From Our Blog

Rail Europe GSAs announce changes to Eurail Passes

first_imgRail Europe GSAs have announced that effective immediately, travellers going to Europe will enjoy five new updates and improvements on the Eurail Pass range.Firstly, the booking period is now extended to 11 months (previously six months), allowing travellers the flexibility of securing their rail travel plans further in advance, taking advantage of any promotions or discounts at the time of booking.Secondly, the three-country Select Pass is back, giving travellers unlimited travel across three adjoining countries based on their ticket validities.Thirdly, the Eurail Global Pass now includes three new validities including ‘5 and 7 days in 1 month’ and a ‘22 days continuous’ pass.This gives travellers on very short or long stays the flexibility of using a pass that would better suit the duration of their travels around Europe.The passes themselves have also been more clearly named to avoid any potential confusion. The three distinct passes include the Global Pass, the Select Pass (for two, three or four countries) and One Country Passes (a rail pass for any given country).Finally, the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland will have a dedicated one country pass, aptly named the Scandinavia Pass.According to Rail Europe Manager Australasia, Ingrid Kocijan, Eurail Passes remain some of the most popular products used by Australian and New Zealand travellers to Europe; and that the popular three country Select pass is a very welcome re-addition to the range.She says the new 11-month booking validity will also be particularly beneficial during the Earlybird airfare season when traditionally, travel agents were unable to purchase Eurail products more than six months in advance.Records show that the four-country Select Pass is the most popular selection among travellers, followed by the Global Pass, which allows travellers to travel through and around 28 countries across Europe.Agents are reminded that Rail Europe tickets are distributed by Rail Plus, Rail Tickets, CIT Holidays and Infinity Rail in Australia, and Rail Plus and Go Holidays in New Zealand. Terms and conditions apply. Rail EuropeSource = Rail Europelast_img read more

PO Cruises to build new cruise ship for Australia

first_imgP&O Cruises to build new cruise ship for AustraliaP&O Cruises Australia is kicking off the New Year with a major announcement that it will make history by becoming the first cruise line to build a new ship specifically for the Australian market.The cruise line said the 135,500-tonne ship would be the biggest cruise ship ever to be based fulltime in Australia, carrying more than 4200 guests.To be launched in 2019, the new ship will have double the capacity of the biggest cruise vessel currently homeporting year round in this market.At 323 metres in length and with 2100 guest rooms, the new ship will be a game changer for Australian cruising. Built specifically for modern Australia, it will offer itineraries from three to 10 days duration.The addition of the new P&O Cruises’ ship forms part of a global announcement made overnight by P&O Cruises’ parent company, Carnival Corporation.Heralding in the new year, Carnival Corporation has signed a memo of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build four new cruise ships for its global fleet.As the world’s largest travel and leisure company, Carnival Corporation has an existing fleet of 99 cruise ships and a total of 17 new ships scheduled for delivery between 2016 and 2020.The newbuild P&O Cruises’ ship will be based year round in Australia, capturing forecast further growth in the local cruise market and reaffirming P&O’s 84-year national maritime heritage.Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry and P&O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell hailed the first ‘newbuild’ cruise ship for the Australian market as the best possible good news for one of the world’s top performing cruise markets.“The much anticipated first newbuild cruise ship is a huge vote of confidence in the Australian cruise market with much of the 20 per cent year-on-year passenger growth over the past decade driven by P&O Cruises’ dynamic industry leadership,” Ms Sherry said.Mr Myrmell said the new ship added to P&O Cruises’ pattern of growth, with the recent addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden to its three-ship fleet to be followed in 2017 with the addition of Pacific Explorer.“P&O Cruises is the modern face of Australian cruising and, with such a proud heritage of leadership, it is a natural step to announce that the line will take delivery of its first newbuild ship,” Mr Myrmell said.Mr Myrmell said details and features of the new ship will be revealed later but it will build on the continued evolution of the P&O Cruises’ brand and will reflect the tastes of modern Australia.The new ship is just one of many P&O firsts in its development as Australia’s most trusted cruise line as confirmed over three consecutive years in the Reader’s Digest annual trusted brands survey.These firsts include: The pioneer of Australian cruising with P&O Strathaird operating the first South Pacific cruise from Australia in 1932.The introduction of Pacific Dawn in 2007, the first superliner to be based year round in Australia, later to be joined by Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl.The 2015 milestone of four million cruise passengers since the resumption of post war cruising.The largest fleet of cruise ships based year round in Australia with the November 2015 addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden.A proud history of opening up regional Australia to cruising with ports such as Mooloolaba, Cairns and Gladstone in Queensland now benefitting from regular visits from P&O ships. Source = P&O Cruiseslast_img read more

