With the largest cyclone to hit the QLD coast since 1918 moving closer at a steady rate, there are already reports that 3000 houses have experienced power outages in Airlie Beach, which is well out of the path of destruction. Currently travelling at 290km/h the Northern most area expected to be hit has now moved further south to Cape Flattery and Cyclone Yasi is now well within the Cairns radar system. Qantas has suspended flights in and out of Cairns and Townsville until Friday 4 February and will monitor weather conditions closely before making the decision to resume flights. Fare waiver options are available for Qantas customers holding bookings for flights in the affected regions and the airline is reviewing these on a continuing basis as more information comes to hand. 10,680 residents and tourists are recorded as being held in 20 evacuation centres within the region and Premier Anna Bligh has pleaded with people not to leave their chosen bunker areas until it is safe to do so, possibly up to 12 hours after the cyclone passes. “I know you’re in the thoughts of every Australian,” Ms Bligh said in her press conference this afternoon. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Jetset Travelworld Group chief executive Peter Lacaze has announced the appointment of Gary Elliott to the role of JTG Group General Manager Online.Mr Elliott, currently managing director of JTG-owned online travel company Best Flights will commence his new role in Sydney towards the end of the year and will be accompanied eastwards by Stella Travel Solutions project development manager Sue Naudin.As well as remaining responsible for the Best Flights business, Mr Elliott will lead the development of other online initiatives across the group.Commencing as general manager of Best Flights from 12 September 2011 will be former Air Tickets national manager Zoran Panzich, who for the past three years has worked in corporate travel management and wholesale. Eugenie Green has been appointed new financial controller at Best Flights, commencing in Perth on 5 September.
“We are extremely pleased to have secured the services of Mr Long to help drive the many strategic and policy issues in which AFTA is engaging and his policy and industry experience will be of great value to AFTA going forward,” AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury said. “I am really pleased to be joining AFTA and work alongside Jayson for the good of the travel and tourism industry and of course the AFTA members and I am looking forward to drive forward the many important issues that the industry is facing over the coming months and years” said Mr Long. Mr Long’s exceptional knowledge of the tourism and government sectors further enforces AFTA’s ability to represent AFTA members domestically and internationally. The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has announced the appointment of Dean Long to the new position of national manager, strategy and policy, with the role commencing 19 May. Mr Long brings with him nearly ten years of experience from the government and private tourism sectors and will be working alongside the AFTA chief executive on range of domestic and international policy issues to ensure continued growth in the travel and tourism industry. Prior to joining AFTA, Mr Long was senior policy advisor to the former NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events the Hon. George Souris, where he was responsible for developing and advising Mr Souris on issues affecting the Tourism and Major Events portfolio. Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovich
Choice Hotels Australasia have announced a greater China expansion, with 30 new hotels planned by 2019.The Melbourne based hotel group has partnered with Boli Hotel Management Co Limited which will be responsible for the development and operations of the anticipated 30 hotels.Construction on the first upscale Clarion building is underway in Hangzhou and the other properties will be finalised by 2021.Choice Hotels senior vice president International Division Mark Pearce said that it will be a good partnership.“This partnership will allow a well-known local Chinese operator to focus on the day-to-day challenges of running a hotel while capitalising on the many benefits afforded by Choice Hotels’ recognisable brand and robust distribution platform,” Mr Pearce said.Choice Hotels has also had its strongest year so far in the Australian market.Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
Delegates were treated to a traditional Māori welcome at the TSB Bank Arena.Windy Wellington is buzzing with the high spirits of around 600 delegates who are attending the annual helloworld Owner Managers Summit this weekend.After a lively cocktail event last night, delegates today gathered at TSB Bank Arena in New Zealand’s capital for the first of two massive conference days.Television personality and MC for the weekend Larry Emdur took to the stage with a jovial welcome, setting the pace for the days ahead.Following the recent news of the impending helloworld and AOT Group merge, helloworld chief executive officer designate Andrew Burnes emphasised his commitment to the company.“I am not going anywhere,” Mr Burnes said.“I’ve been privileged to be the CEO and managing director of the AOT Group for 28 years.“Whilst it might be a bit ambitious to think I’ll be the CEO and managing director of helloworld for the next 28 years, I’m going to give it my best shot.”Leadership was the consistent theme throughout the day, with helloworld head of branded network Julie Primmer discussing the company’s focus on building leaders.“We definitely have a room full of leaders and that makes me really proud to stand here today,” Ms Primmer said.“Each of you are leaders in your community and in your industry, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more we can do.