ATM breaks record

first_imgAfter four jam packed yet successful days, the Arabian Travel Mart came to an official close in Dubai yesterday, with visitor numbers reportedly reaching a record breaking 23,000, up by ten per cent on the previous year. Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovich “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, reinforcing our position as the regional industry platform for tourism and hospitality professionals to share their news, network with decision-makers, meet potential partners and exchange insight and ideas.” “The preliminary figures for this year’s show underscore Arabian Travel Market’s relevance to the regional travel and tourism sector and reflect the healthy performance and confidence of the industry and its vital role as a major economic driver for the region,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.center_img Click here for our ATM photo gallery. Now in its 21st year, the annual convention is the biggest travel trade exhibitor showcase in the Middle East and was attended by more than 2,700 exhibitors.last_img read more

Solid growth in domestic travel in Australia

first_imgSolid growth in domestic travel in AustraliaSolid growth in domestic travel over the year ending June 2015 underscores the burgeoning strength of Australia’s tourism industry and its capacity to provide economic and development opportunities, with domestic travellers spending $73.7 billion, or almost $202 million across Australia every day, according to peak national industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).Tourism Research Australia has today released the National Visitor Survey (NVS) results for June quarter 2015, showing a five per cent increase in overnight trips and a four per cent increase in overnight expenditure for the past financial year, alongside a two per cent rise in daytrips and a marginal rise in daytrip spending in the same period.TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said such growth is good news for the Australian economy.“Australians took more than 83.2 million overnight trips in the past financial year, with almost a third (32 per cent) involving interstate travel,” Ms Osmond said.“Residents of Western Australia took one million more overnight trips over 2014/15, recording the strongest growth rate (up 14 per cent) in annual terms, followed by the ACT (up 10 per cent) and Queensland (up 10 per cent).“Visitor nights were up more than six per cent for the year to around 313.4 million – a jump of 18 million nights in the year.“Overnight expenditure reached $55.4 billion over the financial year, while daytrip expenditure hit $18.3 billion over the same period.“We must not become complacent; a key strategy is to improve the regional tourism product and increase transport access to these destinations. We need to improve tourism offerings that encourage travellers, both domestic and international, to stay overnight and keep coming back.“We need to play on our natural strengths and increase the diversity of what Australia has to offer.“We must continue to find ways to create a sustainable and competitive tourism market to remain a key player on the global stage. International competition is fierce and if we rest on our laurels we will be left behind.”Source = Tourism Transport Forumlast_img read more

JAPAN Incentive Travel Awards 2016 winners announced

first_imgSource = JNTO – Japan National Tourism Organisation JAPAN Incentive Travel Awards 2016 winners announcedThe results of the inaugural JAPAN Incentive Travel Awards are out and we take this opportunity to congratulate all participants who submitted an incentive tour.Of the entrants who qualified the panel of judges have awarded the 3 following outstanding incentive tours to Japan:Grand Prize “2015 Nan Sha Life Insurance Elite Summit in Hokkaido” organised by Lion Travel Service Co. (Taiwan)Planning Award “Chaumet – Hurry up for sales” organised by teamtravel premium GmbH (Germany)Contribution Award “MILLENNIUM ACHIEVERS TOUR” organised by JTB Australia Pty Ltd (Australia)Although the group size of JTB Australia’s incentive tour was smaller in comparison, it was chosen for the Contribution Award as it was able to showcase several locations in western Japan such as Okayama, Kobe, Naoshima and Tokushima. The participants were able to take part in local cultural activities such as an Awa-Odori folkdance and visited cultural landmarks such as the art island of Naoshima, all of which are memorable and uniquely Japanese experiences.Kumiko Hardy, General Manager of JTB Australia said,“Thank you so much for the award. We are particularly pleased as a lot of thought went into the planning of this tour. The clients were all experienced travellers and not interested in ordinary sightseeing on the golden routes. They wanted to have a real Japanese surprise! Joining in the local awa-odori was definitely a highlight for them all. An explosion of such happy energy! Laughter throughout the night and they unanimously agreed it was the best experience they have ever had. Memories of the tour are still vivid with us and now have been adorned with the honour of receiving this award. Thank you.”All prize winners will be invited to Japan (with complimentary business class airfares) to be presented the awards at the IME2016 26th International Meetings Expo held at PACIFICO YOKOHAMA on 7 December 2016. They will also have the opportunity to experience an incentive exploration tour of Tokyo.Once again we would like to take this opportunity to thank all submissions and the effort they have put into promoting incentive travel to Japan.JNTO Sydney Officelast_img read more

