WAS $3,809 NOW from $3,309 per person (Save $500pp) WAS $6,199 NOW from $5,699 per person (Save $500pp) WAS $7,819 NOW from $7,319 per person (Save $500pp) March into great travel savings with ColletteMarch into great travel savings with ColletteWith winter coming, make the most of these opportunities to save $500 per person on selected European summer tours.Travellers have until the 30th of April inclusive to receive this fantastic discount on the following European tours: Complete European Journey tour – June 9, 2017 departure date Venice, Florence & Rome tour – June 4, 2017 departure date Southern Italy & Sicily tour – July 14, 2017 departure date WAS $3,259 NOW from $2,759 per person (Save $500pp) WAS $3,539 NOW from $3,039 per person (Save $500pp) France & Italy tour – June 24, 2017 departure date Rome & Amalfi Coast tour – July 21, 2017 departure date The sale is available for the selected departures and all tours are guaranteed. All prices are per person, land only, double occupancy and subject to change. Offers cannot be combined.The Complete European Journey provides immersion into ten European nations. A culinary discovery tour in Brussels, a Rhine River cruise and a visit to the Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna are amongst the many unique European sights on the tour.The France and Italy tour incorporates the best of France and Italy, two cultural and historic treasures. The fifteen-day tour will contain the secrets to perfume making and include a visit to the bohemian streets of Paris in Montmartre and an in-depth visit to the Coliseum of Rome.The charms of Italy’s south will be embraced with the Rome and Amalfi Coast tour. Rich scenery, art, culture, food, and wine feature on journeys to the Amalfi coast, Sorrento, Paestum and Mt Vesuvius.The ancient temples and stunning coastlines are the focus of the Southern Italy and Sicily tour. Travellers will experience diverse and unique attractions including Alberobello with its famous Trulli houses, the well-preserved temples of Agrigento and the picturesque town of Taormina.The Venice, Florence and Rome tour will display the best in the art and culture of Italy. The seven-day tour uncovers the charms of Venice, the techniques involved in creating Florentine gold jewellery and an extraordinary view of Michelangelo’s David.The Collette chauffeur is included for those within 40km of their international gateway giving a truly luxurious start and end to your journey. To save on your next adventure with Collette, visit gocollette.com and enter the code EURSAVE17. Terms and conditions apply and offers are subject to availability.For more details on your tour or these fantastic offers:Contact your local travel agent or call Collette on 1300 792 195.For full terms and conditions, visit gocollette.comSource = Collette
Evolution or Sell Out – Is the Industry Supporting agents?Whilst agents lament attacks from media, WebJet and poorly researched ABC TV shows, should they be looking to their own industry for support?“They just shouldn’t be doing it….why would Air New Zealand partner with Expedia?”It was the second line from a customer last month, upset with the airlines move to partner with the online accommodation beheamouth. Why?Nothing new. This agents beef? The money from ticket sales isn’t as strong as it used to be, Expedia is eating away at the agents business by not only going direct to customers but perception is that their commissions have been cut. These partnerships makes it harder for agents to carve their niche into the equation.It’s symbolic of the early phases of more travel companies trying to take their product direct to the market. It’s an evolution, not a revolution. A sign of things to come.Meanwhile in Siem Reap, former number one Hotel has taken things a step further. Siem Reap is a tough, tough place to run a hotel. I know as I saw my mum worked through the highs and lows of keeping rooms full. It’s an over serviced market fiercely governed by massive spikes interspersed with long, boring, hot lulls.Most hotels hire and fire with the tourist periods and when things are quiet, the staff go back to their villages. Peak tourism periods do more harm than good.But Shinta Mani was different.Under the careful watch of Christain De Boer (now running the stunning Jaya House) an eye for detail, service, nurturing of his local workers and contribution to local community saw Shinta Mani charge a premium at nearly double the city average occupancy.With flagging occupancy, the new managers have taken it a step further; beyond direct sales, their total allocation has been sent to a deal site.At less than half the rate.These deals negatively impact local communities and bypass agents , if not the traditional travel industry, altogether. Local ground operators get wiped out overnight by foreign companies, in this case based in Victoria, to create deals.At the same time, the brand equity of the property takes a massive hit. Gone is a reputation of luxury, service and caring. Instead is the offer of, low margins, high occupancy and a place in the crowded pool of properties playing the discount game.Differentiation? Gone. No one wins a pricing warBut airlines partnering with AirBnB is both the revolution and a sign of the times. These fast moving partnerships actually a move to cut out players like Expedia, even though they have their own version of AirBnB.Partnering with AirBnB cuts out another traditional part of the chain – hotels. It’s a business model which excludes not just partners and sales channels, but an entire product offering. A few years ago and impossible considerationSelling out or progressing? Or merely just survival in a rapidly changing travel world? learn more about roomsXML.com here Source = roomsXML