“Leadership truly is the responsibility of everyone that belongs to the group.”Representing Qantas, one of helloworld’s major stakeholders, was executive manager Stephanie Tully who touched on the airline’s successful marketing strategies.Leaving much of the audience teary-eyed, Ms Tully shared insights into Qantas’ much-loved ‘Feels Like Home’ advertisements.Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry led the afternoon session, sharing her honest insights into leadership.“Sometimes leadership feels exhausting, but in general I think leadership is about being passionate about what you do,” Ms Sherry said.“It’s about caring about the things that you do every single day…it’s about creating opportunities for great people in your organisations.“Leadership is about leading great teams and teams are about having great leaders and great people in them,” she concluded.The afternoon ended with an enthusiastic presentation by Terry Hawkins, motivating delegates before they head to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa tonight for dinner. helloworldSource = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson
Wellington presents HighballWellington presents Highball, NZ’s first spirits and cocktail festivalFrom the team that brings you Visa Wellington On a Plate and Beervana, the Wellington Culinary Events Trust is thrilled to announce the launch of New Zealand’s first dedicated spirits and cocktail festival, Highball.Held over two days on 11-12 May 2019 at Wellington’s historic Embassy Theatre, Highball is an immersive celebration of cocktails and spirits, where people can explore fine distills, rare exports and other libations, presented by local and international distilleries, as well as the best of Wellington’s cocktail bars and talent.Highball is partnering with Liquorland to showcase 16 regional and international distilleries, including House of Angostura, Glenfiddich and Johnnie Walker, as well as Kiwi craft spirits producers, like Reid & Reid, Denzien Urban Gin Distillery, Thomson Whisky and Sacred Spring.Festival goers can learn directly from 14 local and international cocktail and spirits experts at the Highball Seminar Series on topics such as the history of cocktails, Tiki culture and the many different ways spirits can be used as ingredients to enhance your beverage of choice.In true Wellington style there will gastronomic delights from some of Wellington’s best restaurants and local live musical acts for all to enjoy.Sarah Meikle, Wellington Culinary Trust Chief Executive, says Wellington is the perfect home to New Zealand’s first cocktail festival.“What better city to host New Zealand’s first cocktail and spirits festival than Wellington? We’re gaining an international reputation as one of the world’s great culinary cities and established two very successful annual food and beer festivals,” she says.“We thought it was high time we added cocktails and spirits to this line-up. It’s the perfect way to recognise and celebrate the cocktail and spirits industry, the talent within it, and also offer something new and exciting for the public to get behind.”The festival launches with the inaugural New Zealand Spirits Awards on the Friday of Highball weekend (10 May) and is followed by the first annual Wellington Cocktail Week, showcasing the capital’s rich and colourful cocktail scene with a series of events, special menus and masterclasses in restaurants, bars and cafes.Robert Brewer, Chief Executive of industry body and Highball supporting partner, Spirits New Zealand, says Highball is a wonderful opportunity to bring the best of New Zealand’s spirit producers and talent together with its international counterparts to consumers.“We’re also pleased to see there is a strong component of spirits education; using spirits as an ingredient in an informed way and enjoying spirits in a socially responsible manner.”Tickets for Highball go on sale on 25 March at www.highball.co.nz.For more information, contact:JoAnne Carr, Wellington Culinary Events Trust Phone: + 64 27 694 1506 Email: email@example.comSource = New Zealand Spirits Awards
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) unveiled the line-up for this year’s events and shows for Abu Dhabi Summer Season, running emirate-wide from July 7 to September 11. The programme of leading international theatre shows, comedy acts, concerts, circus performances, an illusionist and activation zones will be held at venues across Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain and the Western Region and span Eid Al Fitr, the school holidays and Indian Independence Day.Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director Tourism, TCA Abu Dhabi, said, “We are hugely encouraged by the number of visitors who came to the emirate to experience Abu Dhabi Summer Season last year, not only from across the GCC but from around the world. This annual event is one that reaps very positive rewards in our visitor numbers during the traditionally quieter summer period as we move towards becoming a year-round destination.” Summer Season 2015 witnessed a 21% increase in guest arrivals into the emirate compared to 2014 with 951,979 guests checking into Abu Dhabi’s 167 hotels and hotel apartments during the period. The largest increase in visitor numbers was from India rising nearly 30%.The ultimate record-breaking roller coaster ‘Flying Aces’ was also launched recently at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Commenting on the launch of Flying Aces, Jesse Vargas, General Manager at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, said, “Following the introduction of two new attractions in 2015, we are starting 2016 with the biggest ride unveiling since our grand opening, with the launch of the incredible, record-breaking roller coaster, Flying Aces. This coaster will surprise guests with never-before-experienced thrills and it further cements Ferrari World Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a pioneer in the region’s leisure and entertainment industry. A theme park evolution on this scale is unheard of and we are so proud to bring even more fun to one of Abu Dhabi’s premier leisure destinations, Yas Island.”
