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CFED’s Doug Ryan Sounds off on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Report on Manufactured Housing and MH Financing

October 4th, 2014 No comments

cfed-logo-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-com-.gifThe CFPB report supports what CFED and other nonprofit organizations have said in recent years:  Manufactured Home loan borrowers are vulnerable to expensive products and are often not well-served by the current financing market due to the lack of competition, lack of liquidity and the costs of the loans.

I have no doubt, as the Bureau reported, that many borrowers of chattel products could have qualified for traditional, less expensive mortgages but did not get the chance simply because they were not offered or made aware of the options. Indeed, one clear way to address this issue would be for industry to support titling reform that would give families the option to title their homes as real estate and the opportunity to access real estate loans.

The report supports, quite explicitly, the need for the Bureau’s current rules to remain in place and enforced. As the Bureau wrote, “the manufactured housing borrowers being charged interest rates or upfront fees above the HOEPA thresholds are the very populations that HOEPA is designed to protect."

I also believe that this report, and related efforts by industry and CFED and its nonprofit partners, offers an opportunity to develop new loan products, expand the pool of lenders and, ultimately, lower the costs of borrowing.

CFED absolutely believes manufactured housing must be part of the affordable housing solution in communities across the US. Far too many advocates and policy makers are unaware of the quality and aesthetic appeal of manufactured homes. There is no doubt industry has made great strides to modernize the energy efficiency, the design and the value of the homes. Quite simply, the CFPB’s report underscores the need for the financing to be modernized, as well. ##

doug-ryan-cfed-posted-manufactured-home-living-news-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-

Doug Ryan
CFED
dryan@cfed.org

 

 

Related Links:

1) – MHI's Response to CFPB's Report (Note, the MHI link includes the full CFPB report as a free download)

2) – MHARR's Response to RV legislation and CFPB's Report on Manufactured Housing

3) – CFPB Report on Manufactured Housing Signals Areas of Future Concern

4) – Manufactured Housing Institute Responds to Doug Ryan-CFED commentary on CFPB report on Manufactured Housing Finance

(Image credit: Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED logo.)

(Editor's Note: As with any opinion column, the views expressed by Mr. Ryan are his own and/or those of the organization he works for, and should not be construed to be the views of MHProNews or our sponsors. Other viewpoints on this or other industry topics are encouraged.

MHProNews plans an Industry in Focus Report using extensive comments from a range of industry professionals on this topic. Watch for it mid-week at the news/reports module link above!)

MHI 2013 Annual Meeting Recap

October 10th, 2013 No comments

IMHA Executive Director Mark Bowersox attended the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) annual meeting held September 28 – October 1 in Carlsbad, CA. As with most recent industry meetings, speakers and conversations at the event were focused on the impact of the Dodd-Frank consumer protection legislation and reforming the CFPB’s upcoming regulations. MHI and other industry representatives continue to work with the CFBP on three key areas:

Exemption for manufactured housing appraisal requirements

Based on the most recent rules issued by the CFPB loans on all new manufactured homes, regardless of whether or not they included land, are exempt from the appraisal requirement. Loans on existing manufactured homes, not including land, are also exempt from the appraisal requirements. Additionally, all mobile homes (pre-HUD code) home loans are exempt. The CFPB’s rule solidifying these exemptions is still pending. When finalized the rule will go into effect in January.

Key rule clarifications and exclusions

Loan originator compensation guidelines issued by the CFPB this summer provide the industry with key exclusions from the points and fees calculation that lenders must perform and clarifies certain activities that retail sales staff can engage in without being defined as loan originators.

Manufactured home sales price is excluded from the points and fees definition and does not have to be included in calculations performed by lenders unless a creditor has knowledge that the sales price includes compensation for loan origination activities.

 

Retail sales commissions paid to employees is excluded from points and fees calculation requirements unless the salesperson is receiving compensation from a lender for loan origination activities.

According to MHI, activities that do not classify a retailer or its sales personnel as loan originators include:

  • Providing or making available general information about creditors and loan originators that may offer financing for manufactured housing
  • Gathering or collecting supporting information or documentation on behalf of a consumer for inclusion in a credit application
  • Providing general credit application instructions so that a consumer can complete it themselves
  • Financing the sale of no more than three homes in a year.

Activities that will make a retail employee be considered a loan originator include:

  • Filling out a credit application for a customer
  • Discussing particular credit terms with a customer
  • Directing or influencing a customer to select a particular lender or creditor

MHI continues to seek from the CFPB to provide further clarification on what activities retailers can engage in without being defined as loan originators.

