By Lew Sichelman
Mobile home buyers should soon be able to rest a little easier, thanks to an agreement between the Manufactured Housing Institute and the Mortgage Asset Research Institute that will help retailers weed scam artists and con men out the buying and financing process.
The pact encourages MHI members to participate with MARI in building its data base on sales and loan personnel who have been involved in fraud, misrepresentation or other forms of misconduct and skullduggery. Those who choose to supply information will be permitted to access the complete pool as supplied by all MHI member-participants.
By being able to turn to a central repository for such information, manufacturers and retailers can determine whether potential employees have hidden backgrounds or whether possible lenders have not always played within the rules. Armed with such knowledge, they can then act accordingly.
"Financing is essential to the health and growth of our industry," said MHI President Chris Stinebert. "Making sure that we keep our standards high will ensure that manufactured home buyers have access to adequate financing. The MARI program will help our members do that."
MHI is a national trade association representing all segments of the manufactured home industry, including makers, retailers, finance company and component suppliers.
The Reston, Va.-based MARI already has a similar program for mortgage bankers that is endorsed by their trade association and is used extensively by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, private mortgage insurers and many of mortgage firms, large and small.
MARI's public data base contains information about administrative, enforcement and certain legal actions taken by more than 100 government and private entities that perform oversight of professionals in the mortgage, real estate, appraisal and commercial banking and securities fields. Public reports provide the identities of the parties involved in administrative and legal actions and the alleged offenses.
The company also maintains a non-public file with descriptions of non-public incidences of alleged fraud, material misrepresentation and serious misconduct by mortgage industry personnel.
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