Buffett Says Clayton’s Careful Loans Maintained Solvency

Forbes magazine says that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire letter to his shareholders did not garner much press coverage about his ownership of Clayton Homes, which is doing pretty well compared to other manufactured home producers.  Despite the fact that Clayton’s customers generally have low credit scores, the percentage net loss for 2010 was 1.72 percent.  In his letter, Buffett attributes this to Clayton’s crafting loans to fit the consumer’s pocketbooks, not to fit their dreams.  He said 47 percent of their home buyers had credit scores below 640, a score that would typically prevent banks from considering a loan.  Clayton also kept their loans instead of selling them, and they have over 200,000 loans they originated.  Clayton’s share of the manufactured home market jumped from 8 percent of sales in 1998 to 47 percent in 2010.

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