Bali named by Expedia as most luxurious for Australians

first_imgBali, Indonesia an old favourite destination for Aussie travellers has topped a top ten most luxurious destinations list for Aussie travellers to “up-star” in 2010, says Expedia.Due to great deals still lingering after the global financial crisis and a very strong Aussie dollar, Expedia Australia says that it reckons next year will see many Australians upgrading their holiday accommodation and has offered a list of destinations which offers luxury on the cheap.Bali in Indonesia tops the list, with Fiji coming up second, and surprisingly enough New Zealand plonking into the third spot.“Expedia.com.au believes that 2010 will be a year of travel ‘up-starring’, as Aussie travellers continue to take advantage of the great deals on offer by hotels and airlines whilst adding a bit of glitz and glamour to their holiday,” says Expedia in a statement. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/234e5/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> “For travellers who are flexible with dates and destinations, luxury accommodation in particular is currently offering first-class value for money.”The United States and the United Kingdom, traditionally expensive destinations for Australians, have also made the list this year due to historically high exchange rates.Expedia Australia’s top 10 value luxury destinations:1. Bali2. Fiji3. New Zealand4. United States of America5. United Kingdom6. Malaysia7. South Africa8. Sri Lanka9. Egypt10. Turkeycenter_img Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.Xlast_img read more

Flight Centre revises its 200910 profit expectations

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F FLIGHT Centre Limited (FLT) has revised its profit expectations for the 2009/10 fiscal year, reporting that it now expects a $160m-$180m trading result.The revised guidance represents a significant leap from FLT’s initial target of $125 million to $135 million pre-tax 2009/10 profit.That’s an increase of as much as 80% on the $99.8m result for 2008/09, with the company saying it’s experienced a strong first half than it had previously expected.  Managing director Graham Turner said pre-tax profit for the half to December 31 2009 was expected to be $70 million to $74 million, a 13% to 19% improvement on the corresponding period during 2008/09. “Double-digit growth is a reasonable achievement for the first half, given that last year’s result included a record first quarter profit,” Mr Turner said.“Assuming global trading conditions continue to gradually recover, we are well placed to record stronger profit growth during the second half, as results during the corresponding period of 2008/09 were heavily affected by the global financial crisis.“Trading conditions have stabilised globally during the first half, although the rate of actual improvement has varied from country to country.“Highlights so far have included: Good growth in sales volumes – in some businesses, including Australia, ticket numbers have been up more than 20%. “Yields, or average ticket prices, have been lower than normal, following the supplier discounting that took place last year, but we have started to see gradual price increases recently. “Strong results in Australia, where economic recovery has been fastest to date… reasonable profit in the United Kingdom, despite the GFC’s ongoing effects. “Profits in our other established regions – Canada, South Africa and New Zealand; and Continued growth in cash reserves, which should allow the company to restore its normal dividend policy, subject to the business’s anticipated needs at the time.” “Generally, our leisure and wholesale travel businesses have performed well and we have started to see some improvement in the global corporate travel sector. “While clients are still down trading, our continued success in winning new corporate travel accounts means we are well placed to benefit when the market recovers.”Flight Centre has also resolved it’s previously disclosed disputes with its corporate travel joint venture, and the company is also expected to take 100% ownership and control of FCm India. FLT’s half year accounts will be released February 25, 2010. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/26f76/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

CORRECTION Virgin Blue wants more services into Cook Islands

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1e4c9/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> CORRECTION: Virgin Blue is not requesting direct services into the Cook Islands as earlier advised but rather the continuation of the existing services into Rarotonga via Auckland.After being tipped off by a keen-eyed reader, e-Travel Blackboard can now confirm that Virgin Blue is requesting extra capacity into the Cook Islands through Auckland with its Pacific Blue brand.“Pacific Blue Airlines proposes to operate two additional weekly services between points in Australia and the Cook Islands,” said Virgin Group in a statement.“We propose to progressively introduce these services and fully utilise the capacity by 1 April 2011. Pacific Blue will operate these services utilising 180 seat B737-800 aircraft.”last_img read more

