Air NZ ups stake in Virgin Blue

first_imgEarlier this week Air New Zealand paid up to NZ$188.9 million to acquire a substantial shareholding in Virgin Blue, as part of its plan to obtain 14.99 percent of the carrier’s shares. Air NZ notified the Australian Stock Exchange and New Zealand Stock Exchange of its substantial shareholdings in Virgin Blue but Air NZ chief executive Rob Fyfe said the carrier has no intention to make a takeover bid. “This investment in Virgin Blue is part of Air New Zealand’s strategy to develop scale and reach in this region,” Mr Fyfe said. “The Tasman alliance with Virgin Blue was the first step in this strategy. “This investment cements the emerging relationship between our two airlines and demonstrates the confidence we have in Virgin Blue both as an entity and as a partner for Air New Zealand.” The airline received approval for the purchase of 14.99 percent from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board.According to the airline its shareholding keeps the total foreign ownership of Virgin Blue below 49 percent. Air NZ purchased 14.99 percent of Virgin Blue shares Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

The AsiaPacific Region airports capture all the Top Five Best Airport

first_imgSource = Airports Council International Asia Pacific gateways once again on top of the world !Hong Kong ACI Asia-Pacific is pleased to announce the recipients of the most respected annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards for 2010, which recognize the commitment of airports worldwide to customer service excellence.ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Director Maggie Kwok says, “It is another outstanding year for Asia-Pacific as the top five airports are all from the region. I must extend my congratulations to Incheon International Airport, South Korea, which has once again been bestowed the top customer service award, Best Airport Worldwide. The second to the fifth places of this world category, same as last year, all go to Asia-Pacific gateways i.e. Singapore Changi Airport (2nd), Hong Kong International Airport (3rd), Beijing Capital International Airport (4th) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (5th) respectively. I must congratulate all winning airports for being able to continue to lead the way when it comes to customer service excellence.’In the airport size categories, Hong Kong International Airport won the best airport award for “over 40 million passengers category”. Other winners are Incheon International Airport (25 – 40 million passengers), Gimpo International Airport (15-25 million passengers) and Hyderabad International Airport (5-15 million passengers).ACI Asia-Pacific is also pleased to announce the winners of the regional categories. The top honors for Asia-Pacific go to the same airports winning the Best Airport Worldwide while Dubai International Airport is the top performing airport in the Middle East, followed by Abu Dhabi International Airport, Ben Gurion International Airport (Tel Aviv), Doha International Airport and King Fahd International Airport (Damman) garnering the second to the fifth places for 2010.Kwok says, “There is no doubt that Airports in the region continues to lead the highest standards of the customer service excellence. With the fast rebound of passenger traffic in the world, Asia Pacific airports once again showcase their reputable service culture and commitment to challenge the exceptional service standards they set forth for the airports around the world. We applaud the continued success of these airport leaders in the region.”Kwok adds, “It is also very encouraging to see Dubai International Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao are among the winners of Best Improvement awards. It is a recognition given to these airports for their effort, in the opinion of the passengers, made to improve customer service in the last year. To meet the ever increasing demand of the passengers, airports are committed to making endless progress in customer service and benchmarking with the world standards as they move ahead.”The awards presentation ceremony for the 2010 winners will take place on 7 April 2011 at the 6th ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly and Conference in New Delhi, India.last_img read more

Japan now reinvention redirection remembrance

first_imgEight months after a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan’s Tohoku region, one affected town is seeking opportunity born from ‘starting over’, whilst the country’s global tourism offices are promoting new aspects of Japan as a tourist destination.Speaking to e-Travel Blackboard, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) US western region director Minako Aoshima said the challenge for the tourism body was to find a balance between moving forward and remaining respectful of the needs of those affected by the natural disaster.“The people in the affected areas are afraid of people forgetting,” she said.“Obviously these people still need assistance to get on with their daily lives, but when the media is gone, it can be easy to forget, so it’s about trying to find the balance.”According to Ms Aoshima, some travel consultants and tourism operators in the United States have organized voluntourism packages or included visits to the affected areas for clients vacationing in Japan, a trend that insures support to affected communities.However, said Ms Aoshima, the message JNTO is getting is that “regular tourism” is also welcome.“After summer we started seeing the business people coming back and now we are seeing bookings in the high end leisure market.”Following the March tsunami, the tourism body was able to better explain Japan’s geography and highlight destinations previously overlooked by consumers, such as Hokkaido and Okinawa.“When that happened people thought Japan is such a small country if that happens in Fukushima, maybe the rest of Japan is also affected, which is not true.“So we were able to explain our geographical locations and how big or small our islands are.”This, according to Ms Aoshima, has lead to more exposure to other destinations.Meanwhile, Kesennuma a town in the affected Miyagi prefecture sees opportunity for revitalization following the tsunami.One local told NPR, “I could start from scratch. This sounds strange, but I was excited at the prospect that total ruin allowed us to build something new.”For more information about Japan visit www.jnto.go.jp. Himeji castle Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.Alast_img read more