Business account uses Siri to Pay Bills

first_imgTYROBusiness account uses Siri to Pay BillsIn an Australian first, business banking is now as easy as “Hey Siri” with the latest customer release from SME mobile banking challenger, Tyro.Using Apple’s smartphone assistant, Siri, Tyro Smart Account customers can access their daily settlements from their Tyro EFTPOS terminals, which can be used to pay bills and business costs immediately by asking something like, “Hey Siri, pay $250 to water bill using Tyro”.Currently, no other transaction account in Australian allows Siri to make payments.Tyro CEO Gerd Schenkel said the technological breakthrough would allow owners to spend less time on paperwork and more time on growing their businesses.“Using Siri to pay bills is the way of the future for Australia’s two million businesses, who employ seven million Australians and are the bedrock of the national economy,” Tyro CEO Gerd Schenkel said.“With nearly eight million iPhone users in Australia, this is a win for time-starved merchants.“Small and medium sized business owners are always on the go. Using Siri gives them the freedom to pay bills and other overheads wherever they are, in only a few seconds and with minimal key strokes.”A recent Tyro report1 found that banking red tape is robbing almost one million Australian businesses of four weeks’ productive work time a year, costing the national economy almost $7 billion annually.This equates to an extra 20 working days a year for each business – or the entire annual holidays of the average employee.The report found that 44 per cent of Australian SMEs, or 880,000 businesses, spend more than three hours every week checking, entering, paying and reconciling data, costing each business an average of $7,800 a year.The Tyro Smart Account seeks to solve that problem by providing a fee-free, interest-bearing account in your pocket, accessible via the Tyro smartphone app, available on iOS and Android. About Tyro Tyro is Australia’s only independent EFTPOS banking institution and is the first new entrant into the banking business in more than 18 years. Tyro holds an authority under the Banking Act to carry on a banking business as an Australian Deposit Taking Institution (ADI) and operates under the supervision of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). Tyro provides credit, debit, EFTPOS card acquiring, Medicare and private health fund claiming and rebating services as well as a transaction and deposit account integrated with Xero cloud accounting. Tyro takes money on deposit and offers unsecured cash-flow based lending to Australian EFTPOS merchants.Currently serving more than 17,000 small businesses, Tyro processed $8.6 billion in transactions and generated more than $95 million in revenue in FY16. In December 2015, Tyro raised about $100 million in fresh growth equity capital from Tiger Global in New York, TDM Asset Management in Australia, and Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.In August last year, Tyro became the first Australian technology company to be granted a full banking licence by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, allowing it to accept deposits and to advance money to Australian businesses.Source = Tyrolast_img read more

AccorHotels launches the Community Fund

first_imgL-R: Executive Chairman Kokoda Youth Foundation Doug Henderson, AccorHotels Pacific Chief Operating Officer Simon McGrath, AIME CEO Jack Manning Bancroft and Chief Scientific Officer Garvan Institute of Medical Research Dr. Marie Dziadek.AccorHotels launches the Community FundAccorHotels Australia is proud to announce it has founded a Community Fund, a unified identity where money raised through national fundraising initiatives will be directed.The AccorHotels Community Fund is committed to building healthy families by supporting three focus areas being Youth, Health & Wellbeing and Diversity through four foundation partners.Four founding partners which align with the fund’s primary focus of ‘Building Healthy Families’ have been selected and money raised through AccorHotels national fundraising efforts will go directly to key focus projects within these charities.The four chosen foundation partners of the Community Fund which all have significant positive impacts in the Australian community are, Kokoda Youth Foundation, The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Lifeline and AIME Mentoring.AccorHotels has committed to a three-year agreement with these foundation partners to ensure long-term support for their program implementations.Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Office of AccorHotels Pacific said, “After recently celebrating our 25th anniversary in Australia it is humbling to see how far we’ve come in terms of our growth, development of our people and the contribution we’ve made to the community.“AccorHotels has a history of giving over the past 25 years in Australia and we have donated in excess of $5 million to charity. In ascertaining our ambitions for the next 25 years and our contribution and commitment to the Australian community, we decided to set up our own Community Fund; a passion project that aligns with our values and is designed to have even greater impact.“We fundamentally believe that healthy families build healthy communities and by directing our fundraising efforts to one central Community Fund we will be able to better garner the passion and focus on areas of need for the Australian community.“Our four foundation partners, Kokoda Youth Foundation, The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Lifeline and AIME Mentoring all align with our key focus on building healthy families and they“We see investment in mental health, cancer research, Indigenous employment and supporting our youth as being critical to the nation’s wellbeing and to this I am delighted to have our four founding partners on board. I am especially excited that money raised for these partners will be going directly to key projects within their organisations which will make an enormous impact.”The Garvan Institute of Medical Research will be directing Community Fund money into Rare and Neglected Cancer Research ProgramsLifeline will use the funds for their Text Crisis Support ProjectAIME Mentoring funds will help grow the mentoring program from 6,000-10,000 Indigenous high school students by 2020Kokoda Youth Foundation will direct funds to their On the Right Track Program, a program that targets Year 9 students with learning, behavioral or social challenges which detract from educational outcomes.Throughout 2017, over 10,000 staff across 200 AccorHotels Australian properties will be fundraising through a variety of initiatives with a goal of raising $800,000 for the Community Fund.The culmination of the year’s fundraising efforts will result in a 3-day adventure challenge: ‘Race to Survive’ in association with the Kokoda Youth Foundation, where teams compete in a survival of the fittest adventure race on the Gold Coast in October 2017.To support the AccorHotels Community Fund or to find out more CLICK HERESource = AccorHotels Australialast_img read more

