Launch of Amadeus Ticket Changer simplifies ticket reissues for travel

first_imgUnique to Amadeus, the new solution automatically calculates and guarantees any applicable fare, tax or penalty collection for the 94 airlines that file their rules in CAT31 including Qantas and Virgin Australia. Amadeus Ticket Changer also automates the additional collection calculation for all other carriers filing in CAT16, saving agents time on almost any airline reissue.You need to see this new solution to believe it. That is why Amadeus Australia is offering Australian travel agents Amadeus Ticket Changer transactions free of charge until 28 February 2014.Tony Carter, Managing Director, Amadeus IT Pacific commented, “We recognise that complex ticket reissues are not a travel agent’s favourite task. That is why we are very excited to launch Amadeus Ticket Changer. It really does take the strain out of the reissue process and gives agents more time to focus on providing great service.” Source = Amadeus Amadeus, a leading technology partner for the global travel industry, today announces the launch of Amadeus Ticket Changer in Australia that automates the air ticket reissuing process, significantly reducing time and the possibility of errors. The new solution reduces time spent on a ticket exchange to just two minutes.Amadeus Ticket Changer automates ticket exchanges for cabin, class, route or date changes, regardless of whether the ticket is unused, partially used or has been reissued previously.last_img read more

Pinpoint celebrates its 20th anniversary in style

first_imgGuests enjoy the candy barSource = ETB News: Tom Neale Founder, Kim Harding Pinpoint Travel Group celebrated 20 years of wholesaling success as at an event in Rozelle yesterday.The Group used the night to unveil a range of new impressive brand initiatives – including glossy brochures, the introduction of a new trade website and the launch of “The Collection”, a comprehensive guide to the more quirky and boutique product offerings with the Group. Pinpoint’s Marketing Director, Vanessa Ligovich, said that Pinpoint was well placed to take advantage of the growth in the premium market.“Around 48% of the affluent market take four holidays a year, and half of this group will spend up to $30,000 on their holiday. The Collection caters to this market, featuring over 230 modern, luxurious and boutique properties”, Ms Ligovich said.One of the centrepieces of the night, The Collection, is a compilation of the Pinpoint’s 4 and 5 star properties worldwide, in an A4 style brochure.Pinpoint Travel Group is one of Australia’s leading independent wholesalers and includes Freestyle Holidays, Rosie Holidays and United Vacations. Guests (L-R) Yasmin Samsudin, Balljid Kour (Tourism Malaysia), Amanda Hennessey (Pinpoint Travel Group)last_img read more

Centaras new affordable lifestyle hotel for the modern

first_imgSource = Centara Hotels & Resorts Centara’s new affordable lifestyle hotel for the modernCentara’s new affordable lifestyle hotel for the modernCentara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s largest hotel operator, announced they are now taking bookings for their new COSI Hotel Samui on Chaweng beach, opening 1st December. It is the first property for Centara’s new COSI brand, designed as an innovative and affordable lifestyle hub for the new generation of digitally-driven travellers. Special introductory rates start at THB 1,515 (a little over $US 45) per night.“Living the COSI life is all about being simple, social and connected,” said Thirayuth Chirathivat, Centara’s Chief Executive Officer. “It’s about fun and freedom. We designed COSI so you’ll get everything you need to bring your lifestyle to your destination. And we’ll be showing up in the destinations you want to visit.”The new hotel brand features smart phone integration and free Wi-Fi, along with other technology, service, and design innovations that fit the lifestyle of today’s young-minded, tech-savvy traveller. Stylish décor and 24/7 digital social play spaces are part of the unique concept. COSI Samui also features a rooftop pool and all-hours lifestyle café for which guests receive a free daily credit to enjoy food or drink at any time of day or night.The location of the first COSI is ideal: Chaweng beach is the most happening destination on Samui island and COSI is right between the beach, shopping at Central Festival, and the food and entertainment scene along the shore. The airport is only 15 minutes away.“COSI represents a significant re-think of what a hotel can be,” explained Harry Thaliwal, Centara’s General Manager and Corporate Director of Operations Krabi, Samui, Vietnam and COSI). “If you said, ‘I wouldn’t pay for that,’ we took it out. If you said ‘…but I wish they had…’ we probably put it in. We changed COSI from a place to stay to a place to live.”Bookings made at will always receive the best rate.last_img read more

