Turkish Airlines Wins 3 at SKYTRAX 2011 World Airline Awards

first_imgTurkish Airlines’ General Manager TemelKotil Ph.D. receives the three distinguishawards by SKYTRAX, including the “BestEurope Airline”, “Best Airline, SouthernEurope”, and the “Best Premium EconomySeats” at the SKYTRAX World Airline Awards Ceremony took place in Paris, France.  Source = Turkish Airlines Brings home awards for “Best Airline Europe”, “Best Airline Southern Europe” and “Best Premium Economy Seats” Turkish Airlines has been named the winner in three categories of the SKYTRAX 2011 World Airline Awards held in Paris, France, for “Best Airline Europe”, “Best Airline Southern Europe”, and “Best Premium Economy Seats” for its new Comfort Class seating. Turkish Airlines’ General Manager Temel Kotil Ph.D. was on hand to receive the awards from SKYTRAX CEO Edward Plaisted.The awards are based on a customer satisfaction survey carried out over a 10-month period by SKYTRAX, a world recognized brand associated with air travel excellence in the 21st century, in which 18.8 million airline customers from over 100 different nationalities participated. One of the fastest growing airline companies in the world, Turkish Airlines’ triple-win at the SKYTRAX 2011 World Airline Awards (also known as the Passengers’ Choice Awards) has cemented its position as a leading player in the global aviation industry. The airline also won the SKYTRAX Award for “Best Airline Southern Europe” in 2009 and 2010, as well as “Best Online Catering – Economy Class” in 2010.  center_img Turkish Airlines has been named the“Best Europe Airline” at this year’sSKYTRAX World Airline Awards. last_img read more

QF VA add flights for footy fanatics

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Image Source: Michele Mossop Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia will provide AFL fans additional frequencies between Adelaide and Melbourne to assist in travel to the AFL Preliminary Final this weekend. The match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Adelaide Crows will take place on Saturday 22 September at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).Qantas will operate an additional flight from Adelaide to Melbourne on Saturday 22 September and another on Sunday 23 September departing Melbourne for Adelaide.On its other services between Adelaide and Melbourne this weekend, QF will employ larger aircraft.The additional frequencies and increased capacity will add an extra 168 seats on services each way.Virgin Australia (VA) will operate an additional three flights over the weekend; Adelaide to Melbourne and Sydney to Melbourne on Saturday, and Melbourne to Adelaide on Sunday.“This is shaping up to be a wonderful finals series and we are excited to provide additional seats to cater for fans wanting to travel to Melbourne to support their teams,” QF Domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi said.“We’re constantly monitoring demand and will assess if further capacity is required.”Virgin Australia is the official airline of the Australian Football League (AFL). “The airline will continue to review demand for flights, with a view to adding extra flights where possible,” according to Virgin Australia.last_img read more

Policies and politics restraining tourism development

first_imgAviation leaders may agree that it’s time for change, but they’re still tossing the ball over a second Sydney Airport.Although aviation leaders, along with the government, may control the future of Sydney’s second gateway, industry experts say perhaps it’s not up to airline and airport leaders to decide whether Sydney needs a second airport, but perhaps as a nation, Australians need to recognise the national losses they face without a solution and call for action.Speaking at the PATA Hub City Forum in Sydney this week, CAPA-Centre for Aviation executive chairman Peter Harbison said the idea for a second gateway was introduced in 1969 and although it seen as primarily a Sydney issue, it calls for national concern.According to Mr Harbison, without a second Sydney airport, Australia is at risk of losing up to $60 billion in forgone expenditure as well as $34 billion in gross domestic product.Predictions also highlight that Sydney is expected to welcome more than 180 million passengers by 2060, but “where are we going to put them?” he asked.“Although it was necessary to find a solution 44 years ago, it is critical for something to be done today,” Mr Harbison added.Meanwhile, Sydney Airport Corporation director of aviation Shelley Roberts said although a second airport would help ease congestion in the long haul, short term solutions including a few policy changes could open up new slots and attract more tourism.Currently Sydney Airport regulations only allow for 24 aircraft movements between the hours of 5.00am and 6.00am, despite the original Airports Act allowing for up to 35 aircraft movements.Meanwhile between 23.00 and 24.00 the Airports Act allows for 40 aircraft movements but regulations allow for none.   Ms Roberts said restoring the shoulder periods to levels cleared in the Airports Act would increase the number of slots available and attract more international carriers to the city.“These are the times of day where Sydney will have the opportunity to link into connections in the Middle Eastern markets and Asian markets that would feed into all the other source markets that they’re accessing,” she explained.“At the moment Sydney is losing out to Melbourne because those carriers are flying to Melbourne in those hours of the day.”Time for a change or leave it as is? Leave a comment below and let us know if you think it’s time for a solution. It’s a nationwide issue that needs a nationwide resolution. Image: Sydney Airport Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.center_img ……last_img read more

