Starwood caters to Indian guest

first_imgAs Indian traveller numbers continue to soar, Starwood adds a special touch. Image:commons.wikimedia.org With India set to triple its outbound travel to 30 million trips per year by 2020, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide are getting ready to launch a series of initiatives to meet the needs of visitors from India.At the Global Business Travel association Convention 2013, Starwood announced that it would be soon be rolling out new additions to their Starwood Personalised Travel program, offering a variety of simple yet meaningful touches specific to the Indian guest.Originally started in 2011 to accommodate the needs of Chinese travellers, the program will continue to expand over the next few years to cater to travellers from other rapidly expanding regions.As the second most populous country with 1.2 billion residents, India is experiencing a growing middle class with an increasing disposable income and appetite for international travel, making it one of the world’s fastest growing travel markets.“The anticipated surge in Indian outbound travel presents Starwood with a  tremendous opportunity to stand out from our competitors in how we welcome Indian guests and meet their needs,” Starwood sales organisation senior vice president Christie Hicks said.“As the largest operator of four and five star hotels in India, we have a loyal following among travellers within the country and no we’re focused on making them feel at home with our hotels across the globe.”Developed in partnership with Starwood’s India executive team, the program was created to meet the unique preferences of the Indian traveller and will include specific in-room amenities, familiar foods and customised wedding services.Currently Starwood’s fourth largest market, India will also soon see the opening of eight Starwood brands in the country, including Sheraton Greater Noida Hotel and W Mumbai. Source = ETB News; LBlast_img read more

Tourism Australia Updates

first_imgTourism Australia has reached five million Facebook fans, opened a new Aussie Specialist Program and are currently seeking new management to host the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE). Source = ETB News: P.T. The training tool has previously only been made available to travel sellers in key international markets but is now available to Australian-based ITOs, providing additional support and information. Australia’s national tourist bureau has solidified its status as the world’s most popular tourism destination page by amassing a global audience of five million Facebook followers. Tourism Australia is also seeking expressions of interest for the overall management of its annual national trade event, the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE), to commence post-2014. Social media has been incorporated into every marketing promotion (e.g. Best Jobs in the World) with future plans to integrate this popular form of consumer engagement into next year’s Food and Wine campaign. “The way we distribute and sell Australian tourism product is something we’ve been looking at closely in recent months, to see whether there are areas we can improve,” Mr McEvoy said.center_img Tourism Australia’s ambition to create the world’s largest social media team has advanced rapidly in recent years, with Facebook fans “who advocate our country on a daily basis sharing their photographs, experiences and dream Australian destinations,” Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said. The decision follows a recent review of Tourism Australia’s existing distribution activities, with one recommendation suggesting the option of outsourcing the management of future ATE events. ——— ——— Tourism Australia has also expanded its award-winning Aussie Specialist Program (ASP) to include Australia-based inbound tour operators (ITOs), in order to assist them to better sell Australia.last_img read more

Air NZ to be first to introduce newest Dreamliner

first_imgThe first scheduled route of the much-awaited Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will be from Auckland to Perth and will be in Air New Zealand livery, the Kiwi carrier has revealed. The announcement was made, rather aptly, at the official opening of Air New Zealand’s Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centre in Auckland which houses a Boeing 787-9 full cabin interior. Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia customers are able to book on the 787-9 service between Auckland and Perth for travel from 15 October 2014 at both airlines’ websites. The Kiwi carrier’s Auckland to Perth route will be operated as part of its trans-Tasman alliance with Virgin Australia. Source = ETB News: M.H. Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon confirmed the carrier will kit the Dreamliner out with 18 lie-flat seats in the Business Premier zone (in herringbone layout), 21 seats in the Premium Economy cabin, and two Economy cabins accommodating 263 passengers, including 14 Skycouch rows.   Following Auckland to Perth, the Dreamliner will then be rolled out on the Auckland to Tokyo and Auckland to Shanghai routes.last_img read more

Insurance giants partner with NZ tourism industry

first_imgJLT New Zealand Chief Executive Matthew Riddle, TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts and AIG New Zealand Chief Executive Mike Raines.The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA), the peak industry organisation for New Zealand’s tourism sector, has formally sealed its new Premier Business partnership arrangement with two of the world’s largest insurance organisations, AIG and JLT. JLT is a global insurance, risk consultancy and employee benefits specialist.TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts, JLT New Zealand Chief Executive Matthew Riddle and AIG New Zealand Chief Executive Mike Raines signed the agreement at an exclusive dinner for New Zealand tourism leaders ahead of yesterday’s sold-out 2015 TIA National Tourism Summit in Wellington.The new partnership establishes JLT and AIG as the preferred insurance and risk partners for TIA for the next three years. It will be key to supporting and shaping the tourism industry to remain competitive and responsive to global marketplace changes, Mr Roberts says.Since the partnership took effect on 1 August 2015, TIA members are already benefiting from the in-depth expertise and knowledge of the tourism industry that JLT and AIG can offer, with comprehensive insurance and risk services and solutions.“Tourism is enjoying a boom and the industry is committed to reaching our Tourism 2025 $41 billion growth target. Now more than ever, we need smart insurance solutions tailored for our tourism industry,” TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts said.JLT is in a position to leverage its in-depth knowledge of the tourism landscape and has invested in a dedicated tourism team to support TIA members, Chief Executive Matthew Riddle says.“We are focussed on building on our excellent relationship with TIA and we are thrilled AIG has joined us to support New Zealand’s tourism industry,” Mr Riddle said.AIG New Zealand Chief Executive Mike Raines says the company is partnering with TIA because it is keen for a deeper involvement with New Zealand’s fast-growing tourism industry.“AIG offers a comprehensive range of corporate and commercial insurance and risk management products and services. We want to help New Zealand tourism businesses capture today’s opportunities and look to the future with confidence,” Mr Raines said.Jeff Rutledge, CEO of AIG Travel, has recently been named Vice Chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council, adding to AIG’s depth of knowledge of the tourism industry. Learn more about JLT Learn more about AIGSource = Tourism Industry Association New Zealandlast_img read more

