BA and crew close to union solution

first_imgCould the war between employer and union be over? Almost according to a Unite union spokesperson who said they were close to a resolution with British Airways (BA).The cabin crew strikes against the carrier dispersed over a year could be coming to an end after a branch of the union stated a deal that satisfies both the crew and the company is definitely on its way, Airwise reported.“We did have talks with BA and (conciliation service) ACAS last Friday, we did make some progress and we hope to reconvene to continue talking later this week,” Unite union spokesperson said. In an email distributed from the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA) to members earlier in the month confirmed a resolution was in progress and could be released before the end of the week. “We have been informed that Unite General Secretary Tony Woodley believes that he should be able to conclude a new proposal, with significant changes, by the middle of next week at the latest,” BASSA’s email to members said. BA has not confirmed any solutions but said most talks would occur over the week.To date the debate over pay cuts and BA’s decision to remove staff who participated in strikes costed the airline up to GBP£150 million. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.last_img read more

NZ tourism grappling with changes

first_imgFindings of a Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) study have shown that tourism operators across New Zealand are ‘grappling’ with a fast-changing environment.    TIA chief executive Tim Cossar said the research confirmed “the issues that were raised by operators in the road shows TIA ran around the country in March and April”. “As well as economic conditions, operators are grappling with the impacts of natural disasters in Christchurch, Queensland and Japan, the changing visitor mix, and preparing for Rugby World Cup 2011,” Mr Cossar said.Analysing the mood of Kiwi tourism businesses, the first annual ‘State of the Tourism Sector 2011’ also highlights the diversity of NZ’s tourism industry, which the TIA boss described as “both a strength and a weakness”.      “The research identifies that achieving greater cohesion across the sector will help us collectively deal with the issues we are facing,” Mr Cossar said.Prepared in partnership with Lincoln University, the study found that increased airline capacity between Asia, particularly China, and New Zealand would boost the Kiwi economy by around NZ$335 million annually.  Professor David Simmons of Lincoln University said the findings drew attention to the need for “partnerships beyond the tourism sector to strengthen the position of the industry and raise its profile” as well as the growing importance of social media.  With total expenditure reaching NZ$22.4 billion for the year ending March 2011, tourism is NZ’s biggest export industry, contributing nearly 9 per cent to the country’s GDP and employing nearly one in every ten Kiwis.   State of the Tourism Sector 2011 was released this week at the Tourism Summit 2011 in Wellington. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Tourism is NZ’s biggest export industry last_img read more

Darwin Airport wins Asia Marketing Awards

Darwin Airport wins Asia Marketing Awards

first_imgSource = Darwin Airport Darwin International Airport has won the top prize at the Routes Asia Marketing Awards announced in Chengdu, China this week. “Being judged Overall Winner and Winner Oceania and South East Asia region is a tremendous accolade for Ian Kew and his team, who faced stiff competition from several capital city airports,” Tourism NT CEO John Fitzgerald said.“It comes on the back of several new flights by Jetstar, Silk Air and Virgin Australia that have commenced in recent weeks, and others by Airnorth and Qantas before that.“Together with the new terminal expansion, this award provides further evidence that Darwin is one of the best places in the world to visit in 2012.“Tourism NT works very closely with Darwin Airport on the introduction of new flights, and I am delighted that it has won such a prestigious award,” he said. Left to right: John Xu Tourism NT China Market Representative; Jim Parashos NT Airports Director of Airline and Airport Services; Raul Kohli Tourism NT Senior Aviation Analyst at the Routes Asia 2012, event in Chengdu China.last_img read more

Aus accommodation under review

first_img“Overseas tourists in particular come to expect high levels of service when they visit Australia, but the current award is placing this expectation at risk.” Mr Munro said the issue was prominent in regional and country areas.“The Accommodation Association does not support abolishing penalty rates and public holidays – we are seeking relief given the current situation is unsustainable for small businesses,” Mr Munro said. The Modern Award Review also suggests employee’s hours be averaged over 52 weeks, instead of 26 weeks, taking into account the seasonality of Australia’s accommodation industry. The Accommodation Association of Australia has recommended business practice changes for Australia’s accommodation operators as part of the Modern Award Review.Australian accommodation providers “should not have to pay for more than one public holiday in any pay period (fortnight) and not more than two in any month”, according to Accommodation Association of Australia chief executive Richard Munro.“There are increasing incidences in our industry of accommodation operators either restricting the opening hours of restaurants or closing them altogether because they cannot afford the cost of wages,” Mr Munro said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

