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first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W The financial position of the Fund remains sound with reserves in excess of $30 million. Continued improvement in trading profitably as demonstrated in the 2011 meant the total value of guarantees held dropped from $79 million to $74.1 million. Eight agents were terminated after consumer complaints.  Since the previous Board meeting there have been four terminations due to claims received, including Dennis, L Davies and D Fry trading as “True Blue Flights” in Nerang Queensland, Actraint No144 Pty Ltd trading as “Travel Centre at Fyshwyck”, Burwood International Travel Pty Ltd trading as “Travelscene Concord” and Independent Travel Adventure Pty Ltd trading as “Kumuka Worldwide”.This large wholesaler collapsed on 19 July 2012 after its UK parent company collapsed, resulting in claims that will exceed $2 million. The TCF reported receiving 335 claims grossing $1.6 million of which $400,000 in claims has already been paid.center_img The Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) has reported a sound financial position with an increase in participation, a drop in guarantee value and fewer involuntary closures. For the year to June 2012 there was an increase of 73 percent in branch approvals compared to previous year. Head Office terminations were down 29 percent while branch terminations increased by 48 percent.  These terminations were mostly voluntary, following the trend that comes with the end of financial year.last_img read more

Flight Centre Limited has raised its underlying profit before tax (PBT) expectations after achieving strong growth during the first half of the FY2012-13.Expectations were raised from the initial US$305 million-US$315 million target to US$325 million-US$340 million, in lieu of 8 percent PBT growth in the first half of the financial year.If achieved the upgraded guidance will represent a 12-17 percent increase on the US$290.4 million achieved during FY2011-12.“Year-to-date, our 10 countries are profitable and several are on track to record full year EBIT contributions,” Flight Centre Limited managing director Graham Turner said.“This includes Australia and the United Kingdom, which are typically our largest profit generators.”Australia’s leisure market has made a turn-around in the second half of FY2012-13 to more than offset the soft domestic corporate travel market.“Similarly the UK leisure business has performed well at a time when corporate clients have been down-trading,” Mr Turner said.In the United States Flight Centre’s corporate business is flourishing, now the largest individual operation in the U.S., consistently outperforming leisure and wholesale business.New Zealand is on track to record its best full year result since 2008, South African corporate is blossoming, India is suffering from local trading conditions and Canada reports soft leisure results.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. First half growth encourages increased profits. read more

Fiji Airways Announces Direct Flight from Fiji to Singapore

first_imgFiji Airways Announces Direct Flight from Fiji to SingaporeFiji Airways, Fiji’s National Airline, has announced plans to commence twice weekly direct services from Nadi, Fiji to Singapore starting April 5th, 2016. The flights will operate from Nadi International Airport on Tuesdays and Fridays*, with flight times to suit onward connections to India and South East Asia. The airline also announced a special launch fare from Nadi to Singapore, starting from FJD $999** all-inclusive. This sale starts Monday, November 9th.Making the announcement in the Fijian Capital, Suva today, Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO Andre Viljoen said the introduction of direct Singapore flights was excellent news for Fiji Airways customers and all Fijians. “We will be flying direct to a destination considered as Asia’s leading hub,” Mr. Viljoen stated. “The attractions of Singapore are numerous, from the world’s best airport, Changi, to world-renowned shopping and entertainment. Fijians will now be able to enjoy the comfort of our A330 aircraft on this 10-hour flight, departing Nadi late night and arriving in Singapore fresh in the morning ready to explore all that this bustling metropolitan city-state has to offer.”He added that onward connection times to other key destinations would make transiting through Singapore extremely convenient.“Changi Airport is served by 100 airlines connecting 300 cities in 80 countries and territories, making it one of the most important air transport hubs in the world. Transit times for most onwards flights to key cities in India, Indonesia and Malaysia are under three hours, which adds to the appeal of flying through Singapore. With this, we’re making good on our promise of taking Fijians to the world.”Changi Airport Group CEO, Mr Lee Seow Hiang said, “This is a significant milestone for Changi Airport, with Fiji Airways’ new service bridging new direct links between Singapore and the South Pacific Islands. For travelers in Singapore as well as other parts of Asia and Europe, this development makes new and exciting holiday destinations in the South Pacific, accessible to them. This certainly adds to Changi’s attractiveness as an air hub. Fiji AirwaysSource = Fiji Airwayslast_img read more

