Mexican border city takes down antigun billboard

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies MEXICO CITY (AP) — The once-embattled Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez has taken down a billboard made of soldered, seized guns reading “No More Weapons,” one of the most visible reminders of its violence-laden recent past.The stark, black-and-white sign was erected by the government of former president Felipe Calderon on the side of a border-crossing bridge in 2012. The letters were formed by crushed, confiscated pistols and rifles, and the billboard was spelled out in English as a visible protest of the illegal trade in weapons from the United States. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 0 Comments   Share   Top holiday drink recipes On Wednesday, the Mexican government announced two bottlenose dolphins, Isis and Luna, were flown From central Mexico to the Anita water park in Ciudad Juarez. Technically, the dolphins are government property, and are loaned to or deposited with parks..Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. FILE – In this Feb. 17, 2012 file photo, soldiers put the final touches on a giant “No More Weapons” billboard made with crushed firearms placed near the U.S. border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The once-embattled Mexican border city has taken down the billboard, one of the most visible reminders of its violence-laden recent past. Mayor Enrique Serrano said Wednesday, June 17, 2015 that the city wants to project a more tourist-friendly image. (AP Photo/Raymundo Ruiz, File) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sobercenter_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mayor Enrique Serrano said Wednesday the billboard was taken down because Juarez wants to project a more tourist-friendly image.“This was the main diplomatic expression of its time, telling the United States not to allow more weapons in,” said Serrano said. “But it is a topic that should be addressed more politely.”“We want to have a message of welcome, of extending open arms to tourism,” said the mayor.Chihuahua state Gov. Cesar Duarte suggested the billboard be replaced by one saying “Welcome,” or its Spanish equivalents, “Bienvenidos.”Ciudad Juarez once saw an average of as many as 10 homicides per day during the darkest days of drug-gang violence in 2010 and 2011.The homicide rate has declined to about an average of 22 per month in the first four months of 2015, or less than one per day. The decline appears to be due to police and justice reform, as well as changes in the drug trade and the gangs that fought over the border trafficking routes.Ciudad Juarez was known for tourism decades ago, drawing Americans looking for quickie divorces and, improbably, locally distilled whisky.Now, the desert city may have something almost as improbable to offer visitors: dolphins. Sponsored Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories last_img read more

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AirAsia X to launch Paris route

first_imgAirAsia X has announced the launch of its second European destination early next year, flying from Kuala Lumpur to Paris. The airline will commence four direct flights to Paris weekly on 14 February with one way promotional fares of €99. AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer and Founder Tony Fernandes said the Paris-Kuala Lumpur route is part of the carriers plan to offer “affordable access between Malaysia and Europe”. “Being a truly ASEAN airline, we are committed to promoting tourism and travel throughout and beyond that region,” Mr Fernandes said. “This new route will benefit everyone, enabling magnificent holidays in beautiful locations, encouraging economic and tourism activity, bringing in revenue and creating job opportunities.” Tickets will be available in a first in first served basis between 22- 24 November for flights from 14 February 2011 to 10 November 2011. AirAsia X Chief Executive Officer Azran Osman-Rani said the airline decided to commence flights from on Valentines next year as gift to “families from the Asia region who want to celebrate the occasion in the romantic city of Paris”. “Some of the world’s most famous attraction attractions awaits guests from South East Asia region namely the iconic Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, the Lourve and many more,” Mr Osman-Rani said. The Paris- Kuala Lumpur route will be the airline’s second route to Europe after it launched flights to London early last year. The carrier said Airbus A340 aircraft holding up to 327 passengers will service the new route.  Promotional tickets will be sold exclusively on AirAsia’s website.   Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

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Virgin seeking new staff

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J As Qantas’ five year plan sees the redundancy of up to 1,000 of its employees, Virgin Australia has announced it will be hiring new staff as part of its Game Changing Program.Speaking at the airline’s Annual General Meeting earlier this week, chief executive John Borghetti explained that after reviewing its operations the carrier had space for more than 500 new employees.100 of the new positions will be open to full-time and part time Guest Contact Centre positions by in-sourcing jobs from two off-shore, outsourced providers, 200 new ground operations jobs in Australia as well as 250 new cabin crew roles mainly based in NSW.   In total Virgin Australia expects to see its new cabin crew staff increase to up to 400 for this calendar year.Mr Borghetti added that with plans to build a new maintenance hangar at Sydney Airport they expect to see up to 300 new jobs open up in 2014.Hoping to also expand its pilot expertise, the airline announced it was also looking to launch a cadet pilot training program in Australia next year.“We employee over 7,000 people and it is their hard work and dedication that had got us where we are today,” Virgin’s head explained.“We are proud of being a strong Australian employer and we are committed to keeping as many jobs in Australia as possible.”Touching on the year’s success, Mr Borghetti said since launched the Game Changing Program 12 months ago, the airline has seen “strong benefits” particularly in its business class appeal.The carrier saw its first time business travellers spike for the year as well as its loyalty members.Click on e-Travel Blackboard tomorrow for more on Game Changing benefits. last_img read more

