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ASEAN Air Liberalisation Is it really ready for takeoff

first_imgThe report shows that, if uninhibited, low cost carrier (LCC) networks expand rapidly and create “new markets, new destinations and new economies”.  This has been seen clearly in Germany, Spain, and the USA – but only to a degree in the ASEAN countries of Southeast Asia, despite the region being a new tourism hotspot. Europe’s LCC networks, by comparison, with almost complete deregulation grew at a similar pace – despite having stagnant or slow moving economies and a static middle class. “Liberalisation not only meets the needs of the middle class – it fuels it,” says the report. The authors, Carolyn Childs of MyTravelReserach.com and Chris Flynn of PATA, show that there was rapid growth in ASEAN’s LCC network after 2004 when AirAsia started to take advantage of partial deregulation. However, that growth was largely driven by “growing economies and an expanding middle class.”  The authors argue that if ASEAN creates a truly single aviation market the benefits will flow far beyond tourism. That is the argument put forward in a new joint report by MyTravelResearch.com and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), entitled, “ASEAN Tourism and Air Liberalisation – Really Ready for Take-Off?” “By learning from other successful deregulated markets and the processes put in place to ensure the implementation dates [for liberalisation] are met, ASEAN has the potential to massively expand its economic growth potential sooner rather than later,” says the report. The authors argue: “It is now time to begin simplifying the processes that are providing burdensome in the successful implementation of  the ASEAN single aviation market plan.” In USA and Europe, LCC networks today are used extensively by small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) business travellers and women. Both groups would take to the air more in ASEAN countries if there were robust deregulation in the region. Source = MyTravelResearch.com Policy makers in ASEAN who are seeking to create an integrated economic community by the end of 2015 should learn from successful case studies, they say. If ASEAN nations of Southeast Asia had fully implemented air liberalisation over the last 15 years, the growth in aviation would have been greater and the economic benefits even more widely distributed.last_img read more

Game changer for the hotel industry

first_imgSince January 2015, due to organic growth and partnerships the number of hotels live on RoomAuction.com website has grown from 250 to over 55,000 and the website traffic has increased more than 10 times.For many travellers RoomAution.com is a great way to save money. Using the site you can put a bid for the room of any chosen hotel with a bidding feature and travel for less. The new booking concept helps to spend less money for accommodation. The average bid is asking for 25-35% discount, but there are situations where hotels are accepting even 50% discounts.Boleslaw Drapella, as a former manager at two UK hotels and nowadays a CEO of RoomAuction.com comments: “Some people may think that RoomAuction.com is based on auction and can compare it with eBay, but at eBay you are auctioning up from a set price, you are placing bids higher and higher until the end of an auction time. At RoomAuction.com we are showing rack rates of our member hotels and potential guests are placing their independent booking offers. The hotel decides to accept or decline the offer. This is as simple as that”.How did it all start? “The inspiration to create RoomAution.com came from the need to fill rooms in my hotel, at the same time trying not to show how low we would be able to go with the room rate, so that would not undercut other well performing channels” – explains Drapella.RoomAuction.com works for both sides.Hoteliers most of all appreciate the flexibility of the system and the ease of its operation. No need for frequent updates, room allocation or closeouts. Flexibility to accept or decline each offer makes RoomAuction.com a good partner to member hotels. Hoteliers like it a lot, especially when they compare it to biggest OTA’s standards and practices. Since this is all about private negotiations, hotels can go with their rates lower than the Best Rates Guaranteed required by other OTA’s. That gives hotels a level of flexibility which is not available via other channels. And for the guests a chance to pay less by choosing their hotel and not the competitors’ one. This is a game changer for the hotel industry!Source = RoomAuction.comlast_img read more

From Yoga class to onthego excursions

first_imgFrom Yoga class to on-the-go excursionsFor anyone who appreciates high-quality and well cut yoga wear, Six Senses is delighted to announce a range of exclusive designs created in collaboration with Ana Heart of London. A small, bespoke brand renowned for their hip and chic design approach with great attention to detailing, Ana Heart also met the Six Senses criteria of sustainable manufacturing practices.The collection, which is technically yoga clothes with exceptional cuts, is functional and comfortable, distinctly feminine and with an edgy twist. The eco-friendly fabrics nicely complement the designs to move effortlessly with the body and make every body-shape drop-dead gorgeous. And due to the simplicity of style and color palette they are as trendy in a yoga class as they are as essentials of a stylish on-the-go wardrobe.The fabrics are nothing short of amazing. Lyocell is sustainable and with great moisture absorption ability, representing a milestone in the development of environmentally benign textiles. It starts life as wood pulp and with the magic of nanotechnology in an award-winning closed-loop process that recovers or decomposes all solvents emissions becomes a luxurious fabric that is biodegradable and crease resistant.Cotton supima has such a soft hand that it is referred to as the cashmere of cottons. Strong and able to carry color brilliance, it is grown on furrowed rows where it can be closely regulated to make it the highest quality cotton available. Suplex & Quick Dry is a fiber quality developed especially for Ana Heart’s leggings and bras. It offers softness with amazing tension without discomfort and guarantees a dry, supportive experience during yoga practice.The collection has been designed in three colors created especially for Six Senses: charcoal, white and indigo. The garments are sized from small to extra-large and comprise a comprehensive selection of pieces from racer and strappy bras to a choice of tanks, ballet leggings and sweatpants. Five entirely new and exclusive takes are a wrap top, a see-through sleeved and laced top, a top with waist-tie, leggings also with a waist tie and a sweater with laced shoulders and side vents.According to Amanda Ibgui, cofounder of Ana Heart, “Each piece has a small but distinctive touch of gold or silver-colored thread embroidery that stands for each woman’s individuality, for her inner light. This somewhat discreet detail is like a little secret sign, a reminder to be kind to oneself.” As a special treat, the range also includes a cotton tote-cum-yoga bag that is made for carrying everything a woman needs – smartphone, keys, makeup, a book and a bottle of water.Currently the Six Senses Yoga Line by Ana Heart, which is produced in Europe, is available at nine spas; Six Senses Douro Valley, Six Senses Laamu, Six Senses Yao Noi, Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Six Senses Spa Courchevel, Six Senses Spa Doha at Sharq Village, Six Senses Spa Koh Kood, Six Senses Spa Kunfunadhoo, Six Senses Spa Marbella and will be rolled out across the remaining spas this year. Six Sensesfor more information, visitSource = Six Senseslast_img read more