Emirates debunks subsidy and unfair competition allegations

first_imgEmirates debunks subsidy and unfair competition allegationsEmirates today released its point-by-point, fact-based response to allegations of subsidy and unfair competition leveled by the “big three” US legacy carriers – Delta, United and American Airlines.The full document was released to the media and public, following meetings yesterday where an Emirates delegation briefed officials from the US Departments of State, Transportation, and Commerce on the airline’s response.The US legacy carriers launched an aggressive lobbying campaign in January, in a protectionist bid to restrict consumer choice, and restrict the growth of international flights to the USA operated by Emirates and other Gulf airlines. Only on 5 March did the US legacy carriers publicly release their 55-page white paper which presented so-called “evidence” of Emirates receiving subsidy and competing unfairly. Full appendices to the 55-pager were not made public until 21 April.Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said: “The methods employed by the US legacy carriers to discredit Emirates have been surprising and frankly, repugnant. We do not underestimate their lobbying prowess, but facts are facts. Unlike the Big 3’s white paper, which is riddled with inaccuracies, conjecture, and legal misinterpretations, Emirates’ response is comprehensive and based on hard facts. We clearly show why the Big 3 have no grounds to ask the US government to unilaterally freeze Emirates’ operations to the USA or pursue other action under the Open Skies agreement. It is because we are absolutely not subsidized, and our operations do not harm these legacy carriers, but instead benefit consumers, communities and America’s national economy.”US legacy carriers are wrong on facts: Emirates is not subsidizedEmirates’ response systematically disproves each of the Big 3’s allegations that it has received over $6 billion in subsidies, including fuel hedging subsidies; purchasing goods and services from related third parties at below-market terms; disproportionately benefiting from airport infrastructure and user fee at Dubai International airport; and having an artificial cost advantage through the structure of the UAE’s labor law.Sir Tim said: “The subsidy allegations put forward by the Big 3 are patently false. We have been profitable for 27 years straight, and unlike our accusers, we have never depended on government bail-outs or protection from competition. In fact, we were told right from the start by the government of Dubai that Emirates has to deliver profits and stand on its own feet. We had to then, and we still have to now.” Read the full document hereSource = Emirates Airlinelast_img read more

IATA Open Borders Strategy

first_imgReviewing visa requirements and removing unnecessary travel restrictions: The goal is to remove unnecessary barriers to travel. Existing visa regimes are overly restrictive, expensive and inefficient, and will be unable to cope with forecast travel demand. The solution to this lies in unlocking the potential from shared information in a trusted framework. This will improve security, while smoothing passenger flows and easing demand for new infrastructure to accommodate the forecast doubling in air travel over the next two decades.Including travel facilitation as part of bilateral and regional trade negotiations: Free trade agreements have seen an expansion of goods and services moving across borders. This has stimulated economic growth for participating countries. Restrictive visa requirements are non-tariff barriers to trade, yet they are not normally addressed in trade discussions. IATA believes that removing restrictions on the free movement of travelers should receive as much priority as other barriers to liberalized trade in goods and services. One way is for governments to include liberalized visa requirements in trade agreements.Linking registered-traveler programs: Several states already operate registered traveler programs. Research shows that a large majority of travelers are willing to provide personal information in exchange for expedited handling in the travel process. Registered-traveler programs are a key component of risk-based security measures which help governments to use scarce resources with maximum efficiency. Where these program are linked (Canada-US for example) the efficiencies grow. But these are still rare cases. IATA encourages more governments to build links between their programs.Using API data more effectively and efficiently: Airlines spend millions of dollars providing Advance Passenger Information (API) as required by governments. Governments must process API data efficiently. For example, as governments have information in advance of boarding, inadmissible passengers should be notified before their journey begins, rather than on arrival which is costly for airlines and disappointing for passengers. Similarly, arrival procedures should be streamlined for passengers whose data has been vetted in advance. Source = International Air Transport Association (IATA) IATA Open Borders StrategyIATA Open Borders StrategyThe International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to intensify efforts to spread the economic and social benefits of aviation by removing onerous barriers to the free movement of people across borders“Over the next 20 years, the number of passengers will double. That’s excellent news for the global economy, as air connectivity is a catalyst for job creation and GDP growth. But we will not get the maximum social and economic benefits from this growth if barriers to travel are not addressed and processes streamlined,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.There are many barriers to travel, ranging from visa restrictions and government information requirements to the capacity of current facilitation processes to absorb growing numbers of air travelers. IATA has evolved a comprehensive Open Borders Strategy to help governments work with industry to maintain the integrity of national borders while removing inefficiencies that prevent the industry from satisfying travel demand.Research by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) on the impact of visa facilitation indicates that $89 billion in tourism receipts and 2.6 million jobs would be created in the Asia-Pacific region alone with the reduction of barriers to travel.The IATA Open Borders Strategy has four main components:last_img read more

