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Posts Tagged ‘federal arena’

MHGrassroots: A Call to Action

June 17th, 2014 No comments

As I sit comfortably in a 737 at 30000 feet coming back from a thought provoking meeting at the MHI Expo in Las Vegas I don't have to go in great detail on how the world has changed since 2001.

From how we fly, how we communicate, and even how we conduct business, it has all changed in ways none of us truly imagined then.

Every day I read more about how a government I have grown up loving, is making changes that contradict the core beliefs and attributes it was built upon. With that said, let's look at a few issues that have faced, primarily as it relates to the manufactured home market in the past 15 years.

In Texas we were asleep at the wheel in 2001 when House Bill 1869 took effect. I was but one of the many independent dealers who were wondering how this could have happened. I even looked Gov. Rick Perry in the eye and told him point blank that this bill would cost Texans jobs and would reduce home order sales, which in turn would force the closing of several fine manufacturing plants.

Unfortunately I and those around me were right. Even though the TMHA through a lot of hard work was able to have this poor piece of legislature repealed in 2003, the damage was already done.

I won't go into the specifics of the law itself, but I will say it was a killer from day one. If you have any questions about it, just Google it. I have heard the experts’ state that 85% of the independents who were in the market at that time were wiped out by this law and the recession that hit us in 2008. And guess what. Those folks are gone, probably never to return again.

So let's take a look at where the train came off the tracks.

We were too late to stop one train simply because we weren’t aware it was heading for the station.

If we want to be successful in the legislative arena we have to stop the bills before they get that close to the tracks. We, the industry as a whole, must be vigilant in being aware of any laws, in every city, county, state and federal arena that could negatively impact not only us, but the people around us.

This means we have to know, and have a relationship with, the people in charge. Governor Perry signed that bill even after I told him the truth. Why? Simple, he didn't know me from Adam. No relationship equals no traction. We have to build those relationships in order for our voices to not only be heard but to be accredited.

How was it fixed? A grassroots effort. From the ground up. TMHA called upon every member….who in turn called on every state senator and state representative to repeal a bad piece of legislation. And it worked! Why? Because the industry stood up as a whole, and worked together for the common good of all. I call this a victory for the good guys.

Let's look at another victory.

Last year I received a phone call from a landlord who was my ‘competitor’ in Plainview, Texas. I use that word competitor only because we are after the same pool of customers. I call him a friend.

Basically this city was in the process of creating a city ordinance which would require an inspection on every rental inside the city once it was vacated by a tenant. Never mind the fact that this would be in direct contradiction to the HUD code on a manufactured home. Every house, apartment, and mobile home would have to be brought back to current code if this law passed.

This would mean thousands of dollars spent to update every unit.

One unintended consequence of this law would have forced the citizens to pay rent in excess of three times the current rate.

Another would have riddled the city with homes to be demolished due to the repair cost being more then the value of the home.

Yet another would have been a mass exodus of good paying tenants to the surrounding communities which didn't have this law.

So how did we stop this calamity before it was passed like Texas House Bill 1869?

We showed up in droves. There was standing room only at every hearing. Meetings with every city official we could get and we killed it before it could even be heard by city council. How? It took one phone call from each of us who took the time to make that call. And another victory ensued.

So what does all this mean to you, the reader?

It's time. It is time to make a difference and make a call of your own.

I know you are busy, but don't blow this one off.

Dodd Frank and the SAFE Act are not going away. So what are you going to do? I am calling not only those of us in the industry, but all of us.

The government doesn't need us, but this country does. We are this country's answer to affordable housing. But if the people can't get financing for that home what good are we to them?

If you don't know who to call that's ok. Call your state association. If you are not a member, sign up. If you are a member, get active. Make a difference. You can. ##

shawn-fuller-d-r-housing-new-deal-texas-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-com-75x75-Shawn Fuller
D & R Housing, LLC.
New Deal, TX 79350

Retail Sales Trend Up Despite New, Looming Threat

May 25th, 2012 1 comment

According to Statistical Surveys, a provider of objective industry data, Texas' new manufactured home retail sales were up 29 percent for the three months ending March 31 over the same period last year. This follows on the heels of a flat Q4 2011 when compared with Q4 2010. Texas also ranks first in national shipments to retailers through March 2012 with a 20 percent share, and number one in units produced with a 27 percent share according to the latest MHI Monthly Economic Report for March 2012. 

While great news for the industry, an ominous threat lies ahead as the young Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) begins rule writing for implementing Dodd-Frank and the S.A.F.E. Act.

On behalf of the membership, the TMHA Board approved taking an active part in the federal arena, where this will all play out, at our May 18 Third Quarter Board Meeting. 

I have been in the industry 43 years – the spectrum of consequences we face from this new regulation is something never witnessed.   

 

Some examples:

  • New rules could potentially force lenders to discontinue making lower balance loans such as what we typically see for single section home-only loans, and result in an exit of lenders.
    • One of the largest industry lenders estimates 40 percent of their loan volume is under this threshold.
  • These new federal rules would also certainly impact retailers, manufacturers and communities.
    • While MHI introduced an industry-supported bill in Congress (HR 3849) to reduce regulatory burdens that impede access to affordable manufactured housing financing, the likelihood of this passing anytime soon if at all in our deadlocked Congress is slim.
      • We have been told this directly by those that should know and have extensive knowledge of the current national legislative climate.

 

Experience has shown it's much easier to influence the writing of a new rule than it is to change a rule once it's written. TMHA is not going to sit on the sidelines to see what happens.

 

We want an industry voice to be heard.
 

Your association has several key resources that, if combined with that of MHI, fellow state associations and industry members, will see that manufactured housing has direct input in the federal rule writing process:

  1. First, our large, informed and dedicated member base understands the dynamics of our business model and that it relies heavily on portfolio lenders.
    • While mortgage lenders in the traditional housing market produce loans, sell the servicing to another party and look to the government through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to take the risk of loss, our lenders do none of that.
    • MH lenders originate loans, service their loans and take the hit on any loss.
      • This requires different loan pricing, fees and loan origination systems than previously envisioned by those writing the new federal laws and most likely the officials charged with writing the rules.
  2. Secondly, our seasoned board and Executive Director DJ Pendleton will give us a voice in this process.
    • DJ brings a strong academic and professional background as an attorney coupled with industry experience, allowing him to understand the new laws, rule writing process and nuances of guiding the consultants we will require to help ensure the industry is heard.

Finally, through conservative fiscal policy, financial support from members over the years and God Bless our Texas economy, TMHA has the financial resources to commit in coordination with others to support this effort in D.C. While no one can guarantee our success, we will at the very least have a voice at the table.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ronnie Richards
Chairman
Texas Manufactured Housing Association