Japan National Tourism Organization takes MasterChef Australia to Japa

first_imgMasterChef Australia Judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George CalombarisJapan National Tourism Organization takes MasterChef Australia to JapanMasterChef Australia will head to Japan for the first time, exploring the nation’s bustling capital and regional areas as part of Japan Week, sponsored by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office in partnership with Qantas.The MasterChef Australia contestants will face a new series of culinary challenges as they start in Tokyo, travel to the iconic Mount Fuji, and discover regional Japan alongside judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preson and George Calombaris. Against the backdrop of vibrant cities and stunning natural landscapes, and with the guidance of prominent international and Japanese chefs, contestants will be inspired to push the boundaries of their creativity.Japanese cuisine has exploded in popularity around the world, and for good reason. Food preparation in Japan is an art form. In traditional Japanese cuisine, only the freshest seasonal ingredients are used, and dishes are crafted using expert techniques. It’s no surprise that washoku, Japan’s traditional dietary culture, is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.“There is no better country to host MasterChef Australia than Japan,” said JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director Kana Wakabayashi. “Japan’s reputation as a paradise for food-lovers is globally recognised, with more Michelin stars awarded to restaurants in Tokyo alone than any other city in the world.”“Food is a highlight of travel for so many people, and we hope the show will inspire more people to visit Japan and experience our excellent food for themselves,” she said.MasterChef Australia Judge George Calombaris said: “This is my first ever visit to Japan. Gary, Matt and I can’t wait to see what amazing dishes our very talented MasterChef Australia contestants plate up. There’s no doubt Japan Week will continue to challenge and inspire them as they continue on their food dream.”The special Japan Week of episodes will air as part of the highly anticipated ninth season of Australia’s premiere cooking competition, MasterChef Australia, coming soon to TEN and WIN Network. Japan National Tourism Organization Source = Japan National Tourism Organizationlast_img read more

Global applause for WAs booming culinary scene

first_imgLeeuwin Estate in WA’s Margaret River regionGlobal applause for WA’s booming culinary sceneThe spotlight is on Western Australia’s impressive food and drink offering as it continues to attract attention from the world’s top gastronomic figures wanting a taste of the State.Revered identities including David Chang, Marco Pierre-White and Pierre Koffmann will descend on WA in November to participate in the inaugural Western Australia Gourmet Escape, which will incorporate a selection of food and drink-based events in Perth, Swan Valley and Margaret River regions.The new event format is capitalising on the success of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, established in 2012, offering domestic and international visitors the choice of unforgettable culinary experiences in three of the State’s established and much-loved culinary meccas, over an expanded period of 10 days.With a thriving truffle industry, transformed capital city, unique native ingredients, fresh seafood exports and highly-awarded wine production, WA is at the top of the food chain for a host of A-list guests who have visited in recent times, including Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthal, Rick Stein and Curtis Stone.“Western Australia and Margaret River have got everything that I love, everything that I travel across the world for, as indeed I do, which is incredible food, wonderful wine and such amazing natural beauties,” said Nigella Lawson.Some of WA’s best kept food secrets are no longer, with more tourists than ever travelling across the globe to sample the State’s produce, celebrated local chefs and extraordinary landscapes.Located in the Southern Forests region of South West WA, a 90-minute drive inland from Margaret River, The Truffle & Wine Co currently produce the largest amount of the world’s most edible commodity – black perigord truffle – in Australia.On the beverage front, WA’s beer, wine and spirit-makers are becoming more diverse with their drops, increasingly testing the boundaries of traditional methods.The innovation has paid off with many local wineries, breweries and distilleries achieving top accolades at major award ceremonies, including Limeburners (Albany) winning Australian Distiller of the Year UK’s Whisky Magazine’s Icons of the World2019; Vasse Felix (Margaret River) winning gold at TEXSOM International Wine Awards 2019; and Illegal Tender Rum Co (Geraldton) taking out a wine at the Chinese Wine and Spirit Best Value Awards 2019.From the native fruits and flavours of the Kimberley to the South West’s rolling green pastures and endemic species such as marron, WA’s food scene is having a moment – one that has birthed a generation of thoughtful chefs.With the availability of great produce at their fingertips, WA chefs are championing use of local ingredients, including Matt Sartori of Wildflower (Perth), Dan Gedge of Leeuwin Estate (Margaret River) and Santiago Fernandez of Voyager Estate (Margaret River), all of whom recently featured in MasterChef Australia’s ‘WA Week’.Australian celebrity chef and judge George Calombaris spent two weeks filming at various locations in WA for the Logie award-winning program, sampling some of the best of Perth’s food scene, learning about Swan Valley wines and indulging in unique food experiences in Margaret River.“We had such an incredible time filming in Western Australia for MasterChef. It’s a place Matt, Gary and I have been blessed to spend time in, but to film across the state from Perth to the Swan Valley and down to Margaret River was spectacular,” said George.With the recent naming of Margaret River and Southern WA as the number one Asian-Pacific destination to visit in the year ahead by global travel authority Lonely Planet, WA’s popularity is expected to continue to climb.Helloworld Travel is offering ‘WA Foodie’ holiday exclusives starting from $399 per person, giving visitors the opportunity to choose from a Perth foodie adventure, Margaret River food and wine getaway and tickets to Western Australia’s Gourmet Escape. The offer ends on August 30.For more information:helloworld.com.au/wagourmetescapewesternaustralia.com/au/plan_your_trip/create_your_own_gourmet_escapeSource = Tourism Western Australialast_img read more