Cebu Pacific increases traffic between Sydney and Manila

first_imgCebu Pacific increase traffic between Sydney and ManilaThe Philippines’ leading carrier, Cebu Pacific Air (PSE:CEB) rounded up its fastest growing routes for the first 9 months of 2015, with its low-cost long-haul flights making the cut.The countries or regions with the highest passenger growth from January to September 2015, compared to the same period last year, were Australia, the Middle East and Japan.Based on September 2014 to September 2015 data from Australia’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, CEB garnered a 38% market share on the Manila-Sydney route. Overall traffic between Manila and Sydney also grew by 67% since CEB entered the market in September 2014.CEB’s Middle East growth was driven by the launch of Kuwait, Riyadh and Doha in recent months, as part of the airline’s expansion in the region.Meanwhile, to cater to the growing interest of Filipinos when it comes to travel to Japan, CEB expanded its Japan network with a direct Cebu-Narita (Tokyo) route beginning March of 2015. It will launch its Manila-Fukuoka route on December 17, 2015.In the Philippines, CEB was able to stimulate more travel between Manila and Tagbilaran (Bohol) with additional twice daily flight frequencies. It also stimulated travel between Cebu and Tandag, after the airline launched flights to this Surigao del Sur city in June 2014. Passengers for both routes grew by over 100% from January to September 2015, compared to the same period last year, making them the fastest growing domestic routes.“We’re pleased to see the CEB Effect in these markets, and will continue to study destinations where we can grow traffic. As we take delivery of more aircraft in 2016, including brand-new ATR 72-600s for Cebgo, we look forward to serving more guests, and creating more tourism and business opportunities to benefit the destinations we fly to,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.The airline offers flights to a network of over 90 routes on 60 destinations, spanning Guam, Sydney, Dubai, Bali and Seoul. It operates flights from six Philippine hubs: Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Clark and Kalibo. Fly Cebu PacificSource = Cebu Pacific Airlast_img read more

Rail Europe acquires full ownership of Rail Plus

first_imgRail Europe, the largest distributor of European rail products worldwide, today announces it has acquired full ownership of Rail Plus, Australasia’s leading international rail specialist, effective 1 January 2016.Rail Europe has since 1998 owned 50 per cent of Rail Plus, which operates offices in Melbourne and Auckland. It has now acquired the remaining 50 per cent held by New Zealand-based Keryn Smith.“As Australasia is the second largest market for Rail Europe, it is a priority for us to strengthen our presence” said Fabrice Morel, CEO of Rail Europe.“This decision is the next logical step in Rail Europe’s strategy to further progress the consolidation of Rail Europe Inc. (North America) and Rail Europe 4A (rest of the world) into a single entity.“For the Rail Plus team, led by Chief Executive James Dunne, and all of the company’s valued trade partners in Australia and New Zealand it is, however, very much business as usual.”By further joining forces, Rail Europe and Rail Plus will continue to grow rail sales in the region.Rail Europe’s primary focus will now be on enhancing industry-leading distribution tools and further strengthening relations with trade partners. The acquisition also facilitates the company’s alignment of its worldwide operations to deliver a “follow the sun” approach to customer care.Furthermore, Rail Europe will harness the brand recognition of Rail Plus, its strong local expertise in Australasia, its long-established trade relationships, and its unique product offerings in the field of luxury and specialty trains.At the same time, Rail Europe remains strongly committed to supporting its other key trade partners in Australia and New Zealand, including CIT Holidays, Go Holidays, Infinity Rail and Rail Tickets. Rail Plus  Rail EuropeSource = Rail Europelast_img read more

Growing interest from US in highend experiential travel to Vietnam

first_imgGrowing interest from US in high-end experiential travel to VietnamDestination Asia Vietnam recently hosted a series of high end retail travel agent trips from the US following growing interest in this market for luxurious encounters with an infusion of local adventure.For many agents it was their first visit to Vietnam and Destination Asia wanted to expose the ‘real’ essence of the country. Using unrivalled local knowledge, we were able to connect the agents with a broad range of local experiences that the everyday traveler would never discover on their own.The groups visited a range of destinations including, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An in central Vietnam and the capital Hanoi. The UNESCO World Heritage area of Halong Bay was also on most itineraries. It was a great opportunity for Destination Asia Vietnam to showcase their new 2017 range of ‘local gems’ which include sampling a range of local cuisine (prepared by traditional vendors) from Pho and seafood pancake to locally brewed ‘craft’ beers and rice wine. Another hit was the Vespa food tour through districts of Ho Chi Minh where only locals frequent.Ian Clark, General Manager of Destination Asia Vietnam commented, “Following market trends for experiences that reveal the true cultural fabric of the country, our efforts are focused on delivering uncontrived product that allows travelers to bond with a destination on a fundamental and natural level.” Destination AsiaSource = Destination Asialast_img read more

