House Democrats Call for Federal Investigation of Warren Buffett’s Manufactured Housing Conglomerate

Leading House Democrats — including Maxine Waters (D-California) and Representatives Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), and Michael Capuano (D-Massachusetts) are calling for a joint Department of Justice and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) investigation in response to the Seattle Times and Buzzfeed News’ investigative series concerning allegations of discriminatory lending and collection practices by Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage, and 21st Mortgage.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett

The news outlets are reporting that Clayton Homes and its subsidiaries discriminate against low and moderate-income minority borrowers and misleads them into high-cost loans that leave borrowers unable to pay exorbitant monthly loan payments.

In the letter requesting the investigation, Congresswoman Waters and other senior House Democrats asked the agencies to use their investigative and enforcement authority under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and the Fair Housing Act to determine whether Clayton and its subsidiaries are violating federal law by engaging in unfair business practices that target minority communities.

“I was appalled by some of the findings in the recent articles,” said Waters. “There is no place for these kinds of sleazy and deceptive practices. I was further taken aback by Mr. Buffett’s defense of Clayton’s lending practices given the concerns that were raised by the articles earlier last year.”

The top Democrat further noted her fierce opposition to H.R. 650, the “Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act,” in 2015 due to concerns raised by the articles, which specifically point to consumer abuses and harmful lending practices in connection with Clayton and its financing subsidiaries.

“I opposed H.R. 650 in part because of the allegations that were raised in the investigative series last year. These allegations further underscore the short-sightedness of harmful proposals like H.R. 650 – a measure that would roll back key consumer protections established in Dodd-Frank.

“The CFPB was established to protect consumers from the kind of misconduct alleged in the investigative series and to hold bad actors accountable for dishonest, predatory practices. These disturbing allegations must be addressed immediately by the CFPB and the Department of Justice.”


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