Friday, June 3, 2011

Bankers, business leaders say credit crunch is regulators' fault

Testifying this week before the U.S. House Small Business Committee hearing, bankers and small business owners told lawmakers that a harsh regulatory environment is responsible for the tight business credit market.

"What we found is that the FDIC regulators are inconsistently applying regulations throughout the banking community," Lynn Ozer, executive vice president of Susquehanna Bank, said in his testimony representing the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders.

The hearing focused on the contention from regulators and President Obama that the Federal government does not have any impact on banks' ability to lend money. Witnesses argued that Federal government regulation is impeding banks' ability to lend money to businesses.

Source: American Banker

Pundits are finally acknowledging that housing must recover for economy to recover

By Charlie Cook

Last week’s confirmation that the gross domestic product grew only 1.8 percent in the first quarter came when economists were already busily revising their growth forecasts downward for the rest of this year. A double-dip recession remains unlikely, but this is the weakest recovery since the Great Depression and the first one not being led by housing. The nearly moribund housing sector is, in fact, weighing down the recovery.

Read the rest of Charlie Cook's commentary in the Cook Report at by clicking here.

Every HBA member can participate in the association's government affairs program

Dear HBA Member,

We have a Senator that has contested two of our bills and continues to stall them so they cannot come to a vote. Another Senator believes that the state should mandate residential fire sprinklers and will push for this issue every chance he gets. Even another Senator believes that every new homeowner should pay at least a $30,000 impact fee and does not comprehend how that will limit home ownership. These three Senators alone have and will continue to limit our industry and economy.

What can you do? Contribute to S.C. Builders Political Action Committee (PAC).

Last year, our member’s donations helped us support 44 candidates seeking election across the state, including 4 new U.S. House members, which resulted in a 97% success rate. We will also use the monies from your donations to target those who consistently act as a barrier to our industry…especially those looking to be elected in the 2012 Senate races.

How can you help? Participate in the next HBA PAC fundraiser.

A fundraiser is being held this summer at the state convention in Myrtle Beach. If you are attending, you can donate your time and resources. Even if you are not attending, you can donate an item for the silent auction. Members have already donated a billboard, a BMW x6 weekend rental, faucets, and gift certificates. Other ideas include golf outings, hunting/fishing trips, rentals/timeshares, wines, electronics, arts/crafts, and sporting equipment. Your donation to the auction will also be credited as a donation to the PAC for the value the item was purchased.

Your HBA of Greenville will host a PAC fundraiser this Fall with the Chili Cook Off and Oyster Roast. The event will include an auction, door prizes, and visits from local elected officials.

What: PAC Fundraiser: Chili Cook Off and Oyster Roast
When: September 8, 6 p.m.
Where: Carolina First Center

Please make plans to support your PAC. We will need to be heavily involved in the elections next year to ensure that we support elected officials who understand how vital our industry is. We can only be successful because of members like you.

I hope you will continue to support the S.C. Builders PAC and thank you for all you do.

Mark Nix, Executive Director
Home Builders Association of South Carolina

Home Improvements Drive Rise in Residential Construction Spending in April

A marked increase on home improvement expenditure provided a notable rise in private residential construction spending in March, but spending on single-family and multifamily housing construction continued to decline. The Construction Spending report from the Bureau of Census indicated a 3.1% increase in private residential construction spending to $232.1 billion from a downwardly revised $225.07 billion March (March private residential construction spending was previously reported as $229.1 billion).

To read the rest of the article at NAHB's Eye on Housing, click here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Legislation to reduce unemployment tax by 18 percent on Governor Haley's desk

The S.C. House of Representatives agreed with S.C. Senate amendments to a bill that could reduce unemployment taxes paid by employers by as much as 18 percent. The legislation must still be approved by Governor Nikki Haley. In addition, part of the tax reduction is contingent on an appropriation in the Senate's budget bill, which is now be reviewed by the S.C. House.

Read more at GSA Business by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Guthrie joins Vass Markets as Development Manager

Lauren Guthrie has been named business development manager for Vass Markets, Inc.. Her primary responsibility is for exhibit space sales for the Fall and Spring editions of the Southern Home & Garden Show.

A native of Greenville, Guthrie is a 2010 graduate of Anderson University with a bachelor’s degree in art with a concentration in interior design. She previously was a design consultant with Bogari European Contemporary Design in Greenville.

Established in 2003, Vass Markets is a marketing and public relations firm serving clients in a variety of industries, including the Home Builders Association of Greenville. Vass Markets manages and markets the Southern Home and Garden Show. In addition, Vass Markets performs certain communications services for the HBA of Greenville. Kathy Vass is president of Vass Markets.

Tort Reform Passes in S.C. Senate

After weeks of debate, the S.C. Senate approved H.3375, the Tort Reform bill. The bill includes improvements to the construction statute of repose and caps on punitive damages.