Travelport demo site launches new functionality

Travelport demo site launches new functionality

first_imgSource = Travelport Travelport, a leading Travel Commerce Platform, recently launched an innovative new demonstration site to showcase its Universal API capabilities.The tool allows both commercial decision makers within travel agencies and developers to fully explore the content and functionality available from Travelport before making decisions about how they would like to develop their own products.The Demo site, which launched in early January 2015, provides travel developers with the tools and data to offer consumers much richer information.This in turn enables Travelport to help our airlines and other suppliers retail their products more effectively and allows our customers to offer their travellers the very best content.Initially, the Demo site offered basic air and hotel shopping functionality. It has now been updated to include a new array of air shopping capabilities, including an airline’s branded fares, ancillary content from low cost carriers and interactive seat maps.Other additions include the ability to display the most relevant results simply, on one or two pages, and the integration of a price point solution that allows a user to choose different flight combinations that are available for the same total price.In the future, Travelport plans to add car shopping to show how easily Travelport Universal API can be used to sell car rental and to further augment the site by including data from Hotel Content Plus for a more expansive hotel display.The site demonstrates Travelport’s complete offering and is designed to inspire those looking to build their own website, booking tools, apps or other products on Travelport’s open platform.Alvydas Vitkauskas, General Manager of UAB “Interneto Partneris”, managing European online travel agencies FlyHi, FlySiesta, HotFlug and Greitai commented: “Developing a new digital product such as a corporate booking tool or website is inherently risky. The more you can understand and control the risks, the better placed you are to make commercially viable decisions.“With Travelport’s new Universal API Demo site, you can fully investigate the type of content and connectivity available before launching your project and that is absolutely invaluable.”Jan-Paul Ephithite, Travelport Product Manager, commented: “We are really excited about our new Universal API Demo site and in particular the new updates showcasing Travelport’s overall offering and unrivalled content, including branded fares and ancillaries and seat maps.“We have been working hard to display Travelport Universal API in an innovative way and visited multiple sites before we decided on our current design.“With our newly updated Demo site we are hoping to inspire those looking to differentiate themselves in the travel industry.” View Travelport’s demo sitelast_img read more

MSC Cruises focuses on environmental technology

MSC Cruises focuses on environmental technology

first_imgMSC Seaview gets her first taste of the Mediterranean during sea trialsMSC Cruises focuses on environmental technologyMSC Seaview to receive RINA’s GREEN STAR 3, the latest and most comprehensive of such notations, as she features some of the most modern and advanced environment-friendly maritime technology at seaWith just a few days to go until MSC Seaview comes into service, excitement is reaching an all-time high among cruise guests, travel agent partners, port officials and the broader industry. While a nearly 4000-strong team at the Fincantieri shipyard is working 24/7 around the clock to put the final touches and ready the ship for her inaugural season, MSC Cruises today revealed some of the key environment-friendly features on MSC Seaview, the third next-generation MSC Cruises ship to come into service in a matter of only 12 months.MSC Seaview will be one of the more innovative ships at sea, also when it comes to the environmental technology that she will feature. In fact, not only will she comply with the highest international standards with this respect but will also receive from international classification society RINA – in addition to the main Class notations – its “Green Star 3 Design” notation in recognition of the attention that was paid to these aspects during the design and construction of the ship. RINA’s  Green Star 3 – the latest and most comprehensive edition of the RINA’s Green STAR additional class notations – specifically recognises that MSC Seaview reaches the greatest levels of eco-compatibility thanks to the relevance of the various innovative measures put in place which help reduce the environmental footprint during operations. These include, amongst others, the exhaust gas cleaning system, the advanced waste water treatment, systems for the prevention of oil discharge from machinery spaces, the ballast water treatment system, and the ship’s Environmental Management Plan.Overview of the environmental technology and other related innovation featured onboard MSC Seaview:Energy-efficient hull and overall design: For the Seaside Class, of which MSC Seaview is the second ship to come into service, MSC Cruises entirely redefined the hull design, and rethought the ship’s overall distribution of deck space as well as the weight distribution. The ship’s overall design, the hull, the rudder and the bulbous bow are configured to reach optimal hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, and maximize energy and fuel efficiency.Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS) to minimize sulphur and particular matter emissions: An EGCS removes up to 97.1 percent of the sulphur dioxide, and greatly reduces particulate matter. In order to meet or exceed increasingly high environmental standards and to support the Company’s environmental objectives, all next-generation MSC Cruises ships come into service already equipped with an EGCS. In addition, ships from the existing fleet are being retrofitted with EGCS technology. By the end of 2020, 13 out of 18 ships in the MSC Cruises fleet will be equipped with an EGCS. The system on MSC Seaview, in particular, has been developed by Wartsilä.Shore-to-ship power: MSC Seaview, along with all MSC Cruises ships which have come into service since 2017, are already equipped to receive shoreside power ( also called “cold ironing” – a means to connect cruise ships while at berth to the local power grid). Moreover, MSC Cruises ships delivered since 2006 (Fantasia Class and Musica Class) are equipped with a cubicle suitable to receive breakers dedicated to the shore connection. MSC Cruises is thus already equipping its ships with this technology that can potentially help reduce air emissions in port areas, while port authorities around the world are increasingly studying and starting to invest in “cold ironing.”Ballast water treatment system: To protect the marine ecosystem in which the ship sails, MSC Seaview is fitted with a ballast water treatment system that complies with the standards set by the international governing body for Ballast Water Management, the International Maritime Organization (IMO).Shipboard Environmental Management: Every ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet has an environmental management plan and every ship employs a dedicated Environmental Officer to make sure this plan is constantly monitored and correctly executed. This Officer also has the duty to instruct and train the crew members on board about environmental and garbage management.Advanced waste water treatment: MSC Seaview is equipped with an advanced waste water treatment system which goes well above and beyond regulatory standards, and meets the high industry standards. The system by Wartsilä/Hamworthy treats waste water to a very high quality and  then processes it even further through very fine filtration processes. The end product is high-quality effluent that is of a better standard than most shoreside municipal waste standards around the world. The ship is also equipped with an electronic tool which assists in fully complying with various other local and regional environmental regulations.Trim Optimisation: MSC Seaview is equipped with a software application to monitor and optimise trim in real-time. This technology supports ship officers to keep the vessel’s trim optimized to reduce fuel consumption and optimize performance.Energy-saving LED lighting: MSC Seaview and other MSC Cruises ships use only energy efficient LED and fluorescent lighting.Smart heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC): This is one of the biggest consumers of energy on a cruise ship, but the system on board MSC Seaview is designed in a smart way to reduce energy consumption. It intelligently distributes heat and cold and is set up to recover heat, for example, from the laundry room, which can be used to warm up the swimming pools or other parts of the ship.MSC Seaview is the third ship to be built under MSC Cruises’ ten-year, EUR 10.5 billion investment plan which already saw the completion of two out of 12 next-generation ships: MSC Seaside and MSC Meraviglia in November and May 2017 respectively.MSC Seaview is the second ship in the Seaside Class and, just like her sister ship MSC Seaside, pushing the boundaries of innovative ship building and design. At 153,516 GT and with a guest capacity of 5,331, she is the third newly-built next-generation mega cruise ship in the MSC Cruises fleet and the second one to be built by Fincantieri.Source = MSC Cruiseslast_img read more

