Qantas challenges Virgin restructure

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Qantas Airways says there is nothing preventing Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (VAH) from becoming wholly owned by foreign shareholders if their proposed new business structure is approved.In a letter addressed to the International Air Services Commission (IASC) Qantas claimed the new model would allow VAH to exceed the 49 percent foreign shareholder limitation imposed on Australian international airlines. “Qantas is very concerned that the proposed structure is likely to result in foreign persons having effective control of the day-to-day operations of VAIH, in breach of Australia’s obligations under many Air Services Agreements (ASAs),” Qantas general counsel Brett Johnson said in the letter.The new business structure will see VAH managed by an unlisted entity, Virgin Australia International Holdings (VAIH).According to Virgin, the new VAIH will be owned by existing VAH shareholders and run by a majority of independent directors.“In circumstances where VAIH is comprehensively serviced, managed and funded by VAH, it is neither possible nor logical to argue that VAIH is not effectively controlled by VAH,” Mr Johnson said.“Once VAH’s foreign shareholding exceeds 49 percent, it is no longer an Australian Person.“At that time foreign persons have ‘effective control’ of VAIH.”Qantas also warned that VAH and VAIH could possibly be acquired and subsequently managed by just a single foreign shareholder.Qantas has recommended the IASC “undertakes a comprehensive, public review to confirm that VAIH will, at all times in the future, be in a position to comply with the requirements to be designated as an Australian carrier under the relevant ASAs.”last_img read more

HOP onboard says Air France

first_imgRegional carriers converted to form competitive offering. Image: Air France Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Air France’s three existing regional carriers will combine to form HOP! as part of the airline’s competitive restructuring efforts.HOP! aims to become the reference airline on inter-regional routes in France and Europe for business and leisure travel.Within the framework of ‘Transform 2015’, the Air France Group has restructured its short and medium-haul operations, which is posting substantial deficit, into three complementary areas of activity: Air France, HOP! and Transavia France.HOP! will begin operating point-to-point flights from Paris-Orly and the domestic network, as well as flights to the hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle on behalf of Air France, beginning mid-2013.Transavia France will operate flights to destinations across Europe and the Mediterranean from Paris-Orly and other regional cities.last_img read more

Strong start to Australian summer for China Southern Airlines

first_imgChina Southern A330-300China Southern Airlines (CZ) is reporting solid demand as they enter the third month of their new summer schedule, across the Australian capital cities of Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.Starting on the 13th September 2015, the MEL-CAN-MEL service saw an additional four flights per week; from 10 flights per week to 14 flights per week and will finish 5th December 2015.Due to demand on the MEL-CAN-MEL service, China Southern Airlines will commence further flight increases from 14 flights per week to 18 flights per week with an additional morning service CZ610 from 6th December 2015 to 1st March 2016.The daily BNE-CAN-BNE service officially started on the 26th October 2015 and will finish on the 26th March 2016. The daily route is serviced by the airlines brand new Airbus A330-330/200.Sydney SYD-CAN-SYD service will increase from double daily to triple daily with an additional morning service CZ601/602 from 11th December 2015 to 27th March 2016.Mr. Louis Lu, China Southern Managing Director Australia & New Zealand said on the summer schedule, “We are very happy with the demand so far for our summer schedule. The awareness of China Southern Airlines extensive route network and quality service offering is becoming stronger amongst Australian business and leisure travellers.“We have great confidence in the Australian market and are committed to providing service that is of high quality and exceptional hospitality but also provides an affordable way to travel, not just to Guangzhou but on to 190 destinations in 35 different countries.” finished Mr. LuSince the introduction of the 72-hour visa-free transit, Australians and New Zealanders account for almost 40 per cent of travellers taking advantage of a stopover in Guangzhou.China Southern is a member of the Skyteam alliance, giving it a global reach of 1052 international destinations in 177 countries and regions.In international news, the new service between Guangzhou and Rome via Wuhan will run three times per week and start on December 16th 2015. Fly China Southern AirlinesSource = China Southern Airlineslast_img read more

THAI congratulates THAI Smile on Winning 3 TripAdvisor Awards

first_imgTHAI SmileTHAI congratulates THAI Smile on Winning 3 TripAdvisor AwardsThai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) joins in congratulating THAI Smile Airways on winning three awards under the airline category.THAI Smile has won the following awards from TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for Airlines: 1) Best Airline in Thailand2) Best Regional Airline in Asia Pacific3) World’s Best Airline – Top 10) based on worldwide passenger reviews for 2017.Mrs. Usanee Sangsingkeo, Acting President, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), said that THAI as the mother company of its subsidiary THAI Smile Airways is exceptionally pleased to join in congratulating THAI Smile on winning awards from TripAdvisor, particularly as THAI holds 100% shares in THAI Smile. Winning these TripAdvisor awards goes to show that THAI Smile is a quality, full service regional airline with reasonable prices. THAI believes that THAI Smile will continue to maintain its high standards and continue to implement further developments.While both THAI and THAI Smile are very happy about these awards, the Company is even further pleased that these TripAdvisor awards reflects passenger satisfaction in THAI Smile services. For this matter, the Company expresses its utmost thanks to passengers for making it possible for THAI Smile to win the world class TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for Airlines.TripAdvisor is a travel-related website with over 350 million members worldwide that is open to members and tourists worldwide to make reviews of their favorite airlines across the world. These awards resulted from tourists’ reviews over the past 12 months, with emphasis on services, quality, and customer favorites that represent the best value for money. THAI Smilebook flights hereSource = THAI Smilelast_img read more

