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Free Trade or Economic War?

April 6th, 2018 No comments

Anyone going to school in the U.S. after WW II has learned the breakdown in world trade was a primary, though not only, cause of the Great Depression. It is said import tariffs and barriers caused world trade to be constrained. There is little doubt it was a cause.

I grew up believing it and have done so with little retrospective most of my life. As U.S. auto plants closed in the 1980s and forward (I was a GM dealer at the time), I blamed the unions, the workers, and incompetent auto company management. Whole swaths of the country from the Great Lakes to Maine back to the Mason-Dixon Line started to lose industrial plants, in the heartland of America. They became destroyed areas, bereft of jobs and hope. The bombing campaigns of W.W. II Europe couldn’t have caused greater damage.

FreeTradeOrEconomicWarMartyLavin475

Yet with the belief in free trade in the country so ingrained, we blamed the fallen for their fate. I was part of that crowd. It never occurred to me to ask if free trade was so good, why is its impact so disastrous for the U.S.? Not until recently, that is.

And surely our race for government control of every aspect of our economy led to manacled industrial results, especially in heavy industry. But I heard our technology would bail us out. Who needed autos, steel, aluminum and other smoke stack industries, what with their pollution and dirt? Not the U.S. Uhm, we forgot we needed their jobs.

This all played a terrible self-destruction to our heavy industry and their secondary affiliates. The politicians in power either didn’t see the developments, didn’t have answers, or didn’t care. We have seen recently how quickly our economy can respond when unleased. How hard was that?

It’s obvious that the last 30 years, especially our last 8 years prior to 2017, that one of the most important OleMartyBoy Principles was not understood by our heros in government: “You get more of what you encourage and less of what you discourage.” Simple, eh, but entirely overlooked by our government until last year.

YouGetMoreOfWhatYouEncourageLessofWhatYouDiscourageMartyLavin

I understand Free Trade means that each of the parties share similar rules as to access, tariffs, government industrial financial assistance and the like. Each of the parties is to operate in trade under similar rules, with shared understandings.

Still, the economic talking points by the media trumpet Free Trade, when even the dead and buried know there is little of it with many of our trade partners, especially The People’s Republic of China. That is the problem seemingly overlooked when media discussions center on the subject. Often the quoted experts are those who profit from trade, free or not, usually the finance contingent.

When a trading partner has rules heavily skewed in their direction, as in the case of China, it is very difficult to achieve free trade. Does each party have similar access to the other’s markets? Are tariffs similar? Are privately owned companies in the U.S. competing against government backed Chinese companies who can survive long after a privately-owned U.S. company would be long gone, and thus undercutting its pricing? And most importantly, does the other country operate in a relatively free market?

China has over a billion plus person population. It is a giant country that has been backward, isolated and extremely poor. Coming out of W.W. II, it had a puny, agrarian economy. Its communist dictatorship created a command economy. The U.S., as it had done with Germany, Italy, Japan, and non-communist Europe helped re-establish the shattered economies of these countries with trade. China, under the yoke of brutal Chairman Mao, spent much of the post-war period avoiding the U.S. and brutalizing much of its citizenry. Like all old men, The Great Prick, Mao finally died. A special place is reserved for Him in Hell.

The new generation of Chinese leaders decided their best bet to continue to rule the dictatorship was to open their economy to trade so fewer of their citizens starved every year. We now enter in the final phase of that stage in China. It’s emergence as a world power has been achieved by an almost capitalist drive for growth and trade. Now that fewer of its citizens are starving, it has turned its attention to waging an economic war on the rest of the world.

After the war, Germany sprung economically quickly, Japan following behind, then most of non-communist Europe followed suit. Ex-Communist Europe still struggles. China followed very slowly for years. Their agrarian economy, lack of infrastructure, large over-population, and strict communist control hindered easy solutions for China’s emergence.

But once going in the 1980s, to the present, they blew forward. And who became their greatest trading partner and deliverer of free technology they seemed incapable of creating? Why, good old Uncle Sam. Sam made many concessions to the Chinese to help them economically. In fact the emergence was so great, that the New York Times’ ace reporter, Tom Friedman advocated the U.S. should adopt the Chinese model for the economy. We saw how well that direction worked with the economic performance of Tom’s favorite President, Barack Hussein Obama.

