Travel trade confident in continued sales. Increasingly strong bookings from China to the United States have been forecast through the third quarter of 2013, according to a new study.For the first quarter of the year 81 percent of tour operators surveyed projected an increase in bookings from China to the US, according to the Travel Market Insights Travel Trade Barometer.Second quarter estimates were even higher, with 87 percent of travel trade respondents predicting a rise in bookings and not one trade member projecting a decrease, compared with 2012.In the third quarter 41 percent of respondents projected higher bookings, while only 9 percent forecast results would be the same as last year.During both the second and third quarter, Europe was selected as the most competitive destination.Direct air services to desired destinations in the US seemed to be the overwhelming driving factor for Chinese visitor bookings, while natural disasters and language barriers were the greatest deterrents.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T.
The winners of Tourism Australia’s ‘Best Jobs in the World’ began arriving in Australia this week.The competition managed to attract 330,000 applicants from 196 countries after it launched in March of this year.French online marketer Elisa Detrez starts her position as Queensland’s Park Ranger this week, while Irish dot.com entrepreneur Allan Dixon begins his job as the Northern Territory’s Outback Adventurer.English costume designer Richard Keam will become Western Australia’s Taste Master at the end of August, followed in September by Brazilian Roberto Seba as Victoria’s Lifestyle Photographer.Greg Snell and Andrew Smith; South Australia’s Wildlife Caretaker and New South Wales’ Chief Funster respectively, are due to start their new jobs in December 2013.American singer-songwriter Cameron Ernst will also become Virgin Australia’s High Flyer this month.“This has been an extraordinary competition, and these are no ordinary jobs… together, they capture the broad appeal of our country and demonstrate why there really is nothing like Australia,” Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said.“During this time they’ll come face to face with our magnificent landscapes and scenery, unique nature and wildlife, cosmopolitan cities, amazing food and wine, and a lifestyle the envy of the world – and they’ll be getting paid for it.”Each of the ‘Best Job’ winners has been provided a six month employment contract in Australia.Source = ETB News: P.T. Six-month employment experiences for international winners.
Following the approval of shareholders at the General Shareholders Meeting on July 12, 2016, AccorHotels Group officially announces the acquisition of FRHI Hotels & Resorts (FRHI) and its three prestigious luxury hotel brands: Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel.This addition of three remarkable brands instantly positions AccorHotels as a leading player in the global luxury hotel market, increases long term growth potential and profitability, and significantly expands the company’s footprint in North America, the world’s largest and most influential consumer market.“Today is a great day for our Group. The acquisition of these three emblematic luxury hotel brands is a historical milestone for AccorHotels. It will open up amazing growth prospects, lift our international presence to unprecedented heights, and build value over the long term,” says Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AccorHotels.Joining AccorHotels’ global network is a portfolio of globally admired brands, which includes management of many of the world’s most iconic and historic hotels located in key strategic cities around the world, including: The Savoy in London, Raffles Singapore, Fairmont San Francisco, New York’s The Plaza, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, and Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris.Combining FRHI’s proven track record and deep expertise in operating and marketing luxury hotels, with AccorHotels robust global operating platform, extensive loyalty base and industry leading digital capabilities, means the Group is uniquely positioned to deliver the most profitable returns and best growth potential across all market segments.“We remain committed to providing guests with unparalleled service, while also keeping the ambition to deliver exceptional return on investment for our shareholders and hotel owners,” added Bazin.“By leveraging the operational synergies between FRHI and AccorHotels, we are well-positioned to accelerate the growth of our luxury brands and offer guests even more exciting hotel choices and destinations to explore.”Chris Cahill appointed as the Group’s CEO Luxury BrandsIn support of the acquisition, and as part of AccorHotels’ larger strategy to strengthen its luxury and upscale business, the company has appointed Chris Cahill as the Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Luxury Brands.In this newly created role, Chris, who will also become a member of AccorHotels’ Executive Committee, will lead the FRHI integration process and be responsible for the strategy and global operations of AccorHotels Luxury Brands. This new structure will include Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel Legend, So Sofitel, Sofitel, MGallery by Sofitel, Pullman and Swissôtel.Chris is an experienced hotelier who has led several successful integrations, is familiar with multi-brand management and brings an extensive background in luxury operations, sales and marketing. With more than 30 years of hospitality industry experience, including 19 years working with FRHI and its predecessor companies, Chris is ideally positioned to lead the integration of the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands into the AccorHotels portfolio, and will ensure AccorHotels’ luxury brands grow and prosper. He most recently served as Executive Vice President Global Operations at Las Vegas Sands Corp.Closing DetailsFollowing the approval of shareholders at the General Shareholders Meeting on July 12, 2016, the transaction with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) of Saudi Arabia provided $840 million (€768 million) cash payment and the issuance of 46.7 million AccorHotels shares in consideration for the contributed FRHI shares. The transaction gives QIA and KHC respective stakes of 10.4% and 5.8% in Accor’s share capital. Ali Bouzarif and Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo from QIA and Sarmad Zok from KHC will now join AccorHotels’ Board of Directors.AccorHotels plans to generate approximately €65 million in revenue and cost synergies thanks to the combination of brands, the maximization of hotel earnings, the increased efficiency of marketing, sales and distribution channel initiatives, and the optimization of support costs. Significant enhancements will also be made in terms of customer data, thanks to the integration of FRHI’s customer base that includes three million loyalty members, of which 75 percent are in North America.The vast majority of Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel’s 154 hotels and resorts (of which 40 are under development) and 56,000 rooms spanning 34 countries and five continents are operated under long-term management contracts, with an average term of nearly 30 years; six hotels are leased and one hotel is owned. The Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands employ more than 45,000 colleagues worldwide. AccorHotelsSource = AccorHotels
