Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said that unions representing pilots and engineers have “singled out” the carrier, with “unacceptable demands” that could prevent the airline from moving into the future.Speaking to the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the carrier’s head stressed that the target against Qantas was “nothing short of a kamikaze campaign” as demands pitched by the union could “kill the jobs of their members”.While Mr Joyce sympathised with the need for job security, the airline’s head noted fighting for it was irrelevant as Qantas employees work under “great” conditions and jobs “have historically been secure”. “We have a lower turnover rate than most Australian companies,” Mr Joyce added.“We probably have more people with 30, 40 and even 50 year employment milestones than any company in this country. “But it is no more in my power to guarantee jobs in writing than to promise that Santa will swing by on 24 December.”Mr Joyce continued, describing the looming threat of industrial strikes as “damage to our brand” as it causes concern amongst passengers looking to place forward bookings.In a bid to protect the company’s future bookings, the airline confirmed that during industrial disputes it has always developed a contingency plan which involves sending managers overseas to train up pilots.Qantas’ chief defending the company’s back-up plan, refusing to apologise for establishing flight security for its customers. In regards to relocating its business offshore, Mr Joyce described the move as a “myth”, highlighting that while the company will continue to look for expansion overseas, up to 93 percent of its 35,000 staff are located in Australia. Qantas’ chief stressed that the with uncertainties such as fuel prices and natural disasters, the aviation industry “has never been more challenging” and international growth would provide the carrier and its staff with “new sources of income and profit”. Jetstar Asia established in 2004 has helped maintain Australian jobs according to Mr Joyce, by contributing its profits back into the Qantas Group. Mr Joyce concluded, stating that he will continue to focus on moving the company into the future but will also “stay on track and keep doing what is right for Qantas, including all our employees”. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Alan Joyce
Stretching into the hotel sector, Webjet has completed the first of stage of its new hotel platform that features up to 100,000 global hotels.Releasing plans of the new platform earlier this year, the new site operates as an aggregation model and offers similar choice and deals available on the company’s airline model.Featuring up to one million hotel rooms, Webjet said in an online statement that a portion of its supply comes from internet distributors including Orbitz, Expedia, GTA, Tourico and Hotelbeds.Offering personal perspectives and deeper content on the hotel choices, the company said it will also use reviews from TripAdvisor.“Because the aggregation model accesses both commissionable product and deep discount wholesale product, the resultant margin will exceed 12 percent which in turn will ensure we have an ability to aggressively promote and market and still retain out standard model income structure,” Webjet general manager John Guscic said.The company’s head added that the second phase of the hotel will see the company roll out its hotel platform to its overseas locations.Speaking at the Group’s Annual General Meeting, Mr Guscic said “despite general consumer retail caution”, the industry is seeing positive growth.“This creates an ideal environment for internet distribution which brings speed of offer to market and provides consumers with the ability to make rapid informed purchases,” he added.Earlier this year Webjet announced it had seen its total transaction value (TTV) increase by 25 percent and its net profits before tax incline by 23 percent on last year to $4.65 million. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Last month saw the construction of rooms in the United States’ luxury hotel segment grow by 113.5 percent, a recently released report has revealed.According to the November 2011 STR/McGraw Hill Construction Dodge Pipeline Report, 1,657 luxury hotel rooms were in the works for the United States last month, more than doubling results from same month last year.At the recent Luxury Travel Expo in Las Vegas, e-Travel Blackboard caught up with Harlequin Hotels & Resorts founder Dave Ames (of Buccament Bay Resort fame), who said that, in general, luxury travelers are little impacted by recessions, at most still staying in luxury accommodation when they travel, but maybe cutting out a trip a year.“People now are more choosy,” Mr Ames told e-Travel Blackboard.“But my hotel’s full.”According to the report, 16,140 rooms are being constructed in the upscale segment, a 30.8 percent growth in November 2011 over November 2010, while the midscale segment reported a 56.6 percentdecrease in rooms under construction to 2,954 rooms.
They call it ‘bill shock’ and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has some important advice for travellers to avoid racking up unexpectedly expensive phone bills overseas.The ACMA has released a graphic, with tips to evade these offensive invoices while travelling.Some Australians return with a phone or data bill that may cost the same or more than their entire vacation.The image has been posted on the ACMA’s Engage website.The ACMA recently released a consultation paper, outlining a draft standard for mobile roaming that would require telecommunications companies to warn consumers about roaming costs while overseas. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T ACMA warn travellers to be wary when using a tablet or smartphone overseas.
Western Australia’s RSLs and cultural clubs could start serving tourists, in a dramatic plan to change the state’s liquor licensing laws. WA Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall said that clubs were a centre of communities and cultural events and should be allowed to advertise food and drink deals to tourists. Chief of WA pubs and clubs, Peter Seaman said that if members left a club at one time, tourists could technically be drinking or eating illegally there. Mr Seaman also argued that clubs should not be restricted from hosting tourists at community functions because this would create another revenue stream. The clubs, which are struggling financially because of demographic change, gentrification and lack of interest want to be able to serve tourists who come through their doors, the West Australian reported. Source = ETB News: T.N.
