Air China signs multi-year content agreement with TravelportTravelport (NYSE:TVPT), a leading Travel Commerce Platform providing distribution, technology, payment and other solutions for the $8 trillion global travel and tourism industry, and Air China, the flag carrier of the People’s Republic of China, today jointly announce the extension of their multi-year, full content agreement.The agreement means that Travelport-connected agents worldwide will have continued access to effectively search, compare and book Air China’s inventory and offering via Travelport’s industry-leading Travel Commerce Platform.As part of the agreement, Air China has also decided to participate in Travelport Rich Content and Branding – one of the key components of Travelport’s suite of innovative merchandising solutions for airlines.Rich Content & Branding enables airlines to market and retail their products more effectively by determining how their content is visually presented and described to travel agents. It is designed to allow airlines to use more sophisticated retailing techniques in order to drive sales of core fares as well as ancillary products and optional services such as seats with extra legroom.Ms. Na Na, Deputy Managing Director of Network and Revenue Management of Air China said: “Air China needs to project a distinct branding that is fitting of its role as the nation’s flag carrier, even as we compete in a crowded international market. How we present our products plays a critical role in defining that image. We believe Rich Content & Branding is the right tool for that purpose, apart from being a sophisticated merchandizing platform for our products.”Damian Hickey, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Global Sales Strategy, Air Commerce, Travelport, added: “We are delighted that Air China has extended its multi-year agreement with the enhancement of Rich Content & Branding. Our solution is about empowering our airline partners to create great choices for their customers and to clearly communicate those choices. Together we will build the product branding for Air China that truly reflects its role as the national flag carrier.”Source = Air China
No more hassle paying for ancillary services at the airportIn today’s hyper-connected world, airports can take a toll on the traveller. Have you ever wondered why, after queuing to check a bag in, you have to walk to an airline ticket office to pay for excess luggage or a flight upgrade? This usual scenario is because shared check-in desks cannot accommodate the specific payment needs of multiple airlines and ground handlers. Faced with this situation, the traveller might think twice before bothering to pay for extra legroom at all. Airport payments will soon become much smoother as Amadeus and Ingenico launch Amadeus Airport Pay, the first wireless payment solution in the industry which accepts EMV(1) chip card payments and can be used by multiple airlines and ground handlers and multiple banks. With Amadeus Airport Pay airlines and ground handlers can now reach any passenger with an EMV chip card or an EMV-compliant mobile wallet in any airport worldwide, regardless of the check-in infrastructure; this means airlines worldwide can deploy quickly. As a result, airlines can convert more ancillary sales by offering travellers a fast and secure payment method that overcomes the inconveniences generally faced by travellers nowadays at airports. Because Amadeus Airport Pay is not bound to any physical infrastructure, airlines and ground handlers can take payments anywhere in the airport. At the beginning of June, Lufthansa Group, as the launch partner, will start rolling out the solution at check-in desks and ticket offices in over 170 airports around the globe, improving the airport experience for travellers by providing seamless and secure payment options without disrupting their travel journey. “To bring secure and seamless payment options to our passengers to ease their individual and seamless travel experience is a core objective for the Lufthansa Group. Amadeus Airport Pay enables our travellers to choose customized ancillary services for their flight while checking in or at the gate – securely and with a variety of payment options, and without the need for detours”, said Kai Schilb, Head of Payment at Lufthansa Group Hub Airlines. “Besides, as an IT solution, Amadeus Airport Pay gives the Lufthansa Group full control over its payment infrastructure by enabling connections with a wide range of payment providers. We look forward to bringing this service to our airport check in desks and ticket offices in more than 170 airports very soon,” added Philipp Vetten, Team Management Payment Projects at Lufthansa Group. Amadeus also makes it easy for airlines and ground handlers to connect to the banks of their choice. Amadeus Airport Pay can be fully integrated in the airline’s sales flow, meaning payments are faster, more accurate and automatically accounted for. “Payments in the airport have taken a big step forward towards convenience, security and flexibility with Amadeus Airport Pay. We are proud to be working with Lufthansa to improve their passengers’ airport experience worldwide.” commented Celia Pereiro, head of Travel