Keeping in view the boom travel industry is experiencing in terms of domestic travellers within India & international travellers, the Ministry of Tourism of India has approved the launch of the Incredible India Bed and Breakfast or Homestay Establishments in order to promote the concept of homestays. K J Alphons, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, announced that the basic idea of such establishments is to provide a clean and affordable place for foreign and domestic tourists alike with an opportunity especially for the foreign tourists to stay as a guest with an Indian family and enjoy the warm hospitality and get a taste of Indian culture and cuisine. The Ministry of Tourism has been conducting sensitisation workshops in all the states through its domestic offices with an aim to raise an awareness and promote the rationale behind the concept of homestays across the country.
Share Acquisitions Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank Failure FDIC Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission 2012-07-09 Krista Franks Brock A Georgia bank closed Friday, with state authorities appointing the “”FDIC””:http://www.fdic.gov/ as receiver. The banker, accused of embezzling millions from the shuttered institution, remains missing after a two-week absence.[IMAGE]””Montgomery Bank & Trust,””:https://www.montgomerybt.com/ located in Ailey, Georgia, closed its doors Friday, reopening Monday as part of “”Ameris Bank.””:http://www.satillacommunitybank.com/Ameris entered a purchase agreement with the FDIC to assume all of Montgomery Bank’s deposits and about $12.4 million of [COLUMN_BREAK]its assets ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô mainly cash and cash equivalents, according to “”information””:http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2012/pr12080.html from the FDIC. As of the end of March, Montgomery Bank & Trust had $173.6 million in assets and $164.4 million in deposits. Forty-six-year-old Aubrey Price purchased a controlling portion of Montgomery Bank in 2010, according to “”CNN.””:http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/08/us/georgia-wire-fraud/index.htmlWhile praised locally for helping the struggling bank of nearly 90 years, Price allegedly embezzled millions of dollars, driving the bank to its ultimate failure Friday. The “”Securities and Exchange Commission””:http://www.sec.gov/ announced “”last week””:http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2012/lr22409.htm that it is freezing Price’s assets, alleging the man “”has apparently gone into hiding after orchestrating a $40 million investment fraud.”” The SEC cites a June 2012 letter from Price in which he allegedly admits to having “”falsified statements with false returns”” masking $20 million and $23 million in investor losses. According to CNN, investigators have also obtained a recent email from Price in which he hints at suicide. However, they suggest the FBI believes Price may have fled to South America, where he holds several properties. July 9, 2012 401 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing Georgia Bank Closes as Authorities Search for Missing Banker
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share Insurers Release Quarterly Data on Modification, Refinance Activity November 20, 2012 402 Views “”Mortgage Insurance Companies of America””:http://www.privatemi.com/index.cfm (MICA), an association of private mortgage insurers, reported Monday that since 2009, its members have insured $86.9 billion in mortgages modified or refinanced through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) as well as in mortgages modified through other means.[IMAGE]The $86.9 billion is distributed among 496,961 homes across the nation. MICA members insured 6,143 mortgages receiving HAMP modifications during the third quarter of this year. The total value of HAMP loans insured amounts to about $1.1 billion. [COLUMN_BREAK]Additionally, private insurers who are members of MICA have assisted another 7,234 homeowners in receiving loan modifications that are not part of the HAMP or HARP programs. In this category, the insurers have backed about $1.4 billion in loans over the third quarter of this year. MICA members have also insured 46,440 homeowners who refinanced their loans through HARP during the third quarter. These loans total about $9.05 billion. MICA reports its third quarter data consists of data from “”Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corporation””:http://mortgageinsurance.genworth.com/, “”Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation””:http://www.mgic.com/, and “”Radian Guaranty Inc””:http://www.radian.biz/page?name=HomePage. In total, the dollar volume of insurance written by these companies for loans qualifying for HAMP, HARP or other modifications during the third quarter of this year reached about $11.6 billion, up 62 percent from the third quarter of last year. Loan volume was roughly 59,817 during the quarter.Since HAMP and HARP were initiated in 2009, MICA members have insured 127,516 HAMP loans, 217,109 HARP loans, and 152,336 other modified loans, amounting to nearly 500,000 modified and refinanced loans overall. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp. HARP Investors Lenders & Servicers Loan Modification Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. Mortgage Insurance Mortgage Insurance Companies of America Processing Radian Guaranty Inc. Refinance Service Providers 2012-11-20 Krista Franks Brock