AirAsia and Everbright sign China joint venture MOU

first_imgAirAsia was the first foreign LCC to enter China and has carried more than 40 million guests since its inaugural route to China in April 2005. AirAsia and AirAsia X currently fly to 15 destinations in China and is the largest foreign LCC operating into the country.Source = AirAsia AirAsia and Everbright sign China joint venture MOUAirAsia Berhad has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Everbright and Henan Gove rnment Working Group to establish a low-cost carrier (LCC) in China.It outlines how the parties will incorporate a joint venture to be known as AirAsia (China) for the purposes of operating a low-cost aviation business based in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province in central China.In addition, AirAsia (China) will invest in aviation infrastructure, including a dedicated LCC terminal at Zhengzhou airport and an aviation academy to train pilots, crew and engineers, as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities to service aircraft.The MoU was exchanged between AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Everbright Financial Investment Holding Executive Director and President Wang Weifeng and Henan Airport Group Vice Chairman and President Li Weidong at China World Hotel here today.The exchange was witnessed by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Malaysian Ambassador to China Zainuddin Yahya, Malaysian Special Envoy to China Ong Ka Ting, Malaysian Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Shabery Cheek, Melaka Chief Minister Idris Haron, China Everbright Group Vice Chairman and President Gao Yunlong, Everbright Financial Investment Holding Executive Director Xu Hongzhe and Henan Investment Group Vice General Manager Li Xingjia.Also witnessing the exchange were AirAsia Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, AirAsia Senior Independent Non-Executive Director Fam Lee Ee and AirAsia North Asia President Kathleen Tan.China Everbright Group Vice Chairman and President Gao Yunlong said, “We are excited to be part of this joint venture to bring AirAsia to China. We believe China is ready for the world’s leading LCC and we feel that AirAsia can deliver on that promise by providing real value to Chinese travellers thanks to its unique combination of low fares and world-class service.”AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said, “We chose Zhengzhou as our base due to its strategic location and importance as a logistics hub. As China’s gateway to Europe, Zhengzhou sits at the centre of a vast rail, highway and air transport network that forms the linchpin of China’s development plans for its central and western regions. With President Xi Jinping’s vision for One Belt, One Road, Zhengzhou is set to become even more important, not least as the heart of low-cost air travel in North Asia.last_img read more

SkyBus wins second gold at the 2017 Victoria Tourism Awards

first_imgSkyBus wins second gold at the 2017 Victoria Tourism AwardsSkyBus wins second gold at the 2017 Victoria Tourism AwardsSkyBus, operators of Melbourne’s popular airport express services, took the much coveted Gold prize for the second year running, this time for the ‘Major Tour and Transport Operators’ category at the 2017 RACV Victoria Tourism Awards.Winning its first Gold in 2016, SkyBus won this year for its major contributions to Victoria’s tourism industry for its unparalleled world-class service transit between Melbourne city, its inner and outer suburbs, Tullamarine and Avalon airports.“SkyBus is truly honoured to win this prestigious award for the second year running. I am extremely appreciative of the consistency of every SkyBus employees who have worked tirelessly around the clock seven days a week to provide our customers an excellent servicethat is reliable, safe, affordable and convenient,” said Michael Sewards, Co-CEO and Director, SkyBus.“Over the last 12 months, SkyBus has expanded rapidly through the launch of four new airport express services – St Kilda, Avalon Airport services (Melbourne CBD and Geelong), and Southbank and Docklands. We are proud to share that SkyBus has recorded its most successful period of customer growth for its Melbourne CBD-Tullamarine Airport service.”“All of these new services have exceeded our expectations tremendously and feedback from customers is nothing but positive. As a result, we received our second TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customers’ rating,” added Mr Sewards. “SkyBus is tremendously proud of our contribution to the Victorian Tourism Industry, with this our 39th year of service.In its 39th year of service, SkyBus will continue to contribute significantly to the Victorian tourism industry. The company plans to develop and launch more services in the months to come, with announcements already made for Gold Coast, marking its first entry into Queensland.For more information about SkyBus, visit skybus.com.auSource = SkyBuslast_img read more

