December 6, 2023

Investment Banking

Let Your Investment Banking Do The Walking

Two Investment Bankers Met At A Bar And Launched A New Funding Option Designed for Manufactured Housing Owners And Investors

You’ve undoubtedly heard stories about how some successful entrepreneurs launched a business on a cocktail napkin at a bar. But for two guys who walked out of a successful gig at one of the world’s largest investment banking firms, that story is a reality. And now the two former banking colleagues have turned that bar discussion into a unique fintech company helping people get loans for manufactured homes.

“We just kind of dove in. We met originally at J.P. Morgan and were helping build their venture bank. But yes, it all got started at a bar,” said Ben Halliday, CEO of manufactured home lender Zippy. “We got introduced to manufactured housing, found there’s a lot of misconceptions about it and Jordan (Bucy) pushed me to take a look at it. We got excited about it from an investment perspective and as a way to help solve the nation’s affordable housing crisis.”

According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, more than 22 million Americans live in manufactured homes. Banks, with deposit and liquidity issues, have curtailed many of their housing mortgage loans. Because many still don’t consider manufactured homes real property, there are a ton of hoops to jump through to qualify. Zippy is attempting to make that process easier. But a longer journey got the two entrepreneurs to the lending side of manufactured housing.

“The asset class of these homes with the overall quality and the community appeal is different from what others have perceived,” said Zippy Chief Operating Officer Bucy, a partner in the business. The two began their journey by cold calling communities across the country and building their community first in a Lubbock, Texas, neighborhood that had seen better days.

The community in northeast Lubbock “had a long history of being a neat place to live, etc., but over the last two decades, it really had become run down,” Halliday said.

The two entrepreneurs “got over our skis pretty fast.” Still, they worked on the property for three years, buying land, replacing water lines, remodeling the property and landscaping, adding a park and playgrounds and sold 80 homes in what is now known as the Lone Star Manufactured Home Community. Though they are no longer in the building business, they evolved into a manufactured housing loan business with investment funding from FirstBank.

“We just kept beating our heads against the wall trying to find funding solutions for our customers and found that even though they were creditworthy, they could get car loans but not for manufactured housing,” Halliday said. “There’s a huge misunderstanding in the banking community about manufactured housing.”

Founded in 2021, Zippy’s manufactured home loan business is available in nine states. The company plans to double its footprint this year and is developing partnerships with hundreds of communities. The company provides funding for home buyers, investors, and manufactured housing community operators.

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