construction, purchase and ownership of an Energy Star home.

The existing $1,000 tax credit has been valuable in helping expanding the market for Energy Star manufactured homes, which currently make up approximately five percent of total manufactured homes sales nationwide. However, the high cost of building to Energy Star standards remains a barrier to affordable housing. Increasing the credit will be instrumental in placing Energy Star homes within reach of moderate- and low-income families.

MHI, along with a broad coalition of energy efficiency, environmental, and affordable housing organizations have expressed strong support for extending and expanding the Energy Star tax credit for manufactured and modular homes.

KEY TALKING POINTS:

  • Senators are asked to endorse the Advanced Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2010 (S. 3935), to promote energy efficiency for manufactured and modular homes for the following reasons:
  • For the highly price sensitive manufactured housing market, these credits are vital to helping buyers afford the added costs of purchasing an Energy Star home
  • For manufactured homes, energy costs represent a larger proportion of the total costs of homeownership versus site-built housing; energy price hikes are felt most acutely among owners of manufactured homes
  • For moderate- and low-income households, escalating energy prices are more likely to translate into real declines in disposable income and pose a major impediment to building equity and financial security
  • The energy savings associated with owning and Energy Start home more than compensate for the higher construction costs. In high cost energy areas, for instance, cost savings can total roughly $800 or more per year.
  • The tax credit is viewed by a growing number of state and local government agencies, as well as housing and energy efficiency advocates as a critical foundation for encouraging Energy Star manufactured home construction.
  • The tax credit has moved state governments and utilities to offer companion programs to promote Energy Star predicated on the availability of the tax credit. The delay in extending the tax credit has begun to slowly unwind these initiatives that are so vital to building support for Energy Star around the nation.

ACTION NEEDED:

MHI members are urged to contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to co-sponsor S. 3935. A list of Finance Committee members is below and a draft letter is also attached for your convenience.

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

Chairman
Max Baucus (D-MT)
  202-224-2651
Ranking Member
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  202-224-3744
     
Democrats    
John D. Rockefeller, IV (WV)   202-224-6472
Kent Conrad (ND)   202-224-2043
Jeff Bingaman (NM)   202-224-5521
Blanche L. Lincoln (AR)   202-224-4843
John F. Kerry (MA)   202-224-2742
Ron Wyden (OR)   202-224-5244
Charles E. Schumer (NY)   202-224-6542
Debbie Stabenow (MI)   202-224-4822
Maria Cantwell (WA)   202-224-3441
Bill Nelson (FL)   202-224-5274
Robert Menendez (NJ)   202-224-4744
Thomas R. Carper (DE)   202-224-2441
     
Republicans    
Orrin G. Hatch (UT)   202-224-5251
Olympia J. Snowe (ME)   202- 224-5344
Jon Kyl (AZ)   202-224-4521
Jim Bunning (KY)   202-224-4343
Mike Crapo (ID)   202-224-6142
Pat Roberts (KS)   202-224-4774
John Ensign (NV)   202-224-6244
Michael B. Enzi (WY)   202-224-3424
John Cornyn (TX)   202-224-2934

Download Word doc of Sample Letter to Committee Members. (PDF version)

If you are a member and have questions, contact MHI Vice President of Political and Legislative Affairs Rae Ann Bevington at 703-558-0675 or RBevington@mfghome.org or Vice President Legislative Affairs Jason Boehlert at 703-558-0660 or JBoehlert@mfghome.org

Letter from Congressman Bart Stupak

October 31st, 2010 1 comment

Editor’s Note:

This letter from Congressman Bart Stupak was submitted to us by:

Mr. George Spanos
PO Box 370
Petoskey, Michigan 49770

The letter is used with his permission. Mr. Spanos also requested a ‘plug’ for the Michigan Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA), which we are pleased hereby to do.

A number of points could be made about this letter, such as: This is this particular congressman’s perspective, others might see this differently.

What is certain is that neither the Duty To Serve (DTS) nor FHA Title 1 Reform has manifested itself in the fashion that is beneficial at this point to the manufactured housing industry.

On the other hand, the SAFE Act, also part of HERA, has had an impact on the manufactured housing industry, and most would assert that it has not been a positive one.

Please see related topics to this subject at these links:

MHI PAC and the Upcoming Midterm Elections
The Mid-Term Elections and Manufactured Housing
Yertle the Turtle and Manufactured Housing
In the Midterm Elections, are we feeding the hand that bites us?