AFTA launches solution to supplier failure chargebacks for travel agen

first_imgAustralian Federation of Travel AgentsAFTA launches solution to supplier failure chargebacks for travel agentsThe Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is pleased to announce the formation and implementation of a new Scheme known as the AFTA Insolvency Chargeback Scheme (AICS).AICS is an innovative Scheme driven by AFTA to support travel agents and the first ever mutual fund Scheme based solution to address the risk of chargeback when suppliers fail.AICS is available to ATAS accredited travel agencies only and provides solid industry owned protection against consumer chargebacks when suppliers fail and the travel agent has passed the customers money onto the supplier.AFTA Chief Executive Jayson Westbury said; “Today we start a new journey with the launch of AICS as we have finally found an appropriate vehicle to solve the missing link in the travel agency reform agenda, that is to have a cost effective way to protect travel agents against chargebacks when suppliers collapse.”“Since I came into this job nearly 10 years ago, this issue has frustrated and concerned travel agents and each time a supplier has collapsed the agent has been left holding the debt and the concern of covering the chargeback from the customer. Now AICS resolves this matter once and for all and it will come at next to no cost to the travel agent,” said Westbury.“I am really proud that AFTA has managed to negotiate a reform of the credit card surcharging arrangements that enables travel agents to resolve this long standing problem that dates back to the collapse of Ansett all those years ago,” Westbury added.AICS is a Mutual Beneficiary Fund owned by ATAS accredited entities and operated like an insurance product but without the profit requirements and insurance policy complexities. AICS is a separate entity from AFTA with an independent Board and Chair. The Board will have oversight and prudential responsibilities for AICS.AICS will provide cover from 1 September and in order for travel agents to be members of the new Scheme and be protect from these chargebacks they will need to have merchant facilities provided by an approved AICS merchant service provider.AICS merchant service providers will be contracted to collect the AICS contributions as a part of the surcharge rate that the merchant can pass onto the consumer. This will only be available to those merchant service providers who elect to become approved by AICS.While travel agents will need to be ATAS accredited in order to be eligible to take part in this Scheme there will be very little other requirements asked of them. As new and innovative merchant services become available to agents I am confident that not only will this Scheme answer the questions on credit card chargeback, they will also provide agents with better access to affordable merchant facilities for their businesses.“The Scheme will be up and running in time for the 1 September cut over to the new credit card surcharging arrangements and this presents an exciting opportunity for travel agents big and small to get the protection they need from this problem,” said Westbury.AFTA is pleased to reveal that the first approved merchant service provider for AICS is TravelPay.TravelPay will provide its established payment solutions to travel agents who wish to benefit from the additional financial protections provided by AICS.TravelPay has extensive experience working with many ATAS travel agencies and this appointment is a mile stone moment for the Scheme and industry.Andrea Slark, CEO of Zenith Payments which owns TravelPay, says; “TravelPay is delighted to be partnering with AFTA in this highly positive initiative for the travel agents who are the life blood of the industry. We already provide payment solutions to hundreds of travel agents and our team of BDMs has more than 100 years’ industry experience so we know we have the expertise to provide a seamless solution for AICS and the agents.”AFTA will bring on other merchant service providers over the coming months to allow agents to have choice of suppliers as AICS becomes an important part of the Australian travel agency landscape.AFTA is committed to the success of AICS and has taken steps to appropriately resource the organisation to ensure the smooth implementation of the Scheme.“Amanda Rixon will be joining AFTA in the new position of Industry Partnership Executive. Amanda joins AFTA after five years of service with CLIA. Amanda will be the primary contact for members looking to take part in AICS while Dean Long, National Manager Strategy and Policy will hold the key management responsibility within AFTA for the new Scheme,” said Westbury.AFTA members will be receiving an information pack about the Scheme in the coming month and it is expected that the transition to AICS and the merchant service providers involved will be as simple and seamless as possible.The AICS Scheme will be operated under contract by Gow-Gates. AICS will be owned by ATAS members. AFTARegister your interest hereSource = Australian Federation of Travel Agentslast_img read more

Collette Recreates Jack Collettes Original 1918 Tour

first_imgCollette Recreates Jack Collette’s Original 1918 TourCollette Recreates Jack Collette’s Original 1918 TourCollette, global tour operator, has announced the recreation of its first ever tour in celebration of its centennial year. In 1914, Collette journeyed on dirt roads from Boston to Florida with fourteen travellers at a cost of just $61.50 for the guests.A hundred years later, for the same price as the original tour, Collette has recreated this three-week adventure. The tour starts in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and will venture all the way down to Miami, Florida, stopping in many destinations including- New York City, Washington D.C, Raleigh, Augusta, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Miami, Jekyll Island, Savannah, Charleston, New Bern, Philadelphia, and Providence.“We’re excited to recreate this journey as a special chance for travellers to really experience this tour from one hundred years ago.” said Dan Sullivan Jr, CEO of Collette.For more information about Collette, visit www.gocollette.com.auSource = Collettelast_img read more