Best Western® Hotels & Resorts has opened an idyllic beachfront property in Japan that combines all the key elements of a tropical seaside vacation.Located on the main island of Okinawa, where the warm, shallow waters of Nago Bay lap gently against the golden shore, Best Western Okinawa Kouki Beach creates the perfect setting for guests seeking sun, sea and sand.Set in a modern 10-story building – painted white and positioned just meters from the shoreline – Best Western Okinawa Kouki Beach features a collection of light, bright rooms with balconies that offer spectacular views across Nago Bay’s shimmering aquamarine seas, as far as Minna Island and the Motobu Peninsula.Guests have a choice of room categories, ranging from the 30m² Standard Rooms to the 60m² Deluxe Rooms, all of which come equipped with fast and free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs with international satellite channels, ceiling fans and mini-bars. The hotel is also ideal for families, with the larger rooms sleeping up to six guests and featuring private cooking facilities.The most spectacular dining options; however, can be found at the hotel’s beachfront restaurant, Kouki. From sumptuous buffet breakfasts overlooking Nago Bay to the most romantic evening dinners, served on the sandy shore in front of the hotel, this is the perfect place to enjoy delectable Japanese cuisine and international favorites. Other facilities at the hotel include a laundry, massage services and a business center, and guests are offered Best Western’s legendary service in both Japanese and English languages.During the day, a selection of water sports is available on Nago Bay, or alternatively guests can explore the many visitor attractions on this popular tourist island, such as Churaumi Aquarium, the remains of Nakijin Castle, Busena Marine Park or Nago Pineapple Park. And by night they can unwind with a cooling cocktail while watching the sunset over the ocean from the hotel – the perfect way to end a fulfilling day.“Okinawa has always been a tourism hotspot for Japanese travelers, and an increasing number of international visitors are now starting to discover this idyllic topical island,” said Olivier Berrivin, Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ Managing Director of International Operations – Asia. “With multiple international flights now landing in Okinawa, including new direct charter services from Singapore, this tropical paradise is more accessible than ever before.“With its absolute beachfront location, spacious rooms and the world-class service that only Best Western can ensure, Best Western Okinawa Kouki Beach is sure to become a popular seaside retreat for both Japanese and international travelers alike. I am confident it will be an excellent addition to our Asian portfolio,” Mr. Berrivin added.Japan is one of Best Western’s largest Asian markets, and the launch of Best Western Okinawa Kouki Beach marks the next step in the company’s nationwide expansion strategy, following the recent opening of Best Western Rembrandt Hotel Tokyo Machida.In Okinawa Prefecture alone, Best Western now operates three hotels – Best Western Okinawa Onna Beach, Best Western Naha Inn and Best Western Okinawa Kouki Beach – and this latest opening takes the company’s Japanese collection to 14 unique hotels and resorts all across the country, stretching from the snow-capped peaks of Hokkaido in the north to the tropical beaches of Okinawa in the south. Source = Best Western Hotels & Resorts
Source = Star Alliance – Juneyao Airlines Star Alliance and Juneyao Airlines seal partnershipStar Alliance and Juneyao Airlines seal partnershipAt a ceremony held in Shanghai today, Star Alliance and Juneyao Airlines formally sealed a strategic partnership which will see the Shanghai based airline become a “Connecting Partner” of Star Alliance in 2017. Under the Alliance’s innovative partnership concept, the airline will soon start offering services such as through-check-in, as well as Lounge access and other Priority privileges to qualifying passengers travelling on connecting itineraries with Star Alliance member airlines.“Juneyao Airlines is a terrific addition to our network proposition in China and particularly in the Shanghai market”, said Mark Schwab, CEO Star Alliance. “Thanks to Juneyao’s expanding reach, our passengers will enjoy a wide choice of flight connections through our future partner to numerous Chinese metropoles and several international destinations.”Currently 17 Star Alliance member airlines are operating around 1,600 weekly services in and out of the two Shanghai airports, Pudong International and Hongqiao International, which are both served by Juneyao Airlines. With a fleet of 56 aircraft Juneyao Airlines provides more than 1,700 weekly flights to 69 destinations in eight countries and regions.“Juneyao Airlines is proud to play its role in enlarging the Star Alliance network offer through Shanghai’s two airports. We look forward to welcoming connecting passengers from Star Alliance on our airline in the near future. We offer 53 additional routes which will complement Star Alliance’s existing services from Shanghai and will no doubt attract more connecting passengers to our two home hub airports”, said Wang Junjin, Chairman Juneyao Airlines.“Since starting operations 10 years ago, Juneyao Airlines has earned a strong reputation in the Chinese market. Now it is ready for a further step on its successful growth path. From the beginning of our conversations we were impressed by the carrier’s professionalism and operational efficiencies”, adds Schwab.The Connecting Partner Model is designed to allow airlines to connect to the Star Alliance network without having to become a full member. For customers this gives access to additional travel options beyond the current 1,300 airports served by the Alliance’s 28 member airlines. Connecting Partners are carefully selected and need to adhere to the high operating standards required by the Alliance.Customers travelling on an itinerary which includes a transfer between a Star Alliance member airline and a Connecting Partner will be offered the standard Alliance benefits such as passenger and baggage through check-in. In addition, Star Alliance Gold status customers will enjoy a tailored set of privileges in line with the product offerings of the individual Connecting Partner.Connecting Partners will enter into bilateral commercial agreements with selected Star Alliance member airlines, which may include Frequent Flyer Programme based privileges.“Juneyao Airlines was founded with the aim of offering a competitive and high quality product to both the business and leisure market. It targets customers at middle to high level and creates a relaxing, respectful and professional experience that is unique to Juneyao Airlines. As a full-service carrier, the new strategy of the airline is to become an excellent representative of a High-Value Carrier. I am very happy that this has not gone unnoticed in the industry and that Star Alliance has decided to partner with us. We are looking forward to providing Star Alliance Gold Card holders with a wide selection of privileges when they connect to our airline”, Wang Junjin added.Work has now commenced to establish the necessary technology and commercial links which will allow Juneyao Airlines to begin serving Star Alliance connecting passengers some time during the second quarter 2017. As of then, the airline will be offering the following privileges to qualifying Star Alliance Gold Status passengers travelling on connecting itineraries:Lounge AccessFast Track SecurityAdditional BaggagePriority Check-inPriority BoardingPriority StandbyPriority Baggage Delivery The 17 Star Alliance member airlines flying to Shanghai are: Air Canada, Air China*, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA*, Asiana*, Austrian, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air*, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen Airlines#, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, THAI, Turkish Airlines and United. Together they offer around 830 weekly domestic flights and 760 international flights, serving 62 destinations (26 domestic and 36 international) in 19 countries. Juneyao Airlinesbook flights hereAbout Juneyao AirlinesJuneyao Airlines started formal operation in September 2006 and completed its initial public offering on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2015. Today it owns 56 brand new Airbus A320 series aircraft with an average fleet age of 3 years, which is the youngest one for any of the domestic airlines in China. Juneyao Airlines targets the middle-to-high-level official, business and leisure markets. Based in Shanghai the route network of Juneyao Airlines radiates to the whole nation and counts more than 80 domestic routes between Shanghai and Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Tianjin and so on. It has also progressively opened up international and regional routes to Hong Kong, Macao, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Thailand, Japan and Korea. At present it carries more than 10 million passengers per year.