Aruba witnesses tourism boom

first_imgAccording to new data from the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, tourism to Aruba is booming so far in 2015. The Dutch Caribbean Island received 294,411 stopover tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2015, which represented a 20.1% increase over the same period in 2014.The boom is due in large part to tourism from outside the U.S., Canada and Europe, with a 68.5% increase in arrivals from areas outside of those three major markets — in large part from South America.Last year, Aruba welcomed 1.07 million tourists, a 9.5% improvement on the previous year.The social, economic, and environmental landscape of Aruba is changing rapidly. In recent years, Aruba has tried to move away from its image as a playground for the rich and famous and initiated a push towards sustainable tourism and green energy. Aruba’s government has incorporated wind farms, an airport solar park, a waste-to-energy plant, smart communities, and a $1 billion island investment largely focused on eco-tourism. These efforts are all part of a broader initiative to create social and economic resilience for Aruba.last_img read more

Devesh Kumar Agarwal

first_imgIt is a big honour to receive such an award from TTF and I am highly grateful for the recognition. We hope to continue our good work in the future. We are regular visitors of TTF, not just in Kolkata but also in events held in other parts of the country and I think it’s a great experience to be a part of it since we get a lot of opportunities for B2B interactions.last_img

Vienna continues to charm Indian tourists

first_imgVienna is becoming a holiday destination of choice for a larger number of Indians, with 32% more Indians visiting this tourist-friendly city in the first six months of this year, compared to the same period last year. Of the 3.1 million global visitors, over this period, tourists from India grew at the highest rate, followed by the Great Britain.Indian families, honeymooners and conference attendees travelled to Vienna for its stately castles, culture, cuisine, music and vast green spaces and helped record 56,000 overnight stays in January-June 2016, a 39% growth over the same period last year.The top five contributors were travellers from Germany, the USA, Italy, Great Britain and Switzerland, after excluding domestic tourists from the home market, Austria.Norbert Kettner, Director, Vienna Tourist Board, said, “This not only reflects Vienna’s continued attractiveness, but also shows that our systematic internationalization strategy of diversifying into many different markets is paying off.”“A popular destination for families and honeymooners, Vienna bewitched younger audiences to savour its romantic ambience. Young Indian couples are now beginning to forge wedding vows in the city, known for its love affair with imperial heritage and architecture,” says Isabella Rauter, Manager, Media Management, Vienna Tourist Board.The Austrian capital, with its legacy of palaces, art, music and romance, also caught the eye of Indian film maker Karan Johar who chose Vienna as the setting for his upcoming romantic film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ that stars Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai and Ranbir Kapoor.last_img read more

Indian womens interest for Adventure sports growing

first_imgAccording to the latest reports, Indian women are growing interests in adventure sports.The increasing participation of women reflected in the figures stated that  41% women travellers partaking in mild adventure activities like kayaking tours, short treks, and water sports.In terms of international backpacking tours, women participation is close to 32%, with travels to Norway, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and even South America being most preferred. When it comes to Indian terrain, most popular treks among women are the Markha Valley trek and the Valley of Flowers in Uttrakhand.Niharika Nigam, Business Development Director, at Jumpin Heights, an Adventure Sports brand pointed out that Indian women are interested in activities like Rafting and Bungee Jumping in Rishikesh, Zorbing in Gulmarg, Paragliding in Solang Valley and Hot Air Ballooning in Rajasthan. Although safety is a major concern for women in India, such progressive advancements are cementing the growth of extreme sports among women.Today, women tend to take up more challenges and push oneself at the physical front, to enliven their sense of being. So the demand for adventure sports like treks, rafting and bungee jumping has gone up among women.last_img read more