European Commission approves the Lufthansa Groups acquisition

first_imgEuropean Commission approves the Lufthansa Group’s acquisitionEuropean Commission approves the Lufthansa Group’s acquisitionThe European Commission gave its formal approval today to the acquisition of Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter mbH (LGW) by the Lufthansa Group. The approval follows an extensive assessment of the planned transaction by the European Union’s competition authorities in their merger control capacity, after the Lufthansa Group concluded an agreement on 13 October 2017 to take over parts of the insolvent Air Berlin Group. The Lufthansa Group had made extensive concessions in advance of today’s approval.All LGW personnel to be taken overThe acquisition of LGW will see 33 aircraft firmly added to the Eurowings Group fleet: 20 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s and 13 aircraft of the Airbus A320 family. All the employees of LGW will transfer to Eurowings with their current contracts of employment. With additional recruitments, the number of personnel in LGW’s flight operations should rise to up to 870 in 2018.“This regulatory approval of our acquisition of LGW is an encouraging development,” says Thorsten Dirks, Member of the Lufthansa Group Executive Board and CEO of Eurowings. “And I am especially pleased that we can offer our new employees promising prospects within Europe’s fastest-growing airline.”The formal transaction for the acquisition of LGW has been scheduled for January 2018.Over the past few weeks, Eurowings has already hired over 500 employees, including a large number of pilots and flight attendants. By now, we have collective expansion agreements with all the unions ensuring that all flight operations of Eurowings, without exception, will be able to grow in the near term. Dirks: “We have the support of our social partners, we are an attractive employer, we have and will be getting more first-rate employees – with these conditions, Eurowings will continue to be a growth engine in 2018.”Source = Lufthansa Grouplast_img read more

AirAsia hits half a billion guests

first_imgAirAsia’s 500 millionth guest Dr Panut Oprasertsawat (centre right) receiving 3 million AirAsia BIG Points, THB50,000 worth of Vidi vouchers and free AirAsia flights for life from AirAsia Group CEO and AirAsia X Co-Group CEO Tony Fernandes and Thai TV superstar Pope Thanawat (second from right). AirAsia hits half a billion guests!In just sixteen years, AirAsia has flown over 500 million guests to over 130 destinations, many of which are unique destinations that only AirAsia flies to.AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said, “We started this airline in 2001 with just 2 planes and 200 Allstars based in Malaysia. Today, we have more than 200 planes, over 20,000 Allstars of 50 different nationalities and half a billion guests, 60 percent of which were first time flyers.Half a billion guests is no small feat – it represents seven times the population of Thailand, sixteen times the population of Malaysia and about 80 percent of the entire Asean population (640 million, 2018*).“We would like to attribute this incredible milestone to every single guest who has flown with AirAsia. We are delighted to have been part of the flying experiences and memories of so many people and communities around the world, especially across Asean. We are also proud to have contributed to the region’s economy through tourism and job creation,” he added.The 500 millionth guest, 34-year old Dr Panut Oprasertsawat took AirAsia over the half a billion mark when he flew from Phuket to Bangkok Don Mueang on 18 March 2018.Dr Panut Oprasertsawat said, “I travel frequently between Bangkok and Phuket for work. AirAsia has always been my preferred airline due to their high flight frequency, affordable price and excellent services. Over the past decade, I have been able to manage my business at both places thanks to AirAsia’s connectivity. I am excited to be part of this milestone.”AirAsia is proud to be a market leader in air connectivity within Asean. Since its early days, AirAsia initiated routes which were previously unheard of, including between East Malaysia and Peninsular Malaysia. The airline was also the first to introduce international flights to Bandung, Indonesia, which has now grown to be a key international hub.Most recently, the UK-based air travel intelligence company OAG reported that Singapore-Kuala Lumpur is the busiest international route, with AirAsia now holding the largest share of capacity.Source = AirAsialast_img read more