TripAdvisor uncovers Australias top wine tours and trends

first_imgTripAdvisor uncovers Australia’s top wine tours and trends TripAdvisor®, the travel planning and booking site, today unveiled Australia’s Top 10 wine tours, based on booking data from the past four seasons.The data, which dates back to 2015, has underlined some key trends in Australia’s contemporary wine-scene, including:Victoria is the country’s most popular state for a wine tour, with three entries in the Top 10But South Australia is home to Australia’s #1 most booked wine tour overallQueensland has emerged onto the wine-tour map for the first time, with the Mount Tamborine Wine and Winery Tour now amongst the top 10 booked tours in the countryNew South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania are also represented With over 140,000 bookable tours and activities around the world on TripAdvisor Experiences, it’s a one-stop destination for planning all of your travel activities. From traditional sightseeing to food and wine tours, day trips, and local experiences, travellers can find it all on TripAdvisor Experiences.Top 10 Australian bookable winery tours for 20181. Small-Group Barossa Valley Food and Wine Tour, South AustraliaSpend a day in the Barossa Valley on this wine and food tour from Adelaide. Home to some of South Australia’s most renowned wineries, the region also produces countryside culinary delights like cider, baked goods and jam. Tour-goers will visit both big and small wineries, including TeAro Estate, for tastings of varietals like shiraz, plus check out local businesses like Maggie’s Farm Shop and enjoy a two-course lunch with wine at Lambert Estate. This tour is limited to 20 people with a guide, who shares information about winemaking in the region. From AUD $149.2. Mount Tamborine Wine and Winery Tour from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, QueenslandDiscover the boutique wineries of Mount Tamborine on a full-day tour from Brisbane or the Gold Coast. The wine-savvy guide takes you to some of Queensland’s best local wineries for tastings of award-winning wines and a gourmet two-course winery lunch. If the schedule allows, guests can stop to sample locally made liqueurs, spirits, cheese and fudge. Numbers are limited to 12 people on this small-group tour, which allows for a more intimate experience. From AUD $155.3. Swan Valley River Cruise and Wine Tasting Day Trip from Perth, Western AustraliaExplore the Swan Valley on two modes of transportation — river cruise and coach tour — during this full-day excursion from Perth. With all transportation provided, there’s no need to worry about a driver as attendees taste their way through the valley’s best vineyards, while sitting back and enjoying the scenery on a peaceful river cruise featuring morning tea. Guests are then transferred to a coach for wine, beer, and chocolate-tasting stops. From AUD $150.4. Moorilla Estate Winery Tour Including Wine Tasting, Lunch and Mona Admission, TasmaniaSpend the day at Moorilla Estate for a unique Tasmanian winery experience that includes world-class art. Guests start with a ferry ride and admission to MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art), known as much for its underground labyrinth-like architecture as for its art collection. Then enjoy a seasonal lunch, followed by a tasting and behind-the-scenes tour at Moorilla Estate, which has continued to make ‘best of’ lists since it opened in 2011. From AUD $165.5. Gourmet Vineyard Lunch and Yarra Valley Winery Tour from Melbourne, VictoriaDiscover the delicious wines and food of the Yarra Valley on a full-day tasting tour from Melbourne. Enjoy a guided tour of Domaine Chandon followed by a glass of wine and appetisers. Continue to De Bortoli Wines for further tastings, then enjoy a two-course lunch while taking in the Yarra Valley’s incredible views. Guests can also check out the grounds, shops and art exhibits at the wineries during their tour. From AUD $128.6. Small-Group Hunter Valley Wine and Cheese Tasting Tour from Sydney, New South WalesAn ideal tour for wine lovers and foodies, this tour allows guests to spend the day visiting boutique wineries, local cheese makers and learning about the Hunter Valley’s thriving food scene, while sampling up to 20 wine varieties. From AUD $145.7. Barossa Valley Wineries Tour with Tastings from Adelaide, South AustraliaThe Barossa Valley is one of the most popular wine-tasting destinations from Adelaide, and this tour covers lots of ground there, visiting four wineries in one day. Discover the secrets of Barossa Valley wine during guided tastings, savour a delicious winery lunch and visit attractions such as the Whispering Wall and Mengler Hill Lookout. From AUD $139.8. Yarra Valley Wineries and Puffing Billy Steam Train Tour from Melbourne, VictoriaEmbark on a full-day adventure through the forests, mountains, and vineyards of Victoria. Enjoy tea and birdwatching in the Dandenong Ranges, and cruise through a verdant landscape aboard the historic Puffing Billy steam train. Discover the vineyards of the Yarra Valley as you sample premium regional wines at wineries cellar-door tastings. Plus, upgrade to include a gourmet lunch with wine pairings. From AUD $175.9. Hunter Valley Gatherer’s Full-Day Food and Wine Tour, New South WalesDay-long winery excursions are more fun without having to worry about driving. Visit at least four wineries for tastings and a vineyard tour, plus stop at a craft brewery for good measure. Also, sit down to a vineyard picnic lunch and pair wines with local cheese, chocolate, olives, berries, and more. This tour includes hotel pick-up and drop-off. From AUD $175.10. Experience Yarra Valley: Beer, Cider, Wine and Food from Melbourne, VictoriaIndulge in the culinary delights of the Yarra Valley on this full-day food and wine tour. Learn about regional wines at two boutique wineries, and visit a local brewery to taste tap beer and cider kegs. Plus, satisfy your sweet tooth with samples of handmade chocolates and ice cream at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice-Creamery. Passengers cruise through the beautiful valley aboard a mini-coach equipped with storage space for cooler boxes for any food and wine purchases along the way. From AUD $135.All prices accurate as of 29.11.18.Source = TripAdvisor®last_img read more

