CREW (Community Response to Extreme Weather) have put the call out for skilled volunteers to assist in the QLD flood relief effort earlier this week. Created in the wake of the devastating Brisbane storms in 2008, CREW saw the need for an emergency volunteer register and are utilizing this to manage the immense response from volunteers in the most recent disaster to hit the city. Speaking to ABC Radio Brisbane, Lord Mayor Campbell Newman thanked the volunteer effort thus far with 190,000 sandbags filled across Brisbane since Monday. Brisbane City Council has reported many offers from overseas of people willing to travel to the city to help out in the relief effort moving forward. ‘Voluntourism’ has increased in popularity in recent years and has been acknowledged as a true segment of the travel industry by companies such as ‘Adventure World’ who cater to volunteer experiences in their current China brochure. Carlita Foster-Hogg has travelled extensively as a ‘voluntourist’ offering assistance in both Kenya and Mexico over the years. “It’s a truly unique travel experience and one that is so fulfilling. Knowing that you are helping a community or environment that needs assistance so badly enhances the experience ten-fold. “Whilst in the past it’s also been about experiencing different cultures and countries, I am keen to work within my own country now and would be in QLD in a heartbeat if I had any skills that they required in the relief effort,” Ms Foster-Hogg shared. Please click here to register as a volunteer Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A
Most 95 year olds consider a bus trip to the local bowls club or bingo a big outing, but not Gold Coast man Keith Wright, who is about to embark on his latest backpacking trip around Europe.After his wife passed away 10 years ago, the Burleigh Heads pensioner began travelling independently and has been to 23 countries and 109 cities to date.Having always wanted to attend Anzac Day in Gallipoli, Turkey, the youthful pensioner decided to sell his house and put the money towards a holiday.Mr Wright lives on a tight budget to be able to save the money to travel, enabling him to travel overseas every other year, where he stays at hostels, backpackers and budget hotels. “It’s such a relaxed lifestyle, you have the surf beach and the safe beach and nobody’s in a hurry,” said Mr Wright.At the end of this month he will embark on his eighth trip to Europe, visiting his favourite spot in Spain, San Sebastian. With a budget of $9000, Mr Wright will also enjoy a hop-on hop-off independent rail journey through Munich, Madrid, Paris, and Vienna, with a special side trip to London to see his favourite Aussie horse, Black Caviar, race at Royal Ascot.With a preference to travelling independently, Mr Wright recommends other elderly travellers try it for themselves also.”They can choose where they want to go, not where the bus company takes them and it’s not as regimented,” Mr Wright commented.While also avoiding the chance of being stuck on a tour bus for a period of time with a “bad apple”, the elderly backpacker boasted “I can do it on my own much better than the young ones I meet in hostels.”Mr Wright said he will keep travelling as long as possible, despite his legs being “a bit wonky” and continue wearing his Australia cap wherever he goes, which always draws attention from the locals.Mr Wright books his trips at Flight Centre and Escape Travel in Burleigh. The agencies have together paid to upgrade his Emirates flights to business class for their favourite customers upcoming trip, so he can travel in comfort.Flight Centre travel consultant and airfare specialist Christina Kerr said been inspired by Mr Wright’s travel. “I like to tell his story to other travellers, particularly those who may have thought themselves too old to travel overseas or feared that it was too expensive.”Keith has become more like a friend over the years and when he travels he even asks the staff of the hostel to send me an email, just to let me know that he has arrived safely.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Mr Wright with fellow backpackers in a pub in Ireland – Source: news.com.au
American Airlines’ new look American Airlines has rolled out its first rebranding since 1968 as the carrier works towards building a “more modern travel experience” for its customers. But reaction to the new logo and livery of it planes, whose major feature has been to do away with the ‘AA’ logo on its tail in favour of a red, white and blue American flag motif, has been mixed .According to Forbes, most design experts it had spoken to had regretted losing the unpainted, polished exterior of the jets, another major change. “Why would they ever want to get rid of the silver bird?” Pratt Institute Professor of Graduate Communications & Package Design, Kevin Gatta told the magazine.“Every time you saw that silver plane you knew it was American Airlines.”Another design expert, IIT Institute of Design Chicago Assistant Professor Kim Erwin, suggested the new “flight symbol”, an updated eagle, created an “unfortunate connection to the US Postal Service”.Others saw a resemblance to the old Greyhound Bus logo, with the red and blue background split by a white greyhound, Forbes reported.One group of self-professed airline “geeks” and aviation business professionals, has even gone so far as to launch their own Facebook page called, fix the tAAil, with the agenda of, you guessed it, forcing the carrier into making changes to the new design of the tail.“fix the tAAil is uniquely concerned about American Airlines’ new corporate branding and visual identity, specifically the modernized “American Flag” tail motif,” it says on its page.“While we applaud the new “Flight Symbol” (the evolution of the Eagle heritage), we take issue with the current tail emblem – the stylized version of the American Flag.”But despite the criticisms in some circles, many have praised the new look, which most agree needed to happen.“Overall, I really applaud the bold step forward for a corporation of that exposure and that tradition,” chair of the Graphic Design Department at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California Nik Hafermaas told Forbes.Though perhaps the last word should go to Massimo Vignelli, the creator of American Airlines’ old logo, who said the typeface on the redesign was “not as good or as powerful” as the old one.Vignelli told BusinessWeek that national colors have “tremendous equity”, but American’s redesign “has no sense of permanence”.And he should know. His iconic branding of AA lasted 45 years, by far the longest of any US airline.But only time will tell. Tell us your thoughts on the new branding. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H