MHI is still working with the CFPB and various consumer interest groups on the need to revise the upcoming High Cost Mortgage Loan triggers for manufactured home loans. IMHA will continue to be engaged on this issue, along with MHI and other interested parties. ##

mark-bowersox-imha-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews.com-75x75pxl-.pngMark Bowersox
Executive Director
Indiana Manufactured Housing Association
Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council
3210 Rand Road
Indianapolis, IN  46241

(Editor's Note: You can find more info on the LO Comp Rule and HOEPA from DJ Pendelton's article published in the Industry In Focus Reports module, linked here.

 

You can also find Mark Bowersox's “It's Now or Never” featured article, linked here. )

Into the Great Green North

January 25th, 2011 1 comment

A Conversation with Kathleen Maynard, CMHI

CMHI logoUnlike the manufactured housing industry in the United States, the market for manufactured homes in Canada remains rather prosperous by comparison. A Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute (CMHI) report for the 3rd quarter of 2010 shows some 3,608 factory-built single-family homes were started in the third quarter, representing a 17 percent improvement over the same period in 2009; and that factory-built units have started to improve as a share of total single- family housing starts. In raw numbers, that may not immediately impress, but consider the population variation. The population of Canada is approximately 33,700,000, compared to some 307,000,000 in the U.S.

The healthy market has attracted a number of U.S. companies to become certified to do business in Canada where communities are being updated and renovated. There are also important distinctions in the market that some credit with the success of the industry in our northern neighbor.

The third-quarter report also showed a surge in imports of manufactured buildings, and weak exports resulted in Canada registering a trade deficit of manufactured buildings, its first since the fourth quarter of 2008. The report indicates that although the U.S. still accounts for the majority of exports of manufactured buildings, demand should continue to waver as the housing market in the U.S. remains depressed.

Kathleen Maynard, Executive Director and CEO of the Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute, spoke with MHMSM.com about some of the differences between the market and regulatory environment in the U.S. and Canada.

A major difference, and one that has kept the market strong and attracted U.S. companies, is the fact that chattel loan financing is for the most part readily available in Canada.

Maynard explains the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation provides chattel loan insurance for manufactured homes when land is not involved.

“If you’re putting a home into a land-lease community without purchasing the land, then they provide the insurance to facilitate those sales,” Maynard says. “It’s required you need to get mortgage insurance with less than 25 percent down payment. CMHI provides that.”

A five percent down payment requirement is typical in Canada. The maximum amortization period on chattel loans is 25 years. Effective March 18, the maximum period is 30 years for other mortgage loans. Maynard says other features of the two types of loans are consistent. Default rates on chattel loans are not available.

Perhaps most notable is that Maynard says there is typically appreciation on homes purchased with chattel loans in Canada.

“There would be a comparison made of recent purchase prices of similar homes in the area, and factors such as improvements and retrofits made would be taken into account,” she says.

While manufactured homes in the United States are somewhat distinct from other forms of both factory-built and site-built housing because they follow federal manufacturing and safety standards, Maynard explains there is no equivalent to the HUD Code in Canada.

“There’s no across-the-board federal standard,” Maynard explains. “Anything produced in the factory has to meet the same requirements.” In some ways, she says, it may be easier to have factory-built housing installed in Canada. All factory-built housing must meet standards set by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

That’s not to say local building officials aren’t able to at times restrict the placement of manufactured housing. Local building officials do have the authority over technical requirements.

For example, Maynard says some local jurisdictions don’t approve homes built to something known as the Z240 standard, which she says is the closest thing Canada has to the HUD Code.

“If it’s just built to CSA Z240, they may not approve it,” she says, explaining that that standard has recently been updated to mirror the national building code, which is voluntarily adopted by Canada’s provinces.

Zoning issues can also prevent placement of manufactured homes in Canada, but that, she says, is largely due to issues surrounding terminology and outdated regulations. These issues are particularly acute in the province of Alberta.

This is not to suggest the grass is always greener across the northern border. The industry has had its ups and downs in recent years. Maynard says while 2008 was generally a very good year for the industry, 2009 was terrible, and while 2010 started off strong, there was a bit of a decrease in the second half.