Make 2019 milestones unforgettable with a trip to paradise

first_imgMake 2019 milestones unforgettable with a trip to paradiseMake 2019 milestones unforgettable with a trip to paradiseNow is the best time for travel agents to ensure their client’s 2019 milestones are unforgettable with a celebration in paradise. By pre-registering now, agents can secure their client’s first choice of dates, resorts, room type, and up to 30 percent off – the best price guaranteed – when Club Med sales open on 8 August, 2018 (for travel between May – October, 2019).With almost 70 resorts worldwide and an all-inclusive package ensuring an easy and effortless experience from start to finish, agents can confidently select a destination that is perfect for their client, no matter the occasion.Whether clients have a major birthday on the horizon, are planning a rite-of-passage trip for their child, a family reunion, wedding, honeymoon, or first post-baby trip, pre-registering now will ensure their 2019 milestone moments are all they’ve dreamed of and more.Family ReunionBest choice: Club Med Bintan Island, Indonesia (close to Singapore)Located close to Singapore, the perfect meeting place for family members across to the world, Club Med Bintan Island is the ideal resort for a family reunion. There is something for everyone throughout the day; relaxing on the private beach with a fresh-pressed juice from the beach hut in-hand, kids are well-entertained with a huge range of activities and Kids Club from 4 – 17 years old, yoga, CrossFit, fitness classes, and Thai Chi (NEW) for the health-lovers, and adult-only Zen Pool for those who prefer some quiet time. Once the sun goes down, the family can meet for dinner and enjoy the resort entertainment, perfect for the whole family.Rite-of-Passage TripBest choice: Club Med Cancun Yucatan, MexicoLocated at the tip of Mexico’s iconic Riviera Maya, Club Med Cancun Yucatan is the perfect haven to safely explore the wonders of Mexico right on your doorstep. Set alongside three white sand beaches and the world’s second largest coral reef, Club Med Cancún Yucatán offers an extensive array of water and land sports and easy access to the ancient Mayan wonders. Guests are treated to the ultimate Mexican dining experience, a new wine cellar, and a totally revamped main pool and lounge area! And for those seeking a luxurious, exclusive retreat, can indulge in the brand new Jade 5 Trident Luxury Space.Major Birthday CelebrationBest choice: Club Med La Plantation d’Albion, OR Club Med La Pointe aux Canonniers, MauritiusIf your client simply wants to spend their birthday on a breathtaking beach surrounded by their loved ones, or make it extra special with a private dinner or cocktail party under the stars, or even a private yoga class overlooking the ocean, the Club Med event team are ready to ensure the trip goes off without a glitch. For service with a smile, Mauritian staff are renowned for going the extra mile to make a major celebration memorable for all the right reasons. Club Med La Pointe aux Canonniers renovated from November, 2018!WeddingBest choice: Club Med Kani, the MaldivesFrom small to big, organise your client’s dream wedding-turned-holiday in paradise! The Club Med event team will support you the whole way and the comprehensive all-inclusive package means your clients won’t have to stress about a thing. Club Med also offers a comprehensive vow renewal package for clients wanting to say “I do” all over again.HoneymoonBest choice: Club Med Finolhu Villas, the MaldivesA honeymoon to the Maldives is ultimate post-wedding dream. For the most magical honeymoon, book your clients at Club Med Finolhu Villas, where breakfast is served in their private overwater suite by a personal butler. Add extra special honeymoon touches such as a romantic beach dinner overlooking the ocean to set the tone for a happy marriage ahead.First Post-Baby HolidayBest choice: Club Med Bali, Indonesia OR Club Med Phuket, ThailandFor a trip not too far from home with amazing family services, Club Med Bali or Club Med Phuket will not disappoint. Both resorts feature Baby Club with expert care for kids from 24 months old, as well as a unique Baby Welcome pack including everything parents need for a blissful family holiday in their room upon arrival. Plus, the stylish and convenient addition of Bugaboo prams to use while in the resorts mean your clients don’t have to substitute family time for exploring the vast grounds or sandy beach (only available at Club Med Bali).Travel agents can pre-register on behalf of their clients via the Club Med website at or by calling 1800 258 263. Further information on the pre-registration and sales opening, as well as details on famils, incentives and agent benefits, can be accessed by Club Med’s dedicated Travel Agents Portal: = Club Medlast_img read more

Indian trade partners sign MoU with Tourism New Zealand and Immigration New

first_imgThomas Cook (India), SOTC Travel, Cox & Kings and Kulin Kumar Holidays are the four trade partners who have been been roped under an MoU signed between Tourism New Zealand and Immigration New Zealand for the Tourism Industry Partnership (TIP) programme which will enable easy processing of visa for the Indians travelling to New Zealand.In lieu to the existing arrivals that New Zealand has been receiving from India, welcoming 62,000 Indian travellers in 2017, a more streamlined visa application will benefit both the sides as it will cut short the time period from the previous 15 days to only three days for the application to process.Thomas Cook revealed that New Zealand has been emerging as a popular destination amongst not only the family segment but also millennial travellers looking for adventure and experiences that include river rafting, hiking, bungee jumping, skydiving, self-drive in addition to experiencing New Zealand’s spectacular scenery.Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa & Passport, Thomas Cook India said, “We have seen a strong and steady growth of travellers heading to New Zealand; with a growth of more than 19% over the last few years, it has turned into a key market for Thomas Cook India. We are honoured to have been selected as a preferred agent for this partnership. We are confident of seeing the higher uptake.”last_img read more

Bosnia and Herzegovina steps up promotions in India

first_imgWith an aim to increase the knowledge of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a versatile tourist destination and to ensure the better visibility amongst travel trade fraternity in India, the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina recently conducted a familiarisation trip for top travel agents from India.Sabit Subasic, Bosnian Ambassador to India said, “I am proud to emphasise that bilateral relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of India are truly amicable at present with a strong tendency to prosper. This closeness in our relations, I could say, is due to the long history we shared. Our virtuous and pleasant relations with India persist from the former Yugoslavia period where Bosnia and Herzegovina were central (hearth) republic. Just to remind you that many Bosnia and Herzegovina corporations at that time were doing commercial business with Indian partners and it is a great challenge for all of us now to carry out a new incitement towards the bright traditions of our economic relations. Finally, I want to emphasise that, after the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, India was among the first countries to recognise Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992).”The travel trade partners who participated in the FAM trip from India were Cox & Kings, Thomas Cook, N Chirag Travels, Carnation Travels, Pacific World, Khanna Enterprises, Krisia Holidays and Aurora Travels. The group visited Sarajevo, Blagaj, Mostar, Mokka Gora, Zlatibor and Belgrade. The trip aimed at showcasing some of the best hotels to the agents and educating them about the various offerings Bosnia as a tourist destination has in the luxury living space. This trip also helped travel agents to create their customised itineraries with different experiences which will further result in promoting Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is an unexplored destination.“The group who participated in the FAM trip loved Bosnia as a tourist destination, its properties, various attractions and cuisine. We look forward to re-engaging and working with these valuable partners in 2018 and beyond,” he added.A Bosnia and Herzegovina photography exhibition was recently organised in Mumbai, Kolkata and Nepal which created much enthusiasm amongst the visitors. The visitors who visited the exhibition spent much time viewing the photographs of Prakash Bang and were very highly impressed with the natural beauty of Bosnia and Herzegovina and evinced much interest in visiting the country.This beautiful country has so much to offer for those people who seek different experiences, away from the crowd, whether they are looking for skiing, rafting, hunting or patient bird-watching. Those who search for more cultural tourism will be able to relive centuries of history by visiting many vestiges and heritage dating back to Roman, even in prehistoric times.With its rich tourist offer, Bosnia and Herzegovina can satisfy the needs of the global travellers regardless of their budget and preferences. Moreover, the tourists will enjoy Bosnia and Herzegovina’s gastronomic offer of different traditional and organic dishes.The most promising tourism segments include ski and mountain tourism, ecotourism, spa tourism, cultural heritage and religious tourism, adventure and sports tourism, and sea tourism.Tourism sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina has an enormous potential for development, possessing all preconditions to play a significant role within the country economy. Consequently, tourism development in Bosnia and Herzegovina was recognised as one of the top priorities of an overall national economic development policy. Significant efforts have been put into the creation of a favourable business and investment environment for potential investors.last_img read more