Qantas takeover rumours persist

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Qantas’ stock continues to suffer amidst talks of a takeover. A syndicate of elite businessmen has Qantas anxious about a possible management overhaul if the consortium is capable of securing a significant portion of shares in the troubled airline.Former Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon, financier Mark Carnegie, adman John Singleton and Leighton finance boss Peter Gregg are among those interested in gaining control of Qantas.Considerations for a takeover began after Qantas stock fell to an all-time low of 96 cents following a shock profit downgrade in June this year.The syndicate would seek to gain a 20 percent share in Qantas’ business, hold three board seats and lobby for a change in upper management, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.“The stock has performed very poorly. If someone put their hand up, it could work,” a fund manager said of the likelihood of a group of large investors making a play for Qantas.The rumours surrounding a takeover bid are “still live”, according to a source close to both Qantas and the syndicate of businessmen, despite numerous public denials from both camps.“Who wouldn’t be interested [in Qantas]? There is three billion in cash sitting in the bloody thing; it has got some aeroplanes; it does have a reputation; it is being sacrificed,” John Singleton said.Former Qantas chief Geoff Dixon would meet with Qantas’ incumbent boss Alan Joyce for lunches in Sydney but since Mr Dixon has been linked to the consortium, those meetings have been suspended.Qantas remains adamant it has not received any formal or informal approaches regarding a takeover.last_img read more

Sydney awaits new events facility

first_imgSource = ETB News: P.T. The Glebe Island facility will open in February 2014. The purpose-built, hard-walled facility will host exhibitions in Sydney for the next three years, while the city awaits the development of the new International Convention Centre Sydney and ICC Exhibition at Darling Harbour. Business Events Sydney (BESydney) will handle the new facility’s branding and marketing, while managing the consumer awareness campaign and new website until operators AEG Ogden take over at the end of 2013. “Within a few months, Glebe Island will be transformed into a wonderful facility that will come to life with a full calendar of events and exhibitions,” Sydney Exhibition Centre Glebe Island general manager Malu Barrios said.center_img Sydney’s Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island is expected to open in February 2014, with a full calendar of summer events planned. Glebe Island will be regularly serviced by a free special events ferry from Darling Harbour and shuttle buses from Central Station. Construction at Glebe Island will take place over the next four to five months, with the new facility due to open in February of next year.last_img read more

Majestic Plaza hotel became part of the Le Hotels Group

first_imgMajestic Plaza hotel became part of the Le Hotels GroupMajestic Plaza hotel became part of the Le Hotels GroupWith effect from 6th February 2017, the Le Hotels Group expanded its capacity thanks to its new member – Majestic Plaza hotel – which offers 182 rooms in the heart of Prague. The Majestic Plaza hotel will be managed by Jan Hamouz, whose aim is to build a new, more efficient structure of the hotel management and services.“It was a matter of time, when the Majestic Plaza hotel, owned by the same parent company – Le-Investment, joins the Le Hotels Group thanks to the positively evolving trend and financial results Le Hotels Group’s hotels showed in the past. Now, our goal is to set up processes that ensure the same trend in the results, which we observe at our other hotels,” said Petr Lžičař, CEO at the Le Hotels Group.Grandior Hotel Prague, Grand Majestic Plaza, Hotel Yasmin, Hotel Élite and newly the Majestic Plaza hotel are currently operated under the Le Hotels Group brand. Together, the hotels situated in the Prague city centre offer the capacity of 1,046 rooms and can provide meeting spaces of almost 4,000 square metres for more than 2,000 people in the theatre style. Hotel Yasmin, currently under the reconstruction, will provide 200 additional rooms by the end of 2018.About Le Hotels Group Le-Investment s.r.o. has been operating on the Prague hotel market for 19 years with Xuan Long Le as the investor and sole owner of the company. Le Hotels Group (LHG) was established three years ago, and is represented by General Managers of the hotels – Petr Lžičař and Milan Švára. By sharing some hotels’ services such as sales and reservation department, the Group achieved cost optimization and increased their business potential especially in the resale of capacity between member hotels. Private clientele makes up the highest share of LHG hotels’ sales, followed by a significant share of delegates attending conferences, meetings and other events. MICE development is supported e.g. by membership in the Prague Convention Bureau or via foreign representations of the Group. Source = Le Hotels Group – Grandior Hotel Praguelast_img read more