QT Wellington unveils their latest creative collaboration Gallery 4

first_imgSource = QT Hotels & Resorts QT Wellington unveils their latest creative collaboration: Gallery 4QT Wellington unveils their latest creative collaboration: Gallery 4QT Wellington’s ‘Your Art. Our Rooms.’ initiative launched earlier this May, throwing down the challenge to the greater artistic community to submit artworks for the bedhead walls for 9 brand new guest rooms. The hotel’s challenge was incredibly well received, with over 270 entries from local and national artists. With such a high number of quality submissions, the Capital’s favourite quirky hotel then chose to adorn all 25 rooms on level 4 with bespoke artwork, quite a feat!Introducing: Gallery 4…Gallery 4 (level 4 of QT Wellington) welcomed its first guests on Thursday 1st November to experience and enjoy unique artwork on the walls, balconies and ceilings in the 25 rooms that make up the floor. With collaboration from 19 New Zealand artists, each guest will be able to immerse themselves in the bespoke artwork showcased in the QT Gallery rooms.With art and design at the heart of the hotel’s identity, General Manager QT Wellington Garth Solly is excited to launch these artworks as the beginning of a new collection QT can call its own.“Gallery 4 signifies QT really making our mark and identifying ourselves as a part of our country’s artistic community. We are thrilled we have an art collection where guests can fully immerse themselves in established and up-and-coming homegrown talent, as Gallery 4 boasts works by Angus Muir, D Side, Johnson Witehira and also fosters the next wave of artists.”In addition to the launch of Gallery 4, from November 1st, the hotel will also be known as QT Wellington and will cease to include ‘Museum’ in the hotel name. The ever evolving QT Wellington will continue to grow its own art collection and honour the hotel’s history through the evolution of the eclectic art within its walls.Shelley Indyk, architect and designer behind the hotel’s public spaces and guest rooms has creatively evolved bold interiors to hero the art. Guests can luxuriate in artistic brilliance complete with all the perks that people have come to know and love from a QT stay. QT Gallery and QT Harbourview Gallery rooms include the option of a private balcony looking out over the stunning Wellington Harbour.Soon to be a popular addition to the mini bar, QT Wellington pays homage to this creative venture with a book outlining the Gallery 4, ‘Your Rooms. Our Art.’ initiative. It will be available in all 25 Gallery 4 rooms and in QT Wellington’s QTique.QT Hotels & Resorts consistently challenge the status quo. And QT Wellington is a cultural playground built to celebrate creativity for all that stay and play here. The hotel is proud to introduce 25 original canvases in the form of 25 new guest rooms as Gallery 4 – be part of the art, design, curiosities and a dash of the absurd at QT Wellington.Gallery 4 of QT Wellington launched, Thursday 1 November 2018.Book now at read more

Destination Canada ready to welcome Indians in big numbers

first_imgThe Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism and Agriculture, at Rendez-vous Canada in Niagara Falls, announced the new operating name for the Canadian Tourism Commission to be ‘Destination Canada’.Speaking on the opening of Rendez-vous Canada (RVC) 2015 to over 1500 participants, he said, “This re-branding of our corporate profile better reflects our business and clearly defines ourselves internationally. Destination Canada is an important milestone for us all as we continue to build on our successes, refresh our vision, and set ourselves up to be even more competitive in the future.”Special mention was made about India from where tourist numbers had grown by 19% in 2014. Canada issued 1, 52,985 visas to Indians.Over the next few months, steps will be taken on re-branding the collateral and assets. The consumer brand identity, ‘Canada, Keep Exploring’ will be retained to connect with travellers in the marketing efforts.Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration said, “Our government is committed to fostering economic and people-to-people ties by making it easier for travellers to come to Canada, whether for business or tourism purposes. Visas are a challenge but we continue to improve the system with eTA for a few countries. The number of countries will increase quickly. eTA will be on a voluntary (testing) basis until March 2016 when it will become mandatory. It would be valid for five years.”“Events such as RVC present opportunities for CTC to position Canada’s small and medium-sized tourism businesses to take advantage of international growth opportunities, increase revenues and create jobs,” highlighted David Goldstein, President and CEO, Destination Canada.This bold new identity represents an exciting new chapter. Destination Canada is a great name for a great organisation with an extremely bright future ahead.The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism and Agriculture, at Rendez-vous Canada in Niagara Falls, announced the new operating name for the Canadian Tourism Commission to be ‘Destination Canada’.Speaking on the opening of Rendez-vous Canada (RVC) 2015 to over 1500 participants, he said, “This re-branding of our corporate profile better reflects our business and clearly defines ourselves internationally. Destination Canada is an important milestone for us all as we continue to build on our successes, refresh our vision, and set ourselves up to be even more competitive in the future.”Special mention was made about India from where tourist numbers had grown by 19% in 2014. Canada issued 1, 52,985 visas to Indians.Over the next few months, steps will be taken on re-branding the collateral and assets. The consumer brand identity, ‘Canada, Keep Exploring’ will be retained to connect with travellers in the marketing efforts.Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration said, “Our government is committed to fostering economic and people-to-people ties by making it easier for travellers to come to Canada, whether for business or tourism purposes. Visas are a challenge but we continue to improve the system with eTA for a few countries. The number of countries will increase quickly. eTA will be on a voluntary (testing) basis until March 2016 when it will become mandatory. It would be valid for five years.”“Events such as RVC present opportunities for CTC to position Canada’s small and medium-sized tourism businesses to take advantage of international growth opportunities, increase revenues and create jobs,” highlighted David Goldstein, President and CEO, Destination Canada.This bold new identity represents an exciting new chapter. Destination Canada is a great name for a great organisation with an extremely bright future ahead.last_img read more

Low airfares to entice winter tourism in Antigua and Barbuda

first_imgIt is during the busiest tourism season that the twin islands of Antigua and Barbuda are experiencing record low airfares to the destination. Travellers can now find inexpensive fares to Antigua and Barbuda for as low as $280 round-trip including taxes and fees on United, American Airlines and JetBlue from both New York (JFK) and Newark (EWR). JetBlue’s entry-level $280 fare will be available through to March 2016. These enticingly low fares with short flight time of less than four hours make Antigua and Barbuda an ideal winter getaway. This shift in price will promote an increase in tourist arrivals to the islands as consumers will be getting more added values for their money which should in turn increase visitor on-island spend.Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Marie Walker said, “These inexpensive fares are fantastic news for Antigua and Barbuda and is sure to increase our competitiveness in the U.S. market where consumers are so much savvier than in the past…Very shortly, those along the Eastern seaboard will be desperately looking for an escape from the cold weather and short days, and we are confident the combination of cerulean waters, 365 different pristine white and pink sand beaches, wonderful gastronomy and inexpensive flights will entice many more visitors to discover the wonder that is Antigua and Barbuda this season.”The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority in tandem with the Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism is striving to increase airlift to the twin islands from across the North American Market.The Tourism Authority has also been aggressively promoting the destination with a strategic digital and print ad campaign with several notable publications coupled with a tactical relentless road show calendar, geared towards targeting specific markets in the Northeast, South and Midwest territories as well as Canada.last_img read more

Madhya Pradesh India to host the first ATTAs AdventureNEXT in Asia

first_imgAkansha Pandey | New DelhiThe Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), in support with Madhya Pradesh Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Knowledge Partner – Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) has chosen Madhya Pradesh in India to organise the maiden AdventureNEXT event in Asia.AdventureNEXT 2018, a venture towards placing emerging adventure destinations on the global map, will be held in Bhopal from December 10-12, 2018. All in all, 300 delegates are expected to attend the event, along with 120 international hosted buyers and media.A MoU of this event was jointly signed by Shannon Stowell, CEO, ATTA, Hari Ranjan Rao, Commissioner Tourism and Managing Director, MP Tourism, and Capt. Swadesh Kumar, President, ATOAI. A special logo for AdventureNEXT in India was also unveiled during the ceremony.ATOAI has been trying very hard from past Through AdventureNEXT, local suppliers are given opportunities to interact with international buyers and media. Furthermore, a wide variety of speakers and workshops are organised for delegates who want to expand and professionalise their product offerings, said Capt. Kumar.last_img read more

Over half of Indian travellers lean towards sustainable travelling reveals Bookingcom has released findings from its annual sustainable travel report revealing more than three quarters (81%) of Indian travellers believe that people need to act now and make sustainable travel choices to save the planet for future generations. While results were relatively consistent across ages, almost three-quarters (74%) of 46 to 55-year-olds most strongly believe that this is needed, followed by millennials at 71%. While travellers are getting more conscious, the report goes on to highlight barriers faced by Indian travellers when making sustainable travel choices.Consistent with overall intentions to make more sustainable travel choices, 98% of Indian travellers are intending to stay at least once in an eco-friendly or green accommodation when looking at the year ahead. However, lack of knowledge and available or appealing options are common barriers recognised in practising sustainable travel.60% of Indian travellers acknowledge that they find it harder to make sustainable choices while on vacation than in everyday life. Almost half (46%) of Indian travellers admit their vacation is a special time during which they do not want to think about sustainability.Commenting on the release of the report, Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives at said, “At we are always looking for ways to innovate across our platform to enable travellers to make sustainable travel choices. We provide support and investment to foster innovation in the sustainable tourism space through our Booking Booster, Cares Fund and Cares Lab start-up programs. It is essential for everyone in the travel ecosystem including the travellers to join hands for sustainable tourism to gain momentum and to drive meaningful change. In its fourth consecutive year, the report highlights the shift in the outlook of travellers who increasingly want to make environment-friendly choices while travelling, further outlining the barriers faced by today’s travellers to practice sustainability in their travel.”Research commissioned by and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 18,077 respondents were surveyed across 18 markets (1000+ from Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, UK, USA. In Israel 883 respondents were surveyed). Respondents completed an online survey in February and March 2019.last_img read more

Experts Future for CMBS Markets Still Mixed

first_img Agents & Brokers Barclays Citigroup Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates Processing Service Providers 2011-08-24 Ryan Schuette August 24, 2011 441 Views in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Even as economic uncertainty and fears of a double-dip recession continue to rile the markets, some say that commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), recently on a downdraft, could either slowly recover over 2011 or see a fallback. According to experts, ongoing concerns about debt crises overseas and at home could dent a rebound for the CMBS markets.[IMAGE]A “”story””: published by _Retail Traffic_ magazine found several experts nodding and shaking heads over whether CMBS issuance, currently on a $20.8-billion high in 2011, unseen since 2007, could surge again in equity and securitization markets.The publication quotes Gary Mozer, principal of Los Angeles-based “”George Smith Partners, Inc.””:, as highlighting the financing demand somewhat optimistically.””There is a lot of demand for debt,”” _Retail_ quotes Gary as saying. “”Transactional volume is increasing. We’re just at a moment where people don’t know how to price it. As competition picks up and as we see markets price out, we will have a lot better indication of where things are going.””Higher hopes for an uptick in transactional volume come on the heels of widening spreads.[COLUMN_BREAK]According to “”_Bloomberg News_””:, a hoped-for rebound saw diminishing returns over August as euro zone market worries and debt scares encouraged sellers to push back on CMBS securities. The news service quoted a “”Barclays Capital””: index that found CMBS yields expanded by some 298 basis points, approximately 2.98 percentage points more than Treasury yields. A no-go for the hotly anticipated $1.5-billion bond sale by “”Citigroup Inc.””: and “”Goldman Sachs Group Inc.””: only further depressed the $600 billion market.Adding to the gray skies for a CMBS rebound, the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””: sources a Trepp LLC report that found AAA-rated spreads squeezing to the tune of 200 basis points over April, even as AAA-rated 10-year spreads for CMBS constricted by nearly 1,000 basis points.Speaking to _MReport_ for a past story, Manus Clancy, managing director with Trepp, ascribed the behavior in CMBS markets to the double-dip in home prices registered by Standard & Poor’s in May. He said that wider spreads would likely crimp bank ledgers and prevent credit from reaching homebuyers, creditworthy or not.””It’s starting to become more difficult for borrowers to get money from the capital markets,”” he said.Dan Fasulo, managing director with “”Real Capital Analytics””:, tells _MReport_ that an economic slowdown coming to fruition could impact the market “”where CMBS have the most market share,”” with players in secondary markets likely to feel the burn.Whereas larger urban office buildings, such as Manhattan-based commercial real estate, see 10 to 15 bidders per property, most other areas fail to see that kind of activity.The bottom line for Fasulo?””Turbulence in the capital markets has the ability to slightly raise borrowing costs,”” he says, referencing mortgage rates. Fasulo cites a $1.4-billion CMBS deal recently negotiated by “”Deutsche Bank””: and “”UBS AG””:, highlighting the “”higher yields and borrowing costs”” paired with the massive package.center_img Experts: Future for CMBS Markets Still Mixed Sharelast_img read more

May 2013 Construction Spending Climbs 05

first_imgMay 2013 Construction Spending Climbs 0.5% July 2, 2013 476 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Census Bureau Homebuilders Housing Starts Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-07-02 Andy Miller Sharecenter_img A report released Monday by the “”Census Bureau””: revealed an estimated annual rate of $874.9 billion (seasonally adjusted) for construction spending in the month of May 2013. [IMAGE]This statistic shows May’s spending was up 0.5 percent from the revised April estimate of $870.3 billion as well as 5.4 percent higher than the $830.4 billion representing the May 2012 estimate. The data also shows a significant 6.2 percent increase in construction spending during the first five months of 2013 ($326.2 billion) versus the $307 billion spent during the same five-month period the previous year. Regarding the private sector, seasonally adjusted construction spending in May 2013 showed an annual rate of $605.4 billion, nearly identical to the estimate in April at $605.7 billion. Private residential construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted rate of $322.3 billion, 1.2 percent higher than the $318.5 billion revised April estimate. Unlike the increasing residential spending, the month’s nonresidential construction spending showed an annual rate of $238.1 billion, down 1.4 percent from the revised April estimate of $287.1 billion. Pertaining to public construction, the figures show May’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of construction spending to be $269.5 billion, 1.8 percent above the April estimate of $264.7 billion. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

Carrington Offering USDA Loans

first_imgCarrington Offering USDA Loans August 1, 2013 497 Views “”Carrington Mortgage Services””: has announced it has expanded its portfolio of government loan programs by offering U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans through its retail and wholesale lending operations.[IMAGE]Carrington’s USDA loan program requires low–and in some cases no–down payment or cash reserve, complementing the company’s existing range of government products that are designed to increase the borrowing potential of real estate consumers.[COLUMN_BREAK]The USDA loan program adds to Carrington’s government loan offerings, which already included Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Affairs (VA)-insured loans, as well as FHA Streamlines and 203k products for borrowers seeking to refinance.With a USDA loan through Carrington, eligible borrowers may obtain up to 100 percent financing on a home’s appraised value. Purchase, rate/term refinance, and streamline refinance options are all available to borrowers with a debt-to-income ratio of 29/41 and a minimum FICO score of 580 (other restrictions may apply.””Carrington is deeply committed to providing a wide range of products that meet the individual needs of borrowers–and that give the real estate professionals and brokers who serve them the confidence to close transactions,”” said Ray Brousseau, EVP of Carrington Mortgage Services’ Mortgage Lending Division. “”By adding USDA loans to our government-based portfolio, we’re providing consumers with an additional lending option that can make purchasing or refinancing a property more accessible.”” in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Carrington Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-08-01 Tory Barringer Sharelast_img read more

LendingTree Releases Top CustomerRated Lenders for Q2

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Customer Satisfaction Investors Lenders & Servicers LendingTree Service Providers 2013-09-10 Tory Barringer [IMAGE]””LendingTree””: released on Tuesday the top 10 customer-rated lenders in its network, revealing California-based HomePlus Mortgage as the No. 1 lender for the second quarter.[COLUMN_BREAK]The top 10 list was created based on a weighted average of review rating and volume of customer reviews. Lenders were rated on mortgage rates, fees and closing costs, responsiveness, customer service, and overall experience.The company’s network includes more than 250 lenders, out of which HomePlus Mortgage took the top spot.Following HomePlus on the list were Pacific Beneficial Mortgage Company; Affinity Mortgage, LLC; Mortgage Loans for Texas; and Americash in the top five.*Top 10 LendingTree Network Lenders in Q2*# HomePlus Mortgage# Pacific Beneficial Mortgage Company# Affinity Mortgage, LLC# Mortgage Loans for Texas# Americash# BNC National Bank# Mid America Mortgage, Inc.# Integrated Financial Group, Inc.# Mortgage Lenders of America# Southwest Direct Mortgage September 10, 2013 450 Views in Originationcenter_img Share LendingTree Releases Top Customer-Rated Lenders for Q2last_img read more

Spring Kicks Off Early for Some Housing Markets

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News The “spring” buying season does not necessarily wait for spring to arrive. Trulia’s latest look at the U.S. housing market shows homebuyer interest in January and February is up 2 percent from the annual average since 2011, a trend that has paved the way for robust March-to-July buying interest.Along Florida’s west coast and in the Phoenix/Tucson area, pre-March buying is already in full swing, said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. Home search activity in Cape Coral-Fort Myers is 22 percent higher than the national average in the first two months of the year, and activity in the Northport-Sarasota-Bradenton metro is 17 percent higher. Tucson, West Palm Beach, and the Daytona Beach area also are above 10 percent over national averages.El Paso, Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix, Kansas City, and Charleston round out the top 10 metros where early-year buying activity is hottest.Unsurprisingly, early-winter search activity is slowest in harsher climates, particularly in the upper Northeast. But activity is surprisingly slow in some warm-winter environments, such as Honolulu and Houston, Trulia reported. These markets tend to see much-improved activity as March and April roll in.According to Kolko, these delayed markets do not necessarily see delays due to weather. Almost across the board, activity is slow between Christmas and spring in pricier metros, such as coastal California and Hawaii. Additionally, lower-cost metros have an early start to the housing season even within metros, Kolko said.Search activity picks up more at the start of the year in more affordable neighborhoods than in more expensive neighborhoods, generally regardless of the metro’s overall activity. Meanwhile, higher-priced neighborhoods tend to have slightly shorter house-hunting seasons that pick up in earnest from March through June.Any dips, however, are in the mid-to-low single digits.”No markets are as far below the annual average for home search activity in January and February as the west coast of Florida is ahead,” Kolko said.Indeed, according to Trulia, no downswing in activity is worse than 5 percent lower than the national average, this figure occurring in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, region and in Seattle. Long Island, Honolulu, San Francisco (three historically pricey metros), Syracuse, Houston, Buffalo, Rochester, and Hartford are all 3 to 4 percent lower than the national average.Kolko chalked up the increased early-year activity in less-pricey markets to investors looking for foreclosures.”Their housing demand is less seasonal,” Kolko said. “Investors tend not to hibernate as much as conventional buyers do in the winter months.” Share Trulia 2015-02-06 Scott_Morgancenter_img February 6, 2015 519 Views Spring Kicks Off Early for Some Housing Marketslast_img read more

Senate Committee Discusses Regulatory Burdens on Smaller Lenders

first_imgSenate Committee Discusses Regulatory Burdens on Smaller Lenders February 13, 2015 502 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Compliance Regulation Senate Banking Committee 2015-02-13 Seth Welborncenter_img During a hearing spread out over two days at the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on February 10 and 12, Committee chair Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) pointed out a “bipartisan understanding” that financial institutions need relief from perceived overregulation.The hearing, entitled “Regulatory Relief for Community Banks and Credit Unions,” was a gathering of the committee’s lawmakers to discuss the effect of recent regulatory burdens placed on smaller banks and credit unions in response to the financial crisis.”As the hearing on Tuesday demonstrated, there is a bipartisan understanding that something must be done to relieve the regulatory burden on institutions that provide essential banking functions to communities across America,” Shelby said on Thursday, the second day of the hearing.Shelby said the purpose of the hearing was to focus on “unnecessary statutory and regulatory impediments” placed on community banks and credit unions, and he told the members of the committee that “[a]lthough we may not agree on many things, I believe that we can all agree that community banks and credit unions play a vital role in our local economies.”Ed Templeton, Chairman of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU), testified to the committee that credit unions have a long history of helping the economy grow, and that “the need for regulatory relief is even stronger in 2015.” Templeton pointed out that 96 percent of the 1,100 federally insured credit unions that have gone out of existence since 2010 had assets of less than $100 million.”While NAFCU and its member credit unions take safety and soundness extremely seriously, the regulatory pendulum post-crisis has swung too far toward an environment of overregulation that threatens to stifle economic growth,” Templeton said in his testimony.Not everyone was convinced that the recent flurry of regulations enacted by such regulatory agencies as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have hurt smaller financial institutions. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), a chief architect of the CFPB, pointed out to Daniel Blanton, chairman-elect of the American Bankers Association, that the earnings of community banks increased significantly in 2014 and even said they were doing “better than big banks.””We’ve heard a lot today about how smaller banks are being smothered by unnecessary regulation, supposedly because of Dodd-Frank rules, like the new mortgage rules that went into effect in the first quarter of 2014,” Warren said. ” … [T]he banking industry did substantially better after the (CFPB’s) mortgage rules went into effect in January of 2014. Why are they making more money since the rules went into effect and are doing better than the big banks?”Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), ranking member of the committee, told the lawmakers that Congress passed, and the President signed into law, several regulatory relief proposals that received bipartisan support.”If we hope to find consensus on more regulatory relief proposals for community banks and credit unions this Congress, we will need to engage in a process similar to the one that allowed these bills to make it across the finish line,” Brown said. ” … The regulators understand the concerns being raised by community banks and credit unions—they made it clear in their testimony this week and in their actions over the past several months. They have responded by making—or considering—changes to their supervision and regulation of these institutions in a way that lessens their regulatory burden, while at the same time safeguarding safety and soundness and ensuring strong consumer protections.”Brown noted two such proposals that have been recently introduced. One of them is the Privacy Notice Bill, introduced by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), which has 75 co-sponsors. This bill provides an exception to the annual written privacy notice requirement. The other proposal he mentioned, introduced by Brown himself during the last Congress, would allow privately insured credit unions to become members of the Federal Home Loan Bank System and would make it easier for credit unions to make small business loans and improve access to mortgages.While Brown spoke of regulatory relief proposals that had been introduced, at the same time he made it clear that he did not want to do anything that would erode Wall Street reform legislation such as Dodd-Frank.”And I want to reiterate that I am not interested in moving proposals that weaken or roll back Wall Street Reform, or undermine safety and soundness and consumer protection,” Brown said. “But, I think we should act on the proposals that we all agree, after fair consideration, will make a difference for the smallest institutions.” Sharelast_img read more