Despite Low Rates Homebuyers Likely to Stay Home

first_img Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Agents & Brokers Bankrate Federal Reserve Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac Home Prices Home Sales Housing Affordability Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Realtors Processing Refinance Service Providers Unemployment 2011-08-11 Ryan Schuette August 11, 2011 438 Views Despite Low Rates, Homebuyers Likely to Stay Home in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img Share Manic markets at home and fiscal crises overseas sent investors scurrying this week to buy up Treasury debt, a trend that sent yields plummeting to new lows alongside mortgage rates. Also culpable for the rate plunge: a mad dash by homebuyers to refinance and the “”Federal Reserve’s””: decision to extend low interest rates. Experts say the historically low mortgage and interest rates are nonetheless unlikely to drive homebuyers back to market.[IMAGE]Rate watchers “”Freddie Mac””: and “”Bankrate””: churned out data for mortgage rates Thursday, submitting news lows for 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. The GSE’s “”Primary Mortgage Market Survey””: yielded an average 4.32 percent for the week, several percentage points afield from 4.39 percent last week and 4.44 percent recorded over the same period last year. A weekly national survey from Bankrate offered a 4.46 percent contrast with Freddie’s numbers, down from 4.54 percent posted last week but shy of the record 4.42 percent reached over October and November 2010. The two mortgage giants again disagreed over 15-year loan rates. Bankrate said 3.61 percent, a slip from 3.68 percent upon which 15-year mortgages beached last week. Freddie put the numbers at 3.50 percent, down from 3.54 percent seen last week. Their figures for adjustable-rate mortgages also had a dustup, with the government entity pushing forward 3.13 percent for five-year ARMs, a dip from 3.18 percent last week, and 2.89 percent for one-year ARMs, a fall from 3.53 percent. Bankrate posted 3.45 percent for seven-year ARMs and 3.93 percent for 10-year ARMs. In a “”statement””:, Bankrate downplayed the brouhaha over credit downgrades and debt crises, casting the Fed’s interest rates decision as a boon and historically low mortgage rates as a net gain for homeowners who want to refinance.New lows for mortgage rates open “”the door to refinancing for homeowners that missed the chance last year,”” it read.[COLUMN_BREAK]Frank Nothaft, Freddie’s VP and chief economist, reached some of the same conclusions.Along with the Fed’s interest rates pledge, “”[r]enewed market concerns about the European debt markets led investors to shift funds into U.S. Treasuries, pushing long-term yields lower,”” he said in a statement. “”Lower mortgage rates will help to maintain the high degree of home-buyer affordability in the market.””He cited a “”National Association of Realtors””: (NAR) “”affordability index””:, which valued existing single-family homes at $184,600 on average over June, with qualifying income at $36,960 for households with a median income of $61,537 nationally.Speaking to _MReport_, Nothaft ascribes the weak turnout among homebuyers in spite of historically low rates to consumer confidence doldrums.””We’ve got the most affordable homebuyer market in more than 40 years, and yet homebuyers are not buying,”” he says. “”Even if [homebuyers] have the wherewithal to buy a home, they’re staying on the sidelines because they’re worried about all the economic uncertainty. A lot of them keep hearing ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├ï┼ôdouble dip, double dip.’ What if there is a double dip?””Asked whether tight underwriting standards are holding back a swell in home purchases, Nothaft argues against a return to policies from before the recession. “”We were way too lenient then, and we as a society are paying for the consequences,”” he says. “”I think returning to the more traditional underwriting quality”” ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô which he describes as sound creditworthiness, capacity to pay, and collateral value ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô “”is probably very good medicine for the market.””In a past interview, NAR spokesperson Walter Molony argued the underwriting pendulum had swung to excessive risk aversion and faulted strict standards for weak home sales.””The single biggest problem right now is tight credit,”” he told _MReport_, projecting that existing-home sales would jump 15 percent to 20 percent if only more financial institutions relaxed their underwriting standards. “”Lenders need to get back into the business of lending.””Whither mortgage rates and the housing economy in lieu of so much market turmoil? “”As long as people are worried about a recession, mortgage rates are going to stay very low,”” chimes Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst for Bankrate. He downplays both the role of mortgage rates and underwriting standards, saying the housing industry will continue trailing off until the economy at large adds more jobs.last_img read more