I suffered thru much of the 1980’s when Japan, Inc. was running rough shod over our economy and we all believed they would easily control us. They were going to buy everything in America! Lost any sleep on that one recently? We sure did then. They were then the Asian powerhouse, akin to their speed in conquering much of South East Asia during the war, then unable to maintain their advantage against the U.S., just like in the war.

In Japan, the command economy stumbled badly in the 1990s and continues to do so. Picking many winners in the economy early boosted them, but command economies seem incapable of letting the losers die, dragging down all with them, by not cleansing by dying. The losers stayed alive with government help, as many do to this day.

Lying in wait in the Chinese economy lurks the same virus, as it does in all command economies, germinating even as we breathe. The trade deficit in the news is that China is enjoying a $350-$500 Billion-dollar annual trade deficit with the US and a $300 billion-dollar annual technology transfer as a gift, (actually by theft). Quickly, who has the most to lose in this transaction? China or Americans no longer able to go to Walmart to buy more cheap unneeded junk?

The economic talking heads making their living on Wall Street or Washington, D.C. care little about American workers displaced for years. Deplorables! Now the economic bigshots lament the possible trade war with China because it threatens their stew, citing the loss of cheap goods for us to buy. Where were these folks all those years as hard working Americans were thrown from their jobs, in places like Buffalo, Detroit and Youngstown, all dead cities. You know, “free” trade is a must, for the elites.

In this blather over free trade, the one thing I have never heard is that the actions of the Chinese constitute an economic war against the U.S., and has been since Nixon went to China. Dead soldiers, bombed cities, lost industry, and loss of fortune is the result of a shooting war.  They are easy to spot. An economic war is harder to see, but the results are similar; ruined cities, lost industry, citizen agony, broken dreams, destruction of the American economy.  We have been living with that. The results are easily visible. It does seem difficult to see from Wall Street and D.C.

This war is being done on the backs of our workers and industry, and our economy. The trade rules are not similar. Technology is stolen en masse. Their markets are often closed to us. They are very smart people and have been out maneuvering us for 50 years. How dumb can we be?

Even though they now have a first world economy, by choice they have a third world pay scale for their workers. This creates quality goods at a price our companies cannot hope to match. And between their lack of free trade and subsidy of the cost of their goods, how do our companies compete? The answer is obvious, we can’t. Thus this massive transfer of wealth from us to them, allowing them to continue their economic war unabated. This has built their new cities, airports, schools, roads and infrastructure to first world standards.

Their actions in the command economy injures their workers as well, keeping a massive economy acting like they barely succeed with worker earnings. But this action is getting pushback as countries wake up from their slumber.

I am running a contest. Thinking the talking heads will prevail, and we do nothing about the predatory Chinese trade practices, I am looking for a worker’s name. I want to know the name of the last American industrial worker, the one who turns off the lights in the last manufacturing plant in the country, just as it closes. Email me the name and the winner gets $100.00 and a video tour of Detroit. ##

marty-lavin-posted-on-mhpronewsMartin V “Marty” Lavin, J.D.
Burlington, VT
Winter Residence, Miami, FL

Editor’s Notes: Marty is a community, retail, and finance veteran who is an MHI award winner.

Note 2: The content is penned by Marty, but the illustrations are provided by the editor. 

MHI, MHARR, MHIndustry Associations and the Manufactured Housing Leadership Issue

October 21st, 2014 1 comment

Tony,

1. These are legitimate questions.  I think MHI does excellent work and has exceptional personnel, but seem to have a tendency to react slowly.

2. I don’t want MHI to offer more than they are now. They cant take on 10 different missions and be successful. Everyone wants MHI tomhpronews-mharr-mhi-associations-graphic-manufactured-home-marketing-sales-management be the magic bullet. They can’t, they aren’t and they never will be.

