Expose on predatory mobile home company owned by Warren Buffett

A joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and the Seattle Times reveals troubling practices by Clayton Homes, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

Clayton, which operates under various names, is the nation’s biggest homebuilder, according to the report, which describes Clayton's practices thus: “Clayton relies on predatory sales practices, exorbitant fees, and interest rates that can exceed 15 percent, trapping many buyers in loans they can’t afford and in homes that are almost impossible to sell or refinance.”  Some other practices unearthed in the investigation: “loan terms that changed abruptly after [customers] paid deposits or prepared land for their new homes; surprise fees tacked on to loans; and pressure to take on excessive payments based on false promises that they could later refinance”; additionally, Clayton loans average 7% higher rates than typical loans.

Read the whole story here. Relatedly, Allison noted earlier today that President Obama has threatened to veto two bills weakening Dodd-Frank reforms, including Dodd-Frank protections for borrowers taking out loans for mobile homes.

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