Plaza Premium Lounge wins Skytrax Worlds Best Independent Airport Lou

first_imgPlaza Premium Lounge wins Skytrax World’s Best Independent Airport LoungePlaza Premium Lounge wins Skytrax World’s Best Independent Airport LoungePlaza Premium Lounge at London Heathrow Airport T2 has again been voted “World’s Best Independent Airport Lounge” at the 2019 World Airline Awards, the industry’s most prestigious recognition. Closer to home, the Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane also ranked among the World’s Top 10. Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane is known for adding a layer of wellness to travellers’ airport experience with private spa and wellness facilities and showers with customised amenities, allowing you to board your flight feeling fresh and relaxed.“It is such a pleasure for Plaza Premium Lounge to once again be named as “World’s Best Independent Airport Lounge”, not to mention our deepest gratitude for millions of global travellers and our dedicated team around the world that strives to make travel better every day. As the world leader in airport hospitality, we are committed to continuously enhancing our experience to alleviate the pain points of travellers.” shared Song Hoi-see, Founder and CEO of Plaza Premium Group. “In the past year, we have put in much efforts in upgrading our service quality and adding new features – from zone planning, ambient design, furniture selection, food and beverage offerings to facilities that cater to different travel types. Our goal remains unchanged, that is to create a journey to make travel better for all travellers.Keeping on its expansion momentum, Plaza Premium Group added Plaza Premium Lounge in Sihanoukville in Cambodia, Ahmedabad in India, Rome in Italy, Cebu in the Philippines, Langkawi in Malaysia and Helsinki in Finland in the past year to its global network of more than 160 locations in over 44 international airports across 22 countries and regions serving 15 million travellers every year.Referred as the “Oscars of the aviation industry”, the prestigious Skytrax’s World Airline Awards are determined through the largest annual global airline customer satisfaction survey participated by millions of global air passengers.  The survey and the award selection are independent and free of any airline influence or interference.  www.worldairlineawards.comAbout Plaza Premium LoungePlaza Premium Lounge is the world’s largest award-winning independent airport lounge network. It offers all travellers, regardless of airlines or class of travel, a lounge experience in a class of its own.  The brand’s footprint spans over 35 major international airports and includes Greater China (Hong Kong, Macao, mainland, Taiwan), Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore), Australia, Americas (Brazil, Canada), Europe (Finland, Italy, U.K.), India and the Middle East (Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates).The brand has been awarded the “World’s Best Independent Airport Lounge” for four consecutive years from 2016 to 2019 at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, the global benchmark of aviation excellence, as well as the “Best Independent Airport Lounge 2018” by Business Traveller Asia Pacificmagazine and “Best Airport Lounge Operator 2018” by TTG Asia magazine.To learn more: www.plazapremiumlounge.com Source = Plaza Premium Loungelast_img read more

first_imgThis Budget has specifically focused on infrastructure across the country with a huge outlay for roads and highways, railways and reviving the unserved and underserved airports and airstrips in the country. The government realises that as the global economy wavers, domestic demand will be the key to tourism growth, especially to untapped regions like the North-East. We see a specific focus on enhancing regional and last mile connectivity with sops for starts-ups and innovation in the passenger transport segment. In fact, increased regional connectivity will also give a fillip to outbound tourism from Tier-II and III cities due to higher accessibility. The government is adopting measures from some of the thriving global tourist destinations, wherein public transport is critical not only for daily commuters, but also the backbone for tourist traffic. Strengthening the infrastructure across levels will definitely strengthen India as an attractive tourist destination in the global ranks.last_img read more

Hong Kong Tourism Board launches new campaign

first_imgThe new global marketing campaign titled ‘Best of All, It’s in Hong Kong’ featuring local personalities and the city’s stunning skyline and scenery was recently launched to showcase the best that Hong Kong has to offer.The videos highlight the rich diversity and quality of experience that the city offers to the visitors from across the globe. The campaign is a spotlight on four of Hong Kong’s diverse areas of appeal: Gourmet Dining, Fashion and Entertainment, Family Adventures by land, sea and sky, and the Great Outdoors – all introduced by locals.“We want visitors to see, feel and have a taste of the best Hong Kong can offer through the eyes of locals through this campaign. By watching these videos, travellers can discover the breath-taking intensity, the surprising contrasts, the rewarding variety and the captivating style this wonderful city can offer. This new brand campaign will take Hong Kong to new heights as a destination by connecting and inspiring people, especially families and young people, to travel here and experience the best and most authentic Hong Kong moments,” said Hong Kong Tourism Board Executive Director, Anthony Lau.Hong Kong is gaining popularity as a must-visit destination due to a host of recent developments including an expansion of the city’s thriving arts scene with a wave of new galleries, exhibition space as sites including the old Central Police Station are converted into homes for cultural heritage and art.last_img read more