Travelport extends partnership with Accor hotels

first_imgTravelport leading Travel Commerce Platform providing distribution technology, payment and other solutions for the USD 7 trillion global travel and tourism industry, declared signing a new content agreement with Accor hotels one of the world’s largest hotel groups, with more than 3,700 hotels and 470,000 rooms in 92 countries.The new agreement gives Travelport’s 67,000 globally connected travel agency customers continued access to Accor’s availability and room rates, as well as new and enhanced content. Accor also plans to take advantage of increased functionality from Travelport’s innovative point of sale solutions, by providing rich static content directly from Travelport’s Hotel Content Plus database.Keith Harrison, Head of Hotel Providers at Travelport, commented, “We are thrilled to extend our association with Accor, one of the leading hotel groups in the world. Accor has demonstrated over the years its willingness to embrace new technology and innovation and our partnership over the years is testament to that. We are particularly pleased that Accor has recognised the increased opportunities our Travel Commerce Platform can help deliver and we look forward to working even closer together in future years.”last_img read more

Jumeirah to start India operations with Mumbai property by 2019

first_imgDubai-based Jumeirah Group, a luxury hotel chain, is set to open its first property in India – the Jumeirah Mumbai hotel by 2019 and Jumeirah Goa hotel thereafter. Both the properties would be newly built.“We have already signed a management contract and by 2019 we plan to have our first operational property under the Jumeirah brand in India,” said Gerald Lawless, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group.Apart from this, the luxury hotel chain is also searching for potential developers and investors in India who would be interested in having Jumeirah as their operator along with attractive conversion options simultaneously.“We are keen to venture in the Indian market as we already have a high awareness of the Jumeirah brand in India. Due to the proximity of India to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Indian travellers have known our brand for decades. Thus, we are trying hard to debut in the Indian market as early as possible. It is great opportunity for us to be in India and we believe that we will be welcomed with open hands,” exclaimed Gerald Lawless.The property will consist of over 300 spacious rooms, suites and serviced apartments, a wide range of restaurants and bars, extensive conference, wedding, banqueting, meeting facilities and a Talise Spa.last_img read more

Malindo Air flies from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne via Bali

first_imgMalindo Air flight OD177 from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne via Bali landed in Melbourne. Chandran Rama Muthy, CEO of Malindo Air, Judi Rifajantoro, professional advisor to the Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Zulkafli Yahya, Senior Director, International Promotion Division (Americas/Europe/Oceania) for Tourism Malaysia, were among the 162 passengers onboard. The inaugural flight received a warm welcome from Melbourne Airport with a water cannon salute, followed by a cake cutting session in the terminal.Muthy said, “We are thrilled to add Melbourne to our route map, as the third city that we fly to in Australia. Bali is one of the regular destinations for travellers from Melbourne. We have extended the connection to Kuala Lumpur from Bali to provide more flight options from our hub in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) with our growing network. Meanwhile, this supports our continuous effort in making KLIA a transit hub in the region.”“On the other hand, Melbourne is no stranger to most Malaysians as the city features substantial Malaysian–born communities, as well as a destination for education, business and leisure. Therefore, this route will attract VFR (visiting family and relatives), the business community and the tourism industry. Our flights to Melbourne have received positive feedback since we launched the ticket sales in April, and we will continue to explore and strengthen the connection to Australia,” he added.Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation, Simon Gandy, said he was delighted to welcome Malindo Air and to see increased capacity on the ever popular Melbourne-Bali route.“We are extremely excited by this prospect, considering passenger traffic between Victoria and Indonesia has been growing at 8.6%, per annum, in the past five years. This highlights we are rapidly filling current capacity, the strong travel demand in the route and reinforces Victoria’s fascination with the leisure hotspot”, said Gandy.On a separate account, Rifajantoro had sounded his optimism on the success of this newly created route.“We appreciate Malindo Air’s initiative to open this route, as Malaysia and Australia are our main source markets for foreign tourist arrivals and Bali is a very popular destination for these markets. It is also an interesting offering for those travellers who want to travel between Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne or those who want to visit Bali before they continue their journey so overall we are very optimistic about the prospect of this new route,” said Rifajantoro.According to Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, Managing Director, Malaysia Airports, “Connectivity is a major factor in establishing an airport’s position as a global aviation hub. Last year, nearly three million inbound and outbound passengers travelled on Australia-Kuala Lumpur route. It was an 8.2% increase from 2016. This in itself is a testament that Malaysia is fast becoming one of the world’s preferred hubs. We are indeed very happy to celebrate Malindo Air’s new route to Melbourne as this will provide more options and flexibility to our passengers who wish to fly this route. Our heartiest congratulations to Malindo Air and we look forward to provide continuous support to all our partner airlines.”The new services from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne, via Denpasar (Bali), was announced with an introductory all-in one way fares from RM899 for Economy Class and RM1,999 for Business Class. The fares include 25 kg baggage allowance, meal onboard and spacious legroom for the journey. The narrow-body Boeing 737NG aircraft, which includes 12 Business Class and 150 Economy Class seats, is deployed on this new route.last_img read more