Thumbs up for Africas Travel INDABA

first_imgHosted buyers and trade media having rooftop drinks at the Silo Hotel in front of the stunning Table Mountain. From left top- Navy Wang (MW Tours), Mark Harada (Travel Talk), From left bottom- Sonia Pilovska (Luxury Escapes), Melyne Hovasapian (SAT), Trish Freeman (Travelinc. Memo), Mosilo Sofonia (SAT), Evelyn Wescob (Experiential Travel), Nathalie Craig (KarryOn).Thumbs up for Africa’s Travel INDABAThe significance of tourism to Africa and its economy was once again cemented at this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba with delegates from 80 countries in attendance. The annual event was held between the 8th and 10th of May – with the month of May representing Africa Month.Overall Registrations reached the 7,000 mark, resulting in an increase of 4 percent from last year’s figures.“Indaba’s goal is to create a platform that allows the world to do business with Africa and business is happening. We are therefore encouraged by the number of buyers and exhibitors who have come from various parts of the world. They are our valued partners, who assist us to package and sell Africa to the world,” said South African Tourism’s Chief Executive Officer, Sisa Ntshona.There was a total of 1,747 registered buyers, an increase of 14 percent from last year, while there were over 1,100 registered exhibitors, an increase of 5.7 percent from last year. Of the exhibitors, 200 were first-time exhibitors.South African Tourism (SAT) hosted ten buyers from Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), along with nine ANZ trade and consumer media on two familiarisations in the lead up to Indaba. The trips included visits to Cape Town, Cape Winelands, Madikwe Game Reserve, Johannesburg and Durban.Highlights from the familiarisations included taking part in a Conservation Safari at Jaci’s Lodge, where guests were able to assist Lodge vets in wildlife safeguarding efforts, such as notching a rhino to help record, track and protect the endangered animals.Trade media also enjoyed a tour of Cape Town’s small coastal towns by side-car before tasting their way through the Cape Winelands.The event and familiarisations showcased to ANZ buyers and media South Africa’s diverse regions, activities and world-class food and wine. It also allowed guests to discover more hidden gems of South Africa, and build confidence in what the destination has to offer their clients and audiences.A record 62 million people visited Africa in 2017 – an 8 percent year-on-year growth. Of these visitors, 133,351 travelled from ANZ.“When South African Tourism made the decision to host Indaba as a pan-African event, the end goal was to boost the African economy,” continued Ntshona.“Each year we have seen an increase in the number of African countries at Indaba, with all destinations seeing the benefit of the expo and being part of a show that promotes all of Africa.”It is important that Indaba creates a lasting legacy for the City of Durban and the economy of the KwaZulu-Natal Province (KZN) by encouraging and supporting local procurement. Last year it was announced that the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre (ICC) would be home to the Indaba for the next five years. This year’s three-day show expected to inject approximately $9.43 million R89 million to KZN’s GDP.Working to also boost the local economy is the announcement of the British Airways (BA) direct flight from Heathrow to King Shaka International Airport. Phindile Makwakwa, Acting CEO of KZN Tourism said; “This was a very successful Indaba and it kicked off on a high note with the announcement that BA was going to start direct flights from Heathrow to Durban. The UK market is keen on a collaborative relationship with Durban and that is critical and welcomed.”Another highlight of this year’s Indaba is its partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation for the Nelson Mandela 100 centenary programme, with various activations taking place throughout Indaba.“We invite you to the 100 places of Madiba and share your experiences with the world. Walk in the footprints of Madiba and find the better person in you,” says Ntshona.Source = South African Tourism (SAT)last_img read more