Source = Visit Sunshine Coast Visit Sunshine Coast appoints new high-profile New Zealand representativeVisit Sunshine Coast appoints new high-profile New Zealand representativeVisit Sunshine Coast (VSC) has announced the appointment of Louise Brooks (Sneddon) as the Queensland region’s New Zealand representative under her own business, Elbe Communications.Louise is one of New Zealand’s most experienced tourism marketers, with a long history of promoting Australian destinations in the New Zealand marketplace.She has worked with leading organisations including Air New Zealand, Travel 2, Harvey World Travel and for the past 11 years, has headed up her own travel and tourism PR agency, 4pr which she retains an interest in. Clients have included Tourism Australia, Tourism and Events Queensland, Carnival Cruise Lines and Niue Island Tourism.New Zealand continues to be the Sunshine Coast’s most important international market, with direct services by Air New Zealand from Auckland helping deliver 62,000 New Zealand tourists to the region annually and 538,000 room nights, an increase of 22.9% to the year ending March 2016.Louise has helped promote Queensland as a premium destination for general and niche tourism for many years and brings a wealth of experience of the New Zealand market to Visit Sunshine Coast. Her extensive PR, marketing, and event management skills, enviable product knowledge, and extensive contacts in the industry will be a significant asset for the Sunshine Coast.CEO, Simon Latchford said, “New Zealand continues to be one of the Sunshine Coast’s primary markets, and with the region’s increased range of attractions, our year-round high-profile events calendar, and our accessibility through both Sunshine Coast and Brisbane airports, we will be expecting significant growth out of New Zealand.“New Zealand plays a particularly important role in boosting visitation during winter and shoulder seasons, with the direct Air New Zealand flights attracting not only leisure travellers but incentive and conference groups wanting a high quality destination that is directly accessible from Auckland.“Louise will work closely with the trade and partners to drive key marketing strategies and continue to develop the Sunshine Coast ‘brand’, which celebrates its 50thanniversary in 2017.“Louise’s experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, her passion for travel and tourism, and her strong PR and marketing experience will prove a great asset to the Sunshine Coast,” he added.Louise Brooks will commence with VSC this week. Visit Sunshine Coast
Cathay Pacific’s Manchester service to go daily from DecemberCathay Pacific’s Manchester service to go daily from DecemberCathay Pacific today announced that its current four-times-weekly Hong Kong to Manchester service will become a daily operation from 1 December 2017.Having announced in March that it would be increasing the number of weekly flights to the northern English city to six by the end of the year, the airline is boosting frequency further in response to growing customer demand.From June onwards, the Airbus A350-900 will replace the Boeing 777-300ER on all flights to Manchester, making it the second Cathay Pacific destination in the UK, after Gatwick, to receive the technologically-advanced aircraft.Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Development and IT Paul Loo said: “We have been delighted by the popularity of our Manchester route ever since its launch in December 2014 and our frequency increases are a direct result of us responding to the needs of our customers. The enhanced schedule will provide business and leisure travellers with more choice and greater flexibility in planning their trips for added convenience, while at the same time strengthening Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s leading aviation hub.”Cathay Pacific, already the largest operator of flights between Hong Kong and the UK, is committed to growing its reach in its longest serving long-haul market. The airline serves London Heathrow with five daily flights, while Gatwick, currently a four-times-weekly service, will go daily from 1 June.“We have served the UK for over 35 years – London was our first European destination – and it is unquestionably one of our most important markets. This announcement underscores not only our commitment to the UK but also to expanding our operations around the globe,” added Mr Loo.Cathay Pacific has been growing its long-haul network considerably in recent years, launching services to Zurich and Düsseldorf in 2015 followed by Madrid and Gatwick in 2016. A new A350-operated service to Tel Aviv commenced last month, while seasonal operations to Barcelona and Christchurch will debut in July and December respectively.Featuring the airline’s latest products in Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class, Cathay Pacific’s A350 aircraft encapsulates its brand promise of providing a “Life Well Travelled”. In addition to the latest seats and an enhanced inflight entertainment system, the aircraft is Wi-Fi equipped, meaning passengers can stay connected throughout their journey.Note: Flight schedule is subject to change without prior notice.About Cathay Pacific Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific Airways is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading airlines, offering scheduled passenger and cargo services to serve over 170 destinations worldwide. Out of Australia the airline has over 70 flights a week to Hong Kong from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns. All flights provide excellent connections over the Hong Kong hub to the airlines worldwide network, including an extensive number of cities in China, served by Cathay Dragon. All Australian flights offer three classes of travel – Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Cass – providing excellent, award-winning levels of service to both the business and leisure traveller. Cathay Pacific is a founding member of the oneworld global alliance, whose combined network serves almost 700 destinations worldwide.Source = Cathay Pacific
Jackalope at Willow Creek VineyardUltimate Winery Experiences Australia adds new options to stayUltimate Winery Experiences Australia is thrilled to announce the inclusion of two new members to the collection – Jackalope at Willow Creek Vineyard, on the Mornington Peninsula and Mandoon Estate, located in the Swan Valley. Both properties offer luxe boutique accommodation, further enhancing UWEA’s suite of experiences.Sally Cope, Executive Officer of UWEA says:“This is a great opportunity for us to build on the strength of the existing collection by offering a wider selection of overnight experiences. There is a clear appetite for both domestic and international premium travelers to visit our wine regions for a night or more and these fabulous onsite accommodation options are a major drawcard.”Luxury boutique hotel, Jackalope, opened in April 2017 to widespread excitement and acclaim, immediately earning one of Australian tourism’s most revered accolades – Australia’s Hotel of the Year at the annual Gourmet Traveller Australian Hotel Guide Awards.Set on a pristine vineyard amid Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula – only one hour from