LoanSifter Celebrating 22 Consecutive Quarters of Growth

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology LoanSifter Celebrating 22 Consecutive Quarters of Growth Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-05-17 Abby Gregory In Wisconsin, “”LoanSifter””:www.loansifter.com/ has reason to celebrate, following the company’s announcement that its revenues have grown during 22 consecutive quarters. [IMAGE]Statistics from LoanSifter, a provider of product eligibility and pricing software solutions for the mortgage banking industry, indicate an 11.6 percent increase in revenue between the final quarter of 2011 and the first-quarter of the current year.In an official statement, LoanSifter credited the increasing demand for technology solutions within the industry for its continued rise in revenue. The company also noted that borrowers’ expectations of fast, accurate online platforms has contributed to the market’s appetite for LoanSifter’s services and softwares.Craig Doriot, LoanSifter’s founder and chief technology officer, said, “”We couldn’t be more excited about the future of LoanSifter. There is incredible market demand to shift away from the limitations of legacy and proprietary systems toward providers like LoanSifter that are creating best-of-breed technology solutions that excel in a rapidly changing industry.””Credit belongs to our amazing team and business partners, who have enabled us to generate compelling solutions for changing products, investors, guidelines, regulatory and compliance requirements, all while bringing more advanced and intuitive technology to market.├âÔÇÜ├é┬á This is helping borrowers and mortgage professionals manage their business, mitigate risk, and maneuver the market more effectively than ever,”” he added.center_img May 17, 2012 476 Views Sharelast_img read more

New MortgageFlex Clients Go Live

first_img in Government, Origination, Servicing, Technology Lenders are lining up to take advantage of the LoanQuest mortgage origination solution offered by “”MortgageFlex Systems, Inc.””:http://www.mortgageflex.com/, the company announced.[IMAGE]The Jacksonville, Florida-based company touted its newly rewritten LoanQuest system, which is “”smarter and better than ever.””According to MortgageFlex, seven of its new customers are already live on the .NET version of LoanQuest, and several more are expected to be in full production mode soon. [COLUMN_BREAK]New customers range from mortgage bankers to community banks, Credit Union Service Organizations, national banks, credit unions, and state housing finance agencies.With such a wide range of users, MortgageFlex redesigned its service offerings and hosting options to compliment LoanQuest. Its dedicated hosting environment allows every client an exclusive instance of the application and a dedicated database, providing superior security.MortgageFlex’s list of clients includes “”Kennebunk Savings Bank””:http://www.kennebunksavings.com/, located in Maine. The bank recently went into live production mode.””The biggest advantages that we have found when using LoanQuest are the process efficiencies we’ve gained using the workflow functionalities for our back office, and the regulatory parameters that are set up to alert users that there is a potential violation,”” said Patricia Pratt, loan systems administrator for the bank.””Our customers are telling us that with the market coming back, they don’t have the time or resources to squander with inefficient process,”” said John McCrea, SVP of business development at MortgageFlex. “”They are aggressively seeking technology that can eliminate multiple platforms, make the lending process easier for consumers, and improve their internal business processes.”” New MortgageFlex Clients Go Live Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2012-10-25 Tory Barringercenter_img October 25, 2012 469 Views Sharelast_img read more