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Alligator Airways suspension continues

first_imgSince its grounding last month due to safety concerns, Alligator Airways remains under suspension by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).CASA suspended the Kununurra based carrier on 03 May 2012 because the airlines conduct of operational and maintenance-related activities was deemed unfit for air safety.On 18 May 2012, the Federal court granted CASA’s application for an order to prohibit Alligator Airways from operating until 04 June 2012.Under the Civil Aviation Act, once investigations are completed, CASA has up to an additional five working days to issue a further notice if it believes there could still be a serious risk to air safety.Alligator Airways will continue to remain grounded until CASA has completed its investigation and confirmed that the carrier it fit to fly.If CASA does send out a further notice the suspension will continue while the issues raised are addressed, which could take up to 33 days. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

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Losses made Qantas stronger says chairman

first_imgLast year’s economic and environmental challenges helped build a “stronger” Qantas, according to the airline’s chairman.Despite a statutory loss after tax of $244 million, the 2011/12 financial year positioned the group for a “sustainable future”, with the group’s portfolio “performing well” this year, except  Qantas International. Speaking at the 2012 annual general meeting last week, Leigh Clifford explained steps taken by management since August last year have equipped the airline “for success” in an aviation environment that has “changed dramatically” over the past decade.Among initiatives include the launch of the five year turnaround plan, which saw cuts of up to 1,000 jobs, renewed focus on Asia with the launch of Jetstar Japan and cuts on non-profitable routes. As well, the airline announced a new partnership with UAE carrier, Emirates, which although pending regulatory approval, is expected to takeoff from March next year. “We have had to make tough decisions, because a failure to respond would have threatened the sustainability of the group as a whole,” he said. “Management has re-focused on core strategy, building on the profitable parts of the business and addressing the weaknesses.“Important reforms that were not undertaken in the pre-GFC period are now being made, with a new management structure, new technology, more responsive customer service, and more efficient operations.”Improving its domestic operations, late last month Qantas announced the launch of flights between Sydney and the Gold Coast as well as an increase in flights to Tasmania. Chairman Clifford says the “tough decision” had to be made, “because a failure to respond would have threatened the sustainability of the group as a whole”. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.last_img read more

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Tourism – economic saviour or environment destroyer

first_imgAcademics and industry experts have debated the economic and environmental effects of tourism at the annual Council of Australasian University Tourism and Hospitality Educators (CAUTHE) conference from the 10 to 13 February.  Source = ETB News, T.N. On the other hand, Professor Stefan Gossling of Lund University Sweden argued that when resources such as oil, water, food and clean air were being depleted so quickly, perptually increasing tourism would acclerate the decrease of these environmental assets further. Despite this argument, most of the attendees agreed that managed tourism would have enormous benefits, especially for the developing world.  The World Trade Organisation (WTO) secretary general Taleb Rifai argued strongly for tourism, saying that the large amount of tourists (1.087 billion in 2013) was empowering, enhancing the economies of developing countries. center_img Dr Rifai also argued that the WTO and other tourism bodies were pursuing a policy of poverty alleviation through tourism. The biggest issue discussed at the conference was whether tourism was an economic booster or enouraged environmental destruction.  The CAUTHE conference hosted over 200 speakers presenting different issues.last_img read more

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Asia Pacific accounts for 40 per cent of Global Business Travel spend

first_imgGlobal business travel spend is expected to reach a record US$1.18 trillion by 2014, with nearly 40% coming from Asia Pacific.This is according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), which released latest figures from its Business Travel Index (BTI) outlook report at ITB Asia 2014.ITB Asia, which is now in its seventh year, attains close to 750 exhibitors and recently has seen strong support from the business travel segment and an increase in international representation.GBTA’s BTI study forecasts China to overtake the US as the world’s number one business travel market by 2016 and other Asia Pacific countries such as India and Indonesia to grow between 11-14 per cent annually over the next five years.GBTA vice president, operations, Asia Wlef Ebeling, said that Asia Pacific is showing high growth in terms of business travel spend.“In Asia Pacific, there are a number of countries showing high growth in terms of business travel spend. These markets include Vietnam, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We forecast an average growth rate of 7.5-10 per cent annually in these markets,” Mr Ebeling said.GBTA will share further insights on its BTI report at its Business Travel Day which will be held on 30 October, the second day of ITB Asia 2014.Over the next three days, the show is expected to attract over 8000 attendees from 90 countries, this year’s show is believed to be the most comprehensive conference programme to-date.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