FHLB of New York Announces Results of Board Elections

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology December 13, 2012 467 Views Releasing the results of the financial institution’s board elections, the “”Federal Home Loan Bank of New York””: has announced updates to its directorship. [IMAGE]Through the bank’s electoral process, appointees were named for two independent director positions and two member director positions, from New Jersey and New York respectively.[COLUMN_BREAK]The FHLB of New York’s members re-elected incumbents C. Cathleen Raffaeli and Rev. Edwin C. Reed as independent directors. Raffaeli is currently the president and managing director of “”The Hamilton White Group, LLC””:, while Rev. Reed presently serves as the president and CEO of “”GGT Development LLC””: Rev. Reed holds a unique position on the FHLB of New York’s board as its “”public interest”” independent director, representing community interests in housing. Establishing the bank’s member director from New Jersey, the FHLB of New York’s members elected incumbent Jay M. Ford. Hailing from Wildwood, New Jersey, Ford is the president and CEO of “”Crest Savings Bank””: a New York-based member director, the bank tapped incumbent Vincent R. Palagiano. Brooklyn resident Palagiano is the chairman and CEO of “”The Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh””:, Rev. Reed, Ford, and Palagiano will serve four-year terms for the FHLB of New York. Each will hold their directorship from January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2016. FHLB of New York Announces Results of Board Electionscenter_img Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Federal Reserve Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2012-12-13 Abby Gregorylast_img read more

TMBA Releases Details on Southern Secondary Market Conference

first_img January 4, 2013 445 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Bankers Association Service Providers 2013-01-04 Tory Barringer The “”Texas Mortgage Bankers Association””: (TMBA) announced the details of its annual Southern “”Secondary Market Conference””: to be held February 12-14.[IMAGE]The conference–dubbed “”Connections Focused on Your Future””–will take place at the Marriott Woodlands Waterway Hotel and Convention Center in Houston and will offer “”value and penetrating insight into tomorrow’s changing secondary market,”” according to a release from the TMBA.The three-day agenda was developed to offer attendees new information, guidance, trend identifications, and new, emerging strategies in secondary marketing. The lineup of panel discussions includes topics such as the securitization market, Basel III, servicing valuations, mergers and acquisitions, and more. Scheduled speakers include “”Fannie Mae””: SVP Doug Duncan and Bill Moliski, managing director at “”Redwood Trust””:””This year we decided to change things up and move past the traditional secondary marketing conference, so we focused on widening the type and breadth of panels, speakers and educational topics,”” said TMBA president Tim Fisher.””This is a unique opportunity and value offering for attendees that allows them to learn and collaborate on topics they normally wouldn’t be exposed to in the usual agenda of regional secondary focused shows,”” he continued. “”Mortgage bankers from all over the country will be sharing their visions and strategies for future success, which this conference’s primary focus-achieving prosperity in tomorrow’s ever-changing business landscape.”” Sharecenter_img TMBA Releases Details on Southern Secondary Market Conference in Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

Washington Gridlock Spells Quiet Week for Mortgage Rates

first_imgWashington Gridlock Spells Quiet Week for Mortgage Rates Share Fixed mortgage rates held more or less steady this week as Capitol Hill remained locked in debate over budgetary concerns.[IMAGE]According to data in “”Freddie Mac’s””: Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.23 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending October 10, just up from 4.22 percent last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.39 percent.The 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.31 percent (0.7 point), up from 3.29 percent previously.[COLUMN_BREAK]News was similar for adjustable rates. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.05 percent (0.4 point), rising from 3.03 percent. The 1-year ARM averaged 2.64 percent (0.4 point), increasing a single basis point.In addition to putting markets into a “”wait and see”” position, the federal debt impasse made for a “”light week of economic data releases””–giving investors little to react to, explained Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac.Meanwhile, “”””: recorded a fifth consecutive week of declines for fixed rates in its weekly national survey. According to the site, the 30-year fixed averaged 4.39 percent this week–down from 4.41 percent–while the 15-year fixed was flat at 3.47 percent.The 5/1 ARM experienced the greatest movement, falling 6 basis points to 3.34 percent.””The ongoing government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling deadline have made investors cautious. The prospect for slower economic growth has investors moving into longer-term government and mortgage-backed bonds, bringing yields lower,”” Bankrate said in a release. “”This has been good for mortgage rates, which are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.”” in Data, Originationcenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bankrate Debt Crisis Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Politics Service Providers 2013-10-10 Tory Barringer October 10, 2013 432 Views last_img read more

New Network Launches to Connect Secondary Market Traders

first_img Share in Secondary Market, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-11-19 Tory Barringer Secondary market professionals have a new way to connect with potential buyers and sellers: “”LendTrade””:, a recently launched community for trading professionals designed to cut out the middleman and save costs.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Upon joining LendTrade, new members set up a profile and indicate the types of deals they’re seeking. Once the process is complete, they are able to immediately start connecting with other members, receiving notifications whenever opportunities that meet their criteria are posted.Steve Schipper, LendTrade’s founder and CEO, described the network as “” meets LinkedIn for traders.””””Some secondary market loan professionals need assistance negotiating and closing deals, and for that, advisors are valuable resources. However, many professionals know how to do their own deals, they just need the right buyer or seller,”” he said. “”That’s where LendTrade comes in.””center_img New Network Launches to Connect Secondary Market Traders November 19, 2013 469 Views last_img read more