Mobile bookings up 20 percent since May 2013. Qantas has launched an Android version of its new app and has integrated Google Now into its full suite of mobile offerings.The Android application allows Qantas customers to purchase airfares, book hotels, view Frequent Flyer points and check-in from mobile locations.Qantas Airways released its iPhone app in May and with the release of the Android version, has mobile applications for all key operating systems.Since the launch of the iPhone app in May, Qantas’ mobile bookings have increased by 20 percent.Qantas’ integration of Google Now provides customers a source of information about trips, including flight details, airport directions, live traffic updates, weather reports and travel reminders.“All our apps are aimed at making booking flights easier, reducing queuing at airports and ensuring that customers are aware of the best deals for their next trip,” Qantas Domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi said.“It’s great that our domestic customers are realising the benefits of mobile check-in – avoiding queues and removing any need to print a booking confirmation at home or boarding pass at the airport.”The Qantas Android app is available for free download in the Google Play Store.Source = ETB News: P.T.
Image: Tony Ashby Source = ETB News: P.T. “We risk in Australia sometimes falling into the trap of not being realistic about what’s happening in the world,” Mr Packer said during an interview with Macquarie radio this week. “If you look at the biggest tourism success stories in the world they’re man-made attractions.” Australian business mogul and entrepreneur James Packer claims “Australian tourism has underperformed dramatically” and international tourists are yearning for man-made attractions. Following the NSW Government’s endorsement of the corporate magnate’s AU$1.5 billion Barangaroo casino development in Sydney, Mr Packer highlighted the need for manufactured magnetisms. Mr Packer believes the rise of China and the beginning of the Asian Century is upon us and Australia stands to benefit immensely in terms of tourism development and commercial opportunities. “When these people come they will spend money in Sydney and New South Wales and that will create taxes, that will create jobs, that will create on-spend and I think there will be a big economic benefit for everyone,” Mr Packer said.
Centara Hotels and Resorts more employee centricCentara Hotels and Resorts has long recognized that its greatest asset is its employees. They are seen as the heart, the power and drive for the organization’s success in its ongoing development. As an indication of Centara’s commitment to enabling its talent to achieve its full potential, on Monday, June 22, 2015 the company unveiled its newly renovated and outfitted “Inspiration Room” at Centara Grand at CentralWorld.The HR team along with Centara executives carried out extensive research to determine the desires and expectations of their employees. Based on this research the objective of the renovated space, the Inspiration Room, was to provide employees with a place to relax, engage, where they will feel inspired to learn and develop and where employees are encouraged to become their best in an empowering environment. The catalyst for the enhanced space was centred on understanding and meeting the motivations and interests of generation Y, which make up 50% of the Centara work force. A major factor in the decision-making process was a strong recognition that generation Y is looking to achieve a healthy work life balance.The executive team recognized that the concept that an employee is purely motivated by money clearly no longer exists. Employees are looking for opportunities to grow and learn, work in a creative environment and be challenged by meaningful work as well as being recognized and respected.“At present, with the emergence of Generation Y, we have started placing emphasis on enhancing our training and development programmes and the training facilities,” shares Khun Pattara Jongcharoenkulchai, Vice President of Human Resources at Centara Hotels and Resorts. “Learning is nowadays no longer solely restricted to the conventional classroom environment. We also have a mini-exhibition of Centara talents who have shown distinguished performance, who are set as role models to inspire our staff members.”Corporate and hotel employees have the opportunity to participate in a number of training exercises that are run regularly throughout the year. These training experiences can vary from learning new management skills to latte art classes, all designed to allow for professional as well as personal development.The Inspiration Room at Centara Grand at CentralWorld is intended to be a prototype for learning & recreation centres for other properties. The corporate HR team is encouraging other properties to follow their lead.As part of the larger human resources project, there will be continued opportunities for employees to participate in programs such as the Management Development Programme, where select employees from properties in Thailand and overseas will further nurture and develop their knowledge and skills so that they are ready to become young managers within Centara to support the company’s rapid expansion. Find out more about Centara Hotels and Resorts Source = Centara Hotels and Resorts