Then and Now Los Angeles International Airport

first_imgThen and Now: Los Angeles International AirportThen and Now: Los Angeles International AirportCan you imagine flying around the world 90 years ago? Los Angeles International Airport has evolved into a bustling hub since opening on October 1, 1928 and has tons of exciting improvements (USD $14 billion to be exact!) lined up in the next few years to help transform the travelling experience into one as smooth, comfortable and fun as possible.Follow the footsteps of past, current and future travellers below and take a peek through time at how the bustling airport has/will change:OverallTHEN: LAX begins operation on October 1, 1928. Although it functioned as an airport, there was no regular passenger operations at the airport and, per LAX historian Ethel Pattison, it was just “a dirt patch with rabbits running around.” The first structure, Hangar No. 1, wasn’t built until June 1929 and the main terminal complex was only constructed in 1961 after major airlines beganmoving their facilities to LAX.NOW: There are now nine terminals at LAX, including the Tom Bradley International Terminal, with more than 62+ national and local brand-name dining and shopping venues for travellers to enjoy while waiting for their flights.FUTURE: Scheduled to finish by 2023, LAX is undergoing a USD $14 billion renovation program that will transform the entire experience including getting in/out of LAX with metro light rail and a driverless electric train, a giant new rental car facility, a new Metro hub, a new terminal and other bonus amenities.Getting to and from LAXTHEN: Travellers in the past all drove to the airport in their automobiles and, once air travel became mainstream, there was usually a long wait to drop/pick up passengers during peak holiday travel. Cars with overheated radiators would cause traffic to be backed up all the way outside the airport.NOW: Driving is still one of the main ways of accessing the airport, with a myriad of road networks connecting LAX to the wider road system. Car-less travellers can easily hail an Uber or hop on a LAX FlyAway shuttle that whisks passengers to Downtown L.A., Hollywood, Westwood and Van Nuys.FUTURE: Next year, Metro will extend the Green Line to connect with the new Crenshaw/LAX Line station, the closest station to LAX. In 2023, the electric people-mover train will bridge the gap between LAX and the new metro station, so travellers can seamlessly get in and out of LAX using Metro trains. There’s even talk that Uber is looking to bring flying taxis to L.A. in the future!Faster SecurityTHEN: Flying was simple back then; there were no metal detectors nor X-ray machines. Travellers would board their planes and someone would take their bags and load them in the hold. Only police officers stationed at the airport were there to provide basic security to passengers.NOW: Given the multiple layers of security present at airports nowadays, every little thing counts. For travellers looking to depart, self-tagging kiosks at airline counters are simplifying the bag-check process and automated screening lanes further speed up the carry-on luggage process, with five times as many loading stations, so that travellers can speed past slower ones. For those landing at LAX, passengers can look forward to using automated passport control kiosks that spit out a ticket and help process their arrivals through customs.FUTURE: Instead of handing over a boarding pass, get ready for gate check-in using facial recognition. Earlier this year, British Airways and Lufthansa rolled out the technology in the Tom Bradley International Terminal; Qantas and Korean Air will be the next to try the system.Terminal ExperiencesTHEN: At the beginning of LAX’s operations, the travelling experience didn’t come with bells and whistles. In fact, to feed the travelling masses, a barrack was converted into a cafeteria.NOW: Many terminals have revamped or are in the process of revamping their culinary and shopping venues in the past few years. For example, Terminal 2 unveiled a new dining hub last year and Terminal 1 is next, with 20 new shops, such as MAC cosmetics and Kiehl’s, expected. Aside from dining and shopping venues, LAX now also have teams of therapy dogs from their Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) program touring around terminals, offering emotional happiness and support to travellers. In addition, there are multiple pieces of gorgeous public art work in each terminal and seasonal live musical performances to liven the travelling experience.FUTURE: Scheduled to open in 2020, a new USD $1.6 billion Midfield Satellite Concourse addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal will add 12 aircraft gates, culinary venues and children’s play areas. LAX is also mulling a curbside concierge to escort travellers to the boarding gate.ArchitectureTHEN: Designed with a simple aesthetic of mid-century modern design, the first version of LAX wasn’t loaded with bonus features beyond the futuristic-looking Central Theme Building.NOW: Although the Theme building no longer houses a restaurant, the top deck is now open as a public observation deck, where travellers can get a 360-degree view of the airport.FUTURE: Circling back to the simplistic design that the original architects were aiming for, the LAX team is aiming for a futuristic look with an emphasis on openness, natural light and clean lines. They’re even planning to rebuild old bathrooms, where smart lights on the ceiling indicate if a stall is occupied and a computer tracks foot traffic to signal when it’s time for more upkeep.Getting on the planeTHEN: Travellers would pass through the terminals directly onto the tarmac to board their flights via portable stairways, even VIPs.NOW: Normal travellers now access planes through jetways, whereas VIP travellers can now take advantage of The Private Suite. A newly built terminal, The Private Suite is located a few miles away from LAX, has its own private TSA screening and a team of eight people to assist each travel party, from escorting to a private lounge suite to driving them across the tarmac to aircraft in a BMW 7 series sedan.Source = Los Angeles International Airportlast_img read more

MAC Settles in 10State Regulatory Operation

first_imgMAC Settles in 10-State Regulatory Operation in Government, Origination, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-08-02 Ryan Schuette Sharecenter_img After an operation orchestrated by regulators over 10 states, Morris Plains-based “”Mortgage Access Corp.””:http://www.mortgageaccess.com/ (MAC), doing business as “”Weichert Financial Services””:http://www.weichertfinancial.com/, inked its name to a remittance in the amount of $3 million over a multitude of compliance and internal control deficiencies.[IMAGE]The “”Conference of State Bank Supervisors””:http://www.csbs.org/Pages/default.aspx (CSBS) and “”American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators””:http://www.aarmr.org/ (AARMR) issued a “”joint statement””:http://www.csbs.org/news/press-releases/pr2011/Pages/pr-060111.aspx praising the agreement, which capped an examination of multi-state negligence by MAC, with mortgage loan originators acting outside their licensed jurisdictions.””The effectiveness of the multi-state effort as a platform to regulate large companies across the country, while enhancing consumer protection, is a testament to the states’ ability to modify the regulatory approach to better assess for compliance with applicable state and federal law,”” John Ducrest, CSBS chairman and Louisiana Commissioner of Financial Institutions, said in the statement.[COLUMN_BREAK]Some ten agencies joined the effort, with actors including banking regulators from Connecticut, Louisiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Vermont.””The multi-state mortgage examination program was initiated to enhance consumer protection, foster a culture of compliance within the industry, and hold individuals and entities accountable for actions which are not in compliance with applicable rules and regulations,”” said Darin Domingue, AARMR president and deputy chief examiner of the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions.””The licensing laws enacted by states, including testing and educational requirements, have been put into place to help ensure that the largest financial transaction most consumers will make is facilitated through qualified and licensed individuals,”” Dominigue added.According to the “”agreement””:http://www.mass.gov/Eoca/docs/dob/mag05272011.pdf, MAC must pay $3 million in monthly installments, reform past problems with oversight, and establish a complaint receiver process. It must also hire an external auditor to check for compliance with all relevant state licensing laws as applicable to the mortgage industry.MAC must also reassess internal processes needed for the regulation of loan originations, implement technologies aimed at stopping unlicensed loan officers from making loans, and, among other actions for redress, refund fees to certain borrowers in New York. August 2, 2011 502 Views last_img read more