Melbourne – this distinctive hotel, unique in destination and design, heralds a new era for the region. In collaboration with existing UWEA member, Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove, Jackalope will offer four new experiences combining winery tours and tastings, fine dining, luxury accommodation and spa treatments.Examples of the new experiences available at Jackalope include:Mornington Peninsula Discovery – an ideal introduction to the Mornington Peninsula, this one or two-night escape packages accommodation in one of Jackalope’s Vineyard View rooms; a wine and a cheese plate on arrival; a five-course dinner with matched wines in Jackalope’s hatted dining room, Doot Doot Doot; and daily breakfast. Also included is Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove’s Estate to Plate Experience and private road transfers to/from Melbourne. Prices from $838 per person (twin/double share).Mornington Peninsula Luxury – a premium exploration of this beautiful region, this two-night luxury escape includes accommodation in Jackalope’s 85 sqm signature suites, known as Lairs; a wine and a cheese plate on arrival; a five-course dinner with matched wines in Jackalope’s hatted dining room, Doot Doot Doot; daily breakfast; and a ‘Wine Therapy’ spa session, designed for couples and comprising a range of treatments using wine-based products. Also included is Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove’s Pinot Lovers Road Trip, Jackalope’s signature Wine Therapy spa treatment and private road transfers to/from Melbourne.Mandoon Estate is the first Swan Valley winery in the UWEA collection. Western Australia’s beautiful Swan Valley is a favourite of Perth locals, situated just over 25km from Perth CBD.“The Swan Valley has been our wish list for a while, with such close proximity to Perth and an easy connection to our Margaret River wineries, it made the obvious choice. We’re thrilled to have Mandoon Estate on board.” Says Cope.Located overlooking the magnificent Swan River, Mandoon Estate has earned a reputation as one of the Swan Valley’s best wineries and most popular destinations. As well as the cellar door, showcasing the Estate’s range of award-winning fine wines, within the picturesque grounds also lies a microbrewery and casual dining venue, the Homestead Brewery; fine dining restaurant Wild Swan; a gourmet deli and beer garden as well as the property’s original homestead, dating back to circa 1905, which has been restored and now houses the Linton & Kay Art Gallery.Luxury accommodation is available onsite at recently opened The Colony, with 32 spacious, luxuriously appointed rooms and suites overlooking a beautiful section of the Swan River and the property’s original Verdelho vineyard, planted in 1895.Examples of the new experiences on offer at Mandoon Estate include:Meet the Makers at Mandoon Estate – An in-depth guided tour of Mandoon Estate’s working winery, hosted by a member of the talented winemaking team, a tour Mandoon’s German Brewhouse and a 5-course degustation lunch at Wild Swan.Ultimate Flight – an exploration of the Swan Valley region and Mandoon Estate with a private tour, guided tasting in the private underground cellar, a 30 minute chopper flight to Perth’s beautiful beaches, a 5-course degustation lunch at Wild Swan, and overnight accommodation with breakfast at The Colony.Also available for groups of 10 people of more is Mandoon Estate’s Bush Tucker Tasting – a unique opportunity to listen to the stories of this area and learn about local indigenous food and culture from Noongar Elder, Dale Tilbrook including a tasting of some traditional bush food followed by a 2-course lunch paired with award-winning beer and wine.Source = Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia
ETB Travel News announces their first Brand Ambassador Ms Chern’ee SuttonETB Travel News announces their first Brand Ambassador Ms Chern’ee SuttonETB Travel News is proud to announce high profile, contemporary indigenous artist Ms Chern’ee Sutton as its first-ever brand ambassador.Hailing from the Kalkadoon people from the Mount Isa area in Central Queensland, Chern’ee is passionate about her people’s culture and history and wishes to share this with the rest of the world.Starting to paint when she was 13 years old, today she paints mostly on canvas using acrylic and raised acrylic paints.Chern’ee is the artist commissioned to create the indigenous design and story for Borobi, the 2018 Commonwealth Games Mascot. Her artwork and story were used on Borobi’s hands, surfboard, name and advertising signage.Given her young age, Chern’ee is just 21 years of age, her personal achievements throughout her journey have been numerous and memorable.She met with His Royal Highness, Prince Charles of Wales and His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.One of her paintings, commissioned by the City of Gold Coast and gifted to Prince Charles, now hangs in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace.Chern’ee also met Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their Royal visit to Australia in 2014.Three of her paintings have also been used for the official licensed men’s and women’s National Rugby League Indigenous All Stars jerseys and merchandise in 2015, 2016 and 2017.Announcing Chern’ee’s brand ambassadorship, ETB Travel News General Manager, Jeremy Lai said his organisation was honoured and fortunate to have this partnership with Chern’ee, she is truly an amazing young lady.“We are excited to be part of her amazing journey and very proud to be able to share her story with the world!”ETB Travel News announces their first Brand Ambassador Ms Chern’ee SuttonSource = ETB Travel News
Seychelles Tourism Board along with TravelGyaan conducted a destination training webinar for tour operators across India recently to enhance understanding of the destination in the India market. This one hour of live training session provided operators with detailed information on the Seychelles islands, unique activities, must-visit locations along with the various categories of hotels and transport options available between islands.Lubaina Sheerazi, COO, Blue Square Consultants, Seychelles Tourist Office commented, “Webinar has been an effective marketing tool to reach out to the wider audience in one go; particularly for B2B activities with the approach and format reinventing and changing in many ways over the years. We conducted our first webinar in 2017 and received an incredible response post the training session from the travel industry. This year the webinar is much more focussed and covered Seychelles in depth. This webinar is a must-attend for prospective operators to take a deep dive into understanding the nuances of Seychelles in order to promote the destination better.”This activity allowed the Seychelles Tourism Board to distribute information to smaller cities of India that have the clientele and give them the right reasons to choose Seychelles over competing destinations. The webinar was attended upon registration by an online audience for one hour which was recorded as well to make it available on the training website for the next three months. It also included a segment that answered questions sent by the live audience during the presentation.