Bookingcom appoints Ritu Mehrotra as Area Manager

first_imgBooking.com announced the appointment of Ritu Mehrotra as Area Manager as part of its endeavour to strengthen the company’s leadership team in India. At Booking.com, Ritu will head the expansion of the company in the various regions of India and work closely with the team to provide business solutions to property partners to enhance their growth.She will be responsible for steering Booking.com’s India operations, initially in the North and leading the next phase of growth focused on building strong partnerships throughout the country. Based out of Booking.com’s Gurugram office, she will work closely with Vikas Bhola, Head of the Indian Sub-Continent on business expansion. Prior to this, Mehrotra held the position of Vice President, Global Growth at Zomato where she was responsible for starting enterprise teams for strengthening of global partnerships, launch of the table reservation platform and improving the top line growth for the company. On joining her new role, she said, “I look forward to working closely with the India team to take forward Booking.com’s commitment to the geography and playing a key role in changing the dynamics of the industry with our diverse range of accommodation options. Since the online travel market is expected to account for nearly half of the total translations by 2020 reaching almost $4B, we hope to deepen our partnerships in India and build Booking.com’s business for the future.”She holds a Master’s Degree in International Business from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, and has undergone leadership development programs at Harvard Business School and Harvard University respectively.last_img read more

FHFA Indices Shows Interest Rates Down for April

first_imgFHFA Indices Shows Interest Rates Down for April May 28, 2015 454 Views Share in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News, Originationcenter_img Federal Housing and Finance Agency Monthly Interest Rate Survey Mortgage Interest Rates 2015-05-28 Staff Writer ​Interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased from March to April, according to several Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA) indices of new mortgage contracts.The FHFA conducted a Monthly Interest Rate Survey (MIRS) to find interest rate data, which provides monthly information on interest rates, loan terms, and house prices by property type, loan type, and by lender type, as well as information on 15-year and​​​ 30-year fixed-rate loans.  To conduct this survey, FHFA asks select mortgage lenders to report the terms and conditions on all single-family, fully amortized, purchase-money, nonfarm loans that they close during the last five business days of the month.The survey found that the national average contract mortgage rate for the purchase of previously occupied homes by combined lenders index was 3.78 percent for loans closed in late April, down 2 basis points from 3.8 percent in March. For conventional, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less, the average interest rate was 3.93 percent, a decrease of 2 basis points from 3.95 in March.The effective interest rate, which accounts for the addition of initial fees and charges over the life of the mortgage was 3.94 percent in April, down 1 basis point from 3.95 percent in March. The average loan amount for all loans dropped $200 from $310,600 in April to $310,800 in March.The February 2015 values are based on 4,688 reported loans from 25 lenders, which include savings associations, mortgage companies, commercial banks, and mutual savings banks. The indices are based on a small monthly survey of mortgage lenders that may not be representative of the results.  The sample taken is not statistical but one of convenience. Mortgages from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) were not considered in this data. Refinancing loans and balloon loans were also excluded.FHFA will release May index values Thursday, June 25, 2015.View the full Monthly Interest Rate Survey (MIRS): FHFA.govlast_img read more