AirAsia unveils AI chatbot

first_imgAirAsia AVAAirAsia unveils AI chatbotAirAsia today unveiled a website and mobile app facelift, including a chatbot named AVA (AirAsia Virtual Allstar) powered by artificial intelligence.The updates are designed with guests in mind, and are aimed at delivering a more seamless, user-friendly experience to airasia.com and the app’s 3.3 million monthly active users, from flight bookings to browsing for deals to online shopping and customer support.New features include:New homepageNew comprehensive homepage designed for easier and faster navigation, including upcoming flight notice, search shortcut and recent searches, links to the best hotels, travel, duty-free shopping and activity deals, recommended destinations and link to BigPay, AirAsia’s money app.AVA chatbotMeet AVA, an AI chatbot available on the new live chat feature to respond to guest inquiries instantly. AVA currently speaks eight languages – English, Bahasa Malaysia, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Vietnamese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. AVA was built by the AirAsia Software Engineering and Technology (AASET) and Customer Happiness team using technology from Ada, a Toronto based company that specialises in AI-powered customer experience.New flight search with mapiOS users can now choose where to go using an interactive map that pinpoints all AirAsia’s destinations in a single page. This feature is the first among airline apps.Combined Station PickerA first among airline apps, iOS users can now select the nearest departure and arrival airports and filter by number of stops and flight duration.Voice assistantiOS users can now also check their upcoming flight status simply by asking Siri. To use this feature, just click the “Add to Siri” button under Flight Itinerary or My Bookings.FACES enrollmentGuest may now enroll to AirAsia’s Fast Airport Clearance Experience System (FACES) on their mobile app to clear security and board their flight seamlessly. Just click on My Account and My FACES to take a 5 seconds video of your face.More featuresOn top of that, guests can search for the lowest fares using the Low Fare Calendar, which has been integrated in the app, earn and pay using BIG Points and enjoy instant member discounts when they log in.AirAsia Deputy Group CEO (Digital, Transformation and Corporate Services) Aireen Omar said, “We are excited to welcome the new year with our new-look website and app that features AI and boasts a better, faster, more intuitive experience. We are always working to enhance our guest experience, and we will be adding more mobile app features in the months to come so it is no longer just a flight booking platform, but your complete travel companion. We encourage new users to download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play to experience these features for themselves.”AirAsia mobile app users can enjoy 19% off bookings made via the app from 28 January to 3 February 2019 for travel between 1 August and 30 November 2019* by entering the promo code MOBILE19.For the latest AirAsia news, activities and promotions, follow AirAsia on Twitter (twitter.com/AirAsia),  Facebook (facebook.com/AirAsia) and Instagram (instagram.com/AirAsia).*Terms and conditions apply.Source = AirAsialast_img read more

Bahamas introduces newest wedding trend

first_imgThe Islands of The Bahamas have long been synonymous with destination weddings and dream honeymoons, and with their new dedicated bridal and honeymoon registry they are further cementing this relationship. This new, complimentary Bahamas Wedding and Honeymoon Gift Registry website (Bahamas.com/Registry) is the perfect tool to help those planning a destination wedding or honeymoon, and would prefer the gift of lifelong memories over traditional registry gifts many couples do not need today.The new Bahamas Wedding and Honeymoon Gift Registry offers bridal couples the opportunity to register for a free account where they will be able to create a honeymoon or destination wedding registry. The registry will include a ‘Wish List’ of the items and activities for their honeymoon, where guests, families and friends will purchase portions of their honeymoon as wedding gifts.“Wedding couples are able to list anything they want to do on their honeymoon – contributions to nights at their hotel or resort, sightseeing excursions that can be booked through the concierge, romantic dinners, spa treatments – with The Bahamas the list is endless of what there is to discover,” said Freda Malcolm, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Director of Romance.last_img read more