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APEC Strengthens Tourism Resilience Against Terrorism

first_imgTerrorism impacts on tourism to Turkey where tourism has fallen 50% since 2015APEC Strengthens Tourism Resilience Against TerrorismIf the world needed reminding of the extreme threat of terrorism against people exercising their right to enjoy leisure and tourism experiences, the hideous carnage in Manchester serves as a wake up call that terrorism is a real and present danger to all humanity and especially to tourism.Between May 8-10 2017, over 120 government officials, security experts and tourism industry leaders from 18 of the 21 APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) countries gathered in Bali for a two day workshop to seek solutions to the threat of terrorism against tourism. The workshop explored counter-terrorism strategies and policies to protect tourism. It was the culmination of a wide range of activities and projects undertaken by APEC’s Counter Terrorism Working Group since 2010 and also involved work done by APEC’s Tourism Working Group.For readers unfamiliar with APEC, the 21 APEC economies encompass most Pacific rim countries. They include Canada, USA, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Peoples Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong SAR and Russia. They include some of the most powerful economies in the world. APEC includes a number of special interest working groups. The APEC Tourism Working Group and the Counter- Terrorism Working Group both have a strong focus on tourism and work closely with the UNWTO, PATA, ASEAN Tourism and the World Travel and Tourism Council.The Bali workshop brought together senior foreign ministry officials from APEC countries. Invitations were also extended to tourism specialists, security and police leaders and counter terrorism specialists. The current chair of the APEC Counter Terrorism Working Group is Mr James Nachipo from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.The workshop was held in the beautiful surroundings of the Inaya Putri Bali Hotel. Delegates were welcomed by Bali’s Governor Mr Made Mangku Pastika and the opening address was given by General Wiranto, Indonesia’s Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs.The speakers who followed covered a wide range of topics. Australian tourism security expert, Tony Ridley focused his attention on understanding the drivers of media coverage and its influence on shaping travel perceptions of countries affected by terrorism. During the same session Ms Fritanu from the Centre of Strategic and International Studies (Jakarta) discussed the impact of the Bali bombings 2002 and 2005 on tourism to Indonesia. Ms Rachael Doherty from the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur explained how the US security services quickly restored confidence in tourism safety in Florida following the devastating massacre at a gay nightspot in Orlando in 2016 which killed 49 people, the deadliest terrorist incident in the USA since 9/11.Dr Petrus Golose Chief of Bali PoliceOne of the most memorable presentations came from Bali’s police Chief Inspector General Dr Petrus Golose. He gave a brilliant account of the development of community based, tourism orientated policing in Bali which he and his colleagues have developed since the 2002 Bali bombing. To add to an already impressive address he finished with a superbly sung rendition of Louis Armstrong’s hit song “Its a Wonderful World“. This was the act I had to follow.My talk focused on significant negative impacts of terrorism on tourism demand to destinations in which terrorist attacks targeting tourists had occurred (such as Turkey). I contrasted this with positive impact on tourism demand for destinations deemed safe, such as Japan, which has enjoyed 400% growth in international tourism arrivals since 2012. I made two key policy proposals to attendees. The first was to encourage all APEC counties to emulate the Australian and Canadian practice of the tourism industry leadership working in collaboration with foreign ministry officials to enhance the quality, accuracy, simplicity and dissemination of government travel advisories. My second proposal was to encourage all APEC countries to provide basic travel safety and security advice to international visitors arriving by land, sea and air. Some APEC countries including Mexico, Japan, Korea and Vietnam are already doing this. However, if it became universal practice, it would enhance the value of travel advisories for departing citizen passengers which implemented by most coyuntries. It would also be an exercise in duty of care as a host country.Ms Lin Tsai-Shiuan of the Police agency of Taipei and Ms Tsai Ming-Lon of Taiwan’s tourism bureau provided a detailed account of security arrangements for a major sporting event which will e held in Taipei. In the final session of Day 1 one of the stand out presentations was made by Mr Joseph Franco , Research Fellow from Singapore’s Centre for Excellence in National Security. His presentation focused on strategies to reduce the terrorist threat to tourists from Jihadist groups based on the Philippines’ island of Mindanao which has long been a centre of Jihadist activity sometimes targeting tourists and based on terrorist actions in Mindanao, this is a very live issue.On day two of the conference, delegates visited the memorial site for the 2002 Bali bombings.The morning presentations focused on regional approaches to counter-terrorism protecting tourists and tourism infrastructure. Professor Brent Ritchie from the University of Queensland provided delegates with a detailed background into the rapidly growing body of academic research into tourism safety and security. Professor Ritchie has made an outstanding contribution to this body of research.The conference concluded with a comprehensive range of recommended actions which have been passed on the governments of all APEC economies. Tempting as it is to detail them in this article, it would be counter-productive to let those who may wish to harm tourism know what measures are proposed to counter terrorist and security threats against tourists. (p) The Indonesian government and the Island of Bali were gracious and welcoming hosts to all delegates.Source = Dr David Beirman Ph.Dlast_img read more