Sales Indicate Strong Demand

first_img October 17, 2016 603 Views Home Demand Home Sales 2016-10-17 Seth Welborn Sales Indicate Strong Demand in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newscenter_img Many analysts have predicted that 2016 will be the best year for home sales in a decade, since before the crisis.September’s sales helped to prove their case. The RE/MAX National Housing Report for the month indicated that home sales were at their highest for any September in the report’s nine-year history despite a typical seasonal dropoff from August to September, which was a sign that demand for housing is as strong as ever heading into the fall.Home sales fell over-the-month by 11.7 percent in September, which is right in line with the previous eight years of the report, but still rose by 2 percent over-the-year.“The market usually sees fewer home sales in September, as buyers make a seasonal transition from summer to fall,” said Dave Liniger, RE/MAX CEO, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder. “Even so, sales were the highest of any September since we launched our Housing Report in 2008. Also, price increases continue to be in the moderate 5-percent year-over-year range. Overall, this is a market that most everyone can be satisfied with.”In September 34 out of 52 markets surveyed experienced a year-over-year increase in home sales, with double-digit increases occurring in six of those markets: Trenton, New Jersey (18 percent), Augusta, Maine (14 percent), Des Moines, Iowa (13.6 percent), Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina (11.6 percent), Boise, Idaho (11.3 percent), and Seattle, Washington (10.6 percent).Home price appreciation was strong in September, according to RE/MAX. The median sales price ($219,780) represented a year-over-year increase of 5.1 percent, with Birmingham (17 percent) and Miami (15.2 percent) seeing the largest increases. Not one of the 52 metros surveyed experienced an over-the-year decline in median sales price in September.Housing inventory, which has been on ongoing issue in the housing market for the last two years, plummeted over-the-year—falling by an average of 15 percent across the 52 metro areas, according to RE/MAX. Inventory declined by 2.7 percent from August to September. Sharelast_img read more

Are FirstTime Homebuyers Back

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Are First-Time Homebuyers Back? October 20, 2016 698 Views Existing-Home Sales First-Time Homebuyers 2016-10-20 ScottMorgan1center_img Existing-home sales bucked a two-month trend in September, propelled by sales from first-time buyers. The National Association of Realtors said that existing sales jumped 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million in September.After last month’s gain, sales are at their highest pace since June (5.57 million) and are 0.6 percent above a year ago. However, according to Trulia, existing-home sales are still 16 percent below their pre-recession average.“The home search over the past several months for a lot of prospective buyers, and especially for first-time buyers, took longer than usual because of the competition for the minimal amount of homes for sale,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Most families and move-up buyers look to close before the new school year starts. Their diminishing presence from the market toward the end of summer created more opportunities for aspiring first-time homeowners to buy last month.”The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $234,200, up 5.6 percent from last September. This marks the 55th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Conversely, though total housing inventory at the end of September rose 1.5 percent to 2.04 million existing homes available for sale, that’s 6.8 percent lower than a year ago. This marks the 16th straight month of year-over-year decreases.“Inventory has been extremely tight all year and is unlikely to improve now that the seasonal decline in listings is about to kick in,” Yun said. “Unfortunately, there won’t be much relief from new home construction, which continues to be grossly inadequate in relation to demand.”A definite positive note is the presence of first-time buyers. NAR said that first-time buyers were responsible for 34 percent of sales in September, a number not seen in four years.“There’s hope the leap in sales to first-time buyers can stick through the rest of the year and into next spring,” Yun said. “The market fundamentals—primarily consistent job gains and affordable mortgage rates—are there for the steady rise in first-timers needed to finally reverse the decline in the homeownership rate.”“Existing sales are slow to come back because of persistent low inventory,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia. “The number of homes on the market fell yet again in September, dropping 6.8 percent year-over-year. However, inventory still looks bad when controlling for seasonality and the number of households in the U.S.”Taking seasonality and the number of U.S. households into account, McLaughlin said, existing inventory rebounded slightly from record lows in August, but it’s still the second lowest on record.Regionally, existing-home sales in September had their biggest leap in the Northeast, up 5.7 percent over August. The West, up 5 percent, was a close second. Even the weakest area, the South, was up in September (by nearly a percent).“Though the supply of homes for sale remains pretty limited, buyers now face less competition in the traditionally slower fall market, which means that more first-time buyers are finally landing homes,” Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke said. “This is just the beginning of the return of the first-time buyer. We could see substantial growth in this segment of the market if the economy continues to grow and mortgage rates rise only gradually, potentially driving overall market growth.” Sharelast_img read more