Delgado Named to Operation Homefront Board of Directors

first_img Ed Delgado Five Star Institute Operation Homefront 2016-08-04 Seth Welborn Share Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that builds strong, stable, and secure military families, on Thursday announced the appointment of Ed Delgado to its national Board of Directors.Delgado is President and CEO of the Five Star Institute, a mortgage banking trade association providing education and strategic services to the mortgage industry nationwide. With more than 25 years of experience in mortgage banking, Delgado is widely recognized as a thought leader and innovator in the industry. During his career, he has hosted discussions with former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as well as former New York Mayor Rudolph Guliani and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.“We are all incredibly pleased to welcome Ed Delgado to our Board,” said Catherine Blades, Operation Homefront board chair and SVP of Corporate Communications at Aflac. “Our military families do so much to protect the freedoms we, as Americans enjoy daily and they deserve our very best efforts to ensure they are able to thrive in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.”Ed DelgadoDelgado previously served as SVP of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, where he played an integral role within the bank’s mortgage servicing group. While at Wells Fargo, Delgado served as a leader in the mortgage community, government agencies, and trade groups in Washington, D.C, and was a key representative to the U.S. Department of Treasury. Delgado was supportive of the efforts of both the Bush and Obama administration to develop mortgage solutions aimed at preventing foreclosures.“I am honored to accept this appointment and stand behind an organization that does so much to protect the heroes that protect us,” Delgado said.  “Far too often we take for granted the immense privilege that it is to live in peace and safety within our own borders and I look forward to contributing to the mission of Operation Homefront to ensure that the families of our nation’s military prosper in the communities they have sacrificed so much to serve.”Prior to his tenure at Wells Fargo, Delgado served as an executive at Freddie Mac in various leadership roles including loss mitigation, structured risk transactions, investor reporting and portfolio analysis.“Ed Delgado fully understands the importance of family and the compelling need to serve those who have done so much to serve all of us,” said Brig Gen (ret) John I. Pray, Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront. “All at Operation Homefront are excited to have such an accomplished business and community leader join our very talented Board and we look forward to utilizing his talents to help us do even more to support the very real and growing needs of our military families in the future.”“I am honored to accept this appointment and stand behind an organization that does so much to protect the heroes that protect us.”Ed DelgadoOperation Homefront and The Five Star Institute, along with Auction.com, are partnering for the second straight year to donate mortgage-free homes to wounded veterans. The homes will be presented to their recipients at the Five Star Conference and Expo in Dallas on September. The presentation will be part of the Military Heroes Keys for Life Dinner at the conference and will feature a performance from country music superstar Trace Adkins. Click here to register for the conference.Editor’s note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of MReport and www.themreport.com. Delgado Named to Operation Homefront Board of Directorscenter_img in Daily Dose, Headlines, News August 4, 2016 854 Views last_img read more

Altisource Residential SFR Purchase is a Transformative Transaction

first_img October 6, 2016 724 Views Acquisitions Altisource Portfolio Solutions Altisource Residential Corporation Single Family Rental Market 2016-10-06 Seth Welborn Single-family rental REIT Altisource Residential Corporation (Residential, or RESI) has acquired a portfolio containing 4,262 single-family rental properties, according to an announcement from Residential.Residential purchased the portfolio at an aggregate purchase price of $652.3 million in a seller-financed transaction, and the assets were purchased from investment funds sponsored by Amherst Holdings, LLC, according to Residential.The acquisition more than doubles Residential’s single-family rental portfolio. The newly-acquired portfolio is consistent in quality with Residential’s existing portfolio of affordable single-family homes and is on target with the company’s objectives for return on equity. The properties in the new portfolio will greatly enhance Residential’s presence in new and existing strategic target markets, which include Florida, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.“Residential continues to successfully execute its strategy to transition the company into a 100 percent single-family rental REIT and to capitalize on attractive single-family rental economics,” said George Ellison, CEO of Residential. “These high-yielding properties are an excellent fit for the Residential brand and expand our geographic reach in strategic markets. The acquisition of these properties is a crucial milestone for Residential and keeps the Company on track to achieve its stated goal of 10,000 rental homes by the end of 2016.”David Reiner, Chairman of the Residential Board of Directors, stated, “This is a transformative transaction for Residential. By continuing to execute on our strategy, Residential is well positioned to reward investors with long-term growth and attractive returns.”As a condition of obtaining seller financing, Residential was required to return the current property manager of the portfolio. In support of the Residential acquisition, Altisource Portfolio Solutions agreed to provide a limited waiver of its exclusive right to provide property management and other services to Residential with regard to the newly-acquired portfolio, according to Altisource.Residential agrees (along with other considerations) to pay $60 million if the company sells, liquidates, or disposes in any form 50 percent or more of its single-family rental portfolio managed by Altisource, in exchange for the limited waiver. Click here to view Residential’s 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that contains the agreement.“We are very supportive of RESI’s portfolio acquisition as it accelerates RESI’s transition to a 100 percent single family rental company,” an Altisource Portfolio Solutions spokesperson said in a statement. “We believe this acquisition strengthens RESI’s position in the industry and positions them well for growth, which are positive for Altisource. We believe the terms we agreed to with RESI further underscore RESI’s long-term commitment to the rental home business and our strong ongoing relationship with RESI.”Editor’s note: The Five Star Institute will present its second annual Single-Family Rental Summit in Frisco, Texas, on November 1 through 3. Click here for more information or to register.The Five Star Institute is the parent company of MReport and theMReport.com. in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Newscenter_img Altisource Residential: SFR Purchase is a ‘Transformative Transaction’ Sharelast_img read more