CoreLogic Mortgage Fraud to Reach 13 Billion by YearEnd

first_img in Data, Origination CoreLogic: Mortgage Fraud to Reach $13 Billion by Year-End December 4, 2012 427 Views After remaining relatively flat for about a year, mortgage fraud is on the rise again, according to “”CoreLogic.””:http://www.corelogic.com/ The firm’s “”fraud index””:http://www.corelogic.com/research/2012-mortgage-fraud-trends-report.pdf estimated about $12 billion in fraudulent originations over the year last year but anticipates about $13 billion in mortgage fraud by the end of 2012. [IMAGE]All categories of mortgage fraud increased year-over-year in the first quarter of 2012, with employment fraud taking the lead with a 50 percent increase. CoreLogic attributes this rise to continued high levels of unemployment across the nation combined with low mortgage rates, incentivizing homeowners to misrepresent their employment status on loan applications. Identity fraud followed employment fraud with a 44 percent increase year-over-year. Income fraud increased 35 percent; occupancy fraud rose by 25 percent; and undisclosed debt fraud increased by the smallest amount, 8 percent over the year.[COLUMN_BREAK] In contrast to CoreLogic’s report of steady origination fraud in 2011, the “”Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN),””:http://www.fincen.gov/ which tracks suspicious activity reports (SARs), notes mortgage SARs “”increased significantly”” in both 2010 and 2011. FinCEN also reports a 31 percent decrease in SARs reported in the first quarter of 2012 when compared to the first quarter of 2011. However, SARs have risen about 10 percent over the year in 2012. “”This upward spike in mortgage fraud counts, according to FinCEN, is largely attributable to mortgage repurchase demands and special filings generated by several institutions,”” CoreLogic notes. Mortgage SARs may not be recorded until well after the suspicious act was committed. In an environment of continually increasing distressed sales, CoreLogic sees heightened risk for fraud, especially among short sales. “”CoreLogic research indicates that the mortgage industry is likely to originate $325 million resulting from short sale fraud in 2012,”” the firm states in its report. CoreLogic also warns servicers to remain vigilant as “”HARP 2.0 and HAMP loans continue to represent significant risk.”” During the first quarter of this year, Nevada ranked as the top riskiest state in the nation, according to CoreLogic. Nevada was followed by Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Florida. Among ZIP codes, Chicago took the No. 1 spot for the quarter. Oakland, California, took the No. 2 spot, followed by Atlanta; Orlando, Florida; and the Orlando-Kissimmee area, also in Florida.center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies CoreLogic Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Fraud Mortgage Rates Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2012-12-04 Krista Franks Brock Sharelast_img read more

How are Originators Handling the Qualified Mortgage Rule

first_img Lenders Mortgage Originators Qualified Mortgage Urban Institute 2016-03-02 Staff Writer Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, News, Origination March 2, 2016 1,200 Views center_img As the qualified mortgage (QM) rule hits its two-year anniversary, many industry experts are concerned that the regulation is behind the decline in mortgage credit and has impacted low-income and minority borrowers the most, but this may not be the case at all.The QM rule, introduced in January 2014, was created to stop borrowers from acquiring unaffordable loans and to protect lenders from enforcement actions.Brian Koss, EVP of Mortgage Network told MReport, “We are not seeing the effect of QM other than the high-end. People with large assets but low income or people who desire creative mortgages like interest only are most affected but the average borrower is not affected.””The Qualified Mortgage rule has had little to no effect on United Wholesale Mortgage business or our Brokers. In general, the rules put certain criteria around the types of loans originated, to make sure lenders don’t offer the same types of risky loans as were offered during the subprime crisis,” said Mat Ishbia, President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage.Ishbia continued, “The QM rule has not affected the loans we’ve done, and hasn’t been too limiting to product innovation ideas. We have access to non-QM loans if we want, but there isn’t really any demand for non-QM loans as far as our business is concerned.”Urban Institute determined in analysis that the rule has had little impact on the availability of mortgage credit, mostly because the market had already underwent changes prior to the rule.Urban Institute tracked four potential indicators, none of which showed a connection to reduced lending:The number of interest-only and prepayment penalty loans didn’t decrease: The QM rule disqualifies loans that are interest-only or have a prepayment penalty. A reduction in these loans might show QM impact, but both types of mortgages were virtually extinct before QM took effect.The share of loans with debt-to-income ratios above 43 percent is unchanged: The QM rule disqualifies loans with a debt-to-income ratio above 43 percent except for loans with government backing.The adjustable-rate mortgage share still tracks interest rates: The share of adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) generally tracks interest rate changes, i.e. when rates go up, more people use ARMs and when rates go down, fewer people use ARMs. The QM rule requires that ARMs be underwritten to the maximum interest rate that could be charged during the loan’s first five years—a restriction that might deter ARMs and disrupt the interest-rate tracking. But after the QM rule took effect, the ARM share continues to track interest rate changes.The number of small loans has dropped but not much: The QM rule’s 3 percent limit on points and fees could discourage lenders from making smaller loans. But the slight drop since the rule took effect is largely attributable to home price appreciation.”Though the effect of the QM rule appears small to nonexistent now, it reminds us that lenders must ensure that borrowers are able to repay their mortgages.,” Urban Institute said. “Long after our collective memory of the crisis has faded, this rule will be one of the positive legacies of the crisis that should help prevent the re-emergence of risky lending practices that could cause another downturn.” How are Originators Handling the Qualified Mortgage Rule?last_img read more