CoreLogic Mortgage Fraud 2014-10-29 Seth Welborn CoreLogic’s latest Mortgage Fraud Report, released Tuesday, shows a 3.2 percent year-over-year increase in fraud risk among mortgages in the United States in the second quarter of 2014, as measured by the company’s Mortgage Application Fraud Risk Index.The report also showed that in Q2 2014, mortgage applications representing approximately $3.3 billion in mortgage debt contained elements of fraud or serious misrepresentation. The total value of applications containing elements of fraud or serious representation for the 12-month period ending in Q2 2014 amounted to about $19.8 billion, according to CoreLogic.The number of mortgage applications containing some element of fraud dramatically decreased year-over-year, from 19,700 (67 percent) in Q2 2013 down to 11,100 (69 percent) Q2 2014, according to CoreLogic. The volume of applications received was substantially higher in Q2 2013, CoreLogic reported.”Increasing home values have improved home equity, enabling many homeowners with previously marginal equity to purchase a different property, refinance, or obtain a cash-out home equity loan or HELOC,” said Michael Bradley, Ph.D., SVP of analytics at CoreLogic. “Also, job creation, as well as the aging of negative credit report records from the beginning of the recession, have increased the number of consumers able to qualify for mortgages. Finally, more institutions are beginning to rely on advanced analytics to relax credit overlays and expand the credit envelope. All of these trends have expanded access to mortgage credit modestly with only a slight increase in fraud risk, as the CoreLogic Mortgage Fraud Report indicates.”CoreLogic’s Mortgage Application Fraud Risk Index is based on residential mortgage loan applications processed by CoreLogic LoanSafe Fraud Manager. The Mortgage Fraud Report includes data relating to six types of fraud: employment, identity, income, occupancy, property, and undisclosed debt.Florida ranked first among states with the largest year-over-year increase in mortgage fraud risk, according to the report, and Arizona had the largest decrease in mortgage fraud risk over the same period.CoreLogic reported that changing market conditions likely drove the year-over-year increase in mortgage fraud risk, notably: New government programs, most notably the new ability-to-repay rules, that have placed more scrutiny on debt and irregular income; the large number (3.2 million) of additional single-family properties that have been added to the rental market since 2006, which has increased the potential for consumers showing rental income and multiple mortgages and the potential for occupancy fraud; and the deferred maintenance on some properties combined with other properties rapidly appreciating, which led to large discrepancies in value among properties within a close proximity of each other, thus increasing the potential of fraud-for-profit schemes and incorrect valuation. Areas with high vacancy and judicial foreclosure states most often reported this type of fraud, according to CoreLogic. Mortgage Fraud Risk Continues to Climb October 29, 2014 487 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Share
May 12, 2015 443 Views DocMagic eSign Platforms Mortgage Industry 2015-05-12 Staff Writer in Headlines, News, Technology DocMagic’s eSign Program Reaches 100 Million Milestone Share DocMagic announced in a recent press release that its eSign platforms have reached more than 100 million mortgage-related eSignatures. DocMagic provides compliant loan document preparation services, compliance, eSign, and eDelivery solutions.“We are very pleased with the sheer number of eSignatures that we are seeing executed among our client base,” said Dominic Iannitti, president and CEO of DocMagic. “This is positive news for the mortgage industry as a whole.”DocMagic has two eSign platforms that clients can use for mortgage-related business. The eSign platform is a separate SaaS-based solution that features the company’s proprietary ClickSign technology. eSignSystems’ SmartSAFE XL eSigning, eDelivery and eVaulting is a platform that was added in 2014. DocMagic announced that this program is perfect for companies that need more flexibility, extendibility, and control during eSigning processes. According to the tech-provider, the technology surrounding the eSign programs is easy to use and intuitive, and takes signer through the document to efficiently, expeditiously, and compliantly submit eSignatures.In 2011, DocMagic made their eSign program available for anyone to use to sign any document at no charge. According to their release, this was done to encourage all industries to adopt the eSignature process for their businesses. Documents that are signed using eSign are as legally effective, valid, and enforceable as documents that are signed with ink.“In previous years, eSign adoption was much lower among lenders working with borrowers,” Iannitti said. “We have always encouraged clients to take advantage of our eSigning technology; this impressive number of transactions certainly reflects that.”