Cathay Pacific moves New York JFK operations to Terminal 8Cathay Pacific moves New York JFK operations to Terminal 8Cathay Pacific will relocate its operations at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Terminal 8, commencing 15 January, in a move that will benefit its customers through added convenience and enhanced connectivity.The relocation, which sees Hong Kong’s home carrier shift its passenger handling services from Terminal 7, will provide its customers with a more seamless travel experience when connecting to flights operated by Cathay Pacific’s oneworld partner, American Airlines, which has a significant presence at Terminal 8.Flight CX845, with a scheduled departure of 00.45 local time on 15 January, will be Cathay Pacific’s final departure from Terminal 7. All subsequent flights to Hong Kong will depart from Terminal 8, which is the largest passenger terminal at JFK and twice the size of Madison Square Garden.Cathay Pacific Director Service Delivery James Ginns said: “Moving our operations to Terminal 8 at JFK, the home of our oneworld partner American Airlines, will improve our passengers’ travel experience considerably. The first-rate facilities and amenities available, in addition to the significant connectivity advantages that the move brings, will further enhance the delivery of our brand promise of a Life Well Travelled.”All Cathay Pacific passengers will enjoy the myriad dining, retail and entertainment facilities that the terminal provides before boarding their flights, while First and Business Class passengers, in addition to eligible Marco Polo Club members, will have the option of relaxing in American Airlines’ lounges – the Admirals Club or the Flagship Lounge, which is set to be the most impressive on the airline’s network once extensive renovations are completed in April.The Flagship Lounge, which will feature updated interiors, more space, additional privacy and a more personalised service, will also see the introduction of Flagship First Dining, meaning passengers can choose from a seasonal, multi-course menu that features fresh, regionally-inspired dishes designed by an Executive Chef.Cathay Pacific operates more non-stop flights between Hong Kong and New York than any other airline, connecting two of the world’s most important financial centres with four daily services to New York, including one via Vancouver and one daily flight to Newark Liberty International Airport.Cathay Pacific offers more than 70 flights a week from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Cairns to their Hong Kong and 108 scheduled passenger flights per week from Hong Kong to North America, including 84 flights per week to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles New York and San Francisco in the United States and 24 flights per week to Toronto and Vancouver in Canada. Source = Cathay Pacific
Source = The Sarojin The Sarojin–New Two Bedroom Pool ResidencesThe Sarojin–New Two Bedroom Pool ResidencesNew -Two-Bedroom Pool Residences Following an increase in demand from multi-generational visitors, The Sarojin, Thailand’s luxurious 56-roomed boutique residence, has introduced seven ‘Two-Bedroom Pool Residences’, which are designed to help older families make the most of the resort’s tranquillity, as well as adding value to their stay.This new offering, boasts the full facilities of both the Garden Residence and Pool Residence. The spacious Two-Bedroom Pool Residences are located on the ground floor and have a connecting door between the Pool and Garden Residences, providing the perfect alternative to two separate rooms. The 215 sqm Residences will feature two king size beds, with two extra beds available on request*, making it perfect for family groups of up to six people, including those travelling with grandparents and children 10 years and over.The Two-Bedroom Residences benefit from a 5.5m x 3.5m swimming pool, two outside sun terraces, as well as two luxurious and spacious bathrooms, which feature a couples’ bath, rainfall and adjustable showers.Two Bedroom Pool Residence Rates start at THB 18,501 (approx. AUD 711 ) per night inclusive of daily all day a la carte breakfast with sparkling wine, served until 6pm, for 4 persons and all taxes. Two extra beds can be accommodated and the rate per extra person per night, inclusive of the all day a la carte breakfast with sparkling wine and all taxes, is THB 825/ approx. AUD 31.New Spa Suite Rewards ProgrammeThe Sarojin, is also helping guests indulge even further in its restorative offerings with its new ‘Spa Suite – Spa Bonus Redemption’ programme. All Spa Suite guests now accrue spa credits per room for each night of their stay to exchange for luxurious spa treatments, including individual treatments and lavish spa packages. Guests can choose to spoil themselves with a daily Thai or Royal Oriental (Aroma) massage or accumulate credits for longer massages, body scrubs, Elemis facials and even full spa packages. As a further bonus, using just six nights’ credits, couples can enjoy ultimate relaxation with the four-hour Nature’s Midday Haven package for 2 people, which includes Thai and moisturising massages, aromatic baths, coconut and rice body scrubs, as well as a spa cuisine lunch.Each of the hotel’s 14 luxurious and spacious Spa Suites features an elegant ensuite couples’ bathroom, bedroom with king-size bed, separate spacious lounge area, outdoor 2m diameter relaxation pool and spectacular garden views from its very own private terrace, offering guests the perfect home away from homeSpa Suite room rates start at THB 10,265** (approx. AUD 395** ) per night inclusive of daily all day a la carte breakfast with sparkling wine, served until 6pm, for 2 persons and all taxes. **From rates are for 10 May – 30 September 2018, inclusive of 10 percent early bird / 30 days.