Qantas unveils next generation cabins for 787 DreamlinerQantas unveils next generation cabins for 787 DreamlinerThe Qantas Dreamliner will seat 236 passengers across Business, Premium Economy and Economy cabins in a layout that has been designed to maximise comfort for the longer distances the 787-9 is expected to fly.The Business Suite is the next generation of the very popular seat recently installed on Qantas’ Airbus A330 fleet. These suites are known for providing a high level of privacy, made more flexible on the 787 with the ability to now adjust the divider between each seat.The suites also have a fully-flat bed and offer plenty of space to eat, work or relax. Laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, each suite has direct aisle access as well as the ability to stay reclined during take-off and landing.Economy passengers will also have more room – including an extra inch of seat pitch compared with the national carrier’s A380 – and an all-new seat. It features a new personal device holder and USB ports; more storage areas; a seat-back mood light designed to minimise disturbance for other passengers; and a high-definition entertainment touchscreen that is five per cent larger.The seats also feature an updated version of the popular Qantas ‘footnet’ first introduced on the A380, designed to cradle the legs during sleep.Qantas unveils next generation cabins for 787 DreamlinerUnveiling the Business and Economy seats in Sydney today, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the interiors had been carefully designed with longer routes and changing passenger preferences in mind.“The Dreamliner is an aircraft built for comfort. The windows are bigger, it helps reduce jetlag, it’s extremely quiet and there’s a system that smooths out turbulence. Customers are going to love it,” said Mr Joyce.“We’re planning to make the most of the 787’s amazing range, so we’ve designed the cabin to give Qantas passengers a better experience on long haul flights.“Many of the cabin design elements reflect what our customers have told us. Personal storage rates really highly, so we’ve created extra space in Economy for customers to store their personal devices and water bottles.We’re proud that our new Economy seat includes features other carriers reserve for Premium Economy.“We’re also redesigning the in-flight experience for the Dreamliner, from rethinking our menus to making better use of the self-service bars during different phases of flight,” added Mr Joyce.The Dreamliner cabin interiors and new economy seat, designed by Australian industrial designer David Caon, are a progression of the Qantas aesthetic established by Marc Newson.Detail on initial Qantas Dreamliner destinations will be revealed in coming months, with the first international flights on sale before Christmas. The aircraft will gradually take over routes currently operated by the airline’s B747 fleet as well as adding new city-pairs to the Qantas International network.The Dreamliner’s Premium Economy cabin, which will offer a class leading experience and a revolutionary new seat, will be unveiled in early 2017.Find out more about the features of the Qantas Dreamliner in this factsheet Click Here Fly Qantasbook flights hereSource = Qantas
Source = Vietjet Vietjet to launch Danang-Seoul route and offer promotion for Valentine’s DayVietjet to launch Danang-Seoul route and offer promotion for Valentine’s DayVietjet is to open its new international route from the central Vietnamese city of Danang to Seoul (Korea) in a bid to meet the increasing travel demand of tourists, businessmen and individuals between the two tourism-attraction cities. The new route will take off on May 31, 2017 with the flight time per leg of 4 hours 30 minutes.The Danang-Seoul route will be operated on a daily basis. The flight from Danang departs at 23:45 (local time) and arrives in Seoul at 6:00 (local time). The return flight takes off at 7:00 (local time) and lands at 9:40 in Danang.In celebration of the new route and on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, the airline will run a three-day promotion offering 500,000 air tickets priced from only HK$8 from February 14 to 16, 2017 at www.vietjetair.com. The promotion applies for all international routes from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hai Phong and Danang to Seoul, Busan (Korea), Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taichung, Tainan (Taiwan), Singapore, Bangkok (Thailand), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Yangon (Myanmar) and Siem Reap (Cambodia) from March 1, 2017 to December 12, 2017 (excluding national holidays). As for the Danang-Seoul route, the promotion is available from May 31, 2017 to December 31, 2017.The new route’s tickets are now available for booking from 13:00 to 15:00 at www.vietjetair.com or at https://www.facebook.com/VietjetHongKong/ (just click the “Booking” tab). Payment can be easily made with debit and credit cards of Visa, MasterCard, JCB, KCP and American Express.Following the international routes from Seoul to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Hai Phong, Danang is Vietnam’s 4th destination to be connected with Korea’s famous capital of Seoul, marking the 5th route to be operated by Vietjet between Vietnam and Korea. Vietjet also plans to expand its international network in 2017, looking to boost the regional trade and integration.Danang, a port city, is Vietnam’s third largest city and is the main commercial and tourism centre of central Vietnam. The city is well known for its clean environment, beautiful beaches, and good public services. It is often referred to as the most livable city in Vietnam and is one of the fastest growing cities in Vietnam.Seoul is ranked as one of the world’s top favorite cities including New York and Tokyo to name a few. Despite its modernization, the Korean capital is still famous for is typical Korean culture, convenient transportation system, extremely rich food culture together with developed entertainment and shopping industry, making it also one of the world’s top favorite cities.