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Nakheel and Centara reach new milestone

first_imgNakheel and Centara reach new milestoneNakheel and Centara reach new milestoneUAE-based master developer Nakheel and leading Thai hotel group Centara Hotels and Resorts today reached a key milestone on their 600-room beachfront resort and waterpark at Dubai’s Deira Islands, with the official formation of the joint venture company and the signing of a management agreement.The joint venture, cemented by Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah and Centara Chairman of the Board, Suthikiati Chirathivat, at a signing ceremony at Centara’s headquarters in Bangkok, will deliver a family-centric lifestyle destination at Deira Islands, Nakheel’s new, 15.3 sq km waterfront city that is set to become Dubai’s newest tourism hotspot.The resort will also be managed by Centara, whose portfolio already includes over 14,000 room keys across 67 hotels and resorts in Asia, Indian Ocean and the Middle East.Set to open in 2020, the resort is the first Centara establishment in the UAE and will cover an area of almost 300,000 sq ft. Features will include a waterpark, multiple restaurants including alfresco rooftop dining options, kids’ club, spa and fitness centre, and business facilities. Recent enhancements to the hotel’s design have added 50 rooms to the original plan, bringing the total number of keys to 600.Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said “This strategic joint venture underlines our commitment to bringing new hospitality concepts to Dubai in line with the government’s tourism vision. Today’s crucial milestone allows us to move forward with the construction and delivery of this exciting new resort, which will undoubtedly be one of Dubai’s most sought-after destinations for travellers the world over.”Suthikiati Chirativat, Chairman of the Board for Centara Hotels & Resorts added “The official formation of the joint venture company and signing of the hotel management agreement is the natural next step following the joint venture agreement last December. This is the rubber stamp that paves the way for the finalisation of the design and development of our first resort in the United Arab Emirates. With Nakheel’s development expertise and Centara’s record of delivering best-in-class hospitality and inspiring extraordinary guest experiences, we will create a unique resort that surprises and delights guests for years to come.”Centara Hotels & Resorts is part of Central Group, one of Thailand’s most prominent family-owned conglomerate holding companies, with interests in the merchandising, real estate, retailing, hospitality and restaurant sectors. Centara made its official entry into the Middle East market with the opening of Centara Muscat Hotel earlier this year and whilst the group has imminent openings in other Gulf States, Centara Deira Islands Beach Resort Dubai will be its first and highly anticipated destination in the UAE.Nakheel’s partnership with Centara is the developer’s second international joint venture at Deira Islands. Work on the first, an 800-room, AED670 million beachfront resort with Spain’s RIU Hotels & Resorts, is already underway with construction proposals currently being assessed.  More partnerships with global hospitality firms are being explored.The master developer’s AED5 billion hospitality expansion will see the delivery of 17 hotels, resorts and serviced apartment complexes, with almost 6,000 rooms and hotel apartments between them, across Dubai. The first two hotels, at Dragon Mart and Ibn Battuta Mall, opened last year, with the rest under construction or development.Deira Islands, where Nakheel has already invested over AED7.5 billion in infrastructure and construction contracts, will add 40 km, including 21km of beach, to Dubai’s coastline. The coastal city, which is expected to have a population of 250,000 and to create 80,000 jobs, will feature hundreds of hotels, residences and retail and leisure attractions, including a diverse range of projects by Nakheel itself. Among them is Deira Central, the nine million sq ft heart of the islands boasting 50 mixed-use towers, Deira Mall and two mosques, all set in extensive parkland Nakheel is also building Deira Islands Night Souk and more hotels and resorts at the islands.Source = Centara Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

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National Green Tribunal lifts Environment Cess on vehicles

first_imgIn consideration to a plea by the Himachal Pradesh (HP) government, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has lifted the Environment Cess imposed on vehicles travelling between Manali and Rohtang Pass, which was meant as a step to control pollution in the ecologically fragile area. The NGT had set a limit of 1,000 vehicles per day, which could go to the Rohtang Pass. Along with that an Environment Cess of Rs 2,500 on diesel vehicles and Rs 1,000 on petrol vehicles, for each trip on the 52 km stretch between Manali and Rohtang Pass.Even with the lifting of Environmental Cess, the NGT remained resolute on the number of vehicles (1,000 per day) allowed to go through to Rohtang Pass. Of the 1,000, 600 would be petrol vehicle and the rest 400 would have to be diesel, subject to pollution check. The decision by the NGT had caused disruption in Manila, with 1,500 taxi operators calling a strike and remaining of the road in protest.With the new order the tourism stakeholders of Manila breathed a sigh of relief. Anup Thakur (DIG Retd), President, Manali Hoteliers Association and Proprietor, Hotel Manali Continental, stated that they too want a balance of economy and ecology in Manali. Thakur added, “We welcome NGT’s decision to remove the Environment Cess which was a big burden on the taxi operators along with the rent, leaving their business not-so-profitable. But at the same time, we feel that limiting the number of vehicles to 1,000 too, is not practical enough.”Chairman, IATO Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh Chapter, Harmit Singh also expressed relief, but insisted that in the long run in order to stop pollution and emission of harmful gases, fuel adulteration would have to be stopped.“I am pleased to hear that NGT has removed the Environment Cess due to which the tourism sector of Manali can gain in its peak period,” said Sarab Jit Singh, Secretary, Indian Tourist Transporters Association (ITTA). “The vehicle owners are already loaded with a number of taxes both at the time of buying vehicles and also during every refuelling. The Environment Cess would have been an additional burden,” Singh added.  He said that carrying capacity is a major issue at all tourist destinations in India and has to be addressed jointly.Vice-Chairman of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Board (HPTDB), Major Vijai Singh Mankotia, said that a high level meeting would have to be convened in order to assess the situation and take appropriate action. “We too, wish to draw a fine line in maintaining the beauty of the ecology and the environment thereby addressing the concerns of the tourism stakeholders of Manali,” Mankotia said.last_img read more