Source = Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort Outrigger Fiji Walkathon raises FJD$42,000 towards kids educationOutrigger Fiji Walkathon raises FJD$42,000Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort’s annual 10km Walk for Kids raised FJD$42,000 including a FJD$20,000 pledge from the acting Prime Minister, the Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who also took part in the walk.Arranged by the resort’s Sales & Marketing department for the fourth consecutive year, the walkathon attracted over 150 guests, staff, school children and locals walking to raise funds towards buying a four-wheel-drive vehicle for the teachers at the Sigatoka Special School.Outrigger Fiji General Manager Peter Hopgood said the vehicle would allow teachers to visit special needs children who could not make it into Sigatoka to attend the school.The funds will also be used towards the construction of two new teachers’ quarters at the Conua District Primary School which is needed to attract new teaching staff after Outrigger built two new classrooms for the school last year.Mr. Hopgood said that when he first visited the school in 2010 there were 55 students.“This year 165 students are enrolled. Back in 2010 the pass rate was 37 per cent. Last year the pass rate was 87 percent and in the past eight years we have also built a kindergarten, library, computer lab and a meeting Bure.”Thanks to Outrigger, and the generosity of its guests and staff, the outlook for students in the Sigatoka region is now much brighter,” Mr. Hopgood said.The annual Walk for Kids event is part of Outrigger’s departmental community projects initiative whereby each month a different hotel department organises a community service of some kind.On a larger scale, the direct-action community tourism project, construction of two new teachers’ quarters at Conua District School is available for resorts guests to participate in as a day excursion. This is anticipated to be completed by November this year.
GoAir has embarked on a major expansion of its domestic operations, with four new routes and a series of additional flight frequencies. The four new routes will connect Mumbai with Leh, and Bengaluru with three cities: Port Blair, Patna, and Ranchi. The Mumbai-Leh and Bengaluru-Port Blair routes, both of which commence on March 27, are not currently served by any airline.The Leh flights will depart Mumbai at 0400 and arrive in the Himalayan city at 0645. The return services will then depart Leh at 0715 and arrive back in Mumbai at 1115, having made a brief stop in Srinagar.On the Port Blair route, flights will leave Bengaluru at 1430 and arrive at 1715. The return flights will then depart Port Blair at 1125 and arrive back in Bengaluru at 1400.Additional frequencies will also be introduced on the routes from Delhi to Ranchi, Lucknow and Patna with an extra flight between Mumbai and Srinagar.All the new flights will be operated using GoAir’s fleet of 180-seat, all-economy Airbus A320 aircraft.
Two online travel giants, Travelport and Priceline.com have recently announced that they have signed a long-term renewal agreement. According to the deal, Travelport will continue providing pricing, booking and ticketing technology and content to Priceline.“Travelport has proven to be a valued partner over the last twenty years in helping Priceline customers find and book the best deals,” said Brigit Zimmerman, Senior Vice President of flight, hotel and packages, Priceline.com.The two companies signed the first accord 20 years ago and after series of strong business, the companies have renewed the deal of doing the business together for a longer span of time. Both the industry giants have worked together to make the process of buying and selling travel and tourism products easier for customers who look for great deals.Jason Clarke, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Travelport, asserted about their long-standing relationship with Priceline and said, “We are committed to supporting Priceline with our industry-leading search and pricing capabilities, as well as offering Priceline new technologies that offer faster connections, greater content and more relevant choices.”
FDIC Files Suit Against Former Georgia Bank October 11, 2011 440 Views Share in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Even as fewer banks fail nationally, the “”FDIC””:http://www.fdic.gov/ recently filed suit against former 11 directors and officers of the institution for which it now serves as receiver, with the goal to collect $23.92 million in damages from the defendants. [IMAGE]Citing negligence and oversight failure, the federal agency filed suit against Alpha Bank & Trust, an Alpharetta, Georgia-based bank closed by state regulators in 2008. The FDIC claimed $214.5 million in approximate costs to the Deposit Insurance Fund, which it said resulted from a swath of bad commercial real estate loans, 11 in total, along with two other loans the bank made to unqualified borrowers.[COLUMN_BREAK]According to the suite, the defendants signed off on 13 of the loans made by the bank to a number of borrowers “”despite plainly inadequate, incomplete, or outdated financials of the borrowers and/or guarantors”” without regard for the ability to repay by any one borrower.””Defendants approved the Loss Loans despite underwriting deficiencies and loan policy violations that were or should have been readily apparent to even a casual reviewer,”” the FDIC alleged in the complaint. The FDIC accused the former directors and officers of violating statutory limits, scrimping on borrower financial information, neglecting improper appraisals, and looking the other way when it came to a borrower’s “”questionable character,”” among other allegations.Numbering 11 in all, the former directors and officers include ex-chairman James Blackwell, onetime president and CEO Joseph Briner, former EVP Robert Skeen III, and David Michael Sleeth, who served as the CFO.Greg Hernandez, a spokesperson for the FDIC, declined to comment for the story given the pending legislation.The suit tracks a pledge by the FDIC to pursue culpable former bank officials. Agency directors signed off on suits to recoup over $2 billion from some 80 former directors and officers from failed institutions last year, according to the “”_Los Angeles Times_””:http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/10/business/la-fi-fdic-lawsuits-20101111. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank Failure FDIC Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-10-11 Ryan Schuette