Finally, a reminder about our Editorial Policy. We are open to all perspectives on Industry related topics. Asking that they be properly (respectfully) expressed. One good way to get a discussion going is to look objectively at a topic and to consider a variety of viewpoints.

Besides carrying the most tips and training content and the most manufactured housing industry news, and modular or prefab home industry news, we offer this Industry Blog and our Disqus system as means to share your views or comments with the Industry at large.

Readers are always welcome and encouraged to sound off on industry relevant topics, either by posting appropriate comments via our Disqus system, or by submitting their own article, which can be posted on the Industry Voices Guest Blog. Please see the About Us page for article submission details.

Your calls and emails are always welcome too. # #

MHI PAC and the Upcoming Midterm Elections

October 26th, 2010 2 comments

Industry in Focus Reporter Eric MillerWASHINGTON, DC – Indiana representative Joe Donnelly is the top recipient of contributions from the Manufactured Housing Institute Political Action Committee (MHI PAC). According to OpenSecrets.org, Donnelly received a $6,000 contribution during the 2010 election cycle.

As of October 13, 2010, receipts totaled $101,019.00 with $79,590.00 cash on hand. Total spent amounts to $118,584.00. Sixty-five percent of contributions were made to Democrats and 32 percent went to Republicans, with specific Republicans receiving some of the largest contributions.

Donnelly and several key members of the Manufactured Housing Congressional Caucasus are facing tight races. The biggest recipients in House of Representatives races include Barney Frank (D-MA) with $3,000 and Bill Posey (R-FL) also with $3,000 and Baron Hill (D-IN) $2,000. In the Senate races, top recipients include Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) with $4,000 and Richard Shelby (R-AL) with $3,500.

House
Total to Democrats: $31,750
Total to Republicans: $15,500
Recipient Total
Aderholt, Robert B (R-AL) $1,000
Bachus, Spencer (R-AL) $1,000
Boswell, Leonard L (D-IA) $2,000
Boyd, Allen (D-FL) $2,000
Brown-Waite, Ginny (R-FL) $1,000
Calvert, Ken (R-CA) $1,000
Camp, Dave (R-MI) $2,000
Chandler, Ben (D-KY) $1,000
Childers, Travis W (D-MS) $2,000
Clyburn, James E (D-SC) $1,000
Davis, Geoff (R-KY) $2,000
Donnelly, Joe (D-IN) $6,000
Driehaus, Steve (D-OH) $2,000
Duncan, John J (Jimmy) Jr (R-TN) $2,000
Etheridge, Bob (D-NC) $1,000
Frank, Barney (D-MA) $3,000
Hill, Baron (D-IN) $2,000
Hoyer, Steny H (D-MD) $2,500
Matsui, Doris O (D-CA) $1,000
McHenry, Patrick (R-NC) $1,000
Miller, Brad (D-NC) $1,000
Olver, John W (D-MA) $1,000
Paulsen, Erik (R-MN) $250
Posey, Bill (R-FL) $3,000
Scott, David (D-GA) $2,000
Souder, Mark E (R-IN) $1,000
Tanner, John (D-TN) $1,000
Thompson, Bennie G (D-MS) $1,000
Tiberi, Patrick J (R-OH) $250
Tonko, Paul (D-NY) $250
Senate
Total to Democrats: $12,000
Total to Republicans: $6,500
Recipient Total
Baucus, Max (D-MT) $1,000
Corker, Bob (R-TN) $1,000
DeMint, James W (R-SC) $1,000
Dodd, Chris (D-CT) $1,000
Lincoln, Blanche (D-AR) $4,000
Murkowski, Lisa (I-AK) $2,000
Nelson, Bill (D-FL) $2,000
Pryor, Mark (D-AR) $1,000
Reed, Jack (D-RI) $1,000
Schumer, Charles E (D-NY) $2,000
Shelby, Richard C (R-AL) $3,500
Wicker, Roger (R-MS) $1,000

Based on data released by the FEC on October 25, 2010.

Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics. For permission to reprint for commercial uses, such as textbooks, contact the Center.

In terms of voting records on industry related issues and the S.A.F.E. Act, as well as Title 1 reform and Duty to Serve, were all contained in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). In the Senate, Reid, Shelby and Lincoln all voted for the Act. Then-Senator Obama did not vote. In the House, Donnelly, Hill and Frank all voted for the bill. Posey was serving in the Florida State Senate at the time. Would-be Speaker of the House John Boehner voted against HERA.

