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Doug Ryan, CFED, Manufactured Housing and Financing - What's Wrong, What's Right

  • Written by Soheyla Kovach

"What is wrong," said the brilliant G.K. Chesterton, "is that we don't ask what is right." Let's apply this principle to Doug Ryan, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) and the utter need for the quality affordable living millions could find in today's modern manufactured housing.


Doug Ryan, CFED point man on MH,

photo credit – CLTNetwork.

What's wrong is that millions of Americans are being denied their fair piece of the dream of home ownership.  They are being denied at times due to NIMBYites. We will define them as those who say they want affordable housing for people, only "Not In My Back Yard" (NIMBY).


Others are being denied their piece of the American Dream due to what some say are the good intentions gone awry of regulators, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). As Marty Lavin wisely points out in the video posted below, regulations alone are causing otherwise able people from owning a home of their own.  That's clearly wrong.

The CFPB's Richard Corday said to Senator Bob Corker, that it was not optimal for artificial regulatory thresholds to keep people in rental housing.JessMaxcyPresidentCMHI-sourceHillBlog-postedMastheadMHProNews-com--214x430  Director Cordray's admission is right, but what's wrong is that he's not changed polices the Dodd-Frank Act permits him to do to fix it with the stroke of a pen.

Doug Ryan and CFED are right to extol the virtues of manufactured homes.  I'd say that it's tactically wrong to suggest or stress that MH has value only for those who are the lower income or working class; we've done numerous video interviews with successful professionals who love manufactured home living.   The NIMBYites might be more persuaded by those successful folks who love their manufactured homes, than they are about the needs of the less financially able they claim to care about, but currently deny in practice.

Doug Ryan et al are wrong on the finance issues about MH too.  I'll refer again to finance expert Marty Lavin in the video interview on this page.

Doug Ryan, et al are right to promote that the FHFA via the GSEs implement the Duty to Serve (DTS) "home only" lending to manufactured homes.  But they are wrong to suggest a Hobson's Choice of supporting Duty to Serve only if MH lenders and businesses give up on passage of The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (HR 650), which passed the House by a wide margin with bi-partisan support; and the companion S 682, which looks like it may be part of an Omnibus appropriations bill in the Senate. 


What's right is that DTS has its own value to MH, but so does HR 650/S 682. The bill does nothing more than what Congressman Barney Frank and those who voted for the Dodd-Frank Act gave the CFPB authority to do on its own.  See the Frank letter, which was read into the congressional record, can be found on the page linked here and was first published on

What's wrong is that Ryan and some so-called non-profit consumer groups have mischaracterized the realities and goals of HR 650/S682 and manufactured home lending. What's right is that there ought to be a clear recognition that what Jan Hollingsworth's pro-consumer report revealed is the true reality of the impact of CFPB’s regulations.

What's wrong is that we're told by the federal government that the recently released HMDA data proves MH lending has been restricted by 5%, while driving up costs unnecessarily for MH lenders in a fashion that U.S. Bank and others cited as factors that drove them out of the MH loan space.  What's right is attorney and financing expert Lavin's point that bureaucrats are taking away the path previously used by millions to achieve home ownership.

LizRomanchek-ManufacturedHomeOwner-TheHillBlogcredit-postedMastheadMHProNews-com-What's right is that Ryan, CFED and all people of good will should stand together to get Richard Cordray to relent on his harmful regulations, and/or support the Senate passage of S 682, so that The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act becomes law.  The next right thing to do is to educate those NIMBYites that they’re part of the problem when they block access to quality affordable MH at the local level.

What's wrong is that enough people don't ask - and then do - what's right.

We outlined what’s wrong and cross referenced in depth on The Hill's Congress Blog, linked here,  what's wrong and what's right on these MH personal property lending issues. Doug Ryan has not tried to refute a single word of that analysis online anywhere we’ve seen.  Nor did Doug Ryan deny a single word in Jan Hollingsworth's original in depth report on this MH lending topic. On those two failures to deny or refute, Ryan's right.