New ATAS Television Commercial starts TodayNew ATAS Television Commercial starts TodayToday, the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) reveals that a brand new television commercial will hit television screens right across Australia this Sunday, 28 October 2018.The month long campaign will reach 1.97 million consumers in an effort to remind the Australian Traveller that they can rely on travel agents to advise, book and manage their travel.The commercial will be shown across the Seven Network, TenPlay and YouTube reaching Australians in both metro and regional areas.“There are ATAS accredited travel agents spotted in every corner of Australia and the placement of this TV commercial is in an effort to support suburban bricks and mortar travel agents wherever they may be located,” said Jayson Westbury, AFTA Chief Executive.The commercial was carefully crafted using findings from consumer research commissioned by AFTA earlier in the year. FiftyFive5 was the independent and global research agency tasked with the responsibility of discovering what motivates the Australian Traveller to use a travel agent and find the marketing approach which will be the most powerful in influencing purchase behaviour and encouraging Australian’s to book their travel with an industry-accredited travel agency.“The research has been used to understand the Australian Traveller and adopt the most powerful and effective marketing strategies going forward. The messaging used in the television commercial is the messaging that the research found to be most compelling for the consumer,” said Westbury.“We hope that the commercial will also act as a reminder to ATAS accredited agents to use the ATAS logo in their selling narrative to the consumer. 82 per cent of overseas travellers will actively look to book with an ATAS accredited travel agent so it is important that consumers know that your business is accredited,” concluded Westbury. Source = Australian Federation of Travel Agents
Source = InterContinental Sydney InterContinental Sydney relaunches Cafe OperaInterContinental Sydney relaunches Cafe OperaLand to Sea features as the first in a series of new dining experiences under the helm of Executive Chef Jeremy ClarkRevamped experiences include bountiful buffets, dedicated corner for little Planet Trekkers and art-inspired high teaIconic luxury hotel, InterContinental Sydney, is proud to announce a revitalised offering at Cafe Opera. Executive Chef Jeremy Clark is at the helm of a series of immersive, new experiences featuring the renowned fresh seafood buffet providing Sydneysiders, interstate and overseas visitors with fine dining options within one of Sydney’s landmark hotels. Established more than 33 years ago within the sandstone facades of the historic Treasury Building of 1851, InterContinental Sydney and its restaurant and bars have been the backdrop to some of life’s most celebrated moments.Cafe Opera infuses sheer indulgence with harbourside sophistication, providing unparalleled culinary options. Patrons can savour in a host of memorable dining experiences, from a full breakfast, to leisurely business lunch or a luxurious dinner and drinks, enjoyed with family and friends.The star offering of the famed dining precinct will be the newly enhanced premium Land to Sea Buffet, now available Wednesday to Sunday each week for both lunch and dinner sittings. Graze on a feast of fresh oysters, prawns, mussels, and sushi, before sampling succulent premium roasts sourced from the Southern Highlands, mouth-watering hot dishes, salads, artisanal antipasto, international and Asian cuisines, and a curated selection just for children. Cafe Opera’s show-stopping dessert bar is also not to be missed, comprising tiers of cakes, tarts, ice creams, and a luxurious chocolate fountain.During weekend sittings, from Friday evening to Sunday evening, guests will delight in a Deluxe menu, featuring all the indulgences of the Land to Sea Buffet, plus additional seafood luxuries of Balmain bugs, blue swimmer crab, spanner crab, salmon sashimi, and grilled whole salmon. Weekend lunches also include free-flowing sparkling wine and soft drinks, adding an extra layer of delight for patrons wishing to celebrate special occasions.Jeremy Clark, Executive Chef, InterContinental Sydney said: “A seafood buffet is a must-do dining experience during a harbourside stay in Sydney, or for locals looking for a luxe weekend treat, so we are excited to share our revamped offering with our guests, new and long-standing. We pride ourselves on sourcing the finest and freshest seafood from New South Wales and beyond, and looking forward to showcasing the creativity of the team in the presentation of our cuisine.”In celebration of the refreshed dining space, Cafe Opera is offering a number of promotions for guests to enjoy. These offers include 20% off dining* (until 31 July 2019) and 20% off dining* for Seniors (until 31 December 2019). Complimentary dining* for children aged 10 and under will also be offered until 31 July 2019.Furthermore, Signature Dining Members will be able to secure 25% off their total bill, applicable to both dining and beverage. Signature Dining is the InterContinental Loyalty Dining Program which is free to sign up to and offers exclusive member rewards.Jennifer Brown, General Manager, InterContinental Sydney said: “We know exceptional dining experiences are highly sought-after by our guests and visitors alike – and this first series of experiences gives me tremendous excitement for what’s to follow under our new culinary direction.”InterContinental Sydney, nestled in the dress circle of Circular Quay, is a leisurely ten-minute walk from the iconic Sydney Opera House, making Cafe Opera an ideal pre-theatre dining option. Its central CBD location is also perfect for business dining, both lunch and dinner, with the buffet style ensuring no wait times for food, best for those with a busy schedule.