Clayton Homes and their lending practices is mentioned by the Seattle Times in their Associated Press (AP) news report about another Berkshire Hathaway mortgage brand that the Department of Justice described as a ‘record settlement’ for ‘racially discriminatory’ ‘redlining’ in several states by another Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) owned HomeServices financing brand, Trident Mortgage Company. Are these similar claims in conventional housing (Trident) and manufactured housing (Clayton and their sister-brand lenders) coincidences? Or are they an example of what the Bible says: “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act” says the Gospel of Matthew 7.16-20 (NLT). “Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”
Think “Caveat emptor,” the Latin maxim for “let the buyer [i.e.: possible customer] beware” as you read this press release below from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to MHLivingNews and consider that it is being widely reported by the Associated Press (AP), Washington Post, New York Times and a range of other media outlets.
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Justice Department and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Secure Agreement with Trident Mortgage Company to Resolve Lending Discrimination Claims
Settlement Provides Over $20 Million to Increase Credit Opportunities in Neighborhoods of Color
First Redlining Settlement Against Mortgage Company; Second Largest Redlining Settlement in Justice Department History
The Department of Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Attorneys General of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware announced today agreements to resolve allegations that Trident Mortgage Company (Trident), which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., engaged in a pattern or practice of lending discrimination by “redlining” in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, including neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Camden, and Wilmington. This resolution is the first redlining settlement that the Justice Department has reached with a non-bank lender and the second largest redlining settlement in the department’s history.
“Last fall, I announced the Department’s Combatting Redlining Initiative and promised that we would mobilize resources to make fair access to credit a reality in underserved neighborhoods across our country,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “As demonstrated by today’s historic announcement, we are increasing our coordination with federal financial regulatory agencies and state Attorneys General to combat the modern-day redlining that has unlawfully plagued communities of color.”
“This settlement is a stark reminder that redlining is not a problem from a bygone era. Trident’s unlawful redlining activity denied communities of color equal access to residential mortgages, stripped them of the opportunity to build wealth, and devalued properties in their neighborhoods,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This settlement ensures that significant lending resources will be infused into neighborhoods of color in and around Philadelphia that have historically experienced racial discrimination. Along with our federal and state law enforcement partners, we are sending a powerful message to lenders that they will be held accountable when they run afoul of our fair lending laws.”
“Trident illegally redlined neighborhoods in the Philadelphia area, excluding qualified families seeking to own a home,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “With housing costs so high, it is critical that illegal discrimination does not put homeownership even further out of reach.”
“For far too many years Philadelphia’s Black, Latino, and other communities of color have lacked equal access to lending and legal deed ownership,” said U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “These historically redlined areas of Philadelphia continue to experience disproportionate amounts of poverty, poor health outcomes, limited educational attainment, unemployment, and violent crime. I am pleased that my office could support the Attorney General’s Combatting Redlining Initiative through this resolution, and I look forward to our continued partnership with the Civil Rights Division.”
“Redlining” is an illegal practice in which lenders avoid providing credit services to individuals living in communities of color because of the race, color, or national origin of residents of those communities. The complaint filed in federal court today alleges that from at least 2015 to 2019, Trident failed to provide mortgage lending services to neighborhoods of color in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, that its offices were concentrated in majority-white neighborhoods, and that its loan officers did not serve the credit needs of neighborhoods of color. The complaint also alleges that loan officers and other employees sent and received work e-mails containing racial slurs and referring to communities of color as “ghetto.”
Under the proposed consent order, which is subject to court approval and was filed in conjunction with a complaint today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Trident has agreed to invest over $20 million to increase credit opportunities in neighborhoods of color in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Trident will invest at least: $18.4 million in a loan subsidy fund for residents of neighborhoods of color in the Philadelphia metropolitan area; $750,000 for development of community partnerships to provide services that increase access to residential mortgage credit; $875,000 for advertising and outreach; and $375,000 for consumer financial education. Because Trident no longer operates a lending business, it will contract with another lender to provide loan subsidies and services to the “redlined” communities. Trident will ensure that the lender employs at least four mortgage loan officers dedicated to serving neighborhoods of color in and around Philadelphia, Camden, and Wilmington; maintains at least four office locations in those neighborhoods; and employs a full-time manager of community lending who will oversee the continued development of lending in neighborhoods of color in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Trident will also pay a civil money penalty of $4 million.