CFPB Counters Trade Groups Call for Date to Resign

first_img June 13, 2012 478 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Dodd-Frank Housing Affordability Lenders & Servicers National Association of Independent Housing Professionals Politics Processing Regulation Service Providers 2012-06-13 Krista Franks Brock Share in Government, Origination, Servicingcenter_img In an “”exclusive interview with _MReport_””:https://themreport.com/articles/exclusive-trade-group-to-call-for-cfpb-official-resign-after-comments-2012-06-12 Tuesday, Marc Savitt, president of the “”National Association of Independent Housing Professionals (NAIHP),””:http://www.naihp.org/ divulged his intentions to call for the resignation of Raj Date from his post as deputy director of the “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ Following the interview, NAIHP released an official announcement calling for just that. [IMAGE]””Based upon his apparent bias against brokers, I’m concerned the proposed changes to loan originator compensation, as well as other expected rule revisions have already been internally finalized,”” Savitt stated in the release. “”Accordingly, NAIHP believes Mr. Date should resign,”” he concluded. Jen Howard, a CFPB spokesperson, told _MReport_ Wednesday that the in the comments sparking Savitt’s request, “”Mr. Date criticized a broken system in which some mortgage loan originators win when consumers lose. In enacting Dodd-Frank, Congress outlawed the practices Mr. Date discussed for the reasons he explained in his speech.””Countering Savitt’s accusation that loan originator compensation rules have already been internally finalized by the CFPB, Howard said that the “”Consumer Bureau is in the early stages of developing rules to implement this new prohibition and welcomes the input of all stakeholders as it moves through the process.”” Savitt and NAIHP took issue with Date’s “”comments””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/speeches/remarks-by-raj-date-to-the-american-bankers-association-conference/ before the “”American Bankers Association””:http://www.aba.com/Pages/default.aspx Monday when he stated, “”Too often it was the case that mortgage brokers were paid more to give borrowers a worse deal. [COLUMN_BREAK]””If a borrower could qualify for a loan at, say, 6 percent, a broker might juice that rate from 6 percent up to 8 percent,”” he said. “”As a result, the most important, most visible person in the mortgage process for many borrowers ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the mortgage broker ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô had a financial stake that was confusingly and perversely in direct opposition to the interest of the consumer himself. If people are paid to treat customers poorly, it shouldn’t be surprising when they do.”” Savitt believes these comments reflect a “”preconceived notion about mortgage brokers,”” saying Date’s claims “”are without merit, as numerous, well respected independent studies have vindicated mortgage brokers.”” NAIHP pointed out in a statement on the “”home page””:http://www.naihp.org/ of its website that Monday’s comments were not the first incidence in which Date made such comments. He gave the same speech before the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://www.mbaa.org/default.htm early last month. “”As the CFPB approves all public comments, this matter goes beyond Mr. Date. It appears to be the mindset of the CFPB,”” Savitt said in an email Wednesday morning. NAIHP opposes flat fee compensation for mortgage brokers. In a “”letter””:http://www.thenichereport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/NAIHP-Comment-Letter-to-CFPB.pdf to the CFPB in June, NAIHP and four other mortgage professional organizations claimed they had documentation that “”clearly establishes mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers and MLOs were NOT the cause of the housing crisis, nor was their compensation.”” They reportedly submitted their documentation to the CFPB for its review.Furthermore, the organizations claimed that “”[e]very level of the mortgage finance industry operates by basis points or percentage points. Introducing a flat fee into the process is unworkable and will create substantial harm and confusion to consumers.”” “”Most of the evidence provided by consumer groups and others were either anecdotal or depicted conduct by creditors, believed to be brokers,”” the letter said. Brokers, Savitt pointed out, are subject to a different set of rules than creditors and are required to obtain federal and state licensing. “”This misconception about brokers has created a bias toward them and has lead to an onslaught of rules and regulations, specific to brokers,”” the letter also stated. The CFPB is currently accepting comments on the ability-to-repay rule through July 9 and plans to make a decision by January. CFPB Counters Trade Group’s Call for Date to Resignlast_img read more

Credit Agency Files Antitrust Suit Against CoreLogic Experian

first_img July 11, 2012 497 Views Credit Agency Files Antitrust Suit Against CoreLogic, Experian in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies CoreLogic Home Equity Housing Affordability Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Disclosures Processing Service Providers 2012-07-11 Sara Ortegacenter_img Share Florida-based “”CreditBureau Services””:http://www.creditbureauservicesinc.com/ filed a suit Tuesday against “”Experian””:http://www.experian.com/, the national consumer credit data repository, and “”CoreLogic, Inc.””:http://www.corelogic.com/, the nation’s largest credit report reseller, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida for alleged violations of the antitrust laws.[IMAGE]The suit claims that Experian and CoreLogic sought to deny smaller credit agencies access to Experian’s mortgage credit information for “”tri-merged”” mortgage credit reports. Banks and investors require tri-merged reports to extend credit for home mortgages. [COLUMN_BREAK]The complaint seeks damages and injunctive relief, according to a release by Rubin PLLC. According to the suit, Experian and CoreLogic were partners in the Credco mortgage credit reporting business in early 2008 when Experian “”agreed to eliminate up to 87% of CoreLogic’s rivals”” in exchange for CoreLogic’s help to “”maintain Experian’s monopoly in mortgage credit information.”” The suit claims that the number of qualified mortgage credit reporting agencies has declined nationwide from more than 1,500 at the beginning of the century to fewer than 100 today.Jonathan Rubin of Washington, D.C.-based Rubin PLLC represents the plaintiff.””Independent credit reporting agencies like my client can no longer compete, not because they are not efficient, but because Experian and CoreLogic conspired to drive them out of the market,”” Rubin said. “”This is an astonishing violation of the antitrust laws.””CreditBureau Serivices, based in Oakland Park, Florida, has also asked the court to certify the case as a class action on behalf of “”all mortgage credit report resellers separated from Experian”” as a result of the violation.last_img read more

