Lufthansa to launch earth friendly A321

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Lufthansa released plans to launch the world’s first ever commercial passenger flight using bio-fuel early next year. The environmentally friendly A321 aircraft will begin daily flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt in April 2011 and will be be powered with an International Aero Engine and run on a bio-fuel made of 50 percent hydrotreated vegetable oil. According to the airline the fuel developed by Finland company Neste Oil, helps nuetralise CO2 emissions by releasing the CO2 it absorbs when it grows.  Lufthansa said it will study the sustainability of the fuel with a six month ‘Burn Fair R&T project’. “We see great opportunities in the use of bio-synthetic kerosene,” Lufthansa chief executive Wolfgang Mayrhuber said. “But we are gathering experience with it in daily practice. “Indeed, Lufthansa is the world’s first airline to utilise biofuel in flight operations. “This is a further consistent step in the sustainability strategy, which Lufthansa has for years been successfully pursuing.” The airline added that the fuel is produced from “sustainable feedstock sources” and does not use food or water from the land. Airbus president and chief executive Tom Enders said the new fuel is a dramatic step forward in the future of sustainability for the industry.“Airbus is bringing together feedstock producers, fuel refiners and airlines, and with today’s announcement of passenger flights, we have taken yet another step towards making this real.” last_img read more

Staging Connections webcast the MEA National Awards Night

first_imgYou are invited to walk the virtual red carpet and be part of the glitz and glamour of the Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) National Awards Night. On the evening of Tuesday 24 April, Staging Connections will be presenting the 2011 MEA National Awards via live webcast.The webcast will give meetings and events professionals from around Australia and the world access to see the winners of the National Awards as they happen. Using a custom gateway, the webcast audience can easily access the full event coverage through a fast web connection. As sponsors of the MEA National Awards evening, Staging Connections is calling on the meetings and events industry to join the webcast and cheer on their teams and colleagues in their award categories. “The MEA National Awards are an important part of recognising and acknowledging professionals and teams in the meetings and events industry. We are pleased to be supporting the MEA National Awards night and we will be cheering on the talented Staging Connections’ team and encourage others to do the same,” said Tony Chamberlain, Managing Director of Staging Connections. What can the webcast audience expect?Staging Connections wedding planner to the stars, Anthony Del Col and the vivacious Tanya Brown will be reporting from the red carpet as the attendees enter the sparkling event to be held at the Parkside Ballroom, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. Check out the best of the best in the events industry as they walk the red carpet from 7pm. Stay tuned throughout the night as we recognise achievements and watch as the winners are announced. The virtual audience will then be taken into gala room for the big reveal of the event décor and theme for the evening. It’s time to be part of all the awards night action and be among the first to find out the winners of the MEA National Awards as the webcast will broadcast all the announcements. The audience of the webcast will be able to interact through a live Twitter feed shown on the webcast using the hash tag #MEAAwards. Attendees at the event and watching online can join in on the conversation together. Source = Staging Connectionslast_img read more

Record numbers Visit Orlando Pow Wow

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=af663c61″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Touting the tag line “Orlando Makes Me Smile”, Visit Orlando president and CEO Gary Sain announced at Pow Wow last week that the city was 2011’s most visited destination in the U.S.54.3 million people visited Orlando last year, making it the first destination in history to reach over 50 million visitors. This number is expected to increase to 55 million by the end of 2012. International visitors were on the rise as well at 3.79 million with Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico and Columbia providing the highest rates of traffic to the city.“The continued success of Orlando’s tourism industry has been accomplished through aggressive marketing despite global economic challenges, strong collaborations throughout the travel industry including with our theme parks, the airport, airlines and the worldwide travel trade, and the continued development of a one-of-a-kind Orlando holiday experience,” Mr Sain said.  Orlando International Airport is focusing on becoming a model port for the U.S. with enhanced services and programs including increased customer service with designated ambassadors speaking six languages (Arabic, French, German, Portugese, Russian and Spanish), new signage and more efficient processing. “Already this year, Orlando has added flights from British Airways and Monarch in the United Kingdom, Monarch and LAN Airlines from Chile and GOL airline in Brazil,” Mr Sain said. “We will continue to work with airlines around the globe to provide options for travellers to get to Orlando easily and to offer unmatched hospitality to our country upon their arrival.”Whilst Australia does not currently rank as a popular international market for the city, a spokesperson for Visit Orlando told e-Travel Blackboard that they are keeping their eye on the nation for any sign of increased visitation. “Not many Australians are currently travelling to Orlando but we are hoping that this will change in the same way that is has for other cities within the U.S. As soon as it does, then we will look into marketing activities specifically directed to that market.”USD$4 billion is planned on new attractions and hotels in Orlando including the first-of-its-kind ‘Turtle Trek’ and ‘Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin’ at SeaWorld Orlando, ‘Despicable Me’ at Universal Orlando Resort, Art of Animation Resort and Four Seasons Hotel at Walt Disney World Resort and the Fantasyland expansion at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.e-Travel Blackboard flights to Pow Wow proudly sponsored by Hawaiian Airlineslast_img read more