Payments at Amadeus. “Travellers will have the peace of mind that their payments are secured thanks to EMV technology. Airlines and ground handlers meanwhile can open the door to a much smoother trip – imagine roaming agents approaching you while queuing to offer the ancillary service you need – it’s a win-win for the airline and the traveller.” Miguel Ángel Hernández, Managing Director Ingenico Iberia said, “We are proud to join forces with Amadeus to provide an integrated solution that benefits from a truly international reach, is compliant with security standards and available with our full catalogue of payment terminals. Pocket-sized and supporting all wireless connectivity options, Amadeus Airport Pay will bring real mobility to airport payments and improve the passenger experience.” With over 5bn chip cards in circulation globally, EMV has cemented its place as the leading card-present payment technology. EMV represents a significant improvement in the way payment card fraud is detected and prevented, as EMV cards will have enhanced anti-fraud capabilities at the physical point of sale. At airports, EMV terminals are ubiquitous in duty-free shops but still a rarity in airline check-in desks. AmadeusSource = Amadeus
Australia celebrated as a superior luxury adventure destinationIn the last month, The Kimberley in north western Australia has garnered significant interest from the global yachting community reinforcing what local players have always known; it is undervalued as a charter destination.After receiving the Voyager Award at the World Superyacht Awards in Florence, The Kimberley is again front and centre as 42-metre M/Y ANDA took pole position in the Best 21 charter yachts available in remote areas.The Kimberley is over 400,000sqm, larger than England, and includes a series of limestone and sandstone canyons which are navigable by yachts. From a yachting perspective, it is defined by its incredible water courses, pristine environment, horizontal falls from huge tidal movements, unique flora and fauna, access to Aboriginal culture and art plus privacy as it is a destination which requires local knowledge to reach and cruise properly.“We are humbled by the recognition,” explained Mr. Joachim (Jo) Howard, Managing Director of Ocean Alliance who is the central agent for M/Y ANDA and M/Y AKIKO¸ who took out third place for other charter destinations in Western Australia. “We have just conducted, in conjunction with Tourism Australia, a familiarisation for guests, brokers and press to highlight the potential of The Kimberley and Australia as a charter destination to their international clients. As a result, it seems the region is receiving the recognition it deserves.”“It was truly awe-inspiring. I have been on many yachts in many locations around the world, and organised multiple charter experiences for my clients but I confidently say, I have never done anything like this before. ANDA is a great platform for exploring this wild and often inaccessible archipelago…” said Nick Heming from London-based yacht brokerage house, Y.COThe focus on The Kimberley and Australia has also coincided with the Australian Superyacht and Marine Exporters (ASMEX) Conference held 22-24 May 2017 on the Gold Coast at which the results of an economic impact study were tabled. “The report highlighted the exponential growth, an additional AUD$1.37 billion contribution to GDP and 10,000 jobs in five years, the industry would experience if the regulations allowing foreign yachts to charter were revised,” advised Ms MaryAnne Edwards, CEO of Superyacht Australia.Regional areas, such as The Kimberley, will be beneficiaries of the changes to the international yachts charter regulations by receiving the lion’s share of tourism dollars spent. It was estimated by the report this was AUD$7,500 per person per day from a yacht charter guest. This is significantly more than the AUD$4,361 per person per trip that Tourism Research Australia estimates the average international traveller spends whilst in Australia.Joachim Howard sits on the working committee who are lobbying the government to change the regulations and he, along with the other committee members, were awarded for their efforts at the gala dinner during the conference.“My fellow committee members and I were encouraged to receive the award for our efforts but there is more work to be done in educating the various government representatives on the potential which is currently unrealised. We will continue our work until our governments see what our international media partners are acknowledging,” stated Mr Howard. Charter YachtsSource = Ocean Alliance