Arsenal welcomes covermore as official travel insurance partner

first_imgArsenal welcomes cover-more as official travel insurance partnerArsenal welcomes cover-more as official travel insurance partnerArsenal Football Club is delighted to announce Cover-More as its Official Travel Insurance Partner, today, Wednesday, 25 October. The partnership will run for three seasons and gives the global specialist and integrated travel insurance and medical assistance provider a number of rights and areas of exclusive access.Cover-More Group operates in 14 countries including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, China, India and the USA, where the group owns Travelex Insurance Services. From December 2017, they will create Arsenal travel insurance, car-hire insurance and match ticket cancellation insurance solutions for fans attending and travelling to games throughout the season. They will also develop insurance packages for supporters that cover the club’s pre-season tours.The partnership will help Cover-More, who is part of the Zurich Insurance Group, to build global brand awareness by promoting their services through the club’s digital platforms, on pitchside LED branding and post-match interview backdrops within Emirates Stadium. Cover-More will also become an official partner of the club’s increasingly popular Emirates Stadium Tour experience, which currently welcomes 250,000 visitors per year.Arsenal Chief Commercial Officer Vinai Venkatesham said: “We’re pleased to welcome Cover-More into our family of official partners. After our hugely successful pre-season tour in Sydney, we are delighted to be partnering with this leading Australian-headquartered brand on a global basis. I’m certain that we can support Cover-More’s global growth plans while providing our supporters with insurance packages that help and protect them at home and on the road”.Cover-More Chief Executive Officer Mike Emmett said: “We aim to protect the individual Arsenal fan experience when they want to go to a game, whether they’re travelling from Islington or India, Sydney or San Francisco.“We will employ technology to customise our proposition for each fan and use geo-location to offer them meaningful types of protection products. Examples are a ticket-protection product that also rewards fans if the team wins on the field or switch-on-switch-off travel insurance products for diehard Gunners fans whether they live within or outside the UK.“Arsenal Football Club has thrived on a pioneering and innovative spirit throughout their 125 years in existence. They make their fans proud wherever they are in the world and it is that focus on innovation, the fan experience and their loyal worldwide following that makes this an exciting partnership for Cover-More.”Source = Arsenal Football Clublast_img read more

Vietjet is named as one of the best companies to work for

first_imgAbout Vietjet:Vietjet is the first airline in Vietnam to operate as a new-age airline offering flexible, cost-saving ticket fares and diversified services to meet customers’ demands. It provides not only transport services but also uses the latest e-commerce technologies to offer various products and services for consumers. Vietjet is a fully-fledged member of International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate. Vietjet was named “Best Ultra Low-Cost Airline 2018 – 2019” and awarded the highest ranking for safety with 7 stars in 2018 and 2019 by the world’s only safety and product rating website AirlineRatings.com. The airline has also been listed as one of the world’s 50 best airlines for healthy financing and operations by Airfinance Journal in 2018.Currently, Vietjet operates around 400 flights daily, carrying more than 80 million passengers to date, with 119 routes covering destinations across Vietnam and international destinations such as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, mainland China, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia.Source = Vietjet Vietjet is named as one of the best companies to work for in AsiaVietjet is named as one of the best companies to work for in AsiaVietjet has been honored as one of the best companies to work for in Asia at the “HR Asia – Best companies to work for in Asia 2019” ceremony, hosted by Asia’s leading human resource magazine HR Asia Magazine in Ho Chi Minh City.The HR Asia Award is a prestigious award that evaluates and recognises companies with excellent working environments throughout Asia. The awards are held annually in many Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan.Other companies in Ho Chi Minh City such as HDBank and Sun Group also received the award.HR Asia’s in-depth surveys of senior executives and HR managers at leading Vietnamese companies on HR policies, recruitment and strategy were used to select the Vietnamese companies recognised with this prestigious regional award.Speaking about the award, Vietjet Managing Director Luu Duc Khanh said: “Our company’s greatest asset is our employees, and thus, we take great pride in creating a work environment and culture that fosters success. Vietjet’s success is contributed by the performance of each employee and teamwork and this award is especially exciting as an employee survey is used as part of the evaluation. We will continue our commitment to investing in employee well-being and engagement in order to ensure our further success.”The new-age airline Vietjet has not only created a “revolution” in the aviation industry by offering flying opportunities for millions of passengers all around the region and the world, but has also offered countless opportunities to its staff with a young, dynamic working environment, good benefits and good HR policies.Vietjet has been honored to be the best employer brand in Asia for many consecutive years and one of the top 50 airlines worldwide by Air Finance Journal for financing and operations. The company has also been recognised with many other domestic and international awards.last_img read more

Supratim Raj Basu

first_imgFairfest Media, the organising team behind TTF, were the first to take the initiative to organise a travel mart in India, at a time when nobody thought about having a travel mart in India. They were pioneers, just like we were pioneers of rural tourism in India. Without TTF many remote places would never have been exposed to travel industry. TTF has been a major platform for niche tourism in India, for rural tourism, which has brought Northeast and adjoining countries together to this same platform.last_img