FirstTime Unemployment Claims Tick Up

first_img April 18, 2013 365 Views First-Time Unemployment Claims Tick Up in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing First-time claims for unemployment insurance increased for the fourth time in the last five weeks, edging up 4,000 for the week ending April 13 to 352,000, the “”Labor Department””:http://www.ows.doleta.gov/press/2013/041813.asp reported Thursday. Economists expected 347,000 initial claims. Initial jobless claims for the week ending April 6 were revised up to 348,000 from the originally reported 346,000.[IMAGE]The number of persons continuing to collect unemployment insurance–reported on a one week lag–fell 35,000 to 3,068,000. Continuing claims for the week ending March 30 were revised up to 3,103,000 from the originally reported 3,079,000, turning what had been a 12,000 decline into a 12,000 increase.The four-week moving average of initial claims rose for the fourth straight week, increasing 2,750 to 361,250, the highest level since the beginning of the year. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell 2,250 to 3,083,000.The week covered by the unemployment claims data is the same week used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for its monthly Employment Situation report to be released May 3. From mid-March to mid-April, the moving average of first-time unemployment claims increased 11,000, suggesting layoffs will be a drag on net new payroll jobs for April. For March, BLS reported the economy added a disappointing 88,000 payroll jobs.The increase in claims could also send the unemployment rate up from the 51-month low 7.6 percent recorded for March.The continuing claims data series tracks the number of individuals who have been receiving unemployment benefits for two or more weeks and often shows large [COLUMN_BREAK]movements, depending on first time claims 26 weeks earlier and legislative changes to state unemployment programs. It is subject to wider revisions than the number of first time claimants.The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending March 30, the Labor Department reported, was 5,152,655, a decrease of 124,867 from the previous week. There were 6,765,119 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2012.According to the BLS, 11,742,000 persons were officially considered unemployed in February, which means that of those individuals counted as unemployed, 6.59 million were not receiving any form of government unemployment insurance, up from 6.46 million one week earlier.The Labor Department said states reported 1,782,555 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending March 30, a decrease of 54,999 from the prior week. There were 2,775,134 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2012.States continue to borrow from the federal government to cover shortfalls in those funds which will eventually have to be repaid–unless Congress intervenes–with higher assessments on employers. Since those assessments are a percentage of payrolls, they discourage employers from adding new workers. As of April 15, 23 states had borrowed a total of $29.7 billion. One week earlier, 23 states had an aggregate $29.6 billion in outstanding loans to cover shortfalls. Seven states–California, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin–each owe more than $1 billion which may require higher unemployment premiums or special assessments on employers in those states.According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag, the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending April 6 were in New York (+20,120), North Carolina (+4,403), Ohio (+3,029), Michigan (+2,894), and Texas (+2,445), while the largest decreases were in California (-12,893), Kentucky (-1,318), Pennsylvania (-1,299), Indiana (-1,066), and Nevada (-761)._Hear Mark Lieberman Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 a.m. Eastern time._center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Mark Lieberman Payrolls Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2013-04-18 Mark Lieberman Sharelast_img read more

Home Sales Prices Improve in October Inventory Worsens

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Home Prices Home Sales Housing Supply RE/MAX 2014-11-18 Tory Barringer Despite seeing the start of their usual seasonal downturn, U.S. home sales improved annually again in October, according to a market summary report.RE/MAX’s latest National Housing Report, which follows changes in home sales, prices, and inventory in 53 metro areas across the United States, shows October transactions came in 2.6 percent higher than a year ago. The annual increase came despite a 0.8 percent drop from September’s sales total.October’s increase marks only the second month this year in which sales have come in ahead of 2013 figures. Analysts have blamed the apparent slowdown on a range of causes, including inclement weather in the year’s early months, challenges with affordability, and stricter lending conditions locking out creditworthy borrowers.”Home sales in 2014 started the year slowly and then rose to equal the strong sales in 2013,” said RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly. “Following usual seasonal trends and with prices rising at a reasonable rate, the market appears to be settling into a more sustainable growth pattern.”On a yearly basis, 34 of the 53 metros tracked in October posted higher sales. Increases were led by Honolulu (+22.9 percent), Orlando (+18.6 percent), Tampa (+18.3 percent), and Nashville (+16.9 percent).Home prices continued on their growth track of the last few years, rising to a median $193,000 across RE/MAX’s surveyed metros. October’s median was 7.4 percent higher than last year, reflecting 33 straight months of rising prices. However, the pace of growth has slowed considerably this year come to a more moderate level.Among all reporting metros, 44 posted higher sales prices compared to a year ago, according to RE/MAX.The only metric that didn’t improve from last year was the supply for for-sale homes. RE/MAX reported a 6.8 percent year-over-year decline in listings, putting the nation’s average months’ supply at 4.9 based on the current sale rate. A six-month supply is considered to be indicative of a balanced market between buyers and sellers.Compared to September, home inventory was down 5.2 percent, RE/MAX reported. Sharecenter_img November 18, 2014 553 Views Home Sales, Prices Improve in October; Inventory Worsenslast_img read more