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Debt Crisis Home Prices Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers Valuation 2012-10-02 Carrie Bay Recent gains in housing are closely linked to rising consumer confidence, according to numbers juxtaposed and analyzed by “”Clear Capital””:http://www.clearcapital.com in its latest report on home price movements. The feeble underpinnings of price increases, however, could soon topple, according to the real estate valuation company. [IMAGE]Threatening to temper consumer sentiment–and in turn, home prices–is the fear Congress will not act in time to avert the looming “”fiscal cliff”” that lies in wait at year-end, Clear Capital warns. “”Fiscal cliff”” is the moniker that’s been given to the $500 billion in expiring tax breaks and new government spending cuts scheduled to take effect at midnight on December 31, 2012, and the Congressional Budget Office warns it could send a shock through the financial system so deep that we might find ourselves in another recession. Even if federal lawmakers do agree on a resolution to mitigate the impact of impending debt-trimming measures, Dr. Alex Villacorta, Clear Capital’s director of research and analytics, says consumer confidence is still at risk if Congress fails to act quickly and allows economic uncertainty to escalate with each day the end-of-year deadline draws closer. This government-induced falling consumer sentiment will keep homebuyers on the sidelines, Villacorta warns, and “”throw a wrench into the recovery.””Villacorta says housing is making notable progress, with enough momentum to carry improvements well into the new year, _if_ Congress doesn’t put a damper on confidence. Home prices continued to gain ground in September with national numbers closing out the third quarter 3.6 percent higher than the previous year, Clear Capital reported Tuesday. Improvements have been so strong, in fact, the real estate valuation firm says yearly growth is forecast to shake off winter’s chill and continue through the first quarter of 2013. The company projects a 2.2 percent gain nationally through the first quarter of next year with home prices defying the typical seasonal trajectory that follows the thermometer’s mercury lower–that’s provided Congress grinds out a fix to avoid the cliff before the curtain falls on 2012 and does so in a fashion that does minimal damage to consumer confidence. “”Confidence is key to turning the [housing] recovery’s near-term sprint into a marathon,”” Villacorta said. “”The sooner businesses and consumers are reassured, the more likely they are to build, purchase, or loan on a house.””[COLUMN_BREAK]The housing recovery now lies in Congress’ hands, Clear Capital says. The company draws parallels between recent bouts of economic uncertainty and declines in both consumer confidence and home prices in its latest report.Consumers reacted negatively to the debt ceiling spectacle last summer with a 14.3 percent drop in sentiment–the largest since the end of the recession–and concurrently, home prices experienced their worst annual declines since the bottom of the market in 2009, Clear Capital reports.The company also points to May 2011, when the debt ceiling debate really began to intensify and consequently, when home prices dropped 6.8 percent year-over-year. Annual home price declines persisted through 2011, until finally finding some relief in early 2012, coinciding with recorded improvements in consumer sentiment.Clear Capital’s data indicates strength in consumer sentiment also corresponded with the only two notable housing improvements since 2009. The company says between March 2009 and June 2010, consumer sentiment rebounded 32.6 percent. Over the same period, home prices went from seeing yearly declines of 22.7 percent to yearly growth of 4.0 percent. Similarly, between December 2011 and September 2012, consumer sentiment gained 12.0 percent, and home prices moved from yearly losses of 2.3 percent to gains of 3.6 percent by Clear Capital’s assessment.Now, the valuation company says, economic and housing improvements are priming pent up homebuyer demand for a breakout. Consumer sentiment has finally rebounded from the debt ceiling debate lows of last year, up 31.8 percent, and homebuilders are echoing consumers, with confidence at a five-year high.Recovery continued to take hold in September at the regional level as well. Clear Capital says the West once again dominated the high-end of its index with 9.4 percent in annual gains–the highest yearly gain the region has recorded since the second quarter in 2006. Projected gains of 5.3 percent over the next six months in the West are expected to drive a sustained recovery at the national level through the winter months.The South and Midwest saw yearly gains in September of 3.2 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Clear Capital expects the South to see further price advances of 1.9 percent through March 2013 and the Midwest to post a 0.8 percent rise in home prices.The Northeast continues to see annual gains soften, with prices in September rising just 0.9 percent over the previous year. Home prices in the Northeast are expected to do more of the same and remain relatively flat, growing 0.9 percent over the next six months, according to Clear Capital’s forecast.The good news, Clear Capital says, is that far more markets are improving than are declining. The company’s forecast shows the recovery will sustain the typically slow winter, and start the spring buying season strong.But as we approach the end of 2012, will fear from the impending fiscal cliff sway consumer confidence and discourage potential homebuyers?””We say yes, it can,”” Clear Capital stated. “”Congress must make tough decisions before the 11th hour.”” Clear Capital: ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Could Send Prices Tumbling in Data, Government, Origination October 2, 2012 441 Views Share
Share A new report from “”Zillow””:http://www.zillow.com/ shows home sellers in the West tend to have the greatest advantages over buyers when it comes to negotiation, while buyers in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic areas are likelier to come out of a sale with more left in their wallets.[IMAGE]For its latest “”research brief””:http://www.zillow.com/blog/research/2012/12/11/best-areas-for-home-buyers-sellers-vary-by-region/, Zillow analyzed data on actual sales prices compared to asking prices, the number of days listings spent on Zillow, and the percentage of homes on the market with a price cut.””As most housing markets continue to improve nationwide, the relative position of buyers and sellers continues to vary considerably by geography,”” said Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries. “”In some markets, buyers are finding themselves in strong bargaining positions relative to sellers, confidently offering less than the asking price on a home they had months to consider. In other areas, it’s sellers that are squarely in the driver’s seat with their homes selling within days of listing, often after bidding wars that increase the sale price above the asking price.””The 30 largest metro areas in the country were then ranked according to their Buyer-Seller Index values. A low number on the index indicates a sellers’ market, while the converse is true for a buyers’ market.