“At InterContinental Sydney, we pride ourselves on providing a carefully curated and luxurious escape for our patrons. Cafe Opera is just one example of the many unique experiences we provide, and we are excited to share additional innovations in our restaurant and bar offering, in the next few months” added Brown.Awarded Australia’s Leading Hotel and Australasia’s Leading Business Hotel in the prestigious 2018 World Travel Awards, InterContinental Sydney remains the choice location for international visitors and locals alike, and is renowned for its luxury service delivery, dining experiences, accommodation and events spaces.Bookings are available for Cafe Opera breakfast, lunch and dinner sittings now. To reserve your table, peruse the menu and access special promotions, visit: https://www.icsydney.com.au/Cafe-Opera.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited has accelerated the process of installing Wi-Fi at tourist spots, as the summer vacations are just around the corner.Taj Mahal and Khajuraho are set to get the free internet service possibly with additional services. The tourism ministry and BSNL are to collaborate on the project, the proposal for which is being discussed by the two parties, said a source in BSNL.“We had demonstrated the benefits and success of Wi-Fi even in the most crowded places around Varanasi. Installing Wi-Fi services at the two spots will benefit tourists visiting this summer,” said Anupam Shrivastava, CMD, BSNL.The Tourism Ministry plans to use this facility to provide information, and even interactive content, about the location. The government is keen on tackling low internet penetration in the country by introducing public Wi-Fi hotspots to enable users to surf the web, check email and bank online. About 25 such hotspots would be set up around tourist locations, by June 2015.To that effect, the government has prepared a Request For Proposal (RFP) to invite telecom service providers also to participate in the project, for which operators won’t have to pay any entry fee. The government will also provide infrastructure, and help with security clearances.
The number soap bars that get thrown away every day in hotels across the world is a whopping five million. However, the travel trade world has finally decided to take a step against this condition.Source: CNN
The Jammu and Kashmir government is gearing to set up a first-of-its-kind ecological park along a riverbed in the foothills of Pir Panjal ranges in Rajouri district with an aim to boost tourism in the area. The park being developed on Koteranka area will be a one stop destination for eco-tourism, children excursions, study tours, home-stays, amusement and different other activities. Special components are being designed for educational values particularly about local flora and fauna. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, District Development Commissioner, Rajouri informed that the park is to be set up at a cost of Rs 5.88 crore. “It will be a great destination for conservation education, recreation and nature trails. Park planned along Ans riverbed in the foothills of Pir Panjal ranges near Koteranka aimed at tapping tourism potential of this region,” he added.As per the information received from Noor Alam, Assistant Development Commissioner, the park will comprise of a herbal garden, a cactus garden, besides a children amusement park. The district administration has also co-ordinated with the WWF-India, the country’s leading conservation organisation, for development of environment conservation study area, nature trail, wildlife exhibitions and a number of initiatives.The district administration is planning to train a group of at least eight local youths to organise and host different activities. The department has also asked for mapping of hamlets around the park for the development to showcase local culture and to promote the homestay concept to reflect the culture and traditions of the region.
Arabian Travel Market (ATM), part of the World Travel Market portfolio, has boosted its executive team with the appointment of a new Portfolio Director, who has over 25 years of experience within the travel trade and hospitality industry.Claude Blanc takes on the overall responsibility for all events in the World Travel Market portfolio including, WTM London, Travel Forward, the International Travel & Tourism Awards, ATM, WTM Latin America and WTM Africa.He joins from his role as Chief Executive Officer at Paris-based Travel & Co, a tour operating group which he founded in 2007. Prior to this, he was Digital Travel Director for TUI group and has also held senior posts with travel management company Rosenbluth International and timeshare exchange company RCI.Commenting on his new role, Blanc said, “I am delighted to join such a respected, well known global brand, and to work with a team of seasoned travel industry professionals. Having been a sponsor, an exhibitor and a visitor at many travel trade shows, I bring aclient perspective, an international network and a digital culture. It’s an exciting time to come on board, as the WTM Portfolio is set to smash last year’s achievement of USD 7 billion worldwide industry deals. Looking ahead to 2019’s events, my mission is to continue to increase the scale of the WTM portfolio through innovation and various new launches.”Blanc will now report to Nick Pilbeam, Divisional Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, a travel industry stalwart, with more than 17 years of FTSE 100 experience in the travel industry with corporate giants such as British Airways, Iberia and Avios.Commenting on the appointment, Pilbeam said, “I am very pleased to welcome Claude onboard. He is equally comfortable working as a part of a team or leading from the front, he has in-depth knowledge of the industry and understands the geographical reach our portfolio covers. Claude will be a great asset as we drive the WTM events around the world to go from strength to strength.”ATM 2019, taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 28 – May 1, 2019, will adopt cutting-edge technology and innovation as its spotlight theme.
