first_img231 Accommodations Honoured Worldwide Based on Reviews and Opinions from Millions Who Travelled with FamilySunwing Resort – Kamala Beach ranked #1 in ThailandTripAdvisor™, the world’s largest travel site*, today announced the winners of its 2013 Travellers’ Choice Awards for Hotels for Families. This year’s awards recognise a total of 231 family-friendly properties, and top accommodations were identified in 26 regions and countries across the globe, including dedicated lists for Thailand, Asia, Africa, Australia, Canada, Caribbean, China, Europe, Japan, Mexico, Middle East, South America, South Pacific, and the U.S. Award winners were determined based on the hotels most highly rated by those who travelled with family. Unlike any other hotel honours, TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice winners are based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions collected in a single year from travellers around the world. “For those planning family trips this year, these lists highlight hotels around the world that family travellers love most,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “Wherever you’re thinking of traveling, the lists provide inspiration for places to stay in popular family spots as well as lesser-known but similarly appealing family-friendly destinations.” Top 10 Hotels for Families in Thailand:1. Sunwing Resort – Kamala Beach, Kamala2. ShaSa Resort & Residences, Koh Samui 3. Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort & Villas, Thalang4. The Chava Resort, Thalang5. Karma Samui, Koh Samui6. Dolphin Bay Resort, Hua Hin7. Swissotel Resort Phuket, Kamala 8. Blue Lagoon Resort Hua Hin, Hua Hin9. Sunwing Resort & Spa, Thalang10. Centara Kata Resort Phuket, KaronTop 10 Hotels for Families in Asia:1. Club Med Bali, Nusa Dua, Indonesia2. Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, Hong Kong, China 3. Club Med Bintan Island, Bintan, Indonesia4. Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, North Male Atoll, Maldives5. Bali Dynasty Resort, Kuta, Indonesia6. Sherwood Residence, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam7. Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, Hong Kong, China 8. Novotel Bali Nusa Dua Hotel & Residences, Nusa Dua, Indonesia9. Goverdhan Greens Resort, Dwarka, India10. Club Med Cherating Beach, Kuantan, Malaysia*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, Worldwide, January 2013**Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Worldwide, January 2013 Source = TripAdvisorlast_img read more

first_imgMeanwhile, Tigerair Australia (60 percent owned by Virgin Australia) has reported substantial increases in available seat kilometres (+19.7 percent year-on-year) and revenue passenger kilometres (+19.1 percent year-on-year), driven by further improvements in aircraft utilisation. Source = ETB News: P.T. Year-over-year domestic yield for November Financial Year 2014 to date was positive. Virgin Australia has attributed the losses to the fact one of its Boeing 777 aircraft was out of service for heavy maintenance repairs during the month. Domestic passenger numbers decreased by 0.3 percent in November 2013, compared to the corresponding month in 2012. International operations succumbed to a 1.6 percent drop in passengers travelling in November, while available seat kilometres decreased by almost 10 percent, compared to November 2012. Virgin Australia domestic and international passenger numbers suffered a minor drop in November last year, while Tigerair Australia exhibited positive results during the same period.last_img read more

first_imgEmirates recognised in Future Travel Experience 2017Emirates has been recognised in the Future Travel Experience Airline Passenger Experience Power List 2017. Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer was ranked in the top 5 global airline executives for his leadership in directing the airline’s consistent delivery of superior services on the ground, and in the air.The Future Travel Experience Airline Passenger Experience Power List is an independent initiative that identifies the 25 airline employees most empowered to enhance the end-to-end passenger experience, both at their own airline and on a global scale by setting and raising customer experience benchmarks.Mr. Al Redha has been with Emirates since 1988 and is at the helm of operational departments in the airline’s hub in Dubai as well as worldwide network. In the last year, he spearheaded a number of projects including the “Together” initiative, a collaborative project bringing together the airline, Dubai Customs, Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Dubai Police and Dubai Airports to help improve the customer experience at Dubai International Airport using the latest technologies.Commenting on the accolade, Adel Al Redha noted: “This recognition comes as a result of the unprecedented support and vision of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Sir Tim Clark who continuously introduce initiatives to improve our customer experience; as well as our dedicated staff, who put their hearts and efforts into meeting and exceeding customer expectations at every touch point, every day. Innovation and investment in our product and service offering to provide more comfort, entertainment and overall experience to our customers has always been at the heart of our business.”Emirates recently launched a series of new cabin products and enhancements for its A380 and Boeing 777 fleet. This includes the next generation Boeing 777-300ER aircraft – with upgraded business class seats and the refreshed A380 Onboard Lounge, inspired by private yacht cabins. These were complemented by onboard product and service enhancements across all cabin classes including the expansion of its popular free inflight Wi-Fi service with generous rates and doubling free data usage.Those on the Power List are ultimately responsible for the end-to-end customer experience within their respective airlines, and have been identified based on a variety of factors, including: displaying a fresh approach to differentiate their offering to passengers both in the air and on the ground; empowering passengers and staff through introducing new technologies; efforts to further engage with customers; recent passenger experience achievements and future plans; the airline’s customer reach considering passenger figures and growth ambitions; consistency of passenger experience on offer; and the extent to which the individual and the airline strive to create a unique customer experience that reflects both the carrier’s brand and heritage.Earlier this year, Emirates was named the Best Airline in the World in the inaugural TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice® Awards for Airlines. The award was based on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for airlines worldwide gathered over a 12-month period.Source = Emirateslast_img read more