CFPB Releases Nearly 8000 Consumer Complaint Narratives about Financial Companies

first_imgCFPB Releases Nearly 8,000 Consumer Complaint Narratives about Financial Companies Share in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Technology June 25, 2015 584 Views center_img Consumer Complaint Database Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Consumer Protection Act Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Five Star Institute 2015-06-25 Staff Writer For the first time, over 7,700 consumer complaints about problems they are facing with financial companies concerning mortgages, bank accounts, credit cards, and debt collection, among others, were released today by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on their Consumer Complaint Database, according to a press release. The Bureau is also requesting input on how to engage the public in this influx of information so that consumers can understand the information and make comparisons.“The Bureau’s work improves as we hear directly from consumers,” said Richard Cordray. CFPB director “Every complaint tells us what people are facing in the financial marketplace. Publishing these consumer stories today is a historic milestone that we believe will lead to better outcomes for everyone.”The CFPB’s Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act highlights consumer complaints as an important part of their work, according to the release. As soon as the CFPB was established in July 2011, they began accepting complaints from consumers, and in June 2012, the CFPB launched the Consumer Complaint Database.The database includes basic, anonymous, individual-level information about the complaints received, including the date of submission, the consumer’s zip code, the relevant company, the product type, the issue the consumer is complaining about, and how the company handled the complaint, the Bureau says.In March 2015, the Bureau finalized a policy that would allow consumers to public share their narratives when submitting claims to the Bureau. Since this feature was launched, over half of consumers’ complaints were shared publicly.  Beginning today, consumer narratives will be added to the complaint database on a daily basis, without revealing personal information.The Bureau reported that as of June 1, 2015, it has handled more than 627,000 complaints. Mortgages and debt collection are the most popular topics mentioned in the database. The Bureau noted that the complaint process has helped consumers obtain hundreds of thousands of responses from companies and millions of dollars in monetary relief.The narratives provided by consumers give firsthand accounts of their experience, the CFPB said. These narratives help consumers make good decisions and also push companies toward improving the quality of their products and services.The CFPB Consumer Complaint Database is designed to allow users to:Search for specific product names or features.Highlight specific company practices and problems.Break down information by state.In April, the Five Star Institute (FSI) and Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS) released a report titled “Analysis and Study of CFPB Consumer Complaint Data Related to Mortgage Servicing Activities,” that address the concern that the complaints do not provide a full picture of the mortgage servicing industry.The FSI and BKFS report aimed to provide context and insight to complaints received by the CFPB by comparing the Bureau’s two predominant mortgage complaint categories, servicing and default, with loan trends. The report also included publicly available data from both the CFPB and mortgage servicers, as reported from the CFPB database.According to the report, mortgage-related complaints received by the CFPB are on the decline after an initial ramp-up period. Delinquent loans and foreclosures have also decreased. The report seeks to address of the question of whether these two stats are falling at the same rate and if there is a correlation between the two.”The information contained in this report plays an important role in measuring the scope of volume related to CFPB inquiries made, in juxtaposition to the total number of mortgage holders in the U.S. market,” said Ed Delgado, Five Star president and CEO.  “Through the data lens, we can clearly examine operational efficiency and defect while measuring progress in providing quality service to homeowners.”Click here to view the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Narrative Policy.Click here to view the CFPB’s Request for Information.last_img read more

