Posted on July 18, 2008

The new survey on banks is out from JD Power & Associates.  The survey finds that people are growing increasingly unhappy about the level of service that they get at their bank.  The survey covered experiences last year, before the credit crisis really took over the attention of the public.  Presumably, that was also at a time when banks were operating at full speed.

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Posted on July 17, 2008

A bill to fund the cleanup of the state's abandoned manufactured housing was ratified in the North Carolina General Assembly yesterday.  H1134, sponsored by Philip Haire, awaits a signature from Governor Easley.  It will become effective July 1, 2009 and run until 2023.

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Posted on July 11, 2008

It is hard to concentrate at work today, what with the developing crisis in the financial markets. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the nation's largest purchases of home mortgage securities, are spiraling downwards. What will be done about it? Will the regulators abandon their free market posture? Will Freddie be taken over? How would it be done? The questions go on and on.

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Posted on July 10, 2008

Check out the expansive coverage of the situation facing residents in Raleigh's Homestead Village Mobile Home Park in this week's Independent Weekly. The story, "Paradise Lost: Mobile Home Park Residents Caught in a Catch-22" is another example of the crisis of park closure that plagues many communities in the country.

Bob Geary, a writer with plenty of experience covering planning board and development issues, visits with Claudia Shows, the Estradas, the Bryants, and the Webbs. His story explains the concrete problems facing these households. He then links their plight to more systemic troubles that corrupt the sustainability of homeownership for residents of mobile home parks.

This story came about, in part, due to the power of blogging. Mr. Geary noticed the story while researching for issues on BlueNC. It was a diary entry about the situation at Homestead Village that

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Posted on July 7, 2008

H1700, the bill to prevent the displacement of residents from manufactured housing communities, exited the North Carolina General Assembly's House this week. It passed by a vote of 113 to 5, with two abstentions. The bill, in its fourth version, goes to the Senate this week. Its first stop will be with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Small Business, and Entrepreneurship, chaired by Senator R.C. Soles, Jr.

The bill seeks to reward park owners that sell to resident owned groups or to non-profits. The carrot behind the bill is to provide a financial incentive. In an earlier version, the "carrot" consisted of a seven percent credit on the likely capital gain made by the owner.

Paul Stam, a Republican from Apex, pointed out that the bill's structure would do little in instances when

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Posted on July 2, 2008

This morning, CIT announced that it will sell off more than $2 billion in assets to an assortment of investors, including all of its manufactured housing portfolio.

CIT made an agreement with Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance to unload its manufactured-housing portfolio for $300 million. The portfolio has a book value of $470 million, so this is quite a discount. Today, CIT's shares are trading up.

This is an interesting deal. Warren Buffett is again proving that he is a contrarian, buying assets in a sector that others are fleeing. He has made money before by being right when popular opinion contradicted his assertions. Maybe this is that case, all over again.

Vanderbilt is one of Buffett's two big plays in manufactured housing finance. Berkshire Hathaway, through its Clayton subsidiary, also owns 21st Century Mortgage.

Buffett gets more than just the assets. He is also buying the servicing rights to the portfolio. Servicing has

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Posted on June 30, 2008

H1134, the bill to help North Carolina Counties remove their abandoned mobile homes, has reached a stage where many legislators feel compelled to shape it before it becomes law. This is good. It means that the bill has legs and that it will probably be enacted in some form.

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Connecting the Dots: How Wall Street Brings Fringe Lending to Main Street

At-risk students, for-profit college

"I Feel Like I was Set Up to Fail: Inside a For-Profit College Nightmare."

This story was published in Salon Magazine on January 27th, 2014. In March, Senator Richard Durbin cited this story when speaking on behalf of his bill, The Student Loan Borrowers Bill of Rights.

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