3. MHI's role should be limited to Continuing Education, Image/Marketing and Legislative/Lobbying. The industry should turn Regulatory over to MHARR and get them under the same umbrella but keep responsibilities separated. Lots of differences between Legislative and Regulatory. Two different worlds.  MHARR’s strength is Regulatory and MHI’s strength is Legislative/Lobbying and Information/Supply.   Until the two are joined they will both struggle to zero in on a particular mission. Both of them bounce around from point A to point Z with no defined scope. With MHARR constantly trying to eliminate the significance and importance of MHI.

4. We have one main problem in our industry and it is a lack of Retail and Wholesale Finance. This limits our sales volume and because of this low volume we lack Political Financial Capital or $$$$$ which in turn creates a lack relevance for you at the nation’s Capital. Industry Dollar Volume cures a multitude of “Sins.”

5.  Our manufacturers spent all of their profits and reserves on trying to control their distribution networks by entering the retail business in the late 1990’s. Instead of competing with their customers and utilizing those reserves and profits to invest in a Retail Finance Foundation they made the age old mistake of trying to compete with their distributors. Clayton was investing all of their profits in retail financial products. Because Clayton had opened the retail division of their company first they had the freedom to do this. They are the only Manufacturer in the Industry to ever get away (from) competing with their customers. They got away with it because they treated their independent distributors identical to how they treated their company owned stores. The other manufacturers never copied this one small concept. The Clayton Family was smart enough to know they needed all three. Manufacturing, Independent Distributors and Company Owned Stores. The other Manufacturers spent all their time and money trying to create an advantage for their company owned stores over their independent distribution network and bypassed the need for the all-important foundation of Retail Finance. Clayton had a better vision for the future. No one likes to admit any of this though.

6. It’s extremely easy to be an armchair quarterback when you have the luxury of looking at past history like we do. I do hope as an industry we have learned a lesson for our future. Regardless of an industries distribution, capacity and retail demand…………………….IF YOU CANT CONTROL YOUR PRODUCT FINANCING ,  YOU LOOSE. ##

 

(Editor's notes: A) The author of the above requested in writing the following. I would not mind you publishing these as an opinion from one state executive director but I don't need my name attached because our members are split on this...”

The same courtesy has been extended to others on sensitive topics, when we know the writer is real and not a phantom.

B) this is in response to this linked Masthead  OpEd, which is the hottest trending article in MHville, and at the current pace, will be the top new article for the month.

C) The writer references one of the many take-aways from the Jim Clayton interviews (point 5).

D) The associations graphic was added, and was not provided or requested by the writer, and the headline is ours and not that of the writer.

    E) Other perspectives on this topic or others of industry interest are welcome.

    The Lost Decade Isn’t Over Until We Say it Is

    June 19th, 2014 No comments

    A decade ago, a shipment slump hit the manufactured housing industry. It actually started earlier in 2000, but by 2004 it was undisputed that shipments had dipped all across the country. The hope was that this decline was no different from those that happened before. Surely, sales would pick up and the good life would return. Now ten years hence, those hopes have been dashed. A new normal has set in. But has it? Recently, I asked industry professionals from all across the country if they were satisfied with an annual shipment level of 60,000 units?

    60,000 units is the high point over the past three years. This uptick has again convinced some that the good times are about to roll again. But really? The April shipment numbers show that for the year, 19 states have increasing shipment numbers, four states have no change and 25 states are still declining!

    So, in total, a handful of states have sufficient shipment increases to mask the decline in a broader range of states.

    Taking the long view, the industry since the dawn of the HUD code produced one million HUD code homes in just its first three years. Over the following years, the next million mark took 4 or 5 years but recently it took a full 12 years to go from 7 million homes to 8 million. At the industry’s current pace, it will take 17 years to reach 9 million total homes.

    Production of homes of course is but one industry metric. The number of HUD code plants has declined from 550 to 123.