Who Is Stepping in as Ginnie Maes New Head

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) announced that Michael Bright, EVP and COO at Ginnie Mae will be stepping down on January 16 and has requested that his nomination for President of the agency be withdrawn to pursue a new opportunity in the private sector.In his resignation letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Bright said that he would institute an orderly transition process, including handing over delegated authority for policy decisions immediately.”The opportunity to serve the country and our economy in this capacity has been a tremendous honor… I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished since early 2017,” Bright said. “As you are aware, over the past two years, Ginnie Mae’s total outstanding portfolio crossed the $2 trillion mark, and last year we served 1.9 million American families as they purchased or refinanced a home. This would not have taken place without the dedication and leadership of the Ginnie Mae staff, who are some of the most knowledgeable and mission-focused professionals I have ever worked with.”Maren Kasper, current EVP of Ginnie Mae, will serve as the Acting President upon Bright’s departure. Kasper joined Ginnie Mae in June 2017.“I want to thank Michael for his many contributions to Ginnie Mae over the last two years,” said Secretary Carson. “He has assembled a first-rate team and successfully managed and expanded a portfolio that enables millions of Americans to become homeowners each year. We wish him the best in his future.”Nominated to head Ginnie Mae in May, Bright had said that he intended to continue Ginnie Mae’s ongoing work to strengthen and modernize the agency as well as ensuring that the security of the FHA, VA, and USDA loans it oversees to ensure better security price and lower rates for borrowers of these loans.“Between the work we have done administratively at Ginnie as well as the language recently passed into law, we have taken a major step towards rooting out behavior that was threatening the very viability of the Ginnie security, and thereby threatening the viability of the VA, USDA, and FHA programs we support,” Bright had said during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Banking Committee. “We will not tolerate this behavior, and we now know that Congress stands with us. Collectively, our efforts are working. We can already see that in the form of a better security price, which directly translates into lower rates for FHA, VA, and USDA borrowers.” January 9, 2019 1,706 Views Ginnie Mae michael bright 2019-01-09 Radhika Ojhacenter_img Share Who Is Stepping in as Ginnie Mae’s New Head?last_img read more

Wheres the Housing Bubble

first_img June 7, 2019 716 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News, Origination Research from the Black Knight indicates that the current demand for houses is largely driven by families seeking to purchase homes and not by speculators, which, according to the Urban Institute, means that we are at less risk of entering a housing bubble.Urban Institute’s analysis of Black Knight’s house price index (HPI) reveals that home prices appear to be losing momentum. In comparison that during the last housing bubble, growth in the investment component of HPI was substantially larger, “reflecting reckless lending and speculative homebuying,” said Andrew M. Neal, Urban Institute Senior Research Associate.“Investment-driven demand for housing returned in 2012 as buyers with strong credit profiles and deep pockets snapped up millions of foreclosed homes at rock-bottom prices,” Neal said. “Not surprisingly, peak growth of the investment component in 2013 (4.2%) far outpaced the consumption component (2.2%), although to a lesser extent than during the bubble.”Home prices slowed from 6.8% year over year growth in February 2018 to 3.6% in March, while home prices have hit historic highs in nominal terms. This means the return for investment for homeowners has been small, and a family buying a home at today’s prices will do slightly better than inflation, however, they shouldn’t expect outsize equity gains. Neal notes that with these trends in mind, potential homeowners making the move to ownership need to consider the absolute cost of owning versus renting, including maintenance costs, taxes and insurance, and foregone interest on the down payment. They should also consider that homeownership provides a hedge against future housing inflation or rent increases.“More importantly, these data should comfort those worried about another housing market crash,” said Neal. “Compared with the 2005–2007 bubble, when the HPI was driven mostly by speculative buying, the HPI today is driven mostly by families wanting to buy homes to live in.”Find the full release from the Urban Institute here. Sharecenter_img Where’s the Housing Bubble? Bubble Home Prices HOUSING mortgage 2019-06-07 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

PRESS RELEASE SALINAS CA – Church Brothers Farms

first_img PRESS RELEASESALINAS, CA – Church Brothers Farms, a leading fresh produce farming/shipping company and grower-owned processor, True Leaf Farms, is building a new facility in Northern Mexico to increase the company’s year-round capacity.The 110,000 square-foot plant is less than one mile from the international border in the town of San Luis Rio Colorado; and is located near other large American companies with manufacturing facilities in the area such as Constellation, Gulfstream, Kenworth and Honeywell.The San Luis plant, as it is known, will employ approximately 250, and start by producing whole leaf lettuce, broccoli florets, iceless broccoli and green onions. The target opening date is end of 2018. Video footage of construction progress may be viewed here.The CB Mexico plant will have the same food safety standards as the company’s True Leaf Farms processing plants in Arizona and California, said Brian Church, company CEO.When completed, the new facility will be unique in that it will handle green onions in a RTE (ready to eat) facility, elevating the food safety environment in which they are packed from the field, Church said.“We will be feeding this plant with product that we grow from both sides of the border,” Church said. “The new facility will allow us to produce during the summer months, where in the past we were limited to only green onions and other seasonal items.  Now we will be sourcing from Mexico year-round to meet our U.S. customers’ growing needs.”CB Mexico is CTPAT (Custom Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) certified, which gives fresh product expedited entry status allowing for a faster border crossing time and therefore a shorter time to market.  The facility is also strategically located 29 miles from the company’s two Yuma, AZ facilities and loading docks.For more information about the company, visit ChurchBrothers.com. Merritt Bruce joins Church Brothers Farms … October 16 , 2018 center_img You might also be interested inlast_img read more