Kempinski Hotels appoints Nijhawan Group as GSO in India

first_imgOpens three global sales offices in IndiaDue to the growing interest in the emerging markets, Kempinski Hotels clearly felt the important need to cover the crucial market of India with a dedicated sales force which has lead to the launch of three global sales offices in India -in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru. Kempinski Hotels started their presence in India with an impressive roadshow throughout the country in February, in which 12 representatives and General Managers from various hotels were able to re-introduce Kempinski to around 300 top clients who attended the bespoke events.“Several hotels of Kempinski are already enjoying the business from India and have hosted multi-million dollar weddings,” says Theo Ocks, Vice President Global Sales at Kempinski Hotels. “Successful Kempinski top destinations dealing with India are so far Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bangkok and Venice. We are delighted to partner with the Nijhawan Group (led by Managing Director Ankush Nijhawan), present in three key cities covering leisure, corporate, business and wedding travellers alike.”last_img read more

CaseShiller Price Indices Shoot to 20Month High

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Home Prices Home Values Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2012-09-25 Mark Lieberman Case-Shiller Price Indices Shoot to 20-Month High September 25, 2012 442 Views Home prices continued to increase in July across the country, according to “”Case Shiller””:http://www.standardandpoors.com/servlet/BlobServer?blobheadername3=MDT-Type&blobcol=urldocumentfile&blobtable=SPComSecureDocument&blobheadervalue2=inline%3B+filename%3Ddownload.pdf&blobheadername2=Content-Disposition&blobheadervalue1=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobheadername1=content-type&blobwhere=1245341034827&blobheadervalue3=abinary%3B+charset%3DUTF-8&blobnocache=true. On Tuesday it revealed that its 20-city index up 1.6 percent from June and the 10-city index up 1.5 percent. [IMAGE]The 10-city index rose to its highest level since November 2010 and the 20-city index to the highest level since October 2010. Prices rose in all of the 20 cities.Year-over-year, the 10-city index was up 0.6 percent and the 20-city index rose 1.2 percent. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the 20 city index to increase 1.7 percent from June and 1.2 percent from July 2011.[COLUMN_BREAK]Prices had increased in all 20 cities in May and June. If prices had risen in Detroit in April, this month’s report would have been the fourth consecutive month in which prices rose in all 20 cities.While the Case-Shiller index showed across-the-board price gains in July, the National Association of Realtors reported the median price of an existing single family home dropped 0.5 percent in July and another 0.2 percent in August.The prices gains reported by Case-Shiller were led by 3.7 percent gain in Minneapolis, a 3.3 percent increase in Detroit, a 2.7 percent rise in Chicago and 2.6 percent improvement in Atlanta.Prices rose year-year in 16 of the 20 cities ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô compared with June when prices rose year-year in 13 cities – led by Phoenix, 16.6 percent, Minneapolis, 6.4 percent, Detroit,6.2 percent, Denver 5.4 percent and Miami, 5.3 percent.The steepest year-over-year price drop was in Atlanta, 9.9 percent, followed by New York, 2.6 percent, Las Vegas, 1.0 percent and Chicago, 0.9 percent.Even with the improvement in April, the 10-city price index is down 30.5 percent from its June 2006 peak and the 20-city index is down 30.0 percent from its July 2006 high point.center_img in Data, Government, Secondary Market Sharelast_img read more

MortgageAuction Delivers 10K in Average Savings for Loan Shoppers

first_imgMortgageAuction Delivers $10K in Average Savings for Loan Shoppers Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-03-25 Tory Barringer Out of Boston, Massachusetts, comes a new service created to remove the hassle of mortgage shopping for borrowers.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]””MortgageAuction””:http://www.mortgageauction.com/, launched in November 2012, offers online auctions to match mortgage borrowers with the lowest mortgage rates and fees from competing lenders. A free service to consumers, MortgageAuction is designed to eliminate teaser advertising rates, unwanted sales calls, and confusing quote comparisons. Borrower information is masked during the auction, removing risk of contact information getting out.According to a company release, borrowers have saved an average $10,000 from auctions since MortgageAuction’s launch. “”Online mortgage rate shopping has been a dark alley for borrowers and lenders. Borrowers are aware they need to shop for the best term, doing so has been difficult until now,”” said MortgageAuction CEO Jeff Chin. “”An open, competitive bidding model is a measurable time and money saver for the borrower while boosting the quality of the lead for lenders. The model is a clear win-win that will bring light to the mortgage industry.”” Sharecenter_img March 25, 2013 425 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technologylast_img read more