Global LGBT Travel Survey launched by WTM and Out Now

first_imgA global survey is to measure the tourism industry’s attitudes and strategic approaches to the LGBT travel market. The first ‘Global LGBT Travel Industry Survey’ is being undertaken by Out Now in collaboration with long-term strategic partner World Travel Market (WTM).World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press said, “World Travel Market has been a long-term supporter of the global development of LGBT tourism in partnership with Out Now…2015 is our 10th year of collaborating together and we are delighted to work on this new industry-wide initiative with Out Now to shine light onto this important part of the global travel business.”Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now said the new tourism industry research is both important and timely. “We have known for more than two decades what the metrics of LGBT travel are from the consumer side, but not from the industry’s perspective,” Johnson stated. “The tourism industry has evolved dramatically in recent years with more destinations, hotels, airlines, agents, and other industry players wanting to engage with LGBT travel. What is needed though is a better understanding of how the industry views this market and what is needed by the industry to better engage with this group of travellers. We will be measuring a range of factors to gain insight as to what is driving the development of the LGBT travel segment such as key success factors, staff training, media usage, total spend, barriers to entry and future trends. This research will be an important asset for the industry and we are delighted to work with WTM to bring this new study to market.”Findings from this first ‘Global LGBT Travel Industry Survey’ will be analysed and presented in the seminar programme during World Travel Market in London this November as part of the ‘Welcome.LGBT Tourism Marketing Masterclass’ by Out Now.last_img read more

Tourism Australia and Expedia join forces to promote Australian tourism

first_imgTourism Australia and the Expedia group have signed a multi-million dollar three-year marketing partnership aimed at developing campaigns and content to increase international travel to Australia.The three-year Memorandum of Understanding represents the first formal agreement which Tourism Australia has entered into with a global online travel agency.Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, said the new commercial agreement was a deliberate move to focus on strategic partnerships which increased travel bookings and drove yield.“Expedia is one of the world’s leading travel companies with 20 years’ experience of generating travel sales. It is this expertise and impressive track record we are excited to be tapping into through this exciting new partnership.“Our research shows that our target customers are increasingly turning to online travel agencies when it comes to booking travel which makes Expedia an ideal conversion partner, particularly from our recently revamped australia.com website,” O’Sullivan said.“Partnerships are critical to Tourism Australia in terms of us increasing our customer reach, providing cut-through for our destination messaging and, ultimately, making it easier for consumers to plan, book and buy quality Australian tourism products.”“Through our strategic co-operative partnership with Tourism Australia, we look forward to creating collaborative campaigns with our Expedia brand around the world to raise awareness and inspire more visitors to experience the natural beauty, unique cuisine, wonderful wine and so much more that Australia has to offer,” said Noah Tratt, Global Senior Vice President, Expedia Media Solutions.The first year of the agreement will focus on major campaign activity in the U.S. and UK, two of Australia’s highest volume and highest spending markets. Marketing activities will be extended to additional markets over the course of the three year deal.O’Sullivan said that the partnership would extend beyond marketing to also include shared reporting on consumer insights and data analytics.last_img read more

Westin Hotels Resorts announces responsible wellbeing initiative

first_imgWestin Hotels & Resorts announced the launch of Project Rise: ThreadForward, an unprecedented sustainability program that collects, processes and reweaves hotel bed linens transforming them into thousands of pairs of children’s pajamas. The first-of-its-kind pajamas will be distributed to children in need, whose circumstances can contribute to shortened and more fragmented sleep.Beginning April 16, Westin will give the gift of better sleep beyond the brand’s hotels, in cities around the world – from New York and Toronto to Mexico City and Cape Town, and will encourage guests to support by purchasing a pair of pajamas on the Westin store’s website to benefit the program.“As people integrate wellness into their lifestyle more holistically on the road and at home, giving back has increasingly become important to their overall sense of well-being,” said Brian Povinelli, SVP and Global Brand Leader, Westin Hotels and Resorts. “Wellness is in the Westin brand’s DNA, and Project Rise: ThreadForward is evidence that we can empower the well-being of our guests and associates as well as make a difference in the communities around us.”last_img read more