Peruvian Police make arrest after spate of avocado

first_img Peruvian Police make arrest after spate of avocado … The workers are striking over the lack of solutions given by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to several issues they have raised over the last several months.ADEX said the situation is particularly worrying in the port of Paita, as many perishable products are exported from there.”Some, like grapes or mangoes, were moved before the start of the strike, but now the avocado season is about to begin and could be seriously affected if this situation continues,” said Juan Varilias Velásquez, president of ADEX.He also called on all sides to come to the negotiating table and continue the dialogue.Varilias noted that some of the six demands of GTL and AMERICA from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications could improve the transport situation in the country, thereby making it more competitive internationally. The demands include a reduction in fuel prices and road tolls, as well as improvements of logistical elements in ports such as Callao, Paita and Pisco. U.S. table grape import season “interesting and un … Blueberry uptick drives Camposol’s strong performa … Peruvian fruit exports are being affected by a port and transport sector worker strike, which is in total costing the country millions of dollars every day.The Peruvian Exporters’ Association (ADEX) said the indefinite strike called by unions of heavy cargo transport and port workers began earlier this week and is resulting in around US$43 million of lost trade every day.The two unions that called the strike are the Transport and Logistics Guild (GTL) – which has more than 40,000 members in the heavy cargo transport sector – and AMERICA.Affected products include table grapes, avocados, mangoes asparagus and blueberries, ADEX said. Regions impacted include Arequipa, Ancash, La Libertad, Piura and Tacna.center_img February 22 , 2019 Peruvian avocados: Export value grew to record US$ … You might also be interested inlast_img read more

agentsTATTourism Authority of Thailandtraining

first_imgagentsTATTourism Authority of Thailandtraining The updated content on the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Sydney online training platform will help travel professionals increase their knowledge of Thailand’s destinations and activities. And, as an incentive for travel agents to increase their knowledge and become Thailand experts, on completion of the new training modules, they will be eligible to win a trip to experience Thailand first hand.Feedback has told TAT that, while Australian visitors love the well-known destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket, Ko Samui and Chiang Mai, they also wish they had known more about what else there is to see and do in other parts of Thailand, when planning their visits.The training platform is designed to give travel professionals the information and knowledge they need to plan the perfect holidays for their clients, and help create a unique and memorable experience in Thailand.A series of online training modules has been developed to provide information on practical and important aspects of travel throughout Thailand and the two latest modules include information on ‘Creative Tourism’ and ‘Touring Beyond Thailand’s Big Cities’. This is an opportunity for travel professionals to learn more about Thailand beyond the mainstream and encourage travellers to spend more time exploring the country.Once registered for the workshop, participants are able to download factsheets and go through the interactive multiple-choice online tests. With an interactive leader board, you can even compete with your colleagues and agency rivals. And the agents with the highest score will be eligible to win themselves a trip to Thailand!last_img read more

New ZealandqantasQueenstownskiSydney

first_imgNew ZealandqantasQueenstownskiSydney Qantas has added two additional flights per week on its Sydney to Queenstown route during this July/August ski season as a result of higher than expected demand, and lifts Qantas’ total capacity from eight to 10 flights per week over the winter period. The first night-flight landed on Saturday, 1 July 2017 at 6pm and departed early yesterday morning (a first for Qantas in Queenstown). The new night-flights complement Qantas’ recent announcement that it will continue daily direct flights between Sydney and Queenstown year-round. IMAGE: Snowboarding @ Cardrona, Queenstown, New Zealandlast_img

Air New Zealand has taken out the Marketing Award

first_imgAir New Zealand has taken out the Marketing Award at the Airline Strategy Awards in London, organised by Flight Airline Business magazine in partnership with civil aviation practice Korn Ferry.The Awards celebrate individuals, airlines and companies supporting air transport that have demonstrated dynamic leadership and clear vision. Winners are selected by an independent panel of industry experts. The Marketing Award recognises excellence and innovation in various aspects of marketing which have contributed to overall market positioning with strong commercial results.Air New Zealand Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod, who was in London to accept the award, says it’s terrific to have the airline’s marketing efforts globally recognised in this way.“As a relatively small carrier in global terms, award-winning marketing is strategically important for getting our brand recognised on the world stage. “We have developed a reputation for doing things differently and awards like these prove our ability to punch above our weight and deliver campaigns and content that highlight our products and services and enable us to engage with our customers.“Of course, one of the most important drivers for our brand is the people who deliver our famous Kiwi service on the ground and in the air. This is what truly sets us apart.” Air New Zealandairlinesawardslast_img read more