Conde Nast Travelers 2018 Readers Choice Awards name three Six Sense

Conde Nast Travelers 2018 Readers Choice Awards name three Six Sense

first_imgSix Senses Douro Valley,PortugalConde Nast Traveler’s 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards name three Six Senses ResortsBeing the recipient of prestigious awards is always a great honor for Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. And the recent recognition of excellence for Six Senses properties in the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards is an added celebration, especially as it was the result of voting by the publication’s print and online readers; guests who have experienced the Six Senses resorts first hand.Three Six Senses resorts were included in the top-ten listing for their regions:Proudly in the Middle East Region Top Ten is Six Senses Zighy Bay, located on the northern Musandam Peninsula of the Sultanate of Oman. The setting for the indigenous village-style resort and private marina is spectacular, with dramatic mountains on one side and the expansive sandy beach of Zighy Bay on the other.In the Maldives, Six Senses Laamu featured in the Top Ten of the Indian Ocean. The stunning resort is a combination of on-land and over-water villas constructed of sustainable materials and set around the palm-fringed paradise. Also recognized in the Indian Ocean category was Six Senses Zil Pasyon which is set on the Seychelles’ private island of Félicité.Completing the triple Top Ten score, Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal was voted in the Europe sector. This superbly renovated 19th-century manor house set high on a hill overlooks the vine covered rolling hills of the Douro Valley and the river below. Its serene setting is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world and UNESCO world heritage listed.The Condé Nast Travelers Reader’s Choice Awards are the longest running and most prestigious recognition in the travel industry and are commonly known as “the best of the best of travel.” Nearly 500,000 Conde Nast Traveler readers submitted a record-breaking number of responses rating their recent travel experiences to provide a full snapshot of how and where we travel today. All the winners will be celebrated in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler on newsstands October 16 as well as online at www.cntraveler.com/rca.About Condé Nast Traveler As the most discerning, up-to-the-minute voice in all things travel, Condé Nast Traveler is the global citizen’s bible and muse, offering both inspiration and vital intel. Condé Nast Traveler is the most trusted and celebrated name in travel with 6 National Magazine Award wins and 26 nominations in its 30-year history. Advertising Age named Pilar Guzmán Editor of the Year in 2014 and CNTraveler.com attained 3 Webby Awards in 2015. For more, visit www.cntraveler.com.About Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas operates one hotel, 15 resorts and 31 spas in 21 countries under the brand names Six Senses, Evason and Six Senses Spas. The portfolio will triple over the next five years with resort, hotel and spa openings underway in Austria, Bhutan, Brazil, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, St. Kitts and Nevis, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States. Six Senses properties share a leadership commitment to community, sustainability, wellness and design, infused with a touch of quirkiness. Whether an exquisite island resort, mountain retreat or urban hotel, the enduring purpose is to help people reconnect with themselves, others and the world around them. Six Senses Spas offers a wide range of holistic wellness, rejuvenation and beauty treatments administered under the guidance of expert therapists in all resorts as well as at 16 additional standalone spas. The high-tech and high-touch approach guides guests on their personal path to well-being, taking them as deep as they want to go. Evason follows the Six Senses philosophy of uncompromised responsibility to sustainability and the community. Its two unique resorts provide a strong value focus, while offering a vast array of personal guest experiences that the whole family will love.Source = Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spaslast_img read more