Samsung to become exclusive partner for MSC Cruises

first_imgSamsung to become exclusive partner for MSC CruisesMSC Cruises, announced today that it has entered into a strategic partnership with global technology leader Samsung. In connection with this breakthrough agreement, Samsung will fully equip all of MSC Cruises next-generation ships – from cabin TVs and public screens to specialized equipment in the ships’ medical centres.Starting with MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside, which will come into service in June and December 2017, respectively, the strategic partnership with Samsung will supply all new builds with digital solutions and devices, including among others:Visual displays: in-cabin flat screen HDTV’s, public screens and displays, ad hoc digital signage solutions like augmented reality mirrorsMobile solutions: smartphones, tablets and accessories for virtual reality and 360° digital experienceMedical equipment: expert technology for on-board medical centresPrinting solutions: in support of MSC Cruises’ business needsMSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato commented: “Samsung is the master of technology, and at MSC Cruises we have consistently shown our commitment to both cutting edge innovation and working with best-in-class partners that can support and further enhance the on-board experiences we offer our guests.”He added: “As well as being revolutionary in concept, design and marine architecture, the Meraviglia and Seaside generation ships mark a leap forward in terms of cruise ship technology. Equipped throughout with Samsung’s latest-technology products and solutions, they will make available to our guests the best of the next generation in smart ships at sea.”Samsung Italia President Carlo Barlocco said: “Samsung has always been committed in providing its technology to improve the quality of people’s lives and to support the competitiveness of companies. The partnership with MSC Cruises is an example of how our advanced solutions are able to enhance the passenger experience: not only monitors and tablets to access information and infotainment contents on board but also advanced medical equipment to support first aid in case of emergencies. This partnership, finally, allow Samsung and MSC to bring innovation to the whole cruise industry.” MSC CruisesSource = MSC Cruiseslast_img read more

Etihad Airways wins top airbus a380 accolade

first_imgEtihad Airways wins top airbus a380 accoladeEtihad Airways wins top airbus a380 accoladeAirbus, manufacturer of the A380 aircraft, has presented Etihad Airways with the award for ‘Top Operational Excellence’ for A380 operations in 2015-2016.The Etihad Airways A380 fleet recorded a remarkable 99.63 per cent operational reliability between January 2015 and October 2016, the highest of all 13 airlines which operate the Airbus A380 aircraft.Operational reliability is a standard international index measuring flight operations subject to delays or defects. High performance in this index verifies the operating capability of the airline and the priority given to maintenance and safety management.Jeff Wilkinson, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways Engineering, said: “Our entire team is totally focused on achieving the highest levels of reliability across our fleet. The A380 has been a fantastic addition to our fleet over the past two years and this award demonstrates excellence and the success of our ongoing close cooperation with Airbus.”The award was presented this week by Christian Fremont, Airbus Head of A380 Programme Support, at Airbus’s A380 Symposium in Munich, Germany.Etihad Airways has eight Airbus A380s in service, with two more scheduled for delivery. The aircraft operates from the carrier’s Abu Dhabi hub to Sydney, Melbourne, London, New York and Mumbai.About Etihad Aviation GroupEtihad Aviation Group (EAG) is a diversified global aviation and travel group comprising four business divisions – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways Engineering, Hala Group and Airline Equity Partners. The group has minority investments in seven airlines: airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, and Swiss-based Darwin Airline, trading as Etihad Regional.From its Abu Dhabi base, Etihad Airways flies to, or has announced plans to serve, 117 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. The airline has a fleet of 123 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, with 204 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787s, 25 Boeing 777Xs, 62 Airbus A350s and 10 Airbus A380s.Source = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more

Sultanate of Oman Tourism to close Australian office

first_imgSultanate of Oman Tourism to close Australian officeSultanate of Oman Tourism to close Australian officeCommencing June 30 2018, the Sultanate of Oman, Ministry Tourism will no longer have a local tourist office presence in Australasia due to a reprioritisation of global marketing efforts.Jacqui Walshe, Managing Director of The Walshe Group said “It has been a pleasure representing Oman for the last eight years.  Despite the closure of the tourist board office we are very pleased that we will be able to stay connected to this inspiring destination through our ongoing representation of Oman Air and are encouraged by the recent growth in sales for the airline from Australia.“We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to our industry and media partners who have supported Oman over this time.”Moving forward consumer information on Oman can be found on the Sultanate of Oman’s official website  http://experienceoman.om/Travel Agents will be able to continue to access the Oman training modules to qualify as an Oman Preferred Travel Agent. https://training.tourismoman.com.au/The Walshe Group will manage sales and marketing until June 30, 2018.  Trade enquiries to be directed to info@tourismoman.com.au and media enquiries to janaya@tourismoman.com.auSource = Sultanate of Oman, Ministry of Tourismlast_img read more