Agents & Brokers Department of Commerce Home Prices Home Sales Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-08-23 Ryan Schuette August 23, 2011 416 Views Share in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Marking a third consecutive month, new home sales fell over July, the “”Commerce Department””:http://www.commerce.gov/ reported Tuesday. The drop in new home sales reflects still-weakening consumer confidence as new fears about a global economic slowdown continued to rattle stocks and markets worldwide.[IMAGE]According to a “”Census Bureau””:http://www.census.gov/ “”release””:http://www.census.gov/const/newressales.pdf covering new residential sales, new single-family house sales dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000 over July, reflecting a downward shift in estimates that fixed these numbers at a 0.7 percent decline from 300,000 homes sold over June. Seeing an increase, the median sales price of new homes sold over July amounted to $222,000, contrasting with $272,300 in sales figures over the same month. Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted estimate for new houses on sale over July leveled out at 165,000, according to government data, reflecting a 6.6-month supply at existing rates.In a report, research firm “”Capital Economics””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/ signaled that the number of new homes fell 10 percent below previous levels over the same period last year. It said that revisions over July would have shown a plunge by sales to 7 percent month-over-month, hitting 279,000, a record low.[COLUMN_BREAK]””This shows that the recent economic slowdown, rebound in the unemployment rate and fall in consumer confidence has more than offset any boost from lower mortgage rates to put a dent in households’ ability and willingness to buy,”” Paul Dales, a U.S. senior economist with the firm, wrote in a U.S. Data Housing Response. “”Even if the economy were to avoid another recession, a prolonged period of weak economic growth will mean that there will be no real recovery in home sales for a few years yet.””├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£There is no upside momentum at all in housing,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø “”_Bloomberg News_””:http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-23/u-s-new-home-sales-fell-in-july-to-lowest-level-in-five-months.html quoted Eric Green, chief market economist with “”TD Securities Inc.””:http://www.tdsecurities.com/tds/content/HomePageTemplate?command=doHome, as saying. ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£Without any meaningful job growth, we├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬óre going to continue to look at a housing sectors that is moribund.├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ØIn the report, he added that a “”surge in homebuilding won’t happen until demand recovers, which is not on the horizon. The upshot is that the state of the housing market will continue to undermine the wider economy both this year and the next.””Not all parts of the country registered dips in new home sales. From its place in Massachusetts, the Warren Group said that single-family homes had risen in the Bay State. According to a release, some 3,847 single-family homes statewide underwent the purchase process, jumping up from 3,590 over the same period from 2010, the year of the federal homebuyer tax credit, and pushing back a trend of year-over-year decreases.””While it’s encouraging to see sales rise in July, we’re comparing statistics to a very rough month of July last year,”” said Cory S. Hopkins, managing editor of Banker & Tradesman, a publication made available by the Group. “”The expiration of the homebuyer tax credits hurt sales volume a year ago, which is skewing the actual picture of the market now.””Nonetheless, analysts predict continued pains for housing as overall economic doldrums persist.””The incoming news have really confirmed that the economy is really in a very weak state, and the hopes that this would be a short, temporary slowdown seems to be fading by the day,”” Dales tells _MReport_. “”It seems like it’s here to stay for sometime.”” Adding to Worries, New Home Sales Drop in July
Acquisitions Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank Failure FDIC Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-11-11 Ryan Schuette in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Newest Bank Failure Raises Georgia, National Tallies November 11, 2011 410 Views The 2011 national tally for bank failures crested at 88 with the closure of a financial institution in Georgia Thursday.[IMAGE]The “”Community Bank of Rockmart””:http://communitybankofrockmart.com/ added to the state’s litany of bank failures by shuttering with $62.4 million in total assets and $55.9 million in total deposits. State regulators closed the bank and appointed the “”FDIC””:http://www.fdic.gov/ as receiver.The FDIC swooped in to cover the $14.5 million-bill left behind by the bank failure, with the Deposit Insurance Fund sopping up any expenses.Cartersville-based “”Century Bank of Georgia””:https://www.centurybanknet.com/ stepped in to purchase $40.7 million of the financial institution’s assets and rebrand the bank’s sole branch, which will reopen Saturday in honor of Veteran’s Day.