What's right is that Doug Ryan et al shift gears and start to do what's consistent with the rest of their stated values about MH, by providing quality affordable living potentially for millions now stuck in the Renters' Nation.  MH is unsubsidized, so it's the right and smart policy to get the regulations out of the way that are keeping the MH Industry from serving more people, as Marty Lavin explains and underscores.

When Ryan and his peers get on board with fixing what's wrong with the current CFPB regulations and NIMBY, no one will applaud louder than this scribe, because that would be what's right. ##

LATonyKovach-Louisville-2015-mhpronews-com-275x156_2By L. A. 'Tony' Kovach.

Honoring Small Business, President Obama and MHI's President

  • Written by Soheyla Kovach

by L. A. "Tony" Kovach


tony-kovach-2-50The New York Times headlines reads, “Honoring Small Business, Obamas Go Book Shopping.” The photo below shows the good optics of this, and this hits many positive themes held high at MHProNews. Leaders are readers, and small business creates the most private sector jobs.

Read more ...

OZY Media's Trailer Park Nation - a Dizzying Mix of Falsehood, Facts, Fables and Fiction under a "True Story" banner?

  • Written by Soheyla Kovach

OZY Media is a West Coast based 'new media' start up that has drawn millions in investments and supports a staff of some 17 people. Targeting Millennials, they self proclaim: "OZY is a digital news magazine focused on the new and the next." Based in Mountainview, CA., they've reportedly attracted tens of millions in venture capital and grab some 10 million visitors a month. Ozy boasts of contributors such as: Bill Gates, Condoleezza Rice and Bill Clinton, who see us as a signpost to the future.

Today, MHProNews joins The New York Times, Ad Age, Business Insider and Glass Door among those who have reported on their operation. In our case, we do so because Ozy stepped into it with a controversial series on manufactured housing (MH) they've errantly dubbed "Trailer Park Nation," carried under graphically cool banners that proclaim the claim, "A True Story."






"True Story," really?  How accurate are their MH stories so far? Do their editors care about precision, or is it more about sensationalism and gaining more audience share?


A tip lead me to the first story in their series. No doubt, this is a sad thing that happened to those impacted by this closure. But as I wrote to the edtiors at Ozy Media, such a displacement by legal acts can happen in apartments or conventional housing neighborhoods too.  As the Ozy account read when I saw it, there was a dizzying mix of accurate, clearly wrong and misleading statements. The story was designed to tug at heart strings, as the plight of MH home owners facing eviction from a land lease community closing in Louisiana was spun. We saved that version in screen captures, you can see in the download at this linked here. Let's see check back later and see Ozy Media makes any corrections?


Tom Fath, who we know to be an MH industry professional, had posted this comment.




I reached out via email to Ozy. A reply was not long in coming, which read as follows.


Hi Tony,


I am the editor on the trailer park series you wrote in about. Thank you for reading and sending a note. I'd like to invite you to specifically cite the errors to which you were referring in the note so that we can look into them.





Sanjena Sathian 

OZY Media Deputy Editor

678-571-1072 | @sanjenasathian

OZY on: Facebook │Twitter 


That email from Senjena looked to be a promising start. Here is the Ozy Media 411 on the deputy editor who replied. As you can see, even their bios are designed to attract the millennials their new media brand is focused upon.




Click here or above for Sanjena Sathian at Ozy Media bio.


The PDF reply I sent her read a lot like this:


Hi Sanjena,

Quick Reply to your message.


Please see attached PDF, feedback and follow up are welcome. My phone number is below.





PDF Response to Ozy Media editor linked here.


Here was Ms. Sathian reply.


Tony, thanks for writing. My superiors and I have taken a look at your letter and while it adds a useful perspective, we've decided it doesn't merit a particular correction at this time.





Sanjena Sathian 

OZY Media Deputy Editor

678-571-1072 | @sanjenasathian

OZY on: Facebook │Twitter 

In turn, I shared the following, clearly stating this exchange was for the record.



Pardon me? Are you and other editors are saying false statements and misleading statements are acceptable? 


For the record, please.  Thanks.




To which Sanjena shot back...


Hi Tony,


I encourage you to take a second read of the story. We very much understand the distinction between manufactured homes and mobile homes. This story did not confuse the two, as it refers to a park with those pre HUD standard models, as it points out. 