September 24, 2015 428 Views Share Asset Management Freddie Mac The Collingwood Group 2015-09-24 Seth Welborn Paul MullingsThe Collingwood Group, a Washington, D.C.-based business advisory firm, announced that Paul Mullings has joined the company as a managing director supporting the firm in business advisory and risk management and compliance practices.Mullings served as SVP of Single-Family Business at Freddie Mac prior to joining the Collingwood Group. In that role, Mullings managed Freddie Mac’s single-family line of business and became well-recognized for his commitment to enhancing customer experience, improving relationships with seller/servicers, investors and dealers, and strengthening the Freddie Mac’s market relevance.”Paul’s excellent reputation comes from 30 years of extensive industry experience, working with participants from all segments of the market as well as government regulators. His background, breadth of knowledge, and relationships with investors, lenders, servicers, and other stakeholders make him an invaluable addition to our team,” said Tim Rood, Chairman of the Collingwood Group. “His leadership in the industry will clearly benefit our clients, helping them to think strategically about the many challenges facing our industry.””Paul’s excellent reputation comes from 30 years of extensive industry experience, working with participants from all segments of the market as well as government regulators.”Before joining Freddie Mac, Mullings served as SVP for JPMorgan Chase, where he re-established the multibillion dollar Private Label Mortgage-backed Securitization Program. At JPMorgan, Mullings was responsible for formalizing, strengthening, and managing the bank’s relationships with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other government agencies.”I was attracted to The Collingwood Group because of their very positive reputation in the industry, the impressive list of Principals at the firm and their demonstrated commitment to provide strategic value to stakeholders in the mortgage industry,” said Mullings. “I look forward to helping Collingwood’s clients manage their relationships with the GSEs and regulators.” in Government, Headlines, News, Servicing Collingwood Group Hires Former Freddie Mac Executive
Here’s How Lenders can Make the Most of their Business this Year Lenders Michigan Mutual 2016-01-11 Staff Writer January 11, 2016 567 Views in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination Share Most economists in the mortgage industry project that the housing market will experience a slow down in activity in 2016, but that does not mean that lenders’ businesses have to coast along too.Dr. Rick Roque, Managing Director of Michigan Mutual shares some advice on how lenders can increase their business and prosper in the new year.MReport: Where is the greatest area of opportunity for lenders to make revenue and how should they go about tapping into that?Dr. Roque: Strictly market share, in my view. There will be considerable volume contractions, anywhere from 25 percent to 30 percent total throughout the industry. This year the industry is predicting a reduction in total volume and that is going to exert a lot of pressure on lenders struggling to maintain and grow their market share in a contracting market. They will need to essentially take business from one another. The volume in 2016 as a whole is supposed to be about 400 billion dollars less than in 2015. As a result, whatever you did last year, unless you’re growing your market share, will be less this year. In essence, the current number of lenders will be fighting for pieces of a smaller pie.The competitive advantage that lenders are going to have to create will require opening up to new markets, opening up their licensing strategy to new states, and taking away loan officers from their competitors.MReport: What do you see as the biggest threat to lenders in 2016? Why?Dr. Roque: The biggest threat is going to be lender compensation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). There is still a tremendous lack of clarity as to what the CFPB will be looking for in audits and how they will work with lenders to resolve issues when they see violations. This is especially true with regard to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule. All we know about TRID is that the CFPB will go easy on us for a limited time. But other than these general comments, what do we really know about TRID? At the end of the day, lenders don’t really know the extent and severity of penalties for non-compliance. Fair lending and loan officer compensation violations are going to be the main focus for 2016 by auditors. When they find a violation, how will they work with lenders to fix it? Will it be purely punitive or will it involve specific corrective actions and provide time to implement them? There is currently tremendous ambiguity as to what the working relationship with the CFPB will be for lenders. We know what the bureau has done with deep pocket banks, but we lack a good understanding of what is in store for mainstream mortgage bankers.MReport: How will lenders be able to develop and sustain a competitive advantage next year?Dr. Roque: The biggest competitive advantage is going to be operational. Leveraging technology in order to demonstrate that you can close loans in the shortest period of time with a borrower-friendly process is what’s going to drive business. With TRID, loan officers are becoming much savvier in their workflow and operational execution. You really have to reflect carefully on how efficiently you close loans. Lenders who can both demonstrate their operational execution and how well they satisfy and support consumers and Realtor partners will have the clearest competitive advantage.MReport: What will be the biggest regulatory challenge for 2016 and how should lenders prepare for it?Dr. Roque: The biggest regulatory challenge in 2016 is going to involve pricing strategies, market by market. This entails three things: the corporate margin, having a fixed branch margin, and loan officer compensation. There are a lot of lenders that are exhibiting explicit LO compensation violations and fair lending violations because their consumers can call the office of a particular mortgage branch and get multiple rates, depending upon which loan officer they speak to. I believe that 2016 will be the year of fair lending and we will see enforcement actions against lenders involving either loan officer compensation issues or fair lending violations. This will force lenders to take a much more uniform approach in their margin strategies in order to ensure they are compliant in both in fair lending and loan officer compensation.MReport: Name an issue that you feel the industry should pay more attention to but hasn’t been focused on? Why is the issue important and why do you think it has not been an area of focus?Dr. Roque: The industry and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) should work much more proactively with public school districts and departments of education on a state-by-state basis to support and put together initiatives to improve consumer financial literacy.When I speak to superintendents of schools, departments of education, or members of an administration, I find there is virtually no dialogue between bankers and these educational institutions regarding how to educate students and the general population to become financially literate, and that is a mistake.Public school districts are the among the largest employers in communities around the country. I think it would be smart for the associations in our industry to enter into a broader dialogue with each state department of education on how the industry can support public school districts in promoting financial literacy. At the college and high school level there is little or no outreach in that regard, and we need to do a better job of training our consumers. There are many benefits to having well-informed borrowers, particularly in the servicing side of the business.The challenge is that the industry is still somewhat under fire and we are very much in a defensive mode. We are not being very strategic, and I think this is reason why we haven’t really been focused on such institutional plays. Let’s face it, there is virtually no educational foundation to instruct borrowers on consumer finance, financial management and buying a house, even though roughly two thirds of Americans purchase homes. There is little if any preparation coming from schools involving affording a home, paying for a home, or preparing for a home. It’s not there, it’s absent.If 60 percent or more of Americans buy a house, it’s so strange to me that this is not even a topic of conversation in our schools. Financial literacy is a great example of how the industry can go on the offensive and work more proactively with consumers at every level.
