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Virgin Australia enhances short haul international network

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first_imgVirgin Australia today announced a number of enhancements to the airline’s short haul international network, including the addition of over 75,000 seats on Trans-Tasman routes in 2016 and the introduction of its Airbus A330-200 aircraft in peak travel periods on services from Fiji to Brisbane and Melbourne.Virgin Australia Chief Commercial Officer, Judith Crompton said new Trans-Tasman services will see the airline operate ten return services between Auckland and Sydney and nine return services between Auckland and Melbourne each week from 30 June 2016.“Our new Trans-Tasman services have been timed to suit corporate travellers as well as customers connecting to regional New Zealand services,” Ms Crompton said.“The five new return services to Auckland add an extra 1,760 seats each week on our Boeing 737 aircraft, which feature our award-winning Business Class.”In conjunction with alliance partner Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia will add the following Trans-Tasman services, effective 30 June 2016:Three additional return services per week between Auckland and SydneyTwo additional return services per week between Auckland and MelbourneUp to four additional return services per week between Brisbane and Queenstown during the ski season (from 25 June to 02 October 2016)Up to three additional return services per week between Christchurch and Sydney that were introduced on 25 October 2015 will be maintained, with a schedule change implemented by Air New Zealand to provide a choice of morning and evening departures on most weekdays.Services between Brisbane and Dunedin will also be retimed to provide increased connectivity from Dunedin to Adelaide, Canberra and Queensland ports, as well as same day connectivity to North America.Following the successful international deployment of the Airbus A330-200 aircraft between Sydney and Fiji earlier this year, Virgin Australia will also introduce the A330 on services from Fiji to Brisbane and Melbourne in peak travel periods.“Since the introduction of our wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft between Sydney and Fiji earlier this year, feedback from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive,” Ms Crompton said.“We are pleased to introduce our internationally-configured A330 aircraft on services from Fiji to Brisbane and Melbourne for the first time in peak travel periods from late June 2016.“Virgin Australia will now offer the best premium product from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Fiji as the A330 features our new Business Class suites, with the world’s longest and widest fully lie-flat bed in domestic business class and a world-first collaboration with Nespresso that delivers great coffee in the sky.“This is great news for Velocity Frequent Flyers, with more chances available to redeem Velocity Points for upgrades and reward seats.”Virgin Australia’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft will be deployed on the Fiji route from:Sydney each Saturday over the Easter period between 26 March to 23 April 2016 and from 25 June to 08 October 2016;Melbourne each Saturday from 25 June to 08 October 2016; andBrisbane each Sunday from 26 June to 02 October 2016Customers are able to see the type of aircraft scheduled to operate a flight during the booking process. As always, operating aircraft may change without notice. Fly Virgin AustraliaSource = Virgin Australialast_img read more

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Landmark Travel founder celebrates 50 years in travel

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first_imgL to R : Kevin Dale, Trevor Jones, Andrew Macfarlane, Gerd Wilmer, Andrew JonesGerd Wilmer of Landmark Travel today celebrates 50 years in the travel industry. That’s him, ever smiling, in the photo above receiving his Inaugural Member’s Award a few years ago.After leaving high school, on 1 April 1966, Gerd started an apprenticeship at the local travel agency in his hometown of Gelsenkirchen.To celebrate the end of the apprenticeship in October 1968, Gerd took his first cruise from Venice to Genoa on MS Varna, which started a life-long love affair with cruising.In November 1970, Gerd immigrated to Australia and worked for the Bank of NSW Travel Department before returning to Germany, working for Hapag Lloyd Travel Agency and CP Air then making his way back to Australia in 1978 and in December of that year opening Landmark Travel in Manly.Gerd has owned Landmark Travel ever since and, in partnership with former employee Julia Bellis, since 1994 they have been a much awarded and highly successful Agency.He wrote his own back office computer programme for Landmark Travel in 2003 which today, known as ‘Orca’, is a commercial product, endorsed by Amadeus and available to all travel agents.He is the Australian representative for luxury cruise line Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and this year Sea Cloud Cruises has joined his collection of “not your usual cruise lines”.Congratulations on a stellar career Gerd!Source = Magellan Travel Grouplast_img read more

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The Gold Coast takes top spot as Australias best