first_imgSource = Canopy by Hilton Canopy by Hilton opens its doors to first West Coast PropertyCanopy by Hilton opens its doors to first West Coast Property153-Room Property Joins Urban Revitalization in Portland Pearl DistrictLifestyle Hotel Brings Local Know-How to Portland through Design, Food & Drink and ProgrammingToday, Canopy by Hilton, Hilton’s (NYSE: HLT) lifestyle hotel brand, alongside PM Hotel Group, a leading, national hotel management company and The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG), a privately-held, full-service real estate acquisition, development and management company, announce the opening of the brand’s first West Coast property, Canopy by Hilton Portland Pearl District. Located in a revitalized industrial zone that has quickly become a hot neighborhood with indie boutiques, art galleries, microbreweries, green spaces and eateries, the property brings a new lifestyle hospitality offering to the Pearl District in the heart of downtown Portland.“As our brand continues to develop in North America, we are thrilled to bring Canopy by Hilton to its first West Coast home in Portland,” said Gary Steffen, global head, Canopy by Hilton. “The Pearl District neighborhood is a natural fit for our lifestyle brand and we look forward to our guests and neighbors enjoying a fresh, comfortable and welcoming experience.”“We believe strongly in the Canopy by Hilton brand and the focus on delivering authentic travel experiences that are connected to the hotels and neighborhoods that they call home,” said Dave Pollin, co-president and co-founder of The Buccini/Pollin Group. “As a native of Portland, this project is personal for me. Portland Pearl District is the second North American Canopy by Hilton property that our team has launched with Hilton and we remain committed to the brand’s vision.”Locally Inspired DesignThe 153-room hotel is inspired by its surrounding neighborhood, featuring a thoughtful design for comfort and function. All guestrooms, including the 46 premium rooms, feature nine-foot floor-to-ceiling windows. The interior design of Canopy by Hilton Portland Pearl District was led by Mark Zeff, the firm that also collaborated with Hilton’s team to create Canopy’s interior design ethos at the inception of the brand.The hotel is a LEED Gold certified building that features industrial finishes such as hot rolled steel metal beams, brick walls and concrete floors in parts of the lobby, café & reception area, known as Canopy Central. The guest rooms will feature an interpretation of a “canopy,” which will extend over the front of the bed and is made of timber resembling the Oregon state tree, a Douglas Fir, creating a direct connection to the beauty and natural wonder of the Pacific Northwest. Amenities include natural APIVITA toiletries, JBL Horizon Bluetooth alarm clocks, 55-inch TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, Nespresso machines and filtered water stations on every floor. Guests of Canopy by Hilton Portland Pearl District can also take advantage of the only hotel rooftop fitness center in the city.The hotel’s exterior, designed by ZGF Architects, acts as a symbolic bridge between the Pearl District’s old and new structures, thoughtfully incorporating materials that reflect and complement the neighborhood’s past and future. Casement windows at street level allow activities in the hotel to carry out onto the sidewalks of Glisan Street, creating outdoor seating and an inviting setting for both guests and passersby. Organically incorporating art throughout the hotel is an ongoing theme, reflected in common spaces such as the art wall in the guest reception area. The oiled bronze-inspired façade of the building – which is an art installation itself – changes its golden hue in synchronicity with the passing phases of daylight.Canopy by Hilton Portland Pearl District’s art curator, Elizabeth Leach, selects works from local artists to showcase around the hotel, including Stephen Hayes, Charlene Liu, Judy Cooke and Mark Smith. In addition to the property’s permanent art collection, the hotel is home to a rotating exhibition space. Guests may also relax and enjoy the two-story winter garden, blending nature into the hotel’s public space.Eat, Drink, SmileCanopy by Hilton Portland Pearl District provides an authentically local experience and energetic spirit where guests can start the day with an artisanal, complimentary breakfast highlighted by fresh local ingredients. Upon arrival, rotating welcome treats may feature a mini cupcake from Cupcake Jones or artisan chocolate from nearby A YEN for Chocolate. The property is home to Canopy Central, led by Lead Culinary Enthusiast Sara Woods and featuring a regionally-influenced menu. At night, guests can unwind and sample the latest local drinks direct from the innovative beverage makers of Portland’s Distillery Row as part of the property’s complimentary evening tasting.Just-Right Meeting SpaceCanopy by Hilton Portland Pearl District also provides a prime destination for groups, meetings and special occasions with its convenient downtown location, nearby transportation options and proximity to business headquarters, startups, creative firms and technology companies. With 1,093 square feet of collaborative meeting space, the hotel offers unique settings accommodating small and medium sized groups in non-traditional areas, such as the community table in the lush winter garden or one of its four private meeting rooms. Each meeting space is named as a dedication and remembrance to a community or person who played a significant part in Portland’s history including Japantown, a settlement that existed before WWII in the Old Town-Chinatown neighborhood; The Hattie, named in honor of African-American suffragette Harriett “Hattie” Redmond; The Rutherford, named for civil rights activists, Otto and Verdell Rutherford, who championed civil rights legislation in Oregon a decade before it was on the national agenda; and The Henry, named for Henry Weinhard, Portland’s first microbrewer and a pioneer in the city’s craft brewing history.The fully equipped event space is ideal for hosting lunches, extended work sessions, cocktail parties and smaller functions – all with the ability to take in natural light from the winter garden’s skylight ceiling and open the floor-to-ceiling glass doors as desired.At Canopy by Hilton every guest will experience an energetic, thoughtfully local stay. This experience begins upon check-in at Canopy Central, where travelers can unwind in an open, welcoming space with complimentary Wi-Fi and a nightly tasting of locally sourced brews, wine and spirits. Post check-in, guests enjoy the efficient design of their “Just-Right Room,” providing the highest level of comfort. Guests can also engage Canopy Enthusiasts – on-site neighborhood experts – for their insights, including recommendations on the best restaurants and experiences in the neighborhood available to explore on Canopy by Hilton complimentary bikes. The hotel is pet-friendly and offers its furry guests welcome gifts, orthopedic dog beds and more from Planet Dog. The hotel is located at 425 NW 9th Avenue, Portland, Ore. 97209.For more information about Canopy by Hilton, visit or or on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter using the hashtag #PositivelyYours to explore fresh, forward thinking in travel, design and wellness.About Canopy by Hilton
Canopy by Hilton is a place in the neighborhood to relax and recharge, offering simple guest-directed service, thoughtful local choices and surprisingly comfortable spaces. Each hotel is designed as a natural extension of its neighborhood and delivers a fresh approach to hospitality and the guest experience. Canopy by Hilton is the lifestyle hotel brand of Hilton. Experience a positive stay at Canopy by booking at or through the Hilton Honors mobile app. Learn more about the brand and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.About HiltonHilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising nearly 5,000 properties with more than 812,000 rooms in 103 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company’s portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else and free standard Wi-Fi. Visit for more information and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.About PM Hotel GroupPM Hotel Group is a Top 20, third-party hotel management company as ranked by Hotel Management magazine. Founded in 1996, the company is a preferred vendor operating full service and select service hotels in the Hilton, Marriott and IHG systems, as well as internationally notable independent hotels. Based in Chevy Chase, MD. PM Hotel Group has participated in the development and acquisition/renovation of hotels with a market capitalization over $2 billion. To learn more visit The Buccini/Pollin GroupThe Buccini/Pollin Group, Inc. (Buccini/Pollin) is a privately held, integrated, real estate acquisition, development, and management company with offices in Washington DC, Wilmington, DE and Philadelphia. Buccini/Pollin has developed and acquired hotel, office, residential, retail, and parking properties throughout the United States. Buccini/Pollin has acquired, developed and owns real estate assets having a value in excess of $4.0 billion, including over 40 hotels, 7 million square feet of office and retail space, 15 major residential communities and multiple entertainment venues, such as Talen Energy Stadium, home of the Philadelphia Union Major League Soccer team. The principals of Buccini/Pollin, BPG Real Estate Services (office property management and leasing), ResideBPG (residential property management and leasing), BPGS Construction (construction management), oversee all aspects of project acquisition, finance, development, construction, leasing, operations, and disposition for its portfolio properties. The Buccini/Pollin Group has over 3,500 employees in 15 states. For more information, please visit read more