“Most economists are projecting deceleration for 2011, but not a complete collapse or anything; just a downturn in keeping with demographic requirements,” Maynard says. “Prior to economic meltdown, we were producing at levels above what was projected by demographic requirements. Particular markets were very hot. What they’re saying now is a return to normal. 2009 was below normal. 2010 and 2011 are stabilizing.

Regionally, Maynard says Quebec and Ontario did better in 2010 than 2009 and activity in British Columbia is on the rise, but Alberta is “not as hot as it used to be.”

“There was a huge boom in Alberta and Saskatchewan in ’06, ’07 and ’08,” Maynard says. “It’s not as hot as it was, but still good there. No market is experiencing a huge boom.”

Maynard says “the landlease community option has been more attractive to first-time buyers looking for lower cost, or seniors who want to free-up equity and spend half the year in Florida. Typically the industry has looked to those consumer segments.”

While manufactured housing typically makes up ten percent of single-family housing starts in Canada, Maynard says, as for over-all starts, multi-family is accelerating faster than single-family.

“It could be due to housing costs, aging population, all sorts of things,” she says.

While the hottest industry topics in the United States seem to center around financing and regulation, the most talked about issues in Canada are an aging population and how that affects the number of sales and type of units and how design might be affected, a shortage of skilled labor and the use of social media.

“The shortage of labor is in a way a result of aging population,” Maynard says. “The average age of a brick layer is something like 68. There are a range of federal and provincial programs trying to deal with that.” For example, she says the ideas of additional apprenticeship certifications and allowing apprentices to move across provinces are being explored.

Maynard says the aging population is resulting in more multi-generational households, so demand for homes with two master suites, as an example, is on the rise.

The biggest difference, Maynard says, between the industries in Canada and the United States is the distinction made between manufactured and factory-built housing in the U.S. That distinction isn’t made in Canada and may be the reason why what is called manufactured housing doesn’t have much of a stigma across the northern border.

“There has been a lot of positive press (in Canada) with improvements in design and green technology and with manufactured housing being an environmental choice,” Maynard says. “There’s interest in the architect and design community. Developers and planners are seeing it as a good green choice.

“We talk more about factory-based construction,” she says. “That’s been a way to address the stigma. That was a concern for many years. There’s more of a recognition that with certification and quality control, waste-management and protection from the weather, the benefits are more recognized.”

An MHMSM.com INdustry In Focus Interview Report with the Honorable Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC3)

July 21st, 2010 6 comments
Eric Miller Industry in Focus Reports

by Eric Miller with L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach for MHMSM.com

MHMSM: Congressman Jones, we want to thank you for taking this opportunity to share your views on Manufactured Housing Industry related issues with us. Tony had a good time talking with you last week at the MHI Industry Reception in Washington, DC.

WJ: Thank you. I enjoyed it myself and I am delighted to talk to you and have this opportunity. I think you know I’ve been asked to co-sponsor the licensing clarification act and I am now a co-sponsor.

MHMSM: How important is the manufactured housing industry in terms of employment and providing affordable housing to North Carolina and the country in general?

Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC-3) PhotoWJ: I have always felt that affordable housing is important to almost any area. Because people work hard to make a living, we certainly want them to have the opportunity to have adequate and appealing housing. It’s been one of my beliefs for years and years, long before I came to Congress. To me, if a family or an individual desires to have their own home, I think the availability is what’s important.

As we discussed last week at the reception, unemployment is a grave concern. As we have more and more unemployment, it’s impacting the industry as well. By creating the financial and other channels needed for prospective home buyers to purchase today’s quality manufactured housing, we can also create or sustain more employment for American workers. Each of these is important to North Carolina and to our Nation.

MHMSM: We are all interested in good government. The current situation with FHFA and the Duty to Serve provisions demonstrates how the intent of Congress can be hampered by regulators. The biggest problem in the manufactured housing industry today is a lack of reasonable retail financing, especially home-only financing which is about 60% of all Industry finance transactions. Congress passed the Duty to Serve provisions two years ago, but many in the industry say they’ve not been properly implemented, and personal property financing is still largely unavailable. What can we or the Congress do to get the FHFA and the GSE’s to provide home-only financing to help make affordable manufactured homes accessible?

WJ: When I met with a representative of MHI last week, he brought such issues to my attention; that’s why I went onto [Congressman] Joe Donnelly’s bill, because whenever Congress passes laws where agencies institute regulations, many times there are unintended consequences. As a legislator, what you are seeking is to try to help a given situation. As it was brought to my attention, here we are with a multitude of regulations that at this point aren’t carrying forward the intent of the Congress.