[COLUMN_BREAK]Century Bank welcomed the adoption of a new branch and assets, with “”Rick Drews””:http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Drews_Rick_54807638.aspx, its CEO, appearing in a Web cast to greet new depositors.””The entire Century Bank of Georgia team is excited about this opportunity to better serve the Rockmart and Polk County markets and we were pleased that a local institution was able to assume Community Bank of Rockmart’s operations,”” he said in a “”statement””:https://www.centurybanknet.com/files/press-release-rockmart.pdf. “”Our bank already conducts business in these markets and many of our team members live in these markets and have long-term relationships in the community.””We look forward to meeting each of our new customers and building on the foundation of customer service that Community Bank of Rockmart began,”” he added.The failure in Rockmart boosts both the national and state tallies, with the latter climbing to 23, allowing Georgia to stay the leader in closures for the country this year.The large number of failures for Georgia has led lawmakers to concentrate much of their focus on onerous regulation around the state. In August “”Rep. Lynn Westmoreland””:http://westmoreland.house.gov/ (R-Georgia) helped lead the charge to a “”field hearing in Georgia””:https://themreport.com/articles/four-banks-fail-as-lawmakers-increase-scrutiny-2011-08-22 that portrayed burdensome rules as culpable for the fallout in the Peach State.Asked whether the new crop of bank failures in recent weeks means that U.S. markets should expect more, Greg Hernandez, FDIC spokesperson, demurred in a recent interview by reiterating that 2010 will likely remain the “”high-water mark”” for closures. Share
AGA Files Statement With the House Finance Subcommittee Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology July 6, 2012 449 Views The “”American Guild of Appraisers (AGA)””:http://www.appraisersguild.org/ has officially filed a statement with congressional legislators as part of a recent hearing titled, “”Appraisal Oversight: The Regulatory Impact on Consumers and Businesses.”” [IMAGE]Conducted by the Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity Committee of the “”House Finance Subcommittee””:http://www.financialservices.house.gov/, the AGA was asked to submit a statement of record to assist the lawmakers as they proposals directed at improving appraisal regulation, enforcement, and oversight.[COLUMN_BREAK]Peter Vidi, president of the AGA, provided the group’s statement to the subcommittee, and the document addressed several key issues including customary and reasonable fee structures, the preservation of state registration for appraisal management companies, and the ability of state boards to secure proper enforcement for reporting USPAP violations.In a release detailing the AGA’s statement submission, the organization said that it is also working with consumer organizations to “”ensure that consumers have the benefit and protection of professional appraisals, not just a mortgage organization but in circumstances of distress such as a short sale or pre-foreclosure proceeding.””Elaborating on the recent developments, Vidi said, “”The practices of many appraisal management companies are threatening the reliability of appraisals to the detriment of borrowers and taxpayers and causing large numbers of experienced appraisers to leave the profession. Borrowers and lenders alike in theory rely on the honesty and accuracy of appraisals in making lending and borrowing decisions.”” Agents & Brokers Appraisal Management Companies Appraisals Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-07-06 Abby Gregory
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Demand Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Processing Profits Quicken Loans Service Providers 2012-12-03 Tory Barringer in Data, Origination, Servicing Share December 3, 2012 407 Views A “”recently released study””:http://www.cgcginc.com/sites/default/files/pdf/CEB%20Carlisle.pdf from “”Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group””:http://www.cgcginc.com/ (CG) finds that a vast majority of consumers would consider looking to non-banks for their next mortgage.[IMAGE]The group conducted a survey in September of 618 consumers in the United States. According to the findings, 80 percent of respondents would consider purchasing a mortgage from a non-bank institution. One-third of consumers said they would consider a mortgage from retail giant Wal-Mart, while 48 percent would consider a mortgage from online payment website PayPal.Neither Wal-Mart nor PayPal offers mortgage products, but there are some big players breaking into the home lending space. “”According to a report””:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/business/major-retailers-start-selling-financial-products-challenging-banks.html?_r=0 from the _New York Times_, Costco has expanded its offerings into mortgage services.While banks may not feel pressure at the moment from those particular companies, they have no doubt noticed the rise of non-banking entities in the mortgage industry. “”According to data””:https://themreport.com/articles/report-originations-up-in-q3-market-share-opens-among-top-lenders-2012-11-12 from _Mortgage Daily_, “”Quicken Loans””:http://www.quickenloans.com/ was the fifth-most active originator in this year’s third quarter and was one of a handful of banks whose market share actually expanded.The interest in non-banks is somewhat surprising, given that 81 percent of consumers said they would rank their level of satisfaction with their bank at “”high.”” However, there are a few major issues that could drive away market share: High interest rates, high payments, and taxes and escrow were cited as the most frustrating issues regarding consumers’ current mortgages.Meanwhile, many respondents expressed aggravation with the application process. Fifty-six percent of consumers say slow execution is one of the most painful aspects of the mortgage process. Communication is also a big problem. Thirty-two percent of respondents say their lender is difficult to communicate with, while 31 percent say they have been unable to track the status of their mortgage application. Perhaps most disturbing is the lack of trust consumers have for their lenders–26 percent said their lender offers “”untrustworthy advice.””””Consumer attitude is driven by three things, price, service and trust,”” said Doug Hautop, senior manager and lending practice lead for CG. “”Institutions looking to gain market share must target customer values instead of traditional asset segmentation.”” Study: 80% of Consumers Would Consider a Mortgage from a Non-Bank