Sharat Dhall

first_imgThe much awaited Budget has turned out to be very friendly for the Aam-Aadmi but there could have been a bit more in it for the corporate sector. The proposal to increase the tax on ATF will result in increase in airfares and dampen air passenger growth which could have been a catalyst for economic growth. However, the focus on revamping roads and airports across the country is a positive move that should provide a fillip to infrastructure and the tourism sector as it will enhance connectivity to the smaller cities and encourage people to travel to unexplored destinations. Liberalisation in public transport and the government’s plea for private investors to contribute in refurbishing highways is also expected to create a positive ripple in the travel industry.last_img

A tour of Lisbon Portugal

first_imgSpread across steep hillsides that overlook the Rio Tejo, Lisbon has captivated visitors with its Roman and Moorish ruins, white-domed cathedrals, grand plazas lined with sun-drenched cafes. Source: World Travel Guideslast_img

Project Indywood to highlight the Film Tourism potential of Kerala

first_imgProject Indywood, worth $10 billion that also involves a tour package has been recently introduced by Indywood Film Tourism, titled ‘Travancore Treasures (Ananthavismayam)’ is set to turn Kerala into a Film Tourism hub. The main objective of Indywood consortium promoted by 2,000 Indian billionaires and corporates is to elevate Indian Film Industry to global platform in the next five years.The Rs 70,000 crore project aims at initiating 10,000 new 4K projection multiplex screens, 1,00,000 2K projection home cinemas, 8K/4K film studios, animation/ VFX studios and film schools on par with international standards.“Film and Tourism are an integral part of our life, culture and emotions. It integrates the nation irrespective of socio, economic, cultural and religious differences. We cannot imagine a day without film and tourism. Indywood intends to create a new market which is beneficial to the State by blending the immense potential of film and tourism sectors,” said Sohan Roy, Hollywood Director and Chairman cum CEO, UAE headquartered Aries Group.“Novel projects to augment Malayalam film industry and tourism are inevitable. Apart from identifying new markets, Malayalam film industry also should focus in framing innovative marketing strategies. Such projects will definitely accelerate the growth of the State. For instance, the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) is beneficial one. The Kerala Government will encourage projects, which blends the power of film and tourism,” said M Vijayakumar, Chairman, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC).The package offers a visit to prominent film tourism destinations in the city– dual 4K cinemas Aries Plex, Aries Vismayas Max Studio, Guinness Book of Records holder Aries Guinness Chundan, world’s longest steel-made snake boat, Magic Planet and shooting locations.last_img read more

Analysts Examine Bernankes Bet on Housing

first_img Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Ben S. Bernanke Federal Reserve Home Sales Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage-Backed Securities Processing Service Providers 2012-10-26 Krista Franks Brock in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Analysts Examine Bernanke’s Bet on Housingcenter_img October 26, 2012 395 Views As the “”Federal Reserve””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/ launches its QE3 monetary policy, some interpret the plan as a sign Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has “”gone ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├ï┼ôall in’ on the U.S. housing market”” and is clinging to hope the housing market can not only recover itself, but also restore the entire U.S. economy. This, at least, is the outlook of Global Markets Intelligence (GMI) Research. [IMAGE]The research firm suggests the Fed is turning to the housing market “”as the last, best hope”” for strengthening the overall economy and restoring “”healthy self-sustained economic growth,”” according to a GMI report released earlier this month. “”If QE3 does not work, we don’t think it’s much of a stretch to conclude that the U.S. financial system and economy is broken,”” GMI stated, faulting “”excess legacy indebtedness and excessive financial regulation”” as the culprits.[COLUMN_BREAK] As the Fed purchases $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month “”for an unspecified but extended period of time,”” GMI will watch vigilantly for signs of the plan’s success. The first sign would be a sharp increase in mortgage applications. Specifically, GMI will look for the Mortgage Bankers Association’s purchase composite index to rise above 200. “”If the Fed is successful in supercharging the fledgling recovery in housing, we should see the index exceed 200 in fairly short order, presumably by the end of the first quarter of 2013 at the very latest,”” GMI stated. Following an uptick in applications, GMI would expect to see existing home sales rise, perhaps above the five million mark. While the true outcome of QE3 remains to be seen, GMI suggests the “”potential value of housing as a catalyst for growth should not be underestimated.”” Sustained and measured growth in housing could lead not only to growth in real estate, finance and construction, but also bring improvement in raw materials and retail markets. GMI, however, remains mindful of the “”fiscal cliff,”” continuing to watch for possible evidence that “”political partisanship and expectations for Federal sequestration have rendered the Fed impotent in the contemporary socioeconomic climate.””last_img read more