EVEN® Hotels, the world’s first and only dedicated hotel wellness brandTravel can play havoc with our mental and physical wellbeing. So many of us spend hours at the gym, watching our diets or taking early morning yoga classes, only to see all the great results fly out the window when we board the plane.Increasingly travellers are realigning their priorities to put wellbeing first in today’s over-scheduled and ‘always on’ culture. As they increasingly endeavour to stick to good routines on the road, ‘wellness travel’ has flourished, outpacing regular travel by 50% and reflecting the need for travellers to recharge, refresh and rejuvenate themselves to maintain a healthy life balance.IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) and Pro-invest Group today herald the ‘age of the healthy traveller’ in Australasia with the first signing of an EVEN Hotels property in New Zealand, the first and only global hotel brand with wellness at its core.EVEN Hotel Auckland is scheduled to open in 2020 and is the first of the brand to be signed outside of North America. It is also the first in Pro-invest Group’s portfolio of 10-15 EVEN Hotels across the capital cities and economic hubs in Australia and New Zealand, in partnership with IHG.The EVEN Hotels brand was home grown by IHG based on an understanding of the consumer shift toward holistic wellness – especially as it relates to travel. Best-in-class fitness facilities, in-room exercise zones and simple, fresh and organic foods are the cornerstones. Beyond food and exercise the brand offers initiatives that build on the bigger wellness picture, such as bedrooms with plush bedding, aromatherapy amenities, intended to encourage a good night’s sleep and lighting profiles that energise and relax.IHG has partnered with leaders in the wellness space to deliver the best experience for guests across all EVEN Hotels in Australasia. Nutritionally-designed menus and quality, ethically-sourced food will be supplied by THR1VE, the food experts who are focused on extraordinary health, deliciously simple. Fitness facilities will include a state-of-the-art, multi-functional zoned gym and flex space for small group fitness classes, and in-room fitness elements.Jan Smits, Chief Executive Officer Asia Middle East & Africa, IHG said: “Some brands know what they’re made of, we know who we’re made for. Wellness travel is a global phenomenon and a $563 billion industry today and, with EVEN Hotels, we have a created a brand that will deliver a local wellness experience to travellers for whom health and wellbeing is so important. I firmly believe that the EVEN Hotels brand will be a key driver in market share growth in New Zealand and Australia. “Ronald Barrott, CEO of Pro-invest said: “With more than 3.5 million visitors in 2016 and a naturally adventurous and health-conscious population, New Zealand is a great fit for EVEN Hotels. We are very excited to be opening EVEN Hotel Auckland, the first outside of North America, in partnership with IHG.”Located in the very heart of Auckland’s centre, at the corner of Albert and Wyndham Street, the 200-room EVEN Hotel Auckland will not only look different, but will also have a distinctive vibe. It will feature fresh, natural and modern design; bringing the outdoors inside and offering playful and energising workspaces, dining and social areas, natural outdoor spaces. It will also feature design and technology elements to enable guests to maintain the balance they desire on a daily basis.IHG currently has 32 hotels operating under four brands across New Zealand and Australia: InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn Express® with a further 14 in the pipeline including Hotel Indigo®.Source = IHG
InterContinental Wellington named Australasia’s Leading Conference HotelInterContinental Wellington named Australasia’s Leading Conference Hotel 2018 at World Travel AwardsWellington’s five-star hotel, InterContinental Wellington, was named Australasia’s Leading Conference Hotel at the annual World Travel Awards held last night in Hong Kong.This accolade now places InterContinental Wellington in the running for the title of World’s Leading Conference Hotel, to be announced early December following the next round of voting. Voting will take place by former guests and travel agents worldwide.“Our team take great pride in ensuring a memorable experience is had at all touch points from the planning phase through to the event dates. Our spaces and technology when combined with the experience and expertise of our team has long established InterContinental Wellington as the leading Conferencing Hotel in Wellington, and to receive Australasian-wide recognition is an honour” said InterContinental Wellington Director of Sales & Marketing, Marna van Blerk.Offering the most technologically-advanced conference spaces in Wellington, features include interactive whiteboards whereby presenters can wirelessly connect via iOS and Android devices, retractable projector screens and data projectors, wall mounted touch-screen control panels for lighting, sound and visuals, and conference menus that allow for tailored individuality.Drawing on the experience of the global brand, the InterContinental Meetings product is designed to inspire delegates and drive results, with the dedicated team understanding what it takes to create truly memorable meetings and events. When paired with a variety of accommodation options including 236 guest rooms and suites, guests will have the option to mix business and pleasure with Wellington’s largest collection of hotel facilities.InterContinental Wellington provides meeting organisers and delegates alike the most centrally-located and experienced global five-star hotel in New Zealand’s capital city.InterContinental Wellington’s Presidential Suite was also recognised last night, named as New Zealand’s Leading Hotel Suite. Source = InterContinental Wellington