Share May 29, 2013 411 Views Application Volume Down as Refi Volume Freefalls Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates Purchase Loans Refinance Service Providers 2013-05-29 Tory Barringer in Origination Mortgage refinance applications continued to suffer last week as mortgage rates climbed to their highest level in a year, the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://mbaa.org/ (MBA) reported in its Weekly Applications Survey.[IMAGE]The survey’s Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, declined a seasonally adjusted 8.8 percent for the week ending May 24, MBA reported. Unadjusted, the index dropped 9 percent week-over-week.[COLUMN_BREAK]The Refinance Index decreased 12 percent, the largest single-week drop in refinance volume so far this year (just beating out the previous survey’s drop). The refinance share of total mortgage activity fell 3 percentage points to 71 percent, the lowest level since April 2012.””Refinance applications fell for the third straight week bringing the refinance index to its lowest level since December 2012 as mortgage rates increased to their highest level in a year,”” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s VP of research and economics. “”Rates rose in response to stronger economic data and an increasing chance that the Fed may soon begin to taper their asset purchases.””Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index rose 3 percent from the last survey. The unadjusted index was up 2 percent week-over-week and 14 percent year-over-year.The average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.90, an increase of 12 basis points, according to MBA. Points were unchanged at 0.39 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.
New,Mortgage Litigation Expert Joins Dykema in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-06-19 Tory Barringer June 19, 2013 422 Views “”Dykema””:http://www.dykema.com/, a leading national law firm, announced that Luke Sosnicki has joined its Los Angeles office as senior counsel.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Sosnicki has extensive experiencing defending banks and servicers in both individual and class action lawsuits across the United States. He comes to Dykema from Nationstar Mortgage, where he served as VP and assistant legal counsel, managing hundreds of lawsuits alleging various lending violations, origination fraud, and loan servicing errors.Prior to that, he was an assistant general counsel for Aurora Bank FSB, where he advised business units on litigation risk, foreclosure practices, and state and federal laws governing default management.””Luke has an extraordinary understanding of the complexities and nuances of financial services litigation,”” said Tom Schehr, leader of Dykema’s Financial Services Litigation practice group. “”His skill in devising litigation strategies to achieve favorable outcomes makes him a highly prized addition to our team.””
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Qualified Mortgage Service Providers 2013-12-10 Tory Barringer December 10, 2013 463 Views “”LoanSifter””:https://www.loansifter.com/index.aspx, a Wisconsin-based company specializing in technology for loan originators and secondary departments, is hosting two industry panels this week to address concerns and strategies revolving around the soon-to-be-implemented qualified mortgage (QM) rule.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Hosted in partnership with “”Radian Guaranty””:http://www.radian.biz/page?name=HomePage and other firms, the Web-hosted panels will discuss a number of QM-related topics, including common investor concerns, lender compensation, and what companies will need to look for in loan origination software and product pricing engines, among other subjects.””QM has been a very important focus. Assisting our clients with education and features to be QM compliant is our priority,”” said Sue Stewart, VP of client services for LoanSifter. “”We hope to equip our clients with indicators that allow them to make appropriate decisions early on in the pricing/search process.””There will be two panels: one held on December 10 for mortgage brokers and one on December 11 for mortgage bankers, banks, and credit unions. Both will start at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time. Readers interested in the webinars can email “”QM@LoanSifter.com””:mailto:QM@loansifter.com for a response with registration information and links. in Data, Origination, Technology LoanSifter to Host QM-Focused Webinars Share
Share Investment banker and published author Christopher Whalen has joined Massachusetts-based Weiss Residential Research’s (WRR) board of advisers, the company announced.Possessing more than three decades of experience as an investment banker and analyst, Whalen is a leading commentator on the housing sector and financial institutions. He is the author of Inflated: How Money and Debt Built the American Dream, released in 2010, and co-author of the upcoming Financial Stability: Fraud, Confidence & the Wealth of Nations.As an adviser, he will help counsel WRR on business strategy and housing industry trends as the firm continues to push forward in next generation home price analytics.“I am very excited about working with Allan [Weiss, WRR’s founder and CEO] and his team to commercialize the WRR House Price Indices and Market Maps,” Whalen said. “By creating home price indices for individual homes, WRR is able to provide enormous visibility for lenders, investors, policy makers and realtors when it comes to current home price valuations and the direction of future home prices.”Speaking for the company, Weiss said he is equally pleased to add Whalen’s experience and expertise to the board.“As we commercialize our House Price Index and HomeVest Score products and apply these tools to investment strategies such as rent-to-own, we look forward to having the benefit of Chris’ experience and market knowledge,” he said. Movers & Shakers Weiss Residential Research 2014-03-25 Tory Barringer in Data, Headlines, News Weiss Residential Research Adds Author, Expert to Advisory Board March 25, 2014 443 Views