Spencer Travel’s new homeSpencer Travel’s new homeIconic Sydney travel business relocates after nearly two decades in Surry HillsSpencer Travel has relocated from the office space it has inhabited in Sydney’s inner city since 1998, moving to new offices in Mascot over the weekend.“Our new offices reflect the kind of business we are now”, says Penny Spencer – Managing Director and Founder of the Spencer Group of Companies.“We have grown and evolved dramatically in recent years, and the business needed a new space to call its own. So we’ve left Sydney’s fashion district and relocated to something truly glamorous”, continued Penny.Spencer Travel’s new, larger offices are located just 10km from the CBD at Heritage Business Park, Ricketty Street, Mascot.“Office relocations are an exercise in precision logistics, and we’re delighted to advise that ours was completed without a hitch”, said Spencer Travel’s General Manager, Tina Killeen.With hotel style bathrooms, a cafe-style breakout space for staff, multiple meeting rooms and dedicated quiet-rooms, Spencer Travel is ready for a new era to the business.The company’s surroundings may have changed, but one thing has not. As Tina points out, “We’ve brought our renowned Spencer spirit with us. It’s what defines us.”“As we enter a new era for Spencer Travel, we bring with us so many great memories of a business journey that I never could have imagined when our doors first opened”, says Penny.Spencer Travel is now located at:Unit 1C, Level 2Heritage Business Park5-9 Ricketty StreetMascot, NSW 2020For more information, contact Penny Spencer:P: +61 2 9281 5477E: Penny.Spencer@spencertravel.com.auW: www.spencertravel.com.auSource = Spencer Travel
H.E. Maitha Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism, met the founder and CEO of Salalah Air, Sam Owen, to understand the airline’s vision for future cooperation in the tourism sector. The meeting was focused on the development of Salalah Air’s charter services in Oman and between Governorates of the Sultanate.The presentation by the CEO introduced the concept of Oman’s first Flying Club and Adventure Sports Centre that forms part of Salalah Air’s development strategy. The Flying Club and Adventure Sports Centre will be headquartered in Salalah and have an operational base located at Sharbitat, which will provide opportunities for aerial sports such as para-motoring and parachuting, together with opportunities for diving, deep sea fishing and sailing.Speaking of the establishment of the first Air Charter Services in the Sultanate, Sam Owen, said, “Salalah Air is entirely Omani owned company chaired by Ali Masoud Al Khashoub, built on Omani cultural heritage and commitment; our vision is to become the number one Charter air service provider in the Sultanate while remaining true to the traditions and culture of Oman, and we intend to work closely with Oman Air and Salam Air to provide complimentary services that will be of benefit to the nation.”
Perhaps one of the most popular destinations in the World. In this video, you get to explore the city, meet the man who has revolutionised the iconic red doubledecker bus and take in the extraordinary economic impact of the annual Wimbledon tennis championships. Source: BBC
Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is an international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2016 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals.The 24th edition of the show welcomes over 2,600 confirmed exhibitors with 100 exhibiting for the first time– representing more than 150 countries, across 65 national pavilions. The show also extends across an additional hall, in order to meet growing demand.During the opening H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai toured the event visiting various pavilions. He was joined by dignitaries including HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO of the Emirates Group; and His Excellency Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director-General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
Indonesia has been chosen to host the Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) Business Event ASEAN 2018 from April 9 -11 at ICE BSD, Tangerang. Themed “Destin-ASEAN-plus: For meetings and events”, the exhibition will be graced by 200 suppliers, 300 international buyers and 200 Indonesian buyers.According to Esthy Reko Astuti, Deputy Development-Tourism Marketing, Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia, “MICE tourism is one of the top five contributors for foreign tourists alongside shopping and culinary tourism, heritage and religious tourism, marine tourism and sports tourism. Foreign tourists who come for MICE events have the average spending up to three to five times higher than regular tourists. They also usually come in groups and have the tendency to visit the place again in the future.”Indra Sukirno, Committee Head of the event, said, “The invited buyers are expected to bring in a minimum of US$625 million worth of business transaction for the next three years. Whilst buyers consist of executives, associations, corporations, event organisers and consultants, both buyers and sellers will meet in pre-scheduled-appointment sessions held every 20 minutes.”The total population of ASEAN countries can reach up to 600 million people. Added with the population of affiliated countries such as the United States, China and India, the total number is amounted to 90% the total world population. The participants of the event consist of hotels, cruise lines, theme and recreational parks, event organisers and destination management companies. Other activities that will be featured in the exhibition include Golf Friendly Game, Marathon Meeting, One-Day Conference, Investructure Business Forum and other educational and networking activities.