[COLUMN_BREAK]With the exception of Seattle and Washington, D.C., the top sellers’ markets are all in the West, with six of the top eight located in California. Non-Golden Gate State entries include Las Vegas, Nevada and Phoenix, Arizona.The top sellers’ market in the country is San Jose, California, which earns a 0.1 on the index. The median length of time a home stays on the market in San Jose is 50 days, and the sale-to-list price ratio is 1.012.San Francisco and Sacramento followed for the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively.Besides their geographic location, the top sellers’ markets have one major commonality, according to Humphries.””Many of the strongest sellers’ markets are in areas that were hardest hit by the housing bust, places like California, Nevada and Arizona, which may seem counter-intuitive. But much of that strength is driven by investor interest, as many distressed and non-distressed homes are purchased and transformed into rentals,”” he said. “”This investor activity is contributing to very low inventory levels, which increases demand and helps drive up prices, particularly for less expensive homes in these markets.””*Biggest Sellers’ Markets*1. San Jose, California (0.1)2. San Francisco, California (0.1)3. Sacramento, California (0.7)4. Las Vegas, Nevada (0.8)5. Phoenix, Arizona (0.9)*Biggest Buyers’ Markets*1. Chicago, Illinois (8.1)2. Cleveland, Ohio (8.0)3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (7.9)4. Cincinnati, Ohio (7.6)5. New York, New York (7.6) December 12, 2012 399 Views Agents & Brokers Asking Prices Attorneys & Title Companies Home Prices Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Zillow 2012-12-12 Tory Barringer in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Zillow: Hard-Hit States House Top Sellers’ Markets
Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing “”Wingspan Portfolio Advisors””:http://www.wingspanportfolioadvisors.com/, a diversified mortgage services company headquartered in Texas, named longtime industry expert Arleen Scavone to the newly created post of COO.[IMAGE]With more than 30 years of experience in the financial services arena, Scavone is well-versed in operational management, technology, and business development for large organizations. Prior to taking her new position, she [COLUMN_BREAK]was founder and president of OpExNow, a process improvement and management consultancy focused on serving major lenders and servicers. (She will remain working in that position as well, according to Wingspan.)Before founding OpExNow in 2009, Scavone worked in senior management positions for a number of institutions, including a 10-year stint at Washington Mutual, where she served as SVP and national operations manager before taking the role of SVP and national sales manager.””At about 2,000 team members, Wingspan is a midsize organization by Arleen’s experience, but we are growing very rapidly,”” said Steven Horne, president and CEO of Wingspan. “”Arleen will be a great addition as we continue to diversify and expand, both geographically and with new business lines.””””I was very familiar with Wingspan Portfolio Advisors since they were a client of mine, and have watched them grow for years to become an innovative leader in multiple sectors of the mortgage business,”” Scavone remarked. “”Though a lifelong Californian, I look forward to working in Dallas to help the company with its exciting plans for the future.”” New,Wingspan Portfolio Advisors Appoints 30-Year Veteran as COO Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers Wingspan 2014-01-10 Tory Barringer January 10, 2014 490 Views
Fannie Mae Undeterred by Housing Cold Snap Existing-Home Sales Fannie Mae GDP Housing Starts Pending-Home Sales 2014-02-28 Scott_Morgan February 28, 2014 481 Views The housing market’s cooler-than-expected first quarter should just be a temporary blip in a year of modest overall growth, according to Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae.Fannie Mae released Wednesday its latest economic forecast, which acknowledged that atypically harsh winter weather in much of the United States has slowed new home construction and sales in Q1 2014. But the report also reaffirms Fannie Mae’s position that the economy and housing markets will improve on 2013 growth by the end of Q4.In an accompanying podcast to the February forecast, Duncan presented a mixed bag of growth and sluggishness in the housing market. A rise in mortgage rates, which Duncan expects to top out somewhere between 4.75 and 5 percent by year’s end, will slow existing-homes sales to about 1 percent growth this year, and maybe even less in Q1, he said.Pending home sales plunged by 8.7 percent in December and were flat in January, leading to a rather guarded optimism that existing-home sales will show even tiny signs of improvement.However, Fannie Mae is openly optimistic that sales of newly constructed homes should increase sharply this year, continuing last year’s trend toward more building and sales.The caveat, Duncan said, is that the rise in new home sales is coming from a very low base. A healthy market, he said, would be about 1.7 million units built in a year. Fannie Mae predicts about 1.15 million units will be built in 2014, up from an overall 923,000 units built in 2013 (which itself was an 18.3 percent jump from 2012).This is good news for the job market, as new construction means new jobs for builders and crews. Residential construction employment jumped by 17,000 jobs in January and should continue growing modestly in 2014, even if the numbers do not reach their pre-recession plateau of 2.5 million jobs, the report stated.Overall mortgage volume, however, will likely be down this year, Duncan said. Higher mortgage rates are curtailing refinancing activity, even though an expected rise in mortgages for new home purchases should offset the drop a little, he said. Interest in mortgages peaked in May of 2013 and then fell by 20 percent, where it has stayed, according to the Fannie Mae forecast.Despite a few broken bones in housing, however, Fannie Mae expects fairer weather to usher in gentle growth for the economy for the remainder of the year. The agency expects the economy overall to increase from 2.7 percent to 2.9 percent this year, a prediction in line with the most recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which shows a 2.4 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in the last quarter of 2013. This growth continues a modest climb in the GDP throughout last year. in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination, Secondary Market Share