February 13, 2014 403 Views Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bankrate Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac Investors Janet Yellen Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2014-02-13 Tory Barringer in Data, Origination Mortgage Rates Up in First Increase of 2014 Fixed mortgage rates this week saw their first increase in 2014 as markets reacted to mixed signs.[IMAGE]””Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ released Thursday its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, which shows the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) moved up to 4.28 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending February 13. Last week, the 30-year fixed average was at 4.23 percent; a year ago, it was 3.53 percent.The 15-year FRM averaged 3.33 percent (0.7 point) this week, unchanged from the last survey.Adjustable rates moved in different directions: The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.05 percent (0.5 point), down from 3.08 percent previously. Meanwhile, the 1-year ARM climbed to 2.55 percent (0.4 point) from 2.51 percent.””Mortgage rates were little changed amid a week of light economic reports. Of the few releases, the economy added “”113,000 jobs””:https://themreport.com/articles/weak-job-growth-continues-through-january-2014-02-07 in January, which was below the market consensus forecast and followed a slight upward revision of 1,000 jobs in December,”” said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac. “”Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent, which makes thirteen consecutive months without an increase.””In its own national survey, “”Bankrate.com””:http://www.bankrate.com/ recorded the 30-year fixed average at 4.48 percent, while the 15-year fixed rose slightly less at 3.53 percent.The 5/1 ARM, meanwhile, was 3.32 percent, also up from last week.Analysts for the finance site said it was “”Janet Yellen’s first testimony””:https://themreport.com/articles/yellen-tackles-tapering-gse-reform-before-house-committee-2014-02-11 as the head of Federal Reserve that gave a lift to interest rates this week. “”The nervousness in financial markets seen since the beginning of the year has subsided in recent days, aided in part by Janet Yellen’s initial Congressional testimony,”” Bankrate said in a release. “”Economic uncertainty has also diminished in the wake of Yellen’s soothing words, after a run of less-than-stellar releases that included last week’s jobs report.””As a result, mortgage rates reversed much of last week’s decrease, but at this point still remain lower than any point seen in December or January.”” Share
AgentNet First American Financial Corporation First American Title Insurance Company TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure 2015-05-26 Staff Writer First American Title Releases New TRID Tool Kit for Title Agents in Headlines, News, Servicing, Technology, Uncategorized First American Title Insurance Company, a provider of title insurance and settlement services and the largest subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation has launched its TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Tool Kit for First American-affiliated title agents. The company also offers its title agents a comprehensive suite of TRID training and reference materials.The TRID Tool Kit will be available on First American’s agent portal, AgentNet, according to company. The Tool Kit is designed to help agents prepare for TRID implementation that will go in effect on August Agents are expected to follow a three-step program—assess, act, and grow—when using the program. These steps are presented through a series of recommended activities designed to help agents reach goals that are necessary for the TRID changes.“Title agents need to dramatically adjust the way they work with lenders and their business sources under TRID, all while continuing to service their customers,” said Evan Zanic, president of First American Title, Agency Division. “We’re focused on assisting our agents through the TRID preparation process. We think the tool kit can help them more efficiently prepare for TRID, giving them more time to spend with their customers.”According to the company, the TRID Tool Kit offers suggestions on topics that title agents should discuss with their lenders, and includes specific questions to ask and guidelines on when to ask them. The Tool Kit will be updated regularly to provide a helpful and evolving resource for title agents as the TRID deadline approaches.“Title agents that embrace the transition to TRID can build stronger relationships with their business sources and potentially enhance their position in the market,” said Lou Pontani, vice president of sales and marketing at First American Title, Agency Division. “Our TRID Tool Kit is one way we’re trying to help First American agents position themselves for growth.” Share May 26, 2015 524 Views
Share Existing-Home Sales Hit Biggest Slump in Three Years Existing-home sales dropped both month-over-month and year-over-year in January 2018, experiencing their largest annual decline in over three years, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.NAR’s Existing-Home Sales calculations track “completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops.” Existing-home sales saw a 3.2 decrease in January, hitting a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million. That’s down from a revised 5.56 million sales in December 2017. That puts sales 4.8 percent below a year ago, which makes for the largest annual decline since August 2014’s 5.5 percent. Sales are also at their slowest pace since September 2017 (5.37 million).“The utter lack of sufficient housing supply and its influence on higher home prices muted overall sales activity in much of the U.S. last month,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist. “While the good news is that Realtors in most areas are saying buyer traffic is even stronger than the beginning of last year, sales failed to follow course and far lagged last January’s pace. It’s very clear that too many markets right now are becoming less affordable and desperately need more new listings to calm the speedy price growth.”Single-family home sales declined 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.76 million in January, down from 4.95 million in December. This puts them 4.8 percent below the 5.00 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $241,700 in January, an increase of 5.7 percent over January 2017’s totals.The median existing-home price for January 2018 was $240,500, up 5.8 percent from January 2017’s median of $227,300. According to NAR, January marked the 71st straight month of year-over-year price gains.Although total housing inventory at the end of January increased 4.1 percent to 1.52 million homes, that still puts the total 9.5 percent lower than a year earlier (1.68 million). Moreover, inventory has been falling consistently year-over-year for 32 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace, as compared to a 3.6-month supply in January 2017.“Another month of solid price gains underlines this ongoing trend of strong demand and weak supply. The underproduction of single-family homes over the last decade has played a predominant role in the current inventory crisis that is weighing on affordability,” Yun said. “However, there’s hope that the tide is finally turning. There was a nice jump in new home construction in January and homebuilder confidence is high. These two factors will hopefully lay the foundation for the building industry to meaningfully ramp up production as this year progresses.”Cheryl Young, Senior Economist for Trulia, said, “Demand stayed high despite headwinds of high prices and low inventory facing homebuyers. As a result, existing home sales accounted for 26.1 percent of inventory sold, staying above 2005’s peak rate of inventory sold.”Pointing out that January 2018 was the first month in which the effects of the tax reform bill began to take effect, Young added that “it remains to be seen whether these changes are impacting home buying, especially in pricey markets. With the home buying season imminent, we look forward to seeing when last year’s high in housing starts and permits will manifest in inventory.”You can read NAR’s full breakdown of home sales by clicking here. in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, journal, Market Studies, News February 21, 2018 588 Views Affordability Existing-Home Sales Home Sales Home Sales Prices Inventory inventory shortages NAR National Association of Realtors 2018-02-21 David Wharton