JQ jumps up and down over Toyota trademark

first_imgImage Source: buzz law Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Low cost carrier Jetstar (JQ) has filed a notice of opposition against Toyota’s request to trademark its signature ‘Oh, What a Feeling!’ “jump”.Toyota has used actors jumping in the air at the end of its advertisements since the mid-1980s while Jetstar has used actors doing a star jump since it was launched in 2004, according to SmartCompany.Toyota spokesperson Glenn Campbell said the car manufacturer filed the trademark application earlier in the year with government intellectual property authority IP Australia.“The jump and ‘Oh, What a Feeling!’ is synonymous with Toyota and we have been using it for almost 30 years,” Mr Campbell said.The trademark was accepted for registration by IP Australia on February 28, 2012.Jetstar claims the star jump has been an iconic symbol of the airline’s brand since its formation in 2004.“It has been used in campaigns across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, China and Vietnam and will be used as Jetstar further expands through Asia,” a Jetstar spokesperson said.last_img read more

Amari Don Muang renames airport

first_imgThailand’s gateway, Amari Don Muang Bangkok has officially been renamed, opening as Amari Don Muang Airport Bangkok late last week.In a statement, the airport said commencing from the start of this month, 1 October 2012, it had added the word ‘airport’ to its title.As well as unveiling the new name, the airport also revealed its new logo (see right).Amari Don Muang Airport Bangkok services all low cost carriers into the city. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img

Western Sydney recognises value of a second airport

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Western Sydney could be changing its attitude towards a second Sydney airport, with local leaders recognising potential economic value and infrastructure growth an airport could bring to the region.Meeting this evening to consider changing its thirty-year opposition to a commercial airport, the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), made up of LGA’s from Parramatta, Blacktown and Penrith, is said to be changing its point of view with the times.“Although there has been significant community opposition in the past, we suspect that attitudes have changed significantly during the past 20 years,” WSROC president Councilor Tony Hadchiti said.Tourism Industry Council NSW general manager Andrew Jefferies explained that unless the Federal Government loosened up its curfews and restrictions at Sydney Airport, a second commercial airport in Western Sydney would be “inevitable”.Currently Sydney Airport regulations only allow for 24 aircraft movements between the hours of 5.00am and 6.00am, despite the original Airports Act allowing for up to 35 aircraft movements.Meanwhile between 23.00 and 24.00 the Airports Act allows for 40 aircraft movements but regulations allow for none.Mr Jefferies said an airport that could run at maximum capacity, without legislative restrictions would help stimulate demand for the city’s visitor economy.“A joint report of the Federal and New South Wales Governments noted demand for between 750,000 and 1 million passengers a year from a commercial operation at Richmond and the RAAF’s own long term negativity of shared operations has now ceased,” he explained.“We urge Minister Albanese to release the findings of the Government’s study into Wilton and Richmond as a matter of urgency.” ……last_img read more