The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has also provided contributions to these candidates. As of October 13, Donnelly received $1,000 from the NAHB PAC. Frank received $5,000 from NAHB, as did Posey. Hill is not listed as having received a contribution from NAHB. In the Senate races, NAHB gave $2,500 to Lincoln and $5,000 to Shelby. In contrast to MHI PAC’s contributions, the NAHB gave 39 percent to Democrats and 60 percent to Republicans. The total spent by the Homebuilders in the 2010 cycle is $3,012,057.

MHI-PAC contributions chart
Chart created by MHMSM.com’s Industry in Focus Reporter Eric Miller from information available on opensecrets.org

Contributions by the National Association of Realtors far exceed that of either the NAHB or MHI. As of October 13, the Realtors gave 58 percent to Democrats and 41 percent to Republicans. Donnelly received $6,000 from the Realtors, Frank received $6,000, Hill received $6,000 and Posey was handed $5,000. In the Senate races, Lincoln received $14,000 and Shelby $3,000. Total expenditures for Realtors in the 2010 cycle are $11,218,449.00.

Democrats currently hold a 256-178 majority in the House of Representatives, with one vacancy. The battle for control of the House focuses primarily on 64 competitive races–58 Democratic-held seats and 6 Republican-held seats including 9 members of the Manufactured Housing Caucus.

According to MHI, two races that are particularly important to the manufactured housing industry are those including Congressman Baron Hill (D-IN) and Congressman Joe Donnelly (D-IN). Beyond financial contributions, MHI says it will be working with members in these key districts to get-out-the-vote for their candidates.

According to their report to members at their Denver meeting in September, MHI believes as do many political analysts that a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives is possible. If so, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is in line to become Speaker of the House. A GOP majority would mean major changes as a number of senior Democrats chairing committees important to manufactured housing would face demotions to lesser roles including Housing Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), a staunch supporter of manufactured housing.

The current Senate line-up is 57 Democrats, 41 Republicans and 2 Independents. The Republicans must win 10 seats to recapture the Senate. The odds favor continued Democratic control, but a significant surge by Republican candidates could lift the Republicans into striking distance of gaining control of the Senate.

More information on the MHI PAC is available at http://www.manufacturedhousing.org ##

Congressional Hearing on Federal Role in Housing Finance – Report And Analysis

September 16th, 2010 1 comment

MHARR logoBack from its Summer recess, Congress has embarked on a process that will ultimately determine – as soon as 2011 – the future role of the federal government in private-sector housing finance and the future role, structure and character of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs).

On September 15, 2010 the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises held a hearing on “The Future of Housing Finance – A Progress Report on the Government Sponsored Enterprises.” Although the “duty to serve underserved markets” (DTS) mandate imposed on the GSEs by the Housing and Economic Development Act of 2008 (HERA) was not addressed as part of this more broadly-focused hearing, both the implementation of the DTS mandate and the future availability of private consumer financing for manufactured homes will ultimately be at stake in this process. Moreover, the challenges that the industry faces in this process were underscored in testimony by both the Administration and the current federal regulator of the GSEs, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as well as in statements by Subcommittee members.

While the Administration has not yet offered a detailed plan for the future of the GSEs, and is not expected to do so until early 2011, Michael S. Barr, Treasury Department Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions, reported on the steps taken by the Administration in response to the financial crisis as they relate to the GSE’s as well as the Administration “Objectives and Goals for Housing Finance Reform” – i.e., widely available mortgage credit, housing affordability, consumer protection and financial stability to achieve those goals. He then outlined several policies including the necessity for “clear mandates.” Specifically, institutions that have government support, charters or mandates should have clear goals and objectives. Affordable housing mandates and specific policy directives should be pursued directly and avoid commingling in general mandates, which are “susceptible to distortion.”

Follow-up questioning by the Subcommittee focused on who was responsible for letting the GSEs get out of control and what contributed to their collapse. Some Republican members alleged that the housing goals forced the GSEs to get involved in sub-prime lending and to acquire sub-prime mortgage backed securities. Democrats and Secretary Barr responded that the GSEs acquired sub-prime mortgage backed securities to increase profits and that the housing goals did little to impact the GSEs collapse.

Significantly, though, subsequent testimony by FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco, expressed reservations about the Administration’s strategy, stating:
“Recently there has been a growing call for some form of explicit federal insurance to be a part of the housing finance system of the future. The potential costs and risks associated with such a framework have not yet been fully explored.”

