Credit Memos and the tales they tell!

PAUL BRADLEY <br> PRESIDENT, ROC USA<sup>®</sup>
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PAUL BRADLEY
PRESIDENT, ROC USA®

Most readers know that this year I will be transitioning from the President’s role at ROC USA to lead our new subsidiary, Integrity Community Solutions, full-time. (The search is going well but there’s no public news yet!)

I’ve begun to really take stock of some of what I’ll be giving up later this year. There is so much I’ll miss being a routine part of my monthly calendar. I’m going to really miss serving on ROC USA Capital’s Loan Review Committee. I serve here with other ROC USA Board members as well as volunteers.

I love this Committee! It’s made up of former bankers, and former and current community development and affordable housing lenders. To be sure, for our borrowers and TA providers alike, those pesky questions you’re asked are all fair game for Loan Review. These Committee members know credit and they ask all those questions and more when staff presents a recommendation.

Most of the time though, discussions are based not in finding ways to say “no,” but finding ways to meet everyone’s needs while saying “yes.” It’s problem-solving 101. It’s creative tension. It’s how we ensure loan underwriting serves to strengthen ROCs and ensure that there’s capital readily available for current and future lending. It has to work!  

But I digress. I am writing today because my credit memo packet for today’s meeting was inspiring! In it were two refinance recommendations for co-ops that acquired their communities 10 years ago: Edgeway Homeowner’s Association in Middleborough, Mass., and Buena Vista Community in Missoula, Mont.

Reading these is like drinking a double espresso. Today I thought, I am really going to miss reading these!

The job and life experience of the Board Members at these two refinancing co-ops are compelling both because of how well-equipped they are to meet the needs of their communities, and because I love that they’ve found safe and secure housing in a ROC!

Their backgrounds are varied: A Treasurer who’s a flight attendant, a director who drives for FedEx, a President who served in Desert Storm, a former police chief who served in the Navy, a Vietnam veteran who worked in construction most of his life, and a retired retail manager who volunteers for the local Council on Aging.

It brings to mind what the President of La Luna co-op said, “If these communities become too expensive, then where are people like me going to live.” Truly, I am so honored to serve these community leaders. I have such deep respect for what they’re doing.

And what they’re doing is having a real impact on their neighborhoods at a time when most economic winds are blowing against them. These winds – the ROC winds – are at their backs and pushing in the right direction!

The new appraisal concluded market site fees were $550, a full 25% more than the co-op’s $440 per month.

The impact of their ownership is real:

At one, the new appraisal concluded market site fees were $550, a full 25% more than the co-op’s $440 per month. The appraisal calculated the all-in housing cost (financing a home, insurance, taxes, site fee,e tc.) in this co-op is $1,392. Compare that to the median two-bedroom apartment rentals of $1,850 – $1,900!

In the other co-op, the appraiser documented market site rents from $450 to $675 with an average of $543. The co-op’s current site fee is $350 and will be raised to $363 as part of the refinance. They’re taking $150,000 of equity out to upgrade the electrical services.

Further, both Boards are full and all of their lots are filled. One has 100% Membership, and the other is one household short of 100%.

What a remarkable 10 years for these two co-ops. They’re the owners and beneficiaries of their own hard work and commitment to their permanently preserved Manufactured Home Community.

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