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first_imgThe Gold Coast takes top spot as Australia’s bestThe Gold Coast takes top spot as Australia’s best family holiday spot‘The Gold Coast is embracing a new confidence and cool that will have you falling in love with it all over again’ – Australian TravellerLast night, the Gold Coast added another feather to its cap taking out the 2016 Australian Traveller People’s Choice Award for Best Family Holiday Spot for the second consecutive year.According to Australian Traveller, ‘the Gold Coast is almost a holiday no-brainer when kids are in tow.  With a host of family-friendly accommodation, beautiful beaches, and more hyper-fun entertainment than you can poke a bored kid at’.Gold Coast Tourism CEO, Martin Winter said “the Gold Coast has long held a special place in the hearts of Australian families and despite becoming known as much more than a family holiday destination, this segment is still essential for our visitor economy.”Also picking up a 2016 Australian Traveller People’s Choice Award, Palazzo Versace was named ‘Sexiest Hotel Pool’ and also a finalist for Best Luxury Hotel or Resort.According to Australian Traveller, ‘Palazzo Versace is opulent in every sense of the word. Part of the hotel’s ‘Water Salon’, the 63-metre pool is lined with a white sandy beach (shipped in from Surfers Paradise) and cabanas with custom-made Versace daybeds from which to sip glasses of Champagne.’The Australian Traveller People’s Choice Awards is just one of the many received by the Gold Coast.  The Gold Coast was announced in the 2016 TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Awards as Australia’s most popular holiday destination behind only Sydney.Just overnight, our very own Burleigh Brewing added another medal to their growing collection, this time a gold medal for their newest brew, Burleigh Brewing Twisted Palm, at the World Beer Championship in Chicago.“Speak to any local and they will tell you there is just so much happening on the Gold Coast. Trendy new restaurants are opening every week, investment is revitalising our city and our events are gathering some serious ground swell.  There’s an infectious optimism within our city, making it a really is a great place to be right now” Martin added.When asked what makes the Gold Coast so appealing, Martin said “while our beaches that have drawn Australians to our cities for decades, it’s our iconic coastal lifestyle, welcoming locals, emerging food scene, stunning natural landscapes and breadth of attractions which are providing Australians even more reasons to return to the Gold Coast”. Visit Gold Coast Source = Gold Coast Tourismlast_img read more

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Singapore Airlines and Lalique to enter strategic partnership

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first_imgSingapore Airlines and Lalique to enter strategic partnershipSingapore Airlines (SIA) and French crystalmaker Lalique have agreed to enter into a strategic partnership, in the course of which Singapore Airlines will exclusively carry selected inflight items co-branded with Lalique in its Suites and First Class cabins. The partnership is set to start with the launch of Singapore Airlines’ next batch of Airbus A380s, deliveries of which are due to begin in the second half of this year featuring all-new cabin products.   SIA and Lalique have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to join forces on enhancing the travelling experience in SIA’s Suites and First Class cabins. The partnership between SIA and Lalique – which forms part of Switzerland-based Lalique Group (LLQ) and specialises in decorative crystal ware, interior decor, perfumes, jewellery, art and hospitality – combines both companies’ dedication to excellence. The two partners intend to offer co-branded items such as amenity kits, toiletries, glassware, loungewear and beddings.The MoU also covers other areas of co-operation:A diversity of Lalique items to be advertised in SIA’s KrisShop Magazine (inflight sales, mail order with home delivery, exclusive offers to frequent flyers);various other benefits and offers related to Lalique’s manufacturing site and its Michelin-rated restaurant in France;lifestyle  and crystal gift items to be offered to customers as part of the amenity kits on selected flights.“We are very pleased to partner with Lalique to offer our premium customers exquisite luxury in the air,” said Singapore Airlines Senior Vice President Product & Services, Mr Marvin Tan. “Both Lalique and SIA have a long heritage. Leveraging the strengths of both companies, we look forward to bringing the finest travelling experience to our customers through this co-brand initiative. ” “We are very excited about this strategic alliance with Singapore Airlines – one of the world’s leading airline and travel brands – to contribute to delivering more value to SIA passengers and frequent flyers,” said Lalique’s Chairman and CEO Silvio Denz. SIA and Lalique are considering an exclusive and long-term co-operation, the start of which will coincide with the entry into service in the second half of this year of SIA’s next batch of Airbus A380s, featuring all-new cabin products. Specific details of the co-branded product offerings will be announced in due course. As the partnership progresses, the two companies will evaluate additional joint projects.Source = Singapore Airlineslast_img read more

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60 percent of travel brands face loyalty challenges