Survey Shows Room for Mortgage Business Expansion at Banks

first_imgSurvey Shows Room for Mortgage Business Expansion at Banks Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Confidence Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Processing Profits Regulation Service Providers 2012-10-22 Tory Barringer Share in Data, Government, Origination, Servicingcenter_img Banks may be missing out on an opportunity to expand their mortgage business by a substantial portion, according to a consumer mortgage study conducted by “”Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group””:http://www.cgcginc.com/ (CG).[IMAGE]The group conducted a survey to gauge consumer thoughts on their concerns about the mortgage process and what kind of features would attract their business; it also announced it is hosting a “”webinar””:https://www306.livemeeting.com/lrs/1100005398/Registration.aspx?pageName=715lb25wjgsp3zcp November 15 to discuss the findings.The survey showed 39 percent of respondents have their mortgage with their primary bank (the bank with which they conduct most of their business), while 70 percent would prefer to have their mortgages with one of their major banks. CG said that gap may represent an opportunity for a 79 percent increase in business.What’s more, when asked if they would be willing to pay more on their mortgage if it went through their primary bank, 39 percent responded positively.According to the survey, cost is the biggest factor for consumers when it comes to new mortgages and refinancing-84 percent rated cost as one of the five most important factors in the mortgage process. Customer service was another major factor (rated in the top three). A little more than a third of consumers said they would be willing to pay more for a mortgage if the customer service experience was top-quality. [COLUMN_BREAK]Of those respondents, 52 percent said they would pay more just to be able to complete the process more easily.As far as consumer complaints go, high interest rates, high payments, and taxes and escrow are the top three most frustrating issues regarding current mortgages. The slow process was another concern, with 56 percent of consumers saying slow execution is one of the most painful aspects about applying for a mortgage.Other complaints were related to customer service: Untrustworthy advice was a problem for 26 percent of consumers, while 32 percent said their lender was difficult to communicate with. Nearly a third said it was too difficult (or impossible) to track the status of their mortgage application.Tom Mataconis, VP of consulting at CG, said the survey results paint a clear picture of how lenders can improve their business.””Banks must align to customer values to win mortgage market share,”” Mataconis said. “”CG believes that banks who focus on trust and customer service as differentiators will gain market share in the new normal. Low cost is simply table stakes.””In other areas, the idea of industry regulation doesn’t have many consumers excited, it seems: Only 23 percent of respondents believe regulatory changes will have a positive impact on their next mortgage, while the remainder believe changes in regulation will have a negative impact, if any, on the process.The survey also showed some optimism for the housing market. Only 4 percent of respondents expect housing values to decline over time, while 46 percent expect their home values will grow significantly and should deliver “”significant financial return.”” More than half of respondents still consider their home to be their most important investment, especially those whose family incomes are under six figures. October 22, 2012 433 Views last_img read more

Vice Capital Markets Shakes Up Executive Ranks with New President

first_img “”Vice Capital Markets””:https://www.vicecapitalmarkets.com/Default.aspx, one of the nation’s leading mortgage hedge advisory firms, named former managing director Troy D. Baars president.[IMAGE]Baars joined the company in early 2008 during the onset of the financial crisis. During his tenure, he has been instrumental in helping the company’s clients successfully navigate through market movements and changes in the landscape of mortgage salability. His work helped the company triple its size at a time when others were struggling to keep clients.””Troy has done a magnificent job since joining the company five years ago as Managing Director. He not only brought a deep and complex level of experience to the company, but quickly earned the trust and confidence of our clients, our traders, and other employees,”” said CEO Chris Bennett. “”Over the past several years, Troy has gradually assumed many of the duties of President, so in a sense this promotion for him recognizes of the role to which he has already so effectively evolved.””A 17-year veteran of the mortgage industry, Baars’ career is rooted in the secondary and capital markets, having been in charge of all hedging and related secondary marketing functions for a large mortgage banking firm as well as SVP of correspondent lending for a savings bank.””I’m honored by this opportunity to continue Chris’ tradition of strong leadership, customer service and employee focus,”” Baars said. “”We’re so fortunate to get to work with such a terrific group of clients, and I look forward to continuing our mission to be the very best hedge advisory firm in the country in my new role as President.”” Share April 15, 2013 444 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-04-15 Tory Barringercenter_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing New,Vice Capital Markets Shakes Up Executive Ranks with New Presidentlast_img read more