Your other notes offer context, but are not errors in our story; in the case of this particular park, those provisional assistances were not made.


If I've misunderstood you, please let me know, but I'll need you to point to specific phrases where we got facts wrong, not larger thematic issues you have qualms about.


Thanks very much,



Sanjena Sathian 

OZY Media Deputy Editor

678-571-1072 | @sanjenasathian

OZY on: Facebook │Twitter 


The exchanged went on a bit, and ended with Sathian stating no changes would be made and “have a good one.”


Please note that my lengthy message indicated there was more errant in their article. Do you see any interest on Ozy's deputy editor in learning what that might be? I don't.




One of a number of fact errors or misleading statements in the Ozy Media story.


Errors and Omissions?


According to StateMaster, the highest percentage of mobile and manufactured homes in the nation stands at 18.8% and is found in South Carolina. To say that 25% of the markets in the South East are populated by MHs is thus misleading at best, or factually in error at worst.


Tom Fath's posted comment points out that some 2/3 or manufactured homes are sited outside of land lease communities. Did Ozy Media correct that error? Not as of this writing.


The under-informed reader is also left with the impression that MH is a fire trap, even though my PDF linked from the downloadable reply to Ozy Media clearly linked to facts from a third party National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) that prove their suggestion to be false.


Bury Your Head In the Sand...


Some in our MH industry's ranks believe that when a bad story hits the media, you ignore it and wait for some thing else to push it out off the headlines. The problem is that this head-in-the-sand pattern has landed MH in the humble state it currently exists, serving a small fraction of the population. Yet hundreds of thousands of home seekers a year might be looking for us if the truth about MH was better understood by the public. There are media professionals – like Ozy? - that bear some responsibility for every errant report that robs singles, couples or families of their piece of the American dream.


With essentially a 4 person team plus volunteer contributors, and has produced a steady stream of more balanced, accurate and news, reports, video and written interviews and commentary. While financial support for our project has grown, we pale next to the tens of millions that flow into Ozy Media. What could MH do with pro-industry media with something more like their budget?


Answer: it would mean billions in new sales to MH, and it would lead to a rebirth in MH for home owners and professionals alike.


Ozy Media - Lessons Learned?


There are lessons to be learned from Ozy Media and their arguably less-than-true-story, published under a banner that is itself an incorrect use of terminology (“Trailer House Nation”) when applied to modern MH. Last I checked, almost every house in the U.S. arrives by truck to the building site; how are our homes trailers and others aren't? MHPros must combat such image challenges armed with the facts.


One is takeaway is that engaging the media matters. Please see tonight's Masthead blog post. News media must be held to account, or some in it will continue to play fast an lose with facts, as one quipped tongue-in-cheek, in a Brian Williams style.


The other is that MH Pros must be willing to invest in image and public education. To Ozy's credit, there are elements in the Ozy series on MH that - properly told - would appeal to millennials as well as other demographic groups. There is an affordable housing crunch in America. We in MH have the best solution for that problem. See the video of this millennial here.


The next to the closing frame – shown below - of the video on Ozy's site in their "Great Eviction" article raises a point every public official should PROPERLY note. When affordable MH disappears, more people will turn to publicly subsidized housing.




MH is a vital housing solution, and the NIMBY and demeaning-articles-by-misguided-media-crowd are harming Americans, existing MH owners and our great industry.


Appreciation and Depreciation


One of the many errors in the Ozy accounts published to-date is that MH always depreciates. This is not so, and is contradicted by studies, include a recent report out of Michigan. CFED's website says, quoting in part: “Appreciation in value can be comparable to site-built homes.” MH goes up or down in value for similar causes as conventional housing, including the availability of financing, location, demand and how well the property is maintained.


Such false or misleading claims by Ozy or others have to be corrected by MH Industry pros. They won't be corrected by themselves.


I can't speak to the quality of Ozy Media on anything other than their series on pre-HUD code mobile and manufactured homes (MH). Their marketing must be pretty good, or it would not be enjoying such rapid growth.