Australasia cements place on world cruise scene

first_imgCruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has welcomed the findings of CLIA’s global annual State of the Cruise Industry report, showing that the region was one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world. “Cruising just keeps going from strength to strength down under and we look forward to another big year ahead,” Mr Jardine said. Source = CLIA CLIA Australasia General Manager Brett Jardine said the latest figures underlined the region’s important position on the world cruise scene. After its first successful year as a global association serving as the voice and advocate of the worldwide cruise industry, CLIA has increased its presence in Europe with additional associations established in German and Spain. Italy will follow later in 2014. The burgeoning Australian market has grown more than 130 per cent in the past five years, with only the Scandinavia and Finland region recording a higher growth rate (184 per cent). More details in the table on the following page. While North America remains the world’s biggest cruise market (55 per cent passenger source share), Australia is ranked in the top five with a 3.6 per cent market share.center_img To meet this growing demand, CLIA’s cruise member lines will introduce 24 new ships in 2014-2015 adding a total passenger capacity of 37,546. Globally, the 2014 CLIA fleet is comprised of 410 ships, up from 393 ships last year. CLIA Australasia will release its 2013 Australian and New Zealand passenger statistics later in the year. Ms Duffy said a key factor in the cruise industry’s growth was its travel agent partners and stressed CLIA’s commitment to its more than 13,500 global travel agency members who reached over 50,000 agent members. According to the global CLIA report, Australasia sits among the top four cruise destinations in terms of ship deployments with Australia and New Zealand accounting for 6 per cent of all global itineraries, behind the Caribbean (37 per cent), the Mediterranean (19 per cent) and Northern Europe (11 per cent). CLIA President and CEO Christine Duffy said the statistics showed an estimated 21.3 million passengers cruised on CLIA’s 63 member lines in 2013, with the organisation predicting a positive year of growth ahead with a 2014 passenger forecast of 21.7 million.last_img read more

Okinawa Changi fortify relationship

first_imgJapan’s Okinawan prefectural government and Changi Airport have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to fortify the aviation network between Changi and Okinawa. The signing of the MOU took place at Naha Airport in Okinawa.  Source = ETB News: Tom Neale Changi Airport senior advisor, Wong Woon Ling said that the new partnership will create a lot of synergies. “With this non-stop flight inauguration, it will decrease flight time to Okinawa, and provide greater comfort and convenience to business and leisure travellers,” Mr Wong Woon Ling said. “To start with, we will work together with key travel agencies to launch charter flights between Singapore and Okinawa,” “This will create and further develop the Singapore-Okinawa market for the first scheduled direct flights. We are also planning to conduct marketing promotion activities together.” The purpose of the MOU is to work collaboratively to promote tourism and trade and exchange in South-East Asia. The MOU includes the creation of new airline routes and the promotion of direct flights to Singapore as well as other regions.last_img read more

Sunshine Coast celebrates magic millions in latest National Visitor

first_imgSunshine Coast celebrates ‘magic millions’ in latest National Visitor SurveyThe Sunshine Coast attracted three million domestic visitors in the year to March 2016, the highest figure for the region since March 2008, according to the latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) figures released today by Tourism Research Australia.The three million milestone was reached as a result of an overall increase of 3% in visitors for the year, with 8% growth in holiday travellers (to 1.7 million) and 18% growth in business travel, reflecting strength in the Sunshine Coast’s leisure, conference and commercial sectors.The surveyed period covers the start of Qantas’ direct business-friendly services to Sunshine Coast Airport.The regional statistics follow an announcement last week of record passenger movements by Sunshine Coast Airport, whichset a new 12-month passenger record with 959,282 people flying in and out in the year to May 31 2016, beating the previous record set in January 2009.  With new Jetstar services from Adelaide, and increased capacity from Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland over the next six months, Sunshine Coast Airport is confident of reaching its own ‘magic million’ mark by the end of the year.The significant growth in domestic visitors was built on 6% growth in intra-state travel, with the Southern Queensland area a stand-out (up 20%). Of interstate markets, Victoria delivered 25% more travellers, with Melbourne up 17%.Domestic tourism produced $1.7 billion in expenditure for the Sunshine Coast in the year to March 2016.“The figures reflect the success of the Sunshine Coast’s marketing efforts and particularly our events strategy, supported by dynamic growth in capacity at Sunshine Coast Airport,” commented Visit Sunshine Coast acting CEO, Simon Latchford.“Sunshine Coast Council and Airport, Tourism and Events Queensland and all our operators have contributed strongly to us reaching the three million milestone, and with new flight routes opening and added capacity over the winter we are confident that we will break the all-time record domestic tourism figure within the next year. It represents a massive turnaround in the region’s performance, and it is encouraging to see that the solid holiday tourism is now being complemented by even stronger business travel and conference growth. We are a complete destination with a very diverse set of attractions.” Sunshine Coast Destination LimitedSource = Sunshine Coast Destination Limitedlast_img read more