first_imgRolling Stones’ Exhibitionism previewRolling Stones’ Exhibitionism previewThe Rolling Stones’ first ever major exhibition, Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones Exhibit, delivered by DHL, is coming to Australia exclusively to Sydney at the International Convention Centre from Saturday 17 November 2018 through until 3 February 2019.Exhibitionism is the largest touring experience of its kind ever to be staged, and the first time the band has unlocked their vast private archive.You are invited to view the exhibit of more than 500 rare and unique items of the Rolling Stones before the public opening of Exhibitionism the following day.Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism Media PreviewDate:  Friday 16 November 2018Time:  10.00am – 12.00pm, with official media call at 10.00am (details to follow)Venue:  Hall 7, International Convention Centre Sydney, 14 Darling Drive, Darling HarbourExhibitionism spokespeople including Glenn A. Baker will be in attendance at the above Media Preview for interviews.Further Media Preview sessions are available:Friday 16 November, 1.30pm – 3.30pmFriday 16 November, 3.30pm – 5.30pm#ExhibitionismAU #STONESEXHIBIT #ILoveSydneywww.stonesexhibitionism.comRSVP is essential – RSVP with your nominated session to GIVEAWAYS for readers/viewers/listeners are available – apply to read more

first_imgOYO Rooms has entered into a partnership with ITzCash, a payment solutions firm, to facilitate for hotel bookings for its customers.“The tie-up will facilitate effortless payments for hotel-bookings across 5500 hotels in over 170 cities in India through ItzCash’s easy money transfer solutions,” announced the companies.Through the partnership, OYO will be able to tap potential consumers who do not have access to either a debit or a credit card.Ritesh Agarwal, Chief Executive and Founder, OYO Rooms, said, “The partnership with ItzCash will enable us to reach the large traveller-base that transacts through offline channels.”ItzCash will offer access to OYO not only through an online co-branded portal but also offline outlets.“With this integration, we aim to further strengthen ItzCash’s foothold on the digital stage,” highlighted Naveen Surya, Managing Director, ItzCash. The company aims to address the problem whereby a large number of people are still unaware of advance hotel booking at affordable rates, he added.last_img read more

first_imgAn expert’s speak was organised by Trip 360° to encourage mountaineers to climb the most aspiring peaks in the world: the 7 Summits.At the recent ‘Mission Extreme: Expert Speak’, specialist Satyarup Siddhanta, gave a short glimpse of how it feels to be on the life-changing expeditions. Speaking about the event, Rohan Prakash, Business Head, Trip 360° said, “The most intriguing part of the event is listening to the remarkable journey of Satyarup, the adventurers were all inspired to climb the most difficult summits of the world.” He further went on adding, “At this captivating forum, enthusiasts queried about extreme adventures.” Trip 360° also unveiled its plan to climb Vinson Massif that would complete the 7th and the last remaining summit for Satyarup Siddhanta. The successful climb of Vinson Massif would mean that Trip 360°’s expert Satyarup Siddhanta will be the first person to set the record from West Bengal to climb all the seven summits of the world.Besides executing extreme expeditions, Trip 360° also has few unique adventure trips coming up including ‘Nepal beyond EBC’ that offers trekking experiences covering treks to Ghorepani Poon Hill, Langtang-Gosainkunda, Dhaulagiri Base Camp, the Annapurna Circuits and the ‘Hornbill Festival Motorcycling Trip’ where one can explore Kaziranga, Kohima hornbill festival and Guwahati.last_img read more