First American Home Builder Confidence Home Builders National Association of Home Builders Wells Fargo 2017-06-16 Aly J. Yale Labor, Lot Shortages Cause Builder Confidence to Falter June 16, 2017 587 Views Home builders are plagued with labor and lot shortages, and it’s causing their confidence in the single-family market to waver, according to new data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Well Fargo released this week.Overall, builder confidence in the single-family residential market has dropped by two points in June. According to NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz, builders recognize the buyer demand—but hurdles are holding them back from rising to the occasion.“As the housing market strengthens and more buyers enter the market, builders continue to express their frustration over an ongoing shortage of skilled labor and buildable lots that is impeding stronger growth in the single-family sector,” Dietz said.According to the Housing Market Index released by the NAHB and Wells Fargo on Thursday, builder sentiments surrounding currently single-family home sales, expected sales in the next six months, and rate of traffic were all down for the month. Sentiments were lowest in the Northeast and West, according to the report.But the single-family market isn’t the only sector builders should worry about. According to data released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department, multifamily construction starts fell 9.7 percent over the month of May. Overall, housing starts dropped 5.5 percent across the nation, while single-family production fell 3.9 percent for the month.Granger MacDonald, Chairman of the NAHB, is confident that production—at least in the single-family sector—will improve as the year goes on.“Today’s report is consistent with builder sentiment in the housing market, indicating some weakness after a strong start to the year,” MacDonald said. “Ongoing job growth, rising demand, and low mortgage rates should keep the single-family sector moving forward this year, even as builders deal with ongoing shortages of lots and labor.”On an annualized basis, single-family construction starts are up 7.2 percent. Overall starts rose 1.3 percent in the West, stayed steady in the Northeast, dropped by 9.2 percent in the Midwest, and fell 8.8 percent in the South.Permits were down in all regions except for the Northeast which, according to First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming, means supply will remain tight for the foreseeable future.“Today’s Census Bureau report for May signals further supply shortages in the housing market,” Fleming said. “Permits and Starts decreased 0.8 percent and 2.4 percent respectively compared to a year ago. The pace of single-family housing starts, 794,000 (SAAR), is particularly important as it represents near-term new supply that the housing market is lacking.” in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines Share
a360inc recently announced the additions of new CIO, Richard Leurig, and new CMO, Rich Owens. Leurig and Owens will help lead the entire a360 family of companies, including Firm Solutions, C2C Title Services, and Blue Ribbon Legal.Focused on acquiring and building innovative new solutions, a360 is on the verge of redefining how technology and strategic outsourcing are used in the financial services, real estate, and legal industries. as CIO and CMO, respectively, which currently include“We’ve expanded our executive talent and we’re excited about what these two veterans bring to the table for a360,” said Scott Brinkley, CEO of a360inc. “Needless to say, expertise in educating the market and expertise in actionable-delivery of game-changing technology are valuable commodities in this industry, and with these additions we’ve now positioned ourselves for success.”As CIO of a360inc, Leurig will manage strategic software delivery and support for all technology solutions. This includes existing products and new technology solutions designed to meet the demands of the next-generation of financial services, real estate, and legal industries. Prior to joining a360, Leurig was a SVP at CoreLogic, where he launched the Innovation Development Center and established a standardized product delivery platform for CoreLogic Data and Analytics solutions.“I’ve seen many companies at various stages in my career. a360 is on the verge of transforming how compliance and process-laden industries will be able to adapt to change and not only survive, but excel,” said Leurig. “The vision, strategic acquisitions and a360’s potential of radically changing things made the decision to join easy.”Rich Owens, CMO, has over 20 years of marketing expertise after managing the strategic marketing initiatives for VRM Mortgage Services, prior to which he served as Director of Product Development and as a Director of Marketing at CoreLogic. In his new role, Owens will define strategy and the go-to market branding to introduce a360’s next-generation solutions for the industry.“I’m excited to be a part of the visionary role that a360 is taking,” said Owens. “As a marketer, opportunities to join companies that want to redefine an industry and to be able to help tell that story is tremendous. It’s an exciting new venture with amazing possibilities.” July 6, 2017 556 Views a360inc Rich Owens Richard Leurig 2017-07-06 Joey Pizzolato a360inc adds C-Suite Talent to Help Deliver Industry-Changing Initiatives Share in Featured, Headlines, News