Travel Counsellors live the high life on a rewards trip

first_imgTravel Counsellors live the high life on a rewards tripTravel Counsellors live the high life on a rewards trip to West Hollywood and San DiegoEight hardworking Travel Counsellors agents and a member of the head office Phenix support team recently got to experience some of California’s hottest restaurants, bars and hotels while on an exclusive rewards trip to the tourist hot spots of West Hollywood and San Diego.As top users of Travel Counsellors’ innovative in-house booking system called Phenix, Samantha Slattery, Tamsin Catto, Karen Coates, Lani Symons Vaughan, Christine Jenkins, Tracy Dodsworth, Tina Millington, Danielle Cutrupi and Anne Dugdale from the head office Phenix support team were all rewarded with a prized spot on this exciting trip to one of America’s most popular travel destinations.Travel Counsellors live the high life on a rewards tripHosted by Penny Brand from Sydney-based tourism representation company Gate 7, in West Hollywood the group got to experience the very best of this vibrant area filled with boutique hotels, hip bars and must-visit restaurants. After performing site inspections at many of West Hollywood’s newest hotels, the group got to soak up the atmosphere of the Sunset Strip and dine at some of the area’s coolest restaurants including Norah and Estrella.After catching a comfortable Amtrak train to San Diego, the group continued to enjoy California’s thriving food scene with visits to some of San Diego’s best wineries, craft breweries, bars and restaurants. With trips to Sea World and Fashion Valley Shopping Centre included on the itinerary, the group got to see many different sides of San Diego.“This trip was so incredible! I can see why West Hollywood and San Diego are so popular with Australian travellers. I was really surprised by how good the food was, with Californian restaurants being at the forefront of food trends. All the hotels we stayed in and inspected were of a really high quality, with friendly, well-drilled staff that really go above and beyond to make your stay a pleasant one. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this part of the world to my clients, especially anyone interested in food, wine and beer,” comments Karen Coates of Adelaide.David Hughes, Managing Director of Travel Counsellors Australia believes that Travel Counsellors offer some of the best famil tour opportunities on the market. “I love to see our agents out exploring the world. The value of experiencing destinations, properties and attractions firsthand can’t be underestimated. That’s why we put together rewards trips like this for our hardworking agents, so they can be rewarded for their exceptional work and also learn about a destination at the same time,” comments Hughes. become a Travel Counsellor todayclick hereAbout Travel CounsellorsTravel Counsellors Australia was established in 2007 and currently has 150 Travel Counsellors. Our head office in Australia is in Melbourne. Travel Counsellors Australia is accredited with ATAS. Travel Counsellors is the world’s largest home-based travel company. Founded in 1994 it currently has 1,500 travel consultants who work from home with the support of over 350 staff at the company’s UK headquarters and overseas offices. The company operates in Australia, UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, UAE and Belgium.Source = Travel Counsellors – Australialast_img read more