I was at Clayton Homes center a few weeks ago with an effort by their Mr. Fox to sign a banner to send over to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, something he’s done for at least the last five years. When I was there, I overheard a family who had walked up to sign the banner. But they also said to Mr. Fox, “We really appreciate our home, thank you for helping us finance our home.” In some situations, the way the SAFE Act is being viewed at present, the salesman on the sales lot cannot recommend a financial institution that the family can go to and borrow money to purchase a manufactured home. That is cumbersome for everyone involved, starting with that prospective customer. We need to clarify that with the regulators, because it wasn’t the intent of the SAFE Act law.

Well, as I knew before I came to Congress, not all the financial institutions are into loaning money for manufactured homes. The way I look at this, I know I see the growth and development in the manufactured homes industry and how these homes today are not what they were even 20 years ago. They are quality homes now and homes I would be glad to live in if that were my choice. I know that the respect for manufactured homes is at a whole different level than it was years ago. Financing and regulations should reflect that new reality of the quality of today’s manufactured home.

MHMSM: In another example, Congress with good intent passed the SAFE Act, but this is another piece of legislation that observers say that once it got into the hands of regulators, has had serious unintended consequences. The SAFE Act was designed primarily for the conventional housing and the mortgage industry, but regulators have been interpreting it to apply to manufactured housing. That puts a heavy strain on small mom-and-pop-size businesses, but also larger firms as well. Industry lenders are facing huge costs of compliance. The HR 5369 amendment would exempt MH sales people and community managers from the provisions of the Act. What do you think we can do to move this ahead through the Congress?

WJ: I’m on the bill now. I think you’ve got to educate and go back to States and business leaders. To me, this is of great interest to the person who owns the sales lot, but should also be of interest to local chambers because there are many people who desire to own a manufactured home. I think education back home in the States where we have these manufactured homes being sold is an important step. They need to educate the people to the fact there is a bill to clarify the meaning of the SAFE Act, which I think is very important and that is to bring the freedom to communicate, to sell. To muzzle sales people or a community manager under the guise of the SAFE Act was never the idea behind that law. HR 5369 can help address that issue.

MHMSM: Danny Ghorbani, who heads up the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) said that Congress “loves the manufactured housing industry.” He also said that Congress has given us these great pieces of legislation such as the MH Improvement Act of 2000, FHA Title I reform and the Duty to Serve underserved markets. Does Congress need to hold hearings with regulators to help implement these good laws as intended?

WJ: Sometimes members of a committee and particularly members of an oversight committee have the authority to hold hearings to see if a law can be implemented as it was intended by Congress. Sometimes it can be helpful. I think again, in this case, that educating the people in the federal government or in a State to understand that these rules and regulations come from legislation. Too many times they need to be reviewed for the reasons you noted. It always helps to review and make sure a law is implemented as intended. A lot of times, it’s a matter of a member of Congress writing to a regulatory agency asking how they implemented the law. It doesn’t have to be a committee holding hearings to get attention. I’ve been part of a number of members of Congress writing letters to regulatory agencies asking how they are interpreting the law. You don’t get a quick answer, but you get an answer. They go to their legal staff to help them respond so it will be accurate.

MHMSM: Are there any additional parting thoughts you would like to share?

WJ: Be involved. The world we live in today is so different. Whether its manufactured homes or not, I would say to any industry or members of the community, be involved. Residents of manufactured homes are very active in the community and they should let their interests be known. Really, I think that’s the reason the manufactured homes industry has evolved into the respect it has earned. Because you are providing a quality home for people. That’s what makes the difference in the Federal legislature and the State legislatures. When you have arrived at this current level of quality and appeal, and you have earned the respect by providing a quality product, then that changes the whole debate.

EM: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

TK: Congressman, I just wanted to personally thank you. You’ve made some excellent talking points. Once we finish putting the interview together, we’ll make sure your office has a copy and I hope that you’d be open to doing this with us again sometime in the future.

WJ: I’ve enjoyed it, thank you very much; and I have a great appreciation for your industry, I really do.

TK: I can sense that and I had a fantastic time chatting with you at the reception.

WJ: Thanks for that, too.

TK: You’re one-of-a-kind and just God bless you, sir.

WJ: God bless you, too, both of you, and may God continue to bless America; we sure need His love.

TK: Amen to that, sir.

WJ: God bless.

EM: Bye-bye.