November 13, 2017 575 Views in Headlines, News Dinesh Chopra Joins Ally Financial Ally Financial Capital One Citigroup Dinesh Chopra HOUSING mortgage 2017-11-13 Rachel Williams Ally Financial Inc. (Ally), a leading digital financial services company and a top 25 U.S. financial holding company, announced that Dinesh Chopra has joined the company as its new Chief Strategy Officer. In his newly-created role Chopra will lead Ally’s Corporate Strategy team, fostering growth and defining the elements of Ally’s future strategic plan.Chopra joins Ally from Citigroup where he served as global head of Strategy, Retail Bank, Mortgage, and Fintech & Digital Payments responsible for leading strategic planning and improving performance for the related lines of business. While at Citigroup, he oversaw many transformation efforts, most notably developing and executing a three-year strategic plan that helped turnaround performance of the group’s U.S. retail banking business. Prior to Citi, he held leadership positions in strategy and banking at Capital One and McKinsey & Company.”I am confident Dinesh’s experience and skills are a great match for Ally as we continue to grow our business and differentiate our industry-leading products and services,” said Jeffrey Brown, CEO of Ally. “Adding a CSO to our leadership team will enable us to better evolve our business so that we keep a leading edge in the marketplace as we grow, while also maintaining our keen focus on innovation and a great customer experience.””Over the last several years I have followed Ally closely and have been impressed with the firm’s growth as a financial innovator,” said Chopra. “In this new role I have an incredible opportunity to work with the leadership team to push Ally’s diversification strategy forward and support our mission of providing digital solutions and services that enable our customers to achieve financial well-being.”Chopra holds an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management; a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY; and a bachelor’s degree from the National Institute of Technology in Trichy, India. He will be based in Charlotte. Share
February 26, 2018 687 Views Home prices hit a new peak at the end of 2017, marking 68 consecutive months of appreciation according to the latest Home Price Index (HPI) report for December 2017 released by Black Knight on Monday.The report, which utilizes repeat sales data from the nation’s leading public records data set as well as Black Knight’s loan-level mortgage performance data, covers around 90 percent of U.S. residential properties at the ZIP-code level. The report indicated that U.S. home prices rose 6.62 percent at the end of 2017 and gained 0.1 percent on a month-on-month basis in December.Among the 40 largest metro areas, San Jose showed the most significant year-end appreciation with HPI value in the tech hub just shy of $1.1 million and a 19.66 percent growth from a year ago. This price rise put home values in the city at 115 percent above where they were at the bottom of the market in 2012.With a 14.01 percent growth from a year ago, Las Vegas, Nevada came in second, while Seattle, Washington, with a home price growth of 13.58 percent came in a close third for the Top 3 cities that showed maximum price appreciation in 2017.On a month-over-month basis, 11 of the 40 metros covered by the report hit new price peaks. Led by San Jose, California, they also included San Francisco, California; New York, New York; Seattle Washington; Denver, Colorado; Nashville, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Columbus, Ohio.Though New York led all states in home price appreciation in December, Washington, showed the maximum gain annually, with home prices rising 11.5 percent in the state during the year. California with an increase of 9.08 percent and New York with an annual price increase of 8.96 percent took second and third place respectively.According to the report, Ohio was the worst performing state in December with home prices falling 1.13 percent and among the seven worst performing states during the year. San Jose Home Values Touched $1.1M in 2017 in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Share Appreciation Black Knight Home Prices Home Values homes HOUSING HPI metros Price Peaks states 2018-02-26 Radhika Ojha
asking price Competition Home price Homebuyers homes HOUSING Housing Markets Redfin 2018-07-24 Radhika Ojha July 24, 2018 733 Views The 10 Most Competitive Housing Markets Are … The one thing consistent across the housing market board this past couple of years has been that tight inventory has led to strong competition for houses. But where exactly are the most and least competitive markets in the country?A new report by Redfin found the most competitive markets in the West, while the least is a grab bag of metros mostly throughout the South, Southwest, and Midwest.Fremont and San Jose, California, and Seattle are the most competitive U.S. cities for homebuyers, according to the Redfin Compete Score. The score ranks markets on a scale of 0 to 100 for competitiveness level and ranked there three metros as solid 100s.Apart from Aurora, Colorado, and Boston, all the markets with scores above 90 were cities in California or Washington. The common denominator for these states is tech companies.