Builders Cutting Down on Starter Homes

first_imgBuilders Cutting Down on Starter Homes Homebuilders Millennials Starter Homes 2017-05-19 Seth Welborn May 19, 2017 742 Views Millennials are starting to move into the housing market, but with inventory dwindling they may be out of luck. The solution? Newly built homes.”Since the recovery has really been at the middle end of the market, home prices have gone up and land prices have followed,” said Megan McGrath, managing director at MKM Partners on CNBC. “So it is very, very hard to make a good profit at a lower price point these days.”Diana Olick on CNBC noted that following the recession, many investors bought thousands of foreclosure properties, and when prices improved, they chose to hold onto them and rent them rather than sell in the better climate. This led to the reduced amount of starter homes today.In March, the median price for a new home was $315,000 while existing homes had a median price of $236,000, due to builders focusing more heavily on moving-up buyers rather than new buyers. Additionally, younger millennial buyers were kept out of the market by lack of employment and wage growth along with high student debt.”I don’t think anyone’s doing jumping jacks in terms of that lower end of the market, but I do think you’re also seeing … a little slowdown at that middle end, because that’s where the bulk of the recovery has been so far. And so we’ve seen a lot of sales so far in the last four years in that middle end, so you need to find another avenue of growth,” said McGrath.Home builders are starting to lower prices, but very few are building what can be called “starter homes.” CNBC notes that only homebuilders D.R. Horton and LGI Homes, have substantial entry-level product.”Finally they are selling well, so you are seeing everybody start to migrate to those types of homes, but they’re starting,” said John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “People are doing more townhomes in good locations, and they’re also stripping stuff out of the house to get the price cheaper.”Though millennials are often first time buyers, it does not necessarily mean they are starter home buyers.“Millennials waited longer to get married, have children and buy homes, due to the recession and other social factors,” said Olick on CNBC. “Since they are older, they can afford more, even though it may be their first home.”center_img in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination Sharelast_img read more

Home Prices What Goes Up Isnt Coming Down Soon

first_img Arch MI Arch Mortgage Insurance Company Estimated Fundamental Home Value Index Home Prices Housing and Mortgage Market Review 2018-01-23 Alison Rich January 23, 2018 922 Views If current analyses are any indication, home prices in the land of Uncle Sam aren’t heading south anytime soon, this according to the Winter 2018 edition of The Housing and Mortgage Market Review (HaMMR), released by Arch Mortgage Insurance Company (Arch MI). Among the assessments, U.S. housing prices will keep climbing by 2 to 6 percent yearly, especially in the entry-level space.“With interest rates and home prices both on the rise, first-time homebuyers—largely millennials—may want to consider making the jump from renting to owning sooner rather than later,” said Dr. Ralph G. DeFranco, Global Chief Economist, Mortgage Services, Arch Capital Services Inc. “Our research shows few signs of a housing bubble because the typical warning signs aren’t present. Overall, the shortage of housing paired with a robust job market should keep the housing market strong and growing, short of an unexpected event and despite the contrary pressures that may be created by the tax bill.”Arch MI also debuted a new tool in this edition: the Estimated Fundamental Home Value Index (Fundamental HVI) spots housing bubbles by evaluating home prices across 50 states and 401 metros.“The index suggests that the average probability of home price declines in America’s 401 largest cities remains unusually low, at 5 percent,” the report says. “This trend reflects broad-based favorable fundamentals, such as a tightening job market, relatively low interest rates, and a limited number of homes for sale.”As for the new U.S. tax code, the report contends that the changes might bruise higher-cost, high-tax markets but benefit lower-cost ones. Limitations on the ability to deduct state, local, and property taxes will translate into bigger tax bills for many upper-middle-class members, the report continues. The upshot: “a permanent dampening effect in high-cost areas relative to the previous tax rules,” it notes.New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, and Maryland are the hardest-hit states, the report says. Some areas could see price drops, with Connecticut and New Jersey most vulnerable due to anemic home-price and population growth. Generally speaking, prices in higher-cost places are still likely to increase due to economic growth, just at a reduced pace.You can read the full report by clicking here. Sharecenter_img Home Prices: What Goes Up Isn’t Coming Down Soon in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, journal, News, Originationlast_img read more