Jetstar Cathay Dragonair agree to interline

first_imgJetstar signed two interline agreements this week with Cathay Pacific and Dragonair. According to the low cost carrier the new agreements offer customers travelling on an itinerary the option to book under a single transaction. Jetstar chief commercial officer David Koczkar said the arrangements play a role in the airline’s plans to expand into the Chinese market. “According to the latest International Visitors Survey, China is now Australia’s largest source market in terms of economic value, contributing $3 billion in the year to September 2010,” Mr Koczkar said. “In the same period over 408,000 Chinese visited Australia as its fourth largest international market. “As a growing player in the Chinese market with our own straightforward and relatively aggressive China strategy we hope to play a positive future role in global aviation’s key future travel market.” Cathay Pacific currently operates 18 daily services between Hong Kong and Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam, while Dragonair provides Jetstar access to North Asia with flights from Vietnam to Hanoi. The agreements mark Jetstar’s sixteenth and seventeenth interline agreements.Other partnerships for the Qantas subsidary include Air France/KLM, American Airlines, Air Canada and Japan Airlines. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Carlson Wagonlit Travel employee wins ATMC Young Executive of the Year

first_imgCarlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), a global leader specialised in managing business travel and meetings and events, was awarded at the BTTB Travel Management Awards Dinner last night in Sydney with Gary Kong, Expense Management Administrator named by the Association of Travel Management Companies (ATMC) as Young Executive of the Year for 2012.This initiative was developed by the ATMC to provide encouragement to young executives and future leaders in the travel management industry. It also aims to help raise the standards in best practice for travel management. The entrants had to exhibit innovation demonstrated in a 1,000 word submission on a number of themes such as customer value, client management, technology or product development.CWT was not only crowned with the winning title last night but also had another entrant as a finalist, Suzanne Quinn, Program Management Support Director.Gary is a deserving winner having implemented an electronic expense reporting solution (EERS) for a client that provided them with a single aggregator of data, across 12 Asia Pacific countries. He also developed a database that simplified the entire process translating into 10-20% savings for the client. Due to Gary’s efficient streamlining and proactive approach to continuous improvements he is now called apon by the client in a consulting capacity.“A huge congratulations to Gary. This award demonstrates the high calibre of employees that CWT recruit and retain” Peter Brady, Managing Director Australia & New Zealand said. We look for leaders and those that can bring innovation into their roles everyday to help drive further value and success for CWT, and that is exactly what Gary has done”. Gary Kong will go on to attend the GBTA Global Convention in Boston on 21 – 25 July 2012. Source = Carlson Wagonlit Travellast_img read more

US airlines brace for historic winter storm

first_imgUS Airlines brace for historic winter storm. Winter Storm Nemo is set to rage across the north-east of the United States and parts of Canada, delaying and causing the cancellation of many flights.Many airlines are allowing customers to initiate travel changes ahead of the harsh winter storm.Over 1,100 Friday flights have already been cancelled from numerous airports in would-be affected areas, weather.com reported.Almost half of those flights grounded were at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.Delta Airlines-ticketed flights to, from or through affected cities between 8 – 9 February are permitted to make a one-time rebooking for travel before or after their original travel dates, as long as the new flights are ticketed and rescheduled to travel by 12 February 2013.American Airlines and Jet Blue are offering their customers similar remuneration, as long as their original ticket was issued prior to 6 February 2013.United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and US Airways are also permitting schedule changes for customers. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

Mandarin Oriental Taipei Awarded in US Conde Nast Traveler Awards

first_imgMandarin Oriental, Taipei Awarded in US Conde Nast Traveler AwardsMandarin Oriental, Taipei was included in “The 2015 Hot List” of new hotels at the recent US Conde Nast Traveler Awards. The hotel, which is celebrating its first anniversary, was listed under the category of “Urbanist Standouts – The Best New City Hotels.”Conde Nast Traveler says Mandarin Oriental, Taipei has become the city’s most luxurious hotel since opening in 2014. The magazine praised the hotel’s stunning art collection, wide range of dining options that include French, Italian and Cantonese cuisine, and Jade Lounge, which it described as a must-visit venue for afternoon tea.The Hot List is Conde Nast Traveler’s annual roundup of the world’s most exciting new hotels. Only 60 hotels made the 2015 Hot List after editors and contributors visited hundreds of recently opened properties around the world.  Mandarin Oriental, Taipei shared the honour of being listed in “Urbanist Standouts – The Best New City Hotels” category with premises in London, Paris, Milan and New York, further enhancing Taipei’s reputation as an iconic city on the international map.For more information or to make a reservation, please call +886 (2) 2715 6800 or visit www.mandarinoriental.com/taipei/. Source = Mandarin Orientallast_img read more