first_imgCAI Confirms Support for FHA’s New Guidelines The “”Federal Housing Administration (FHA)”” is receiving industry support for its revisions to mortgage-related guidelines on condominium properties. Having been adamant about the need for changes to the previous standards, the “”Community Associations Institute (CAI)”” recently spoke out in support of the FHA’s decisions, which the group says will create “”greater stability”” in the condo market.[IMAGE]””This is excellent news for sellers, buyers, condominium communities and the housing market across the country,”” said CAI’s CEO Thomas Skiba, CAE. [COLUMN_BREAK]””FHA has responded to the critical issues we’ve raised. By doing so, more Americans can obtain FHA-insured mortgages to purchase condominiums,”” he added.Skiba went on to address the most significant revisions established by the FHA, stating that they “”appear responsive to several key CAI issues.”” Referencing specific elements of the FHA’s changes, Skiba pointed out the alterations to community delinquency rates, insurance coverage, commercial space limitations, and condominium certification statements.””We hoped this would happen a lot sooner, but it’s an important step in the right direction,”” noted Skiba. “”CAI will continue to press for reasonable FHA condominium policies. This will spark home sales and help tens of thousands of condominium communities begin to recover from the housing slump, and that can only help the national economy.””The FHA stated that the recent changes in condo standards are “”temporary adjustments”” that respond to market conditions, but the CAI will continue to “”urge the agency to establish a regulatory foundation for its condominium program to provide long-term certainty of process, flexibility, and support for the future of condominium housing.”” In conclusion, Skiba said that CAI will support efforts to provide “”additional statutory authority required to accomplish these goals.”” September 18, 2012 375 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-09-18 Abby Gregorycenter_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Sharelast_img read more

first_img The latest National Housing Report from RE/MAX found that for the third month in a row, home sales in May rose higher than sales in the previous month. May sales were 11.5 percent higher than in April, but stubbornly remained below the same period last year by 9.9 percent.Of the 52 metros included in the study, a mere three experienced lower sales than the previous month. Overall, home prices continued to rise higher in May, with a 7.7 percent increase over the previous year.”The usually strong spring selling months appear to be following traditional growth patterns. We’ve now seen three straight months of increased sales over the previous month—although we may not match the growth rates we saw last year, we are seeing significant increases in both sales and prices and that’s a positive sign,” said Margaret Kelly, RE/MAX CEO.The National Housing Report commented that while both credit availability and inventory remain tight, May was the sixth consecutive month with fewer year-over-year inventory losses than the previous month. The month’s supply of inventory dropped to 3.8—a supply of six months indicates an equally balanced market between buyers and sellers.RE/MAX found that in the 52 metro areas studied, the median sales price of all homes sold during May was $198,750, 4.6 percent higher than the median price in April and 7.7 percent higher than the median price last year. Home prices have risen continuously for 28 months. The report notes that although prices continue to rise due to limited inventory, prices are not rising as rapidly as the 10.8 percent increase seen in May 2013.”Among the 52 metro areas surveyed, 39 reported higher sales prices than one year ago, two were unchanged and nine reported double-digit increases including: Detroit, Michigan +25.4%, Honolulu, Hawaii +16.9%, Las Vegas, Nevada +16.1%, Orlando, Florida +14.2%, Miami, Florida +13.9%, Chicago, Illinois +12.7%, Atlanta, Georgia +11.5%, Boise, Idaho +10.2% and Los Angeles, California +10.0%.,” the report found.Homes spent an average of 66 days on the market, which was eight days lower than the average seen in April and four days lower than the average in May last year. May is the 24th consecutive month with an average days on the market below 90. in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News Home Sales Finding Positive Trend Again Home Prices Home Sales Housing Supply RE/MAX 2014-06-19 Colin Robinscenter_img June 19, 2014 461 Views Sharelast_img read more

first_img Mortgage Origination Mortgage Rates Mortgage Refinances 2016-09-29 Seth Welborn Mortgage rates plummeted following the Fed’s decision not to raise the federal funds target rate on September 21 and consumer confidence is at its highest level since the crisis—yet this has not translated to a higher number of mortgage loan applications.Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending September 29, 2016, reported that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) fell by six basis points down to 3.42 percent, a mere 11 basis points higher than the all-time low of 3.31 percent set nearly four years ago. The average 15-year FRM declined by four basis points down to 2.72 percent for the week.Earlier this week, the Conference Board reported that its monthly Consumer Confidence Index rose by from 101.8 up to 104.1 (a post-recession high) from August to September. The Board’s Present Situation Index jumped from 125.3 to 128.5 during the same period.“The course of the economy is uncertain, yet consumers continue to be a bright spot,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti said. “The September consumer confidence index is up 3 percent to 104.1, exceeding forecasts and reaching a new cycle high.”While on the surface it seems like the combination of near-historic low mortgage rates and a post-recession high for consumer confidence would be a boon for mortgage originations, the number of mortgage loan applications has been on the decline. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported a decline of 0.7 percent in its latest Market Composite Index (which measures loan application volume) for the week ending September 23. Not only that, but the refinance share or mortgage activity also declined during that same period, from 63.1 percent down to 62.7 percent of total applications.With market conditions seemingly primed for a surge in origination activity, why has such a surge not taken place yet? Or is it about to?According to Freddie Mac, that surge is taking place right now. The GSE’s September 2016 Outlook released earlier this month forecasted a surge in originations during the third quarter, which ends on September 30. For the full year of 2016, Freddie Mac is predicting origination volume of $2 trillion, the highest level in four years.“All indications are that mortgage originations will surge in the third quarter of 2016,” Becketti said, noting that refi activity was up by 36 percent over-the-year despite the weekly decline reported by the MBA. “Even if home purchase originations are flat year-over-year, total originations will rise due to strong refinance activity. Application data from the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates that refinance applications are up about 24 percent from the second quarter 2016 and nearly 60 percent year-over-year in the third quarter. Our forecast calls for a $60 billion, or 11 percent, increase in third quarter originations relative to the second quarter, and for total originations to reach $2 trillion in 2016.” September 29, 2016 573 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Newscenter_img Market May Be Primed for Origination Spike Sharelast_img read more