Sabres newest partner in innovative Beyond NDC Program is Qantas

Sabres newest partner in innovative Beyond NDC Program is Qantas

first_imgSabre’s newest partner in innovative Beyond NDC Program is Qantas Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), the leading technology provider to the global travel industry, today announced a renewed, long-term distribution agreement with Australian carrier, Qantas. In line with the company’s commitment to lead the industry’s evolution towards next-generation retailing, distribution and fulfillment, Sabre welcomes Qantas as the newest member of its Beyond NDC Program. By joining the program, the carrier will act as strategic partner to an innovation initiative chartered to drive the industry forward through the development and integration of end-to-end capabilities to process NDC-enabled offers.Sabre is also pleased to partner with the carrier to deliver the Qantas Channel, the airline’s new pathway to deliver more personalized and seamless experiences to customers via agent booking channels. Under this new program, Sabre will play an active role in the execution of the Qantas Channel, which will come into effect 1st August 2019.  Sabre-powered travel agencies who sign up to the Qantas Channel will enjoy a wider range of content from the airline, and have the ability to leverage reliable and up-to-date information to create rich, personalized offers for their customers.“Today, we are once again demonstrating our commitment to driving the industry forward by reimagining the business of travel. In addition to having Qantas Airways as the latest carrier to participate in our Beyond NDC program, this extended partnership agreement will also provide richer content from Qantas to over 425,000 Sabre-enabled travel agents across the globe,” said Rakesh Narayanan, Vice President, Air Line of Business, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific.Commenting on the airline’s new distribution model, Qantas Chief Customer Officer Vanessa Hudson said the airline was pleased to be working with Sabre to make the Qantas Channel available to their agents globally.“The digital environment has changed the way we need to work with our trade partners, and our new technology paired with this new Qantas Channel agreement will support us on the journey to delivering our vision for our mutual customers. We’re excited to continue to innovate with our trade partners and share in the benefits of this new technology.”Source = Sabre Corporationlast_img read more

The Mystical Land of Rajasthan

The Mystical Land of Rajasthan

first_imgOne of the most popular tourist destination in India, Rajasthan is named the ‘Land of Kings’ for appropriate reasons. Visitors can spend hours or rather days being mesmerised and soaking up the atmosphere in one of India’s most iconic and alluring regions.Source: BBClast_img

US witness 2 increase in international visits in January

US witness 2 increase in international visits in January

first_imgThe U.S. Department of Commerce witnessed a two percent increase as compared to last year, with roughly 5.6 million visitors in January 2017.Mexico and Canada still continue to dominate the top inbound market visit with over 1.5 million visits to the U.S. The People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong) (+16.6%), Japan (-3.2%), and the United Kingdom (-9.0%) rounded out the top five inbound markets.In January 2017, five of the top 10 countries posted increase in non-resident visits. Non-resident visitation from two of the top 10 countries registered double-digit increases.In January 2017, of the top 20 overseas countries with visits to the United States, more than 90%  of the visits recorded from Argentina (93.7%) and Costa Rica (90.2%) represented pleasure to travel to the United States.In January 2017, of all overseas non-resident visits to the United States, 68.9% represented pleasure travel and 16.4 percent represented business travel.last_img read more

AccorHotels acquires 50 stake in sbe

AccorHotels acquires 50 stake in sbe

first_imgRecently, AccorHotels and sbe Entertainment Group (’sbe’) have signed a Letter of Intent and entered into exclusive negotiations according to which AccorHotels will acquire a 50% stake in sbe, further illustrating AccorHotels’s strategy to expand its offering in the luxury lifestyle hospitality segment.This partnership will combine the expertise and savoir-faire of the two groups; AccorHotels will acquire the 50% of sbe’s common equity held in part by Cain International for USD 125 million. The Founder and CEO Sam Nazarian will continue to own the remaining 50% of sbe. In addition, AccorHotels will invest USD 194 million in a new preferred debt instrument that will be used to redeem all existing preferred units, also held in part by Cain International. AccorHotels’ total investment in sbe will be USD 319 million.This long-term investment will allow sbe to leverage AccorHotels’ leading global hospitality platform while remaining an independent luxury lifestyle operator. Sbe will continue to be led by Nazarian as well as its expert management team while retaining its global headquarters in New York.Speaking on the occasion, Nazar/g-term investment by AccorHotels provides sbe, its customers and hotel owners with greater depth and breadth around the world and supports our collective ambition to be the best lifestyle hospitality company in the market. This investment will further accelerate our growth both domestically in the United States and in new markets internationally, particularly in Europe. Moving forward, sbe and AccorHotels together are committed to bringing our unique lifestyle experiential offering to more destinations and serving our discerning guests with unforgettable memories.”Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO, AccorHotels said, “I am delighted to announce this strategic partnership with one of the most innovative Groups in the luxury lifestyle space worldwide. ‘The new luxury’ is all about exclusive experiences and incredible lifestyle concepts and sbe brands have the perfect know-how that will complete perfectly the AccorHotels portfolio. We remain committed to providing all our guests with unparalleled service and always renewed experiences around the world.”Through this investment, sbe will accelerate its international growth with expansion into new markets outside of the U.S., including priority growth markets in the Middle East and Latin America. sbe’s pipeline includes projects in some of the most important global gateway cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C., Dubai, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Cancun, Tokyo and Los Cabos.last_img read more