With respect to our MH industry, their deputy editor clearly did not care enough to want to issue either corrections, or to admit any error. Nor did Ozy care enough to allow a reply Guest Letter or OpEd, something other media is often open to doing.


By contrast, when I contacted Lane Anderson at Deseret News a few months ago about a troubling piece she did that was based upon a flawed story out of the Atlantic. Lane made time and listened. Ms. Anderson then asked me to introduce her to an array of MH industry experts. Lane recently published a far more balanced story on MH that touts our homes as a potential solution for affordable quality living. It is one of the more balanced reports that have come out in recent months from mainstream media.


Engaging the media is necessary and has value. Association executives JD Harper and Jen Hall are examples of recent efforts to engage the media on issues that paid almost immediate dividends. They and all who take the time and effort to reply and hold media to account are all to be commended.


We as MH pros or aficionados also have to be part of the solution, or we are de facto part of the problem. The MH solution Could help millions! It would be profitable. It won't be a cake walk, but as John Bostick likes to say, "Easy doesn't pay well." Let's do what is right and just, which at first will take effort. But the irony is that over time we will see our industry reap the rewards, and out work will become easier, more profitable and more respected, and... like Ozy will be less likely to publish stories that miss-the-mark on so many points. ##



l-a-tony-kovach-mhpronews-By L. A. 'Tony' Kovach.

Industry Feedback About the Manufactured Housing Institute, Image, Industry Hassles, and Advancement

  • Written by Kovach, L. A. ‘Tony’

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony-kovach-2-50A very thoughtful message from a widely-known industry leader is quoted below.

It was sent in response to a recently produced finance-focused video.

That writer’s comments equaled a page and a half of text, so what follows is just a snippet from the message, a section that by itself won’t reveal the writer or what part of the industry that person is in. 

Words between the are edited out comments that could have tipped off who the writer was, here’s that pro’s spotlighted commentary.

I sincerely believe that our national association could skip past the ‘fact-finding portion’ of this [MHI] initiative and use the funds that would be spent on researching ‘the problem’ on an integrated public relations effort

to dispel the most common myths / misconceptions and stereotypes that:

1) keep buyers from considering the product,

2) discourage banks, credit unions and other lenders from financing the product, and

3) encourage cities and towns to restrict/prohibit the placement of our homes within their jurisdictions.”

The writer then said:

"This commentary IS NOT anti-MHI.."

The words on the end of the quote above should not be construed as negative or harsh towards MHProNews, because the letter begins, reads, and ends with thoughtful and encouraging words on our industry work, and generally interesting commentary.  Rather, it was simply the writer’s emphasis that the person isn’t attacking the association, they are QUESTIONING the wisdom of an MHI policy/program.

That last line - "This commentary IS NOT anti-MHI..- "is going to be a key jumping off point for me.

Because those words - "This commentary IS NOT anti-MHI.." – would be widely embraced by others or myself regarding public comments on issues that involve MHI. We’ve worked hard to focus on people at MHI acting in error, or policy errors, rather than attacking the organization per-se.

A properly functioning MHI, or something like it, is potentially valuable to the industry.

Much of what that writer stated, I’d also concur with; again, including that part quoted about not being anti-MHI.

Now, let’s dive into the three points the writer above wanted to focus on.

1) Buyers considering the product. 

  •  In our Inside MH Road Show series on MHLivingNews, we’ve done video interviews with actual home owners, and in a few occasions, those who had done their homework and had already decided to buy a manufactured home.  By NOT using actors, by NOT scripting those interviews, we end up with authentic insights.
  • That authenticity helps prospective viewers – home shoppers, housing professionals, lenders, public officials – to connect on a granular level with someone telling their story, in their words.
  • Let’s be candid, there are some we’ve interviewed who don’t come off as exciting on camera.  But that’s true of life in general, isn’t it?  For example, in one recent interview we a home owner says something that others may have found sad, thus negative and may have edited out. But to me, it was so authentic and was at the heart of what caused that lady to pick the MH Lifestyle. Her brief but heartfelt comments suggested the theme for the article that wraps the video.


 2) Discourage banks, credit unions and other lenders from financing the product.  