Cassidy Turley Warns of Fiscal Cliffs Impact on CRE

first_img December 21, 2012 449 Views What does the commercial real estate sector have to look forward to in the coming year? Not much, if the fiscal cliff isn’t averted, according to a “”study””:http://www.cassidyturley.com/Portals/0/Research/Fiscal%20Cliff%20Report.pdf from commercial real estate (CRE) services provider “”Cassidy Turley””:http://www.cassidyturley.com/.[IMAGE]””Going over the fiscal cliff, and continuing to free-fall is an unlikely scenario, but from a real estate perspective, it’s potentially a devastating scenario,”” said Kevin Thorpe, Cassidy Turley’s chief economist.The firm’s baseline scenario assumes lawmakers will agree on a stopgap measure in late December or early January before the economy can take any serious damage. That measure will likely extend the Bush-era tax cuts (for some) and resume similar spending levels for a few months while lawmakers hash out a budget.Having said that, the firm projects a return to recession in 23 out of the 30 metros tracked for its study if the tax hikes and spending cuts aren’t scaled back.[COLUMN_BREAK]The biggest impact on the commercial real estate market would come from spending cuts for government contractors. “”Government contractors are a major tenant in many office markets across the country,”” Thorpe said. “”Sequestration is essentially an immediate 9 percent drop in revenues for the government contracting world. Contractors would invariably need to cut staff, which would create numerous holes in many real estate markets.”” According to Cassidy Turley’s study, the top 100 government contractors occupy a combined total of about 208 million square feet of office space in the United States. Under the sequestration scenario, those contractors would potentially shed 18.7 million square feet of office space as the government scales back spending on projects.While dropping over the fiscal cliff would likely cause some serious problems for CRE, the firm also predicts a successful resolution of the problem could build on 2012’s gains in GDP and employment, propelling the economy (and the office market) further forward. “”There is a positive script buried in here,”” Thorpe noted. “”If lawmakers can work it out, the U.S. economy appears poised to take the recovery the rest of the way. Real GDP of 2.5 percent for 2013 is attainable, and 3 percent or 4 percent in 2014 is not a stretch given the latest trends in the U.S. economy. Against such a backdrop, demand for office space could be 30 percent to 40 percent higher than it has been throughout this recovery. We just need policymakers to get it done.”” in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Commercial Real Estate GDP Investors Lenders & Servicers Politics Service Providers 2012-12-21 Tory Barringercenter_img Cassidy Turley Warns of Fiscal Cliff’s Impact on CRE Sharelast_img read more

PNC Reports Solid FirstQuarter Earnings

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News PNC Profits Quarterly Earnings 2014-04-17 Colin Robins PNC Financial Services Group released its quarterly earnings, reporting a net income of $1.1 billion, or $1.82 per diluted common share.The continued revenue growth was fueled by loan and deposit growth, well-controlled expenses, credit quality improvement, and seasonal trends, the group wrote in a financial release.”PNC had a successful first quarter—our fourth straight quarter with net income of $1 billion or more,” said William S. Demchak, president and CEO. “We grew loans and deposits, and we lowered expenses even as we continue to make investments across our businesses to enhance the customer experience and become more efficient. Based on the strength of our performance and balance sheet, we were pleased to announce plans to return more capital to our shareholders through a 9 percent increase in our quarterly dividend and reinstituted share repurchase programs.”Net interest income for PNC was a reported $2.2 billion for Q1 2014, which declined by $71 million (3 percent) compared to the previous quarter.Non-interest income decreased by $225 million to $1.6 billion, or 12 percent, compared to Q4 2013. The group found, “Lower benefit from release of reserves for residential mortgage repurchase obligations and first quarter seasonal declines impacted fee income.”Loans grew by 1 percent to $198 billion. Commercial lending, fueled primarily by real estate, corporate banking, and business credit, moved upward by 3 percent to $3.6 billion.The group found that consumer lending decreased by $1 billion, from “lower home equity, residential mortgage and education loans as well as seasonal declines in credit card loans partially offset by growth in automobile loans.” The group also reported that credit quality improved over the quarter. Residential mortgage non-interest income fell 41 percent, from $271 million to $161 million. PNC Reports Solid First-Quarter Earningscenter_img April 17, 2014 473 Views Sharelast_img read more