2018 Asia Cruise Industry Source Market ReportCLIA

first_img2018 Asia Cruise Industry Source Market ReportCLIAcruise The 2018 Asia Cruise Industry Ocean Source Market Report has been released by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The report offers an in-depth look at the growth, demographics and trends of the top source markets in Asia.Key highlights include:China continues to dominate the passenger share of AsiaCruise passengers from Taiwan and Singapore have been steadily growing in numbersMultiple source markets, many of which registered double-digit growths in 2018, contributed to Asia’s record-breaking 4.24 million ocean-going cruise passengers Asia is the third largest cruise region after North America and EuropeAsian cruise passengers are found across the age spectrum with an estimated average age of 45.4 years, lower than the global average of 47 years. Only three markets show real divergence: India, a young 37-year average; Indonesia a 39-year average and Japan an older 57 years Asian cruise passengers predominantly sail in Asia with more than 50% (2,194K) cruising in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Almost 40% (1,694K) cruise in the rest of AsiaOutside of Asia, the Mediterranean, Caribbean/South America, Baltics/Northern Europe, and Alaska were popular choices, in that orderShorter sailings remain the dominant choice of Asians, 89% of whom are sailing 4-6 nights with an average duration of 4.9 days“With one in nine Asian travellers choosing to cruise in Asia, it is clear that cruising will keep growing in popularity as more capacity will be deployed to Asia in the next few years,” said Mr Joel Katz, Managing Director for CLIA Australasia & Asia.“Asian cruise passengers are found across the age spectrum, suggesting different consumer segments interested in a cruise holiday and providing numerous possibilities for industry partners to develop the cruise penetration rate in this region.”Highlights from the 2018 Asia Cruise Industry Ocean Source Market Report Include:last_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   “That’s been happening too much to us.”The play Whisenhunt was referring to was a first and ten at the Cardinals’ 25-yard line following Greg Zeuerlein’s missed 35-yard field goal. Fitzgerald lined up to the left against Janoris Jenkins, and beat him cleanly off the line. The Rams brought a delayed blitz with eight defenders rushing the quarterback against eight Cardinal blockers, including tight ends Jeff King and Rob Housler and running back Beanie Wells. But King got beat on the right of the formation by Rocky McIntosh, who sacked Lindley for a one-yard loss. The Cardinals would punt two plays later.Despite the struggles in the passing game, Whisenhunt applauded Fitzgerald for remaining positive.“Larry’s been great, he works hard every day, he wants to be successful and it hurts him when he’s not,” he said. “We’re all frustrated, but it hasn’t affected Larry from the standpoint of how he’s dealt with his teammates and how he works in practice.” It looked as if Larry Fitzgerald would have a huge day against the St. Louis Rams Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.After all, Fitzgerald did catch three balls for 31 yards on Arizona’s 15-play, 91-yard scoring drive on their first possession.Unfortunately for Fitz, and for Fantasy Football owners everywhere, the numbers on the stat sheet wouldn’t change for the remainder of the game. Three catches, 31 yards. In the Cardinals’ last two games, Fitzgerald has just four catches for 42 yards, and the six-time Pro Bowler has just one 100-yard game this season. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Fitzgerald’s diminished production isn’t from a lack of trying to get him the ball. Sunday, Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley targeted Fitzgerald 12 times — but simply missed him on a number of occasions.“Two of those interceptions would’ve been big plays to Larry had we gone about it correctly, and that seems to be what’s happening,” Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Monday. “We missed those two times and we missed him on a couple of other things. But we’re going to continue to work to get opportunities to Larry.”Fitzgerald is tied for sixth in the NFL with 113 targets through 11 games. But his 55 catches rank tied for 15th in the league, so something is wrong.“It’s hard because you don’t know how much goes into trying to work to get these situations,” Whisenhunt said. “And when we do get them and they come up and you have it there, and we don’t execute on it…you’re frustrated you didn’t get it done.”And sometimes the effort to get the ball to No. 11 is derailed even before a throw occurs. “On one sack, we had Larry running wide open down the field and we made a mistake in the line and Ryan had to slide to his left and actually ended up taking a sack on first and ten,” Whisenhunt explained. “You look at that play and it’s something you work to set up and Larry’s behind everybody and that’s where Ryan’s going to go with it, but we have a breakdown.last_img read more