SAA extends Air Mauritius relationship

first_imgSAA extends Air Mauritius relationshipAfrica’s leading airline South African Airways (SAA) has broadened its codeshare agreement with Air Mauritius to enhance greater connectivity between South Africa and Mauritius and other inter-continental routes.According to Tim Clyde-Smith, SAA’s Country Manager for Australasia, the two airlines will now sell freely on each other’s networks with increased availability on its code-shared route between Johannesburg and Mauritius. SAA this year celebrates half a century of operations between the two countries.“The broadening of our relationship with Air Mauritius follows growing traffic between South Africa and Mauritius supporting increased tourism and trade between the two countries. Late last year we added an additional frequency to Mauritius as demand continues to grow,” Tim said.“SAA will actively market Mauritius as a leisure destination in other African markets. Indicators have shown a growing number of passenger volumes connecting through Johannesburg, originating on the African continent as well as from international locations such as Australia. By offering increased ease of connectivity onto the trunk codeshare route operated by SAA and Air Mauritius, we expect sustained growth in traffic,” he said.Mauritius has remained an important destination for SAA throughout its history and is one of the fastest growing economies in the region with consistent demand-side growth in both business and leisure travel.“This is great news for SAA as we continue to build and enhance our Africa network,” Tim concluded. Fly South African AirwaysSource = South African Airwayslast_img read more

Tragically even in the best run attractions fatal accidents can and d

first_imgDr David Beirman, Senior Lecturer, University of Technology-SydneyTragically, even in the best run attractions fatal accidents can and do occurArdent Leisure, the company which owns Dreamworld, has felt the blowtorch of public scrutiny since the Thunder River Rapid ride tragedy, resulting in the deaths of four visitors. In one of the more embarrassing revelations at the press conference the company held, Ardent CEO Deborah Thomas said she had not called the families of victims because Ardent “didn’t know how to contact them”.In any crisis event which results in loss of life, making contact with victims and their families should be a top priority. This is one of the “ten commandments” in dealing with a crisis event, set out by one of Australia’s most respected experts Sandy Hollway.After being chief organiser at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Hollway has been appointed to a number of positions including overseeing Canberra’s recovery from bushfires in 2003 to being in charge of the recovery of North Queensland in 2006 following Cyclone Larry, which devastated much of far North Queensland.Hollway summarised his approach to recovering after a crisis in a 2007 speech to the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Tourism Forum. It included benchmarks relevant to all tourism businesses and destinations seeking to restore their reputation following a crisis event. He said there should be:Collaboration between the private sector and the public sectorDedicated machinery and resources devoted to recovery, within agreed time limitsIn the case of destination recovery, all tiers of government should be involvedRapid response, especially in dealing with traditional and social mediaEngagement and support for the affected community, especially victimsPublic communications which are centralised, honest and informativeProper process with planned outcomesImportance should be placed on people more than budgetsStrategic and contingency planning to get ahead of the curveA focus on building back better.Ardent Leisure owns many tourist attractions in Australia and other countries. It is not naive about risk management.In 2012 the company won the Risk Management Advancer award for its commitment to risk management practice.Legal requirements under occupational health and safety laws require public tourist attractions to observe strictly enforced protocols for the safety of all rides used by the public.Tragically, even in the best run attractions fatal accidents can and do occur. This places operators in crisis mode.Based on Hollway’s “ten commandments,” Ardent Leisure clearly has much to learn to rapidly restore its reputation as a family friendly and safe tourist attraction.The Thunder River Rapid ride tragedy has exposed tensions between Ardent’s management and its workers which is potentially toxic when the company needs to demonstrate a united front in response to the tragedy. Although the the Gold Coast local government is supportive of Dreamworld, there are some suggestions that communications between the Council and local government could be improved.Ardent Leisure also appears to be in desperate need of a crash course on crisis communications. You can sympathise with the intense pressures placed on Adent’s CEO in dealing with an emotive and unexpected disaster, however a crisis event of this sort requires leadership and control.There is no legitimate excuse for failing to contact the immediate families of the victims. Whether the crisis results from a plane crash, hotel fire or a natural disaster, all tourism related businesses should know victims come first.The impact of the Dreamworld tragedy extends beyond its impact on a single attraction. As Daniel Geshwind, head of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council pointed out, the Dreamworld tragedy impacts on the reputation of family friendly safety for the entire Gold Coast tourism industry and all attractions. This has been recognised by the Queensland government, which is determined to ensure Dreamworld remains closed until there has been a full investigation of the incident.Crisis management is one of the world’s fastest growing fields in management and specifically, tourism management research and teaching. Queensland universities and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council have played a leading role in advancing crisis management skills in the tourism industry in the Australian state which is most economically reliant on tourism. As the UN World Tourism Organisation has recognised for some years, crisis management is an essential skill for all tourism businesses. The ConversationSource = Dr David Beirman Ph.D – The Conversationlast_img read more