Without either explicitly endorsing or opposing such a role for the government, he stated three specific concerns in his testimony:

First, he rejected the premise that no private firm would risk funding a 30-year mortgage, “at least at any price that most would consider reasonable.” Rather, he asked “whether there is reason to believe that the government will do better?” noting that “if the government backstop is under-priced, taxpayers eventually may foot the bill again.”

Second, he stated that a government guarantee could allow politicians to favor some areas or demographic groups, noting the government “would likely want a say with regard to the allocation or pricing of mortgage credit for particular groups or geographic areas.”

Third, he stated that a guarantee would shift capital toward housing, which already benefits from other government support.

Discussion among Subcommittee members then addressed moving forward – with some Republican members favoring complete privatization and the elimination of all housing finance goals. Their view is that goals will distort the market and lending will be to higher risk or with less of a down payment.

Regardless of whether there is any such specific guarantee, however, and regardless of the ultimate nature of the GSEs or successor entities going forward, the original mission of GSEs – as embodied in and strengthened by the DTS mandate – to provide home ownership opportunities for lower and moderate-income Americans, was not responsible for the GSEs’ failure and must be maintained in order to ensure that home ownership remains available to as many Americans as possible.

Another hearing on the GSEs is slated to take place later this month. MHARR will continue to carefully monitor these hearings and take further steps relating to DTS and proper GSE support for manufactured housing consumer financing as appropriate.

MHARR will keep you apprised as new developments on this important matter unfolds.

Timely Grassroots Engagement with Congress

August 17th, 2010 No comments

MHARR logoWith Congress in recess and with members back in their districts for the balance of the Summer, now is the best time of the year for industry members to seek out, communicate with – and meet – their federal representatives away from the distractions of Washington, D.C. While MHARR is in regular contact with Congress in Washington, D.C. in order to address and advance issues of importance to both the HUD Code industry and consumers of affordable housing, members of Congress are always anxious to hear directly from their constituents on matters that concern them. This is particularly true leading up to the November 2010 mid-term elections, with the control of Congress hanging in the balance.

As a result, grassroots industry members have an outstanding opportunity over the next few weeks to tell their members of Congress directly about the major challenges that the industry faces in Washington, D.C. in key areas, including private and public financing (i.e., the “Duty to Serve” and FHA Title I), and continuing issues affecting the HUD Title VI program, including the deteriorating status and stature of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) and the avoidance of – and non-compliance with – required consensus and rulemaking procedures by program regulators on major regulatory issues, such as the ongoing de facto expansion of in-plant regulation.

The common thread running through all of these issues (and many others), that needs to be constantly reinforced with Congress, is that the difficulties the industry faces in Washington, D.C. do not arise from the lack of good laws. To the contrary, Congress has provided the industry with highly beneficial legislation over the past decade, including the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, and the “Duty to Serve” and FHA improvement provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Instead, much of the difficulty faced by the industry is a consequence of the failure of relevant federal agencies to fully and properly implement these laws in a manner consistent with the intent of Congress. In large part, this occurs because of the comfort level that regulators routinely get from forces within the industry, or outside the industry, or both.

As many in the industry are rapidly recognizing, given the nature of the problem, the solution does not lie in passing more laws that will similarly be ignored or manipulated. Instead – and as MHARR has already begun to explore – ongoing industry engagement with Congress needs to be expanded to include effective congressional oversight of these matters to ensure that the good laws already on the books are respected and properly implemented by federal regulators. With the industry continuing to decline and with regulators’ continuing resistance to the full and proper implementation of these existing laws – which needlessly exclude consumers from the manufactured housing market – Congress needs to be fully engaged in an oversight capacity. And, the best time to embark on such an approach is right now, with one-on-one meetings of industry members with their congressional representatives, at home, in their districts, to be aggressively followed-up in Washington, D.C. by the industry’s national representatives.

Danny D. Ghorbani
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform
1331 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Suite 508
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: 202/783-4087
Fax: 202/783-4075
Email: mharrdg@aol.com

Putting the Right Pieces in Place

August 5th, 2010 1 comment

MHARR VIEWPOINT – AUGUST 2010
By Danny D. Ghorbani

MHARR logoThe first step in solving a problem — any problem — is admitting to yourself that there is a problem, that the problem is real and that it exists. The second step, and perhaps the most difficult, is to accurately assess and define the problem, so that one or more potential solutions can be considered, weighed and, ultimately, implemented.