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Florida unveils new tourist spots for 2016

first_imgThe New Year has brought forth a number of options for adult play time making Florida the destination for this year. From relaxing hotel stays to thrill rides to dining, the Sunshine State has adventures to suite varied travellers.A $400 million redesign of one of the world’s top racing hubs, the Daytona International Speedway’s Daytona Rising, is a must-see attraction for all racing enthusiasts. The project would be completed in time for the 2016 Rolex 24 at the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach.Spring 2016 would see the launch of the newly extended Tampa Riverwalk in Tampa Bay, where Cyclists would have the opportunity to enjoy the 1.8-mile stretch of pedestrian space. The final project is set to run a total of 2.4 miles and hosts hotels, museums, historical monuments, restaurants and stores.SeaWorld’s Mako, which is a 200-feet-tall hypercoaster and Busch Gardens Tampa’s whirlwind ride, Corba’s Curse, are both set to open in summer 2016.Local brew and food-lovers can visit Florida Keys and Key West to experience the award-winning beers at the recently opened Waterfront Brewery or learn how to make local-style dishes by participating in a cooking class taught by local chefs at Isle Cook Key West.The Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club on Bradenton’s Anna Maria Island near Tampa is said to be a good location where guest can relax in two-bedroom suites featuring gourmet kitchens and a 50-slip marina.Faena Hotel Miami Beach in the Faena Arts District houses a 22,000 square-feet Tierra Santa Spa which offers guests with South American-inspired healing rituals. The hotel also offers Broadway-style shows at the two-level Saxony Theatre.last_img read more

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First Global Events Summit arrives in Scotland

first_imgFollowing their successful visit to this year’s IMEX in Frankfurt, the 30 senior live event professionals who are attending the inaugural Global Event Summit gathered at the world-famous Gleneagles Hotel & Resort in Perthshire this week.The first ever Global Event Summit is the result of a partnership between VisitScotland, the International Special Events Society, and the IMEX Group.Delegates will take part in three days of high-level debate on topics including; The Uber Economy, The Science of Events, The Cultural Revolution, and The Risk Factor.Following their stay at Gleneagles, delegates will then visit Scotland’s historic capital Edinburgh, where highlights include a private event at Edinburgh Castle as well as dinner on­board the Royal Yacht Britannia, formerly the private yacht of HRH Queen Elizabeth II.Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland said, “The Global Event Summit is a unique opportunity to engage with some of the most important and influential live event professionals in the world. A combination of knowledge exchange and showcasing the very best that Scottish hospitality has to offer will show these members of the global events community the true Spirit of Scotland.”last_img read more

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Debt Crises Inspire 69 PickUp in Loan Volume MBA

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Agents & Brokers Debt Crisis Euro European Union Fixed-Rate Mortgage HARP Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates Processing Service Providers 2012-04-18 Ryan Schuette Share Debt crises in Europe spurred a wave of refinance applications last week, leading mortgage loan applications to tick up by 6.9 percent, according to the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://www.mbaa.org/default.htm (MBA).[IMAGE]The trade group found that mortgage loan application volume went up 6.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before.””Renewed concerns about sovereign debt in Europe led to a drop in rates last week, with the 30-year rate tying our survey low, reached in early February,”” “”Jay Brinkmann””:http://www.mbaa.org/AboutMBA/GovernanceandManagement/Management/JayBrinkmann.htm, MBA’s chief economist, said in a statement. He said that refinance activity climbed by 13.5 percent accordingly, with 32 percent of survey respondents indicating that their refi volume came from Home[COLUMN_BREAK]Affordable Refinance Program loans.The Refinance Index edged up 13.5 percent from the week before, with the refinance share of mortgage activity increasing to 75.2 percent of the share of total activity.As a share of activity, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent of total volume from the week before.Purchases waned from the week earlier. The index by the same name dropped 11.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and 10.4 percent on an unadjusted basis.The four-week moving average edged down by 0.52 percent for the Purchase Index, just as it went up by 2.36 percent for the Refinance Index and 1.60 percent for the Market Index.Brinkmann said that a 23 percent decline in “”Federal Housing Administration””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/fhahistory (FHA) purchase loan applications helped engineer a corresponding drop in overall purchase activity. He noted in the statement that decreases for FHA loans signaled “”the largest weekly drop”” in government purchase indices since the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit last year.Mortgage rates zigzagged alongside increases in mortgage application volume, continuing trends that began with debt crises brought on by growth squeezes in euro zone countries.center_img April 18, 2012 410 Views Debt Crises Inspire 6.9% Pick-Up in Loan Volume: MBAlast_img read more