Mortgage Applications Continue to Drag

first_img The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) measure of mortgage application volume saw another decline last week, driving applications down further to their lowest level since the start of the new millennium.MBA’s Market Composite Index, a week-to-week gauge of application numbers, fell 5.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending April 25, the group reported. On an unadjusted basis, the index decreased 5 percent.“Both purchase and refinance activity fell last week, and the market composite index is at its lowest level since December 2000,” said MBA chief economist Mike Fratantoni.Week-over-week, the association’s Refinance Index dropped 7 percent, knocking it down to its lowest level since 2008. Refinance activity accounted for 50 percent of applications, the smallest share since July 2009.Meanwhile, the Purchase Index fell 4 percent from the week prior, ending up 21 percent lower than the same week last year.While the data doesn’t look promising for originations—which are already sitting at a 14-year low, according to Black Knight Financial Services—analysts are quick to point out that MBA’s application numbers don’t necessarily show the entire picture. Commenting on the most recent index data, Calculated Risk blogger Bill McBride noted, “The purchase index is probably understating purchase activity because small lenders tend to focus on purchases, and those small lenders are underrepresented in the purchase index.”Meanwhile, MBA reports the average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was flat last week at 4.49 percent, though points fell to 0.38 from 0.50 (including the origination) the week before. Black Knight Financial Services Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Purchase Loans Refinance 2014-04-30 Tory Barringer Mortgage Applications Continue to Drag Sharecenter_img April 30, 2014 435 Views in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Originationlast_img read more

Consumer Sentiment Rises to SevenYear High

first_img Confidence Consumer spending Jobs 2014-10-31 Tory Barringer October 31, 2014 462 Views Consumer Sentiment Rises to Seven-Year High Consumer sentiment rose in October to its highest level in more than three years, spurred by high economic hopes and improved job prospects.The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment climbed to 86.9 in its final October reading, up from 84.6 in September and 73.2 last year. October’s index was the highest since July 2007, the group conducting the survey reported.All of this month’s gain was concentrated in the survey’s Expectations Index, which rose to 79.6 from 75.4 in September. The Current Conditions Index, meanwhile, slipped to 98.3 from 98.9.Nearly 60 percent of consumers surveyed this month reported that the economy had recently improved in their view, the most positive rating in more than a decade, the group reported. Asked about their economic outlook for the year ahead, 45 percent said they expect “good times financially,” the highest level since July 2007.Consumers also anticipated that ongoing economic strength will lead to further declines in the national unemployment rate, which fell below the 6 percent mark in its most recent reading for the first time since 2008.”[C]onsumers reported the most favorable personal financial expectations as well as the most positive year-ahead outlook for the national economy in the past seven years,” Surveys of Consumers said in its report. “What the survey did not find was any negative impact on confidence from the global economic slowdown, military conflicts, or Ebola.”Income expectations were also optimistic. In both the September and October surveys, more households expected income gains than any time since September 2008. The median increase was 1.1 percent, also the highest since late 2008.”Consumers have been gradually regaining their economic footing in the past several months, with confidence rising to the highest level since the start of the Great Recession,” said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist. “This is not the first time such a strong rebound has occurred, but this time it appears to have more forward traction. … Finally, five years after the start of the recovery, consumers have begun to adopt the expectations and behaviors that have driven past expansions.”The UMich survey isn’t the only confidence measure to improve this month. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, also released this week, surged to 94.5 in October following a drop in September.”A more favorable assessment of the current job market and business conditions contributed to the improvement in consumers’ view of the present situation,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “Looking ahead, consumers have regained confidence in the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market, and are more optimistic about their future earnings potential.”center_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Sharelast_img read more

Mid America Mortgage Adds National Underwriting Manager to Roster

first_img David TracyMid America Mortgage, Inc. (Mid America) owner and CEO Jeff Bode announced in a recent press release that the lender has hired David Tracy, former Fannie Mae underwriting consultant as its national underwriting manager. Tracy has over 20 years of residential and commercial mortgage experience and will be responsible for revitalizing Mid America’s underwriting operations nationwide.“Underwriting is a mission-critical function for any mortgage lender, and it has become an area in which Mid America seeks to differentiate itself from our competitors,” Bode said. “Through David’s efforts, Mid America is committed to restoring the lost art of human review in the underwriting process.”In his previous position at Fannie Mae, the company mentions that Tracy was responsible for conducting file reviews based on Fannie Mae and desktop underwriter guidelines, identifying and investigating potential fraud, conducting risk analyses, and communicating file review results to internal and external customers.He has also served as an underwriter for Bank of America and has filled mortgage operational roles for several Texas-based lenders, including CTX Mortgage, Capital Company of America and Nationsbanc Mortgage Corporation. He receved a Bachelor of Science degree from Standford Universtity and currently resides in Arlington, Texas.“While automated underwriting certainly has its place in mortgage lending, there is no substitute for the human element in the underwriting process,” Tracy said. “My goal as national underwriting manager is to create an underwriting environment within Mid America that enables us to uncover lending opportunities that may be overlooked or rejected out-of-hand in a fully automated underwriting setting without sacrificing loan quality.” Mid America Mortgage Adds National Underwriting Manager to Roster Share Equal Housing Lender Mid America Mortgage National Underwriting Manager 2015-06-05 Staff Writercenter_img June 5, 2015 642 Views in Headlines, News, Originationlast_img read more

