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Doug Ryan, CFED & CFPB

With the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act moving through the legislative bodies lending is a hot button issue in our industry.  Recently MHLivingNews has brought Doug Ryan under fire, building a case that the CFED (Corporation for Enterprise Development) is currently engaged in a conflict of interest with the CFPB (Consumer Protection Financial Bureau).  Both the CFPB and the CFED claim to be consumer advocates.  The CFPB aims to protect consumers from predatory lending while the CFED aims to make sure lending does not become regulated out of existence.  The case for the conflict of interest with Ryan is built on questionable funding. CFED receives a portion of their funding from the CFPB and Ryan refuses to disclose how large of a portion that funding is.

In the article by MHLN the CFPB is quoted as stating that the largest MH lenders are predatory and that the producers are greedy.  It would make sense that suspicion would arise when an organization accepts essential funding from another organization that is in direct philosophical opposition.  Though the article’s purpose was to discuss Doug Ryan and MHLN’s frustration with his actions, what I found most striking was the immense difference between funding for new homes and funding for used homes.  My business deals in new MH and the lending we use is a traditional mortgage, the same as a person would seek when buying an existing or site-built home. Conventional loans are a common occurrence with our new homes.  Hearing that regulation has become so tight that lenders who once helped consumers purchase used homes in the $20K and lower range have backed out of the market because originating smaller loans has become unprofitable is unfortunate.  The CFED makes the argument that sub-prime lending for used homes is not a danger to America’s financial infrastructure the way sub-prime lending led to the most recent housing collapse.   Even though this sub-prime lending does not pose a danger to society, on an individual basis, the structure of a sub-prime loan can still create a lot of stress and potential risk toward the borrower.

The arguments on both sides of the issue are compelling and each hold merit.   Predatory lending and putting profits ahead of ethical behavior is harmful to the society an institution serves.  Likewise, if an institution is unable to generate profits it cannot operate efficiently and will then fail to be capable of serving society.  Forcing people to conduct themselves ethically is a sticky tar pit, but as James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers #51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary”.

July 7, 2015 Posted by | Financial Information | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment