Golden Backpack award winners revealed

first_imgThe winners of the 2010 Golden Backpack Awards, Australiaand New Zealand’s only dedicated awards program for the independent travel sector, havebeen announced in Sydney.Run by TNT Magazine, the market-leading publisher of backpacker titles, and independenttravel trade website Thumbrella.com.au, the Golden Backpacks saw an internationalcampaign to gather votes from consumers in more than 30 categories.Backpackers voted for their favourite hostel, tour and backpacker night in every state and territory in Australia and across the Tasman.National awards recognised tour operators, transport providers and car/campervan rental companies while the general category sawawards for best travel agent, recruitment service, website and indigenous experience. Awards were also presented for innovation andoutstanding achievement and outgoing Australian Tourism Export Council managing director Matt Hingerty received a specialrecognition award for services to the backpacking industry.A total of 19,539 votes were cast with voting conducted exclusively online for the first time. The winners were revealed last night at agala dinner held in Star City Casino and hosted by award-winning comedian Jeff Green.The awards were sponsored by Tourism New South Wales, Backpacking Queensland, Tourism Victoria, The South Australia TourismCommission, Tourism Tasmania, Virgin Blue, Insurance Advisernet, WorldNomads.com, Website Travel, Sleepmaker, Taxback, GlobalGossip, the Adventure Travel & Backpackers Expo, Bounce Hotel, TNT Magazine and Thumbrella.com.au.TNT Magazine and Thumbrella Publishing Director Martin Lane said: “Once again we have been overwhelmed by the response ofbackpackers and the industry to the Golden Backpack Awards. Winning one is the ultimate accolade because it’s the customers who decide.”NEW SOUTH WALES –Best hostel: Wake Up!Best tour/activity: Oz IntroBest backpacker night: Oz Party BusTASMANIA –Best hostel: The Pickled Frog, HobartBest tour/activity: Adventure Tours 6-Day Taste of TasmaniaBest backpacker night: Republic Bar & Café, HobartNORTHERN TERRITORY –Best hostel: Melaleuca on Mitchell, DarwinBest tour/activity: The Rock TourBest backpacker night: The Vic Hotel, DarwinthUMBRELLAthumbrella.com.auWESTERN AUSTRALIA –Best hostel: Perth City YHABest tour/activity: Western Xposure 10-Day Perth to BroomeBest backpacker night: Mustang Bar, PerthVICTORIA –Best hostel: Habitat HQ, St KildaBest tour/activity: Autopia Tours, Great Ocean RoadBest backpacker night: The Official Neighbours NightQUEENSLAND –Best hostel: Bunk, BrisbaneBest tour/activity: Pro Dive CairnsBest backpacker night: The Woolshed, CairnsSOUTH AUSTRALIA –Best hostel: Adelaide Central YHABest tour/activity: Groovy Grape, Barossa valleyBest backpacker night: Backpack Oz, AdelaideNEW ZEALAND –Best hostel: Nomads, QueenstownBest tour/activity: Shotover Canyon Swing, QueenstownBest backpacker night: The World Bar, QueenstownNATIONAL –Best car/campervan rental Australia: Travellers Auto BarnBest car/campervan rental NZ: Jucy RentalsBest tour operator Australia: Oz ExperienceBest transport operator Australia: Greyhound AustraliaBest tour/transport operator NZ: StrayGENERAL –Best large travel agent: Peterpans Adventure TravelBest small travel agent: Adventure Travel BugsBest backpacker website: Hostelworld.comBest recruitment company: The Job Shop, PerthBest indigenous cultural experience: Tamaki Maori Village, RotoruaPANEL VOTED –Special recognition award: Matt HingertyInnovation award: YHA eNightsOutstanding achievement award: Brett Claxton Source = TNT Travel DownUnderlast_img read more