Crowne Plaza® Changi Airport voted Worlds Best

first_imgCrowne Plaza® Changi Airport voted World’s BestCrowne Plaza® Changi Airport voted World’s Best Airport Hotel for fifth consecutive yearCrowne Plaza® Changi Airport has been awarded the World’s Best Airport Hotel for the fifth successive year in the World Airport Awards. The prestigious award was announced by Skytrax on 27 March 2019 at an award ceremony in London.Globally, the Crowne Plaza brand provides upscale accommodation at 430 hotels and nearly 60 Crowne Plaza properties are located at top airport locations including Amsterdam’s Schiphol and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airports. Specially designed to help business travellers to recharge, Crowne Plaza champions a better way of business travel for modern business productivity.Crowne Plaza® hotels help our guests feel energised and productive. The new Worklife Room is designed with distinctive yet flexible zones that help travellers work, relax and recharge, all in the comfort of their guest rooms. Our Sleep Advantage® program ensures our guests get a great night’s sleep to power through their day. Intuitively designed, the Plaza Workspace is a collection of flexible spaces that encourages guests to work, collaborate and socialise, all within our inspiring spaces. Excellent guest experiences are further enhanced by the new service (Dare to Connect) brought to life by our dedicated hotel teams.Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is located with seamless connectivity to Changi Airport. With Jewel Changi Airport (Jewel) opening this year, the hotel can cater to travellers who will have more reason for a longer stayover, as well as local visitors seeking meeting venues or a relaxing staycation — thanks to the variety of new lifestyle offerings available. In addition to deluxe rooms offering unrivalled views of Jewel, guests can enjoy room packages including tickets to Jewel attractions once fully open.Mr Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax said: “We congratulate Crowne Plaza Changi Airport for their success in winning this important guest satisfaction award for 2019, being even more notable that this is the fifth consecutive year they have scooped this award. Around the world the airport hotel market has become increasingly competitive in recent years, for the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport to maintain their leadership is a remarkable acknowledgement of the high standards they provide their guests.”Bruno Cristol, General Manager, Crowne Plaza® Changi Airport said, “We are delighted to be recognised once more as the World’s Best Airport Hotel; this much-coveted accolade is the testament to our commitment towards service excellence. I’d like to thank our team for their tireless dedication championing a better way of business travel. On behalf of the hotel, I also want to thank our guests for their continuous invaluable support — we look forward to welcoming them again.”To celebrate this fifth consecutive award, 1 million IHG Rewards Club points are to be won and shared among five travellers who book a stay from 1 April – 30 June 2019. Travellers can also earn 5X IHG Rewards Club points upon booking the Runway View Room or Jewel View Deluxe Room from 1 April – 30 June 2019.For enquiries or reservations, visit or call 1800-787-1221. Source = Crowne Plaza® Changi Airportlast_img read more

Wonderful Indonesia successfully conducts 3days mall promotion in New Delhi

first_img‘Wonderful Indonesia’ just concluded a 3-days mall promotion campaign at the Select Citywalk, Saket, New Delhi from October 30 to November 1, 2015. The objective of the promotion was to directly connect with the consumers and know their wants, their needs. The intention of the campaign was to promote Indonesia as a destination, its culture, its culinary delights, the scenic beauty and visa free entry for Indians and to target the consumers visiting the mall and capitalise on their wanderlust during the festive season into enhanced foot traffic from India to Indonesia.During the promotion, there were dance performances from the land of Indonesia like Tari Lenso from Manado, Tarinjot–Njotan from Betawi, Tari Cendrawasih from Bali and Amore Dance Carnivals from Malang. All the four dance performances were appreciated by the visitors. Amore Dance Carnivals, a dance form describing the beauty of the city of Malang with beautiful and colourful flowers. The beauty of the city of Malang known as MAKOBU (Malang city flower) was reflected in the beauty of the carnival costume design and in collaboration with the beautiful dance movements had attracted the visitors most. The quiz contest was also enjoyed by the visitors and the winners won branded caps, t-shirts, paper holders, umbrellas etc. At the end of each of the three days, there was a lucky draw and the winner won a 2 nights/3 days package to Bali.Rita Sophia, Deputy Director, Marketing Development for Asia Pacific from the Ministry of Tourism, was overwhelmed at the response of the consumers all throughout. Shelly Chandhok, Country Manager, Visit Indonesia Tourist Office (India) was very happy with the initiative during the festive season; she said that the right effort was made at the right time. She opined that this was the perfect platform to promote the destination as the holidays and wedding seasons are almost about to start and also that Visa Free Travel to Indonesia for Indians has just been announced.last_img read more