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first_imgNational survey finds 60 percent of travel brands face loyalty challengesBrand Keys 2018 customer loyalty engagement index: It isn’t politics (or social activism) as usualVoter tribalism and consumer advocacy create unprecedented shifts in category values necessitating a new-view of engagement and loyalty for brandsAvis, Lyft, Hyatt, and Wingate Maintain Category DominanceNew Engagement Paradigm Creates Leadership OpportunitiesDelta, Wyndham Microtel, Marriott, Yahoo TravelPolitical polarization and more fervent social movements like #grabyourwallet, #MeToo, and #TimesUp have changed the face of brand engagement and consumer loyalty, according to the Brand Keys 23rd annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index® (CLEI), conducted by the New York-based brand engagement and customer loyalty research consultancy (brandkeys.com). “This is the first time since the Index was initiated nearly 25 years ago where basic tenets of consumer loyalty and engagement have been turned upside-down,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys.Biggest Shifts In Category Dynamics and Brand LeadershipThis year the Brand Keys CLEI examined 84 categories and 761 brands – from Automotive and OTC Allergy Meds to Computers, Fast-Casual Dining, Tax Preparation and Online Investing, Retail (of all types), Smartphones, Cable and Broadcast News, and Cosmetics.How consumers view a category and how they will compare brands competing in that category changed dramatically in 60 percent of Travel-related categories. That shift resulted in a brand engagement and loyalty transformation and a shift in brand leadership of 50 percent.“We’ve just never encountered these kinds of value-adjustments before,” noted Passikoff. “But then, we haven’t seen this kind of political polarization or social turmoil at the same time since we began taking these assessments either.”What Drives Category Change? Political Tribalism or Social Activism?The Travel-Related categories reacting most to values associated with Political Tribalism including Personal Responsibility, Moral Order, Family Values, Fiscal Conservatism, and Established Social Structures were:1. Airlines2. App-Based Ride Share3. Upscale Hotels4. Luxury HotelsThe sectors reacting most to values associated with social activism that included Empathy, Equality, Empowerment, Individualism, and Pride were:1. Car Rentals2. Economy Hotels3. Midscale Hotels4. Online TravelEntirely New-View of What Consumers See As Ideal’Brand engagement’ is still best defined by how well a brand can meet the expectations consumers hold for the values that drive purchases behavior in a given category,” noted Passikoff. “But category political polarization and social activism have shaken those values to their core. If marketers think they knew what consumers’ ‘Category Ideals’ looked like before, they need to take another hard look, because as of now consumers have an entirely new-view of what is the Ideal for them,” said Passikoff.The Future of Successful Branding (Politically and Socially)Decision-making has become more emotionally-driven over the past decade,” said Passikoff. “But the addition of tribal political and activist values has transformed the brand space into something marketers haven’t faced before. ‘Business as usual’ won’t cut it in this brandscape.”“We expect to see value and expectation shifts,” said Passikoff, “But we’ve never measured anything on this scale before! Fortunately the integrated psychological nature of our approach allows us to identify new and particularly resonant emotional values and measure how they impact a category. This was the year that political tribalism and social activism rose to the top and are going to change how successful branding is done in the future.”A complete list of the CLEI’s 84 categories can be found at http://brandkeys.com/portfolio/customer-loyalty-engagement-indexSource = Brand Keyslast_img read more

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Travel Agents Association of India forms partnership