OpenClose Recruits LOS Development Expert

first_img OpenClose, the Florida-headquartered mortgage fintech provider has announced the appointment of senior software LOS and mortgage software development expert Joseph Wade to its growing development team. Wade joins OpenClose from Finastra (formerly D+H). In a statement, OpenClose said that Wade will play an integral role in software innovation and enhancements.“OpenClose is constantly advancing and adding new functionality to our suite of mortgage software solutions and Joseph’s extensive experience in the LOS space coupled with his rich development background will quickly add value,” stated Jason Regalbuto, CEO, and CTO at OpenClose. “We are excited about what Joseph brings to the table and how he can assist with our long-term software development strategy.”At Finastra, Wade was key in the development efforts for its New Products Lending Team, rolling out a number of innovative solutions. He was also the manager of the MortgagebotLOS Development Team, where he was responsible for rapidly expanding the MortgagebotLOS platform, maintaining quality assurance, and spearheading the launch of multiple major releases for that system. After D+H acquired Finastra, Wade played a vital role in helping with the knowledge transfer and overall technology transfer.OpenClose said that Wade has also been responsible for the successful rewrite of a point-of-sale system, migration to a multi-tenant architecture, transition to a single database structure, implementation of complex business rule logic, and overall performance optimization. He has a proven track record of successfully developing new solutions that focus on modern cloud-based architecture, leveraging robust APIs, and utilizing highly scalable coding practices. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science and an M.S. in Software Engineering from West Virginia University. His development prowess helped win a Best Innovation award for his team in 2017, which was selected for management evaluation out of over 200 projects worldwide.Founded in 1999 OpenClose is an enterprise-class, multi-channel loan origination system (LOS) and fintech provider that delivers its platform on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis. Lending LOS mortgage OpenClose Quality Assurance Software Development technology 2018-06-15 Radhika Ojha OpenClose Recruits LOS Development Expert June 15, 2018 527 Views center_img in Headlines, News, Technology Sharelast_img read more

G AdventuresPeruPromPeru

first_imgG AdventuresPeruPromPeru G Adventures has partnered with PROMPERU to launch ‘Hola Peru’ in a campaign that offers travellers 10 per cent discount on tours to the region. The sale ends on 15 September, 2017, with departures through to 15 December, 2018.Globally, Peru has seen a 40 per cent growth in traveller volume, year on year. Adrian Piotto, Managing Director of G Adventures Australia and New Zealand believes the sale – and the partnership with PROMPERU – will help even more travellers relish the wonders of the South American hotspot.“Having been awarded Best Inca Tour Operator by the Regional Direction of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Cusco, we’re incredibly proud of our team in Peru who deliver an exceptional product to our customers,” said Piotto.“Flights from Australia to Peru are so competitive right now and the Australian dollar to Peruvian Sole is strong.“There really is no better time to book a Peruvian adventure than right now.”Trips vary in length and style, showcasing the highlights that Peru has to offer, including its ruins and culture, the incredible natural diversity, the delicious local cuisine and the beautiful beaches.Discounted offerings include 10 per cent OFF:· Absolute Peru – Scan the canopy for wildlife from the comfort of the G Lodge Amazon, contemplate mountain vistas or take an optional flight over the Nazca Lines – this epic journey explores the geography, culture, and history of Peru, offering travellers the perfect blend of guided excursions and free time. Hike the Inca Trail, which rewards those willing to break a sweat with stunning views of ruins, mountainscapes, and cloud forest. Sale price $3599 (save $400)· Amazon to the Andes – This adventure offers up an intriguing combination of beauty and contrasts in scenery, wildlife, and cultures, whether you’re scanning the canopy for wildlife from the comfort of G Adventures’ intimate and exclusive G Lodge Amazon or climbing the ancient trail of the Incas to Machu Picchu, situated in the heavens of the Americas. Sale price $2789 (save $310)· Amazon Riverboat – Led by an Amazon Reserve naturalist guide, your cruise will include daily excursions by motorised skiff designed to reveal the exotic wildlife that calls the rainforest home – with any luck you’ll spot sloths, toucans, or pink dolphins! The cuisine on board is regional and provides a unique and delicious window into local culture. Gain a rare glimpse of how life “on the river” is lived and experience the magic of the Amazon on this once-in-a-lifetime riverboat adventure. Sale price $1799 (save $200)· The Inca Trail – One of G Adventure’s most popular trips in the region for those looking to combine the cultural highlights of the Sacred Valley with the challenge of one of the world’s best-known hikes. The four-day Inca Trail trek will reward travellers with a stunning combination of the region’s ruins, mountainscapes, and cloud forests. Sale price $1214 (save $135)T&Cs apply. excludes National Geographic Journeyslast_img read more

Papua New Guineas famed Kokoda Track has welcomed

first_imgPapua New Guinea’s famed Kokoda Track has welcomed its first trekkers of the season, kick-starting what is expected to be a strong year for the country’s most popular travel experience – 3,561 people took on the challenge in 2017, up 40 per cent on the previous year.“2018 is shaping up to be a big year with reports of solid bookings across the industry ahead of the season’s official launch on ANZAC Day. With the track already open and the season’s first trek underway we’re anticipating a positive year for the industry,” said Sue Fitcher, President of the Kokoda Tour Operators Association (KTOA)The 96km trek through PNG’s Owen Stanley Ranges makes for one of the world’s most spectacular and challenging treks, whilst providing the opportunity for travellers to immerse themselves in PNG’s unique rich culture and discover the moving World War II history of the region.Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority’s (PNGTPA) chief executive officer, Jerry Agus said a successful Kokoda season is not only important to the trekking industry but to the whole of PNG.“We welcome travellers to the Kokoda Track and acknowledge the importance of the tourist dollar to the communities they visit in Kokoda but also to the wider population of PNG. This trek is PNG’s biggest tourism drawcard and is invaluable to the country’s tourism industry as a whole.“When visitors to our country spend a week or more walking the Kokoda Trail, meeting with descendants of Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who supported their own relatives during the Second World War and tackling the same fierce environmental conditions they did, it makes for a once-in-a lifetime experience that offers a lot more than your average holiday.”Following the trek, Aussies are encouraged to unwind and recuperate by the crystal-clear waters in the island regions of Milne Bay to the south or East New Britain to the north east. KokodaPapua New Guineatreklast_img read more

