Those inside the room described it as a “brass tacks” meeting, not a “photo op” session as some others in MHVille often focus on.
Multiple sources indicated that all in attendance already know each other. So, this wasn’t a “sugar coating” session, per a participant.
Rather, the discussion was described as ‘frank,’ about how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are purportedly “slow-rolling” the implementation of the Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing, rural, and other underserved markets as was mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008.
Per those in the room, that ‘slow rollout’ means that Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway owned manufactured home lenders, and a few others firms typically associated with the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) as members benefit from consolidation caused by the overall failure to date by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to “properly follow the law.”
As MHProNews has exclusively reported, sources inside and with direct ties to the GSEs have told MHProNews that the foot-dragging has been purposeful. That the reluctance for full implementation of lending on manufactured housing, per enterprise insiders, has not followed the normal protocols at Fannie or Freddie for other forms of housing finance. That isn’t just an industry concern, but is one held by some lawmakers too.
While the GSEs routinely point to the manufactured housing industry lending meltdown in the late 1990s and early 2000s as reasons for their concern, when that claim is examined carefully, manufactured housing losses paled in comparison to the far more severe losses in the conventional housing arena that occurred in the 2008 housing/financial crisis.
Having set the table for the press release below with these insights, here is the official word from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform provided to MHProNews today. Their statement will be followed by some additional related information and MHProNews reports.
JULY 15, 2019
TO: MHARR MANUFACTURERS
MHARR TECHNICAL REVIEW GROUP (TRG)
MHARR STATE AFFILIATES
RE: MHARR MEETING WITH NEW FHFA LEADERSHIP
An MHARR delegation met with senior officials of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on July 11, 2019, including newly-confirmed FHFA Director, Dr. Mark Calabria. The entire focus of this meeting was on the failure of the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – to fully, properly, and, in a timely manner, implement the “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) mandate of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and, most particularly, the implementation of DTS with respect to manufactured housing personal property loans. Both this meeting and its focus on the implementation of DTS are consistent with and pursuant to the directive of the MHARR Board of Directors, at its March 2019 meeting, for the Association to address and seek to advance key post-production issues, including discriminatory zoning and the availability of consumer financing for mainstream, HUD Code manufactured homes, among others.
MHARR stressed to the senior FHFA leadership present at the meeting, that more than a decade after congressional enactment of the DTS mandate, neither Fannie Mae nor Freddie Mac have provided securitization or secondary market support for a single manufactured housing personal property loan – a profound and inexcusable failure in view of the fact that such loans constitute approximately 80% of the manufactured housing consumer finance market according to U.S. Census Bureau data. This failure not only limits the marketability and growth potential of mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing (which has seen a 10%-plus year-over-year decline to date during 2019) but, more importantly, harms moderate and lower-income consumers by stifling free-market competition within the HUD Code financing market and forcing such homebuyers into higher-interest loans. Even worse, while claiming an alleged “lack of data” as the basis for their long-term failure to provide support for the mainstream, HUD Code manufactured housing chattel financing market, both GSEs have ventured into programs for a supposed “new class” of manufactured home – costing as much as $220,000 – with, apparently, no data at all, thus continuing the pattern of overt discrimination against mainstream HUD Code homes and HUD Code consumers that Congress designed DTS to end.
Accordingly, MHARR emphasized the urgent need for the new FHFA leadership — consistent with President Trump’s express commitment to affordable homeownership, as reflected most recently by his Executive Order of June 25, 2019 regarding regulatory barriers to affordable housing – to put the full, proper and timely implementation of DTS back on track, for the benefit of the vast majority of manufactured housing consumers who utilize personal property financing to access the industry’s inherently affordable, mainstream homes, rather than prioritizing (as the GSEs’ have to date) far more costly market outliers (i.e., the so-called “new class” of manufactured homes) which tend to benefit only a few of the industry’s largest corporate conglomerates. Moreover, with the next presidential election already looming large in Washington, D.C., MHARR stressed the need for rapid and targeted action to implement DTS for the benefit of the more than 80% of the HUD Code manufactured housing finance market that currently remains totally unserved by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
While the new FHFA leadership team stressed that there are multiple significant issues affecting the Agency, as the federal regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they did recognize that DTS implementation needs to – and will be – addressed, consistent with proper risk management and other agency priorities. Based on the exchanges at this meeting, MHARR will continue to aggressively advance the full and proper implementation of all elements of DTS, but most particularly its application to manufactured housing personal property loans — which represent the vast bulk of consumer loans for mainstream, inherently affordable HUD Code homes, but still remain totally unserved by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac notwithstanding Congress’ DTS mandate. At the same time, MHARR will continue to closely monitor DTS activity by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and will keep Congress fully informed as well, as the need for oversight of this entire matter continues to become more and more evident.
cc: HUD Code Industry Retailers, Communities and Finance Companies
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)
1331 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Suite 512
Washington D.C. 20004
The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a
Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of
independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.
As MHProNews has previously noted, the GSEs have both reportedly been paying MHI to ‘sponsor’ events.
That raises concerns that the prior House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling raised last year. Namely, that the GSEs were improperly lobbying.
While the GSEs have been making the rounds and held numerous meetings and ‘listening sessions’ in recent years, the result has been very little progress on the core of DTS. It isn’t MHI photo ops that matter, what is relevant are the realities.
Additionally, then MHI chairman Tim Williams with 21st Mortgage Corporation said publicly and in writing clear statements that indicated that – for them – DTS was ‘a waste of time.’ Of course, as Williams said publicly, it would cost Berkshire Hathaway profits, even though it could save consumers untold millions of dollars annually in lower finance costs.
MHProNews will continue to monitor and report on developments of this issue. Note that just as there are clear indications of progress at HUD, despite allegations of a slow walk there, so too the same could be occurring at FHFA. If so, the industry can thank a trade group in Washington, D.C. as opposed to one in Arlington, VA. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. Connect with us on LinkedIn here and here.
Click the image/text box below to access relevant, related information.