The Five Star Institute President and CEO Ed Delgado announced earlier today at the Five Star Government Forum in Washington, D.C., that the Institute would be partnering with the nation’s leading online real estate marketplace, Irvine, California-based Auction.com, and national nonprofit Operation Homefront in support of a home donation program that provides mortgage-free homes to veterans.The home donation program will be featured at the 2015 Five Star Conference and Expo, which will take place September 16 to 18 in Dallas, Texas. Five Star has partnered with various non-profit organizations over the last four years to provide approximately $4 million worth of homes to service members. At last year’s conference, Five Star presented six wounded veterans with mortgage-free homes.“The Five Star Institute remains committed to promoting the presentation of mortgage-free homes to veterans through our continuous support of donation programs such as this one,” Delgado said. “This home presentation to veterans program is part of our ongoing mission to raise awareness of the needs of our veterans to obtain housing. We are humbled by the immense level of dedication shown by Auction.com and Operation Homefront in helping us fulfill this mission.”Auction.com Executive Vice President Rick Sharga was on hand at the Five Star Government Forum on Wednesday to present a donation check for $50,000 in support of the new home donation program.“We are excited about the opportunity to sponsor this home donation program for the members of our military along with the Five Star Institute in conjunction with Operation Homefront,” Auction.com CEO and co-founder Jeff Frieden said. “There is no one more deserving than our military heroes and their families, and we look forward to working with Five Star and Operation Homefront to help veterans and their families achieve the dream of homeownership.”Operation Homefront, which is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, has helped thousands of service members and their families with emergency and other financial assistance since it was founded in 2002. Currently, more than 2,50o volunteers nationwide assist Operation Homefront with this effort. The organization’s Chief Operating Officer and Interim CEO, Tim Farrell, is a retired Air Force officer with more than 23 years of service.“We would like to express our deepest gratitude to Auction.com for their generosity toward fulfilling the valuable mission of providing mortgage-free homes for veterans,” Farrell said in response to receiving the donation from Auction.com. “We are excited to be working with the Five Star Institute, an organization that has long been committed to preserving the dream of homeownership for our nation’s heroes.”Editor’s note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of The MReport and TheMReport.com. in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News March 18, 2015 535 Views Auction.com Ed Delgado Jeff Frieden Operation Homefront Rick Sharga The Five Star Institute veterans 2015-03-18 Samantha Guzman Share Auction.com and Five Star Institute Pledge Support to Operation Homefront and Veteran Home Donation Program
in Featured, News, Uncategorized July 5, 2015 526 Views A total of 6.5 million borrowers could qualify for and benefit from traditional refinances and the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), according to the Data and Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services latest Mortgage Monitor Report, based on data as of the end of May 2015.After reviewing current interest rates on existing 30-year mortgages and applying broad-based underwriting criteria, Black Knight found that 6.1 million borrowers could reap benefits from financing the traditional way. Additionally, given that HARP has extended it program through 2016, another 450,000 borrowers that meet HARP guidelines could benefit from refinancing through the program.Black Knight Data & Analytics SVP Ben Graboske noted that these refinance opportunities could lead to massive savings for borrowers that qualify.“For both groups, the potential monthly savings could be substantial. Some 500,000 American homeowners with a mortgage could save $500 or more each month by refinancing at today’s rates,” Graboske said. “Three million could save at least $200 per month. All told, in the aggregate we’re looking at about $1.5 billion dollars that American homeowners could be saving every month. It’s important to remember how rate-sensitive this population is, too; if rates go up just half a percentage point, 2.6 million people fall out of that refinanceable population.”According to Black Knight, there are 1.6 million more refinanceable borrowers today than one year ago. This is partly due to home price appreciation, but mostly due to interest rate reductions. The refinanceable population is up from late 2013 and early 2014 levels, but still well below the peaks seen in 2012 when interest rates were at historic lows.Black Knight also reviewed state refinance eligibility among borrowers finding that California leads the country with 14 percent of borrowers or 830,000 could likely qualify for and benefit from refinancing. Although Hawaii leads the country with about $550 in average monthly savings for refinance, the state only has 27,000 potential refinance candidates. Likewise, with an average savings of $364 per month, Washington, D.C. is second on that list, but has only 17,000 refinance candidates. California, New York, and Virginia are in the top 10 for both number of refinance candidates and average potential savings.Click here to view Black Knight’s complete Mortgage Monitor Report. Mortgage Monitor Finds that 6.5 Million Borrowers Could Benefit From Refinancing Black Knight Mortgage Monitor Report Refinance 2015-07-05 Staff Writer Share
Stock Market Vulnerability Expected to Weaken Global Growth October 2, 2015 2,658 Views Share Following recent volatile stock market reports, the Global Economic Outlook (GEO) from Fitch Ratings forecasts that the global economy will grow by 2.3 percent in 2015, the weakest growth recorded since the global financial crisis in 2009.Fitch credits “a recession in Brazil and Russia and a structural slowdown in China and many emerging markets (EMs)” for the downward revision in the GEO.”Although the Fed left its key interest rate unchanged at its September meeting we still expect the Fed to start the global monetary tightening cycle before end-2015, followed by the Bank of England,” Fitch said. “The pace and extent of the tightening will be subdued by historical norms. Fitch forecasts the key US policy interest rate to average 0.8 percent in 2016 and 1.6 percent in 2017.”However, the 2016 and 2017 GEO forecast is expected to experience a slight pick-up to 2.7 percent as EMs recover somewhat in the future.”EMs are becoming an increasing source of global growth risks as the collapse in commodity prices and political shocks exacerbate a secular slowdown,” the report noted.Fitch further explained other factors that contribute to or take away from global growth by acknowledging that “although investment is slowing sharply, growth continues to be supported by robust consumption and policy easing. However, there are downside risks from the real estate sector, capital flows, and policy settings.”Major advanced economies (MAEs) growth is forecast to strengthen to 2 percent in 2016, the fastest since 2011.The recent performance of the stock market brought about some anxiety among big U.S. businesses and other stakeholders, while the Dow Jones dropped by 1,000 points in August and fought its way back toward the break-even point.”The real effect—if any—from the stock market volatility of the last few days won’t occur for a while,” said Sean Becketti, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac. “It will take time for investors to analyze the depth of the economic weakness in China, the effectiveness of the Chinese government’s responses, and the ultimate impact on various sectors of the U.S. economy. The interesting near-term impact is on the Fed’s September decision to raise rates or not. Market sentiment was split roughly even before this event. Today it’s tilting toward no action in September.”One economist was not surprised by Monday’s turbulent stock market activity, however.”I think we’ve been expecting a correction in the markets for some time now so it’s not totally surprising,” Trulia Chief Economist Selma Hepp said. “We may expect some of the liquidity seeking refuge in the U.S. commercial real estate and mortgage securities, much less in the residential real estate. On the other hand, however, we will continue to see low mortgage rates as a result of more money going into treasuries.”Click here to view Fitch Ratings’ complete report. Fitch Ratings Global Growth Stock Market 2015-10-02 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Market Studies, News