Housing Market to Continue to Improve in 2016 But Not Without Headwinds

first_img With so many positive reports on the housing market thus far in 2015, economists believe that growth in 2016 will keep the upward trend going, but not without a few headwinds. In 2016, economists that participated in National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Fall Construction Forecast Webinar say that employment and economic growth, pent-up demand, affordable home prices, and low mortgage rates will continue to improve the housing market, but shortages and lot and labor availability and rising building material prices could hinder a more robust recovery. Concerns about cost and availability of labor were reported from 61 percent of builders in 2014, up from 13 percent in 2011, according to the NAHB. In terms of lots, 58 percent of builders indicated that they were concerned about this in 2014. Building materials worries also hit 58 percent of builders, an increase from 33 percent in 2011. The NAHB forecasts that single-family starts this year will come in much higher than last year at 719,000, up 11 percent from 647,000 in 2014. In 2016, single-family starts are expected to rise 27 percent to 914,000 units. Trulia’s Housing Economist Ralph McLaughlin says that millennials prefer to own a home in the suburbs than rent in the cities despite popular belief. “Many believe that home buyers are bucking the trend of previous generations in that they want to live in urban areas and want to rent,” McLaughlin said. “What we are finding from our surveys is just the opposite. Among millennial renters, almost 90 percent say they eventually want to purchase a home. That is significantly higher than Gen Xers, who were hurt by the recession, and quite a bit more than current baby boomer renters, who are at 40 percent.”NAHB Senior Economist Robert Denk found that the housing market is improving in all regions, but the pace of recovery varies all over the country. “We’ve gotten to the point in the recovery where we no longer have problems that came with the housing bust,” said Denk. “It now is really a matter of housing markets reconnecting to the fundamental drivers, and that is employment. Production has been rebounding in all regions, prices have been moving up and new foreclosures are back to more normal levels.”NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe noted that housing recovery is “all about jobs and “if people can get good jobs that pay decent incomes, the housing market will continue to move forward.”Crowe also believe that the potential rate increase, averaging 4.5 percent in 2016 and 5.5 percent in 2017 should not affect further recovery in the housing market. “As the economy gets better, job and wage growth should keep pace,” he said. “So even though mortgage rates will rise, they will still be low by historical standards and very affordable.”Source: National Association of Home Builders 2015-10-26 Staff Writer Share October 26, 2015 479 Views center_img Housing Market to Continue to Improve in 2016, But Not Without Headwinds in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies, Newslast_img read more

CFPB Plans Further Servicing Rules Updates

first_imgCFPB Plans Further Servicing Rules Updates Share CFPB Mortgage Servicing Rules TRID 2016-05-23 Seth Welborn May 23, 2016 531 Views center_img The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced on Friday the implementation of new mortgage servicing rules and new rules related to the Know Before You Owe (TRID) rule as part of its semiannual Spring 2016 rulemaking agenda.The CFPB said it expects to issue a final rule in the summer to amend a proposal it originally made in December 2014 to amend the mortgage servicing rules that originally took effect in 2013.“The proposal addressed, among other things, enhanced loss mitigation requirements and compliance with certain rules when the borrower is a potential or confirmed successor in interest or is in bankruptcy,” the CFPB said. “We conducted testing of periodic statements for consumers in bankruptcy and published the testing report for comment in April 2016.”In addition to the new mortgage servicing rule, the CFPB said it expects to release a Notice of Proposed rulemaking in order to provide some clarification and further regulatory guidance concerning the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule, also known as the Know Before You Owe mortgage initiative, which was implemented on October 3, 2015. In late April, CFPB Director Richard Cordray wrote a letter to financial industry trades and their members recognizing the “operational challenges” the industry is experiencing as a result TRID implementation and that the Bureau is considering making some “adjustments” in the regulation text to provide greater certainty and clarity.According to the CFPB, the Bureau is continuing other efforts to implement critical consumer protections under Dodd-Frank to guard against the practices in the mortgage market that were the biggest contributors to the 2008 mortgage crisis.“Since 2013, the Bureau has issued regulations as directed by the Dodd-Frank Act to implement certain protections for mortgage originations and servicing, integrate various federal mortgage disclosures, and amend mortgage reporting requirements under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA),” the CFPB said. “The Bureau is continuing intensive work to facilitate implementation of the new requirements, including follow-up rulemaking where warranted.”Specifically, the CFPB is “intensely” planning the implementation of the rule (finalized in October 2015) to implement Dodd-Frank amendments to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). An entity compliance guide has already been released in connection with the rule; and while certain elements of the rule are scheduled to take effect in January 2017, most of the new data collection requirements are scheduled to take effect in January 2018.“The Bureau is also working to streamline and modernize the HMDA data reporting processes in conjunction with implementation of the regulatory changes, and is conducting outreach with industry to prepare for both the regulatory and operational changes,” the CFPB said.Click here to view the complete agenda. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Servicinglast_img read more