New Bill May Extend Conforming Loan Limits

first_img in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing New Bill May Extend Conforming Loan Limits On Monday lawmakers introduced a bill in Congress that would extend the current conforming loan limits for another two years ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a deal that could potentially continue federal insurance for homeowners with high conforming jumbo loans.[IMAGE]Rep. John Campbell (R-California) and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-New York) co-sponsored the bill, titled the Conforming Loan Limits Extension Act, which would fix the limit for jumbo loans backed by GSEs “”Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com/kb/index?page=home and “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ and the “”Federal Housing Administration””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/fhahistory (FHA) at $729,750. The bill has been sent to the “”House Committee on Financial Services””:http://financialservices.house.gov/, which anticipates holding a hearing before October, when the limits will expire.””Housing makes up one sixth of the American economy and is a key component to our economic recovery,”” Campbell said in a statement. “”H.R. 2508… will ensure that qualified homebuyers in this country continue to have access to the financing they need at a time when there are few alternatives. This will not only help to stabilize home prices, but would also provide for continued recovery in the broader economy.””Concerned that lower loan limits would dampen mortgage loan availability across the country and force consumers to shoulder the costs, numerous trade and industry associations continue to petition Congress over the issue, according to “”_Reverse Mortgage Daily_””:http://reversemortgagedaily.com/2011/05/31/future-of-hecm-loan-limits-under-review-says-hud/. A HUD report issued in May said that loan limits would likely decline in 669 counties across the country, should Congress fail to extend the limits.[COLUMN_BREAK]””The housing market does not need a self-inflicted wound,”” “”_Reverse Mortgage Daily_””:http://reversemortgagedaily.com/2011/05/31/future-of-hecm-loan-limits-under-review-says-hud/ reports Ackerman as saying. “”With the economy remaining fragile and the housing sector still struggling to recover, now is not the time to make the cost of mortgages more expensive.””Questions linger among industry and trade associations about whether the banking industry has the capital ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô or the will ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô needed to sop up a deluge of homeowners suddenly lacking in federal insurance.””There’s not a banker in the world who wouldn’t love to pass his risk onto someone else,”” says Mark Calabria, the conservative-leaning “”Cato Institute’s””:http://www.cato.org/ director of financial regulation studies and a former “”Senate Banking Committee””:http://banking.senate.gov/public/ staffer who advocated against the limit raise in 2008. He criticizes lawmakers for making the decision to raise the limits in the first place, calling it an attempt to funnel federal funds back to voting constituents.When the limit changes “”go down, who is going to be making the loans from $625,000 and up?”” asks Shannon Faries, a business development manager at “”Harbor Lending””:http://harbor-lending.com/. “”A lot of private lenders are not going to touch these loans”” if Congress fails to extend the upper limits.””Until there is a larger secondary market,”” he adds, “”there is not going to be any big expansion on the jumbo loan front or anyone to service these over the $625,000 mark. There is no lender that would hold a loan that amount without having someone to sell a jumbo loan to. No one will want these.””Others, such as Scott Sheldon, a loan officer with California-based “”Sonoma County Mortgages””:http://www.sonomacountymortgages.com/, see extensions by Congress as a done deal waiting to happen.””I think they’re going to extend the loan limits and keep them in place the way they are,”” Sheldon says. “”If there’s less mortgage volume, it won’t help the housing sector. [Officials] would shoot themselves in the foot. That’s why I think they’re”” going to extend the limits. “”The economy is too unstable to do something like that,”” he adds. Agents & Brokers Fannie Mae FHA Freddie Mac HUD Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers The Cato Institute 2011-07-19 Ryan Schuettecenter_img July 19, 2011 470 Views Sharelast_img read more

OCC Volcker Rule Will Cost Banks 1B to Comply

first_img October 28, 2011 412 Views OCC: Volcker Rule Will Cost Banks $1B to Comply Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Dodd-Frank FDIC Federal Reserve Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers OCC Processing Proprietary Trading Service Providers Underwriting Standards Volcker Rule 2011-10-28 Ryan Schuette Sharecenter_img The recently proposed Volcker Rule will sap nearly $1 billion in revenue from the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós banks as lenders spend more time, resources, and manpower complying with regulations, according to a recent government study.[IMAGE]The “”Office of the Comptroller of the Currency””:http://www.occ.treas.gov/ (OCC) estimated that the draft rule will result in expenditures totaling $100 million for state, local, and other governments.Bryan Hubbard, a spokesperson for the OCC, declined to comment for the story.The Volcker Rule ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a regulation created by the Dodd-Frank Act ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô bans proprietary trading, mandates new compliance measures for banks, and prohibits investments and relations with hedge and private equity funds.The rule ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô named after a former “”Federal Reserve””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/ chairman ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô continues to stir controversy following its proposal by the central bank, “”FDIC””:http://www.fdic.gov/, and a number of other federal regulators earlier this month.Releasing its findings in a 14-page economic impact analysis, the OCC pooled information for 143 institutions with fewer than $1 billion in assets, 72 with more than $1 billion but less than $5 billion, and 50 with more than $5 billion.More than 2,000 banks covered by the Volcker Rule would need to spend upwards of $50 million on annual compliance and legal measures.[COLUMN_BREAK]In coming up with the numbers, the agency said that prohibited activities would require new compliance measures, which would demand, in turn, approximately $1,715 in expenses and 20 hours in manpower from each financial institution.Banks with less than $1 billion in total assets would need to adopt six new compliance measures relevant to written procedure, internal controls, management policies, and recordkeeping. Compliance officers with these financial institutions would need to work 800 hours each week, creating about $1.2 million in expenses as a result.Those banks with more than $1 billion but less than $5 billion in total assets would need to implement a similar compliance program but at an overall cost of $8.1 million and need for 3,650 hours each week in manpower.The rule continues to merit criticism from detractors and praise from the lawmakers who first proposed it.””Only in today’s regulatory climate could such a simple idea become so complex, generating a rule whose preamble alone is 215 pages, with 381 footnotes to boot,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø former Oklahoma Gov. “”Frank Keating””:http://www.aba.com/Press+Room/fkeating_bio.htm, now president and CEO of the “”American Bankers Association””:http://www.aba.com/default.htm, said in an “”October statement””:http://www.aba.com/Pressrss/101111VolckerRuleStatment.htm. ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£How can banks comply with a rule that complicated, and how can regulators effectively administer it in a way that doesn’t make it harder for banks to serve their customers and further weaken the broader economy?├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ØSeeming to fire back against criticism and threats to repeal the Dodd-Frank framework, former “”Sen. Chris Dodd””:http://chrisdodd.com/ (D-Connecticut) defended the law in a recent “”_Washington Post_””:http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-the-dodd-frank-financial-regulations/2011/10/19/gIQAtq7j4L_story_1.html column, saying, ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£Unscrupulous lenders can no longer make loans to people who they know can├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ót pay them back. Brokers can├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ót steer borrowers to higher-rate loans in exchange for compensation from lenders. And those who sell risky securities must maintain a financial stake in their success.├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ØSaid Keating: “”This rule has very real potential to erode banks’ ability to serve their customers, and its hit to diversifying bank income may very well increase ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô rather than diminish ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô sources of risk.”” in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