    A move back to the average performance of the industry over the 2000’s (which would mean doubling today’s production levels) could be a starting point for an industry goal. How do we get there? First, we need to recognize that many of today’s challenges existed back then too. Finance obliviously is an even more severe hurdle for customers and the industry. But fundamentally, the industry must strengthen each of its building blocks.

    average-shipment-per-decade-manufactured-home-posted-on-mhpronews-com

    Customer demand leads to new sales which leads to new orders which leads to filled community sites.

    How do we fuel customer demand?

    Interestingly, my thought is that we begin with the desired outcome and work backward.

    An honest assessment of unfilled sites would say that many are not very attractive. Empty sites often are next to undesirable homes or unkempt spaces. Not places where a customer would want to put their shiny new home. We can do better.

    The lack of independent retailers is also a factor. Few points of sale means less industry advertising. Essentially in many markets, the industry has gone dark on TV and other media. Given today’s technology we can reach customers in inexpensive ways. We can do better.

    Ozzie and Harriet would love our homes. Too bad, they only represent a very small share of today’s households. The recent MHI design award winners point the way to new ways to think about what customers want. Notice I didn’t say “need” because customer buy based on wants. Only the housing desperate buy based on need.

    How do we get to a new brighter future? It all depends on whether you’re satisfied with 60,000 annual shipments. If you are, do nothing. If not, we have work to do. ##

    ross-kinzler-wisconsin-housing-alliance-executive-director-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-professional-news-mhpronews-com-75x75Ross Kinzler
    Executive Director
    Wisconsin Housing Alliance

    Finance Expert Dick Ernst of FinmarkUSA: introduction at Tunica Manufactured Housing Show 2014

    May 20th, 2014 No comments

    Editor's note. This public introduction was videoed during the business building seminars held during the 2014 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show.

    Note that the Speakers knew they were being filmed.

    Dick-Ernst-Financial-Marketing-Associates-tony-kovach-mhpronews-com1

    An exclusive interview with Dick Ernst is planned to be featured in our upcoming June issue. Dick moderated the finance panel at aDick-Ernst-Financial-Marketing-Associates-tony-kovach-mhpronews-com3 packed room of industry professionals at the 2014 Tunica Show. Dick Ernst also moderated MH home lending and commercial panels, in an overflow crowd during the 2014 Louisville Show.

    Dick is a key figure in meetings with industry and public officials, including the CFPB, FHFA and more.

    Dick-Ernst-Financial-Marketing-Associates-tony-kovach-mhpronews-com2

    You'll get exclusive insights into the widely acknowledged top man in the manufactured home finance business, into industrymhpronews-interviews-with- finance issues, how to generate more profits and much more. Watch for it – and the. Watch it – in June!

    More video Interviews available today are found at this link below.

    http://www.MHProNews.com/home/industry-news/industry-in-focus/7540-global-eyes-on-manufacturedmodular-home-movers-shakers-and-news-makers

    Our thanks to Dick Ernst at FinMarkUSA.com for his profit-making and protecting leadership for businesses, associations and others, and my thanks too for his kind words shared in the video above. ##

    (Image and video credits, ManufacturedHomes.com in association with MHProNews.com)

    What More Can We Accomplish After This Year’s Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Congress and Expo?

    May 13th, 2014 No comments

    Like many others, I attended the 2014 National Congress & Expo two weeks ago in Las Vegas. I also chose to attend the National Communities Council Spring Forum held all day Tuesday prior to the opening reception. There were some exceptional programs! The attendance was very high according to reports from MHI. While there was an eye brow-raiser (or two…) on the agenda, off-agenda items that were pretty interesting and overall the Spring NCC Forum and MHI's Congress and Expo featured seminars with speakers focused on current industry topics and issues. Numerous vendors on hand shared their services, displayed their products and provided opportunities for deal making.

    What should not come as a surprise was the number of new individuals who attended the Congress.

    Many professionals from all facets of the housing, finance and investment sectors were on hand to listen and learn about the manufactured housing industry. This is another great indication on the positive future for the industry.

    Today, there is something in the neighborhood of Two (2) Billion Dollars chasing the manufactured housing industry! That's Billion with a capital B!

    Those dollars may or may not be invested in our sector; only time will tell. What we need to realize is that there is capital willing to invest and grow in manufactured housing. With new capital much can change, improve and set the stage for a brighter future of the industry.