NYC & Company unveiled its refreshed digital-first global tourism campaign ‘Famous Original New York City.’ The campaign intends to reach travellers around the world, celebrating the personal ways NYC can be experienced. Original in-house creative along with supporting video, photo galleries, editorial and social content is pegged to distinct newly curated travel ‘affinities’ – Secret NYC, Glamorous NYC and Classic NYC.“Our refreshed campaign ‘Famous Original New York City’ with its affirming tagline ‘Welcomes You. Always.’ is designed to reinforce New York City’s fundamental values of diversity and inclusion and its world-class welcoming spirit,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO, NYC & Company. “Utilising our new digital tools and affinity-driven content, we invite global visitors to discover their ‘Famous Original New York City’ now.”Digital, in-kind and partner media contribute to an approximate campaign value of USD 15 million, with promotions running globally across 17 countries through summer 2019. Out-of-home advertisements will appear domestically in New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and San Juan. Internationally, the campaign will appear in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. With the out of home media partner JC Decaux, the promotions will run for the first time in India, Colombia and Peru.In partnership with Facebook and Instagram, the campaign will utilise content marketing that has been developed to attract audience members with specific interests and behaviours. Artificial intelligence will target social media users with an intent to travel, ultimately encouraging visits to the campaign landing page, where dynamically generated content pegged to the travel affinity of interest will live, along with market-specific travel offers.New this year are tools that will allow NYCgo.com visitors to immediately book or favourite Classic, Glamorous or Secret elements, including attractions, museums, restaurants, shopping, tours and editorial packages. In addition, NYC & Company holds several tourism alliances domestically and internationally. These strategic city-to-city partnerships spotlight New York City via in-kind media in Toronto, Canada; Madrid, Spain; and Tokyo, Japan. Through a first-ever city-to-island partnership announced last month, NYC & Company is also promoting ‘Famous Original New York City’ in San Juan, Puerto Rico.“The newest iteration of the ‘Famous Original New York City’ campaign pushes the boundaries of digital marketing and is our answer to the challenge of how to present a destination that is many different things to many different people,” said Nancy Mammana, Senior Vice President, Marketing, NYC & Company.In 2017, New York City’s travel and tourism sector saw a record-breaking year, with 62.8 million visitors, USD 44 billion in direct visitor spending and USD 66 billion in total economic impact, representing the largest tourism economy in the United States.
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-01-11 Esther Cho January 11, 2013 404 Views “”Linear Title and Closing””:http://www.lineartitle.com/ announced plans to introduce a web portal just for consumers who have closed on a loan with the company. [IMAGE] [COLUMN_BREAK] Through the portal, consumers can access their personal databases, such as the completed mortgage package, a detailed analysis of the flow of mortgage funds, any rebates due to them, and proof of the mortgage recordation, the Rhode Island-based company explained. The portal is expected to go live next month. Currently, clients of Linear Title such as lenders, realtors, and servicers, already have online access to data and documents associated with company transactions. With the new portal, consumers will also be able to check their mortgage transaction and retrieve documents. “”We have promoted transparency since the inception of our business in 2005. We believe it is the only way to operate a national title agency,”” said Nick Liuzza, president of Linear Title. “”Consumers who close loans with Linear Title will enjoy the benefits of ease of use and instant online access to their information. Of course we are giving consumers the opportunity to opt out so that their information would not be available on line.”” Linear Title and Closing Offers Online Consumer Portal Share
July 14, 2014 477 Views Like much of the country, Pennsylvania’s housing market showed a little more life in the second quarter than in the first, though activity fell short of last year.According to the state’s Realtor association, Pennsylvania saw 38,701 closed home sales statewide in the second quarter, down 3.7 percent from a year ago.The decline is still an improvement compared to the first quarter, which saw sales drop 4.5 percent year-over-year to 24,969.The median sales price was also down annually, falling 2.8 percent $170,000 in the first quarterly decline in more than two years.”We’re seeing some pockets of the state with positive growth, while others are a little more lackluster,” said Kim Skumanick, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors. “Many regions [are] experiencing increased activity with homes in the higher than average-price ranges.”In a more positive development, the association reported an 8.6 percent jump in new inventory to 82,013. Still, demand continues to outpace supply, with the average number of days on market declining 3.4 percent to 84 days.Meanwhile, buyers have other challenges to deal with.”We’re continuing to see a somewhat restrictive mortgage market and with tight credit, it can make it difficult for many buyers,” Skumanick said. Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Pennsylvania Housing Market Sees Second-Quarter Slowdown Days on Market Home Prices Home Sales Inventory Realtor Association 2014-07-14 Tory Barringer
in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Economy Federal Reserve Janet Yellen Monetary Policy Testify 2016-02-08 Scott_Morgan February 8, 2016 815 Views The Week Ahead: Janet Yellen to Testify Twice Before Financial Committees Share Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will have the floors of both the House and Senate to herself this week to discuss the state of monetary policy and the economy before the Congress’s two main financial committees.On Wednesday, February 10, Yellen will testify on “Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy” before the House Financial Services Committee. The following day, she will present the Semiannual Monetary Report to Congress before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.Given some of the recent major economic news concerning the Fed, namely raising of the interest rate in a decade and an increased scrutiny into the agency’s transparency, it is probably not hard to guess at least some of what Yellen will be talking about this week.Wednesday’s testimony will be