  • Who better to dispel the concerns of a lender, then another lender who went before them on their journey of discovery? 

  • The video above – first posted at this link here and which drew the commentary this article is based upon - wasn’t the first or last time we’ve interviewed lenders whose company’s main focus isn’t manufactured housing.  The comments by such pro-MH lending professionals regarding their insights or experiences about the homes and their portfolio performance is thus potentially very powerful. 
  • My professional/personal experience is as follows. Lenders and other experts who take the time to truly get to know the product are amazed.  Do they have questions?  Yes.  Can they be addressed?  Clearly, yes.  See the video above, and the link in B above to learn more.

3) Encourage cities and towns [not] to restrict/prohibit the placement of our homes within their jurisdictions.

  •  Look at the interview with housing inspector Becki Jackson. Or consider the interview with Bill Matchneer. We’ve done interviews with realtors, site-builders and others, who once they grasped the manufactured home realities, they respected the product.


Is there more needed?  Yes, we think so, and you can bet that the anonymous letter writer noted above would too. 

For example, when a piece of seriously erroneous ‘news’ comes out, we set about crafting a story that corrects the record.

Manufactured home communities and crimes is just one example.


Or when there are also the ‘positive facts’ that frankly, some have previously overlooked as a source for good news about manufactured housing, we want to bring those into focus too.


Or when the industry members do or say positive things, we want to spotlight those efforts.



Dozens of others examples like those above spotlight how we as an industry advance.  We can refute the bad facts with good ones.  We can synergistically spotlight good news stories.  Repeat both often, until the public fully gets it.

We as industry professionals must learn how to collaborate and work together cohesively at telling in ever-better and more compelling ways the truths about manufactured housing and our manufactured home communities. 

We even learn to tell that truth about our evolution from trailer houses, to mobile homes to manufactured homes, spotlighting past problems with current realities.


We as publishers and service providers are pro-industry, and pro-association.  It’s very fair to say that the letter writer above quoted in brown, is too.

For that matter, Frank Rolfe is pro-association, but is vigorously QUESTIONING - for the good of the industry - MHI’s problematic approach to working with the media.


Marty Lavin was in the MH association world for many years - and holds dearly an MHI award - but Lavin is QUESTIONING – as does Rolfe, the writer above and others - MHI’s communications and planned “study.”


Be it they, or us in articles and editorials, we all share in this in common.  We’re raising concerns  for the sake of industry advancement.  The issues allegedly caused by top staffers at MHI will be addressed, one way or another.

The Alleged Jennison/Gooch (MHI senior staffers) and MHProNews “fued”

So, as publisher of MHProNews/MHLivingNews, I totally reject the notion that we are anti-MHI. Rather, we are pro-industry, pro-ethical, best- practices and pro-truth. When MHI is correct, great. When some there are in the wrong or fail to perform, they should be held accountable.

That’s life, and that’s pro-industry trade journalism.


  • A) Thus, when someone at MHI has erred, fails to perform and keeps repeating their mistakes, that should be called into question, for the good of the association and the industry.
  • B) Instead of proving our first privately aired, later publicly shared concerns mistaken, the fact that Jennison/Gooch and their surrogates allegedly are lashing out behind the scenes is simply evidence proving they are mistaken – an effort to deflect, dodge and cover up rather than face the music - and they surely know it.  Rather than admit error and mend their ways, they would rather try to kill the messenger. In this case, that’s our pro-Industry trade media platforms…because it isn’t myself saying it, others linked and cited on this article have bravely been willing to go on the record with their concerns too.
  • C)If any leaders miss those realities, they need only look at their own business operations.  Do you keep someone in your business that proves repeatedly to screw up and won’t change their ways?
  • D) If elected association leaders continue to back those two, for whatever reason, then industry members have little choice to but to seek other options.  Frankly, we believe that MHI needs to look at what Kentucky’s state association reportedly did, reform their structure to reduce the power of the larger companies, which makes membership more attractive to independents.
  • E) The MH Industry opportunities are too great, and the inside road blocks too obvious, to ignore.  Who says?  How about Frank Rolfe, Marty Lavin, the anonymous writer above, Titus Dare and Tom Fath – among others who’ve said similarly off-the-record.