Mortgage Applications Pick Up as Interest Rates Come Down

first_img A slight decline in interest rates helped boost mortgage application volume last week, the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://mbaa.org/default.htm (MBA) reported Wednesday in its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.[IMAGE]The survey’s Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, increased 11.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending September 13. On an [COLUMN_BREAK]unadjusted basis, the index rose 23 percent week-over-week.The weekly improvement was aided in part by a rebound in refinance activity, which increased 18 percent from the previous week. The refinance share of total application activity increased to 61 percent from 57 percent previously.The percentage of refinances done through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) increased to 40 percent, reaching its highest mark since MBA began tracking it in early 2012.Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 3 percent week-over-week, bringing it close to end-of-August levels. The unadjusted index rose 12 percent and was 1 percent higher than the same week last year.MBA’s measure for the average 30-year fixed interest rate showed a decline to 4.75 percent last week, with points decreasing to 0.39 from 0.46. The previous week’s average rate was 4.80 percent. in Origination September 18, 2013 508 Views Sharecenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies HARP Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Purchase Loans Refinance Service Providers 2013-09-18 Tory Barringer Mortgage Applications Pick Up as Interest Rates Come Downlast_img read more

Report Cooled Market Offers Better Prospects for Buyers Sellers

first_img Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News In this rollercoaster year of housing news, where ominous warnings of a new recession driven by rising home prices mingle with cheerier assertions that markets are slowly but surely getting back to stable, the latest snapshot from Zillow brings some good news for homebuyers and sellers.Zillow’s August Home Value Index, released Friday, shows that U.S. home values in August rose at a cool 0.1 percent from July.This cooling of price increases is good news for both buyers and sellers, as slow growth makes for a market in which final sales numbers are more in sync with actual property values.August’s values were also 6.6 percent higher than those in August 2013.Inventory of all for-sale homes nationwide rose 20.6 percent year-over-year and 2.1 percent month-over-month in August, and the pace of home value appreciation is expected to slow to 3.1 percent through August 2015, according to the Zillow Home Value Forecast.According to Zillow, sellers in Bay Area California, Seattle, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Denver have the greatest leverage. Sellers in these markets have the upper hand because of either traditionally strong appeal (as in San Francisco) or growth in jobs (as in Dallas, where the pending opening of Toyota’s North American headquarters in neighboring Plano is bringing 4,000 workers to the Metroplex by 2017). Sales in these areas are more often higher than the asking price.Zillow defined a sellers’ market as one not necessarily in which home values are rising, but rather one in which homes are on the market for a shorter time, price cuts occur less frequently, and homes are sold at prices close to or higher than their last listing prices.For those looking to buy a home, Providence, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Chicago offer the most favorable conditions. According to Zillow, buyers in these markets are less likely to be faced with the fierce bidding wars taking place in California, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, and Nashville. According to Zillow, in buyers’ markets, homes for sale stay on the market longer, price cuts occur more frequently, and homes are sold for less relative to their listing price.Nationally, the average home price according to Zillow was $175,600 in August. If all trends stay as they are, this number should rise to $180,970 by next year. September 19, 2014 800 Views center_img Report: Cooled Market Offers Better Prospects for Buyers, Sellers Home Values Housing Supply Zillow 2014-09-19 Scott_Morganlast_img read more