    Yet, even with the large amount of new capital looking to invest in the industry, manufactured housing will still be a very small piece of the roughly One (1) Trillion Dollar annual U.S. housing market.

    The questions I continue to ponder are;

    • what can we do to grow the manufactured housing industry’s share of the overall housing industry?

    • How do we get to the root of the obstacles that continue to impede the MH Industry’s growth?

    Flying home after Congress and Expo, those nagging questions bugged me. Below is a thought that came to mind that may provide a profitable starting point.

    Why not host an – August 2014? – organizational networking/deal making opportunity event that is Trans-Associational?

    Why not consider a location near a fine newer MHC property that breaks the stereotypes – such as Saddlebrook Farms in Grayslake, IL – where the potential for new development could better be understood by those who only know the 1 or 2 star MH properties? Would love to hear suggestions on other possible sites that fill the bill.

    That property would also feature great looking, residential style product that is ground set, so this would shatter the 'mobile home' image for potential investors who only know the entry level product.

    As you can see, I am not suggesting replacing any current event, such as the upcoming MHI annual meeting, NCC Fall Leadership Forum or other association or industry functions.

    Rather I am suggesting something totally fresh and different.

    Let’s bring the stakeholders and potential investors to the table at the same time with professional facilitation and the opportunity to participate.

    The focus of the meeting would be how to get those multi-billions moving ahead, as well as advance the MH Industry as a larger and viable part of the overall housing market.

    What makes this concept different than other current programs is that interested parties are invited regardless of current relationship issues or biases. Bringing goal and solution oriented individuals from differing backgrounds, all committed to growing the manufactured housing industry could be groundbreaking.

    Please do not misunderstand; while I'd like to be involved, I am not volunteering to take the lead in this event due to my current business obligations. I am putting the idea out in this public forum for discussion.

    The way this gets done is for

    • commercial real estate brokers and appraisers,
    • commercial RE lenders and brokers,
    • MH finance companies (personal property and Mortgage lenders),
    • Any – or all – HUD Code manufactured housing and modular builders,
    • developers
    • Suppliers and other service vendors

    to pay for the costs of the meeting, mixers and main meals.

    Pick a place that is nice clean convention location, and keep the entry fee really low.

    Let's put an asterisks next to this one. What if we make it easy for the hundreds (or thousands?) of owners of MHCs who are looking to exit due to age, health or other reasons to come at a pre-event day to discuss their properties face to face with those who may want to buy them?

    Might this be a good way to facilitate the capture of more of that circling capital which would also facilitate the improvement of languishing communities and the sales of more homes in them?

    There also ought to be an ability for the event organizers to bar this or that person or group at will, so that the Ishbel Dickens/NMHOA or Industry naysayers don't get in. That keeps this focused on business and solutions.

    Just think about the number of organizations who would want to take part in an event of this nature. Here are a few who I believe would join the effort.

    rick-rand-industry-voices-mhpronews-com

    There probably are others who should be included on this list. These are the organizations that came to my mind while thinking about who the stakeholders are in the future of the MH Industry.

    One more critical point. Let's tackle the creation of a vibrant, efficient resale market for manufactured homes. This is absolutely critical for the future of our industry, the benefit of our residents and lenders as well as our homes' broader acceptance.

    By being trans-associational, this could also prove to be fertile ground for meeting with and recruiting new members.

    As to a target date, based on the interest being shown about the industry, sometime in the near term would be better than delaying. By doing it in the summer, a successful meeting could position the 2015 trade shows for dovetailing with this concept.

    The location must be close to a major airport so that there is easy access to the event. As noted, having some newer and older MH communities nearby would be beneficial so that participants can take a charter actually view the new homes and better understand the true breadth of the MH product and variety of community lifestyles.

    I believe that an event like this will assist in not only promoting the Manufactured Housing Industry but also could be a catalyst for additional new capital investment and future financing opportunities.

    We must not lose sight of a key goal of the meeting; how to advance the MH Industry as a larger and viable part of the overall housing market.