By any objective measure, the HUD Code manufactured housing industry has a problem. Over more than ten years, production and sales have plummeted. From a modern high of more than 373,000 homes in 1998, production in 2009 fell to below 50,000 homes. The trend in the statistics, moreover, has been steadily downward, and appears — over the long-term — to transcend both positive and negative changes in the broader economy and the broader housing market. No amount of happy talk or glad-handing can paper over this fundamental fact — the status quo for the industry and its consumers is unacceptable, and must be changed.

But that is the easy part. The more difficult part is defining the problem as an avenue to arriving at solution(s) that will work. To start, we can identify what is not a problem — and that is our relations, as an industry, with Congress and the lawmakers in Washington, D.C., who pass the laws that govern our comprehensive regulation by HUD and the finance programs and entities that impact the ability of lower and moderate-income Americans to purchase industry products that they can afford without costly subsidies.

The track record of the industry and its representation in Washington, D.C. within this realm is quite good, and the reason is very simple — manufactured housing and the manufactured housing industry are favored by legislators in Congress. And for good reason. The industry provides jobs that will stay here in America, without outsourcing. The jobs that the industry provides are well-paying manufacturing jobs, typically located in the heartland of the country, where the success or failure of the broader economy is largely determined. The industry, moreover, produces homes that provide affordable home-ownership for American families at all income levels without tax-funded subsidies. The industry, therefore, provides a vital resource — affordable home-ownership — without asking for tax dollars, only parity with other types of housing in various government housing programs, such as FHA programs.

So, Congress has been good to the industry. In 2000, it passed the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act, to take manufactured housing into the 21st century and complete its legal and policy transition to the legitimate housing. In 2008, aware of the trouble that consumers were having with financing, Congress included two critical manufactured housing provisions in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) — the “duty to serve underserved markets,” designed to expand and improve private financing and end discrimination against manufactured housing by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), and FHA Title I and Title II improvements, designed to expand and improve public financing for manufactured homes financed as chattel, real estate and as part of land-home packages.

These are all good laws, designed to promote the availability and use of affordable manufactured homes. These laws should have fostered an industry boom in the solid national economy of the years following 2000 — with an industry expansion involving hundreds of thousands of homes — and should be helping to foster an industry revival now, in a post-recession economy. At least that was the hope — and the theory. But, things have gone wrong, and therein lies the problem.

The problem is that none of these good laws are being implemented in the way that Congress wanted, and expected. The 2000 reform law has been gutted by HUD regulators and attorneys. There is no — and has been — no appointed program Administrator for most of the past ten years. Enhanced preemption has never been implemented. The MHCC — the real centerpiece of the 2000 law — is being turned into another rubber-stamp “advisory council.” Its proceedings have been taken over by program regulators and a large chunk of its authority was taken away when HUD — without any public comment — read catchall section 604(b)(6) out of the law, which required HUD to bring enforcement policy and practice changes to the Committee.

HERA-based FHA Title I improvements have fared no better. Inexplicably delayed for years, those improvements are now finally being implemented, but their impact appears likely to be minimized by recently announced Ginnie Mae requirements for the securitization of new Title I loans ($10 million minimum adjusted net worth plus 10% of outstanding manufactured housing mortgage-backed securities) that will severely restrict access to the program by the new lenders that will be needed to appreciably increase the availability and number of manufactured housing loans for consumers.

Similarly, the proposed rule to implement DTS published on June 7, 2010, represents a major disconnect with the intent and objectives of Congress that, if implemented, will predictably fall well short in helping to end the discrimination against manufactured homes by the GSEs, that lies at the root of the current near-unavailability of manufactured home financing.

Despite good relations with Congress, then, and good laws passed for the benefit of the industry and its consumers, the results have not matched expectations. The implementation of each of these laws, by relevant federal agencies, has not come even close to what Congress wanted. And in certain respects, these agencies are openly defying clear congressional directives.

The pattern, therefore, is clear. Congress tries to help the industry and, then … nothing — or close to nothing or, sometimes, worse than nothing. For an industry that is comprehensively regulated by the federal government and, thus, thrives or declines based on decisions made in Washington, D.C., this is — and has been — a prescription for trouble. As an industry, we have an obligation, to ourselves and to our consumers, to question — to ask why this is happening, and how it can be fixed before much of the industry falls by the wayside, leaving only a handful of survivors. MHARR is asked constantly why the industry is so impotent in Washington, D.C. in the face of continual resistance by regulators and other administrative types to the proper implementation of the good laws that Congress provides us. MHARR , in response, has studied this issue, going back over the history of the industry’s presence and involvement in Washington, D.C., dating back to the start of federal regulation, to find workable solutions, and will share its findings and suggestions in the September 2010 MHARR Viewpoint.

