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Posts Tagged ‘President/CEO 21st Mortgage Corp’

About Responding to PBS Newshours ‘Bad Bargain’ report by Stephen Fee

January 15th, 2016 No comments

Many of our friends in the industry, including my friend Tony at MHLivingNews, have questioned why MHI hasn’t made a strong rebuttal response to the PBS story.

There are good arguments that we should respond to every story, refute every statistic, and make our case to the public.  Certainly we can make the case that the PBS story was not fair and balanced reporting.  Just one example is the interview with Dick Ernst.  Dick spent several hours with PBS representing our industry as an official spokesman.  The reporter had about one hour of taped interview with Dick and used only 45 seconds of that interview.  

We can also make a case to counter the segment addressing manufactured home site rent increase.  No one from MHI was asked to comment on the segment and the allegation that consumers become trapped in their homes.  The reporter did not make any effort to understand the cost of operating a manufactured home community and why those costs must be passed on to the tenants, even though MHI provided ample evidence and information to assist the reporter in his research.  

The reporter did not attempt to compare site rent increases to apartment rent increases.  Just last week, the Wall Street Journal ran a Section C front page story about apartment rent increases.  The annual rate of rent increases has averaged 3.93% over the last 4 years.  This is a greater rate of increase than cited for lot rent in the PBS story where leader/actor Ms. Burr was complaining about her site rent increasing just over 3% per year.  

So why not respond with our good facts?

TimWilliamsMediaRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

This graphic and the headline were provided by MHProNews, as is customary in many media operations.

The PBS story ran on a date where everyone was busy with the holidays and very few people saw the story.  The last thing we want to do is bring more attention to a negative story about our industry.

The other problem with responding is the selective nature of what the press will print when you know they have an agenda.  If we submit the above paragraph where I acknowledge Ms. Burr’s site rent increases on average more than 3% per year, what do you think PBS will print?  The risk is that they leave out the comparison to apartment rents that increase nearly 4% per year and print our acknowledgment that manufactured housing community site rents increase over 3% per year as they repeat their assertion that manufactured homes depreciate and residents become trapped in their homes.  

I understand the argument that we must work harder to tell our story and emphasize the advantages of manufactured homes.  We have a good product and a good story to tell.  We don’t need to tell it to people with an agenda who will only tell half the story.  MHI has been focused on communicating positive messages about manufactured housing’s benefit. We are targeting media sources that will give us a fair hearing and policymakers in Washington.  This effort to drown out the negative media attention has been steadily increasing and we are pleased to have so many members willing to highlight the positive message of manufactured housing in this effort. We believe this is the right approach for the industry. Make no mistake, MHI issued a strong response to the PBS story by going straight to its producers.  This targeted approach has yielded the opportunity for MHI to receive fair airtime on that program at a future date, and we are currently exploring this opportunity.

Additionally, MHI President/CEO Dick Jennison is in the process of hiring a seasoned media relations professional.  This position was approved by the MHI Board for the position to begin in March 2016, but at the request of Dick Jennison, the MHI executive committee approved bring on this position as soon as the right person can be hired.  

It is the intent of MHI to broaden its public relations/communications focus to include positive consumer stories including testimonials on why people choose to live in and how they benefit from manufactured homes and living in our communities.##

tim-williams-CEO-President-21st-mortgage-corporation-currentManufacturedHousingInstituteChairman-IndustryVoices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-Tim Williams
President/CEO 21st Mortgage Corp.
MHI Chairman

 

 

(Editor’s Note: the link to the PBS story in the first paragraph was not in Tim Williams letter as submitted, rather, that link was provided so that those not readers not familiar with the PBS story could be up-to-speed on the issues he raises. You can see PBS video and the transcript, complete with the MHLivingNews response, at this link here. 

Addtionally, please note that the headline submitted by Tim Williams read, Responding to PBS. Traditionally in media, it is the editor who selects headlines, and we modified his as shown to make clear the issue being addressed, and frankly, for better SEO on this important topic.

Other perspectives on this or other issues facing MH are encouraged.)

The Importance and Value of Independent MH Trade Publications

November 24th, 2015 No comments

MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com are both good communications resources for the Manufactured Housing Industry. I and many others at 21st Mortgage and at MHI logon to see the latest news, interviews, debates, videos, opinions and reports they publish. Having a trade publisher that presents thoughtful, respectful commentary independent of any association’s perspective – as important as an association’s view can be – can be a big asset to advancing the MH Industry’s cause. Let me explain why.

There are times that publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach – or a writer or interviewed person on one of his trade media sites – will take a view different than that of a given association.  

Respectfully and thoughtfully done, that can lead to a healthy discussion. Such discussions are how industry members can learn from each other and grow.  We may agree or disagree, but a quality, candid and respectful discussion that clarifies issues has true value.

When MHI or another association finds Tony or one of his guest writer’s taking a view clearly supportive of an Industry association’s stated position, that should bring more confidence to all; precisely because they share an independent viewpoint. 

A “yes man” has limited value, while the thoughtful agreement or discussion from a variety of engaged players is all-the-more compelling and powerful.

At 21st Mortgage, we have access to a wide variety of resources that the independent business or professional in MH may lack. While anyone can gain value from their industry trade publications, independent business owners can gain valuable insight from the industry news, tips and views found on MHProNews and MHLivingNews.com. 

Tony is routinely at MHI meetings, and attends the briefings and sessions. He is engaged. When he says he supports HR 650/S 682, he walks the walk in word and deed. He has clearly supported the earlier versions of the bill and commented as such in his publications.

TimWilliamsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsGoodCommunicationsResourcesILogonLatestNewsBigAssetExplainWhyIndustryVoices

We all make mistakes. I know that Tony has corrected errors when they are brought to his attention. His publication accepts opinion articles or will share views in interviews that may differ from his own published position. My impression is that Tony isn’t looking for ‘an amen corner,’ rather, he wants a variety of views that get people to think, talk and take action. 

At times, MHI presents messages in ways differing or emphasizing one point over another than Tony’s publications. For example, Tony acknowledges that due to CFPB regulations, there is an impact on MH lending at $75,000, and states as much in videos and articles. On this we agree. He tells me his emphasis of the impact to MH on homes below $20,000 is because of feedback he gets from home sellers. While we are choosing to focus on two different segments of our borrowers, the overall message is still the same.  To rephrase, Tony’s publications and MHI are both correct on this issue. There is no daylight, just a difference in delivery.

I’m happy to commend Tony and his team members for the important work they do to advocate for our MH industry. Perhaps one of the more useful points that can be made about their value is that others in the mainstream media and in government have cited Tony, MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com, and/or have shared his pro-industry take on a wide range of MH related subjects. They’ve done positive and profitable work promoting the MH industry, events, products and services.

We hope his team continues their years of efforts to provide a balanced and useful source of info on MH. Their growth and success are good news for our MH Industry. ##

tim-williams-CEO-President-21st-mortgage-corporation-currentManufacturedHousingInstituteChairman-IndustryVoices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-Tim Williams
President/CEO 21st Mortgage Corp.
MHI Chairman.