“Many of the most competitive cities are tech hubs that have attracted an influx of people moving to the area for jobs, unmatched by the creation of new homes,” said Taylor Marr, Senior Economist at Redfin. “This has led to intense competition and rising home prices. In San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver homes have become so expensive that many people are moving elsewhere in search of more affordable and less competitive housing markets.”According to Redfin, some homes in these markets are closing for as much as $150,000 above asking price.For those looking at less cutthroat housing markets, there’s New Orleans, the country’s least competitive, according to Redfin. The Big Easy scored a 43 on the Compete Score. Three other cities, El Paso, Pittsburgh, and Miami, also had competitiveness scores in the 40s.Caren Morgan, a Redfin agent in New Orleans, said she often works with people relocating to New Orleans, who are relieved to find homes with much less drama.“That said, bidding wars aren’t uncommon, especially in the hottest parts of the city,” Morgan said. “But we typically see two or three competing offers, and they rarely go much above the asking price.” Redfin also broke down competitiveness in neighborhoods. The most competitive neighborhoods are in Seattle, where several areas earned a 100 score.Two neighborhoods, in Poipu, Hawaii, and West Palm Beach, Florida., scored a 1. These noncompetitive markets are among the most high-end properties in the country. Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News
agentsScenic Agent Academytraining Scenic has announced the state-by-state winners of its competition to launch the new global e-learning platform – Scenic Agent Academy.“We received an overwhelming response and positive feedback from the agents that completed the first series of the Agent Academy training modules with more than 1000 agents across Australia and New Zealand registering,” said Emma Davie, Director Trade Sales and Commercial Partnerships Scenic.“[Agents] were very impressed by the structure and product and sales tips that they discovered along the way, while completing the river cruise modules.”As a launch incentive for agents to experience the Agent Academy, Scenic offered $1000 Scenic Rewards points to the first consultant in each Australian state to complete the four launch courses by 28 February 2019. The next 50 to register and complete the courses received $100 Scenic Rewards points.NSW Winner – Chantelle Swift – Helloworld Lake Haven – $1,000 Scenic Rewards pointsACT Winner – Julie Berzins – Helloworld Canberra Centre (ACT) – $1,000 Scenic Rewards points$100 Scenic Rewards points each:1. Tara Fenning – Helloworld Lisarow2. Nicole Bentley – Helloworld Lisarow3. Emma Sillato – Helloworld Macarthur Square4. Dylan Humphries – Helloworld Goulburn5. Talia Benavente – Figtree Travel Centre6. Olivia Bradshaw – Andy’s World Travel7. Kerry Andrich – Helloworld Macarthur Square8. Jessie Brown – New England Travel Centre9. Ashley Shallow – Travel Utopia10. April Collins – Travel Your World (Goulburn)11. Laura Jago – Helloworld Kotara12. Deborah Long – Weston Cruise & Travel13. Wendy Edwards – Helloworld BelconnenQLD Winner$100 Scenic Rewards points each:14. Stacey Moffitt – RACQ Travel Maroochydore15. Susan Connolly – Just Cruises16. Daniella Moore – Strathpine17. Symon Collingwood – Travel Partners Landsborough18. Anthony Smith -Travel Partners Alexandra Hills19. Rose Febo – Travel Manager20. Jade Thorpe – Flight Centre Victoria Point21. Barbie Payton – UCANGO Travel & Cruise Centre Maroochydore22. Amy Dang – FLIGHT CENTRE Albert StVIC Winner$100 Scenic Rewards points each:23. Jessie Duell – The Travel Collection24. Joel Webb – Helloworld Travel Mentone25. Ashley Copping – The World @ Braeside Travel26. Isabella Cilia – Flight Centre Southland27. Sharon Seddon – Helloworld Travel Croydon Hills28. Kate Anson – Flight Centre Broadmeadows29. Jenn Byrne – Albert Park Travel30. Roland Kautzky – Travel Associates ToorakSA/NT Winner – Lorien Everett – Phil Hoffmann Travel Glenelg Cruise – $1,000 Scenic Rewards points$100 Scenic Rewards points each:31. Sherrie Butcher – Peregrine Travel Centre32. Melissa Tisler – Genesis Travel and Cruise33. Troy Eldridge – RAA Adelaide34. Cathy Sherman – RAA Marion35. Wendy James – Kaleidoscopic Travel36. Amanda Nikitas – italktravel Mitcham37. Deanna D’Antonio – Flight Centre St Peters38. Katherine Heimsohn – Phil Hoffmann Travel Glenelg39. Kate Jarmyn – Flight Centre Adelaide City40. Emma Giola – Phil Hoffmann Travel NorwoodWA Winner – Ngahuia Parata – Travel Key Leederville – $1,000 Scenic Rewards points$100 Scenic Rewards points each:41. Carla Scully – Travel Key Leederville42. Danielle Higgins – Flight Centre Midland Gate43. Bianca Waru – Travel Key Leederville44. Amanda Marsh – Travel Key Leederville45. Kay Naran – Best4Travel46. Harry Zaharopoulos – Depth TravelTAS Winner – Louella Horne – RACT Travel Kingston – $1,000 Scenic Rewards points$100 Scenic Rewards points each:47. Sharon Ward – Travel Managers Head Office48. Kirsty Whittaker – Travel Manager Margate49. Nina Marchioli – RACT Travel Kingston50. Lonnie Bevis – Cruise Travel Centre HobartAustralian agents can access Scenic Agent Academy HERE.