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first_imgTAAI-Connect Launch in DelhiTravel Agents Association of India forms partnershipThe Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) unveils partnership with TPConnects to roll out its Digital Empowerment Initiative – TAAI-Connect to travel agencies in India – which also facilitates IATA NDC platform.Over 10,000 Indian IATA and Non-IATA travel agencies can benefit from the “TAAI-Connect”Srinagar J&K, India: Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), the main representative body of the travel and tourism industry and the Nodal association of India, has partnered with TPConnects to roll out its “Digital Travel India” initiative –  digitally empowering travel agents to compete in the global market place.Through the TAAI initiative, India’s travel agencies will be provided with their own websites, mobile applications, corporate booking tool and B2B platform. This will all be powered by TPConnects’ robust and scalable NDC standard full backend and internet booking engine with payment gateway. TPConnects will also provide technical support. There will be no upfront charges, just a nominal per passenger transaction fee.TAAI connect in partnership with TPConnects IATA NDC standard B2B and B2C platform will help travel agencies and online travel agencies to service their customers better.  The platform enables travel agencies to have access to rich content as well as ancillary options. Travellers will be able to have their preferences recognized when shopping via a travel agency’s or online travel site in the same way that they are available on an airline’s website – a service that may not be directly available to agents today owing to technology limitations.Sunil Kumar R, President – TAAI, said “Glad to announce “TAAI-Connect” an exclusive tie-up with TPConnects, an IATA NDC Dual Level 3 Certified IT Provider and Travel Aggregator. TPConnects is committed to supporting TAAI’s “Digital Travel India” initiative. It will ensure that all travel services are made available to customers electronically and accessible through individual travel agency websites and mobile applications, along with IATA NDC standard booking engine.Many travel agencies currently lack a proper website and mobile application. This partnership will enable them to be online and visible within the next two years, with tailor-made travel offers providing more choices to end-customers.The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) share the vision of the Government of India to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. We believe that this initiative will empower travel agencies and help drive creativity and choice, resulting in a smooth transaction for the customer. It will create global opportunities for travel agencies and more inbound, outbound travellers. India’s travel agents will be fully equipped to compete on a global scale.”Rajendran Vellapalath, CEO of TPConnects said. “This partnership will create a wealth of new opportunities for India’s travel agents. To compete in today’s market travel agencies need to have access to the advantages that a digital operation provides. This initiative will create those opportunities for travel agencies, not just locally but on a global scale.  We will see big changes in India’s travel industry over the next two years.”Travel Agencies who wish to have their own website and mobile application with booking engine are required to register through the TAAI Website or email taaiconnect@tpconnects.com.About Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI)The TRAVEL AGENTS ASSOCIATION OF INDIA (TAAI), formed in 1951, is a professional coordinating body of different segments of the travel and tourism industry in India. TAAI is the Nodal Association of India and is a non-political, non-commercial and a non-profit making organization.TAAI’s primary objective is to look after the interests of its members. TAAI Members are bound by TAAI Code of Conduct and Constitution and enjoy networking opportunities with the TAAI Membership via various formal and informal forums.Source = TPConnectslast_img read more

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Taiwan tourism carries out aggressive marketing with B2B workshop and BLTM participation

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first_imgTaiwan Tourism Bureau had recently organised an educational workshop for the travel fraternity and the media at Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi.The workshop was aimed at educating the travel agents and updating their knowledge about Taiwan, the products it has to offer, USP’s of the destination and the how it caters to different segments of the Indian travellers.The event began with a B2B session between the Indian travel agents and the stakeholders from the Taiwanese Travel industry, which included its National carrier China Airlines, Princess Cruise, destination management companies Good Time Vacations and hotels like Grand Hyatt Taipei.The B2B session was followed by a presentation on Taiwan by Noel Saxena, Country Head, Taiwan Tourism Bureau. The presentation contained detailed information about Taiwan, which educated the travel agents about everything one would need to know for visiting Taiwan.The event was attended by a delegation from Taiwan that included Arthur Hsieh, Director, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Singapore Office and Richard Y.S. Chiu, Deputy Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre, India.Speaking at the event, Deputy Representative of Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre, India, Richard Y.S. Chiu said, “Our new outbound policy gives priority to India over other countries. We are a welcoming and a friendly country, especially with Indians.”As a part of ongoing B2B marketing campaign Taiwan Tourism Bureau also exhibited at the Business and Luxury Travel Mart (BLTM), in Gurgaon. BLTM was a platform for Taiwan Tourism meet corporate MNC buyers from around Delhi and National Capital Region like Godrej, Reliance, SBI, HDFC, Adani Wilmar etc, which was a great opportunity for future business prospects.last_img read more

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ITDC celebrates eighth edition of Public Sector Day across verticals

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first_imgIndia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the public sector undertaking under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism celebrated its eighth Public Sector Day from April 10-16, 2017.To celebrate the PSU day, ITDC being a Miniratna PSU organised multiple events at all its verticals. To start with AIHTM (Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management), a hospitality institute under ITDC had conducted a nukkad natak focusing on ‘Skill India’ at the premises of Scope Complex. The performances were made by the students of AIHTM, ITDC.The event witnessed a gathering from other renowned PSUs. Pradip Kumar Das, Director Finance, ITDC and other senior officials were also present for the occasion.Every year, Public Sector Day is celebrated considering the significant contributions made by Public Sector Enterprises to the national economy and with the mission to create awareness among the public at large about the notable achievements, performance and role played by them.last_img read more

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Singapore Tourism promotes its branding with Singapore Weekender