Korean Air will regulate smart luggage with lithiumion batteries

first_imgKorean Air will regulate smart luggage with lithium-ion batteriesKorean Air will regulate smart luggage with lithium-ion batteriesEffective immediately, Korean Air will regulate passengers from checking in and carrying-on Smart Luggage.Smart Luggage included features and devices such as USB chargers, Wi-Fi hotspot, GPS, auto locking system and motorized wheel. Smart Luggage with non-removable lithium-ion batteries may pose risks for fire hazard in cargo holds or cabins.In accordance with the regulations issued by IATA towards ensuring flight safety, Korean Air will prohibit passengers from checking in or carrying Smart Luggage with non-removable batteries.Smart Luggage with removable batteries will be allowed as checked baggage, under the condition that batteries are uninstalled prior to check-in and carried separately on board. While passengers are still able to bring carry-on Smart Luggage on board, if the batteries are removable and remain installed.Source = Korean Airlast_img read more

Personal Travel Managers Carnival at Sea

first_imgNothing says, ‘welcome aboard’ like a cocktail! (L-R) PTMs Colleen Lacey, Rosemary Kates, Jane Fowler, Nicole Edgar, Cath Graham and Alma AraulloPersonal Travel Managers’ Carnival at SeaCombining business with pleasure, six of TravelManagers’ personal travel managers (PTMs) joined a Carnival @ Sea famil from Sydney to Melbourne, enjoying free time both at sea and ashore in Hobart and Port Arthur during their five-night cruise.The group travelled aboard Carnival Legend and were hosted by Carnival Cruises’ Sharon Grant, who held a low-key ‘lunch and learn’ session on their second day aboard, giving them the opportunity to learn about the highlights and selling points of a Carnival Cruise.Six PTMs from TravelManagers took part in Carnival’s famil, which included a day in Hobart. (L-R): Alma Araullo, Nicole Edgar, Cath Graham and Jane FowlerTravelManagers’ Nicole Edgar, representative for Narre Warren South, VIC, says although it was not her first time aboard a Carnival ship, she appreciated the opportunity to experience a different ship to better understand the diversity and thereby qualifying her to determine their individual appeals.“Having sailed on the ship myself, and having seen first-hand the onboard facilities, I can now confidently advise my clients that the Carnival Legend would suit young families with primary school aged kids,” she says.Edgar says one of the main highlights of the voyage for her was the visit to Hobart’s famous MONA Museum (Museum of Old and New Art).Inside Hobart’s famous and sometimes controversial MONA museum: TravelManagers’ Nicole Edgar and Sidney Nolan’s “snake” mural“Although the art itself wasn’t really to my taste, the direct ferry service from the dock, which takes twenty minutes each way, is an enjoyable journey up the Derwent River,” she explains. “You get a different view of Hobart and its surrounding suburbs from the water.”Port Arthur turned on the sunshine for PTMs Nicole Edgar & Cath Graham at Port Arthur, pictured with Edgar’s parents, Julia & Roger Aldons, who were also passengers on the cruisePort Arthur was identified by several members of the famil as another highlight. For Colleen Lacey, representative for Buddina, QLD, who was returning to Tasmania roughly thirty years after her last visit, the return visit served as a great refresher.“I really loved the history of Tasmania,” she adds. “I will definitely be recommending that my clients allow a full day at Port Arthur to ensure that they have enough time to explore the entire site, including the Isle of the Dead”.Edgar adds that arriving in Port Arthur by ship added a different element to the experience: “I had been to Port Arthur years ago but arriving to see the penal settlement lit up in sunlight from the water was stunning.”A day at Tasmania’s Port Arthur is a considered a must for these personal travel managers (L-R): Alma Araullo, Cath Graham, Nicole Edgar and Jane FowlerWith Carnival’s theme of ‘Fun for all, all for fun’, the PTMs had plenty of opportunities to experience this philosophy in action. Jane Fowler, representative for Elrington, NSW, says the Dr Seuss breakfast is one she will be recommending to clients travelling with children, and the four-course Long Lunch at Sea will be another dining recommendation.“Each night, whilst you are seated at your pre-assigned table in the dining room at your pre-assigned early or late dinner time, all the wait-staff dress up and do a dance number which changes each night, and the audience are encouraged to join in with actions and clapping,” Edgar explains.TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says Carnival’s @ Sea cruise famil programme is a great example of suppliers combining a classic famil experience with the opportunity to provide agents with a broader product update.“We work closely with all of our suppliers to ensure that our PTMs are up-to-date with all the latest product developments,” he says. “But nothing beats first-hand experience of the product itself – it’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone.”All the famil participants agreed that they finished the famil with a better understanding of both the destinations visited and of the shipboard experience.“Experiencing onboard cruising was a standout part of the famil,” says Fowler. “I would love to do this cruise again with my family, as it was an ideal duration for a mid-year getaway and I know my family would love it.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