Fed Reserve Q1 Household Wealth Up to 849 Trillion

first_img June 11, 2015 526 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, News Increases in home prices and the stock market pushed household wealth to nearly $85 trillion for the first quarter of 2015, according to the Federal Reserve’s Statistical Release titled “Financial Accounts of the United States” released today.The net worth of households and nonprofits rose increased by $1.63 trillion to $84.9 trillion during the first quarter of 2015. Meanwhile, the value of directly and indirectly held corporate equities increased by $487 billion and home values rose $503 billion.Stocks and pension-fund holdings values increased by $1.07 trillion in the first quarter among Americans and non-profit groups, the Fed report says. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index experienced an increase of 0.4 percent for the first quarter. The index is already up 1.8 percent to begin the second quarter as of yesterday.Household real-estate assets increased by $472.5 billion, according to the data. While owners’ equity as a share of total household real-estate holdings increased to 55.6 percent last quarter.Americans appear to be keeping borrowing to a minimum and evading debt as the report noted that household borrowing was at its lowest rate since the end of 2013. Household debt increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015 totaling $13.6 trillion.Recent mortgage rate and home price increases have many Americans saving the wealth for themselves and being cautious of an ever-changing housing market.In response to the positive Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment data released on Monday, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose above four percent this week for the first time since November 2014. Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), revealed today that the average fixed mortgage rates averaged 4.02 percent for the week ending June 11, 2015.”Mortgage rates rose above 4 percent for the first time since November 2014 as Treasury yields surged,” said Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. “Markets are responding to strong employment data. In May, the U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs. Moreover, job openings surged to 5.4 million in April, up over 20 percent from a year ago.”Last week, CoreLogic, Inc. released its April 2015 Home Price Index (HPI), which showed that home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased by 6.8 percent in April 2015 compared with April 2014. Month-to-month home prices also increased by 2.3 percent compared with March 2015.These rises will mark 38 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally, according to the index. Home prices increased by 2.7 percent from last year, and 30 states plus the District of Columbia were at or within 10 percent of their peak prices in April.”Old fashion supply and demand, fueled by historically low mortgage rates and improving consumer finances and confidence, continue to push home prices up,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “We expect continued price appreciation throughout 2015 and into next year. Over the longer term, household formation, up by more than one million over the past year alone, will drive down vacancy rates and create tighter housing markets in many metropolitan areas. This should provide the necessary underpinning for rising prices for the foreseeable future.Click here to view the Federal Reserve’s Statistical Release. Federal Reserve Financial Accounts of the United States Home Prices Household Wealth Stock Market 2015-06-11 Staff Writercenter_img Fed Reserve: Q1 Household Wealth Up to $84.9 Trillion Sharelast_img read more

first_imgOutstanding First Mortgages Rise Outstanding first mortgage balance has been rising since its trough in 2013 and in February 2018, the amount reached $8.81 trillion, just a whisker away from the all-time industry high of $9.04 trillion recorded in 2008, according to data from the National Consumer Credit Trends Report by Equifax. The report highlights trends in the auto, banking, and home lending segments.Do these numbers mean that the market for first mortgages is heading the same way it did before the financial crisis? Not really, according to Gunnar Blix, Deputy Chief Economist at Equifax. “ Despite nearing the pre-Great Recession peak in nominal terms, the market is in a much healthier place than in 2008, with low-interest rates and normalized home prices supporting affordability,” Blix said. “Borrowers are also taking advantage of favorable used car prices and opportunities to consolidate high-interest debt with consumer finance loans.”Outstanding first mortgage balances have added more than $1trillion in the five years between 2013 and 2018, the report indicated. Originations on home equity also rose 11 percent between February 2017 and February 2018 with volumes for originations increasing by 12.3 percent during the same period.Between January and December 2017, 7.27 million first mortgages were originated representing a 13.2 percent decrease from the volumes in 2016. The report said that these dips were driven by fewer takers for refinance loans as interest rates rose. However, home equity line of credit (HELOC) volumes saw an increase during this period. HELOCs rose by 1.1 percent to nearly 1.45 million and home equity installment loans increased by 12.3 percent to more than 700,000 in 2017.Despite the rise in home equity volumes during the year, the report indicated that home equity loan balances and outstanding accounts have actually been declining since 2007 with home equity loan balances down 65.2 percent from their peak in 2007 and accounts were down by 60.8 percent. Outstanding HELOC balances were also down 6.3 percent from a year ago at $418 billion, reflecting a decline of 38.2 percent from their peak of $677 billion in 2009. April 4, 2018 602 Views Sharecenter_img Borrowers Equifax HELOC Home Home Equity Lenders Mortgages Primary Mortgage 2018-04-04 Radhika Ojha in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Originationlast_img read more

Limes in Charts Prices double in one week in US

first_img Limes in Charts: Prices double in one week in U.S. … August 07 , 2018 In April the average price of US$37.10 putting it 115% higher than 2017, but only slightly above the previous two years’ levels. The price then began to return to a more normal range, in June reaching US$10.70.Mexico is almost the sole supplier of limes over the first half of the year, typically responsible for around 98% of the volume. In 2017, Mexico supplied 595,000 metric tons (MT) out of 606,000MT.From January through May this year, total volumes in the U.S. were only 1% higher year-on-year at 237,000MT, but due to the price spike the total FOB value was a whole 41% greater at US$249 million.The average per-kilo price over the five-month period was US$1.05 compared to US$0.75 last year. U.S. market prices for limes are typically lowest during the summer months, and lower in general during the second half of the year than the first.(Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics) You might also be interested in U.S. lime market prices stabilized at the beginning of summer following a large price spike during the first half of the year.Average prices in March and April around double last year’s level, but by late-May they were in line with previous years.Prices typically see a spike during the first half of the year, but this year the spike started earlier and lasted longer than normal. However, prices last year were unusually flat over the period.Prices in January started off this year at a standard average price of US$18.20 for a 40-pound box, according to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).By February prices had risen to 26% higher than last year, and by March they were double last year’s level at US$46.30 per box. By comparison, March prices in 2016 and 2015 were US$17.50 and US$30.30, respectively.last_img read more