Which Mortgage Products Should Lenders be Marketing

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News, Origination Which Mortgage Products Should Lenders be Marketing? 15-Year Mortgage 30-Year Mortgage Federal Reserve Trulia 2015-12-16 Staff Writer Sharecenter_img Now that the Federal Reserve has raised the federal funds target rate, which will impact interest rates, prospective homebuyers are probably weighing their mortgage financing options.Well, a Trulia report may help make the decision a bit easier by outlining the advantages and disadvantages of both 15-year mortgages and 30-year mortgages.In the largest U.S. metros, with a median household income, a 30-year mortgage allows buyers to get more bang for their buck by purchasing 46 percent more house.On the other hand, with a 15-year mortgage provides homeowners with three times more equity in a just a short five years, this is especially true in areas with rapidly rising prices.”Home equity can come from three sources: down payment, principal reduction, and home value appreciation. This means that in markets with slow appreciation, a larger share of equity will come from homeowners paying down the loan balance when compared to home value appreciation. In such markets, 15-year loans offer a relatively faster route to building equity.”Meanwhile, in areas with slow-growing or flat prices, buyer will benefit more from the 30-year mortgage option.Trulia says that 30-year mortgages offer buyers low monthly payments, higher borrowing power, and better tax benefits.Payment on a 30-year mortgage average about $320, or 27 percent less than a 15-year mortgage, the report shows. Borrowing power on the 30-year mortgage total $244,000 on average and only $167,000 on a 15-year mortgage. In addition, buyers that go the 30-year route can write off almost $68,000 in their taxes compared to the 15-year.The 15-year mortgage option offers buyers faster growing equity, lower interest rates, and a shorter loan term, the report says.Although the payment is much higher for a 15-year loan, more of this payment goes toward paying the loan principal, Trulia found. The interest rate for the 15-year mortgage is 3.36 percent, compared to 4.12 percent for the 30-year. In addition, over the life of the loan, 15-year mortgages spend under $40,000 in interest, while 30-year mortgages spend over $107,000 in interest.”[The] 15-year mortgages are a great option for those wanting to build equity, regardless of how expensive or how fast growing a market is,” Trulia explained. “However, in places with historically low appreciation, 15-year mortgages are a much better deal for building equity because it’s about the only way to do so though paying of the loan balance.””On the other hand, in areas with historically high price appreciation that also happen to be expensive, households need to consider the tradeoffs between the borrowing power of 30-year mortgages, expected equity from home price appreciation, and whether or not they will use equity from their existing home as a down payment on their next one,” Trulia concluded.Click here to view the full report. December 16, 2015 508 Views last_img read more

Aspen Grove Solutions Collaborates With Lift Strategic Partners

first_img February 1, 2018 827 Views Share in News, Servicing Aspen Grove Solutions Collaborates With Lift Strategic Partnerscenter_img Aspen Grove Solutions Asset Management Lift Strategic Partners property Servicers 2018-02-01 Radhika Ojha Maryland-based mortgage technology solutions provider, Aspen Grove Solutions, is collaborating with Lift Strategic Partners to increase the company’s institutional presence. Leveraging its capability and capacity to manage a complex institutional customer base, Aspen plans to expand its presence across residential servicing and asset management. The company’s partnership with Lift Strategic Partners and its recent internal expansion are steps that the company is taking towards realizing its vision for growth.Aspen has been providing technology solutions to the mortgage default services industry since 1997. It’s products include a property servicing platform focusing on solutions to manage everything related to the Property Asset, as well as Aspen’s Property Servicing platform is unique to the industry. The company also provides servicers with tools to manage default operations while addressing industry problems such as cost control and recovery, investor allowable management and gathering of claim data, elimination of bill-backs, vendor oversight, compliance and reputational risk, quality control, and community safety.“As Aspen we believe we are transforming the mortgage industry to enhance outcomes for the investors / servicers and their borrowers, with solutions that simplify the operations of default property management and property servicing,” said Sean Ryan, CEO at Aspen Grove Solutions.“Lift is aligned with our vision and is helping Aspen capitalize on opportunities with their industry expertise, experience, contacts, and business transformation capabilities.”Lift Strategic Partners is a strategy-based advisory firm focused on fixed-income related business development, investment strategies, operational structure, and product development. They provide support and capital for high-growth technology and service companies in the housing and lending sectors to provide end-to-end solutions for their clients.“We’re excited to accelerate Aspen’s push for expansion,” said Jeffrey Gravelle, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Lift Strategic Partners.last_img read more

The 10 Safest States to Live in America

first_img June 8, 2018 652 Views The 10 Safest States to Live in America If personal and residential safety is of paramount importance for homebuyers looking for their ideal abode, then they could look at homes in Vermont, Maine, or Minnesota, which according to a recent study by WalletHub are the safest states in America.To determine the nation’s safest states, WalletHub compared 50 states across five key dimensions—personal and residential safety; financial safety; road safety; workplace safety; and emergency preparedness. The study evaluated these dimensions using 48 relevant metrics and each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of safety.Vermont, which was ranked as the safest state in the U.S. scored 66.02 on this scale, ranking within the top three for personal and residential safety and financial safety. With a score of 65.41, Maine was ranked second. It earned a spot within the top five for personal and residential safety as well as emergency preparedness.Minnesota, with an overall score of 61.86, a top spot for road safety and the second rank for workplace safety, Minnesota came in a close third. However, the twin-city state failed to make it to the top 10 for personal and residential safety by a hair and was ranked eleventh on that parameter. Emergency preparedness ranked high in Utah which came in fourth, followed by New Hampshire that won a place among the top four states for financial safety rounding off the five safest states in the country.Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island were the other states that made up the top 10 safest states in America.Most of the Southern states languished at the bottom of the list when it came to being a safe haven to live in. Coming in at the bottom was Mississippi with a score of 32.90, followed by Louisiana (35.21); Oklahoma (39.05); Texas (39.22); and Florida (39.38) that rounded off the bottom five on the rankings.Where does your state rank among the safest ones? Click here to learn more. Sharecenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Residential residential safety states WalletHub 2018-06-08 Radhika Ojhalast_img read more