Share in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Servicing Blockchain is creating a lot of buzz—and a lot of confusion. Primarily, this technology offers the capacity to record and monitor transactions in what is called a distributed ledger (a decentralized database). Each block is a record of new transactions that is added to the previous one to create a chain of blocks—hence blockchain.Transactions are recorded in real time in blocks and are visible to everybody with permission on the network. These transactions are tamper-proof once conditions are agreed and written into the ledger because each transaction block is tied linearly to the previous ones.Think about it for a second—real-time recording of transactions, full visibility, and tight security: These are all factors that the mortgage lending and servicing industries need. Lending and mortgage servicing processes can have significant risk and low levels of trust from origination to servicing of the loan. We need to consider any approach that would reduce that risk and improve trust levels.Benefits for the Mortgage IndustryBlockchain’s defining elements such as distributed ledgers, smart contracts, inherent security, and digital payments could add efficiency and transparency to the working of the mortgage servicing industry.Distributed LedgersBlockchain technology uses decentralized databases called distributed ledgers. Instead of one party holding the information on a central ledger, the data gets stored on a public blockchain that offers a distributed way of validating a transaction.A distributed ledger could be created to contain real estate titles, planning permissions, deeds, and any other information relevant to the mortgage industry. This technology allows for shared control of data—specifically who can alter or supplement the data and how they are authorized to do so. The blockchain network is distributed across multiple computers, creating a virtually unbreakable chain of protection against transaction falsification and speeding up the collection of mortgage-relevant information by maximizing the ledger’s accessibility and availability.The process tracks digitized transactions, so when authorized users validate on the blockchain, they enhance transparency for audit and compliance purposes. Banks and lenders get a clear line of sight of precisely what happened during the lending process—the parties involved, the individuals managing the authoritative copy of the digital assets, and the ultimate owner of the assets.In blockchain banking, multiple network computers record transactions, which are settled by many individuals.Smart ContractsSmart contracts, also called self-executing contracts, help exchange items of value in a secure, transparent way without relying on an intermediary. The concept works on much the same principle as a vending machine, with the required item (e.g., digitized mortgage documents) supplied on the fulfillment of the required terms. Smart contracts operate on an ‘If-Then’ premise, so they define the rules and penalties around what the contract does as well as enforce those obligations.The decentralized ledger could be used for smart contracts to digitize mortgage documents for storage and tracking by the network of computers that run the blockchain and would also result in ledger feedback such as automated mortgage payments. This, in turn, would result in a substantial drop in operational costs and processing time of mortgage transactions, which would be beneficial to both the consumer and mortgage industry players.A report by Capgemini Consulting called “Smart Contracts in Financial Services: Getting from Hype to Reality” states that the adoption of smart contracts by the mortgage loan industry could potentially save consumers between $480 and $960 per loan. It also calculates that banks could save between $3 billion to $11 billion annually by reducing processing costs in the origination process in the U.S. and European markets. These savings would result from the automation, process redesign, shared access to digitized legal documents, and access to such external documents associated with smart contracts.Inherent SecurityThe length of the mortgage-lending lifecycle and the sheer number of contracts and sensitive documents involved make it vulnerable to risk through all stages from origination to fulfillment of the loan. Many financial institutions still rely on paper for such valuable materials as mortgage notes, whose value disappears if they are lost or destroyed. Even electronic loan documents require strict oversight of the chain of custody and ownership to maintain the integrity of the loan and the overall lending process. The distribution of the blockchain network across many computers creates an intrinsic layer of security that makes it incredibly challenging to falsify transactions. Additionally, because each transaction block is tied to all previous transactions, it cannot be tampered with once the conditions are agreed and written to the ledger. Cryptography authenticates and verifies transactions, maintains privacy, and allows participants to see only the parts of the ledger that are relevant to them.Digital PaymentsBlockchain’s first and most famous application is centered on digital currency. Bitcoin was invented in 2008 as blockchain’s public ledger and digital currency remains an intrinsic feature of this technology. Digital payments can be exchanged automatically for digital assets such as property titles in a synchronized process without the intervention of a notary or legal representative. Ultimately, if central banks created digital ﬁat currencies, they would have tighter control of monetary policy and improved oversight of financial payments, but they are likely to proceed cautiously. Commercial banks could speed up the process by creating their private digital currency to allow clients to transact directly among themselves. If successful, they could inspire central banks to follow suit.Technical ChallengesThe mortgage servicing industry is not known for embracing innovation early and it will take several successful implementations before blockchain is adopted as a viable technology. In any case, blockchain is not without its challenges, and must overcome the following technical obstacles before it is accepted in the market:Data privacy concerns are a significant issue in an open distributed environment. More work needs to be done in math and cryptography to reduce the trade-offs between privacy, efficiency, and trust.Security can be an issue with private blockchains. Any changes made to the database should be sent to all users immediately so that the record is secure. Once everybody has a copy of the data, the integrity of the overall database can withstand hacks on some users.Regulatory uncertainty hangs over the technology. The U.S. federal government has not regulated blockchain to the exclusion of states; so, the states may introduce their own rules and regulations. So far, Arizona has recognized smart contracts, Vermont now accepts blockchain as evidence, Chicago is running a pilot project on real estate records, and Delaware has an initiative pending that would allow registration of shares of Delaware companies in blockchain form.Despite these technical challenges, the future of blockchain in financial services seems unavoidable. The transparency, efficiency, and security benefits of employing the technology suggest that blockchain will be an integral part of mortgage servicers’ future, and those institutions that embrace its benefits early will be the ones that gain most.Industry thought leaders will address blockchain in mortgage servicing at the inaugural Five Star Fintech Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 21–March 22, 2018. Sean Ryan, CEO, Aspen Grove Solutions is among the experts participating in a discussion on how the new technology could increase transparency and reduce the costs of regulatory compliance at the event. Other speakers at this session include Katie Jo Keeling, Managing Partner, McCarty & Holthus, Marvin Stone, SVP, Business Integration/CFPB Program Manager, Stewart Title, and Jessica L. Fox, Management Consultant, Freddie Mac. March 5, 2018 809 Views Aspen Grove Solutions Blockchain Contracts Ledgers mortgage mortgage loans Originations Security Servicing technology transactions 2018-03-05 Radhika Ojha Harnessing the Power of Blockchain for the Mortgage Industry