Qatar airways continues its network expansion across Africa and Indian subcontinent

first_imgQatar Airways is continuing its rapid growth across Africa and the Indian Sub-Continent with an increase in flight frequencies to Asmara, Eritrea, and to Dhaka, Bangladesh.From September 2015, flights from Doha to Asmara will be increased from four to five times per week, representing a 25% increase in capacity and enhanced connectivity, in particular for customers from North America and Europe.And from December 2015, flights from Doha to Dhaka, Bangladesh, will also be increased substantially with the number of frequencies jumping from 10 to 14 weekly, effectively increasing capacity by 40% on this popular route. Operated with an Airbus 330-300 offering 30 seats in Business and 275 in Economy, the additional flights will allow even more connection opportunities for customers flying from the Middle East, the U.S., Europe and Africa.For the Doha-Asmara route, all flights are operated with Airbus A320 aircraft in a two-class configuration with 12 seats in Business Class and up to 132 seats in Economy. The Asmara expansion comes only nine months after the Eritrean capital was first introduced in December 2014 and demonstrates the growing demand for this route.Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, H.E. Akbar Al Baker said, “Qatar Airways is committed to continually enhancing the five-star experience we offer to all our customers and this further expansion is in direct response to a growing demand on these popular routes. We are delighted to offer even more opportunities for our customers across the globe to connect through Doha’s state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport to both Eritrea and Bangladesh, flying on board one of the youngest fleets in the industry.”last_img read more

Marriott International revises Starwood merger agreement

first_imgMarriott International has consolidated its takeover deal of Starwood Hotels by revising it. The amended agreement and the ILG transaction have a combined current value of $85.36 per share of Starwood common stock, which is more than what the Consortium offered ($83.83 per share).Under the merger agreement, Starwood shareholders will receive $21 in cash and 0.80 shares of Marriott International, Inc. Class A common stock for each share of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. common stock. Excluding its time share business, the transaction values Starwood at approximately $13.6 billion ($79.53 per share), consisting of $10 billion of Marriott International stock, based on the closing price of $73.16, and $3.6 billion of cash, based on approximately 170 million outstanding Starwood shares. Starwood shareholders will own approximately 34% of the combined company’s common stock after completion of the merger, based on current shares outstanding.In addition, Starwood stockholders are expected to receive separate consideration in the form of Interval Leisure Group (ILG) common stock from the spin-off of the Starwood timeshare business and subsequent merger with ILG, currently valued at $5.83 per Starwood share, based on ILG’s share price as of market close on March 18, 2016 (the ‘ILG transaction’). Both companies continue to expect that the closing of this transaction will occur well before the planned date of the Marriott-Starwood merger closing.Marriott is confident it can achieve $250 million in annual cost synergies within two years after closing, up from $200 million estimated in November 2015, when announcing the original merger agreement. This revised agreement offers superior value for Starwood’s shareholders, the ability to close quickly, and provides value creation potential that will allow both sets of shareholders to benefit from the improved financial performance.Marriott and Starwood have already obtained important regulatory consents necessary to complete the transaction, including clearing pre-merger antitrust reviews in the United States and Canada.last_img read more

Markets Lift With Job Growth Home Prices Permits

first_imgMarkets Lift With Job Growth, Home Prices, Permits Agents & Brokers Confidence Home Prices Housing Affordability Jobs Lenders & Servicers National Association of Home Builders Processing Service Providers 2012-01-09 Ryan Schuette Share Job growth, appreciating home prices, and fewer scuttled single-family housing permits helped improve 76 housing markets over the last six months, according to an index released Monday.[IMAGE]The “”National Association of Home Builders””:http://www.nahb.org/default.aspx (NAHB) and “”First American Title Insurance Company””:http://www.firstamericantitle.com/ released a joint index to measure improving markets against these criteria. The index identified at least one improving market in 31 states and the nation’s Capitol over the last six consecutive months.Commenting on the figures, NAHB chairman Bob Nielsen said in a statement that trends show “”a significant, positive trend is developing.””Cities that made the index included Dallas, Des Moines, and Jacksonville, with Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, and [COLUMN_BREAK]Texas garnering the most of any states in improving markets.NAHB chief economist David Crowe called any findings from the index “”an encouraging sign that gradually strengthening economic conditions are starting to take hold across a broader swath of America.””””The substantial gain in the number of improving housing markets in January shows that more consumers are looking favorably at a home purchase in light of today’s historically low interest rates and attractive prices, particularly in areas where job growth has picked up,”” Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company, said in the same statement.Earlier Monday real estate research firm Clear Capital forecasted that home prices will likely see progress in the New Year despite falling 1.2 percent year-over-year in 2011.Other conditions, including record-low mortgage rates, help increase housing affordability for homeowners at a time when many have stayed on the sidelines during sharp market contractions that followed the financial crisis.Nielsen added that housing improvements “”could be even stronger if not for the numerous impediments that continue to slow a housing and economic recovery, including overly restrictive lending policies and the growing inventory of distressed properties in certain markets.””center_img in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing January 9, 2012 432 Views last_img read more