The same week that 12 twisters reportedly touched down in Dallas/Fort Worth, residents got wind of that “”Saxon Mortgage Services””:https://www.saxononline.com/common/home/ will close shop at two addresses and terminate nearly 700 employees.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The firm ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô recently under new ownership at “”Ocwen Financial Corp.””:http://www.ocwen.com/ ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô notified the “”Texas Workforce Commission””:http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ and mayors of the cities of Fort Worth and Irving that it plans to move forward with 680 layoffs.The company said that it is “”implementing a permanent phased shut down of its facilities”” at office locations off 4700 Mercantile Drive in Fort Worth and 3701 Regent Boulevard in Irving.Saxon Mortgage said that it had also informed employees of their eligibility for job retraining, reemployment services, and other state services for displaced workers.Among many, the list of layoffs includes asset managers, fraud investigators, SVPs, VPs, and various other specialists.This isn’t the first time for a storm of job cuts to strike brokers and originators in Dallas/Fort Worth. In February life insurer “”MetLife””:http://www.metlife.com/ slashed 804 jobs at two locations in the area.In unrelated news, the city suffered from a batter of storms Tuesday responsible for destroying homes and properties in Arlington, Lancaster, and others, according to several news outlets. April 4, 2012 426 Views in Government, Origination, Servicing Share Saxon Mortgage Slashes 680 Jobs in Irving, Fort Worth Agents & Brokers Jobs Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2012-04-04 Ryan Schuette
Fed,Regulators Propose Higher Capital Requirements for Largest Banks in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share July 9, 2013 507 Views Federal regulators announced a proposal Tuesday to double the standard Basel III leverage ratio for the “”largest, most systemically significant”” banks. [IMAGE]In separate statements Tuesday, the “”Office of the Comptroller of the Currency””:http://www.occ.gov/ (OCC), “”FDIC””:http://www.fdic.gov/, and the “”Federal Reserve Board””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/ (FRB) announced a proposed rule that would require certain banks to meet a 6 percent supplementary leverage ratio to be considered “”well capitalized.””The proposal would also require covered bank holding companies to maintain a tier 1 capital leverage buffer of at least 2 percent above the minimum supplementary leverage ratio requirement of 3 percent, for a total of 5 percent, the regulators stated. [COLUMN_BREAK]Currently, the proposed rule would apply to eight banks. If adopted, the rule would take effect on January 1, 2018. The OCC also announced it gave approval for a final rule on regulatory capital that is expected to offer relief to community banks. The FDIC also revealed it approved an interim final rule (IFR) that is identical to the final rule from the FRB last week and the rule just issued by the OCC. “”I’m pleased that the new capital rule not only improves the quantity and quality of capital, but does so in a way that minimizes the burden on community banks and federal savings associations,”” said Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry.The OCC stated one key change to the final rule from the June 12, 2012 proposal is the final rule does not change the current treatment of residential mortgage exposures.””This was an important issue for many community banking organizations seeking to continue to meet the credit needs of their customers,”” the OCC stated. Jeremiah Norton, FDIC director, expressed his support for the IFR, but acknowledged the rule “”contains a number of provisions that fail to address known and potential risks to the banking system.””For one, he stated, the “”U.S. housing market was at the center of the financial crisis–yet today we are not modernizing the risk-weights on banks’ mortgage loans.”” Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Basel Accords FDIC Federal Reserve Investors Lenders & Servicers OCC Processing Regulation Service Providers 2013-07-09 Esther Cho
Deutsche Bank Prepares to Tackle Legal, Law Enforcement Troubles Since the close of the financial crisis, Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank, has faced several settlements related to violations of U.S. sanctions, rigging of interest-rate benchmarks, and allegations that it defrauded mortgage issuers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.Now, the bank is ready to resolve its legal and law enforcement problems that have occurred all over the world since the close of the financial crisis.As of today, the bank has paid over $9.3 billion in fines and legal settlements since 2008, according to a Bloomberg article.In addition to dealing with a variety mortgage-backed securities suits, Deutsche Bank is also facing an investigation by U.S. and U.K. authorities over whether its internal controls failed to catch some $10 billion in transactions that may have moved money out of Russia, Bloomberg reported.In August 2015, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has revived a lawsuits filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., accusing Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and the Royal Bank of Scotland of fraud with regards to $840 million worth of mortgage-backed securities sold to a Texas bank that later failed, according to multiple media reports.In another case, in December 2013, Deutsche Bank said it would pay $1.9 billion to settle claims that it defrauded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the sale of mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis, according to an article from Reuters.”Today’s agreement marks another step in our efforts to resolve the bank’s legacy issues, and we intend to make further progress in this regard throughout 2014,” Co-Chief Executive Officers Juergen Fitschen and Anshu Jain said in a statement.In a note to employees, Co-CEO John Cryan said the bank is “absolutely rock solid”and has a plan to cover its legal costs. “I am personally investing time to resolve successfully and speedily open regulatory and legal cases. A small group of senior people, led by me, will focus on this.” in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Deutsche Bank MBS 2016-02-10 Staff Writer February 10, 2016 759 Views Share