NAR National Median Price Posts Greatest Increase Since 2005

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies For-Sale Homes Home Prices Home Sales Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Realtors Processing Service Providers 2013-05-09 Tory Barringer The latest quarterly report from the “”National Association of Realtors””:http://www.realtor.org/ (NAR) shows home purchasing power remained high in the first quarter even as median prices continued their upward trend.[IMAGE]Nationally, the median existing single-family home price was $176,600, up 11.3 percent year-over-year–the strongest yearly price increase since the fourth quarter of 2005, when the national median price jumped 13.6 percent.Distressed sales–foreclosures and short sales generally sold at deep discounts–accounted for 23 percent of first-quarter sales, down from 32 percent during Q1 2012.According to NAR, the median existing single-family home price rose in 133 out of 150 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. That figure is compared to Q4 2012, which in itself saw nearly double the number of markets showing gains compared to the year before. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said many areas are experiencing a seller’s market.””The supply/demand balance is clearly tilted toward sellers in a good portion of the country. Inventory conditions are expected to remain fairly constrained this year, so overall price increases should be well above the historic gain of one-to-two percentage points above the rate of inflation. If home builders can continue to ramp up production, then home price growth is expected to moderate in 2014,”” he said.Yun added that previously hard-hit markets like Phoenix, Sacramento, and Miami continued their dramatic turnaround, while areas like Atlanta, Minneapolis, and [COLUMN_BREAK]Seattle have begun to show signs that they might be ready to bounce back.While the market might be balanced toward sellers, NAR president Gary Thomas commented that conditions are still good for buyers.””Even with rising home prices, there is still plenty of buying power in the market,”” he said. “”Historically low mortgage interest rates and home prices that remain well below their peak mean most buyers can purchase well within their means, assuming they meet ongoing stringent credit standards.””According to the association, the national median family income was $62,200 in Q1. In order to purchase a home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $36,500. At a 10 percent down payment, the required income would be $34,600, and at 20 percent, the required income would be $30,700.NAR also reported on existing-home sales (including single-family and condo) for the first quarter. Total existing-home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million, up 0.8 percent from Q4 and 9.8 percent over Q1 2012. Sales were at the highest level since Q4 2009, when they reached a rate of 4.95 million as buyers responded to tax incentives.Regionally, existing-home sales rose 4.4 percent quarter-over-quarter and 9.1 percent year-over-year in the Northeast. The median existing single-family home price was $234,000, up 2.9 percent from the first quarter of 2012.In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 1.2 percent over Q4 2012 and 15.0 percent over Q1 2012. The median existing single-family home price was $135,100, an increase of 8.2 percent year-over-year.Existing-home sales in the South edged up 0.7 percent in the first quarter, coming in 13.3 percent above the same period last year. The regional median price was $156,800, 9.3 percent above Q1 2012.Finally, existing-home sales declined 1.1 percent quarter-over-quarter in the West, reflecting the region’s severe supply shortage. Year-over-year, sales were up 0.6 percent. The median existing single-family home price in the region was $247,800, an annual increase of 24.4 percent. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing NAR: National Median Price Posts Greatest Increase Since 2005center_img May 9, 2013 425 Views Sharelast_img read more

Americans Report More Financial Troubles

first_img Americans polled by “”Consumer Reports””:http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm indicated they are facing significantly more financial troubles than in June, according to the group’s latest index.[IMAGE]The Consumer Reports Index measures Americans’ financial health based on five key measures: the Sentiment Index, the Trouble Tracker Index, the Stress Index, the Retail Index, and the Employment Index.According to Consumer Reports, the Trouble Tracker Index climbed more than five points to 39.2 in July, “”an increase that was entirely fueled by an epic 23.3-point jump among those households earning $100,000 or more,”” the organization said. The tracker measures the proportion of consumers that have faced difficulties and the number of negative events they have encountered.The spike in difficulties reported both upper-income households was reflected in the report’s consumer sentiment measures. While the lower- and middle-income segments experienced virtually no change in their sentiment, consumers in upper-income households [COLUMN_BREAK]reported a dip of 2.5 points. Overall, consumer sentiment remained in positive territory and unchanged at a reading of 52.0.Meanwhile, the 30-day retail measure showed spending activity slipped to 8.6 from 9.2 a month earlier, showing customers aren’t comfortable spending yet. Planned spending for the next 30 days–reflecting July activity–was weak at 6.2 (only a slight improvement from June’s value of 6.0). June and July’s planned spending numbers were the weakest since Consumer Reports first started measuring that data in April 2009.News was better on the jobs front, where gains outpaced losses for the fourth straight month. The Employment Index was up slightly to 50.9, and job starts totaled 7.7 percent, up from 5.5 percent last month. However, that gain was partially offset by a similar rise in job losses, which increased to 6.0 percent from 4.2 percent the prior month.Finally, the level of stress reported by consumers was fairly flat at 55.7. The most stressed Americans were women (57.7), those in households earning less than $50,000 (58.5), those age 35-64 (57.2), and those living in the South (58.0).””The recovery is sluggishly moving forward,”” said Ed Farrell, director of consumer insight at the Consumer Reports National Research Center. “”This month’s reported sentiment setback and increased financial woes may have been promoted by perception rather than reality. The steady, gradual improvement in the employment picture, if maintained, is a very positive sign and may work to resolve the continued weakness in retail as consumer confidence builds.”” July 9, 2013 499 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Confidence Consumer spending Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-07-09 Tory Barringercenter_img Americans Report More Financial Troubles Sharelast_img read more