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Fannie Mae Encourages New Mortgage Borrowers to Shop Around

first_img in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination April 13, 2015 494 Views Share Fannie Mae Encourages New Mortgage Borrowers to Shop Aroundcenter_img When it comes to shopping around for a new home, buyers should also shop around for the right mortgage lender, say Fannie Mae economists Qiang Cai and Sarah Shahdad.In the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, studying the mortgage shopping experience homebuyers navigate these days, the authors found that two-thirds of buyers‒‒particularly the young and those who’ve already bought homes‒‒obtain multiple mortgage quotes, though newbies to the process typically rely on friendly advice to find a suitable lender and terms.“Higher-income, younger-aged, and minority borrowers are more likely to obtain multiple quotes when shopping for a mortgage,” the report stated. “First-time homebuyers and lower-income borrowers are more likely to say that referrals from friends, family, or co-workers had a major influence on their choice of lender.”According to the report, about 16 percent of buyers under age 30 shop around for quotes, compared to 5 percent of those above 50. Nearly a third of buyers earning at least $75,000 per year shop around, compared to just 1 percent of those who make less. About 20 percent of minority buyers seek multiple quotes.Experienced homebuyers are unlikely to say that a referral from a real estate agent or a mortgage specialist influenced their choice of lender, unless they earn less than $75,000 a year. The authors found that about 31 percent of first-time buyers took such advice, regardless of income, while more than half of those who earn less than $75,000 a year sought referral advice. About 7 percent above that income line sought advice.The authors also found that first-time and minority homebuyers are more likely to report unexpected changes at the closing table. A third of first-time buyers and a third of minority buyers say that they had some type of surprise at the closing table. Half of all buyers making less than $50,000 a year reported surprises.The authors wrote that consumers may benefit from better tools and advice from knowledgeable, objective third parties when looking for good mortgage terms, saying this would allow buyers to balance any tradeoffs.“As large and infrequent as the mortgage transaction is in most people’s financial lives, borrowers may be leaving money on the table by not shopping around and negotiating for the best terms they can get,” Cai and Shahdad wrote. “Encouraging homebuyers to seek multiple sources of information, determine the key criteria that are important to them, and ask detailed questions about the basis for a lender recommendation when shopping for a mortgage may help them find a lender that best meets their individual needs.” Fannie Mae Homebuying National Housing Survey 2015-04-13 Scott_Morganlast_img read more

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Mortgage Contracting Services Celebrates 30th Anniversary

first_img February 16, 2016 545 Views Share Mortgage Contracting Services Celebrates 30th Anniversary in Headlines, Newscenter_img 30 Years Mortgage Contracting Services Property Preservation 2016-02-16 Staff Writer Mortgage Contracting Services, LLC (MCS), a provider of property preservation, inspections, REO property maintenance, and valuations for the financial services industry, announced that it is celebrating its 30th year of business operations.MCS was founded in 1986 in Tampa, Florida and has grown steadily and adapted to a dynamic and evolving marketplace. The company has over 750 employees at three sites: Tampa, Florida; Ruston, Louisiana; and Plano, Texas, which became the company’s headquarters in 2007.Over the years, MCS has navigated massive economic shifts and blossoming regulatory requirements, according to the announcement.“MCS has been at the forefront of innovation in the mortgage servicing field during times of growth and turbulence, and our success is a real testament to our leadership team,” said Caroline Reaves, CEO of MCS since 2009. “It’s an honor to lead a company doing important work preserving communities around the country for our clients.”A few highlights of the company’s growth over the years includes:The 2012 opening of its operations center in Ruston.In 2014, that facility doubled in size and can now accommodate up to 180 employees.Also in 2014, the company expanded into appraisal and valuation services through the acquisition of MCS Valuations.MCS has protected and preserved communities across the nation for 30 years. Some of the largest and most respected banks and mortgage servicers in the industry trust MCS to perform property inspections, property preservation, REO property maintenance, valuations and other default-related services in all 50 states. MCS has a history of providing these services in a highly regulated environment, the proven ability to handle large volumes of properties, and a record of recruiting, managing and monitoring a substantial vendor network.last_img read more