ContikiearlybirdsEuropeyouth travel

first_imgContikiearlybirdsEuropeyouth travel Valid until 14 December 2017, Contiki is offering millennial travellers savings of either $300, $500 or $700 off their airfare, depending on which European adventure they choose to embark on, and this offer can be combined with the current 10% Early Payment Discount when they book select European summer itineraries, available across a wide range of trips.Airline savings are available with most airlines, including Contiki’s premium airline partners; Etihad Airways, Qantas Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways.This offer is not available on any Europe 2018/19 Winter trips. Agents can CLICK HERE for the most up to date list of qualifying trips. last_img read more

AtriumChristmasCrown TowersentertainmenthotelsMelb

first_imgAtriumChristmasCrown TowersentertainmenthotelsMelbourne If you are in Melbourne over the festive season don’t miss the opportunity to see Crown Towers’ crowd-pleasing Christmas animatronics display and giant 15 metre glittering tree (with spinning baubles that open to reveal amazing festive scenes) at the Atrium Spectacular!Photo Lucas DawsonSince its official launch in November, thousands of folk of all ages have thronged to the Atrium to get an up-close look at the dazzling show, complete with lights, music and plenty of WOW moments – every 30 minutes. KARON PhotographyPhoto: Lucas DawsonLittle ones can also have their photos taken with Santa, on his fabulous gold throne, at the Atrium, daily between 12pm and 6pm.Karon PhotographyKaron PhotographyCrown Towers Atrium Spectacular is free and can be viewed until 1 January 2019.TOP IMAGE: CREDIT: Lucas Dawsonlast_img read more

What an MLB source said about the Dbacks trade h

first_img What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation The Cardinals are getting healthier.The team removed running back Beanie Wells from the PUP list Tuesday, allowing him to participate in the team’s morning walk-through.“Going through everything as a team, getting the ball, doing a little but of cutting,” Wells said of what he did.Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said every little bit Wells can do right now will help him get back into the swing of things. 0 Comments   Share   center_img Top Stories “I think it’s important right now that he gets back into the flow of the walk-throughs,” he said. “There’s a lot of things you can do, whether it’s protection pickups, footwork, those kind of things.”Wells said he is likely to take it slowly this week as the team is practicing against the Kansas City Chiefs, adding that he’ll probably open it up more when the team returns to Flagstaff.“I think if we were at home going against our defense I’d probably more full go,” he said. “But who knows, we may pick up stuff as the week goes on.”The (now) 24-year-old former Ohio State star has been on the Physically Unable to Perform list since the opening of training camp due to offseason knee surgery, but both he and the coaches have maintained a lack of concern over him possibly missing anything more than a few training camp practices.In other words, he has always been expected to be ready for the September 9 season opener against the Seahawks.Wells ran for a career-high 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, and will be counted on to once again carry the load out of the backfield along with second-year pro Ryan Williams, who is also recovering from an injury. Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more

Comments  

first_img Comments   Share   Vonnie Holliday knew he was getting close.“I was just thinking about that [Monday night] because I saw my buddy (Chargers linebacker) Takeo Spikes hit the 200-game mark. I can’t believe he beat me to it.”Holliday will play in his 200th career regular season game this week in New England.“That’s big,” the defensive end said. “It’s an honor.”According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Holliday will be just the 11th active player (non-kickers) to have reached that career milestone. D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation “Year in and year out,” he said recalling a recent conversation with fellow 1998 draftee Peyton Manning, “watching guys come and go, working out in the off-season, talking to guys and working out with guys who are scratching and clawing and trying to find a way to get back into the league, I don’t take it for granted.”Holliday is in his 15th season, second with the Cardinals.“I’ve been blessed with the opportunities but also with just physically being able to gear up and mentally go in each year and prepare—which is the hardest part, the off-season, the workouts and psychologically working your way through all those hot days in the summer to get to training camp, which is another grind and then to make it through a season. I’m very happy about that. It’s something I’m honored about.”Holliday, the 19th overall pick of the Packers, briefly considered retirement after last season. But now, what’s next? 220 games? Perhaps 230?“Hey,” he said laughing, “let’s just be thankful with 200 and let’s see what happens after that.”center_img Top Stories What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more

Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impa

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Who says you need to play on a winning team to make it to the Super Bowl?Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is heading back to the big game after a four-year absence, only this time he’s trading in his jersey and spikes for a suit and microphone.Fitzgerald, who in 2012 earned a trip back to the Pro Bowl for a seventh time with 71 catches for 798 yards, will serve as a contributing analyst for CBS leading up to Super Bowl XLVII. Joining Fitzgerald will be Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher and Pro Football Hall of Famer Rod Woodson. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires If Fitzgerald’s appearance in the Big Easy is anything like his prior Super Bowl performance, CBS and its viewers will have little to complain about.In the Cardinals’ Super Bowl XLIII loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Fitzgerald had seven catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellingcenter_img Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelolast_img read more

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