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CFPB Report on Manufactured Housing Signals Areas of Future Concern

October 6th, 2014 No comments

On Tuesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) released a white paper summarizing their research on the manufactured housing industry. The Bureau relied upon information compiled by various surveys, data available pursuant to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (“HMDA”), and voluntary submissions of information by institutions in the manufactured housing industry. Although the CFPB acknowledges that they are still seeking additional information on the industry, the report, among other things, provides a detailed description of the manufactured housing market, the demographics of consumers who reside in manufactured homes, and the impact of the current regulatory climate on the industry.

The CFPB also developed seven “key findings” from this research, many of which likely will come as no surprise to those actively involved in the manufactured housing industry. For example, the Bureau explains that manufactured homes are more likely to be located in non-metropolitan areas than site-built homes, and that manufactured homes typically cost less than site-built homes. These types of findings lead the Bureau to conclude that the industry is “an important source of affordable housing, in particular for rural and low-income consumers.” On the other hand, however, they believe that “these same groups include consumers that may be considered more financially vulnerable and, thus, may particularly stand to benefit from strong consumer protections.”

With respect to the specific protections that may be necessary, the CFPB declines to make any conclusions and, in fact, leaves certain questions open for further research. For example, the white paper describes how consumers in the manufactured housing industry can either utilize real-property financing or chattel financing, and explains some of the short-term and long-term trade-offs that exist between the two options. However, it appears that the Bureau is concerned with, and wants more information on, “[t]he extent to which consumers are aware of these trade-offs and how consumers weigh them.” This information indicates that the CFPB will pay particular attention to whether or not borrowers are adequately informed about the trade-offs associated with pursuing chattel financing instead of real-property financing.

The report does acknowledge that some of the title XIV Dodd-Frank Act amendments, including those made to the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (“HOEPA”) and the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), expand protections for consumers in the manufactured housing market. They also briefly describe the actual and theoretical impacts of these laws and the underlying regulations. For example, they admit the possibility that additional disclosure requirements and other burdens could increase the cost of extending credit to consumers seeking financing for a manufactured home. Prior to the rules being finalized, the CFPB received comments expressing concern that the proposed HOEPA high-cost thresholds would disproportionately impact small-balance loans that are often used to purchase manufactured housing. Many in the industry believe that these standards, which have been in effect since January 2014, are in fact reducing the availability of credit in the manufactured housing market because these loans are now classified as high-cost.

Similarly, the new Loan Originator Compensation (“LO Comp”) rules in TILA may also be increasing the consumer’s cost of obtaining credit for a manufactured home. Unlike realtors, manufactured housing retailers are not exempt from the LO Comp rules. In order to avoid being considered a loan originator, and to avoid having to go through an expensive licensing process, manufactured housing retailers are often not referring potential borrowers to specific creditors that they know are willing to extend financing for a manufactured home. This has resulted in consumers being left unaware of which creditors are willing to extend credit and the requirements each creditor has for approving a loan. Consumers, therefore, are submitting more applications and, because of the lack of important information, are more frequently being needlessly denied.

Despite acknowledging that the manufactured housing industry still has concerns about the impact of the CFPB’s new rules, the Bureau declines to accept that the rules have adversely impacted the market. Instead, they “will continue to monitor the effect of [their] rules on the manufactured housing industry and on consumers who purchase or seek to purchase manufactured homes.” In the meantime, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, which would address at least some of these concerns, remains in Congress.

If nothing else, this white paper should serve as a warning that the CFPB has taken an interest in the manufactured housing industry. The Bureau is continuing to monitor the impacts of the new mortgage rules on the manufactured housing market, which could signal that the Bureau may be open to making adjustments to the rules that would reduce burdens on creditors and lower the cost of credit for consumers. However, they have also tipped their hand to at least one area of ongoing concern. Creditors originating chattel mortgages should pay particular attention to the amount, and types, of information that is being provided to borrowers and should ensure that they are fully informed of their financing options and the costs and benefits associated with each.

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Republished with permission. This article first appeared in Financial Services Litigation & Regulatory Compliance Alert, a publication of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP.