NREIS Closing Pittsburgh Office Laying Off 215

NREIS Closing Pittsburgh Office Laying Off 215

first_img January 3, 2013 470 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing *_UPDATED: Adds information from NREIS’ Texas WARN letter, includes a forwarded email from an IREP manager._*””National Real Estate Information Services””:http://www.nreis.com/default.htm (NREIS) is shuttering the doors to its Pittsburgh office in February, according to a Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice posted on the “”Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s””:http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=5278&mode=2 website.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK] The closing will begin February 15 and will affect 215 employees. NREIS employs more than 1,200 people, according to the company’s website.The address listed on the NREIS’ notice is the same as that of another real estate services provider, “”Secured Lending Services””:http://www.securedlendingservices.com/.An _MReport_ reader forwarded an email exchange allegedly between a Realtor and a manager at IREP, an NREIS subsidiary. The exchange was posted to an online message board for agents and brokers.In the email, the manager says “”National Real Estate gave notice that they will close in 60 days so March 1 they will no longer be in business. Secured Lending is working business as usual right now.””According to another WARN Act notice on the “”Texas Workforce Commission’s””:http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ website, the company is laying off an additional five employees in its Dallas office.The WARN letter issued to the TWC says the layoffs are a result of the “”dissolution and windup of NREIS of Texas, LLC.”” It goes on to say the “”separation of employment with the Company is expected to be permanent and there will not be any bumping rights.”” Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-01-03 Tory Barringercenter_img NREIS Closing Pittsburgh Office, Laying Off 215 Sharelast_img read more

Gold Star Mortgage Appoints Community Commitment Liaison

Gold Star Mortgage Appoints Community Commitment Liaison

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-02-13 Tory Barringer February 13, 2013 394 Views Brooke Hoag will now be the face of “”Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group’s””:http://www.goldstarfinancial.com/ community service efforts, the company announced.[IMAGE]As Gold Star’s community commitment liaison, Hoag will devote her energy to formalize and expand community giving efforts developed by employees over the years. [COLUMN_BREAK]According to a company release, her appointment “”reinforces the Gold Star corporate philosophy that is profit-driven, client-driven, and community driven.””Hoag will oversee a number of employee-developed community service projects, including blood drives for the American Red Cross, toy donations to local children’s hospitals, and canned food drives, among others.””When my family came to the United States as refugees from the Ukraine we found our place in American because of the kind and generous support of many people,”” said Dan Milstein, founder and CEO of the Michigan-based lender. “”So I am especially pleased that my employees have become so involved in giving back to the community as well.””When Gold Star hires employees we look for people who are grounded in the community and committed to our philosophy of looking out for others,”” he added.center_img New,Gold Star Mortgage Appoints Community Commitment Liaison Sharelast_img read more

Consumer Confidence Rebounds in February

Consumer Confidence Rebounds in February

first_imgConsumer Confidence Rebounds in February in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share February 26, 2013 419 Views center_img After “”taking a hit””:https://themreport.com/articles/conference-board-consumer-confidence-crashes-in-january-2013-01-29 from January’s payroll tax hike, consumer confidence recovered somewhat in February, according to “”The Conference Board’s””:http://www.conference-board.org/ Consumer Confidence Index.[IMAGE]The overall index climbed more than 10 points in February, settling at 69.6 from January’s 58.4. “”Consumer confidence rebounded in February as the shock effect caused by the fiscal cliff uncertainty and payroll tax cuts appears to have abated,”” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “”Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions is more positive than last month. Looking ahead, consumers are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for business and labor market conditions.””The Present Situation Index, a measure of consumer sentiment regarding present-day conditions, improved from 56.2 in January to 63.3 in February as respondents expressed greater optimism in the business world. According to The Conference Board, the number of those claiming business conditions are “”good”” increased 2 percentage points to 18.1 percent, while the number of those stating conditions are “”bad”” fell from 28.4 percent to 27.8 percent.Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was mixed, however. Those saying jobs are “”plentiful”” increased to 10.5 percent from 8.5 percent previously, while those claiming jobs are “”hard to get”” edged up to 37.0 percent from 36.6 percent.Meanwhile, the Expectations Index–a measure of optimism for the near future–improved nearly 14 points, rising to 73.8. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months increased to 18.9 percent from 15.6 percent previously, while those expecting conditions to deteriorate declined 3.9 percentage points to 16.5 percent.Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also positive. Those anticipating more jobs in the coming months improved to 16.7 percent from 14.4 percent in January, while those expecting fewer jobs decreased to 21.5 percent from 26.7 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to increase rose to 15.7 percent, while those anticipating a drop in income fell to 19.6 percent. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Conference Board Confidence Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2013-02-26 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