Marriott Hotels unveils Marriott Resort Spa in the historic city of Jaisalmer

first_imgMarriott Hotels has recently opened Jaisalmer Marriott Resort & Spa. The resort sits in the heart of Jaisalmer, a world heritage city known for its forts and ornate temples.The property offers 135 beautifully designed rooms with nine suites. Each room is equipped with deluxe bedding, marble bathrooms and state-of-the-art luxury amenities. It also provides mobile Check-in/Check- out facilities to ensure that guests have a seamless experience at the resort. This application enables Marriott Rewards guests to check-in to their upcoming reservation up to 24 hours in advance, select an estimated arrival time, receive a room-ready alert notification from the hotel and check out through their mobile device as well.“We want our guests to experience forward-thinking, aesthetically pleasing spaces that help foster their inventive nature. Marriott Hotels has consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation in travel to create experiences that inspire and encourage our guests’ creativity,” said Matthew Carroll, Vice President, Marriott Hotels.The resort offers 3251 sq m of outdoor space surrounded by lush green lawns interspersed with sparkling water bodies which can host up to 1500 guests, making it the perfect destination for themed weddings & socials events. It also has an added 577 sq m of indoor meeting space that includes three meeting rooms along with the Grand Ballroom.“The Jaisalmer Marriott Resort & Spa caters to the entire family with a wide range of entertainment, dining and relaxation options that blend indigenous beauty with the highest standards of hospitality to create truly grand and spectacular memories for our guests,” added Rahul Maini, General Manager, Jaisalmer Marriott Resort & Spa. The resort offers four specialty restaurants.Wyra, an elegant rooftop restaurant & lounge offers grills and live cooking. The Mithai Company is the resort’s unique take on the traditional pastry allowing guests to indulge in delicious traditional Indian sweets and savories, along with a fine selection of artisanal teas and coffees.The resort also houses the renowned Quan Spa which offers a perfect blend of modern techniques with traditional therapies to relax and revitalise body and spirit during the stay. Crayon is a fun and interactive place for the young guests to hang out, equipped with a fully trained professional team.last_img read more

Fed Reports 889B Paid to Treasury in 2012

first_img The “”Federal Reserve””: announced it paid a record $88.9 billion to Treasury in 2012. [IMAGE] [COLUMN_BREAK]In 2011, the Fed distributed $75.4 billion to Treasury. The previous record amount was for $79.3 billion in 2010, according to the Fed. The earnings are from Fed programs that were introduced to stimulate the economy and involve the purchase of billions in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) each month to keep interest rates down. Currently, the Fed “”buys $40 billion””: in MBS each month and $45 billion in Treasury purchases. Out of the estimated net income of $91 billion for 2012, the Fed reported $80.5 billion came from interest income on purchased securities, such as Treasury securities and GSE mortgage-backed securities (MBS). As a policy, residual earnings of Fed banks go to Treasury after certain costs are provided such as operations. in Government Share Fed Reports $88.9B Paid to Treasury in 2012center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Federal Reserve Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage-Backed Securities Service Providers Treasury Department 2013-01-11 Esther Cho January 11, 2013 476 Views last_img read more

Rushmore Loan Management to Open Puerto Rico Branch

first_imgRushmore Loan Management to Open Puerto Rico Branch in Headlines, News, Servicing Company News Rushmore Loan Management Services 2014-09-02 Tory Barringer Rushmore Loan Management Services LLC, a national residential mortgage servicer, is extending its reach into Puerto Rico with the addition of a new branch in San Juan.According to Rushmore CEO Terry Smith, the company plans to immediately start servicing approximately 4,000 residential loans and REO when the new branch opens at the start of November.”Rushmore believes that servicing local residential loans in Puerto Rico with local staff is the right strategy for the company and our Puerto Rican borrowers,” Smith said. “Investing in local talent and growing our operation on the island supports our commitment to continued investments in the Puerto Rican marketplace.”According to a release, Rushmore plans to hire 50–60 new employees for the San Juan office and has already begun hiring.”We plan to grow the Puerto Rico branch alongside our Dallas and Irvine offices by acquiring additional mortgage portfolios, onboarding new sub-servicing residential loan pools and purchasing mortgage servicing rights (MSRs),” Smith said.center_img September 2, 2014 573 Views Sharelast_img read more