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first_imgFollowing the unveiling by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) of the country’s inside-out, unified brand “Passion Made Possible” in Singapore, a series of promotional activities has kicked off in India.  The weekend of November 17-19, 2017 will see the Board partnering St+art India Foundation to present the Singapore Weekender as part of the St+art Urban Art Festival in Mumbai. The STB has partnered not-for-profit St+art India Foundation and Impresario Group to create a three-day experiential festival to showcase some of the Lion City’s brightest self-made talents in art, music, dance, food, film and photography across Mumbai – at the Sassoon Dock in Colaba as part of the St+art Mumbai 2017 Festival and in Social restaurants in the city.Lionel Yeo, Chief Executive, STB, said, “With Passion Made Possible, STB is presenting a brand that can tell a fuller Singapore story beyond just tourism. This brand is in line with Quality Tourism as it will appeal to the more sophisticated tourists who are seeking more aspirational value propositions in their travel.”Speaking about the unconventional approach adopted by the STB for its brand launch activation in India, GB Srithar, Regional Director – South Asia, Middle East and Africa, STB explained, “We are happy to partner with St+art India Foundation and Impresario Group, both players are known to break boundaries in their own fields, to present Singapore in a different light. By showcasing seven Singaporean artists and talents’ work in line with our Passion Made Possible brand to the Indian audiences, we hope to entrench Singapore as an exciting lifestyle hot spot.”last_img read more

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FHFA Appoints Two New Faces to Key Positions

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first_imgFHFA Appoints Two New Faces to Key Positions The “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov (FHFA) picked up two new appointees, duly announced by the independent federal agency Tuesday.[IMAGE]Richard Hornsby will assume his new role as COO with the FHFA, while Jon Greenlee takes on the position of deputy director of the division of enterprise regulation.””Having extensive large bank supervision and executive management experience, Messrs. Hornsby and Greenlee each bring outstanding backgrounds and skills to their new roles at FHFA,”” “”Edward DeMarco””:http://www.fhfa.gov/Default.aspx?Page=67, de facto director of the FHFA, said in a statement. “”Since the creation of FHFA and the establishment of the Conservatorships, FHFA has grown, as have the demands for strong oversight and experienced management,”” he [COLUMN_BREAK]added. “”These individuals bring expertise well matched to the tasks at hand.”” Hornsby arrives at his new role following 26 years with the Federal Reserve of San Francisco, where he occupied roles that included senior-level and supervisory positions. He previously acted as group VP and division head for the central bank’s control, corporate administration, and financial planning divisions.He previously served as supervising examiner with the division of banking supervision and regulation, a 10-year role that saw Hornsby oversee regulations for banks, bank holding companies, and nonbank entities. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Utah State University.Greenlee takes on his new role with the FHFA from a previous spot with KPMG LLP, where he served as managing director with the financial services regulatory advisory practice.He administered assistance to clients with areas of responsibility related to the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel II and III accords. His other experiences include roles with the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University. Hornby and Greenlee will each apprise themselves of their new roles in early December. in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Edward DeMarco FHFA Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2011-11-29 Ryan Schuettecenter_img Share November 29, 2011 425 Views last_img read more

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TW Lewis Founder Inducted into Housing Quality Hall of Fame

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first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Homebuilders Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-12-11 Tory Barringer in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Tom Lewis, founder and CEO of Arizona-based homebuilder “”T.W. Lewis Company””:http://www.twlewis.com/, is the first-ever inductee in “”_Professional Builder_””:http://www.probuilder.com/ magazine’s National Housing Quality (NHQ) Award Hall of Fame, the company announced.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award–which recognizes quality achievements by firms in the business, health care, education, and nonprofit sectors–the NHQ Award represents one of the homebuilding industry’s highest awards for quality management. T.W. Lewis Company received the NHQ Silver Award in 1998 and earned the Gold Award for 2009.According to a release from the company, Lewis’ induction reflects his “”overall contribution to the housing industry and … overall impact in the field of quality homebuilding.””””This is a tremendous honor,”” Lewis said. “”I am very pleased that our commitment to quality homebuilding is being recognized in this way. This award was achieved over many years through a strong commitment by all of our employees that have taken great pride in every T.W. Lewis home.”” December 11, 2013 402 Views center_img T.W. Lewis Founder Inducted into Housing Quality Hall of Fame Sharelast_img read more

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US Housing Demand Shifts to City Centers