Vikings new 2020 brochure showcases a number of e

first_imgViking’s new 2020 brochure showcases a number of enhanced itineraries, including Kiev – Black Sea & Bucharest – a 12-day river cruise that will replace Viking’s current 11-day Kiev to the Black Sea itinerary. Priced from $5,795 per person, guests will now get to experience Bucharest, Romania’s elegant capital, as well as all the highlights of Ukraine — from Kiev to Odessa. A three-night pre-cruise extension package in Istanbul, Turkey, is now also available as part of the new Kiev, Black Sea & Bucharest itinerary.Following the release of its 2020 river brochure, Viking has announced that it will now offer free air travel to guests who book 2020 river cruises of 12 days duration or longer. This deal includes the following itineraries:· 12-day Paris to the Swiss Alps — Paris to Zürich or v.v. — from $5.495 per person· 12-day Cities of Light — Paris to Prague or v.v. — from $4,795 per person· 15-day Grand European Tour — Amsterdam to Budapest or v.v. — from $5,995 per person· 23-day European Sojourn — Amsterdam to Bucharest or v.v. — from $9,995 per person· 13-day Waterways of the Tsars — Moscow to St. Petersburg or v.v. — from $7,995 per person· 15-day France’s Finest — Paris to Avignon or v.v. — from $6,395 per person· 14-day Imperial Jewels of China —Beijing to Shanghai or v.v. — from $5,595 per person· 17-day Roof of the World — Beijing to Shanghai or v.v. — from $7,595 per person· 19-day Undiscovered China — Shanghai to Beijing — from $7,595 per person· 15-day Magnificent Mekong — Vietnam to Vietnam — from $5,795 per personStarting at $5,195 per person, Viking’s 10-day Holland & Belgium river cruise itinerary will no longer operate solely during tulip season and has been expanded to multiple departures throughout March, April and May 2020. Outside of tulip season, the day trip to Haarlem in the Netherlands will be replaced with a day spent in the fascinating city of Wesel in Germany.Due to increasing demand, a number of new 2020 departure dates have been released for Viking’s 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids river cruise in Egypt, sailing onboard both Viking Ra and MS Antares. This popular itinerary is currently priced from $7,695 per person.Two new departures have also been released for Viking’s previously sold out 15-day Rhine & Viking Shores & Fjords ocean and river cruise combo. Priced from $9,990 per person, both combo cruises will depart on September 1, 2020 — one from Bergen to Basel and the other from Basel to Bergen.Viking’s eight-day Rhine Getaway river cruise now features two new included excursions: an informative tour of Ehrenbreitstein Fortress and a walking tour through the historic town of Speyer. This itinerary is priced from $3,495 per person and also features two new optional excursions: a tour of the 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and a full-day tour of Heidelberg. With more guests looking to extend their destination-focused travel experience beyond the core cruise itinerary, Viking has also continued to add to the slate of pre- and post-cruise extensions for new and popular river itineraries. These fully escorted offerings include:Timeless Istanbul (New: Pre/Post Extension for the Kiev to the Black Sea itinerary) – Prior to or following the river sailing, guests can extend their experience and join Viking in Istanbul for three nights. Where East meets West, guests will visit important religious sites such as the “Blue Mosque” and legendary Hagia Sophia. Charming Brussels (New: Pre/Post Extension for the Holland & Belgium itinerary) – A perfect complement to the new itinerary, guests can explore Brussels, Belgium’s vibrant capital, during this two-night extension. Discover the lively café scene, multicultural roots and hidden architectural gems of this important river city.Historic Bruges (New: Pre/Post Extension for the new Holland & Belgium itinerary) – Guests can extend their journey with a three-night experience in Bruges, one of Europe’s most well-preserved medieval cities. Guests will also enjoy exploring the surrounding area, including the architectural treasures of Ghent and the World War I battlefields of Flanders.From the Bulge to Remagen (New: Post Extension for the Paris & D-Day 75th Anniversary itinerary) – As a four-night extension option for this special itinerary, guests will continue to follow in the footsteps of Allied troops who marched across France toward Germany during World Wars I and II. Guests will visit Meuse-Argonne and Luxembourg American Cemeteries, the Bastogne War Museum in Belgium, walk the streets of the ancient city of Mainz and more.World War Battlefields (New: Post Extension for the Paris & D-Day 75th Anniversary itinerary) – Also offered during the special anniversary sailing, Viking will escort guests during a four-night cruise extension, exploring the battlefields of northern France and the Low Countries. Along the way, guests will visit Dunkirk, walk through the trenches of Flanders Fields and pay their respects to British and Canadian servicemen at the Menin Gate. Burgundy’s Vineyards (New: Post Extension for the Lyon & Provence itinerary) – During this three-night extension in France, guests can experience the grandeur of Dijon and the world-renowned wine country of Burgundy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests will enjoy the French lifestyle while visiting the Ducal Palace, the local market designed by Eiffel, and the beautiful Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune.Viking’s 2020 river brochure will be distributed nationally to travel agencies this week. Additional copies can be ordered via TIFS. BrochuresRiver cruiseVikinglast_img read more