first_imgGSE Status Quo No Longer an Option crapo Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Ginnie Mae GSE Reform 2017-06-29 Aly J. Yale Keeping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as-is? That’s no longer an option according to Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). Crapo, who currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, said as much in his opening remarks at the committee’s Principles of Housing Finance Reform hearing earlier today.According to Crapo, the “status quo is not a viable option.”“Fannie and Freddie are currently earning profits, but if the housing market experiences a downturn, and at some point, it will, taxpayers could again be on the hook for many billions of dollars,” Crapo said during his remarks. “Reform is urgently needed, and the Committee is actively exploring a variety of options.”There are several principles, according to Crapo, that will guide the committee’s path toward reforming the GSEs. These include preserving an affordable 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, creating multiple levels of taxpayer protection, attracting strong capital, ensuring a level playing field for smaller lenders, and utilizing the existing infrastructure whenever possible.“We need multiple levels of taxpayer protection standing in front of any government guarantee, including down payments, loan-level private insurance, and substantial, robust, loss-absorbing private capital at guarantors comparable to the amount of capital maintained by global systemically important banks,” Crapo said. “Strong capital is essential to ensure that guarantors and other market participants can withstand market downturns. We must ensure that small lenders have a level playing field when accessing the secondary market.”Additionally, Crapo said the Committee will work to preserve Fannie and Freddie’s existing multifamily programs in some form. These, he said “performed well through the crisis and already involve meaningful risk-sharing with the private sector.”The Committee is also considering other concepts, including “securitiz[ing] conventional mortgages with a Ginnie Mae wrap,” Crapo said.Edward J. DeMarco, President of the Housing Policy Council of the Financial Services Roundtable and one of three witnesses who addresses the Committee today, recently co-authored a paper detailing how that would be done.“The approach to reform that HPC supports, and that is reflected across most reform proposals, provides for a single MBS that has an explicit catastrophic backstop federal guarantee to replace the separate MBS issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that carried an ‘implied’ guarantee,” DeMarco said in his testimony. “A common platform would be used to issue these securities and place the federal guarantee. Multiple private entities would be able to add loans to the common pool. This is how the Ginnie Mae securitization process works today.”Michael D. Calhoun, President of the Center for Responsible Lending was also in attendance.According to Crapo, the Committee may also examine the Federal Housing Administration, as well as its role in the overall housing finance system. The FHA may need reform in order to establish a new system, he said.“A housing finance system dependent on two government-sponsored enterprises in perpetual conservatorship is not the solution,” Crapo said. “Recapitalizing the enterprises and releasing them back into the market without significant reforms is also not a solution. The current system is not in the best interest of consumers, taxpayers, investors, lenders, and the broader economy.” June 29, 2017 808 Views center_img in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines Sharelast_img read more

first_img October 10, 2017 627 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac GSE UMDP 2017-10-10 Rachel Williams Standardizing the Mortgage Industrycenter_img Data standardization has been a key area of focus for the GSEs through the Uniform Mortgage Data Program (UMDP) first introduced in 2010. On Tuesday, FHA Senior Policy Analyst in the Division of Housing Mission & Goals Nana Nkrumah released an FHFA Insights Blog into better understanding the program.“Since its inception, the UMDP has supported improving mortgage industry data standards and enhance accuracy and overall quality of loan data for home mortgage. We will continue to assess the project and its components in order to make improvements over time,” Nkrumah wrote.As Nkrumah goes on to explain, the UMDP program is split into four main components: Uniform Loan Application Dataset (ULAD), Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD); Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD), and Uniform Loan Delivery Dataset (ULDD). To view descriptions of each component, click here.Updates to UMDP’s components include newly designed ULAD maps that will enhance the Uniform Residential Loan Application starting in July 2019; the UCD allowing information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Closing Disclosure to be transmitted electronically to the GSEs as of September; and an Update to the ULDD that adds HMDA fields and will be available for use in February 2018.In a feature article for MReport’s June 2017 issue titled “A Spoonful of . . . Clarity,” Andrew Bon Salle, EVP of Single Family Business at Fannie Mae, goes into depth regarding how the UMPD program has enhanced the mortgage industry along with enhanced data and analytics. “In the early 2000s, mortgage lending went crazy. The industry was living in the moment, with little focus on the future. Then the bubble burst. Once the industry caught its breath, data standards again became a priority. There was renewed interest in loan quality, and the post-crisis regulatory climate tended to drive up costs, fueling a quest for efficiency and willingness to invest in it. The industry could not continue to meet quality requirements and embrace changing consumer expectations without end-to-end digitization of the mortgage life cycle,” Bon Salle said of the events that led to the creation of the program.To learn more about what Bon Salle says on Fannie Mae’s take of the UCDP program, and the GSEs Day 1 Certainty, click here.To view the full Insights Blog, click here. Sharelast_img read more