Mortgage Insurers Report May Growth

Mortgage Insurers Report May Growth

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp. Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. Mortgage Insurance Mortgage Insurance Companies of America Radian Guaranty Inc. Service Providers 2013-06-28 Tory Barringer Private mortgage insurance business saw a sharp increase for the third straight month in May, according to a monthly report from “”Mortgage Insurance Companies of America””:http://www.privatemi.com/index.cfm (MICA).[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The report includes data from member companies “”Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corporation””:http://mortgageinsurance.genworth.com/, “”Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation””:http://www.mgic.com/, and “”Radian Guaranty Inc.””:http://www.radian.biz/page?name=HomePageTogether, the companies issued 52,545 certificates on new mortgage loans totaling more than $12.0 billion in volume. MICA reported a total of $405.7 billion in primary insurance in force as of May.The increase in volume comes as little surprise, given the rising trend in applications received over the last several months. With applications totaling 55,535 in May (an increase of more than 5,000 over April), activity should continue to improve.MICA members reported 17,372 defaults and 19,558 cures in May, bringing the cure-to-default ratio (88.8 percent) down again. The ratio peaked in March at 138.5 percent and has steadily fallen since. Mortgage Insurers Report May Growth June 28, 2013 441 Views center_img in Origination Sharelast_img read more

Mortgage Refinance Rate Rises 8 Percent in February

Mortgage Refinance Rate Rises 8 Percent in February

first_img Ellie Mae Origination Report Refinance 2015-03-20 Samantha Guzman Share March 20, 2015 533 Views Mortgage refinance rates climbed another 8 percent in February to 59 percent, making it the highest it has been since May 2013. According to Ellie Mae’s Origination Report released Wednesday that number is almost doubled the rate seen six months ago in August 2014 and 16 percentage points higher than the year-over-year figure of 38.Federal Housing Administration (FHA) refinances rose 19 percent to 36 overall. Conventional refinances rose 6 percent from January and VA refinances had a slight drop from January to 41 percent. All numbers were higher than the year-over-year figures.”The drop in the average 30-year fixed rate in last few months has kept lenders busy with increased refinance business,” said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae in a press release accompanying the report. “Considering the demand, the fact that lenders are taking fewer days to close the average refinance loan is very good news.”The closing rate for mortgages was 60 percent for February, dropping from the record high level of 62.4 percent in January. Closing rates have stayed close to or above this number for the past four consecutive months.  Refinance rates for loans closed within 90 days also were down from January at 53 percent.The average time it took to close a refinance loan fell to 36 days, its lowest level since Ellie Mae began its report in 2013. It took three more days on average to close a refinance loan in January. The average time to close an FHA refinance was even lower at 33 days.Interest rates also fell in February, with the average rate for a 30-year FHA loan falling below 4 percent for the first time since June 2013. The 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell to 4.008 percent, which is the lowest level it has been in the last two years.center_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Origination Mortgage Refinance Rate Rises 8 Percent in Februarylast_img read more