St Louis Fed Official Reviews Central Banks PostCrisis Economic Policies

first_img In a recently released white paper analyzing actions taken by the Federal Reserve in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, St. Louis Fed VP Stephen D. Williamson questions a few of the central bank’s policies and the effect they have had on the economy.In a section of the white paper titled “Unconventional Monetary Policy After the Great Recession,” Williamson covers three areas which he says comprised a program of “unconventional policy” by the Fed starting in 2009: The zero interest-rate policy (ZIRP); quantitative easing, or large-scale asset purchases; and forward guidance.Even though the Fed’s ZIRP is nothing new, since the interest rate on reserves during the Great Depression was zero, Williamson points out that it is unprecedented in post-1951 United States. He contends that the ZIRP period constitutes a “liquidity trap” in which reserves and Treasury bills are “essentially equal assets.” Williamson said that the zero interest rates enacted by the Fed in 2008 and are still in place have not had their intended effect on inflation. Instead, he said, “the relevant long-run determinant of inflation, in a nominal-interest-rate-targeting monetary regime, is the level of the nominal interest rate. Indeed, mainstream monetary theory and the experience of Japan for the last 20 years tells us that extended periods of ZIRP lead to low inflation, or even deflation.”It is possible, Williamson said, for the Fed to become permanently trapped in ZIRP because of the Taylor rule that dictates how much the Fed should raise rates in response to other economic conditions.”With the nominal interest rate at zero for a long period of time, inflation is low, and the central banker reasons that maintaining ZIRP will eventually increase the inflation rate,” Williamson wrote. “But this never happens and, as long as the central banker adheres to a sufficiently aggressive Taylor rule, ZIRP will continue forever, and the central bank will fall short of its inflation target indefinitely.”QE, which consisted of purchases of long-maturity Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities, has served to increase the Fed’s balance sheet by more than four-fold since before the crisis and substantially increase the average maturity of the Fed’s assets, according to Williamson. But while the Fed’s rationale for QE was articulated by then-chairman Ben Bernanke in 2012, Williamson said that the theory behind QE is “not well-developed.””Further there is no work, to my knowledge, that establishes a link from QE to the ultimate goals of the Fed inflation and real economic activity,” Williamson wrote. “Indeed, casual evidence suggests that QE has been ineffective in increasing inflation. For example, in spite of massive central bank asset purchases in the U.S., the Fed is currently falling short of its 2 percent inflation target.”Forward guidance was an attempt on the part of the Fed to provide more explicit information on policy statements instead of letting the central bank’s actions speak for themselves, according to Williamson. Like the ZIRP, however, Williamson says the Fed’s forward guidance may have had the opposite effect of what was intended.”If the playbook for the Fed’s forward guidance in the post-Great Recession period was supposed to have come from received macroeconomic theory, then it seems clear that the FOMC was not following instructions correctly,” Williamson wrote. “‘Extended period’ is far too vague to have any meaning for market participants; monetary policy rules should be specified as contingent plans rather actions to take place at calendar dates; ‘thresholds’ are meaningless if nothing happens in response to crossing a threshold. Thus, the Fed’s forward guidance experiments after the Great Recession would seem to have done more to sow confusion than to clarify the Fed’s policy rule.”To read the complete white paper, click here. August 18, 2015 486 Views St. Louis Fed Official Reviews Central Bank’s Post-Crisis Economic Policies Central Bank Economic Policies Federal Reserve Post-Crisis St. Louis Fed White Paper 2015-08-18 Seth Welborncenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Sharelast_img read more

CFPB DOJ Hit Hudson City With 25 Million Redlining Fine

first_imgCFPB & DOJ Hit Hudson City With $25 Million ‘Redlining’ Fine in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have taken action against Hudson City Savings Bank for discriminatory redlining practices, according to an announcement Thursday.Hudson City was accused of denying access to mortgage loans from residents that dwell in majority-Black-and-Hispanic neighborhoods. Additionally, the CFPB and DOJ also alleged that the bank illegally provided unequal credit access to neighborhoods in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.If the court approves the proposed consent order, Hudson City will pay the largest redlining settlement in history. The fines will include a $25 million in direct loan subsidies to qualified borrowers in the affected communities, $2.25 million in community programs and outreach, and a $5.5 million penalty.”It is apparent to everyone that discriminatory practices in the mortgage market undermine people’s ability to buy a home and build long-term wealth,” said Richard Cordray, CFPB director.He added, “Without access to affordable credit to buy or improve a home, without a mortgage broker nearby, without a bank branch to offer basic services, neighborhoods deteriorate in the long shadow cast by discriminatory practices. The integrity of the consumer financial marketplace is diminished.”According to the announcement, the bank was allegedly found in direct violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), which prohibits creditors from discriminating against applicants in credit transactions on the basis of characteristics such as race, color, and national origin.The DOJ also alleges that Hudson violated the Fair Housing Act.Hudson City apparently found branches and loan officers, selected mortgage brokers, and marketed products to that discouraged potential borrowers in Black and Hispanic communities.The complaint alleged that these discriminatory practices went on from at least 2009 to 2013.“Hudson City Savings Bank structured its business operations to systemically avoid providing credit services in predominantly minority neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey. “There is no room for such behavior in our banking system. In addition to paying $25 million for a loan subsidy program, today’s settlement agreement will require the bank to take a number of concrete steps to ensure that they improve access to responsible and affordable credit to qualified borrowers in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods.” The joint action alleges that Hudson City illegally avoided and thereby discouraged consumers in majority-Black-and-Hispanic neighborhoods from applying for credit by:Avoiding locating branches and loan officers in majority-Black-and-Hispanic communities.Avoiding using mortgage brokers in majority-Black-and-Hispanic communities.Excluding majority-Black-and-Hispanic communities from its marketing strategy.Excluding majority-Black-and-Hispanic neighborhoods from its credit in assessment areas.In addition to the aforementioned fines Hudson City must also:Offer full-service banking in majority-Black-and-Hispanic communities.Expand assessment areas to include majority-Black-and-Hispanic communities.Assess the credit needs of majority-Black-and-Hispanic communities.Develop a fair lending compliance and training plan.Click here to view the compliant filed in the U.S. District Court.Click here to view the CFPB and DOJ joint announcement. September 24, 2015 569 Views center_img Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Hudson City Savings Bank Mortgage Discrimination Redlining 2015-09-24 Staff Writer Sharelast_img read more