Yellen’s first appearance before the Congress since July 2015 and her first since the Fed raised the interest rate in December.Janet YellenThe transparency issue, which is expected to comprise a hefty part of the conversation Wednesday and Thursday, was a main point of contention in Yellen’s Congressional testimony last July. Then, Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) criticized what he perceived to be a lack of transparency from the Fed and said that the central bank needed to be “more predictable” when it comes to monetary policy.The House responded to Hensarling’s comments in November when it passed the Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization Act (FORM Act), with bipartisan support, to give the Fed a more structured framework for more openly and transparently communicating monetary policy decisions and requiring it to generate a monetary policy strategy of its own design. FORM also eliminates the restrictions on the Government Accountability Office’s ability to audit the Fed, allowing the GAO to conduct an audit of the Fed whenever there is a policy change.There is also bound to be some discussion about the troubles the Fed is having with its plans to get the interest rate to a full 1 percent by year’s end. The Federal Open Market Committee announced last week that the federal funds rate would remain it its current level of 1/4 to ½ percent for the time being. However, the Fed has discussed the possibility of keeping some three-month Treasury yields below zero for a longer time, amid talk of a negative interest rate, though no serious discussion of introducing such a policy has yet been put forth.Also a likely set of topics to be discussed this week is how cheaper oil markets and a growing problem with China’s economy could affect the American economy.Also this week…Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Rob Kaplan will provide opening remarks at Dallas Fed Texas housing outlook conference on Friday, February 12, 2015.Texas has had a multifamily housing recovery following the Great Recession. Single-family construction has been constrained during the recent expansion as a result of higher land prices, labor shortages and tight lending for land development. New-home supply now trails demand, leading to unprecedented price appreciation and record-low inventories. What’s ahead for the Texas residential market in 2016?This conference will explore the trends, challenges and outlook, with a focus on supply constraints affecting the ongoing expansion. Additionally, experts will discuss prospects for the U.S. and Texas economies and address what’s ahead for the Texas real estate and energy sectors.
Treasury Set to Fight MetLife Over ‘Too Big to Fail’ Removal April 11, 2016 608 Views Share The U.S. Department of Treasury said it plans to appeal a federal judge’s decision to remove the designation of MetLife as a non-bank “systemically important financial institution” (SIFI), according to a statement on Treasury’s website.Judge Rosemary Collyer, in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, ruled in a sealed opinion last week that the SIFI tag should be removed from MetLife, stating that the government body that applied the designation used a “fatally flawed” process. The removal of the SIFI designation means that the failure of the global insurance provider would not have catastrophic consequences for the U.S. economy.Along with the government’s announcement that it would appeal Collyer’s ruling, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew defended FSOC’s decision to designate MetLife as a SIFI.“Wall Street Reform was enacted in response to serious problems identified during the financial crisis, and to protect taxpayers from having to bear the enormous burdens of another crisis,” Lew said. “Regulators previously did not have the tools to understand and respond to the risks posed by the distress of companies such as MetLife. In using these tools, FSOC has taken a deliberative and data-driven approach, relying on a careful analysis of available information, including intensive engagement with each company and its regulators to evaluate how the firm’s distress could affect the financial system.”The non-bank SIFI tag was applied to MetLife in December 2014 by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), a government body created by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 in order to identify risks to the financial stability of the U.S. economy. The FSOC is comprised of 10 voting members (all Democrats) and five non-voting members. The voting members consist of the heads of nine government regulatory agencies (Treasury, the Fed, FDIC, CFPB, FHFA, SEC, CFTC, OCC, and NCUA) and one independent member. That independent member, Roy Woodall Jr., was the lone dissenter in the Council’s 9-1 vote to designate MetLife as a nonbank SIFI 16 months ago.MetLife sued the FSOC in January 2015 to have the SIFI designation removed, because as a nonbank SIFI, MetLife said it would be subject to heightened regulation which the company says will increase compliance costs, hence increasing costs to consumers without any added safety benefit for the financial system. MetLife even set up a portion of its website devoted to providing a “central point for information related to the judicial review of FSOC’s designation.”“We intend to continue defending vigorously the process and the integrity of FSOC’s work, and I am confident that we will prevail.” Treasury Secretary Jacob LewCollyer’s 33-page opinion was unsealed on Thursday. In that opinion, she wrote that the court was rescinding the government’s designation of MetLife as a nonbank SIFI on two grounds.“First, FSOC made critical departures from two of the standards it adopted in its Guidance, never explaining such departures or even recognizing them as such,” Collyer wrote. “That alone renders FSOC’s determination process fatally flawed. Additionally, FSOC purposely omitted any consideration of the cost of designation to MetLife. Thus, FSOC assumed the upside benefits of designation (even without specific standards from the Federal Reserve) but not the downside costs of its decision. That is arbitrary and capricious under the latest Supreme Court precedent (Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency in June 2015).”Lew said in response to the ruling that Congress did not require the FSOC to conduct a formal cost-benefit analysis of SIFI designations “for good reasons.”