Wells Fargo Settles Over Maternity Discrimination Claims

first_img Discrimination HUD Settlements Wells Fargo 2014-10-09 Seth Welborn Wells Fargo Settles Over Maternity Discrimination Claims October 9, 2014 498 Views HUD has reached a $5 million settlement with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the largest provider of residential mortgage loans in the nation, to resolve allegations that Wells Fargo discriminated against women who were either pregnant or on maternity leave, the agency announced Thursday.HUD reported that 190 discrimination complaints related to maternity leave have been filed since 2010, which had resulted in 40 settlements for a combined total of about $1.5 million prior to Thursday’s settlement. The complainants say their respective lenders are in violation of the Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status for any real estate transaction.The complaints covered in Thursday’s settlement were filed by six families from five states (Nevada, Nebraska, Texas, Arizona, and California). As part of the settlement, Wells Fargo agreed to distribute $165,000 to the six families and create a fund with at least $3.5 million to compensate other Wells Fargo applicants who claim to have experienced maternity leave-related discrimination at the time they applied for a loan. Wells Fargo also agreed to pay up to 175 claimants $20,000 each; if there are more than 175 claimants, Wells Fargo will replenish the fund with $1.5 million and pay the next 75 claimants $20,000 each. If there are more than 250 claimants, claimants after 250 will receive a pro-rated share of the $5 million.”The settlement is significant for the six families who had the courage to file complaints, and for countless other families who will no longer fear losing out on a home simply because they are expecting a baby,” said HUD Secretary Julian Castro said. “I’m committed to leveling the playing field for all families when it comes to mortgage lending.  These types of settlements get us closer to ensuring that no qualified family will be singled out for discrimination.”Wells Fargo will also change its underwriting policies to ensure they are not discriminatory as part of the settlement. The lender agreed to implement new Temporary Leave Guidelines and issue instructions to their staff on how to implement them. Also as part of the settlement, Wells Fargo did not admit to any violation of the Fair Housing Act.The six complaints allege that Wells Fargo made loans unavailable to families based on familial status, forced women to give up their maternity leave and return to work before their loans closed, and made discriminatory statements toward women applicants who were either pregnant or had recently given birth.”We resolved these claims to avoid a lengthy legal dispute so we can continue to serve the needs of our customers,” said Wells Fargo spokesman Tom Goyda. “Our underwriting is consistent with longstanding fair and responsible lending practices and our policies do not require that applicants on temporary leave return to work before being approved.  HUD found no violation of the Fair Housing Act or any other law by Wells Fargo. The agreement resolves claims related to only five loan applications from a period when Wells Fargo processed a total of approximately 3 million applications from female customers.”Several lenders have settled with HUD over maternity leave-based discrimination complaints since 2010. In November 2013, Bank of America settled with HUD for $45,000 to resolve such complaints, and Cornerstone Bank settled for $750,000 in 2011, according to HUD.center_img in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Sharelast_img read more

FHFAs Conservatorship of GSEs Has No Clear End Ratings Company Says

first_imgFHFA’s Conservatorship of GSEs Has No Clear End, Ratings Company Says Fitch Ratings affirmed that while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac maintained a “Stable Rating Outlook” in April due to direct financial support from the U.S. government, the ratings company said it expected the controversial FHFA’s conservatorship of the two Enterprises would continue indefinitely.”Despite significant legislative efforts over reform of the housing market during the past year, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) remain in conservatorship without a clear exit path,” Fitch said in its report. “The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has signaled that it will not interfere with Congress with respect to housing market reform.”The GSEs have been under FHFA conservatorship since September 2008, at which time they needed a combined bailout of $187.5 billion from taxpayers in order to stay afloat.A recent stress test administered by the FHFA determined that the two GSEs would need another taxpayer bailout, this time of up to $157 billion, when certain hypothetical adverse economic conditions were applied.The Fitch report examined the likelihood of the GSEs having to take another draw on Treasury, which is been an oft-discussed topic among housing market analysts in the last few months. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac returned to profitability in 2012, but those profits declined substantially from 2013 to 2014. Recent reports, including one from the FHFA Inspector General, have warned that the conservatorship will likely continue, but the profitability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might not.Since 2012, all GSE profits have been swept into Treasury. The GSEs each have a capital buffer of $1.8 billion, but it is required to be reduced by $600 million per year until it reaches zero by 2018. The Enterprises would require another draw on Treasury should their losses exceed their capital buffer.”Fitch believes the likelihood of additional draws from the U.S. Treasury will increase over time as the GSEs’ own capital reserve buffers are reduced to zero by 2018, particularly if economic conditions worsen materially or interest rates change rapidly,” Fitch wrote in the report. Conservatorship Fannie Mae FHFA Fitch Ratings Freddie Mac 2015-05-04 Seth Welborn May 4, 2015 629 Views center_img in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Sharelast_img read more