Home Values on the Rise in West Coast Cities

first_img November 25, 2015 849 Views Home Values on the Rise in West Coast Cities The best U.S. cities for watching home price inflation appear to be concentrated along the West Coast, a new report from data services firm Pro Teck says.Pro Teck released its Valuation Services Home Value Forecast (HVF) November update, which revealed that five of the markets featuring exceptionally high real estate values are located in California. Keeping with the West Coast trend, another four are located in Washington state, while one of the inflationary markets is located in Idaho.So where are prices at an all-time high? Pro Teck points to Bellingham, Washington; Portland, Oregon; San Jose, California; and Seattle.Meanwhile, Boise, Idaho, is forecasted to hit a new high by the first quarter of 2017, alongside Mount Vernon, Washington.Other markets dealing with healthy home prices include Modesto, Stockton, Sacramento, and Vallejo, California. Still, these California markets are not expected to reach the bubble-levels reached during the pre-real estate crash over the course of the next five years, Pro Teck says.”The first question people ask is whether there is a bubble on the horizon for any of these communities,” said Tom O’Grady, CEO of Pro Teck Valuation Services. “While there are many factors that can impact a ‘bubble’ one of the most important factors at Home Value Forecast is looking at home affordability via an affordability index.”Pro Teck evaluates bubble levels by studying an area’s median income and evaluating what type of mortgage payment is needed to purchase a median-priced home. Based on these findings, an index score is given and any score above 100 suggests the median income will cover the price of an average home in the area. Lower scores suggest a disparity between home prices and earnings, Pro Teck says.For example, San Jose and Stockton have scores around 70 and 120, respectively. Neither figure is indicative of a market that is too frothy.”San Jose and Stockton are examples of what we see for all of our top ten CBSAs – while home prices are increasing, affordability is at or above historic norms and nowhere near ‘bubble’ territory of 2004-2007,” O’Grady concluded. in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies, Newscenter_img Share Home Value Forecast Home Values Pro Teck 2015-11-25 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

The GSE Credit Scoring Debate To Be Continued

first_img Credit Scoring Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac GSE 2017-08-25 Brianna Gilpin August 25, 2017 559 Views The GSE Credit Scoring Debate: To Be Continued Sharecenter_img In a recent speech before The National Association of Real Estate Brokers’ 70th Annual Convention, Mel Watt, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), said the topic of alternative credit scoring models has been among the most difficult evaluations he’s undertaken during his tenure.Currently,  GSEs use the FICO credit scoring model, which some critics claim is outdated and less granular than more recent models. But Watt said in an early August statement that after evaluating, the FHFA deducted that short-term impact on access to credit wouldn’t be as significant as public discourse has implied. Watt also explained that the response FHFA has gotten from the industry suggests making any changes to the model before the Common Securitization Platform is fully operational and Fannie and Freddie have implemented single security in mid-2019, no change should be made.“Credit scores are only one factor the Enterprises use to evaluate loan applications and the Enterprises currently use the same or even greater levels of credit data in their underwriting systems as the credit scoring companies use,” Watt said. “All of this means that we have enough time and flexibility to get the additional input and information we believe will be important to making the right decision.”Equifax Inc., Experian Plc., and TransUnion founded VantageScore in 2006, a credit scoring model that some are saying could allow borrowers to gain more access to credit. However, in a statement to Bloomberg, Joanne Gaskin, FICO Senior Director of Product Management, said the model still wouldn’t derive an accurate score for borrowers who don’t have enough credit history and few consumers would meet loan requirements.“FICO is committed to helping consumers achieve sustainable homeownership,” Gaskin told MReport. “This is best accomplished by building the most predictive credit score so that responsible lending can occur.”Gaskin explained that the best way to safely expand access to credit is not by lowering standards, but seeking out new data sources to score consumers that are currently credit invisible. In regards to the allegations that FICO is dated, Gaskin said they support the testing and adoption of FICO Score 9.“[It’s] our most predictive score to date, by the GSEs and FHFA, which incorporates rental data in addition to the Telco and utility data which is considered by the FICO Score in use today,” Gaskin said. “We have not lowered our minimum scoring criteria as it weakens the predictive value of the FICO Score, which has been trusted by the industry over multiple market cycles.” in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Secondary Marketlast_img read more

22Day Landfalls of Captain Cook Sailing from Auck

first_img22-Day Landfalls of Captain CookSailing from Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia. Destinations include New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, PNG, Cairns, Townsville, Fraser Island, Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island. From AUD$9,499 per person, based on double occupancy. Departs 19 November 2018. 16-Day Isles of the Southern CrossSailing throughout the South Pacific. Destinations include Papeete, Society Islands, Cook Islands (Rarotonga and Aitutaki), American Samoa, Samoa, Fiji, Bay of Islands & Auckland in New Zealand. From AUD$7,000, per person, based on double occupancy. Departs 2 November 2018. Seabourn is excited to share official itineraries for its longer sailing options that include 18-Day Isle of Polynesian Parade, 16-Day Isles of the Southern Cross,22-Day Landfalls of Captain Cook and 36-Day Holiday Australian Exploration.18-Day Isles of Polynesian ParadeSailing from Los Angeles to French Polynesia. Destinations include Honolulu, Kawai, Lanai, Hawaii, Tabuaeran (Fanning Island) on Kiribati, Bora Bora and Papeete. From AUD$8,499 per person, based on double occupancy. Departs 15 October 2018. 36-Day Holiday Australian ExplorationSailing around Australia, destinations include Batemans Bay (NSW), Hobart, Port Arthur (TAS), Flinders Island, Phillip Island (VIC), Melbourne, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Port Lincoln (SA), Bunbury, Fremantle, Geraldton, Exmouth, Broome, Kuri Bay and Hunter River (all in WA), Darwin, Dili, East Timor, Komodo Island, Java and Bali in Indonesia, Singapore. From AUD$16,000 per person, based on double occupancy. Departs 11 December 2018.center_img IMAGE: Seabourn Sojourn cruiseluxurySeabournlast_img read more