DocMagic Launches Total eClosing Solution

DocMagic Launches Total eClosing Solution

first_img DocMagic, Inc., a provider of fully-compliant loan document preparation, compliance, eSign, and eDelivery solutions, recently announced the official launch of its fully integrated eClosing solution.According to the announcement, the eClosing solution electronically transforms the entire mortgage process from initial eDisclosure to final eClosing through investor eDelivery.DocMagic’s total eClosing process integrates its eDocument library, SMARTDoc eNote with eSignature, eNotary, MERS eRegistration, eDelivery, and eVault services in a comprehensive end-to-end eClosing solution that delivers substantially faster closings, total data transparency, superior regulatory compliance, and maximum process efficiency.“The total eClosing solution is an out-of-the box, easy to implement, fully paperless, patented solution that combines the most advanced functionality and continuous compliance tracking with robust borrower and lender friendly user features,” said Dominic Iannitti, President and CEO of DocMagic. “Borrowers can communicate with their lenders and settlement agents and eSign documents while DocMagic runs continuous automated compliance audits throughout the entire loan process, guaranteeing compliance on factors affecting the salability of your loan, from TRID tolerance levels to compliance with anti-predatory lending and higher-priced mortgage loan laws, all while tracking every iteration of the data and speeding up the closing process.”The total eClosing solution is also seamlessly integrated into DocMagic’s SmartCLOSE collaborative closing portal, offering a secure, centralized online environment for lenders, settlement providers, and other parties to share, validate, audit, track, and collaborate on documents, data, and fees backed with a 100 percent TRID compliance guarantee.DocMagic’s eMortgage solutions have been vetted and approved by Fannie Mae and MERS to support all three eMortgage categories for eVault, eNote, and eClosing, the company noted. “The DocMagic total eClosing solution is revolutionizing the traditional paper mortgage process and the timing of this couldn’t be better,” said Tim Anderson, Director of eServices at DocMagic. “With the electronic data verification, delivery and record retention requirements of TRID, lenders have to demonstrate proof of compliance, control and accountability of the entire mortgage process.  We have developed only platform in the industry that integrates and supports all key eMortgage functions within a single solution. The total eClosing solution provides a full electronic process in a one stop solution–which is truly revolutionary.” DocMagic Launches Total eClosing Solution March 31, 2016 558 Views Sharecenter_img DocMagic eClosing 2016-03-31 Staff Writer in Headlines, News, Origination, Technologylast_img read more

Carson HUD in Position to Heal Divisiveness

Carson HUD in Position to Heal Divisiveness

first_img in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News HUD Secretary-Designate Dr. Ben Carson calmly answered questions for nearly three hours before the Senate Banking Committee in his confirmation hearing on Thursday, saying that he wanted to run HUD in order to “heal America’s divisiveness.”The questioning came from some Senators who have publicly expressed doubt as to whether Carson’s background qualifies him to lead HUD, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).”Although you have many accomplishments in the medical field, there is relatively little in the public record that reveals how you would further HUD’s mission to ‘create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all,” Warren wrote earlier this week in a letter to Carson, which included 35 questions about how Carson views the role of HUD Secretary.Carson responded to questions about his background, stating in the opening of the hearing, “Throughout my life, I have done things that many deemed impossible. I pledge to work with this Committee and the dedicated career staff at HUD to solve difficult, seemingly obstinate issues and address the needs of those who rely on the services provided by HUD.”He continued, “My life story is an example of can happen when we dedicate ourselves to improving the lives of others. Everyone deserves a shot at the American Dream, and I intend to fight for those who are still trying to reach their full potential.”Carson said he believed HUD is in a position to help heal America’s divisiveness, noting that “One of our biggest threats right now is this political division, racial conflict, and class warfare. It is ripping this country apart—we need to tamp down this animosity. As Jesus said and later Lincoln built on, ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand.’  I see HUD as part of the solution, helping ensure housing security and strong communities.”Dr. Ben CarsonMike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said, “Throughout his career, Dr. Carson has achieved a great deal of success. He has demonstrated a fervent intensity for improving the lives of his fellow Americans, and his intellect, leadership, and life experiences are unique, valuable assets for leading an agency like HUD. Dr. Carson has said he plans to continue his conversation with the American people and do a listening tour if confirmed. This is an encouraging sign that Dr. Carson wants to hear from stakeholders and, more importantly, from the American people.”President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of Carson, 65, a retired neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate, as HUD Secretary was surprising to some because Carson’s experience has been in the medical field rather than in housing or government. Having been raised in the inner city of Detroit, Carson is passionate about revitalizing urban communities.On the other hand, Carson has been critical of one of HUD’s key initiatives, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, which was finalized midway through Julián Castro’s two-and-a-half year tenure leading the Department.”Since 1968, HUD has been charged with ensuring that all people—regardless of race, ethnicity, or whether they have a disability—have fair and equal access to housing and that its grantees ‘affirmatively further’ this policy,” said Brown, Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee. “Here too, Dr. Carson has been critical.  In one of the few statements he has made on housing policy, he called into question more than four decades of civil rights law, and disparaged HUD’s efforts to reduce segregation as “social-engineering schemes” designed to “legislate racial equality.” Ben Carson HUD Secretary 2017-01-12 Seth Welborn Carson: HUD in Position to Heal Divisivenesscenter_img January 12, 2017 644 Views Sharelast_img read more