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The Week Ahead Competition Heating Up for Housing

first_img Share As the year comes to a close, industry experts are reflecting on the forces that have impacted the 2016 housing market, including a lack of inventory, rising mortgage rates, a surge in home prices, and disinterested millennials. This week, new reports from CoreLogic and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) will reveal recent market changes and what these trends indicate for 2017.As the prices of homes increased, home sales simultaneously ascended according to the previous Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The market saw a 1.8 percent year-to-year increase in home sales from 2015 and a 0.1 percent growth in pending sales.NAR will publish the Pending Home Sales Index covering November on Wednesday, December 28.Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR, states that there was competition among homebuyers due to the lack of inventory available on the market and home price affordability for the month of October.“Low supply has kept prices elevated all year and has put pressure on the budgets of buyers,” says Yun. “With mortgage rates expected to rise into next year and put added strain on affordability, sales expansion will be contingent on more inventory coming onto the market and continued job gains.”Stephen Melman, Director of Economic Services at the National Association of Home Builders, says the combination of the Home Sales Index, Existing Home Sales report, and Builder Confidence report restores confidence in the residential construction industry. “These reports are good news for new residential construction as the housing recovery continues to address demand among first-time buyers and broadens across a wider range of markets during the balance of 2016 and into 2017.”S&P Case-Shiller CoreLogic Indices, Tuesday, December 27, 9 AM ESTThe previous S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices report, which covered September, reported a year-over-year increase in home prices, which climbed 5.5 percent since 2015 and 5.1 percent from August. The prices of homes in Seattle and Portland increased 11 percent year-over-year, with Miami, Tampa, Phoenix, and Las Vegas also experiencing a growth in home prices.Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia, says the rise in home prices garners various reactions, and the increase will only affect homeowners with positive equity. “Home prices reaching their nominal pre-recession peaks brings mixed news for the housing market,” McLaughlin said. “It’s good news for homeowners who are no longer underwater, but not so great news for homebuyers who have seen prices outpace incomes for most of the housing market recovery.”Will home prices for the month of October continue to increase at the same pace as they did in September or will the pace of appreciation slow down?This Week’s ScheduleTuesday, December 27S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, 9:00 AM ETWednesday, December 28National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index, 10:00 AM ET December 25, 2016 565 Views Home Prices Pending-Home Sales 2016-12-25 Seth Welborncenter_img in Daily Dose, News, Origination The Week Ahead: Competition Heating Up for Housinglast_img read more

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Does Mays HPI Point to Another Bubble

first_img 10-City Composite 20-City Composite Case-Shiller National Composite 2017-07-25 Joey Pizzolato in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines July 25, 2017 557 Views The question as to whether or not the housing market is approaching another bubble has been a topic of discussion amongst the industry, especially as home prices continue to rise while inventory shrinks. With each new report—housing starts, existing home index, new residential interest rates, and unemployment rates—experts are looking to see if the data points to a repeat of the mid-2000s crash.Tuesday’s release of the May S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National and Composite Indices represents another anticipated piece of that puzzle. According to the report, on a national scale, which combines all nine U.S. census divisions, home prices showed a 5.6 percent annual gain for the month of May, the same amount reported in April’s indices. Year-over-year, the 10-City Composite was down to 4.9 percent from 5.0 percent in April, and the 20-City Composite shows a similar, albeit small decrease, down to 5.7 percent from 5.8 percent a month prior.So, does this point to an incoming bubble? According to David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones, it does not for a number of reasons, even though index levels for the National, 20-City, and 10-City Composites are nearing their peak 2006 levels. (The National Composite is 3.2 percent over the 2006 peak; 20-City, 3.7 percent under peak; and 10-City 6.2 percent under).“[While,] [h]ome prices continue to climb and outpace both inflation and wages, [h]ousing is not repeating the bubble period of 2000-2006: price increases vary across the country unlike the earlier period when rising prices were almost universal; the number of homes sold annually is 20 percent less today than in the earlier period and the months’ supply is declining, not surging. The small supply of homes for sale, at only about four months’ worth, is one cause of rising prices. New home construction, higher than during the recession but still low, is another factor in rising prices.”Even cities that have shown the highest rate of home price growth are showing signs of slowing. Namely, Seattle, Portland, Oregon, Denver, and Dallas. Seattle has shown a year-over-year increase of 13.3 percent, Portland 8.9 percent, Denver 7.9 percent, and Dallas falling to 7.8 percent.center_img Share Does May’s HPI Point to Another Bubble?last_img read more