The bill returns to the S.C. House, which must agree to the Senate's amendments. If the House concurs, the bill will be sent to Governor Nikki Haley for her signature. Governor Haley has been instrumental in negotiating the Tort Reform legislation.

The legislature adjourns for the year at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, although negotiations are ongoing for the legislature to return later in June for a special session to address redistricting of legislative and congressional districts.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

HBA Member Orientation Set for June 3

Ever wondered if you are taking full advantage of your membership in the Home Builders Association of Greenville? Do you wonder if you are missing something important?

You have the opportunity to spend an hour this week gaining an overview of HBA membership, as well as to meet with the HBA of Greenville leadership and staff.

What: HBA Member Orientation
When: Friday, June 3
Where: HBA of Greenville Offices

Continental Breakfast will be served.

Whether you are a new member, a long-time member, or just considering membership, this meeting is for you.

To Register for HBA Member Orientation, click here.

Association Maximization Part 1: Why Are You a Member of the Home Builders Association?

(Note: The most important thing to remember over the next several weeks is that the information I’m sharing with you is not mine. It belongs to the countless members I have watched over the years be very successful with their own HBA involvement. Association Maximization will only help you if you understand and believe in what I’'m sharing with you in these series of posts. In the beginning my reasons for joining were different from what I’m asking you to have faith in now. Know that I’m speaking with you from the collected knowledge that 25 plus years as a member has given me. That is an extreme advantage if we were having a debate. In this case it is you who will have an extreme advantage because you will learn to maximize your investment in the HBA and this will help you with business opportunities that you would not normally have if you weren’t a member. The first part to Association Maximization is really a refresher. Most members tend to forget the real reason for being a member. While there are other reasons that might seem more important to different individuals, and those other reasons have benefits as well, the core mission of the home builders association is the following in Part 1.)

To understand why you’re a member of the Home Builders Association (HBA) I first have to begin with the question “what is the HBA and why is it important?” In the simplest of statements the HBA is an organization that has two types of memberships; builder and associate. The builder member is made up of multiple disciplines; Single family home builder, multi-family home builder (i.e. apartments), mixed use builder, commercial builder and remodeler. The associate member likewise has many disciplines that fall under three categories; Supplier, service provider and trade contractor. The staff of the HBA is an executive officer (possibly one or more staff members as well) with the volunteer leadership consisting of a board of directors and a group of officers, with a president as the lead, all of whom are members of the HBA. There are bylaws that dictate the make up of the board of directors and officers with the majority of both groups consisting of builder members. The president, and the officer positions that form the leadership ladder, are builders. What is the reason for the majority being builders? This is a builders association. The builders are the ones who are actually building. Builders are the ones who are dealing with all the “red tape” that comes with construction projects. Associates are individuals or companies that take part in the construction or renovation process.

The leading purpose of any HBA is for the organization to protect the interests of the building industry through the efforts of staff and engaged members. What are the threats that the HBA is protecting us from? The list is too long and too confusing (government is involved after all) but, through legislation and regulatory mandates, the efforts of the HBA help keep the members’ business doors open. Ask your executive officer for a list of HBA led initiatives and how each could impact building. Builders have a great understanding of the regulations and legislation that could impact their business. Associates understand to a certain degree but the most important point for an associate to understand; if ‘it’ affects builders ‘it’ will affect associates.

That is the “what and why.” It’s very important for all to understand that, while there are other reasons for joining the HBA, the pure benefit is for the opportunity to keep working as a builder which provides the associate opportunities to sell. “If ‘it’ affects builders ‘it’ will affect associates” is just not a catch phrase it is reality. That is why, when you write your check or have it charged to a credit card, the money you spend for a membership should be viewed as an investment. If you plan on continuing your career in the building industry, or if any of part of your business is connected to the building industry, you need the support of an HBA.

When you join the HBA you gain access to your state home builders association and The National Association of Home Builders. Your membership investment is a three-in-one investment. The state HBA and NAHB both have the same core mission as the local HBA. The power of state and NAHB comes from the local HBAs because all memberships are local. You can’t be just a member of NAHB and you can’t go solo outside NAHB and the local HBA with a direct state membership. You join a local HBA first, the rest are part of your membership investment.

Next week we will talk about the local HBA and its interaction with the state HBA and NAHB. Most states have a state association, but for those of you who might not have one, don’t worry; this doesn’t affect your membership with NAHB.

Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman
Director of Trade Association Relations, ProBuild

Editor's Note: reprinted with the author's permission

Monday, May 30, 2011

HBA of Greenville Office Closed May 30

In observation of the Memorial Day Holiday, the HBA of Greenville Office will be closed. We hope you will join us in spending the day honoring the millions of Americans who have sacrificed to keep our country free, and great.