Vista Consulting Services, LLC
JAMES P. BUTLER
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROFILE
Jim is president and majority owner of Vista Consulting Services, LLC specializing in public/private sector matters around finance and accounting, community development, housing and revitalization strategies, fund management, public policy, small business management, training, nonprofit management and general contracting.
Jim formed his consulting company in 1987, building on his successes earned as founder and CEO of Housing Opportunities, Inc. (HOI), a community-based nonprofit aimed at addressing the needs of distressed communities. Jim began his career in housing and community development at HOI in 1975 that lasted 28 years.
Knowing homeownership is key to building neighborhood stability and community revitalization, Jim developed innovative fee-generating and asset-based entrepreneurial mortgage lending products. Jim forged longstanding partnerships with local lenders who provided discounted first-mortgage financing for these homeownership products. From 1990 – 2003, Jim successfully averaged over $1 million annually in private contributions.
When the steel and energy crisis hit in the mid-1980s, a devasting and rapid rise in mortgage foreclosures and community hardships occurred. Jim pioneered two loss-mitigation products to help struggling communities and families maintain stability and homeownership. HOI’s products proved so successful that they were recognized and replicated locally, regionally and nationally. In 1983, HOI began franchising its products under contracts with HUD, Fannie Mae, local and state housing finance agencies, utility companies and banks. Jim also developed a CDFI fund with the U.S. Treasury.
HOI was selected as one of HUD’s first National Housing Counseling Intermediaries, and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) utilized HOI’s expertise on entrepreneurial approaches for nonprofit agencies to establish a statewide housing counseling network. As part of these contracts, Jim provided training workshops on mortgage financing, housing counseling, and entrepreneurial approaches for nonprofit organizations throughout the state. HOI evolved into six nonprofit entities, holding multi-million-dollar government contracts with a network of 73 housing counseling agencies throughout 17 states.
Jim worked with Pittsburgh Partnership Neighborhood Development to assist with HUD programs for Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood. Jim conducted a study for the GSPIA Housing Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh; he did an analysis on Captive Insurance Companies for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, and he did a comprehensive report on Appraisal Gap Insurance Products for Radian Guaranty mortgage insurance company. Jim collaborated on articles and studies about HOI’s successes that were published over the last 30 years.
On two occasions, Jim was a presenter to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Banking and Finance Committee’s subcommittee on housing at the request of, then Texas representative and committee chair, Henry P. González. Jim was guest lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Policy and International Affairs, Carlow College and was a community organizing instructor at Community College of Allegheny County.
Vista Consulting Services also augments and complements the lending activities of Professional Mortgage Connection, LLC (PMC), a Pennsylvania-licensed mortgage company where Jim is president and majority member. PMC provides residential mortgage loans as well as commercial, small business, and community development financing since 2005. Jim is a licensed mortgage loan officer with NMLS ID #139251. Vista also designed strategies for marketing, accounting, and product development functions of PMC.
Jim is volunteer CEO of Tube City Renaissance, a nonprofit community development corporation in McKeesport, PA, and a board member of The Progress Fund. Jim was also first chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, a prior board member of the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation, the Mon Valley Education Consortium, and the Auberle Home for Boys, and chairman of the first Great Ideas committee of the McKeesport Area School District.
Jim received his BA from Point Park University, Pittsburgh, PA