August 14, 2018 767 Views Fed Survey: Home Price Growth Expectations Cool in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Consumers Credit Debt Home Prices homes HOUSING loans New York Fed 2018-08-14 Radhika Ojha Consumers expectations of home price growth cooled slightly in June while the percentage of consumers who think credit will become easier to access over the next year declined, according to the July 2018 Survey of Consumer Expectations, released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.After climbing to a recent survey high of 3.9 percent in June, the median home price change expectation declined to 3.7 percent. The dip in July still leaves the number elevated from its trailing 12-month average, which is 3.4 percent. When it comes to credit access, the Federal Reserve said, “Perceptions of credit access compared to a year ago improved slightly, while expectations for year-ahead credit availability deteriorated, with a slightly smaller proportion expecting improving conditions.” In July, 19.65 percent of consumers surveyed said they believe it will be easier to gain access to credit in a year, while 30.53 percent said it will be harder. In June, 21.69 percent of respondents said they thought it would be easier to access credit a year down the road, while 30.62 percent said it would be harder. The percentage of consumers who said credit is easier to access today than a year ago in July was 23.68 percent, compared to 23.58 percent in June. The percentage who said it is now harder to obtain access to credit dipped from 27.96 percent in June to 27.13 percent in July. Expectations of household income growth rose just slightly in July, while expectations of earnings a year from now decreased over the month. Median household income growth is expected to be around 2.8 percent, according to the July survey, up 0.1 percentage points from a month earlier. Consumers expect earnings growth one year into the future to be about 2.4 percent as of July, down from 2.7 percent expected in the June survey. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York pointed out that this puts the percentage just below “its 2.5 percent -2.7 percent range since November 2017,” adding that, “The decline was broad-based across income groups, but largest among younger (below age 40) respondents.” When it comes to paying off debts, consumer optimism increased in July. Consumers believe the probability they will miss a minimum debt payment sometime in the next three months is about 11.8 percent, down from 12.4 percent in June. Since the start of the survey in June 2013, the lowest perceived probability of missing an upcoming debt payment has been 10.7 percent, while the highest was 17.2 percent. July’s number sits near the lower end of this spectrum. Consumers are continuing to expect increases in taxes with the median expectations of year-ahead changes in taxes, assuming the same income level, reaching 2.2 percent in July after rising steadily since February when it reached a low of 1.5 percent. Consumers expect to spend a little less moving forward in July than they reported expecting to spend in the June survey. Median household spending growth is expected at 3.2 percent, down from 3.3 percent a month earlier but still a little stronger than its 12-month trailing average of 3 percent. Also notable in the Fed survey, the share of consumers who expect stock prices to be higher 12 months in the future fell to its lowest level since October 2016, reaching 40.3 percent in July. Share
Importance of storageCruzat went on to explain there are “new challenges” that will affect the global kiwifruit market and that Chile will need to adapt to remain an important player.Rising production from Greece and China means Northern Hemisphere fruit will continue to be available in the market for longer than before, he said.”This will mean that from now on, Chilean exporters must not rush and they must harvest fruit that can be stored well, and also stored cheaply,” he said. Chile will also need to to extend its season at the back-end, he said, urging growers to try and produce fruit later than normal.”Historically, the second half of the season has been fairly stable in terms of results – that requires good storage infrastructure, and it requires the commercial ability to wait,” he said.”There are companies that harvest the fruit and dispatch it straight away. Obviously, these companies, with this strategy, will face markets that still have large stocks of fruit and not very competitive prices,” he said.Although there is still storage capacity available in Chile, Cruzat said new storage chambers would have to be built.”It is likely that investments will be seen in the coming years, in more specialized storage chambers, so that all the efficiencies of temperature control, ethylene, etcetera, are well applied,” he said.Chilean institutions are also working on developing improved kiwifruit varieties that are more suited to the changing market environment, he said.www.freshfruitportal.com You might also be interested in Experts analyze biggest challenges facing Chile at … While the Chilean kiwifruit sector had an excellent season in 2017, the scenario this year has been less positive due to Northern Hemisphere suppliers lingering in markets for longer than normal. Extended deals from China and Greece in particular were said to be largely behind a more complicated market situation compared to last year.”We stored fruit in China until much later because the country was selling local kiwifruit until the end of May, beginning of June, which kept prices lower in that sector,” Oscar Villegas from Subsole Kiwi told Fresh Fruit Portal.In Europe, Chile’s leading kiwifruit market, he said Greek fruit was on the market for longer than anticipated by Chilean exporters.Carlos Cruzat, president of the Chilean Kiwi Committee, explained: “This is a season that comes after an extremely positive period, where the expectations were not very high and where the results were very good, therefore the producers were left with high market expectations.”He added that “the results are not as good as expected, but I don’t think this year will be a bad one – it will just be much tighter than last year. And that has to do in part with the expectations that we created and the pressures that we placed on the markets”.In the U.S. the kiwifruit market has been slow, with sharp price declines in week 25, according to the committee. By week 25, Chile had exported 118,256 metric tons (MT) of kiwifruit, on par wth last year. Market distribution has remained relatively stable, with 38% sent to Europe, 23% to the Far East, 14% to Latin America and North America each, and 8% to Russia. July 11 , 2018 Blueberries in Charts: Finding opportunities in th … Chile edges closer to Vietnamese market access for … Chilean kiwifruit volumes forecast down 15% this s …