Calls for Reform of Nonbank SIFI Supervision

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Origination, Servicing Calls for Reform of Nonbank SIFI Supervision March 14, 2019 952 Views Compliance Compliance Costs Financial Stability Oversight Council FSOC nonbank lenders Nonbank Orignators Nonbanks SIFI 2019-03-14 Krista Franks Brockcenter_img The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs met Thursday to discuss the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s (FSOC) criteria for designating nonbank institutions as systemically important financial institutions (SIFI). FSOC has the power to designate a nonbank as a SIFI, which comes with lengthy compliance responsibilities and costs to the designated institutions. Nonbank oversight is an important issue for the mortgage industry, which has experienced significant growth in these entities in the past several years. Nonbanks currently take up a large share of both mortgage originations and servicing. Originally, FSOC, which was created by the Dodd-Frank Act in response to the financial crisis, gave four nonbank firms the SIFI designation: AIG, Metlife, Prudential, and GE Capital. As of today, no nonbank holds the SIFI designation. Central to Thursday’s discussion was whether FSOC should shift from an entity-based designation to activities-based designation. “The nonbank designation process is arbitrary, inconsistent, and opaque,” stated Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum. He argued that the size of an institution “does not necessarily correlate to risk” and in fact, “larger organizations tend to be better diversified and more capable of absorbing systemic shock.” He also asserted that the costs of SIFI designations are significant. In terms of dollar amounts, he referred to AIG’s estimate that its de-designation as a SIFI would save the firm $150 million a year. Compliance costs for SIFI firms include compliance personnel and resources to address reporting requirements and stress tests. Those costs are ultimately born by consumers or shareholders, Holtz-Eakin said. Additionally, the capital requirements for SIFIs can restrict the “scope of business practices” and inhibit “natural vitality” in the organizations, he said. Paul Schott Stevens, President and CEO of Investment Company Institute, largely agreed with Holtz-Eakin, reiterating in his testimony a call for an activities-based designation rather than an entity-based designation from FSOC. He said that the SIFI designation is “intended to be a regulatory ‘tool of last resort.’” Policymakers are “moving in the right direction,” according to Stevens, but he also called for greater engagement from FSOC with companies prior to their designation as a SIFI, “more rigorous analysis” prior to designation, and “greater transparency to the financial markets and market participants.” The last witness at the hearing, Jeremy C. Kress, Assistant Professor of Business Law at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, opposed a shift to activities-based designations, calling nonbank SIFI designations “crucial for preventing catastrophic nonbank failures.” “Proposals to replace nonbank SIFI designations with an activities-based approach are deeply misguided,” he said. “Activities-based regulation, on its own, will not prevent systemic collapses like those we experienced in 2008.” Stevens, however, countered that activities-based oversight has functioned for years in the mutual fund sector. “The idea that our regulation does not know how to deal with activities and practices and make them safe and sound and stable for the future is something that is simply unrecognizable from the point of view of our industry,” he said. Sharelast_img read more

TravelportWebjet

first_imgTravelportWebjet Travelport has been awarded a new long-term technology contract by Australia and New Zealand’s top online travel agency, Webjet, following an extensive competitive bid process. By extending its partnership with Travelport, Webjet will also continue to enjoy real-time access to a broad range of high-quality content from over 400 airlines, hundreds of thousands of hotel properties, and 37,000 car rental locations. In addition, it will benefit from Travelport’s cutting-edge search, automation, shopping and booking technologies, while accessing valuable data, business logic and profiling functionality on a single platform. Under the agreement, Webjet will participate in initiatives driven by Travelport involving IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard. NDC is a travel industry-supported program launched by IATA that will enable the travel industry to transform the way air products are retailed to corporations, leisure and business travellers. Travelport was the first GDS operator to manage live bookings using the new standard in October 2018.Webjet will soon deploy Travelport Trip Services, allowing it to utilize the industry’s latest APIs to efficiently perform mobile-optimized search across the full range of Travelport content. With faster, lighter and more accurate search responses, Webjet will better fulfil the demands of its ever-connected travellers.last_img read more

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first_img Comments   Share   What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ The Arizona Cardinals parted with punter Ben Graham Friday, cutting their punter of the last 2+ seasons in favor of veteran Dave Zastudil. Sure, Graham had his struggles last season and wasn’t particularly sharp this training camp, but there was a thought that he’d have an edge in the competition. He was, after all, the holder on special teams, meaning he spotted the ball before Jay Feely would kick it through the uprights. Top Stories center_img Apparently not, and that surprised Arizona Sports 620’s Doug Franz.“With Jay Feely’s, how natural it is with Jay Feely being able to kick from the hold of Ben Graham, they’ve been working together for a couple years, I kind of just felt that was the tie breaker,” he said.Graham’s struggles must have left him trailing Zastudil at a far enough distance to where whatever concern over how it would affect Feely was negated.The concern may be valid, though, seeing as the change from Scott Player to Mike Barr a few years ago seemed to really mess with then-kicker Neil Rackers. Then again, Feely seems to have a stronger mentality than his predecessor in Arizona, and the coaching staff has to be confident this change won’t have an adverse affect on his ability to put the football squarely between the uprights. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more