MICE

first_imgMICE Hosted Buyer applications are now open for CINZ MEETINGS 2019 to be held in Auckland from 28 to 30 May 2019.CINZ Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says exhibitors and buyers can expect another stellar show, building on previous successes. Last year MEETINGS delivered $60 million in business transacted on the show floor.“We will see some new additions to the show as our exhibitors seek to stand out from the crowd in a variety of ways. It is the opportunity for large and small businesses to interact with the buyers both in the formal meeting setting and, of course, at our fabulous networking functions. We have over 100 exhibitors already signed up.”CINZ has teamed up with key destinations and principal sponsor, Air New Zealand to offer five limited-entry familiarisations for 52 Australian hosted buyers attending the 2019 event at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds.“This year, with the support of Air New Zealand and our regional convention bureaux, Australian buyers are being given the option to experience four different regions during the weekend prior to MEETINGS – Northland, Rotorua, Wellington and Queenstown. And for the first time, Christchurch’s new city will be showcased to hosted buyers post-MEETINGS,” she says.The ‘Christchurch Uncovered’ famil will follow MEETINGS on Friday 31 May. CINZ is partnering with Air New Zealand and ChristchurchNZ to bring 20 key Australian business events decision makers to Christchurch. Their day will include a visit to the newly refurbished Town Hall, and the opportunity to go onsite to view Te Pae, Christchurch’s new convention centre opening in late 2020.Fully hosted buyers receive their flights and accommodation in Auckland organised for them. New Zealand-based buyers who want one full day of appointments, can attend MEETINGS for the day, with domestic air travel and accommodation if required.Registration is free online. Applications close on 29 March 2019.last_img read more