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first_img City Centers Fitch Ratings Housing Demand 2015-08-12 Staff Writer August 12, 2015 572 Views in Daily Dose, Headlines, News As home prices reach a sustainable pace, a demographic shift in demand is moving toward city centers, according to Fitch Rating’s second quarter 2015  U.S. Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) Sustainable Home Price Report.After decades of suburban and exurban growth, Fitch reports that a large portion of housing demand is making its way back to central parts of cities.According to Fitch, home prices have grown 50 percent faster in urban centers than in the larger metro statistical areas (MSAs) since 2000. City centers are expected to continue to experience growth due to the shift in demand, even in regions lacking significant fundamental support, and are currently considered overvalued.”This demand shift implies that city centers will continue to see growth even where regional prices have been stagnant, such as Atlanta or Chicago,” said Stefan Hilts, Fitch Ratings director.Source: Fitch Ratings Following several years of significant growth, home prices have finally began to settle into to a consistent and sustainable period, Fitch says.Real prices have grown only 2.8 percent year-over-year, compared with 8 percent in the year prior. Simultaneously, sustainable home price values have grown with the expanding economy, increasing 2.5 percent over the past year, posting the largest gains since the late 1990s.This demand shift trend is prevalent in nearly every city analyzed, but is particularly strong among growing mid-sized markets, including Nashville, Denver, Portland, and Cincinnati. With increased preference for urban living, one implication going forward is “the likelihood for home ownership rates to remain persistently low and declining as more potential buyers opt to live in cities where rentals dominate,” said Hilts.”Relative growth of the cities continues to accelerate, and Fitch anticipates the trend will continue, with a widespread cultural renaissance driving a population influx into central urban areas that had remained stable in previous decades,” Fitch said.Click here to view Fitch Ratings complete report. center_img U.S. Housing Demand Shifts to City Centers Sharelast_img read more

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Lawmakers Not Giving Up on GSE Reform

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first_img It appears GSE reform may actually be on the horizon—or at least discussed regularly in Washington—thanks to a new bill proposed by Congressman French Hill (R-Arkansas) recently.The bill, called the HR 5505 GSE Review and Reform Act, would require the U.S Treasury Secretary to study the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac annually, as well as the impact ending that conservatorship might have. The bill would also require the Treasury to present recommendations to Congress each year on how to progress GSE reform and move toward ending the conservatorship.Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been under FHFA conservatorship for eight years, when the GSEs required a bailout after the housing market crashed in 2008. Though both Democrats and Republicans have pushed for GSE reform in recent years, Hill says little has been done by Congress to change the conservatorship or even consider a path toward reforming the current system.“There has been no progress toward moving these federally dependent GSEs out of the conservatorship,” Hill said. “My bill would force Treasury to study this issue and present its recommendations to Congress at least once a year, creating engagement on the best path forward on housing finance reform to end taxpayer exposure and ensure access to mortgage credit for Americans.”“There has been no progress toward moving these federally dependent GSEs out of the conservatorship.”Rep. French Hill (R-Arkansas)GSE reform has been hot in the news lately, with parties on both sides of the aisle making pushes in Congress. In mid-May, 12 right-center organizations wrote a letter that urged Congress to pass the Mulvaney Bill, a GSE reform bill sponsored by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-South Carolina) that would suspend the GSE’s obligation to fund the National Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund until they were better capitalized.Not long after that, a group of 32 Democratic House of Representatives members wrote to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and FHFA Director Mel Watt to demand reassessment of the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement (PSPA), which requires the GSEs to have a capital buffer of zero by Jan. 1 of next year. This request came on the back of Watt’s February speech at the Bipartisan Policy Center, when he proclaimed the GSEs’ capital buffer as one of the biggest risks of conservatorship to date.Catch up on the latest news about GSE reform here. Share in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Secondary Market Fannie Mae Freddie Mac GSE Reform Rep. French Hill 2016-06-20 Seth Welborncenter_img Lawmakers Not Giving Up on GSE Reform June 20, 2016 667 Views last_img read more

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LendingQB Adds New Mortgage Lenders

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first_img LendingQB announced the addition of new mortgage lenders to its network of clientele. Homefield Credit Union, Northern Bank & Trust, Trinity Oaks Mortgage, Athas Capital, and Zip Lending joined LendingQB in Q3 of 2016 and will be implementing LendingQB’s SaaS loan origination solution. Tim Nguyen, President of LendingQB, explained that the company’s extensive mortgage loan originatin technology is appealing to various lenders. “The mortgage industry is starting to accelerate from a technology standpoint,” he said. “Lenders today demand a true web-based LOS platform that can easily integrate third-party components. Our newest clients were looking for a technology partner, not just a software company.”A key component of LendingQB’s Lean Lending Solution, which assists clients in utilizing their technology through a process called Adoptimization, which is a combination of workflow analysis, best practices, and training. Adoptimization provides lenders with advanced methods to streamline their processes, ensure compliance, and improve their lending practices.Nguyen said that customers using LendingQB will see significant improvement with their work processes. “We realize that the success of a mortgage lender relies heavily on their LOS technology,” said Nguyen. “By choosing and implementing LendingQB, these lenders are demonstrating what we expect to see from the industry now and in the future: a focus on scalable, adaptable platform technology that comes with a level of support necessary for rapid and full adoption.” Company News LendingQB 2017-01-09 Staff Writer January 9, 2017 711 Views Sharecenter_img in Featured, News, Technology LendingQB Adds New Mortgage Lenderslast_img read more