    Please feel free to comment below or email me with your thoughts. The future of the MH Industry is ours to create. ##

    rRck RandRick Rand is the president of Great Value Homes, and has been involved in small and large scale MHC operations. You can contact him at:
    Richard J. Rand, President, Great Value Homes, Inc.. 9458 N. Fairway Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53217-1321,

    414-352-3855
    414-352-3631(fax)
    414-870-9000(cell),
    RickRand@gvhinc.net

    Subsidized Housing vs. MHCs from an MHC Owner’s Perspective

    February 7th, 2014 No comments

    I could believe that a lot of community owners are unaware of the subsidized housing threat. Unless you live in a city large enough to be targeted by developers and unless you are living in a state with a very active Finance Authority, you may not see what is coming down the pike.

    However, if Des Moines Iowa is any example, "affordable/subsidized" housing, is coming on "Big Time" and killing both HUD manufactured housing sales and rentals.

    It is likely that this will expand out into the smaller and smaller communities over time. Most "affordable/subsidized housing" is new, upscale, geothermal, and well below market. If it is not new, they are able to get millions in government grants to renovate—I don't believe community owners have access to federal or state "renovation grants.”

    I can hardly turn on the TV without a least a weekly pronouncement by some politician or city councilman that, "We need more affordable housing!" Of course, what they are really saying is, "We need more subsidized housing.”

    But as might be surmised, if they told the truth, the reception of that statement would be very different.

    "Affordable/subsidized" housing is NOT affordable to the majority, who pay for it. In part, I fault MHI for some of our impending "affordable/subsidized" housing problems. Why, without so much as a whimper have they allowed subsidized housing to steal our "affordable housing" label? To call subsidized housing "affordable" is perverse and Orwellian, yet MHI says NOTHING. ##

    Margaret-Clark-Co-owner-Grandlakeview-Retirement-MHCs.jpgMargaret Clark
    co-owner of Grand Lake View Retirement MHC
    grandlakeview.com
    grandlakeview@gmail.com

    (Editor's Note: This column was submitted in response to the following Masthead blog post, Your Thoughts on “I Am Affordable Housing.” We welcome other perspectives on this topic or others of industry interest. Editorially speaking, we are unable to accurately comment at this time on what efforts MHI or the NCC may have in motion on this subject.)

    Captive Finance Redux: Are you dealing with the Gestapo/NSA or Colonel Klink?

    August 21st, 2013 No comments

    Tony,
    I've been delighted with the self-financing articles and feedback you have gotten on the subject. I've never doubted self-finance can be done properly, but that said, I don't think most can or will do it properly. Instead I believed the industry would often take the course many are revealing in your discussions; non-compliance, "I'll take my chances."

    Interesting, but hardly surprising.

    As I've written in the past, the various recent lending laws, federal and state, will and are having a demonstrable effect on the industry, likely to put the finishing touches on what little remains of the industry, reducing it even further.

    Does this mean total death? Oh, I doubt that. Remember companies still sell buggy whips, not many, but they are still sold. As long as the industry continues to put people in homes who are not good at putting themselves in homes, a segment will remain. As will homes going on to owned land by those who trotted down to their friendly Hometown Bank, sat with their hard working banker and earned a loan for a HUD going onto their land.

    Not many homes you say? Well, yes I agree with that. But some will still sell. Captive Finance will do some, but risky, unprotected self-financing will sell most homes. Is it illegal to speed? Yes, if you get caught. Obviously the same holds true for non-compliant lending.

    There are few if any reports of originators of non-compliant loans being called to the gallows, or of loans declared invalid, (big deal in an industry with innumerable invalid loans), but, and this is the big one, still few if any reports of fines and crowbar motel residency. I suspect until the crowbar alternative becomes far more common, as with your various admitters, non-compliance will grow and perhaps even prosper. This leaves open whether in 1935 Berlin, oops, 2013 America, the Gestapo/NSA is checking the papers, or like Sgt Schultz, will see nothing. So far, they see nothing.