Black Knight Announces Servicing Analytics Suite

Black Knight Announces Servicing Analytics Suite

first_img Share in Data, Headlines, News According to the release, leveraging Black Knight’s extensive public records database that covers 99.9 percent of U.S. households, the solution provides servicers with seven standard critical lien-relates alerts: new loans recorded, property tax delinquency, foreclosure activity, ownership changes, value changes, lien status changes and ARM resets. Bankruptcy, involuntary liens and judgments, and MLS listings are also available to add.“The integration of Black Knight’s Servicing Analytics Suite within the MSP platform is unrivaled in the market, providing a unique, powerful solution designed specifically for servicing and portfolio management,” said Julian Grey, Mortgage Market Leader, Black Knight Data & Analytics. “The solution, which leverages our vast data assets and trading-quality analytics, delivers actionable loan-level metrics, and offers an array of benefits to help servicers effectively drive improved performance.” Black Knight Announces Servicing Analytics Suite October 16, 2017 569 Views Black Knight Financial Services’ Data & Analytics division recently announced its Servicing Analytics Suite, a solution that leverages three Black Knight analytics products to help servicers more easily identify portfolio risk and create effective loss mitigation strategies. The solution integrates with LoanSphere MSP, Black Knight’s comprehensive mortgage and home equity loan servicing system that is in use with more than 30 million loans in the U.S.According to Black Knight, the suite includes:Dialer Optimizer – Uses Black Knight’s proven behavioral models to risk-rank loans based on probability and severity of potential loss, as well as borrower historical payment pattern. Dialer Optimizer delivers a loan-level score to help servicers effectively prioritize their collections efforts by identifying the highest-risk borrowers so they can be contacted early, to comply with investor-collection guidelines and reduce loss.Prepayment & Default Scores – Provides loan-level default and prepayment probabilities, as well as loss given default, based on Black Knight’s proven predictive analytics, helping servicers quickly and efficiently identify risks in their portfolio. The scores can help with forecasting, loss reserving, retention and more.Lien Alert – Monitors loans and properties for key lien-related indicators and employs a push-notification approach to alert users, helping servicers identify early warning signs and proactively address at-risk loans. Black Knight 2017-10-16 Brianna Gilpinlast_img read more

Delving Deeper Into Data Protection

Delving Deeper Into Data Protection

first_imgMReport // How are you ensuring IndiSoft’s data is secure?                                                                            Devare // There are several ways we ensure our data is secure including requiring strong password login access to folders on our system and organizing data in separate categories so that needed folder permission can be assigned based on sensitivity of the data. We also encrypt some data so unauthorized users cannot access it. As discussed, proper data destruction is key so we employ rigid controls for it—instead of using the delete command, we always use secure data removal tools. In addition we do some basic things that some companies sometimes overlook such as using anti-virus, anti-malware protection, disabling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cameras when they are not being used and of course not downloading or installing apps from unknown sources. MReport // How will well-known hacks, such as with Equifax, impact consumers’ willingness to provide their data?                                                                                                                                                                                Devare // The Equifax data breach along with other breaches through retailers such as Target and Whole Foods has shown us just how vulnerable data can be. Consumers are willing to provide data when they trust an organization, however these recent data breaches have shaken customer confidence and are likely to affect how willing consumers are to provide data in future. Now more than ever companies need to take the federal and state data protection laws seriously.Mortgage professionals should learn that secure data storage and disposal is just as crucial as secure data collection. Data storage requires the appropriate secure control mechanism for complete protection and it can be achieved. Another important aspect of data protection is securely and completely destroying data from unused servers and computers. When a customer’s trust is lost, it is difficult to regain it in a short period of time. Therefore, it is important that mortgage professionals create and maintain trust around privacy, security, and data protection. In this month’s MReport cover story, Threat Assessment, we outlined the top five ways hackers are gaining access to sensitive data that not only comprises mortgage companies but consumers as well. Now, we are going beyond the pages to give you even more insight into this complicated topic by going straight to a respected expert in the field—Ramesh Devare, who manages security applications at IndiSoft. in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Technology MReport // In what ways is consumer data is being compromised?                                                                Devare // There are numerous ways consumer data gets compromised including when it is accessed by unauthorized users, is not disposed of securely, is handled improperly (not maintained in a secure enough environment) which leads to data leaks, and when computer hard drives are not properly erased before the equipment is retired. HOUSING Indisoft mortgage news Ramesh Devare 2017-11-10 Rachel Williamscenter_img Delving Deeper Into Data Protection November 10, 2017 649 Views MReport // What common mistakes do you see companies make in the way they secure their data?Devare // There are few common mistakes made in the way companies secure their data including:Inappropriate domain account set upUsing default password instead of setting up new passwordNot changing password regularlyNot having strong passwordSharing administrative password or privileges with othersSharing folders with others without setting up appropriate access permissionNot implementing complete solutions for data protection and encryptionNot setting up data retention and data disposal guidelines properlyComputers/servers not upgraded to latest technologyNot performing enough network and application vulnerability and penetration testingUsing old operating system versions, which does not provide enough protection for dataNot applying security patches timelyNot aware or follow recent security challengesNot testing network or access controls for negative scenariosNot reviewing wired and Wi-Fi network regularly for unauthorized access or loop holesNot reviewing and refining access control regularlyNot implementing needed data protection laws recommended by federal/state governmentNot implementing privacy, security, data protection and non-disclosure policiesTo learn more, be sure to read MReport’s November Data & Analytics issue, available now. Sharelast_img read more