Agencies Advise Banks on CyberSecurity

first_img Ellie Mae FDIC Security 2014-04-13 Colin Robins Agencies Advise Banks on Cyber-Security in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News, Technology April 13, 2014 468 Views center_img A release issued Thursday by FDIC urged financial institutions to “actively utilize available resources to identify and help mitigate potential cyber-related risks.” The timing of the release is particularly germane, considering the recently discovered Heartbleed bug which affects almost two-thirds of the web, as well as recent cyber-attacks on industry giant Ellie Mae.”Cyber threats have been widely covered in the national media, and we believe that financial institutions and their technology service providers have been managing system updates to mitigate potential vulnerabilities in an effective manner,” said Doreen Eberley, Director of the FDIC Division of Risk Management Supervision.The FDIC release would appear to reference the recently discovered Heartbleed bug. The bug, according to the appropriately named Heartbleed.com, “is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet.”The site continues, “SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).”SSL, or secure sockets layer, is a standard web protocol used for encrypting secure data. A computer using SSL sends a request to another computer, verifying the other computer is in fact the one it is attempting to reach. If successful, the second computer responds with data verifying itself, and a handshake occurs to exchange data securely.Heartbleed exploits this connection.”Web servers that use the affected versions of the code store some data unprotected in memory. Hackers can grab that data, and reconstruct information about users or keys that would allow them to monitor past or future encrypted traffic,” according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.The Wall Street Journal article commented on possible actions for consumers: “If you need strong anonymity or privacy,” Roger Dingledine, president of the Tor Project, a web service used to obscure Internet users’ identity, wrote in a blog post, “you might want to stay away from the Internet entirely for the next few days while things settle.”More recently, cyber security has been in the news with respect to attacks on large institutions. A recent attack against Ellie Mae resulted in slowdowns and overwhelmed servers.The FDIC urges financial institutions to “ensure that their Information Security staff are aware of and subscribe to reliable and recognized resources that can help quickly identify cyber risks as they emerge.”Specifically, the FDIC recommends United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF), FBI InfraGard, Regional Coalitions, and the Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs)More detailed technical information about the Heartbleed bug can be found here. Sharelast_img read more

Lower Migration What About Origination

first_img Share in Daily Dose, News, Origination Affordability HOUSING Mobility Urban Institute 2016-10-14 Seth Welborn October 14, 2016 567 Views center_img Lower Migration . . .What About Origination? Data shows that that the number of Americans moving has been on the decline in the past quarter century. Lower migration has meant fewer mortgage originations, but some of the effect on the housing market has been positive, according to analysis from the Urban Institute.Fewer Americans moving has meant less turnover in the residential housing market, which has led to a lower volume of purchase loan originations, according to CoreLogic Deputy Chief Economist Sam Khater—but at the same time, it could potentially lead to fewer defaults. Since homeowners are moving less, it means they are living in their homes longer—which means they are building up more equity.But while Americans moving less has resulted in fewer first-lien originations, it actually has the potential to increase second-lien originations, according to Bhargavi Ganesh of the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center.“Lower migration can also increase demand for second liens, as homeowners decide to renovate the homes they plan to live in for a longer time,” Ganesh said. “Decreased mobility could also decrease demand for mortgage products that minimize interest rate risks, such as fixed-rate mortgages or longer-term adjustable-rate mortgages.”Data from the Federal Reserve shows that interstate migration has experienced a decline from almost 3 percent in the 1980s down to 1.5 percent in the five-year period from 2010 to 2015. While an aging population and a decline in the homeownership rate (which was at a 51-year low in Q2 this year), those two factors might not be to blame, since the interstate migration percentage has had a similar decline for all age groups and people who both rent and own homes.Are Americans moving less because of post-crisis housing affordability issues or increased land-use regulations? Not likely. The Fed’s research shows that migration has dropped even in states with fewer land-use regulations and lower home values.If it isn’t the aging population, low homeownership rate, or housing affordability, then why are people moving less? The labor market, rather than demographic or socioeconomic changes, is largely responsible for the decline in mobility among Americans, according to analysis from the Urban Institute.Between 1990 and 2011, the number of people transitioning between jobs, occupations, or employers slowed, which corresponds with the decline in migration. The states with the largest declines in migration rates were the same as those that experienced the largest drop-offs in job transitions, according to the Fed. Since long distance moves are often job-related, this likely means that labor market conditions are causing the lower migration rates, the Fed reported.last_img read more