As Unemployment Drops What does it mean for housing

first_img Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate in April fell to 3.9 percent, its lowest in 18 years. However, the job growth itself was lukewarm and below expectations at 164,000, coming off an average monthly gain of 191,000 over the prior 12 months.“The labor market remains strong, but losing momentum,” said Tendayi Kapfidze, Lending Tree Chief Economist, and hourly earnings increasing by just 2.6 percent year over year suggests that “inflation pressures are not building up in the economy,” though “classic economic theory would suggest that wage inflation should accelerate.”There were, however, some positive takeaways related to housing. From a building perspective, Kapfidze stated that “More construction is on the way. Residential construction jobs had another good month and are the highest since 2008 as builders work to add supply given the tight inventory and rising home prices.” A sentiment echoed by Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan in that “for housing, the rebound in construction employment suggests that building will continue its upward grind.”As for household income and home-buyer power, the slight increase in raises “will help potential homeowners,” though “they still lag significantly behind the pace of today’s listing price increases—currently at 8 percent year over year. Either record-setting income growth or more homes for sale is needed to help bring home price growth in line with income fundamentals,” stated Danielle Hale, Chief Economist.First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming was more positive in his assertion that “As economic conditions remain strong and the labor force continues to tighten, it’s reasonable to expect wages to rise faster, which translates to higher household income and house-buying power.”“Overall, our takeaway from the report is that recent economic conditions support a gradual pace of monetary tightening. We are comfortable with our calls of three rate hikes this year amid ongoing shrinking of the Fed’s balance sheet,” concluded Duncan. As Unemployment Drops, What does it mean for housing? May 6, 2018 692 Views Sharecenter_img in Daily Dose, Government, News Bureau of Labor Statistics Doug Duncan Fannie Mae First American Home Building HOUSING LendingTree Mark Fleming tendayi kapfidze Unemployment Rate 2018-05-06 Rachel Williamslast_img read more

Mortgage Loans Closing Faster

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination Ellie Mae Encompass FHA Lenders loans mortgage Purchase Loans Refinance Loans VA 2019-05-15 Radhika Ojha Lenders are closing loans faster, thanks to technology, according to the latest Originations Insight Report by Ellie Mae. On the other hand, a decline in the 30-year note rate has ensured that the volume of closing loans remains high for lenders.The report, which parsed data from approximately 80% of all mortgage applications that were initiated on Ellie Mae’s Encompass mortgage management solution, indicated that the 30-year note rate had continued to drop for the fourth straight month to 4.61% in April. Month over month, it declined from 4.77% in March and was well below January’s high of 5.01%.The time to close all types of mortgage loans also dropped by two days from 42 days in March to 40 in April. Refinance loans followed suit with time to close dropping by a day to 33 days. Time to close a purchase loan also dropped by a day to 43 days during the month.According to Jonathon Corr, President and CEO of Ellie Mae, technology was helping lenders reduce their time to close. “We are seeing closing times drop across the board as our lenders leverage technology for a more efficient and streamlined loan origination process,” he said. “And as the 30-year note rate continues to decline and closing rates remain high, we expect to see an active spring home buying cycle.”Breaking down the origination data, the report indicated that at 65%, purchase loans made up the larger share of loans closed in April with refinance loans making 35% of the share. On the other hand, the percentage of Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) decreased to 6.8% in April down from 7.4% in the previous month. Closing rates also dropped slightly to 74.8% during the month compared with 75.3% in March.Looking at the type of loans closed, the report indicated that while the share of FHA loans remained unchanged at 20%, conventional loans increased to 66% in April from 64% in March. However, VA loans decreased slightly from 11% to 10% in April.Click here to read the full report. Mortgage Loans Closing Fastercenter_img May 15, 2019 911 Views Sharelast_img read more

MEELBOURNE Date Sunday 17 September Time From 10

first_imgMEELBOURNEDate: Sunday 17 SeptemberTime: From 10am until 3pmVenue: Sheraton Hotel, Melbourne CBD The 2017 European Travel Expo will be travelling to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in the coming few weeks, with Sydney first on Sunday 27 August.Featuring a range of specialist European holiday tour operators, wholesalers, cruise companies, an airline and international tourism boards, entry is FREE but if you pre-register your attendance you will go in the running to win one of three $500 Visa gift cards.Tourism organisation representation at the expos includes France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Switzerland, Ireland, Great Britain and Flanders.European Travel Expo DatesSYDNEYDate: Sunday 27 AugustTime: From 10am until 3pmVenue: Hilton Hotel, Sydney CBD BRISBANEDate: Sunday 10 SeptemberTime: From 10am until 3pmVenue: Pullman King George Square Hotel, Brisbane CBDcenter_img EuropeeventsExpolast_img read more