Good news Lindley was roughed up on the play mea

first_imgGood news! Lindley was roughed up on the play, meaning the Cards keep the ball and pick up 15 yards. Who knew having your QB get hit late could be a good thing? William Powell, trying to make his case for a spot on the roster, has had trouble finding room to run. Couple that with some shaky pass protection (Lindley got absolutely crushed on one play) and you have a recipe for a stalled drive. Cards punt, Broncos take over 3:02 left in third quarterWilliam Powell returns the kickoff to the 20, add 15 yards for a facemask and the Cards begin at their own 35.Looks like the coaching staff wants to see what else Powell can do, and given that he’s on the roster bubble the more he can the better his chance of making the team. 3:48 left in fourth quarter End of first halfDefense comes up big again, sacking not-Manning/Osweiler to end the half. Cardinals lead 7-0 and yes, this game is as exciting as the score would indicate. 10:04 left in third quarterRichard Bartel puts a drive together but Jay Feely misses another field goal and the Broncos will take over on their own 40.Brock Osweiler is in the game at QB. He is very tall. Like, umm, 6-foot-7 or something like that. 4:55 left in second quarterLindley hits LaRon Byrd on a beautiful pass down the seam. The QB let the ball fly before the WR was even looking, trusting his guy to make the play. He did. Very nice. D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ 5:40 left in third quarterOsweiler’s pass is picked off by Crezdon Butler, who made a nice break on the ball to step in front of the receiver. The corner-on-the-bubble picks up 13 yards on the return and the Cardinals take over on their own 35. 1:50 left in fourth quarterFirst play is a 56-yard bomb from Lindley to Isaiah Williams. Ball was a little underthrown but still a very nice play. Cardinals have the ball at the Denver 13. 6:08 l eft in fourth quarterA little miscommunication between Lindley and Isaiah Williams leads to an interception, and the Broncos have the ball at the Arizona 29. While no one here wants the Cardinals to lose, I’m betting there is very little desire for this game to go into O.T. Take that how you wish. That’s it. Pretty uneventful half. Beginning of second halfAlright, Cards will get the ball and Bartel is in at QB. Some first half stats for your reading pleasure:Beanie Wells: 5 carries for 35 yardsRyan Lindley: 9/13 for 101 yards and 1 TD 8:14 left in fourth quarterOsweiler drives the Broncos down deep into Cardinals territory bur is stopped just short of the goal line on a third-down run. If only he was 6-foot-8 and not a shrimpy 6-foot-7. Pity.Broncos kick the field goal to tie things up here in Glendale. Why, John Fox, why? 6:34 left in first quarterRyan Lindley has the Cards driving, but they face a 3rd and 12 from the Denver 32. The rookie has been accurate throwing mostly short passes but hey, yards are yards.Beanie Wells is also running strong so far, a good sign given that he’s still working his way back from offseason knee surgery. Richard Bartel, who left with a shoulder injury, is questionable to return. Javarris James, who sprained his left knee, will not return.Both reports would be more accurate if they ended with “to the team.” Have a question or comment for Adam? Feel free to post it here or tweet Adam at @theAdamGreenGame OverPrater boots it through and this one is over. The Cardinals lose the game 16-13 and finish the preseason with a 1-4 record. Time to head downstairs to hear from Coach Whiz and the players. Comments   Share   What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke 14:47 left in first quarterNot-Peyton Manning and not-Brock Osweiler gets the start for Denver. That’s thrilling. 12:01 left in second quarterDefense looks good again, sacking non-Manning/Osweiler on third down. Cardinals take over on their own 35 after the punt, let’s see if Lindley can build off of that last drive. :07 left in fourth quarterSome QB named Weber just completed a long pass to some receiver named Orton. It’s good for 45 yards and now the Broncos are at the Arizona 23. Broncos look like they want to run one more play before kicking what promises to be a glorious field goal. :02 left in fourth quarterWeber kneels in the middle of the field for a loss of three yards. It was done to try to make this kick a little easier. 1:57 left in first quarterCardinals pick up a first down but then Lindley is picked off going deep to Michael Floyd. Pass wasn’t deep enough, so… 12:15 left in first quarterCardinals give up some yards but end up forcing the punt. Cardinals at their own 20, let the Ryan Lindley era begin! 15:00 left in first quartercenter_img Prater on to attempt the 44-yard field goal. He makes it, Broncos win. He misses it, we all lose. 2:01 left in fourth quarterCardinals force a punt, and a fair catch interference penalty gives the Cards an extra 15 yards on the play. They’ll start their drive at the 31, needing a field goal to tie and a touchdown to win. Guess what we’re all rooting for. 6:19 left in second quarterCardinals back at it on offense after forcing another punt. Lindley still under center, Powell still behind him. 3:28 left in third quarterDrive ends with a 42-yard Jay Feely field goal, making him 1-for-3 on the night and giving the Cardinals a 10-0 lead. Nine more quarters like this and the Cards may match ASU’s first-half total from over in Tempe. 5:49 left in first quarterLindley completes pass to Jeff King, who is stopped short of the first down. Jay Feely can’t connect from 40 yards out, and the Broncos get the ball back.I feel like people would be more upset with that missed FG if the game actually meant something. Moving on… 6:47 left in third quarterOsweiler picks up some yards with his legs, giving this Wildcats fan flashbacks of that awful territorial cup game in 2010. He then hits Gerrell Robinson with a pass, giving Sun Devil fans flashbacks of that awful finish in 2011. Sunrise, sunset. 4:01 left in third quarterBartel makes a great throw to Isaiah Williams for 50 yards, but is injured a few plays later. Lindley is back in at quarterback so yeah, that’s that.It’s 3rd and 15 from the Denver 18. :52 left in fourth quarterA trio of incomplete passes lead to the Cardinals settling for a 35-yard field goal and the tie. Given where the series began, that result would be upsetting enough. Given that it leaves this overtime game tied at 13 with just under one minute to go and, well, upsetting doesn’t quite sum it up.Really Whiz? The Broncos won the coin toss and will receive. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re inching closer to real football. 14:14 left in second quarterWe have a touchdown! Lindley avoids the rush, moves in the pocket and delivers a…ummm…good enough pass to Michael Floyd for the 22-yard TD. Rookie-to-rookie connection, Floyd makes the jugging catch between defenders. Nice. 4:11 left in first quarterCards defense comes up strong and forces the punt. Lindley and co. out for round two. End of first quarterLindley completing passes, Wells running strong…Arizona Cardinals, this is your offense! OK, maybe not (yet), but it is nice to see a Cards QB get enough protection to be able to stand in the pocket and deliver the football. You think Seattle will leave its first stringers on the bench in Week 1? Top Stories Still 3:13 left in third quarterRefs say the play stands as called, which means there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it. They probably got this wrong but whatever, it’s preseason. Good for the ASU kid.PAT makes the score 10-7 Cards. 10:04 left in second quarterLindley couldn’t build off the drive. 3:35 left in second quarterThat great pass was about the last good thing to happen on that drive. Lindley throws incomplete on third down (probably a good thing, would have gotten his receiver killed), and the Cards punt. Broncos take over deep in their own territory. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation 9:00 to kickoffAlright folks, it’s time for another season out of me. Here at University of Phoenix Stadium for the first time since last season (unless you count Fan Fest), and excited for some football.OK, maybe not. Being that this is the fifth preseason game and neither Kevin Kolb nor John Skelton are expected to play tonight, tonight may have little intrigue.That said, there are still guys fighting for roster spots and it will be interesting to see how they fare. Very light crowd so far, I figure everyone else is in Tempe to watch the Sun Devils take on the Lumberjacks.Anyway the Cards are set up to run out of the tunnel and through the inflatable Cardinal thingy, so it’s about time to get this thing started. 4:25 left in fourth quarterDefense does a good job and forces the Broncos into kicking a 43-yard field goal. Matt Prater (who this guy has on one of his fantasy teams) boots it through to give the Broncos a 13-10 lead. End of the third quarterThe Broncos have the ball as we end the third quarter. Over the last 15 minutes we saw a field goal for the Cardinals, a touchdown for the Broncos, and a couple of Cardinals injuries. Cardinals get a good kick return from Powell but drive stalls. Lindley throws incomplete on three straight passes, nearly picked on a couple of them. Looks like he doesn’t want OT, either. That Lindley, what a guy! 3:13 left in third quarterFormer ASU star Omar Bolden returns the ensuing kickoff 102-yards for the score, but appears to have stepped out of bounds along the way. All scoring plays are reviewed so there is a good chance this one will come back. :53 left in second quarterCardinals D holds and forces Broncos to punt. Ball spotted at the Arizona 18, but with two timeouts the Cards may try to do something.Wait, check that. Lindley completes a pass to Demarco Sampson (former San Diego State teammate), who fumbles the ball. Broncos recover at the Arizona 21. Oops. Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more