About the Authors:

Jonathan_R_Kolodziej-jd-bradley-arant-boult-cummings-llp-posted-industry-in-focus-mhpronews-com-75x75-Jonathan R. Kolodziej, JD, is an associate in the Birmingham office where he is a member of the firm’s Financial Services Litigation and Compliance Team. His regulatory compliance practice involves assisting some of the nation’s largest financial institutions and mortgage companies as they implement, and demonstrate compliance with, various obligations imposed on them by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and state banking regulators.

bill-matchneer-jd-formerly-hud-cfpb-now=bradley-arant-boult-cummings-llp-posted-industry-in-focus-mhpronews-com-75x75-

William “Bill” W. Matchneer, JD, recently joined the Washington DC office as senior counsel. He retired from the CFPB in February, where he had been one of the team leads for the regulations implementing the Dodd-Frank mortgage requirements. He previously spent ten years at HUD as manager of the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Manufactured Housing and Senior Counsel for Regulatory Enforcement.

 

Related Links:

1) – MHI's Response to CFPB's Report  (Editor's 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) – CFED's Doug Ryan sounds off on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Report on Manufactured Housing and MH Financing

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

(Editor's Note:  The views expressed by Messrs. Kolodziej and Matchneer are their own and/or those of the organization they work 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. )

Manufactured Housing Institute and Consumer Groups Urge CFPB to Change Loan Originator Guidelines; Support Builds for H.R. 1779

September 15th, 2013 No comments

In a communiqué to MHProNews, MHI's Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Jason Boehlert shared the following report to Industry members.

MHI and Consumer Groups Partner to Revise CFPB Rules

On September 5th, MHI joined with a coalition of consumer advocacy organizations, including the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), to jointly urge the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to amend key mortgage finance rules and preserve access to credit in the manufactured housing market.

Since May, key MHI members and staff have been working with representatives of these three consumer groups to develop a compromise on rules related to loan originator compensation and classification, and HOEPA High-Cost Mortgage triggers – issues that are addressed in the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (H.R. 1779).

manufactured-housing-institute-logo-posted-mhpronews-industry-voices=guest=blog

Negotiations have been taking place through the assistance and participation of majority and minority staff of the House Financial Services Committee and Senator Sherrod Brown, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

As a result of the negotiations, MHI and the three consumer organizations have agreed to jointly ask the CFPB to clarify and amend its rules in two key areas:

Loan Originator Compensation — for purposes of classifying a manufactured home retail salesperson as a Loan Originator, urge the CFPB to better clarify that as long as no incentive is provided or offered by the retailer or the lender to the individual salesperson to steer the consumer to a certain lender or loan product, then the salesperson should not be considered a Loan Originator.

While the CFPB has issued recent rules removing the manufactured home sales price and any sales commission paid to a sales person from points and fees calculations, an individual salesperson can still be classified as a Loan Originator by performing certain activities (i.e., taking an application, and referring a consumer to a lender). This activity would then classify the retailer as a mortgage broker. Both designations carry significant requirements and liabilities, most notably supervision by the CFPB.

HOEPA High-Cost Mortgage Triggers — consumer organizations have agreed to join with MHI in urging the CFPB to reopen its previous final rule on HOEPA. As a result of the significant dialogue that has taken place between the two sides, the consumer organizations have agreed that a significant reduction in access to credit would result in January 2014 (when the rule goes into effect) for the manufactured housing market unless the CFPB modifies the High-Cost Mortgage triggers. While the two sides have not agreed to a specific number, the willingness of the groups to push for the CFPB to reconsider their prior rulemaking is significant.

MHI and the consumer organizations will continue to meet with the CFPB on a joint basis in September on HOEPA issues. Pursuing a strategy of engagement with consumer groups provides the industry the opportunity to underscore the broad impact of CFPB rulemaking on consumers and the industry. In addition, it will provide a more rapid resolution of the industry’s concern when compared to a potentially protracted legislative battle over reopening the Dodd-Frank Act.

However, it is important to note that as the industry gains ground with the CFPB and the consumer groups, Congressional support for the H.R. 1779 continues to build.

Co-Sponsors to H.R. 1779 Grow

During the month-long Congressional recess, more than 20 U.S. Representatives added their names as co-sponsors to H.R. 1779. Currently, nearly 70 Representatives have co-sponsored the measure and support continues to grow. MHI thanks its members and the national network of state associations for their hard work in urging Representatives to co-sponsor this important legislation (to view a current list of co-sponsors, click here).