in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Origination Mortgage originations among middle-aged borrowers, ages 40 to 60, have been on a fast-paced decline since 2004.With the tightening and loosening of credit standards over the years, many just can’t find the right moment to jump into the housing market or may be burdened with outstanding debt balances.A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York titled, “The Graying of American Debt,” found that debt balances are weighing heavy on older borrowers for two reasons:One possibility is that the credit boom preceding the Great Recession built higher consumer debt levels. Afterward, underwriting standards tightened across the board in 2008-2009, so that any new potential borrowers had little opportunity to take out new loans. An acceleration and then slowdown in lending across the board would lead loans, and their associated borrowers, to be older today on average than in 2003.Alternatively, the shift toward older borrowers could have resulted from new loan originations increasingly favoring older borrowers over younger borrowers, whether this arises from recent changes in borrower or lender behavior.The New York Fed reported that mortgages are affected by both factors. Originations among all ages from 20 to 65 have experienced a large decline from 2004 to 2015, but the decrease was most observed among middle-aged borrowers, with a 60 percent fall in per capita originations. Meanwhile, the oldest ages (65 and up) experienced only modest declines in originations.”We see decisive evidence of a boom and slowdown in mortgage originations at most ages, which by itself would generate an older class of mortgage holders by 2015,” the New York Fed stated in the report. “In addition, we observe a tilt of mortgage originations away from younger borrowers and toward older borrowers between 2003 and 2015.”The report continued, “The tilting of new credit toward older ages may be an unsurprising consequence of credit tightening, when one considers the close relationship between credit risk score and age. Clearly higher risk score standards in underwriting affect younger borrowers differently than they do older borrowers.”In addition, younger borrowers are affected by growing student debt, which could hinder their ability to obtain a mortgage loan.”Hence the aging of the American borrower bodes well for the stability of outstanding consumer loans. At the same time, the likely combination of muted credit access and lower demand for credit that we observe among our younger borrowers may well have consequences for growth,” the report explained. “The graying of American debt that we observe between 2003 and 2015, then, might be interpreted as a shift toward greater balance sheet stability, and away from credit-fueled consumption growth.”Click here to view the full report. February 25, 2016 578 Views Federal Reserve Bank of New York Mortgage Market Originations 2016-02-25 Staff Writer Share What’s Keeping Middle-Aged Borrowers Locked Out of Mortgage Market?
March 14, 2016 520 Views Home Flipper Redfin Ten-X 2016-03-14 Staff Writer Homes bought specifically to resell within a year for profit, or flipped homes, recently captured the industry’s attention with major gains in store for investors.According to a Redfin report, flipped homes made up an estimated 3.1 percent (43,000) of all home sales in 2015, down from 46,000 in 2014. Flips were at their highest in 2005 during the housing boom at 4.4 percent (95,000) and lowest in 2008 at 1.4 percent (16,000) during the bust.”Even though it reflects such a small portion of sales, flipping activity can tell us a lot about overall market conditions,” Redfin said. “Investing in a flip involves making a bet on the market. It’s a vote of confidence that prices will appreciate, that value added by any improvements will outweigh the costs, and that a buyer will want to buy the home for the higher asking price.”The report found that home flippers gained the most from their flips in 2015 at an average of $102,400 per home, the highest gain ever recorded. Redfin noted that “gain does not equal profit as we do not know how much each flipper invested in renovations and updates.” New Opportunities Open Up for Home Flippers in Daily Dose, Headlines, News Rick Sharga, Chief Marketing Officer at Ten-X, sat down with MReport to reveal what the uptick in home flipping means for the housing market and what new opportunities lie ahead for home flippers in the market.MReport: What does this news mean for home flippers? The housing market as whole?Sharga: One of the things not mentioned in the Redfin report is that there will likely be an increase in the number of properties coming to market that are ideal homes for flippers. States with long, cumbersome judicial foreclosure processes—New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois and Maryland, for example—are seeing increased REO activity, as properties that have been in foreclosure for years are finally working their way through the system. These homes are often in a state of disrepair that’s too severe for typical owner-occupants, but because they’ll also be deeply discounted, they represent terrific opportunities for flippers.This is good news for the housing market for a few reasons. First, it will provide desperately-needed inventory at a time when the supply of homes for sale nationally languishes at about four months. Given the types of properties involved, these flips might even provide some opportunities for first-time homebuyers, who have been largely missing in action during the housing recovery. Finally, it will transform distressed, deteriorating properties into move-in ready homes that will sell at or close to full market value, protecting the home prices of other properties in the neighborhood.MReport: Although flips were not bad in 2015, they are still below the housing boom numbers. Is there any chance they will reach this level again? Under what conditions?Sharga: As long as home prices continue to rise, – especially in a market where there is extremely limited inventory of existing homes for sale, where demand seems to be outpacing supply—there will be opportunities for flippers. The majority of investors who buy properties using our Auction.com platform tell us that they plan to fix and flip, rather than hold for rent, so the market is primed for flipping to grow more than it already has.It’s not likely, however, that we’ll see flipping hit the volume it hit during the housing boom of the mid-2000’s. Flipping, like a lot of other trends that we saw in the housing market then, was driven by conditions that, fortunately, no longer exist: massive, rapid home price appreciation; bad loans made on these over-priced properties; and far too many would-be real estate investors getting in over their heads. Share