    I have no doubt many of these offensive laws were carefully crafted to include MH, which leaves the futility of trying to change these laws to not include us as somewhat pathetic, but as an industry we still seek the get-out-of-jail card, which is in the deck right beside Marvin Place. These are both hard to get, kiddes.

    So's, we's takes our chances, the "buyer" gets his desired home, the retailer/park owner gets a down-payment, resident, a stream of income and everyone lives happily after, until "innocent buyer" defaults and Illegal Aid gets involved, and reports the non-compliance to the massive Inadequate Buyer Protective Society. Then, the soggy brown stuff could hit the fan with the strong arm of The Man going full force against TrailerBoy. Ouch!

    Can or will that happen? Well, yes it can, but will it? My 40 year experience with destructive retailer fraud on buyers was that it was little noticed by the authorities, it had to be BIG.

    It remains to be seen whether we now will be dealing with Col. Klink or Buford T. Justice on non-compliance with this panoply of laws. For the sake of the MH self-admitted "misdirected," lets hope Klinky is still doing reruns and too busy to notice the industry's escape attempts.

    But if it turns out these Alphabet Laws are actually enforced by Henrich Himmler's heirs, I'm not sure it is wise to be "non-compliant." Sometimes you have to admit the cards dealt are a very bad hand. It seems that way for MH and the spate of new lending laws.

    I know one park owner who simply rents the home to the buyer for three years or until early default, which ever comes first. Once the buyer demonstrates a pattern of payments, he conveys the home, takes a promissory note not secured by the home, and hasn't found a big difference over his past experience with home sale with mortgage, etc. But he sleeps well knowing he might get his azz rumpled by the  borrower in this process, (so what is new?) but says at least at night he can sleep without the overhang of Att'y Gen Eric Holder visiting him for non-compliance.

    Holder can bring those Philly Bad Guys from the voting place with their iron pipes to assure compliance. There is a true, Ouch! ##

    marty-lavin-posted-on-mhpronews(2).jpgMARTIN V. (Marty) LAVIN
    attorney, consultant & expert witness
    Practice only in factory built housing
    350 Main Street  Suite 100
    BURLINGTON, VT 05401-3413
    802-238-7777 cell  802-660-8888 office
    Forget what people are saying, especially politicians. Instead, watch what is happening.” – Marty Lavin

     

    Editor's Note: Marty's column is in response to these keenly read, linked articles:

    Publisher Tony Kovach will plan a comment on this topic on the Masthead blog, to be published later on 8.21.2013

    Leading the Charge: The Back Story on S. 3484

    August 8th, 2012 No comments

    tim-williams-ohio-manufactured-home-association-mhpronewsWhen you get a key piece of federal legislation sponsored in the U.S. Sentate, how does that happen? We asked Tim Williams to answer that question, and here is what he told us in his own words.

    “First and foremost Nathan Smith is the game changer (with the credibility and relationship) who advocated and led the industry effort with the assistance of MHI. Nathan, myself, Tim Williams of 21st and MHI’s Jason Boehlert as well as several other MHI key finance members initially met with Senator Brown in January regarding the industry’s concerns with Dodd/Frank. Nathan did a great job debriefing the Senator and his staff on the issue and encouraging  legislative consideration. It was clear Senator Brown had a good understanding and sincere interest in the issue and our industry even before the meeting started.

    I was able to discuss Ohio’s strong MH Commission’s role in consumer protection under the industry led independent Ohio MH Commission (6 of 9 commissioners must be appointed per a list nominated by OMHA per Ohio  law). Senator Brown was very interested in the industry, our consumer and their protections under the Ohio Commission including the fact that 100% of all homes are inspected during three critical phases of the  installation process in Ohio. He asked many questions regarding Ohio law, demographics and industry businesses as well as the jobs aspect of our economic impact in Ohio and nationally. He was clearly engaged with us on the issue.