“Such a requirement would impair the Council’s ability to address the risks of a future financial crisis that could severely damage the financial system and the U.S. economy,” Lew said. “As we have learned, the far-reaching damage of a financial crisis is difficult to predict and can cause massive economic pain to families and firms across the United States.”Opponents of Dodd-Frank’s financial reform who believe the financial industry is overregulated have viewed the decision to remove MetLife’s SIFI tag as a major victory for their camp. One such opponent was House Financial Services Committee Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who issued a statement saying that “today’s SIFI designations are just tomorrow’s taxpayer-funded bailouts. SIFI is Washington’s way of officially anointing these companies as too big to fail, despite promises that the Dodd-Frank Act would end too big to fail.”Lew said that Dodd-Frank opponents should not be so quick to celebrate, however.“Some opponents of financial reform have hailed the court’s decision as a win for our financial system,” Lew said. “This is wrong and dangerously ignores the lessons of the financial crisis. FSOC’s authority to designate nonbank financial companies is a critical tool to address potential threats to financial stability, and it has made our financial system safer and more resilient. We intend to continue defending vigorously the process and the integrity of FSOC’s work, and I am confident that we will prevail.”Other nonbanks to receive the SIFI designation from FSOC were American International Group (AIG), Prudential Financial, and General Electric. MetLife is the first institution to challenge the SIFI designation.Click here to view Judge Collyer’s unsealed opinion.Click here to view Treasury’s statement. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News MetLife SIFI Too Big to Fail Treasury 2016-04-11 Seth Welborn
in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Tighter Housing Inventory=Faster Sales. . .Or Vice Versa? July 22, 2016 470 Views Home Sales Housing Inventory 2016-07-22 Seth Welborn Housing inventory has been tight across the country for many months, according to multiple reports across the mortgage industry, and homes are selling at an increasingly faster rate in terms of average time on the market. Which begs the question: is inventory tight because homes are selling quickly, or are homes selling quickly because inventory is tight?According to Zillow’s Real Estate Market Reports for June 2016, the number of available homes for sale is 5 percent less than what it was in June 2015 and 38 percent less than its peak in 2011. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported earlier this week that the total number of existing homes for sale in June was 2.12 million, down from 2.25 million a year ago.The low inventory presents fewer options to homebuyers and therefore has created a competitive market in which buyers are moving even more quickly to close on homes, according to Zillow. In June, the average home closed after being on the market for an average of 78 days, which is a week faster than the average time it took a home to close in June 2015. The largest declines occurred in Eastern markets such as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, all of which saw the average time on the market for a home fall by two weeks.Since that number includes the time it takes to close, typically one to two months after the house goes under contract, that means homes are pending within about a month of being listed, Zillow reported.The average time a home stays on the market has been steadily declining since 2010, when it was about five months.“When there are so few homes on the market in the first place, it makes sense that those that are available would be scooped up more quickly,” Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell said. “But in addition to the speed of the market being a product of limited inventory, that speed may also be contributing to that scarcity of inventory too. Potential sellers might love the attention their home will get once listed—and the chance for a windfall profit if a bidding war breaks out over it. But many of those sellers also have to turn around and become buyers. They may end up in a bidding war of their own once they try to buy in this environment, if they can even find a suitable home to begin with. Instead, it’s likely that many current homeowners who don’t have to sell are choosing to stay put rather than enter the fray—which in turn only contributes to tighter inventory.”One effect the tight inventory is having on the housing market is an increase in home values. In June, the average home in the U.S. was worth $187,000, which was up year-over-year by 5.4 percent; according to Zillow, home values have been rising by 5 percent or more year-over-year for eight months in a row.On the other hand, rents, which had been steadily rising, are now growing at their slowest pace in almost two years. According to Zillow, the average rent in June was $1,409. Share
Government Jobs Report President Trump 2017-03-10 Staff Writer in Government, Headlines, News Share During his February 28 address to Congress, President Trump promised to create tens of thousands of new jobs during his first term. And according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the economy may be on the right track to meet Trump’s expectations. “It was hard to nitpick the February jobs report,” said Doug Duncan, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. “Payrolls posted a strong rise for a second consecutive month, the unemployment rate edged down despite a large jump in the labor force, and annual growth in earnings rebounded toward the expansion high seen at the end of last year,” said Duncan. The Census data shows that during February 235,000 non-farm jobs were added. In addition, the unemployment rate barely budged since January, coming in at 4.7 percent, a slight drop from the previous year’s 4.9 percent.”Specifically for the housing market, construction employment continues to add jobs, 177,000 over the last six months,” added Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American. “It’s interesting that specialty trade contractors, and heavy and civil engineering job categories were highlighted—a sign of growing demand for home improvement and infrastructure development,” Fleming said. Before February’s job report was released a Bloomberg survey forecasted that 200,000 jobs would be added. Many industry watchers are speculating that the better-than-predicted numbers may further push a rate increase during next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.“Most doubts about whether the FOMC would hike at its March meeting were put to bed last week after a series of hawkish remarks from Fed officials, but any lingering uncertainty has certainly been squelched with today’s strong report, ” noted Curt Long, Chief Economist for the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions.Fleming agreed, saying, “[T]he odds of a Fed rate increase at the meeting next week was already over 90 percent. This employment situation report only gives more reason for the Fed to move sooner rather than later.” March 10, 2017 703 Views Will the Interest Rate Rise with the Employment Rate?
