Arlington, VA – The Manufactured Housing Institute, the industry’s largest trade group, has been excoriated in an unprecedented op-ed by a member of one of its boards and publisher of the industry’s leading professional trade publication.
“The known facts suggest that, for whatever reasons or motives, MHI has missed numerous opportunities to expand manufactured housing home-only and land/home lending. The impact on the factory-built housing industry in terms of lost sales could be in the billions of dollars annually,” L.A. “Tony” Kovach writes in the latest edition of MHProNews.
MHI says it represents all segments of the factory-built housing industry; its stated mission is to provide research, promotion, education and government relations programs, and by building and facilitating consensus within the industry.
But M. Mark Weiss, president and CEO for the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has repeatedly stated that MHI is tilting toward Berkshire Hathaway-owned MH lenders’ goals.
So consensus is lacking, according to the June 25 editorial, in which Kovach cites complaints from industry professionals – both members and non-members of MHI -- who question the trade group’s failure to promote new lending in manufactured housing – which MHI staff asserts is a top priority for the organization.
Some, writes Kovach, “accuse MHI of de facto choking off lending with the goal of causing independent businesses to sell off to MHI member companies, or close shop.”
Others couch their criticism in terms of missed opportunities and questionable competence.
“It is MHI members who are quietly telling (MHProNews) that MHI had the opportunity to get the MLO rule changed. Those same voices tell us that achieving that success could have led to others on points and fee thresholds, the twin goals of Preserving Access.
“If MHI’s leadership wants to move the ball down the field and score points that sell more homes, a serious series of changes must take place at MHI,” Kovach says.
Discontent with the status quo has reached the point where there are rumblings of some willing to put forth a million dollars in seed money to launch a new trade organization to promote the industry’s interests.
Kovach points out that questions and concerns about MHI’s performance center on certain staff members, not MHI itself.
“These concerns are routinely brought to us by members and third parties. So MHProNews’ spotlighting staff related issues at the organization isn’t the same as condemning the organization, of which this writer is a member."
"It's sad what's happening in Arlington," says Kovach, where MHI is headquartered.
At a time when the demand for affordable housing is growing, Kovach laments MHI's staff are missing the opportunity to better tell the industry's story and thus advance its appeal to the home buying public, public officials and to attract and expand lending opportunities.
Read more on the growing controversies surrounding MHI, are linked here
Photo Caption: How much does the locked door on more lending options cost manufactured housing industry members every year? Trade association under fire for failing their mission, members. Closed bank vault door image credit, FlickrCreativeCommons, MHI Logo credit - MHI - both images are used under fair use guidelines for editorial purposes. Text graphic and collage credit, MHProNews.com.
L. A. "Tony" Kovach, Publisher
Company: MHLivingNews.com, MHProNews.com