US Washingtons apple crop to rise by 18

first_img U.S.: Washington’s apple crop to rise by 18% … USDA recommended to approve $1.8m in grants for Id … How California avocado growers keep Persea mites f … “We get a lot of feedback from people about what Arctic® variety they’re excited to see next, and this latest announcement allows us to provide consumers with even more choice when it comes to purchasing value-added fruits for their families to enjoy.”Through biotechnology, the enzyme in Arctic apples responsible for browning has been turned off. This can significantly impact unnecessary food waste when it comes to apples that would normally get thrown out after they have turned brown from getting bruised, sliced, or bitten, enabling the unique non-browning trait to benefit every sector of the supply chain.Arctic apples were commercially available for the first time in the fall of 2017 in select U.S. cities, and availability has increased as more trees are planted and fruit volumes increase.“There have been some major developments for OSF recently, and I’m excited to see what comes next as this is definitely just the start for us,” says Carter.The announcement follows Arctic Fuji approvals by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) granted Sept. 23, 2016, and Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada on Jan. 30, 2018.The FDA is expected to post a letter announcing the completion of their evaluation on their website in the coming weeks.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ newest non-browning Arctic apple variety, the Arctic Fuji.The genetically modified apple completed the voluntary review process with the FDA last week.Arctic Fuji’s are the third apple variety Canada-based OSF has been approved to grow, along with Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny apples that previously received regulatory approval in 2015.“Completion of this FDA review is important news for our company as it marks the last step needed for Arctic® Fuji to officially join our commercial orchards,” explained Neal Carter, president of OSF. center_img Rabobank report on what is at stake with the Tomat … You might also be interested in April 29 , 2019 last_img read more

appointmentsDaydream Island ResortWhitsundays

first_imgappointmentsDaydream Island ResortWhitsundays Daydream Island Resort and Spa in the Whitsundays has announced the appointment of hospitality sales professional Jayson Heron as its new Director of Sales and Marketing based in Sydney. Heron joins Daydream Island from The Star Sydney where he was Director of Sales. Prior to that he held a variety of roles with Hilton and Crown Resorts in Melbourne.“We are delighted to welcome Jayson to the team at Daydream,” said Daydream Island General Manager Dawson Tang.“Jayson’s extensive sales and marketing experience with major hotel and entertainment businesses is going to be invaluable for our growth in key markets as Daydream looks forward to an exciting reopening next year.“He brings a broad range of experience across important leisure and MICE markets, and will lead the strong sales and marketing team we are establishing in Sydney.”As Daydream prepares for its forthcoming $65 million redevelopment it has relocated its sales and marketing office to Sydney from Brisbane. It is anticipated that the newly refurbished Daydream Island Resort and Spa will be opening for guests in late 2018.Major works already announced will include redevelopment of the Arrivals pavilion, Reception, main Atrium area, Waterfalls restaurant, Lagoons bar, all room types and Mermaids Restaurant. Additionally, the Lovers Cove function area will be expanded and a new Asian-inspired restaurant will be built. The resort’s conference facilities will also be significantly revamped and expanded.last_img read more

Effective 28 October 2018 Etihad will increase it

first_imgEffective 28 October 2018, Etihad will increase its flights from Abu Dhabi to Toronto in Canada from three to five weekly services.The flights will be operated by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, with 40 seats in Business Class and 340 in Economy Class.The airline has a codeshare partnership in place with Air Canada, placing its ‘AC’ code on Etihad services from Toronto to Abu Dhabi and from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi. Under the agreement, Etihad Airways places its ‘EY’ code on Air Canada’s multiple daily services from Toronto to points across Canada including Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, St.Johns, Halifax, Regina, and Fort McMurray. airlinesCanadaEtihadTorontolast_img read more

Derrick Hall satisfied with Dbacks buying and se

first_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling “I was limited (Thursday),” Campbell said. “But it was promising. I felt pretty good. If things go the tomorrow and I still feel good, maybe I’ll have a chance to play.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact “I actually got to practice today, so that was huge,” he said. “And I felt good.”The Cardinals training staff had held Campbell from practice and made him wear a brace to protect the injured ligament. On Thursday, he took that off for the first time since the injury.“That was a big deal for me,” he said. “(We were) just trying to make sure the muscles around it do their job. You know, the knee brace kind of hinders a little bit, but I was finally able to get the doctor’s clearance, so that was huge.”Though he missed the last two games against the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins, as well as the remainder of the aforementioned contest with the Broncos, Campbell ranks sixth on the team in tackles and has one of the team’s seven sacks. He also picked off Peyton Manning before suffering the MCL injury against the Broncos. Beginning with the 2009 season, Campbell has ranked either first or second in sacks for the Cardinals year after year. If the defensive end isn’t cleared to play when the 5-1 Philadelphia Eagles visit this weekend, his absence will be felt.But the 6-foot-8, 300-pounder is optimistic about his chances of suiting up. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Comments   Share   It has been two and a half weeks since Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell had his MCL injured by a Julius Thomas illegal chop block during a Week 5 matchup with the Denver Broncos.Thursday, he returned to practice for the first time since the blow, though he was limited in activity. Later Thursday, while hosting the Big Red Rage on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Campbell expounded on his recovery and what it meant for this weekend’s matchup in Glendale.last_img read more