You might also be interested in But in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands, sizing preference leans towards the smaller sizes..”The good thing in the Netherlands is that they like the little sizes that Asians don’t like, between 180g to 250g, so you don’t have to choose what fruit to send,” said Narvaez.Meanwhile, the Canadian market preference is a mix of the west and the east, he said.”For Canada, there are only two places to send fruit to – Toronto and Vancouver. And they are totally different. There are many Asians in Vancouver and they like the bigger-sized fruit like Hong Kong,” Narvaez revealed.Narvaez also said that most of the pitahaya consumers in North America are of Asian descent, especially those that have previously tried the red dragon fruit – which is common in Asian cuisine.The Chinese marketEcuador doesn’t have access to the Chinese pitahaya market, and there has been much industry speculation as to when this might happen. “Most people are expecting the Chinese market to open this year, I don’t think it will happen that fast,” said Narvaez.”For the U.S. market it took five years, and China has only been in this process for 1.5 to 2 years, so I think it will take at least 1 more year.”According to Narvaez, even though Chinese officials had visited Ecuador in October last year to inspect the plantations, both Ecuadorian and Chinese authorities have not yet finalized a protocol that could allow Ecuadorian pitahayas to be exported to China.But the company – which was the first company in Ecuador to send to Hong Kong and Singapore when they opened – has already started planting production in anticipation of the opening of the Chinese market.”For example, we have 20 hectares of land for now and we planted 10 more hectares, which will start producing fruit in two more years,” he said.Also, in light of Asian consumer preferences, the company has also switched from producing smaller-sized pitahayas to producing a new and larger variety called Palora.But given the rise of the U.S. market, where does China stand in terms of market share? For Narvaez, he is sure the future of Ecuadorian pitahayas lies in China.”I think the biggest market (in future) will be mainland China, because its population is so much more than the U.S., and China is growing a lot economically so people will want to try fruit that is expensive,” shared Narvaez.”Also, you have the advantage that Asians already like pitahayas, in the U.S. people are just starting to know the fruit and to try it.” U.S., China revive trade talks ahead of Trump-Xi G … The U.S. has become Ecuador’s second-largest dragon fruit market within its first year of exporting, according to Quito-based Agricola Pitacava.Production manager Gustavo Narvaez said his company shipped 40 metric tons (MT) of the tropical fruit, also known as pitahaya, to the North American country over the last season.68MT was sent to Ecuador’s leading market, Hong Kong, he said.U.S. authorities granted market access in June 2017, with the first exports taking place in September.”It (the U.S. market) was better than what we had expected, and it grew really fast,” Narvaez told Fresh Fruit Portal.”Pitahaya has a very big acceptance in the market, and I think that is mainly because a lot of people from Asia now live in the U.S. They know the red dragon fruit, and they now like the yellow pitahaya.”For Agricola Pitacava, its exports to the U.S. stand at slightly more than 18% of its total volume of exports (220MT) to all its market, which also include the Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.According to Narvaez, the export volume to the U.S. in the first year is unprecedented. He explained it had taken five years for Hong Kong to become the company’s top export market after it opened in 2013.”I think that the U.S. market will continue growing because it is a huge market … and people have higher incomes. This is important as pitahayas is considered one of the most expensive fruits,” he said.According to Narvaez, a pitahaya often costs around US$8 per pound in the U.S., whereas in Hong Kong and Europe the pitahayas are sold by per piece – HKD69 (US$8.80) per fruit in Hong Kong and €8 – 10 (US$9 – 11.50) per fruit in Europe. Regional consumer preferencesThe representative went onto explain that consumer preferences vary widely between the west and the east.”In Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia), they have a preference for bigger fruit, of 300g and above,” he said.”But in the States, they don’t have a preference for (pitahaya) sizes yet – they still accept little sizes from 180g to the big fruit that could be 450g.” Tariff increase on Chinese imports to raise input … Canada: With cherry trees in bloom, company foreca … U.S.: Trump threatens to raise tariffs on Chinese … August 20 , 2018
Wendy Wu Tours (WWT) and long-time partner China Southern Airlines recently treated a number of Queensland Flight Centre consultants to a behind the scenes inspection of a China Southern A330 aircraft in Brisbane.Agents viewed the interior of the aircraft and also enjoyed a sampling of the food prepared for business class and economy. The experience was rounded out with a visit to the lounge that China Southern uses in Brisbane International Airport.WWT Queensland business development executive Angelina Briscoe said it was important for agents to physically view product such as aircrafts, so they can increase their knowledge and be in a stronger position to sell the product.“Wendy Wu Tours works continuously with China Southern on many levels, including the current campaign of a business class upgrade from $99 with China Southern on a wide range of our best selling and popular Wendy Wu Tours group tours. It is important that agents selling these our products know not only of the ground aspects but all components of the package including the partnering airline,” said Briscoe.Image (L-R): Angelina Briscoe, WWT BDE QLD; Kristy Ford, Flight Centre Garden City; Sharni Knibb, Flight Centre Garden City; Thom Sparks, Flight Centre Sunnybank; and Nathan Weaver, Flight Centre Riverlink Ipswich China SouthernFlightWendy Wu Tours
Comments Share “I talked to some people at about 6:33 a.m. and they’re just kind of waiting,” Clayton said. “They think it may take a day or two but it looks like it’ll still be Arizona. Good things happen for those who wait.”What’s the hold up? Like any good salesman, Andy Reid and the Eagles are just trying to get the highest value in return for Kolb. Top Stories D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ The new NFL year has begun and yet the long anticipated trade between the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles that would land Kevin Kolb in the desert hasn’t happened yet. That doesn’t mean it won’t. As they say, patience is a virtue.ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton, as a guest with Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug and Wolf Tuesday morning, told Cardinal fans it’s really not a matter of if a Kolb deal will get done but rather when. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away