I completely understand why many won’t speak out in public.  There are a variety of reasons.  But in America, silence doesn’t always mean consent.

Some don’t say a word about the problems, but rather, forge ahead with their pro-industry efforts. One such example is linked below.


It should be noted again that when editorializing by me or anyone else
is published, such editorials may not represent the views of our sponsors. 
Sponsors are here in part because we have the largest industry audience.

The Road Ahead

The videos and articles fueled by the MH Alliance/Partners in Progress concept are so common sense, and it’s working for those who are fully engaged in the process. 

Because this works, and sparked by the video below – the anonymous writer above’s 3-point commentary above comes into play – as one of many examples of how this can and does work.

Beyond the MH Alliance/Partners in Progress

Beyond these examples are a crying need for national association leadership that is effective.  

The videos and stories that we do would be so much more impactful if a national association was collaborating with us, instead of working against us.

As another March 2017, Featured Article reveals, MHI has over a $3 million-dollar annual budget.  That’s roughly 6 to 7+ times the size of MHARR’s budget.  That’s not counting MHI’s PAC.

  • Is MHI’s leadership putting that money to its best possible use?
  • Are the best possible team members in place at MHI?
  • Are the leaders behind the national organization, truly open in their approach to input from others?  Or are they pushing an agenda that they prefer?

We won’t dive into a full SWOT analysis, because

a) we’re paid for SWOT analysis work,

b) as another article this month clearly states, those involved in the SWOT must want an objective view and are willing to act upon it, or the work is done in vain.

But we will note what our Daily Business News writing team of RC Williams and Matthew Silver periodically cover.  There are current and potential ‘threats’ to manufactured housing.  As MHARR has wisely said, we’re sitting on an historic opportunity. 

Will the industry take advantage of it?

MHARR, MHI and the States

Editorially, we’ve routinely understated MHARR in doing MHI Analysis, because some may misread or unwisely dismiss MHARR’s commentary without thinking it through.

That said, let me state for the record my professional view that MHARR has often been spot on with issues. Their viewpoint and concerns deserve a full and fair hearing, along side MHI’s and any others that are thoughtfully put forth. 


And yes, those concerns raised by MHARR should be taken up impartially at MHI too. The same is true in reverse, each party should consider the perspectives of the other.  How else can consensus or compromise ever possibly be reached?

One more point about MHARR. Given their modest budget, MHARR does an amazing job of getting another thoughtful perspective out on industry issues and they do so rapidly. Imagine, what could MHARR be do if they had the larger national association budget?

We at MHProNews ask:

  • state association execs,
  • MHARR,
  • company leaders,
  • elected and appointed political figures for comments, and routinely get them, often within an hour or two of sending the request. 
  • Why does MHI’s top staffers so routinely refrain from commenting on issues that impact the industry?


As we’ve carefully documented above and elsewhere numerous times, other pro-industry professionals – as well as our own operation’s team - are asking serious questions.

Because after years of MHI doing the same things, the same ways, industry pros are tired of getting the same results in D.C.


Not changing in the face of repeated mistakes is the popular definition of insanity.

There are only a few possible logical options.

  1. MHI leaders should consider changing some team members, and reforming the organization – perhaps along the lines of the KMHI’s reforms.
  2. A new post-production association should be formed that represents the interests of those being sidelined or ignored at MHI.
  3. Perhaps MHARR would consider expanding their membership to include non-producers?
  4. Perhaps MHECC would consider expanding their role to supplant that of MHI, where MHI has repeatedly missed the mark?
  5. A strategic alliance could be forged with another umbrella group that is pro-business, such as the NFIB.


In conclusion. More of the same?  Or time for a cool change? Each reader makes that decision, moment by moment and day by day.

 We Provide, You Decide.” ©  ##

(Where image credits aren’t show, they are produced/provided by MHLivingNews, MHProNews or our Graphic Stock collection. All other images are as shown, and are provided under fair use guidelines.)

latonyKovach-Louisville-2015-mhpronews-com-275x156-11By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.