As has been previously mentioned, provisions of H.R. 1779 were included in GSE reform legislation (PATH Act; H.R. 2767) that was approved by the House Financial Services Committee and MHI staff continues to work with committee staff to seek an opportunity to move the legislation separately.

While the CFPB has provided some key relief in recent rulemakings to the manufactured housing industry – with respect to appraisals and the calculations of points and fees – work still remains to be done to amend HOEPA triggers and the Loan Originator definition to better represent the needs of the manufactured housing market. Absent regulatory relief, statutory change is necessary.

The industry is asked to continue its outreach efforts to U.S. Representatives. Urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 1779. For more information, click here to access MHI’s action alert. ##

jason-boehlert-mhi-manufactuired-housing-pro=news-.pngJason Boehlert
Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)
Vice President of Government Affairs
1655 North Fort Meyer Drive
Suite 104
Arlington, VA 22209

MHI members can contact Jason Boehlert at jboehlert@mfghome.org or (703) 558-0660.

(Logo image credits to their respective organizations. Photo credit of Jason Boehlert, MHProNews.com)

(Editor's Note:  Consumer groups did NOT in fact get on board for HR 1779, as we editorially observed in this blog post here.) 

Action Alert: Don’t Let Lending for New Homes Dry Up on January 1, 2014!

June 12th, 2013 No comments

IN A NUTSHELL: If we do not get legislative changes this year, loans for home buyers could be EVEN LESS available afterJanuary 1, 2014.Yes, it can get even worse if we do nothing. Please help us by doing two things

1. Contact your Member of Congress to express your support for H.R. 1779 (information is below).

2. Please go to cosponsor.gov(http://cosponsor.gov/details/hr1779-113) and express your support for H.R. 1779 (you need to have a Facebook account use cosponsor.gov).

BACKGROUND: We have encouraged VAMMHA members and others who read this to contact members of their Congressional Delegation to ask them to cosponsor H.R. 1779. Members in the 5th District of Virginia are encouraged to contact Congressman Robert Hurt (who has already agreed to cosponsor the bill) to thank him for his support.

Here is what this issue is about: Reps. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Gary Miller (R-CA) have introduced thePreserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act(H.R. 1779).

The measure would amend provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that would otherwise curtail the availability of credit needed by those seeking to purchase manufactured housing if action isn't taken..

Specifically, the bill would revise the High-Cost Mortgage triggers for manufactured home loans, and make clarifications to the Loan Originator definition as it applies to manufactured home retailers and salespeople.

These two areas of the law—which are scheduled to become effective January 2014—would substantially reduce lender ability to originate manufactured home loans.

Assistance is needed from VAMMHA members and others within the manufactured housing industry, in contacting their Representatives to request they co-sponsor H.R 1779.

More details are available in thisdetailed issue brief/action alert.

Here is what we need: Please take a moment to contact your House member and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 1779.

To help you out,here is a sample letter that can be faxed or cut and pasted into an email to Congressional offices.

If you need to look up your Member of Congress, please click herehttp://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

IMPORTANT: Congressman Robert Hurt (5th Congressional District) has agreed to cosponsor this bill. So, if he is your Congressman, instead of using the sample letter, please contact him to thank him for his support.

The following resource information is also available:

Over the coming weeks, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate. Additional information will be provided at that time.

Please be sure to share with us any feedback you get from your Member of Congress. Thank you for all that you do to support the factory-built housing industry in Virginia.

tyler-craddock-executive-director-virginia-manufactured-and-modular-housing-associationTyler Craddock, Executive Director
Virginia Manufactured and Modular Housing Association
8413 Patterson Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23229
Office804.750.2500
Mobile804.980.1172
Fax804.741.3027
Emailtcraddock@vammha.org

What is the latest on SAFE ACT, DODD-FRANK, CFPB (Consumer Finance Protection Bureau) and as an MHC owner, should I care?