First-time homebuyers spend their money differently than experienced homebuyers after they move, according to a new study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the NAHB found that homebuyers that were new to the home buying market had the highest average expenditures for both appliances and furnishings, and outspent experienced homebuyers and nonmoving homeowners in both these categories.New homebuyers spent an average of $3,094 on appliances, compared to an average of $1,889 of existing homebuyers’ expenditures. New homebuyers also outspent existing homebuyers on items such as washer/dryers, refrigerators, televisions, freezers, and lawnmowers and yard equipment. Nonmoving homeowners only spent an average of $1,182 annually on appliances.Furnishings are also popular purchases for first-time homebuyers, who outspent experienced homebuyers $3,778 to $2,258. According to the report, new homebuyers spent an average $687 on living room tables and chairs, and $345 on dining room and kitchen furniture. Window covering was also a popular purchase among first-time homebuyers, who spent on average $215 for a little privacy. Existing homebuyers only bought $78 worth of window coverings, and nonmoving owners spent a meager $21, which is 10 times less than first-time homebuyers. Annually, nonmoving homeowners only spent a total of $708 all year on furniture.The only category in which existing homebuyers outspent new homebuyers was in alterations and repairs—which was an average of $4,085. New homebuyers only spent $3,729 on repairs and alterations, but were more likely to outspend their experienced counterparts when it came to outside projects, such as fencing, a new driveway, or a new walkway. Nonmoving homeowners spent more annually on repairs and alterations than appliances and furnishings combined. Collectively, however, nonmoving homeowners drive most of the demand, and spend the most money, on appliances, furnishings, and repairs, but only because there are more nonmoving homeowners in a given year than there are homebuyers, whether first-time or experienced. July 13, 2017 590 Views expenses experienced homebuyer First-Time Homebuyer 2017-07-13 Joey Pizzolato in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News New Couch Syndrome: The Real Deal Share
December 17, 2018 794 Views in Daily Dose, News, Secondary Market, Servicing FHFA HARP loans Refinances 2018-12-17 Seth Welborn Refinances Take a Turn According to the latest Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Refinance Report, the average interest rate on a 30‐year fixed rate mortgage rose to 4.83 percent in October from 4.63 percent in September. Total refinance volume increased in October after falling throughout most of the year.The report notes that borrowers completed 507 refinances through HARP in October, with the total refinances since the program’s inception now up to 3,493,512. Harp refinances make up just one percent of the total refinance volume nationally, and six percent of the loans refinanced through HARP had a loan‐to‐value ratio greater than 125 percent.According to the FHFA, the decreasing refinance volume throughout the rest of the year was a reaction to rising mortgage interest rates. Additionally, The FHFA states that borrowers who refinanced through HARP had a lower delinquency rate on average compared to borrowers who were eligible for a HARP refinance, but did not refinance through HARP. As of October 2018, borrowers with loan‐to‐value ratios greater than 105 percent accounted for 16 percent of the volume of HARP loans.The report also notes that nine states and one territory (Puerto Rico) accounted for over 70 percent of the nation’s HARP eligible loans with a refinance incentive as of June 30, 2018. Puerto Rico made up the largest number of HARP eligible loans, at 4,522, closely followed by Illinois with 4,511. Other states with high numbers of HARP eligible loans include New Jersey, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Alabama, and Georgia. In total, 38,818 loans were eligible for the HARP refinance initiative as of June 30, 2018.In Florida, Georgia, and Illinois, HARP refinances represented two percent of total refinances compared to one percent of the total nationwide. In several states, underwater borrowers made up a large portion of HARP refinances. Underwater borrowers represented 20 percent or more of HARP refinances in Nevada, Florida, and Michigan.Read the full report from the FHFA here. Share