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Ocwen Begins Search for New CFO

first_img CFO mortgage servicing Ocwen Ocwen Financial Corporation 2018-05-29 David Wharton in Daily Dose, Featured, journal, News, Servicing May 29, 2018 507 Views Sharecenter_img Ocwen Begins Search for New CFO Ocwen Financial Corporation, a Florida-based financial services holding company, announced that EVP and CFO Michael Bourque has made the decision to resign to accept a position with another financial services company.In a press statement, the company said that “Bourque’s resignation is not due to any disagreement with Ocwen relating to the company’s operations, policies, or practices.” Bourque’s resignation is effective June 22, 2018. He will remain active and engaged in his role with the company through June 22.“We would like to thank Michael for his financial leadership and his many contributions over the last four years,” said Ron Faris, President and CEO of Ocwen. “While at Ocwen, Michael has focused his efforts on ensuring the Company is in solid financial standing and is well positioned for future success. We respect Michael’s personal decision, and we wish him the best in his new position.”The company reported that they have begun a search for qualified internal and external candidates to fill the CFO position.Bourque’s resignation comes only a few weeks after President and CEO Ron Faris announced his own impending resignation. Faris will remain President and CEO through June 30, 2018, and will remain a consultant to the company. Ocwen’s Board of Directors appointed Glen A. Messina as President and CEO, effective concurrently with the closing of Ocwen’s previously announced acquisition of PHH Corporation. He will also be appointed as a member of Ocwen’s Board at that time. Messina will be based at Ocwen’s West Palm Beach, Florida, corporate headquarters. Ocwen announced its acquisition of PHH Corporation for $360 million in February 2018.Earlier this month, the company released the details of its earnings for Q1 2018, reporting a net income of $2.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. This is up considerably over Ocwen’s Q1 2017 net loss of $32.6 million—a gain of $35.2 million.The company reported that pre-tax income for Q1 2018 totaled $5.0 million, a $35.5 million improvement over Q1 2017. The servicing segment recorded $20.5 million of pre-tax income for Q1, marking the seventh consecutive profitable quarter for the business. Finally, the company’s lending side recorded $8.8 million of pre-tax income for Q1 2018, a $7.7 million increase over Q1 2017.The company reported 11,598 loan modifications during Q1. Seventeen percent of these loan modifications included debt forgiveness, which totaled $59 million.The company also reported a decrease in loan delinquencies from 9.3 percent as of December 31, 2017, to 9.0 percent as of March 31, 2018. It explained this decrease as “primarily driven by loss mitigation efforts.”last_img read more

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TRK Connection Integrates VeriTax Income Verification

first_img Income 2019-05-09 Seth Welborn TRK Connection Integrates Veri-Tax Income Verification in News TRK Connection recently announced that it has added 4506-T Income Verification from Veri-Tax to its QC audit platform Insight Risk & Defect Management (RDM). According to TRK, the addition expands the range of integrated income verification providers Insight users can select to complete the post-closing QC reverification process.“TRK’s mission is to assist lenders by making the QC audit process easier, more intuitive and more efficient, thus enabling them to effectively manage and report on loan quality,” said TRK EVP of Strategy Jeremy Burcham. “Our network of integrated reverification providers plays a key role in our ability to deliver on that promise, which is why we are pleased to add Veri-Tax to our roster of top-tier income verification providers available within Insight RDM.”Veri-Tax’s 4506-T Income Verification service allows lenders to quickly validate income and uncover potential borrower misrepresentation. By auditing every order at multiple check-points, Veri-Tax reduces IRS rejections by 29 percent, and all tax transcripts include a customizable summary coversheet that highlights and calculates key income verification line items. The ability to order income verification from Veri-Tax directly through the Insight RDM platform, which also includes industry-first reverification eSign capabilities, enables lenders to create a paperless, streamlined reverification process designed to support lenders’ loan quality initiatives.“We are pleased to have supported the TRK Connection team from the very early stages of their platform development and integration of our industry leading verification services. We look forward to continuing our long partnership and serving our mutual clients,” said Nick Lim, CEO of Veri-Tax.center_img Share May 9, 2019 481 Views last_img read more

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Austrade and Tourism Research Australia has releas

first_imgAustrade and Tourism Research Australia has released the latest stats on international visitors to Australia for the year ending September 2016, and the number of visitors to the country in that period, aged 15 years and over, reached 7.4 million, spending a record $38.8 billion, an increase of 11%, or $4 billion, on the previous year. Nights were up 4% to 251 million.The holiday and education segments underpinned the strong growth for the year. Combined, these segments accounted for 67% of total trip spend by international visitors to Australia. Arrivals for business were steady at 808,000, growth in travel party type was highest for family groups (parents and children travelling together) at 19% to 942,000 visitors, and adult couples and friends and relatives travelling together both increased 17% to reach 1.6 million and 822,000 respectively. Solo travellers increased 7% to 3.8 million.Strong growth was reported across the majority of Australia’s major markets. Fifteen of 20 markets had record visitor numbers during the year including New Zealand, China, the US, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Germany, Scandinavia and Switzerland, France, Canada and Thailand. China, the US, Korea and Japan were major contributors to the increase in spend for the year, contributing an extra 2.7 billion over the year (or 68% of the total increase). Austradelast_img read more

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