first_img Share October 22, 2018 492 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News From a booming town economy to an affordable location that’s close to an ultra-pricey market, some cities across the U.S. are seeing a boom in their home prices, according to a study by Many of these cities, according to the study are outlier metros that are seeing an accelerated rate of growth in home prices.The study analyzed the increase in median list prices on from September 2017 to September 2018 in the nation’s 300 largest metropolitan areas and then ranked the places that indicated the biggest percentage change in home prices during that time period. To ensure geographical diversity, said that it had limited its list to just two metros per state.With a median list price of $271,000 and an annual change of 34.4 percent in home prices, Odessa, Texas topped the list of cities where home prices are soaring. The reason, according to the study is the booming oil and gas market in this town that has spurred job growth to a new high. The inventory shortage in the city though follows the story being played out in the rest of the country with the number of homes on the market falling 44 percent in one year, and pushing the prices even higher.Another Texas-based city, Wichita Falls, was ranked second on this list, with a median price of $140,000 for a home and a one-year change of 27.2 percent. The city’s proximity to Dallas and its affordably priced homes make it a huge draw for people looking at more affordable options, according to the third place is Homosassa Springs, Florida with home prices averaging $225,000 and a year-over-year change of 22.1 percent. It’s proximity to Tampa and an economy that’s growing after a rough patch has made this an ideal location for retirees looking for affordable options under the sun and those moving for better job prospects.At no.4, Terre Haute, Indiana, saw a year over year price change of 21.8 percent. Yet, homes in this city average $109,600. Battle Creek, Michigan, rounded the top five on this list with a median list price of $140,000 and a one-year change of 20.9 percent, said.Bowling Green, Kentucky; Burlington, North Carolina; Boise City, Idaho; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Indianapolis, Indiana were the other cities among this list.center_img Home Prices homes HOUSING 2018-10-22 Radhika Ojha Ten Cities Where Home Prices are Acceleratinglast_img read more

first_img Banking Senate Committee Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac GSEs homes HOUSING Mark Calabria 2019-02-14 Radhika Ojha in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Calabria: Committed to Making FHFA a “World-Class Regulator” February 14, 2019 3,859 Views center_img On Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee conducted a hearing on the nomination of Dr. Mark Calabria as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency(FHFA) along with the nominations of Bimal Patel, of Georgia, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; Todd M. Harper, of Virginia, to be a Member of the National Credit Union Administration Board; and Rodney Hood, of North Carolina, to be a Member of the National Credit Union Administration Board.The Trump administration announced Calabria’s nomination to head the FHFA in December. He is currently the Chief Economist to Vice President Mike Pence. If confirmed, Calabria would have significant influence over the housing finance market at the FHFA.Opening the proceedings for the hearing, Sen. Mike Crapo, Chairman of the Banking Committee said, “FHFA can also play an important role in helping us move toward a more sustainable housing finance system facilitated by an engaged and strongly capitalized private sector.””All the nominees today, if confirmed, have the opportunity to improve American lives, they can make it easier for families to buy homes with mortgages,” said Ranking Member Sen. Sherrod Brown during his opening remarks.While his prepared remarks didn’t mention the current administration’s goal of the privatization of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Calabria addressed these issues during his discussions with the Committee. Calabria said that if he was confirmed as Director of the FHFA his role would be to “carry out the clear intent of Congress, not impose my own vision.”Giving an outline of what his priorities would be if confirmed, Calabria said that a number of critical elements were needed in reform such as a “greater need for competition.” He said the current FHFA mandate was clearly where “the regulator cannot make such changes.” As a result, he said, “The very broad changes that have to happen in the mortgage finance system have to be done by Congress.”Calabria said that if he was confirmed as the FHFA Director his objective would be to ensure the GSEs were, “well capitalized, well managed, and well regulated.”He also clarified the reports on FHFA Acting Director Joseph Otting’s remarks on the privatization of the GSEs, saying that the remarks were made more to raise the morale of the staff at FHFA than anything else. “My read of what I believe he said was to convey a sense of urgency to the FHFA staff. What he referred to in the terms of me signing off was my longstanding loud support for housing finance reforms. I believe he was conveying to the staff through a pep talk that we will move forward,” Calabria said.Before his nomination for this post, Calabria told the committee that he was involved in conversations around December 2017 that allowed a $3 billion cushion for the GSEs and had supported the amendment of allowing a “modest capital buffer so that we would not have to force a draw, partly because of the impact of the tax reform or the deferred tax losses being held by the GSEs.”Addressing his views on the affordable housing goals Calabria said that his past concerns with affordable housing goals were in the context of “two large institutions with zero capital.” However, he added, “I do believe we can get to a spot where we can have risk-taking via affordable housing goals if we can have an appropriate regulatory structure that has capital backing those goals. I’m very concerned about any large financial institution where we push it to take an additional risk without the appropriate regulatory structure in place.”Clarifying his comments on getting rid of the GSEs in the past, he said that they were essentially pointed towards getting rid of the model of privatize gains and socialize losses. “I believe all large financial institutions need to be well capitalized more managed, more regulated, and I believe the GSEs were “none of the above” before the crisis. My concern is the fundamental model of the heads of Fannie and Freddie walk out with a lot of money while the rest of us get holding the bag. I want these entities to be good corporate citizens, I want them to be the model of how other corporation should want to behave.”Answering a question on the role of the FHFA if the housing market faced another crisis, Calabria said, that it was appropriate for the FHFA to offer assistance to affected borrowers and that “we should recognize and applaud the efforts of Ed DeMarco for the wide-based forbearance that was done by FHFA during the past crisis.” However, he stressed that the agency needed to “approach different borrowers differently” and that the mortgage market should set an expectation for those who can pay, should pay and “focus our efforts on those who can’t pay and need assistance.””FHFA is absolutely necessary,” Calabria said while answering a question on why he wanted to take up this job, despite his past remarks. “In fact, I want to raise the stature of FHFA. I remember how the employees at its predecessor felt and their inability to stand up and be able to do effective financial regulation. I’m committed to seeing turning FHFA into a world-class regulator.”He also gave his views on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage saying that it was important to have the 30-year rate and that he intended to keep it that way.Click here to view the full testimony. Sharelast_img read more