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Fed Keeps Rate Asis Amid Economic Optimism

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first_img Share Fed Keeps Rate As-is Amid Economic Optimism Economy Federal Funds Rate Federal Open Market Committee Federal Reserve FOMC HOUSING mortgage Rate Hike 2017-05-03 Aly J. Yale After a two-day meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee has opted to keep the federal funds interest rate as-is—a surprise to many, given the widely held assumption that not one, but two more rate hikes were on the agenda for 2017.According to the Federal Reserve, the improving labor market, moderate job gains, a lower unemployment rate, and steady inflation all factored into the Committee’s decision.A statement from the Federal Reserve said: “In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 3/4 to 1 percent. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.”Though economic growth has been slow for the first quarter, the Committee stated that Q1 was likely “transitory” and that “with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, labor market conditions will strengthen somewhat further, and inflation will stabilize around 2 percent over the medium term.”According to Robert Denk, Assistant Vice President for Forecasting and Analysis at the National Association of Home Builders, March was a “bad month,” economically speaking, but April could be promising—and the FOMC was right to bank on that.“The seeds for a quick rebound are already in the ground,” Denk said. “An April rebound in payroll growth can be expected if unusually warm weather accelerated hiring in January and February at the expense of March … the FOMC’s exercise in accentuating the positive can be justified in light of the progress to date and the underlying trends in job growth, the unemployment rate, wage and income gains, household spending and inflation. A long-awaited uptick in business fixed investment is another reason to turn a blind eye toward the weak March numbers.”Curt Long, Chief Economist for the National Association of Federally-insured Credit Unions, agreed that the FOMC’s decision wasn’t all that surprising.”The FOMC is not overreacting to the mediocre economic data received in recent months,” Long said. “The committee seems convinced that the overall trajectory of the economy remains solid. We are still on track for a rate hike at the committee’s next meeting in June, although poor jobs data later this week could cloud the issue.”.The FOMC raised the federal funds interest rate in March from 0.75 to 1 percent. It was largely expected to increase the funds rate two more times over the course of 2017, though after Wednesday’s announcement, the likelihood of that remains to be seen.“The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate,” the Fed stated. “The federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.”The FOMC will meet again June 13.center_img in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News May 3, 2017 568 Views last_img read more

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Diversity The Thing Homeowners All Have in Common

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first_imgDiversity: The Thing Homeowners All Have in Common The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) finalized four amendments to its Minority and Women Inclusion regulations today. The amendments, initially announced in October 2016, clarify the scope of the FHFA’s regulations and also provide guidance on the implementation of diversity and inclusion efforts.The FHFA adopted its inclusion regulations in 2010, just after the 2008 passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. HERA requires Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the Office of Finance—and all its regulated entities—to encourage diversity and inclusion throughout their organizations and in their business activity.In October, the Agency proposed four amendments to clarify further the regulations’ scope, as well as offer implementation guidance to those institutions which it applies. Specifically, the amendments require entities to:Develop strategic plans regarding their diversity and inclusion efforts—or, at the very least, include diversity and inclusion as part of their overall strategic planning sessions,Expand opportunities to minorities, women, and disabled persons when using contractors or vendors;Amend their equal opportunity in employment policies to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and status as a parent, andProvide details on diversity efforts—including those done through affordable housing programs, community investment programs, and capital market transactions—in their annual FHFA reports.The Agency accepted comments on the proposed amendments for 60 days following their release in October last year. Today’s rule finalizes those amendments; it has been published in the Federal Register and will go into effect in 30 days.Today’s final rule is just one of many diversity efforts currently underway in the financial and housing sectors. There are also diversity-focused industry groups, like the American Mortgage Diversity Council, working to expand inclusion initiatives even further.The AMDC aims to address the challenges faced by minorities and women in the industry, as well as encourage supply chain, workforce, and strategy diversification, through events, monthly publications, compliance guidance, training, education, advocacy, and more. The council boasts leaders from GSEs, federal banks, private lenders, credit unions, and other financial institutions from across the country.Learn more about the American Mortgage Diversity Council at MortgageDiversityCouncil.com. July 13, 2017 567 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlinescenter_img Diversity FHFA Inclusion mortgage 2017-07-13 Aly J. Yale Sharelast_img read more