    Tim Williams of 21st was able to succinctly condense a rather complicated issue in to an understandable dynamic all could grasp and wrap our heads around. Tim’s ability to take the issue down to its basic components was very helpful in demonstrating the practical  challenges facing the ability to finance Ohioans in to affordable manufactured home ownership. I am very appreciative of Tim and 21st Mortgage's leadership on the Dood/Frank  concerns and believe his impact on the legislative aspect of all of this is probably underestimated but nonetheless critical to our success.

    I personally appreciate the effort Senator Brown demonstrated in understanding our industry and concerns as well as to brief us on the legislative dynamics of the issue. I encourage all industry members to thank Senator Brown and express support to his office in any appropriate manner.  He stood up for our consumers and industry on a challenging issue regardless of the pressures he faces in an election year.

    tim-williams-ohio-manufactured-home-association-mhpronewsTim Williams
     Executive Vice President
     Ohio Manufactured Homes Association
    twilliams@omha-usa.org
     O:614-799-2340
     F:614-799-0616

    It is Time to Stand Up and Be Counted

    July 20th, 2010 No comments

    By Ken Rishel

    Anyone familiar with the Captive Finance Newsletter knows I have very little faith in any government backed chattel finance program coming to fruition or, if it does, being the answer to the manufactured housing industry’s prayers. If it happens, it will only double the current sales volume and that is not enough. However, it is worth some effort to try to make it happen because doubling industry sales is an important thing, even if it isn’t the whole answer. While I still believe that owner assisted financing is the real answer, I am asking you to join me in a last ditch effort to help MHI in their efforts to make this thing work.

    For those of you who don’t know, MHI made a plea last week at their Summer Meeting in Washington DC for industry members to email the government and their Congressmen and Senators asking FHFA to not ignore their duty to serve. Greg O’ Berry of Hometown America went even farther and suggested both at the MHI meeting and in this ezine that community owners and operators ask their residents to also email everyone explaining that the value of their investments in their homes would be adversely affected if government backed chattel financing did not come to fruition.

    Because I am skeptical about this program ever emerging and because I am so focused on more complete solutions, I have not lifted a finger to help. I have however, come to realize that is the wrong attitude. Nothing is ever won by people finding fault, or not trying to make something work, and I now do not want to feel as if I did nothing when something could make a difference. This manufactured housing industry is something special, and all of us owe it more than we can ever repay. We just need to realize it, and pay up in some measure. I know that, because that is what has kept me running 16 hours a day while being called a fear merchant for the last several years, when I could have been on a beach in Hawaii watching my wife learn the Hula. I know it, but I didn’t act on it when it came to this issue. I am ashamed of my lack of action. To those of you who have already gotten involved, I apologize for my lack of action.

    Perhaps it was Greg’s impassioned plea, but it struck me that all of us in this industry, no matter how cynical, could at least stand up and be counted on this issue. As a result, I am emailing everyone that makes sense tonight ( FHFA, Congressmen, and Senators) after I finish this article to you. My question is, “What are you going to do”? Will you make the same effort after reading this? Will you reach out to others and persuade them to do the same? If you are a community owner, operator, or manager, will you follow Greg’s lead and ask your residents to do the same? Will you stand up and be counted?

    Ken Rishel of Precision Capital Funding is a leading expert in chattel financing of manufactured homes and in starting and running owner assisted finance operations. His organization was named MHI’s Service Supplier of the Year for 2010, and he authors and publishes the Chattel Finance Newsletter which goes out to over 9,000 people on a monthly basis.

    MHARR Washington Update 1/27/10

    January 28th, 2010 No comments

    Posted by Danny Ghorbani – MHARR

    Sprinkler Mish-Mash Designed to Mislead Industry
    HUD Takes Shot at Industry, Consumers and Defies Congress
    Unexplained Delays Continue on Financing – Suspicion Grows

    Sprinkler Mish-Mash Designed to Mislead Industry

    Grassroots industry concern over the erosion of federal preemption is wellfounded, as a combination of HUD regulators, industry enablers and research consultants continue to press yet another backroom “deal” — this time on fire sprinklers. This is another example of the type of ill-advised industry “compromise” on key issues – while most grassroots industry members are kept in the dark or provided misleading information – that has devastated the industry in Washington, D.C.

    Read more…