FirstTime Jobless Claims Continue Downward Trend

first_img First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell for the fourth time in the last five weeks, dropping 5,000 to 343,000 for week ending June 29, the “”Labor Department””:http://www.ows.doleta.gov/press/2013/070313.asp reported Wednesday.[IMAGE]Economists expected 345,000 claims. Claims filings for the week ending June 22 were revised up to 348,000 from the originally reported 346,000.The number of persons continuing to collect unemployment insurance for the week ending June 22, reported on a one week lag, dropped 54,000 to 2,933,000. The prior week’s original report of 2,965,000 original claims was revised up to 2,987,000.The four-week moving average of first-time claims dropped 750 to 345,500. The four-week moving average of continuing claims declined 9,500 to 2,969,250 for the period ending June 22.The claims report was issued one day early because of the July 4 holiday, which gave analysts less time to review and confirm data from states. Data from states is typically reported to the Labor Department on the Monday of the week in which the report is released.The report on new and continuing claims will have no impact on the monthly employment situation report for June, to be released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday.From mid-May to mid-June, the number of initial claims increased 11,000, while the four-week average of first-time claims went up 8,000, suggesting layoffs could be a drag on payrolls and the unemployment rate in the employment situation report. Wednesday’s report wrapped up an encouraging second quarter, which saw an average of 345,538 first-time filings each week, down from 353,538 in the first quarter. For the first half of the year, initial filings averaged 349,538, down from 373,731 in the previous six months and from 375,615 in the first half of 2012. From an analytic perspective, the decline in claims filings–to below the theoretical “”tipping point”” of 350,000–means layoffs will be less of a drag on the monthly report on payroll jobs.Economists have observed that 350,000 or fewer weekly first-time claims correlates historically with an improving labor market. Initials claims have been under 350,000 for four of the last five weeks and five of the last seven.[COLUMN_BREAK]While continuing claims have followed a similar downward trend, those numbers are distorted by the budget sequester, which reduced funding for emergency and extended unemployment insurance programs. States have responded by either shortening the unemployment insurance program or reducing payments.Continuing claims have averaged 3,068,600 each week since the beginning of the year compared with 3,277,654 for the first half of the year and 3,360,539 for the first six months of 2012. Both the continuing and initial claims data sets were helped by seasonal adjustment factors higher than the previous week. Higher seasonal adjustment factors–which adjust raw data for known and predictable influences on claims such as holidays–increase the numbers for both data series.The Labor Department reported the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending June 15 was 4,557,765, an increase of 1,059 from the previous week. There were 5,857,081 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2012. Extended benefits were not available in any state during the week ending June 15. According to the BLS, 11,760,000 persons were officially considered unemployed in May, with 4,357,000 “”long-term”” unemployed–that is, out of work for at least 27 weeks. Of those individuals counted as unemployed, 7.20 million were not receiving any form of government unemployment insurance for the week ending June 15, essentially unchanged from the week earlier.The Labor Department also reported 1,667,864 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending June 15, a decrease of 39,245 from the prior week. There were 2,616,147 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2012. EUC benefits this year were directly threatened by the federal budget sequester. According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag, the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 22 were in California (+6,181), New Jersey (+4,952), Oregon (+2,076), New York (+1,882), and Massachusetts (+732), while the largest decreases were in Pennsylvania (-4,238), Florida (-2,050), North Carolina (-2,009), Ohio (-1,679), and Kentucky (-1,466).Four of the six states reporting claims dropped by at least 1,000 from the prior week–Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio–cited fewer layoffs in the construction sector. The other two states–Kentucky and Illinois–offered no explanation for the drop in claims. The four states reporting an increase in claims of at least 1,000–California, New Jersey, Oregon and New York–all saw a jump in layoffs in the service sector, with New Jersey and New York reporting more layoffs in the health care sector._Hear Mark Lieberman Friday on P.O.T.U.S. Radio, Sirius-XM 124, July 8 at 12:20 p.m. Eastern._ in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology First-Time Jobless Claims Continue Downward Trend Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Confidence Consumer spending Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Mark Lieberman Payrolls Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2013-07-03 Mark Liebermancenter_img July 3, 2013 455 Views Sharelast_img read more