Financial Misstatements Ocwen U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission 2016-01-20 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News January 20, 2016 559 Views The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved a settlement with Ocwen Financial Corp. for $2 million to resolve claims that the mortgage servicer misstated its financial results, according to an announcement from the SEC.An investigation by the SEC revealed that Ocwen misstated its income for the last three quarters of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 as a result of the servicer’s use of a flawed, undisclosed methodology to determine the value of certain complex mortgage assets. According to the SEC, Ocwen inaccurately disclosed to investors that it independently valued the mortgage assets in question under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) when in fact it was using valuations provided by a related party to which it sold certain mortgage servicing rights that were a liability. The related party’s valuations deviated from the fair value measures, and Ocwen’s auditing team failed to review the methodology with company management or the outside auditor, according to the SEC.“Ocwen’s filings led investors to believe the company was valuing complex mortgage assets using GAAP rather than relying on a related company’s accounting methodology that later proved to be flawed,” said Michael J. Osnato, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Complex Financial Instruments Unit. “Ocwen released inaccurate financial statements because its internal controls were inadequate and its audit committee failed to scrutinize whether the methodology was an appropriate way to measure fair value.”The SEC also found that Ocwen’s internal controls failed to prevent conflicts of interest involving the servicer’s since-departed chairman and founder, William Erbey. Ocwen disclosed to investors to that Erbey was required to recuse himself on transactions involving companies where he also served in leadership positions, when in fact Ocwen had no written policies or procedures for recusal; hence, Erbey approved a $75 million bridge loan to company for which he also served as chairman of the board.Erbey was forced to step down as chairman and CEO of Ocwen in January 2015 after 30 years with the company he founded. His departure was part of a $150 million settlement Ocwen reached with the New York Department of Financial Services in December 2014. A two-year investigation by the New York DFS revealed that Ocwen had sent backdated foreclosure notices to thousands of borrowers.“We are pleased with the resolution of this U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) investigation,” Ocwen spokesman John Lovallo said. “As previously disclosed in our October 2015 SEC 10-Q filing, funds have already been reserved to address this settlement. Ocwen remains committed to full compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements and will continue to fully cooperate with regulators on any matter brought to its attention.” Share SEC Approves Ocwen Settlement Over Financial Misstatements
Outlook is Much Brighter for Lender Profits Compliance Fannie Mae Mortgage Lenders Profits 2016-09-15 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News The outlook for lender profit has increased significantly compared with this time last year, according to Fannie Mae’s Q3 2016 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey released Thursday.Fannie Mae’s survey, conducted in August, found that 28 percent of mortgage lenders expect their respective firms to increase their profit margin in the next three months. Approximately 17 percent of respondents said they expect a decrease in profit margin over the next three months, while 55 percent said they expect no change.Lenders who expect their profits to increase cited operational efficiency and technology, and consumer demand as the top reasons to drive the expected increase, according to Fannie Mae.Notably, among lenders who expect a decrease in profits over the next three months, the cost of regulatory compliance was not the top reason for the eroding profit outlook for the first time in the history of the survey. The percentage of lenders who cited compliance costs as an expected driver of declining profits fell from 61 percent in Q3 2015 down to 39 percent in Q3 2016, an all-time survey low.Q3 marked the third straight quarter in which lenders reported a net positive profit margin outlook, and the largest year-over-year increases in net profit margin outlook were seen among credit unions and smaller institutions, which ironically, have been among the most vocal groups in the last few years expressing concerns over the costs of regulatory compliance.“For lenders, the most encouraging aspect of the survey is a significantly brighter profit outlook this year compared with last year,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “More lenders, on net, reported a positive profit outlook for the third straight quarter, the first time that has happened since the survey’s inception. Their perception of profit outlook in the third quarter of this year is in stark contrast to the third quarter of 2015, when a sizable net share of lenders expected a deteriorating profit outlook over the next three months. It appears that lenders have incurred the increased compliance costs from new regulations such as TRID, and are now on a stabilized though higher-cost footing to focus on growth strategies. However, any upward move in interest rates will bring reduced origination volumes and competitive pressure on profits. That pressure would likely result in lowered expectations and additional demands for cost containment.” September 15, 2016 530 Views Share