Get Ready, TRID Could Become Less of a Burden Soon Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray has written a letter to the financial industry trades and their members recognizing the “operational challenges” the industry is experiencing as a result of the Bureau’s TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule implemented last October.With that in mind, Cordray said in his letter that the Bureau is considering making some “adjustments” in the regulation text to provide greater certainty and clarity.Since TRID, also called the “Know Before You Owe” rule, was implemented on October 3, and even for months prior, many in the mortgage industry have complained of the complexity of implementing the rule and the difficulty of complying, despite the rule’s goal of making it easier on all parties involved to close a mortgage loan.“We recognize that many of implementation of the Know Before You Owe rule poses many operational challenges,” Cordray wrote. “We also recognize that implementation is particularly challenging because of the diversity of participants, from small to large financial institutions, mortgage brokers, real estate brokers, and title companies, through warehouse lenders, investors, due diligence firms, and ratings agencies, whose perspectives may vary as to what compliance under the rule requires.”Recognizing that many in the industry are struggling with implementing and complying with TRID, Cordray said the CFPB provides informal guidance on how to implement and comply with TRID which comes in the form of a Regulatory Implementation webpage. At the same time, he said the Bureau believes that “there are places in the regulation text and commentary where adjustments would be useful for greater certainty and clarity.”“We recognize that many of implementation of the Know Before You Owe rule poses many operational challenges.”Richard Cordray, CFPB DirectorTherefore, Cordray wrote in the letter, the CFPB is currently in the process of drafting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the Know Before You Owe rule. Cordray said the CFPB hopes to issue the NPRM in late July, at which time the Bureau will accept public comments on it.“We will continue to work with industry, consumers, and other stakeholders to support a smooth transition for the mortgage market,” Cordray wrote. “As we do so, we and other regulators are all agreed that our oversight of the implementation of the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule in the months ahead will continue to be sensitive to the progress made by those entities that have squarely focused on making good faith efforts to come into compliance with the rule.”Click here to view a copy of Cordray’s letter. CFPB Consumer Financial Protection Bureau TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure TRID 2016-04-28 Seth Welborn Share in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News April 28, 2016 488 Views
Share Is Student Debt Holding Back Homeownership? June 13, 2016 654 Views Homeownership National Association of Realtors Student Debt 2016-06-13 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News, Origination Student debt has long been touted as a key factor in homeownership attainment, particularity among young generations.Now, a recent survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and SALT, a consumer literacy program provided by nonprofit American Student Assistance, gathers the facts of this phenomenon directly from non-homeowners burdened with student debt.The survey polled student debt holders current in their repayment for varying amounts of debt from mostly a four-year public or private college.NAR reported that 43 percent of those polled had between $10,001 and $40,000 in student debt, while 38 percent had $50,000 or more. The most common debt amount was $20,000 to $30,000.Seventy-nine percent of older millennials (ages 26 to 35) hold the highest amount of debt at $70,000 to $100,000 in total debt, while over half of non-homeowners in each generation report that it’s postponing their ability to buy.According to the data, 71 percent of non-homeowners repaying their student loans on time believe their debt is preventing them from purchasing a home. Meanwhile, over half of respondents said that they expect to be delayed from buying by more than five years. In addition, NAR found that student debt postponed four in 10 borrowers from moving out of a family member’s household after graduating college.Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, noted that student debt plays an influential role in the housing market, and while getting a higher education is supposed to promote upward mobility, homeownership is often not an option for those paying down their student loans.”A majority of non-homeowners in the survey earning over $50,000 a year–which is above the median U.S. qualifying income needed to buy a single-family home–reported that student debt is hurting their ability to save for a down payment,” Yun said. “Along with rent, a car payment and other large monthly expenses that can squeeze a household’s budget, paying a few hundred dollars every month on a student loan equates to thousands of dollars over several years that could otherwise go towards saving for a home purchase.”Saving for a down payment was the top reason that 80 percent of millennial non-homeowners said they are delaying buying a home, the survey found. Another 69 percent indicated that they don’t feel financially secure enough to buy, and 63 percent can’t qualify for a mortgage because of high debt-to-income ratios.Young adults are finding it hard to leave their parents’ nest, with 46 percent currently living with family, NAR reported. Forty-two percent of survey respondents said that student debt was the main reason for remaining in family members’ homes after college.”Nearly three-quarters of older millennials, many of whom graduated at the peak or immediately after the downturn, said their ability to purchase a home is affected by student debt,” Yun said. “Add in the detrimental effects of low inventory as well as rents and home price growth outpacing wages and it’s mainly why the share of first-time buyers remains at its lowest point in nearly three decades.”SALT President John Zurick said, “It is imperative to the nation’s economy that we find immediate and practical solutions to financially empower the 43 million Americans with student debt. SALT is committed to demystifying the college financing process by giving consumers information, instruction and individualized advice. No one should fail to realize the full potential of their formal education simply because of finances. We invite the higher education community, the U.S. government, the private sector and others to join with us in this movement.”