Apparently the 10 Billion Threshold is Not So Scary

first_img October 5, 2016 615 Views Share in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Servicing Assets Banks Regulation 2016-10-05 Seth Welborncenter_img On the surface, it seems like banks have plenty of incentive to avoid the $10 billion asset threshold that was put in place by Dodd-Frank a little more than six years ago.After all, banks that cross that threshold become subject to supervision and regulation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a cap (imposed by the Fed in 2011) on the interchange fees they charge merchants when shoppers use their debit cards, and they become subject to Dodd-Frank’s annual stress tests—which are costly to the banks and result in increased public scrutiny, since the banks are required to publicly disclose the stress test results. In the 2016 Dodd-Frank Act Stress Tests, 33 bank holding companies were reviewed.With those prospects on the horizon, are banks making an effort to avoid crossing over the magical $10 billion asset mark? According to an analysis issued by the New York Fed authored by Donald P. Morgan and Bryan Yang, they are not.“There are plenty of anecdotes about banks avoiding the $10 billion threshold or waiting to cross with a big merger, but we’ve seen no systematic evidence of this avoidance behavior,” the authors stated.The New York Fed researchers found when examining the cumulative distribution of bank-quarter assets in the $9 billion to $11 billion asset range both five years before and after Dodd-Frank passed in 2010, there was a significant shift in the distributions after Dodd-Frank (77 percent of observations) compared to before (48 percent). The researchers found no such shift in the distributions in the $7 billion to $9 billion range.Vincent Hui, Senior Director at Cornerstone Advisors, said he believes banks are not necessarily avoiding crossing the $10 billion threshold—but he believes they may be delaying it in order to prepare themselves for the increased expenses and regulations.“They really want to understand, ‘How much is this going to cost me? What type of resources do I need to put in place? What type of capabilities do I want to put in place?’” Hui said. “Publicly held institutions, in particular, need to manage shareholder expectations and be able to say, ‘It’s going to cost this amount of money and this is how we’re going to address it in order to make sure that our profitability or our earnings growth rate are not negatively impacted.’ I think a lot of it is more a delaying tactic to sort out what they want to do—not just to be in ‘compliance’ with CFPB and other regulations like Dodd-Frank, and also take into account the Durbin Amendment, but also what are they going to do to replace lost revenues to offset increased expenses.”The delaying tactic could potentially work against the bank, however, because “If you’re a publicly held bank, if you delay things too much, you start negatively impacting earnings growth and ultimately the share price, which ultimately doesn’t do a lot of good for shareholders,” Hui said.Ultimately, it just isn’t good for business when banks say they intend to put a dollar limit on the amount of assets they want to hold, Hui said.“What do people want? They want earnings per share growth,” he said. “And one of the drivers for earnings per share growth is to grow your balance sheets, because most banks are balance-sheet driven in terms of their earnings. Even for private companies, they have a little more flexibility, but at the end of the day their shareholders want to have increasing dividends and increasing share value, so there is that external pressure for them to grow. Very few banks have figured out how to grow earnings without growing their balance sheet. If they have, more power to them.” Apparently, the $10 Billion Threshold is Not So Scarylast_img read more

Fed Thinning Out its Balance Sheet

first_img The Federal Open Market Committee has been talking for months about normalizing its balance sheet, which currently is comprised of over $6 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and $4.5 trillion in bond holdings. Now, it looks like that day is inching closer by the minute, and could arrive as early as this fall.According to a recent report by Bankrate.com, the Fed’s plan is to start slow—chipping away a total of $10 billion a month, $6 billion in government debt and another $4 billion in mortgage-back securities. Eventually, the goal is to increase that number to $50 billion a month.The Fed first started buying up Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities to keep long-term interest rates down in response to the Great Recession, but they now feel it to be the appropriate time to allow long-term rates to return to what has historically been a normal level. Further, the Fed wants to ensure that it can continue to help the next time the economy falls into a recession. According to Bankrate.com, with the Fed’s bond holdings as high as they are and interest rates as low as they are, they’re hands will be tied if they want to provide assistance.What could that mean, though? First, the report cites rising mortgage rates, due to the fact that mortgage rates are tied to yields on 10-year treasury bonds. When the Fed unloads its long-term treasuries, bond prices should decrease while yields increase, resulting in higher costs when financing a home.Second, the stock market, which has been consistent in is overall increase, will show more signs of volatility and “choppier days.” The report also says that economic growth should slow once the Fed changes its monetary policy.Once the Fed actually starts reducing its balance sheet, the consequences will become more apparent. But looking forward never hurt anyone. August 14, 2017 656 Views Share in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News, Originationcenter_img Fed Thinning Out its Balance Sheet Balance Sheet Fed FOMC 2017-08-14 Joey Pizzolatolast_img read more