Experts GSE Reform Unlikely Until After 2012 Election

first_img “”Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html and “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ entered federal conservatorship in 2008, as lawmakers and presidents stepped in to stymie a freefall for the nation’s largest mortgage companies, just as words like _subprime_ and _systemically important institutions_ gained traction for the public.[IMAGE]Four years and roughly $180 billion in taxpayer funds later, old hands, regulators, and freshman lawmakers alike struggle with a vexing riddle.The question: How can a system polarized by politics safely shrink companies responsible for more than $11 trillion in mortgages without blowing a still-unsteady recovery ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and what will it mean for the future of mortgage finance?House Budget Committee Chairman “”Paul Ryan””:http://paulryan.house.gov/ (R-Wisconsin) recently threw in his two cents by offering a House budget that called for an end to conservatorship and the return of free-market practices but skirted specific recommendations.The proposal rhetoric joined calls for action from the campaign trail, where GOP presidential hopefuls like former Massachusetts Gov. “”Mitt Romney””:http://www.mittromney.com/ and House Speaker “”Newt Gingrich””:http://www.newt.org/ slung mud at the GSEs – nowhere else more than Florida, where the latter’s contract with Freddie Mac came into play.””It’s easy to say Fannie and Freddie are mistakes and let’s get rid of them. There’s broad consensus there,”” says “”Lawrence J. White””:http://people.stern.nyu.edu/lwhite/, a professor of economics at “”New York University””:http://www.nyu.edu/ and onetime member of the now-extinct Federal Home Loan Bank Board. “”The difficulty is ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô what replaces them?””[COLUMN_BREAK]As if in answer, numerous blueprints linger in the public space, each with their own versions of a housing market without Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.The more favored one of the many ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a bill introduced last fall by Rep. “”Scott Garrett””:http://garrett.house.gov/ (R-New Jersey) ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô essayed for gradual phase-outs for the GSEs, along with new servicing and regulatory responsibilities for the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov/ (FHFA).It also argued for doing away with the implicit federal guarantee for 30-year fixed-rate mortgage products ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a sacred cow as important for some as the mortgage interest rate tax deduction or Social Security.The National Association of Home Builders recently seconded an open-ended proposal from the FHFA with blueprints for new securitization measure under the auspices of federal agencies and a patchwork of responsibility shared by Housing Finance Entities like the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks.In its proposal, the FHFA likewise highlighted the need to preserve a relationship between homeowners and investors but left the decision-making up to Congress.””Unless you have something backed by the U.S. government, foreign investors are not going to buy mortgage-backed securities,”” says “”Peter Wallison””:http://www.aei.org/scholar/peter-j-wallison/, a vocal critic of the GSEs and research fellow with the conservative-leaning “”American Enterprise Institute””:http://www.aei.org/. He adds: “”But as long as we have mortgage-backed securities backed by the U.S. government, investors here will not buy them.””White tells us that it is unlikely any presidential candidates will tackle reform for the GSEs, even in a heated election year.””There probably are people certainly in the Obama administration who are looking ahead,”” he goes on. “”Once someone gets the Republican nomination, someone in the campaign will start thinking about what to do with Fannie and Freddie when we win the election and ask: What’s our post-election plan?””That may not be far off the mark. Experts say the House Republican budget is unlikely to clear the Democratic Senate or the White House. March 30, 2012 441 Views Experts: GSE Reform Unlikely Until After 2012 Election in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img Agents & Brokers American Enterprise Institute Fannie Mae Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Home Builders Politics Processing Service Providers Subprime Loans 2012-03-30 Ryan Schuette Sharelast_img read more