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Featuring a choice of Australia New Zealand Asia

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first_imgFeaturing a choice of Australia, New Zealand, Asia and South Pacific cruises, departing from 17 September 2018 – 4 March 2019, the new Norwegian Jewel brochure is available now through Brochure Flow in Australia or Travel Marketing in New Zealand. Norwegian Jewel will be be returning to our waters for her second local season, fresh from a multi-million-dollar bow-to-stern refurbishment as part of the Norwegian Edge revitalisation program. New itineraries include a 19-day sailing from Singapore to Sydney; a seven-day sailing soaking up the sights of Tasmania and a 13-day sailing of South Pacific must-sees including ports across New Caledonia and Queensland, returning via Cairns and Airlie Beach. australiaBrochurescruiseNorwegian Cruise Linelast_img

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Contiki has extended its range of Asia trips with

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first_imgContiki has extended its range of Asia trips with new launches into Sri Lanka and Cambodia.Pure Sri Lanka is priced from $1890 for 10 days and includes surfing and a safari, tea plantations and wildlife, along with Tuk Tuk street food tours and insta-worthy waterfalls.Cambodian Magic is priced from $1,270 for 8 days heads into ‘untouristy’ areas of Kampot and Kep, visits the famous Crab Markets. Relax at a magical beach front special stay, explore a tropical island, and enjoy an idyllic jungle hideaway. CambodiaContikiSri Lankayouth travellast_img

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Top Stories

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first_img Top Stories Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation There are certain happenings in the world of sports that no matter what you’re doing, you drop it and watch with great anticipation.In 2011, a Patrick Peterson punt return became one of those happenings. Peterson tied an NFL record by returning four punts for touchdowns and set a Cardinals franchise record by returning one for 99 yards and a score.But this year has been a little different for Peterson, who currently ranks 24th in the league by averaging just 7.9 yards per return. His longest effort so far is only 17 yards. Last Sunday in a win over Miami, Peterson fumbled/muffed three punts and averaged only 4.5 yards per return. He also fair caught one punt at the Cardinals’ three-yard-line, which is a no-no for even the most explosive returners.“I was pressing last week, for sure,” Peterson said Tuesday. “Being that my hometown team was coming to Arizona, I just wanted to make something happen so bad. I had a lot of family members here in town.“Not making that an excuse, but at the end of the day I have to hold onto the ball and put the ball in the offense’s hands and not put it on the ground and have an opportunity for the other team to recover the fumbles.”It’s interesting to note that two of Peterson’s four touchdown returns last season, including the 99-yarder, came against the St. Louis Rams, who play host to the Cardinals Thursday night.Arizona Sports’ Kyndra de St. Aubin contributed to this report D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’center_img Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Comments   Share   What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinkelast_img read more

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Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires

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first_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Wilson’s consecutive start streak was actually snapped earlier this season, when injuries to his groin and ankle kept him from playing in Arizona’s Week 3 win over Philadelphia. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Safety Adrian Wilson has become the heart and soul of the Cardinals defense over the last decade.But even the five-time Pro Bowler is not immune to a demotion now and again.Wilson, who has 34 tackles and an interception on the season, did not start in the Cardinals’ 23-19 loss to Atlanta Falcons.The 11-year veteran declined to comment after the game, saying little more than that the decision was not his to make. Top Stories Comments   Share   Head coach Ken Whisenhunt later said the decision was made to improve pass coverage — an area Wilson hasn’t been extremely effective in this season — and that overall he was pleased with the results (season-high five interceptions) against the Falcons.Friday, defensive coordinator Ray Horton said the move was done for more reasons than just schematic purposes.“Hopefully the message that’s being sent to everybody is that’s important to do your job and do your job well,” Horton said. “When you’re in there it’s not a right, it’s a privilege to be in there and play defense.”Despite the benching of his star safety to begin last Sunday’s contest, Horton doesn’t expect Wilson’s role to change at all.“We’re just trying to tweak some things and get some guys some opportunities,” said Horton. “So where does [Wilson] fit in? Right where he’s been. He’s one of the leaders of our team.”Rashad Johnson, who started in place of Wilson, made the most of his opportunities in Atlanta. The fourth-year safety intercepted Matt Ryan’s first pass of the game, which set up the Cardinals’ lone touchdown. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more

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