The State of FHAs Mortgage Insurance Fund

first_img Ben Carson Borrowers Brian Montgomery FHA forward mortgage HECM HUD MMI Fund Purchase Loans Reverse Mortgage 2018-11-15 Radhika Ojha Share The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) released its 2018 Annual Report to Congress on Thursday. The report, which highlights the economic condition of the agency’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMI Fund) indicated that the fund had a total economic net worth of $34.8 billion, an increase of $8 billion over the previous year, and a capital reserve ratio that remained above the statutory minimum of 2 percent for the fourth straight year.The report said that its economic net worth comprised of total capital resources of $49.24 billion and a negative cash flow net present value (NPV) of -$14.38 billion.”The financial health of FHA’s single-family insurance fund is sound,” said U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. “FHA is in good hands, guarding against excessive risks, protecting the American taxpayer, and remaining true to our core mission to facilitate safe and affordable mortgage options for qualified borrowers.”The MMI Fund supports FHA’s single-family mortgage insurance programs and includes all forward mortgage purchase as well as its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) and reverse mortgage program.FHA indicated in its report that while its forward mortgages had seen an increase during the year, its reverse mortgage portfolio “continues to decline, representing a continuing economic drain on the MMI Fund from books of business in 2018 and earlier.””As we look to the future, FHA must continue to seek the right balance between facilitating access to mortgage credit and managing risk,” said FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery. “Our number one mission is to make certain FHA remains a stable and reliable resource for first-time and minority homebuyers and other underserved borrowers.”Indicating the need for balance, the report revealed that the MMI Fund’s forward mortgage portfolio’s stand-alone capital ratio was 3.93 percent and had an economic net worth of $46.81 billion. By contrast, the HECM portfolio had a stand-alone capital ratio of negative 18.83 percent and an economic net worth of negative $13.63 billion.”We need to continue addressing the volatility and financial performance of the HECM portfolio,” Montgomery said.Additionally, the report indicated that FHA endorsed over one million forward mortgages in 2018 which included 776,824 purchase loans. Of these, 641,921 borrowers were first-time homebuyers. Minority homebuyers accounted for 33.8 percent of all FHA forward purchase loans.The report found that HECM endorsements had declined 12.6 percent since last year with 48, 327 mortgages endorsed. Total capital resources in the HECM portfolio totaled $2.11 billion in 2018 which was offset by a negative $15.75 billion in cash flow NPVLooking ahead, Montgomery said that while the forward portfolio was performing well, certain risk trends had to be monitored and addressed, “including the exponential rise in cash-out refinance transactions, a continuing increase in the average FHA-insured borrower’s debt-to-income ratio, and declining average credit scores throughout our book.”In 2018, the report indicated that the average borrower’s credit score declined slightly to 670 from 676 in 2017.Click here to read the full report. November 15, 2018 861 Views center_img The State of FHA’s Mortgage Insurance Fund in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Originationlast_img read more

Homeowner Info Leaked on Web

first_img Share January 24, 2019 1,172 Views Bob Diachenko Cybersecurity Data FinTech loans Mortgages Sandy Campbell Servers Tim Erlin 2019-01-24 Seth Welborn Homeowner Info Leaked on Webcenter_img On January 15, OpticsML, a New York-based vendor immediately shut down their server after learning that a configuration error leaked millions of bank loan and mortgage documents, including highly sensitive financial data on customers who took loans from U.S. banks, according to a report in TechCrunch.Sandy Campbell, General Counsel at Ascension’s parent company, Rocktop Partners, confirmed the incident to TechCrunch. TechCrunch’s report stated that running an Elasticsearch database, the server had more than a decade’s worth of data, including loan and mortgage agreements, repayment schedules and financial and tax documents. The statement mentioned that a portion of the loans have been submitted for analysis, but at the moment, the exact number of loans exposed cannot be confirmed.“The vendor immediately shut down the server in question, and we are working with third-party forensics experts to investigate the situation. We are also in regular contact with law enforcement investigators and technology partners as this investigation proceeds,”  Campbell said.“While sophisticated attacks may grab headlines, these types of misconfigurations can definitely be as impactful to the bottom line, if not more,” said Tim Erlin, VP, Product Management and Strategy, at cybersecurity firm Tripwire. He was reacting to the massive data breach wherein thousands of borrowers may have had their mortgage and loan information leaked in a recent server security lapse.”This wasn’t a sophisticated attack by a well-funded nation-state adversary. It was a misconfiguration, a mistake. Organizations need to be able to detect and remediate misconfigurations, period. This is highly sensitive data that was exposed to anyone willing to look for it,” he added.According to Techcrunch, the server was not password protected and remained vulnerable for around two weeks before shutting down on January 15. The leak was traced back to Fort Worth-based Ascension, a data and analytics company for the financial industry. The company’s bank of converted paper-to-digital documents was what was exposed, according to Independent Security Researcher Bob Diachenko, who found the data initially. The documents affected include loans and mortgages and other correspondence from several of the major financial and lending institutions dating as far back as 2008, including Citigroup, HSBC Life Insurance, Wells Fargo, CapitalOne and some U.S. federal departments, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development.“These documents contained highly sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers, names, phones, addresses, credit history and other details which are usually part of a mortgage or credit report. This information would be a gold mine for cybercriminals who would have everything they need to steal identities, file false tax returns, get loans or credit cards,” Diachenko told TechCrunch. in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News, Technologylast_img read more