Sun Continues Shining on Florida Housing

first_imgSun Continues Shining on Florida Housing Florida Realtors Home Prices Home Sales 2014-04-23 Paul Salfen in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News According to Florida Realtors, the state’s housing market reported higher median prices, more new listings, and a stable level of inventory in March. Closed sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 20,081 last month, up 2.8 percent from March last year.For 28 months in a row now, statewide median sales prices have risen annually for single-family homes and condos.Florida Realtors president Sherri Meadows said, “Realtors across Florida are reporting fewer short sales of distressed properties and more interest from potential home sellers as they observe the return of more traditional market conditions. Statewide, new listings for single-family homes in March rose 16.5 percent year-over-year, while new townhouse-condo listings rose 10.3 percent.”The statewide median sales price also went up 7.1 percent, which now sits at $173,000, with condos up 16.7 percent at $140,000. This is in line with the rise of the national median sales price of $189,200 for houses and $187,900 for condos.”What we’re seeing is a market we can live with,” said Florida Realtors chief economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Sales are up, inventories are increasing moderately, and days on the market are shrinking slightly. What’s of particular interest this month is how market activity has moved up the price ladder. We are seeing greater sales gains and inventory increases, and strong percentage decreases in days on the market, for homes priced above $250,000. This is a break from the trends we were seeing last year and bears watching for the future.In related news, another rise seen via Freddie Mac was that of the interest rate in 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at 4.34 percent, which was up from 3.57 a year ago.center_img April 23, 2014 481 Views Sharelast_img read more

United Wholesale Promotes Marketing Leader to Chief People Officer

first_img in Headlines, News Share In Michigan, United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) announced the promotion of Laura Lawson to the newly created position of chief people officer (CPO).As CPO, Lawson will lead and work with all teams focused on UWM and its parent company, United Shore Financial Services, in the areas of human resources, recruiting, training, client services, facilities, and events.In her previous role, she served as SVP of marketing, where she was responsible for all aspects of UWM’s wholesale marketing efforts.”Laura is a dedicated team member who has worked her way up, positively impacting our team members and departments along the way,” said UWM’s president and CEO, Mat Ishbia. “She is the perfect example of the passionate, professional and dedicated talent we have … working for us.”Commenting on her service to the company, Lawson said she looks forward to coming into work every day.”We have an incredible team of people and we are constantly developing new ideas for training and coaching, as well as ways to appreciate and reward hard work,” she said. “United Shore is an environment like none other.” United Wholesale Promotes Marketing Leader to Chief People Officercenter_img Movers & Shakers United Wholesale Mortgage 2014-09-17 Tory Barringer September 17, 2014 570 Views last_img read more

CFPB to Expand on New Servicing Rules at Five Star Conference

first_img August 4, 2016 504 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News CFPB to Expand on New Servicing Rules at Five Star Conference CFPB Five Star Conference and Expo Mortgage Servicing Rules 2016-08-04 Seth Welborncenter_img The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is scheduled to host the Industry & Servicer Training Update at the Five Star Conference & Expo on September 12, 2016. The presentation will be among the first times that the Bureau will provide an in-depth, in-person training since the promulgation of the new servicing rules published on Thursday.The update will be led by Laurie Maggiano, the Manager for Servicing and Securitization Markets in the Division of Research, Markets, and Regulation at the CFPB. Maggiano will address the 900-page finalized set of rules on mortgage servicing. These updated measures are designed to ensure that homeowners, struggling borrowers, and property heirs are treated fairly by mortgage servicers.“We are proud to provide the CFPB with this platform for the benefit of the mortgage servicing industry,” said Ed Delgado, President & CEO of the Five Star Institute. “This update represents a special opportunity for the industry to actively engage with the Bureau and get their questions answered directly.”The finalized rules dictate that servicers must provide certain borrowers with foreclosure protections more than once over the life of the loan. According to the CFPB, this change will be particularly helpful for borrowers who obtain a permanent loan modification and later suffer an unrelated hardship, such as the loss of a job or the death of a family member, that could otherwise cause them to face foreclosure.Servicers must also clarify borrower protections when the servicing of a loan is transferred and provide important loan information to borrowers in bankruptcy.The updated rules also more clearly define various roles in the foreclosure process. For those who inherit property, the potential foreclosure process has been especially perilous. The updated rules establish a broad definition of “successor in interest” that generally includes persons who receive property upon the death of a relative or joint tenant, via divorce or legal separation, through certain trusts, or from a spouse or parent and gives them, generally, the same protections outlined under the CFPB’s mortgage servicing rules as the original borrower.These amendments also require servicers to notify borrowers when loss mitigation applications are complete and provide greater protection for struggling borrowers during servicing transfers. The rules also clarify servicers’ obligations to avoid dual-tracking and prevent wrongful foreclosures, as well as when a borrower becomes delinquent.“When a borrower misses a periodic payment but later makes it up, if the servicer applies that payment to the oldest outstanding periodic payment, the date the borrower’s delinquency began advances,” the CFPB stated.CFPB Director Richard Cordray said, “These updates to the rule will give greater protections to mortgage borrowers, particularly surviving family members and other successors in interest, who often are especially vulnerable.”The finalized rules were released at a time when the CFPB is also considering a set of consumer protection principles to guide mortgage servicers, investors, government housing agencies, and policymakers as they develop new foreclosure relief solutions, now that the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) is coming to its end.The CFPB will give a more detailed analysis on these extensive updates during The Five Star Conference & Expo. The Five Star Conference is the nation’s largest gathering of mortgage servicing professionals, complete with industry leading academics, career-advancing networking opportunities, and special keynote presentations. The 2016 Five Star Conference & Expo takes place September 11 – 13 in Dallas, Texas.Click here to register for The Five Star Conference and Expo.The Five Star Institute is a parent company for MReport and themreport.com. Sharelast_img read more