The Already Short Supply Just Got Shorter December 21, 2016 564 Views Share If those in the industry were hoping that the National Association of Realtors’ November 2016 Existing-Home Sales report would bring good news as far as housing inventory, it did not happen.NAR reported that the number of existing-homes for sale fell over-the-month in November by 8 percent down to 1.85 million. Over-the-year, inventory is down by 9.3 percent (from 2.04 million in November 2015), and has declined for 18 consecutive months.Not only that, but unsold inventory declined from a 4.3 month supply in October down to a 4.0 month supply in November, according to NAR.“Existing housing supply at the beginning of the year was inadequate and is now even worse heading into 2017,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “Rental units are also seeing this shortage. As a result, both home prices and rents continue to far outstrip incomes in much of the country.”Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke stated, “Consumers should be aware that the overall supply of homes for sale remains very low, and pent up demand is leading to large jumps in price acceleration. The number of homes for sale is down 11 percent compared to a year ago, and median prices are up 7 percent. On top of that, December is tracking to an even bigger decline.”Smoke continued, “Buyers planning to purchase in 2017 will contend with even more limited supply, while they also race against the prospect of mortgage rates reaching levels we have not seen since 2010. The good news is that rates are rising because of continued economic growth, and many households should see income gains in 2017. However, those gains are not likely to be higher than the combined effect of higher prices and higher mortgage rates.”The news of the even shorter supply of housing did not dampen the headline numbers for existing-home sales, which in November had their best month in nearly 10 years. Existing homes sold at an annual pace of 5.61 million in November, the highest rate since they sold at a 5.79 million clip in February 2007. November’s pace was also an increase of more than 15 percent from the previous November, when existing homes sold at an annual rate of 4.86 million.“The healthiest job market since the Great Recession and the anticipation of some buyers to close on a home before mortgage rates accurately rose from their historically low level have combined to drive sales higher in recent months,” Yun said. “Furthermore, it’s no coincidence that home shoppers in the Northeast—where price growth has been tame all year—had the most success last month.” in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Existing-Home Sales Housing Inventory Housing Supply 2016-12-21 Seth Welborn
Economy effects Federal Reserve Housing Starts Hurricane USA TODAY 2017-11-13 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, journal, News November 13, 2017 573 Views A report published Monday by USA Today states that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma had fluctuating effects on the economy, specifically housing starts. For example, car sales were up and housing starts were down in September while those trends are likely to be reversed once October data is released, according to USA Today.USA Today reports on more evidence of the hurricanes having mixed results on the economy in September and October. While disruptions to refineries caused a spike in gasoline prices in September, pump prices fell nearly 1.5 percent in October, according to PNC Financial Services Group as cited in the report. Most telling of the effects of the hurricane, housing starts in September fell 4.7 percent. However, USA Today reports that economists expect the Department of Commerce on Friday to report an October rebound with starts rising 5.4 percent. The exact opposite happened with retail prices going up, as sales were bolstered by the hurricanes in September. Retail prices then only had a 0.1 percent increase, according to USA Today. These facts are not all telling, however. The report states that sales online and at clothing stores rose sharply while furniture, electronics, sporting goods and health and personal care stores all experienced drops.However, core prices, which don’t include volatile food and energy items, rose only modestly in September, despite damaged homes and vehicles being expected to push rent and auto prices up considerably, according to Lewis Alexander, an economist cited by USA Today. October data is expected to show a lag.Finally, the report states that the Labor Department is expected to report merely a 0.1 percent rise in consumer prices on Wednesday, which will push the annual gain to 2 percent from 2.2 percent. Core prices are also expected to rise by 0.2 percent, which leaves the 12-month increase unchanged at 1.7 percent. Despite all this, the Federal Reserve is still expected to raise interest rates in December. Share The Hurricane Effect on Housing