In MHARR’s view, the industry’s inability to implement critical laws despite strong Congressional support lies at the core of the industry’s difficulties, and needs to be addressed decisively.

MHARR is a Washington D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

Action Needed: Contact Senators and Request they Support S. 1320

August 3rd, 2010 No comments

On Thursday, August 5, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will mark up a number of energy bills. Included in the mark up is the Energy Efficient Manufactured Housing Act (S. 1320) sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT). Assistance is needed from MHI members to ensure the committee favorably reports the measure.

ACTION NEEDED:

MHI members with Senators serving on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee are urged to personally contact their offices and ask them to vote in favor of S. 1320. A list of the Energy Committee members is below. In addition, Senators should be urged to contact both Democratic and Republican Senate leaders to request the Energy Efficient Manufactured Housing Act be included as part of any energy legislation or job creation measure the chamber may be developing. Contact Rae Ann Bevington at 703-558-0675 or RBevington@mfghome.org for additional information.

BACKGROUND:

In March 2009, Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN) introduced the Energy Efficient Manufactured Housing Act (H.R. 1749). Companion legislation (S. 1320) was introduced in the Senate by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) on June 22, 2009.

On May 6, 2010, the House of Representatives adopted a broad-scale home energy retrofit bill (Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010; HR 5019), which includes amended provisions from the Energy Efficient Manufactured Housing Act. The legislation was referred to the Energy & Natural Resources Committee for consideration.

Both bills authorize the Department of Energy (DOE) to make grants to states to provide owners of manufactured homes constructed prior to 1976 with a one-time only rebate of up to $7,500 to use towards the purchase of a new Energy Star qualified manufactured home. To cover the additional cost of removing and recycling the old home an additional grant of up to $2,500 to be provided upon proof of decommissioning. To be eligible, home owners could not have a total household income in excess of 200 percent of an area’s poverty level. The legislation permits replacement of substandard mobile homes with ENERGY STAR homes as an eligible use of up to $6,500 of the American Recovery and Renewal Act Weatherization Assistance Program funds. Current law forbids weatherization funds from being used for replacement.

KEY TALKING POINTS:

Members of Congress are asked to endorse the Energy Efficient Manufactured Housing Act (H.R. 1749 & S. 1320) for the following reasons:

  • The program would provide resources for low-income homeowners to purchase new energy efficient homes and help dispose of outdated homes and improve living standards for potentially millions of families
  • Households participating in the program could save an average of $1,800 per year in energy costs, which could be used to help offset monthly home expenses and help build equity in a home
  • Each new manufactured home constructed creates more than one new American job; the measure could potentially create more than 51,000 high-quality U.S jobs over the next three years and generate more than $8 billion in construction related spending
  • The improved efficiency of an Energy Star home would reduce household carbon emissions by nine tons per household per year and a total reduction of 1.4 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year

COMMITTEE ON ENERGY & NATURAL RESOURCES

Democrats

Chairman Jeff Bingaman (NM) (202) 224-5521

Byron L. Dorgan (ND) (202) 224-2551

Ron Wyden (OR) (202) 224-5244

Tim Johnson (SD) (202) 224-5842

Mary L. Landrieu (LA) (202) 224-5824

Maria Cantwell (WA) (202) 224-3441

Robert Menendez (NJ) (202) 224-4744

Blanche Lincoln (AR) (202) 224-4843

Bernard Sanders (I) (VT) (202) 224-5141

Evan Bayh (IN) (202) 224-5623

Debbie Stabenow (MI) (202) 224-4822

Mark Udall (CO) (202) 224-5941

Jeanne Shaheen (NH) (202) 224-2841

Republicans

Lisa Murkowski (AK) (202) 224-6665

Richard Burr (NC) (202) 224-3154

John Barrasso (WY) (202) 224-6441

Sam Brownback (KS) (202) 224-6521

James E. Risch (ID) (202) 224-2752

John McCain (AZ) (202) 224-2235

Robert Bennett (UT) (202) 224-5444

Jim Bunning (KY) (202) 224-4343

Jeff Sessions (AL) (202) 224-4124

Bob Corker (TN) (202) 224-3344