New Additions to Fannie Mae Board of Directors

first_img in Headlines, News Brian P. Brooks Fannie Mae Jonathan Plutzik Karin J. Kimbrough 2019-03-21 Donna Joseph Fannie Mae announced that Karin J. Kimbrough and Brian P. Brooks were elected to its Board of Directors. The agency stated that the “two new directors are respected and knowledgeable business leaders in the technology and financial services sectors. They join other similarly dynamic and accomplished individuals on a Board of Directors that continues guiding Fannie Mae in its drive to be America’s most valued housing partner.”“I am pleased to welcome Karin and Brian to the Fannie Mae Board of Directors,” said Jonathan Plutzik, Chairman of the Board. “We will benefit greatly from their unique insights and perspective as the company delivers on its mission to provide liquidity to the mortgage market and support access to credit and affordable housing for families across the country.”“Karin and Brian are the right additions to our Board as we continue finding innovative ways to make housing more affordable while driving digital transformation of the mortgage experience for our customers and partners,” said Hugh R. Frater, Interim CEO. “Their deep experience in technology and banking will complement the expertise of their peers on the Board as they help guide us toward achieving our corporate priorities.”Kimbrough has served as Assistant Treasurer for Google since October 2017. She previously served as a Managing Director and Head of Macroeconomic Policy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch from November 2014 to October 2017. Prior to that, Kimbrough worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2005 to October 2014, serving as a Director for the Financial Stability Monitoring function in the markets group from 2010 to October 2014 and as a manager for analytical development from 2005 to 2010. She  previously worked as an economist and strategist at Morgan Stanley from 2000 to 2005.Brooks has served as the Chief Legal Officer of Coinbase Global, Inc. since September 2018. He previously served as Fannie Mae’s EVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary from November 2014 to September 2018. Prior to that, Brooks was Vice Chairman of OneWest Bank N.A., from 2011 to November 2014, where he served as Chief Legal Officer. Previously, he served as a partner at the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he served from 2008 through 2011 as managing partner of the Washington, D.C. office and from 2010 through 2011 as group leader of the firm’s financial services practice. New Additions to Fannie Mae Board of Directorscenter_img March 21, 2019 609 Views Sharelast_img read more

CHOICE has published an article suggesting the av

first_imgCHOICE has published an article suggesting ‘the average punter’ and agents need to be aware of certain situations in which the standard travel insurance policy does not adequately cover cruises – including for Aussies on domestic cruises. Citing Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and individual case studies, the article says even if you book a cruise in Australian waters you will probably still need travel insurance as shipboard medical expenses might not be covered by Medicare. “Domestic travel or health insurance won’t cut it.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE australiaChoicecruisestravel insurancelast_img

With more than 110m in travel insurance claims pa

first_imgWith more than $110m in travel insurance claims paid out from Covermore last year, the value of adding travel insurance to your holiday really is a no brainer.According to DFAT, one in 10 Australians travel overseas without insurance. Covermore said around six percent of their customers claim on their policy each year. The claims rang from smaller claims for lost, but valuable items (like a smartphone) or a visit to a private medical centre, to major, life-saving cases, such as a $700,000 claim for a customer who was in a sky-diving accident in the US.Case studies on travel insurance claims include medical assistance and business class flights home for a traveller who was ‘fit to fly’ after he had a stroke in Barcelona, Spain. Having travel insurance meant an ambulance was arranged to the customer’s hotel when his wife called the 24/7 medical assistance team to find out what they should do. Covermore oversaw his medical care and managed their logistics. Their claim came to $27,000.Hearing outcomes like this is reassuring for travellers taking out travel insurance, offering piece of mind. Travel agents selling travel insurance can do so with confidence. The best way agents can inform clients about why they need travel insurance is to ask them what they want in an insurance policy and then talk about the benefits they are seeking. It often helps them to realise how travel insurance can help them to keep travelling.Cover-More notes that policies provide several industry-first benefits, including cancel-for-any-reason cover, cover for mental illnesses, access to an Australian-based GP no matter where you are in the world with our 24/7 Travel GP, and new-for-old luggage replacement.They also offer travellers direct payment of their hospital bills, access to first-world medical care at no cost – whether it’s available in the country they are in or if they need to be medically evacuated to a hospital equipped to treat them, unlimited cover for medical and dental, and quick online claims.Covermore executive general manager, sales and distribution, Michael Stein said “we obviously and wholeheartedly standby the statement, ‘if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel.’”“Travel insurance is meant to protect travellers from the unforeseen and unexpected, whether it’s accessing medical assistance for a mental illness that develops while they’re travelling, whether they need to cancel their trip for any reason, whether they need to see a doctor in New York City, or access a lifesaving medivac from a cruise in the South Pacific.”Michael adds that not all policies are equal, so it’s vital that travellers shop around and choose a policy that best fits their needs rather than settling on the cheapest policy.To learn more about Covermore Travel Insurance, agents can get in touch with our National Support Team at NationalSalesSupport@covermore.com.au. Agent AdviceCovermoretravel insurancelast_img read more