New Role Announced for Former Goldman Sachs Executive

first_imgNew Role Announced for Former Goldman Sachs Executive Josh FuchsConsolidated Analytics, a provider of mortgage services, announced the appointment of Josh Fuchs as SVP of product development and sales for its residential valuations division. In this role, Fuchs will drive the vision, innovation, execution and adoption of new real estate valuation products and will strengthen and modernize existing platforms.Fuchs joins the California-based Consolidated Analytics from Goldman Sachs, where he was Vice President, Head of Residential Valuation for its real estate management division. Fuchs has more than 15 years of leadership experience developing operational and technology infrastructure, policies, and capabilities that enhance valuation platform and service scalability, efficiency and quality. In earlier roles, Fuchs held leadership positions at JPMorgan Chase, ISGN and FNMA.”Josh’s talent and experience is known in the mortgage industry and he is particularly known for successfully using technology and analytics to innovate solutions within constraints,” said Consolidated Analytics CEO Arvin Wijay. “As Consolidated Analytics continues to augment our solutions with real estate analytics, leverage automation and embrace emerging technologies, Josh’s ‘in-compliance’ but ‘outside-the-box’ approach will be incredibly valuable.”The addition of Fuchs to Consolidated Analytics valuation team is timely, and comes within days of the company’s launch of its Consolidated Collateral Analysis (CCA) product, a solution that provides portfolio buyers and sellers with collateral risk insights that may influence transaction and loan decisions.Fuchs’ experience extends beyond property valuation operations and includes experience with loan-quality control process automation, including the development of underwriting guidelines to facilitate higher quality and more efficient trading platforms for originations, second liens, jumbo and other consumer loans.”Our valuation team is already excited about the new CCA product, and we believe that the addition of Josh with bolster that enthusiasm even more,” said Consolidated Analytics President, Brian Gehl. “Our team has great ideas for more efficient and modern valuation solutions that could transform the end-user experience, and Josh has the technical, industry, and product development acumen to help operationalize those ideas and leverage our growing arsenal of tools and technologies.”   May 30, 2019 320 Views Goldman Sachs new hire 2019-05-30 Mike Albanesecenter_img Share in Headlines, Newslast_img read more

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that SIX – the

first_imgNorwegian Cruise Line has announced that SIX – the critically-acclaimed British pop musical about Henry VIII’s six wives – will debut on board Norwegian Bliss, Breakaway and Getaway beginning next month.SIX is a retelling of Henry VIII’s six wives. Each leading lady takes centre-stage to share her personal story and reclaim her identity. Remixing 500 years of heartbreak into a celebration of 21st century girl power, the production features lively performances and music by an all-female band.“Guests will be mesmerised by the comical and powerful leading ladies who will have them laughing, singing and dancing their way out of the theatre,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “SIX is an excellent example of the exceptional entertainment we feature across our innovative fleet; we are really proud to add this amazing musical to our lineup.”From the premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017, to its recently announced debut at the Brooks Atkinson on Broadway in spring 2020, the musical was written by aspiring young playwrights Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss and produced by Andy and Wendy Barnes of the Global Musicals theatre company, award-winning songwriter George Stiles, the acclaimed West End producer Kenny Wax and Broadway impresario Kevin McCollum.“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Norwegian Cruise Line to showcase this award-winning musical for the first time at sea,” said Kenny Wax, one of the producers of SIX. “Originating from the minds of two senior Cambridge University students in the U.K., the show has surprised and delighted audiences around the globe.”SIX will appear first on Norwegian Bliss on 1 September 2019, followed by Norwegian Breakaway on 10 November 2019 and Norwegian Getaway on 23 April 2020. cruiseentertainmentmusicalNorwegian BlissNorwegian BreakawayNorwegian GetawaySIXlast_img read more

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt says his team can b

first_imgCardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt says his team can benefit greatly from spending some time this week practicing with the Kansas City Chiefs.Fresh off their preseason opener against the New Orleans saints in Canton, Ohio, the Cardinals made the trek to Missouri Western State University to continue their training camp. “It’s a great evaluation of your squad as well as seeing some of the players on their squad,” the coach said of what can be gained. “What you hope is that you can go back and look at the tape and say ‘OK we match up pretty good here’ or ‘we like this, we like what we’re doing here.’ D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation “So it’s a great opportunity just to get out of the drudgery of camp as far as going against your guys every day.”The coach said he’s not concerned that practice could get a little extra chippy because of who they are facing, but that “if it happens it happens.”“That’s part of football,” he said. Top Stories center_img Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Comments   Share   What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinkelast_img read more