Aug 2019


first_imgCover-MoreZurich With the completion of its acquisition of Cover-More, Zurich becomes one of the top three travel insurance providers, significantly expanding its travel insurance portfolio.“Travel insurance is a fast-growing industry and Cover-More is a recognised leader in this sector,” said Giovanni Giuliani, group chief strategy, innovation and business development officer.“The innovation and capabilities this acquisition brings to Zurich are as important as the new products and services it adds to our portfolio.“Mike Emmett, group chief executive officer, Cover-More Group, said “The acquisition by Zurich, gives our business the ability to pursue our global growth ambitions with the strong backing of Zurich’s brand, reputation and global footprint.“Cover-More will continue to operate as a separate entity and will retain its brand.last_img read more

first_imgMichelinPeninsula Shanghai The Peninsula Shanghai has maintained a total of three Michelin stars for two restaurants in the second edition of The Michelin Guide Shanghai – the result marks the second year that Yi Long Court enjoys a prestigious two Michelin star rating, while Sir Elly’s upholds its one Michelin star.The Peninsula Shanghai has also retained its title as the only hotel in Mainland China with two Michelin-starred restaurants simultaneously. The awarding of Michelin stars to Sir Elly’s, which serves modern European fare crafted by Chef de Cuisine Hans Zahner and Executive Pastry Chef Lucien Gautier, and Yi Long Court, which is helmed by Michelin-starred Executive Chinese Chef Tang Chi Keung and specialises in refined Cantonese dining, represented an important milestone for The Peninsula Shanghai. Under the guidance of Executive Chef Terrence Crandall, The Peninsula Shanghai has established itself as a critically-acclaimed Bund-side dining destination that pushes the boundaries in luxury service and gastronomic innovation.Diners at Yi Long Court can enjoy exquisite Cantonese dishes, regional Chinese and dim sum favourites, plus inventive creations inspired by the culinary travels of Michelin-starred Executive Chinese Chef Tang Chi Keung. Hong Kong-born Chef Tang, who opened Yi Long Court in October 2009, returned to The Peninsula Shanghai in April 2016. He previously spent five years creating Cantonese-inspired menus at Hei Fung Terrace at The Peninsula Tokyo, which earned a Michelin star during his tenure.At Sir Elly’s, French-born Chef de Cuisine Hans Zahner and Executive Pastry Chef Lucien Gautier combine their skills to create refined European menus for Shanghai diners to savour. Inspired by classically trained techniques, both chefs share an abiding passion for pairing French culinary inspiration with fresh Asian and European ingredients. The latest rotational menu at Sir Elly’s offers a spectacular gastronomic journey featuring the finest ocean-fresh fish and seafood, Australian lamb shoulder and decadent desserts. The l’aventurier captures the beauty and nuances of Western fine dining, casting a spot light on superb dishes such as royal oyster with schrencki caviar, black cod confit with carrot escabeche and fresh mango, and the wonderfully creative pop corn with corn lemon ice-cream, white chocolate and caramel sauce.MAIN IMAGE: Sir Elly’s – Chef Hans Zahner, Chef de Cuisine & Chef Lucien Gautier, Executive Pastry Chef last_img read more

first_imgTo celebrate the winter solstice, Celebrity Cruises is offering AUD$99.00* per person one-way from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne to Auckland or vice versa, flying Virgin Australia, with select Celebrity Solstice bookings exploring New Zealand in the upcoming 2018/19 summer cruise season.The winter solstice offering is available until 31 July 2018 on select Celebrity Solstice sailings and is based on space available. Flights from $99 are eligible for Solstice 20 November sailings, ex-Sydney, alternative sailings and gateways may incur additional charges. *T&Cs apply Celebrity CruisesCelebrity SolsticecruiseNew ZealandspecialsVirgin Australialast_img read more

first_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact And with the Cardinals on the schedule this week, I doubt the 49ers are going to change what’s been working.Unless, of course, the Cardinals defense forces a change.Arizona ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. The unit held Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin to a season-low 45 yards rushing two weeks ago, and Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams to 39 yards last week. And with linebacker Daryl Washington back, the Cardinals defense looked like a different beast Sunday — one with fangs and no regard for human life.So, here lies your key to the game Sunday. Frank Gore and the decision to reduce Colin Kaepernick’s monster role in the offense seems to have turned the Niners’ season around. If the Cards run defense can take away San Francisco’s new offensive identity, does San Francisco revert back to the original Kaepernick plan, or do the Cardinals leave their rivals searching mid-game for a third method for moving the football? Either way, the game plan for stopping the 49ers looks to be a far cry from what Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was anticipating when the season began.Trick or treat? The Niners gave the ninth-year pro 20 carries against St. Louis in Week 4. He responded with 153 yards rushing. The team outgained the Rams 219-to-18 and they managed to snap their streak of offensive floundering to the tune of a 35-11 divisional victory.They’re now back on top of the roller coaster, having won two straight games by a combined score of 79-14.It’s no secret: Teams have fallen in love with the forward pass. Fans have as well, and for good reason. The league’s rule changes favor throwing the football. And last year, the league’s latest crush was on quarterbacks who could throw and run. With 65 percent of plays being passes now, and with some signal callers running the ball ten times per game, the quarterback was fast becoming responsible for nearly the entire offense. And San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick was labeled one these guys.Problem was: Despite all the preseason hype, the “Kaepernick-can-do-it-all” plan wasn’t working in September.Score one for old school football.Not only has Gore had 37 carries for 238 yards the last two weeks, Kaepernick has watched his pass attempts drop with each game, from 39 in Week 1 to 28, 27, 23 and 15. He’s also gone from an average of eight runs per game during the first three weeks of the season to two per game during the team’s active two-game win streak. Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling It’s nearly Halloween.And what’s Halloween without a little Gore?Apparently, San Francisco got the message after their ghoulish performances against Seattle and Indianapolis. The reigning NFC Champs were outscored 56-10 in back-to-back games in September. The offensive output was pathetic enough for veteran running back Frank Gore to raise his hand and say, “hey, let’s not forget I’m here.” Comments   Share   last_img read more