February 8th, 2012 No comments
It has been over three years now since the passage of the SAFE Act federally which mandated that states pass similar legislation meeting the minimum standards outlined by the federal legislation. States were given one year to draft and pass their legislation. All states did pass legislation but several were notified by HUD (Housing and Urban Development) that their legislation did not meet the minimum standards or provided more latitude or exemptions than were provided in the federal law and as a result the states had to amend or change their laws accordingly. It is extremely important to note that the federal law established the minimum standards and a few states incorporated more stringent standards such as requiring lenders to have a physical presence in their states. Lenders and state regulators are still sorting out these issues.
 
To further complicate the matter, HUD’s rule was a proposed rule….meaning that upon further review and comment it could change or provide states with an interpretation different than the proposed rule. This created a great deal of confusion at the state enforcement level and many states took the position that there would be no enforcement of the SAFE Act until the final rule was issued.
 
On June 20, 2011 approximately 30 days before all enforcement of SAFE was to be turned over to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, HUD issued the final rule!
 
The final rule did provide additional clarity on issues on what can and what cannot be done without triggering actions requiring licensing under the SAFE Act. Let’s look at what we found out.
 
It appears that retailers and community owners have a little bit more flexibility in their “interaction” with the borrower so long as:
 
  • They do not hold themselves out as a loan originator.
  • Limit their actions regarding the loan transaction itself and
  • do not receive any compensation or gain as a result of the credit transaction.
  • They can transmit a completed credit application (completed by the borrower) to prospective lenders.
  • They can provide payment examples for prospective borrowers.
  • They can share or show the borrower rate sheets from multiple lenders.
  • They can assist the lender in closing the loan transaction by showing the borrowers where to sign and then sending loan documents back to lender.
  • They cannot negotiate rates and terms of the loan.
  • They cannot receive compensation related to the loan transaction.
  • They cannot complete the loan application for the customer.
  • They cannot hold themselves out as a loan originator unless they have the requisite MLO license.
 
The final rule made clear that the federal law does not provide for any kind of de minimus exemption but strangely left it open for states to determine what was habitual or repetitive. This seems contradictory at best but Industry Associations such as the WMA and CMHA are working diligently to get a favorable interpretation with state regulators.
 
So let’s bring this forward to where we are today. We have the final rule; states regulators are meeting by conference call regularly so there is consistent and uniform interpretation and enforcement; and the CFPB is now technically operational since Richard Cordray has been appointed via a controversial 'recess appointment' by President Obama to be the Directory of CFPB. What this all means is that states will begin enforcing if they have not started already; the CFPB is the ultimate regulator at the national level and will also begin audit and enforcement of non-depository finance related entities such as mortgage servicers, payday lenders, and manufactured housing lenders!
 
What does this mean for community owners who have been providing the capital to make loans for prospective residents to live in their communities? It means you have to be licensed as a lender and your sales people have to stay within the “lines” outlined above to avoid having to be licensed as a Mortgage Loan Originator.
 
Or…you should investigate and consider using a TPSP (Third Party Service Provider) who can do all of the lending functions (receive the application from the customer; underwrite the loan in accordance with federal requirements, document the loan file; prepare loan documents; fund the loan and provide loan servicing on a direct basis with the borrower).
 
San Antonio Credit Union (SACU) has such a program in place. There are certainly other firms you may wish to contact to see if they offer anything comparable and under what conditions. SACU has a compliance department that daily reviews regulations coming from Washington and determines the impact of those regulations on their lending business.
 
So we have SAFE Act in place, now being enforced…don’t ignore it and think you can “fly under the radar”…it is not worth the risk. Fines can be $25,000 per incident, which means for those doing a volume of business, x number of 'incidents' from the federal regulators perspective may put a company in a world of hurt or out of business.
 
Dodd-Frank, the massive financial reform legislation for the most part has not kicked in yet but now that the CFPB is up and running you can expect a flurry of activity and new regulations that will have a profound effect on the way we do business. We already know the crucial areas to be concerned with. It can make sense to partner with some firm who knows and can provide the assistance and programs needed to continue doing what you do best…developing and managing great communities and affordable housing and attractive lifestyles for your residents. # #
 
 
By Dick Ernst,
President of Financial Marketing Associates, Inc.
rdehome@aol.com, 972-503-3201, or cell 214-335-2708.