Critics have begun to worry that Friday’s executive orders targeting too big to fail may signal another financial crisis is on the horizon.On Friday, President Donald Trump signed two executive orders calling for a Treasury review of 2016 tax regulations, as well as the oversight of the nation’s “too big to fail” institutions. Specifically, the orders require a review of the Orderly Liquidation Authority and a 180-day review of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which designates which financial institutions are deemed “systemically important” or, as most put it, “too big to fail.”The review of the OLA, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, is designed to make sure it “doesn’t encourage excess risk-taking, moral hazard, and exposure to taxpayers.”Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling praised the president’s action, noting that bailouts should not be an option.“No company in America should ever be anointed ‘too big to fail’ and no taxpayer should ever be forced to pay for more Wall Street-type bailouts,” said Hensarling in a statement. “President Trump deserves tremendous praise for taking decisive action to protect taxpayers and our economy. He pledged to dismantle Dodd-Frank, and his actions today are another significant step towards ending the Dodd-Frank mistake that has given Washington bureaucrats more power to politically control our economy.”However, according to Joseph Lynyak III, partner at Dorsey & Whitney, the OLA’s power is balanced by the FDIC’s authority—and that balance already prevents risk on its own.“In regard to the orderly liquidation authority,” Lynyak said, “while it is an extraordinary power, it might best be viewed as a valuable tool in the FDIC’s toolbox to resolve very large institutions, most particularly large bank holding companies. It should also be recalled that the FDIC has companion authority to borrow up to $500 billion from the Treasury, which must be paid back by other large banking institutions. This provides all large banks ‘skin in the game’ to ensure that competitors do not take excessive risks.”As for the FSOC review, Mnuchin told White House reporters that it’s to ensure fairness and transparency in the council’s operations.“I think the most important part of FSOC is that I can bring the regulators together, get everybody in a room, be able to address important part of regulation,” Mnuchin said. “FSOC also has the responsibility to designate certain entities, and the President will be instructing me to put a hold on that for designations until we do a thorough review and make sure it’s a fair and transparent process.”But many are worried these reviews aren’t as innocent as they’re meant to sound. In fact, according to Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, they could expose the economy to crisis-level risk.“Any actions to undermine these protections encourage Wall Street’s risky behavior and leave taxpayers and our economy exposed to another catastrophe,” Brown told the New York Times. “We should be working to lower taxes for hardworking families and workers across Ohio, not helping multimillion-dollar corporations cheat the system to avoid paying their fair share.”Lisa Donnor, Executive Director of Americans for Financial Reform, said the orders threaten financial stability.“From our perspective,” Donnor said, “it is a direction that is dramatically backwards on financial stability.” Critics Take Aim at Latest Trump Orders Dodd-Frank Trump 2017-04-21 Seth Welborn Share April 21, 2017 565 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News
Share The inventory shortage is an issue in the U.S. housing market everyone can agree on. A recently released survey by Trulia proposed top theories that directly correlate to the inventory shortage. The results determined which theories are factual, or simply fiction.The theories tested included markets with a higher share of investors, a bigger recent price increase, and a larger increase in price spread. To determine markets with greater inventory, the theory behind markets with more home building was considered. The survey used multiple linear regression methods to estimate the impact of each of the major explanations for inventory while taking into account the effect of the other explanations. So what myths were confirmed, and which were busted?First myth answered was that markets with more homes owned by investors have lower inventory due to investors sitting on homes and renting them out. This was in fact confirmed. According to Trulia, every percentage-point increased in housing stock owned by investors was correlated with inventory that was 2.8 percent lower.The second and third low inventory myths are due to a more challenging trade up, markets where premium homes are far more expensive than starter homes. Also, markets that have seen big price increases have lower inventory due to homes becoming unaffordable. These myths are busted; neither rising prices nor spreads among homes had a significant impact on inventory. Final myth tested had the largest impact overall. The theory was that markets with more home building would have more housing inventory. According to the data, this myth was confirmed. The fact was that for every percentage-point increase in a market’s housing stock, inventory increased approximately 13 percent.To view all the information from Trulia’s survey, click here. Homebuilding HOUSING Housing Inventory Investors Low Inventory mortgage Trulia 2017-07-26 Nicole Casperson Inventory Myths: Confirmed or Busted? July 26, 2017 752 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News