June 10, 2019 306 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Share Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry have reached an agreement on a five-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through Sept. 30, 2024.The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) have both expressed their satisfaction with the deal.“The National Association of Realtors applauds Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry for working towards a bipartisan, long-term solution for the National Flood Insurance Program,” said NAR President John Smaby. “This legislation addresses many critical NAR priorities, including long-term reauthorization, strengthening mapping and mitigation, and facilitating a more robust private insurance market. While we continue reviewing this bill, NAR thanks the Chairwoman and Ranking Member for their genuine efforts to move comprehensive reauthorization legislation forward.”“The NFIP has played a critical role in determining the use and development of flood-prone areas and managing the risk of flooding for residential properties,” said the NAHB in a statement. “A strong NFIP helps ensure that the housing industry can provide safe, decent and affordable housing to consumers under the direction of local jurisdictions.According to the NAHB, Waters and McHenry’s agreement would:Increase funding for flood risk mapping and mitigation.Provide premium credits for not currently recognized mitigation activity.Create a new zone to account for levee-protected areas.Establish umbrella coverage options for multifamily development.At a recent National Flood Conference, Waters discussed the benefits of the NFIP, stating the the program was “at risk.””The NFIP makes flood insurance available to millions of homeowners, renters, and business owners and also helps those policyholders to reduce their risk by providing flood mapping, floodplain management, and mitigation services,” she said. “These activities help local communities and individuals prepare for the financial impact of flooding, whether it is caused by heavy rainfall that affects families living in the Midwest or life-threatening storms that pummel the millions of homes and businesses along the coasts.”The Five Star Institute will host its Disaster Preparedness Symposium on July 31 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Natural disasters impact investors, service providers, mortgage servicers, government agencies, legal professionals, lenders, property preservation companies, and—most importantly—homeowners. The 2019 Five Star Disaster Preparedness Symposium will include critical conversations on the response, reaction, and assistance, to ensure the industry is ready to lend the proper support the next time a natural disaster strikes. Lawmakers Agree on Plan for NFIP Extension flood NAR National Association of Home Builders NFIP 2019-06-10 Seth Welborn
The Ups and Downs of Home Sales Existing home sales recorded an increase in May for the first time in two months, rising 2.5% from the month prior, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The total number of home sold increased to 5.34 million in May, which is a decline of 1.1% from a year ago.“The purchasing power to buy a home has been bolstered by falling mortgage rates, and buyers are responding,” said Lawrene Yun, Chief Economist at the NAR.According to the report, the median existing home price for all housing types in May increased 4.8% to $277,700, and is also the 87th straight month of year-over-year gains.May’s housing inventory increased to 1.92 million, up from 1.83 million in April, and a 2.7% increase from last year. Unsold inventory is at 4.3-months supply, which is a slight increase from April’s 4.2-months supply.Housing supply remains at historic lows, according to the NAR, and Yun said “solid demand along with inadequate inventory of affordable homes” have caused home prices to rise.A factor in the low supply figures, according to the First American Financial Corp., is that the housing market is entering an unprecedented “homebody era,” with homeowners staying in their homes for record times.“Before the housing market crash in 2007, the average length of time someone lived in their home was approximately five years. Average tenure length jumped to seven years during the aftermath of the housing market crisis between 2008 and 2016,” said Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American. “The most recent data shows that the average length of time someone lives in their home reached 11.3 years in May 2019, a 10% increase compared with a year ago.”Fleming added that the 30-year fixed rate mortgage has fallen to its lowest point since January 2018, and many homeowners don’t have an incentive to sell.“Two trends are driving the increase in tenure length. The majority of existing homeowners have mortgages with historically low rates, so there is limited incentive to sell if it will cost them more each month to borrow the same amount of money from the bank,” said Fleming. “While mortgage rates have come down compared with last year, they are still below the 3.5% mortgage rates of 2016.“The second trend influencing tenure is seniors aging in place. A recent study from Freddie Mac shows that if seniors and adults born between 1931-1959 behaved like earlier generations, nearly 1.6 million housing units would have come to market by 2018. Improvements in healthcare and technology have made ageing in place easier, which has meant fewer homes on the market.” June 21, 2019 624 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News 2019 Housing Market existing home sales report 2019-06-21 Mike Albanese Share
Allianz Global Assistance has launched a 40 day giveaway to celebrate the 40th birthday of their partner of over four years, Travellers Choice. Travellers Choice agents have the chance to pocket $100 every weekday until 16 November 2017, with an additional major jackpot prize of $1,000 being drawn during the Travellers Choice Annual Shareholders Conference that will take place from 17 to 19 November 2017. Travellers Choice agents can enter by simply selling an eligible Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance policy between 25 September and 16 November 2017 using promo code FAB40. Every travel insurance policy sold will count as an entry into that day’s $100 draw, as well as the jackpot $1,000 draw.“Travel agents are one of our biggest channels of advocacy, so we want to reward their hard work and ongoing commitment with an incentive that also celebrates the 40th anniversary of one of our long standing partners, Travellers Choice,” said Allianz Global Assistance Chief Sales Officer, Brad Smith. agentsAllianz Global AssistanceIncentiveTravellers Choice