March 27, 2017 547 Views CFPB Compliance HMDA Regulation TRID 2017-03-27 Rich Gagliano in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Servicing The Road Ahead Given the notable shift in the regulatory environment, it is interesting to consider how the mortgage origination business may be affected in 2017 and beyond. While originators are not anticipating any new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulatory measures that would affect them this year, they continue to wait for clarifications associated with proposed amendments to RESPA-TILA. However, due to the political sea change that has occurred since the election of the new U.S. president, the wait may be longer than expected. This potential detour, combined with other regulatory challenges as well as technological opportunities, begs the question: What lies ahead for mortgage originators? CFPB: The Regulatory RoadOn January 20, 2017, President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memo directing a moratorium with respect to regulations issued by executive agencies. This excludes independent agencies, which until recently included the CFPB. However, a recent decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found the CFPB’s structure unconstitutional since the single director could not be removed at will by the president. To remedy the constitutional issue, the court severed the offending section of the Dodd-Frank Act, allowing the president to remove the director. As a result, the CFPB would now be considered an executive agency subject to the moratorium. However, the court’s decision is not in effect yet; it is pending the CFPB’s appeal to the full Court of Appeals.This delay in arriving at a final decision creates significant uncertainty for mortgage originators. The regulatory road ahead will likely remain foggy as the industry waits for the Court of Appeals decision.HMDA: STEPPING ON THE GASOriginators are currently working through some of the challenges associated with the implementation of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act – Regulation C (HMDA) recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Data collection under the rule begins January 1, 2018, with the data to be reported in 2019.With 25 new data points to collect and report on, revisions to 14 existing data points, and continued reporting on nine unchanged data points—along with changes to institutional coverage and transactional coverage—there is plenty of work ahead for originators and their partners as they prepare to meet these requirements. Technology, processes, and procedures must be in place this year in order for originators to meet these requirements on time.In addition, there are still some questions about how originators should handle certain aspects of HMDA reporting. There may be an inordinate number of “Other” responses to accommodate descriptions like “Italian-American” or “American-Italian” that do not do not lend themselves to one-word answers. As of early February, the CFPB has not yet provided originators with guidance regarding the handling of nonstandard answers.TRID: Waiting FOR DirectionsLast summer, the CFPB issued several substantive proposed amendments and technical corrections to the final TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule. The proposed amendments are largely focused on various calculations, such as excluding recording fees and transfer taxes from the 1-percent limit that applies to the TRID rule exemption for down-payment assistance. There are also numerous other changes proposed, including one that would give originators more flexibility to use closing disclosures to reset tolerances in those cases where there is not enough time to issue a new loan estimate.For the time being, originators must wait to learn what the final provisions of the proposed amendments to TRID will look like. The proposed amendments were originally expected to be finalized by April 2017, but it is unclear whether that prediction will hold. Technology: Taking the Wheel While the regulatory side of the mortgage origination industry may appear murky in terms of what the road ahead will look like, one thing is clear: Technology is steering mortgage originators toward a faster, safer, cleaner, and more transparent mortgage origination process for consumers. With the availability of technology like application program interfaces (APIs), originators are working with their technology partners to deliver an “omni-device” digital origination experience that allows consumers the flexibility to start a mortgage application on one device such as a smartphone, update it from another device like a tablet, and finish it on a desktop computer. This creates a consumer experience that is better aligned with other areas of their lives where they enjoy seamless communication anytime and anywhere based on their preferred device or method.Originators can also improve data accuracy and expedite the mortgage process by working with their origination technology partners to leverage third-party integrations. By providing a single endpoint for lenders to access the required information, an origination technology partner can help its mortgage originator clients streamline the calculation of self-employed income and validate borrower assets, income, and employment automatically. This will not only help improve accuracy, but it will reduce turnaround time for the consent and approval of documents as well. This means it should take less time to complete the mortgage approval process, so mortgage applicants can receive their final answers much sooner.In addition, automation enables a more streamlined, efficient process for originators. Along with the obvious benefits to consumers, deploying technology like APIs allows originators to evolve to a more data-driven environment and drive down operating costs. As a result, they may win more referrals from well-satisfied customers and make competitive gains in the markets where they conduct business.Destination: To Be DecidedUltimately, 2017 promises to be a mixed bag of possibilities for mortgage originators. From new technology-driven opportunities to a fair amount of uncertainty associated with regulatory clarifications and the ongoing challenges of meeting implementation deadlines for requirements like HMDA, the mortgage industry will continue to carefully navigate this winding road.For originators, the need to continue working closely with their technology partners is vital. Ongoing communication about the adoption of digital solutions, system requirements, technology updates, testing protocols, and the impacts of additional regulatory measures will play a major role in effectively preparing originators to meet the opportunities, challenges, and uncertainties ahead as they steer their way through the twists and turns they are likely to see in 2017.Disclaimer: This article is intended for general information purposes and is not intended to provide legal and/or any other professional advice to individuals or entities. Please consult with your legal and professional advisors before taking any action based on the information appearing in this article. Share