Cyclone DebbieTourism Whitsundays The Whitsundays is steadily coming back online following the impact of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.Whitsunday Regional Council has cleared the foreshore and beach areas, as well as the main street of Airlie Beach.Ergon Energy is optimistic that the whole region will have power by Tuesday April 11 or thereabouts, which means the region will have full power in time for the Easter weekend, beginning Friday 14 April.Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner said that while the recovery operation was still in motion, all the signs were looking good for the coming Easter weekend and ensuing holiday period.“The community, the tourism industry and our stakeholders have all rallied and the progress made in the past week has been amazing,” he said.“While we are not out of the woods yet – and there are many people out there working very hard – things are moving quickly and in the right direction and power should be restored by early next week.“There are a raft of tours and trips already operating again and a lot of accommodation providers are already back up and running. Shops, restaurants, cafes and other businesses have also started to open this week.”Holidaymakers with bookings for the coming weeks are advised to contact their accommodation provider directly to confirm they are operating and check on the facilities they are able to provide.Booking agents and wholesalers, who have booked holidaymakers into Whitsundays accommodation or on tours and trips, are advised to make contact directly with the operators to check on their status.Click here for an up-to-date list of what is already operational in the Whitsundays.
AirAsiaairlinesairportsbaliMount Agung Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport has re-opened today (Thursday 30 November). Guests of AirAsia who may be affected by any ongoing flight cancellations due to the eruption of Mount Agung will be notified of their flight status via email and SMS. AirAsia strongly encourages all guests to update their contact details at airasia.com to ensure that they are notified of any updates to their flights.All guests whose flights are affected will be entitled to choose one of the following service recovery options being offered:For flights to/from Bali and Lombok from 25 November 2017 – 10 December 2017Option 1: Move flight: Change to a new travel date on the same route within 30 calendar days from original flight date without additional cost and subject to seat availability; OROption 2: Credit Account: Retain the value of fare in a credit account for future travel with AirAsia. The online Credit Account to be redeemed within 90 calendar days from the date of issue, for travel date of your choice; OROption 3: Full Refund: Obtain a full refund in the amount equivalent to your booking. This can be done strictly via e-form available on support.airasia.com:1. Click on “Email Us” tab on the right panel2. Select “Refund” under Type of Feedback3. Select “Flight Cancellation” under Sub Category 14. Complete the remaining form fields and click Submit to proceedFor Flights to/from Bali and Lombok from 11 December 2017 – 31 December 2017Option 1: Move flight: Change to a new travel date on the same route up to 31January 2018 without additional cost and subject to seat availability; OROption 2: Rerouting: Reroute to other destination (within AirAsia network) with fare difference applicable, subject to seat availability; OROption 3: Credit Account: Retain the value of fare in a credit account for future travel with AirAsia. The online Credit Account to be redeemed within 90 calendar days from the date of issue, for travel date of your choice.Guests requiring further information and assistance are advised to contact AirAsia customer support team.
Lucky, lucky Tracy King from Mobile Travel Agents – rewarded in the recent Visit Seattle and Hawaiian Airlines incentive with two seats in Visit Seattle’s VIP suite at Pearl Jam’s The Home Shows concert, the band’s first hometown appearance in five years.Mobile Travel Agents’ Tracy King and Visit Seattle International Tourism Vice President John Boesche in the Pearl Jam VIP suiteTracy flew as a special guest of Hawaiian Airlines from Sydney via Honolulu to Seattle and joined 50,000 screaming fans for a night to remember at the concert – a particularly significant hometown event raising over USD$11 million dollars to help the homeless community in the city.“Pearl Jam were amazing! They played songs never released before and all for a great cause. I videoed the best parts so my friends back home in Australia could watch the gig with me. We’re still telling stories about the night – I’ll remember it forever,” she said.In addition to the incredible Pearl Jam experience Tracy and her guest also had the chance to take in Seattle’s sights, including the latest exhibits at the Museum of Pop Culture, the legendary and newly renovated Space Needle, as well as the iconic Pike Place Market.