Trident has also entered into agreements with Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Those agreements resolve allegations against both Trident and Fox & Roach LP, a real estate affiliate of Trident. In addition to the settlement terms included in the federal consent order, under the agreements with Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Trident will reimburse the states for costs incurred in conducting the investigations. Fox & Roach will also invest $150,000 in marketing to communities of color in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
The Justice Department and the CFPB jointly investigated the matter, with support from the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The investigation was coordinated closely with the attorneys general of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the states of New Jersey and Delaware.
This settlement is part of the Justice Department’s Combatting Redlining Initiative, a coordinated enforcement effort to address this persistent form of discrimination against communities of color. The initiative is expanding the department’s reach by strengthening partnerships with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices around the country, regulatory partners and our partners in state attorney general offices. Additional information about the section’s fair lending enforcement can be found at www.justice.gov/fairhousing. Individuals may report lending discrimination by calling the Justice Department’s housing discrimination tip line at 1-833-591-0291, or submitting a report online. ##
Additional Information with More MHLivingNews Facts, Analysis, and Commentary
The DOJ news release provided two downloadable documents to MHLivingNews, which are provided below.
The Seattle Times/AP report included this statement:
“The DOJ alleged that between 2015 and 2019 the employees of Trident, which stopped writing mortgages in 2020, made racist comments about making loans to Black homebuyers, calling certain neighborhoods “ghettos.” One manager of Trident was photographed posing in front of the Confederate Flag. The marketing materials used by Trident involved exclusively white individuals, and nearly all of the company’s staff were white.
Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s attorney general who is running for governor, called the behavior by Trident “systematic racism, pure and simple.”
Another Buffett company, Clayton Homes, has drawn scrutiny in its dealings with low-income borrowers buy getting mobile home owners in high-interest loans.”
AP/Seattle Times didn’t note that Shapiro is a Democrat, and that Buffett has a history of supporting Democratic candidates including former Secretary Hillary Clinton and former U.S. Senator who back the 44th President of the United States (POTUS), Barack Obama. Put differently, just because someone is supporting a Democrat doesn’t automatically mean that they actual believe in practice what the party proclaims about a desire for racial equality in the marketplace.
This settlement could be relevant on several levels. One is a point that the facts and evidence suggest and that MHLivingNews and our MHProNews sister site has published on several times. Namely, that while there are unjust practices afoot in manufactured housing, something similar can often be said about conventional real estate and the new housing sector too. This DOJ settlement and the Seattle Times/AP mention of Clayton in that discriminatory context makes that connection too. To learn more, see the related reports, linked below.
Strommen “Felony” “Conspiracy” Case-“Monopolization” of Affordable Manufactured Housing and Manufactured Home Communities “Rube Goldberg Machine of Human Suffering” by Manufactured Housing Institute Firms – Knudson Law
Maxwell Trial Judge, Jury Verdict Expose Legal Risk “Turning a Blind Eye” – Manufactured Housing Corporate, Assoc, Trade Media, Consumer Alerts – Trial “New Legal Standard for Willful Ignorance” – Facts & Analysis
Note: there is a difference between brands. See the shopping tips articles further below. Caveat emptor, let the ‘shopper’ (buyer) beware. In closing, let’s be clear. Every industry or profession has its good, bad, and ugly brands. Additionally, a good brand might have a rogue actor, and so on. It is therefore wise for the shopper to do their homework and know what signs to look for and what brands are prudently avoided.
That said, manufactured housing – despite its bad actor (again, as with all housing types or other big purchases) – is per the latest research by Freddie Mac is something most home shoppers would consider. Additionally, ongoing research debunks many of the outdate myths and misconceptions. Manufactured homes can and do appreciate, and Lending Tree said they are appreciating in many states faster than conventional housing. Manufactured homes can and do survive even major windstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Learn more about these and other subjects via the linked reports.
Why is Manufactured Housing Misunderstood? Follow the Money Report – Bill Gates, Warren Buffett Ally, Huge “Conflicts of Interest” Mammoth Funding Influencing Mainstream Media – Fresh Facts and Analysis
That’s a wrap on this installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Recent and Related Reports:
The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.