first_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Gaston, listed at 6-foot-2 and 310 pounds — in other words, a big body in the middle of the defensive line — had not heard of Arians’ praise. When he did, he was appreciative. “But my main thing right now is just to continue to learn the playbook and just continue to get better, do what (defensive line) Coach (Brentson) Buckner asks of me and try to be a dominant defensive lineman,” he said. “That’s my main goal right now.”Gaston’s play has spoke volumes, and with Dan Williams slowed by a injured left knee and Alameda Ta’amu still rehabbing a torn ACL, the rookie finds himself running with the first-team defense — with Dockett to his right and Campbell to his left. Gaston called playing with first stringers “crazy” and “mind-blowing.”“Coach Buck tells us to be critical when you watch film of yourself,” he said. “That’s one thing I’m really trying to do — is be critical of myself. So the next practice or the next day, I really need to focus on those things.”Making it in the NFL is hard enough on a rookie, let alone a rookie who goes undrafted. When the 2014 NFL Draft ended, 256 names had been called, and not one of them was Gaston’s. In four yeas as a defensive tackle at Purdue, he totaled 131 tackles (24 for loss), seven sacks, four fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and two passes defensed in 50 games (including 44 starts). Comments   Share   – / 13center_img GLENDALE, Ariz. — All Bruce Gaston wanted was an opportunity. The Arizona Cardinals called with such an opportunity, and the 22-year-old rookie defensive tackle is making the most of his time in training camp thus far.“Bruce Gaston did a heck of a job on our defensive line — really showed up, blowing up some blockers and made a little name for himself in that scrimmage (Saturday),” said head coach Bruce Arians, who later told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that Gaston “is a big, powerful guy. I mean when I saw a couple of offensive lineman come backwards, it’s just like, ‘Whoa, who’s over there?’ I thought it was (Darnell Dockett) or Calais (Campbell) or somebody, and it was (No.) 75. I said, ‘Hmm, I like that.’” Top Stories “Obviously, I was very disappointed, extremely disappointed,” he said. “But I do believe everything happens for a reason, whether we agree with it or not, and I know a lot of times we don’t always agree with it. Even now, I’m still not necessarily agreeing with that decision, but it happened. So, once it happened, all I could do is move forward.”Gaston was one of 15 rookie free agents the Cardinals signed following the draft.“Once I got here,” he said, “it’s like, ‘Okay, it’s over with.’ I’ve just got to strive to be better and be the best and continue to grow. So, from draft weekend to now, I use that as motivation. My goal is (to) prove everybody wrong, show them that, ‘Ah, you know what, we should’ve drafted this cat. Dang, we missed out.’ That’s something I use as motivation as well.”It’s still too early to determine whether or not Gaston will make the 53-man roster, but it’s a good bet he’ll see a considerable amount of work in the preseason, which begins Saturday against the Houston Texans at University of Phoenix Stadium.“Tenacity and just hard work, and try to be as physical as I can be,” he said when asked what he’s shown the coaching staff that’s resulted in his rise up the depth chart. “I want to be a nasty defensive lineman. They always say that in the meeting rooms: We’ve got to be a little bit more nastier, a little bit more vicious. I’m just trying to apply that to my game.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

first_imgPatrick Peterson traded punches with Falcons star receiver Julio Jones before the Cardinals cornerback left late in the fourth quarter of Arizona’s 38-19 loss on a balky left leg.Head coach Bruce Arians said Peterson was only dealing with cramps and had a minor knee ding Sunday.Regardless, the beat up cornerback had been targeted by Atlanta more than most teams would dare. It was a symbolically harsh result after Peterson held Jones, the NFL’s total receiving yardage leader to start Sunday, to four catches for 35 yards on seven targets. Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling CB Patrick Peterson said his knee is “hurting right now.” While it was painful, he didn’t want to miss any time. Not sure extent of issue.— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) November 27, 2016The Cardinals’ defensive woes weren’t on their best player.Eight Falcons caught balls with Mohamed Sanu earning one more target than Jones’ seven. Sanu caught all eight thrown his way for 65 yards, while backup 5-foot-8 receiver Taylor Gabriel caught two screen passes that turned into 25- and 35-yard touchdowns.Three times, Atlanta followed a Cardinals score with one of their own.“Great defenses don’t do that,” Arians told Arizona Sports 98.7’s Paul Calvisi afterward. “They don’t let other teams score after you score.”Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan one-upped Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer with 26 completions. Both had two touchdowns and an interception, but Ryan did so on 11 fewer attempts.Arizona also struggled to contain Atlanta’s rushing attack, which allowed a 27-yard run to Gabriel and 60 yards and two touchdowns by Devonta Freeman.Still, Peterson’s outing said as much in the matchup under the microscope. – / 24 One play after Jones made a 15-yard, second-down reception in the third quarter, Peterson motioned to be removed from the game after chasing down tight end Levine Toilolo with 7:38 remaining in the period. Tharold Simon took over for Peterson briefly, but Peterson returned for several more series before Arizona appeared to pull him for good when the game was out of reach.Jones caught three passes for 20 yards on four targets in the first half. Meanwhile, Peterson earned two pass interference penalties.The first came on the Falcons’ opening drive on 3rd-and-goal at the Arizona 2-yard line. The Cardinals corner held Jones’ jersey and then made contact with him as he battled down the pass.Atlanta scored on the very next play to tie the game, 7-7.On the Falcon’s next possession, Peterson’s second interference penalty on 3rd-and-15 at Arizona’s 38-yard line negated a stop and gave Atlanta a first down. The Falcons finished the drive with a chip-shot field goal to tie the game, 10-10, once again.A Jones bobble near the end of the first half, however, resulted in a huge swing in the Cardinals’ favor.During Atlanta’s two-minute drill, Cardinals safety D.J. Swearinger picked off the tipped ball off Jones’ mitts with 25 left in the first half at the Cardinals’ 31-yard line. Arizona scored a field goal to trail just 17-13 at the half, but Atlanta would pull away with three second-half touchdowns to put the 4-6-1 Cardinals on the brink of officially missing the postseason.center_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 0 Comments   Share   Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more