The Brexit Effect on US Housing

first_img Brexit interest Investments mortgage rates Realtor.com 2019-03-15 Seth Welborn Following Wednesday’s vote in the U.K. Parliament to postpone the March 29 departure date, the Brexit process is likely to drag on even longer. Despite Brexit taking place across the ocean, how will the process impact the housing market in the U.S.?“A no-deal Brexit would probably hurt U.S. home sales in 2019,” said, Danielle Hale,  Chief Economist at realtor.com. “The slowdown in global economic growth centered in the U.K. and Europe would likely cause the U.S. economy to soften. That would lead to lower job growth and less income growth. Both are really important drivers for people looking to buy homes.”According to realtor.com, Brexit could lead to lower mortgage rates for U.S. homebuyers. Instability in the U.K. may lead to British investors moving to safer investments such as U.S. Treasury Bonds, pushing rates down.”We definitely saw the housing market slow when mortgage rates got close to 5% at the end of 2018,” says Hale. “If Brexit does hold mortgage rates down, it could help power some additional home sales this spring.”Additionally, sellers may find British real estate investors looking to buy in the U.S. to avoid instability, especially among luxury real estate.”The British will have a harder time buying property in Spain, Italy, and other parts of Europe,” says Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors. “They could look to the U.S. as an alternative destination to buy.””Many folks who have been based in London over the last 20 or 30 years are shifting their interests into the United States,” says attorney Edward Mermelstein of the New York City–based One and Only Holdings. His foreign investor clients have been buying up apartment buildings in and around New York City over the past six months as a result of Brexit.”When they’re selling in London, they’re buying in New York,” he says.Worst case scenario, though, is Brexit leads to an economic recession in Britain and in the E.U.“It could have a negative ripple effect to the U.S.,” says Yun.Find more at Realtor.com. March 15, 2019 1,271 Views The Brexit Effect on U.S. Housingcenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, News, Origination Sharelast_img read more

Just to be around the guys and feel that camarade

first_img“Just to be around the guys and feel that camaraderie—that’s great. You know, last year was a unique situationwhere some things had to be done in a different way. Toget back to it now has been good.”Rhodes missed eight games last season from a fracture inhis foot, but returned for two games before the end of theseason. He finished with 26 tackles and two fumblerecoveries for the year.“I’ve been to the gym a lot,” Rhodes said. “But gettingback here to see the guys, just see what they’ve been upto, see how good of shape they’re in or how much out ofshape they’re in, it’s good.” Rhodes has high hopes for the defense this year. The teamstarted slow in 2011, allowing 24.5 points per game in thefirst half of the season, but surrendered just an averageof 19 over the final eight. “You want to hit the ground running, no question. I thinkwe finished 7-2 down the stretch. I think as a defensiveunit, we got a lot of things and got better as the yearwent on,” Rhodes said. “Nothing really carries over intoanother year, so to speak. But inside, we feel real goodabout where we ended. If we continue that, we’ll be fine.” At this time last year, most of the NFL players were stillon vacation instead of attending voluntary workouts likethey are now.The 2011 lockout hindered the training and preparation forthe upcoming season, but the players are now more eager toget in a complete offseason workout with their teams.“I think it’s very beneficial. You get to be around eachother. This is the time where I think teams form and bondand get to where we know each other and know what eachother likes to do,” Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes saidMonday. Comments   Share   Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’center_img Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Top Stories last_img read more