Peninsula outlines ecommerce strategy

first_imgJean Forrest (sitting) with The Peninsula Tokyo general manager Malcolm Thompson Amid hefty renovations and soft refurbishments across its portfolio, The Peninsula Hotels has undertaken a strategic approach to e-commerce, ensuring the brand’s relevance and service.With luxury hotels in nine cities in Asia and the United States, the prestigious hotel brand has this year set up a dedicated e-commerce team in its corporate office in Hong Kong and looks to hire an e-commerce manager in each of its properties this year and in 2011, The Peninsula Hotels marketing general manager Jean Forrest told e-Travel Blackboard.“We don’t get as many bookings from the web as say the Marriotts or the Sheratons,” she said, but added that the company has always been innovative, in tune with the needs and booking habits of its discerning clientele.For instance, according to Ms Forrest, The Peninsula Hotels is the first hotel group to offer a real-time room reservation iPhone application which can seamlessly drive bookings to their reservations system without any manual intervention.The service has since been extended to include real-time multi-lingual food and booking reservations, and is set to include spa appointments in the future.These innovations are in line with The Peninsula Hotels’ strategy to offer the best and latest services to guests, staying up to date and relevant in a changing world, Ms Forrest said.“We are purchasing a system now so that we can track and respond to online posts,” she said, adding that rather than a selling tool, the brand’s online and social media presence will be used to “reach a new demographic”.“Will we sell differently? Not really?”“We’re trying to have interesting conversations in this sphere but ultimately want to drive people to experience our website.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

TA hails 61 million for Asian Century

first_imgTourism Australia says it can now tap into growing tourism opportunities following the Federal Budget announcement yesterday of a dedicated Asian Marketing Fund worth AUD$61 million over the next four years. A region expected to deliver 2.5 million visitors to Australia during 2012, Asia and global markets will be boosted by the fund with an injection towards marketing ‘There’s nothing like Australia’ campaign. Tourism Australia chairman Geoff Dixon said where traditional markets such as the United Kingdom and USA remain important; Tourism Australia continues to approach its international marketing activity with a balanced portfolio approach. “Nobody can deny that the opportunities that lie before us are in this Asian Century,” Mr Dixon said. “With this new dedicated fund, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to further drive both existing campaign activity and new marketing efforts across our fastest growing and most valuable inbound visitor markets.” The first year of the ongoing AUD$61 million fund will deliver AUD$8.5 million in the period 2012 – 2013. This is followed by AUD$14 million, AUD$17.5 million, and AUD$21 million over the following three years. Representing 10 per cent of the increased amount of the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC), Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said the new funding would allow significant increases in media spending to more effectively reach consumers. This is key to Australian tourism reaching its 2020 goals of doubling overnight spending to up to AUD$140 billion by the end of the decade. While discussing the commitment in such a fiscal environment, Mr McEvoy said the funding will be greatly welcomed by the Australian tourism industry.  It further supports the visitor economy, contributing significantly to our country’s economic growth and supports more than 900,000 jobs across the country. Additional funds will be utilized to target high yielding consumer segments in key growing markets, according to Mr McEvoy.In an effort to better understand tourism behaviours and travel preferences, Tourism Australia will also work closely with Tourism Research Australia (TRA). Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W There’s nothing like Australialast_img read more

SAA TAM codeshare reinforces traffic growth

SAA TAM codeshare reinforces traffic growth

first_imgBoth airline’s loyalty members will earn points on both carrier, through the codeshare agreement. South African Airways (SAA) has announced a new codeshare agreement with Brazil-based TAM Airlines.  “It’s all about providing convenient connections for our customers to those destinations they want to reach using one ticket and on one trip,” Mr Clyde-Smith said. Flights on routes operated by TAM will carry the ‘SA’ code and likewise, TAM’s ‘JJ’ code will be on flights operated by SAA between Sao Paulo and Johannesburg and onto the main centres of Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth. Australians benefit through single ticketing. “Out of Australia we have seen excellent patronage and growth on the route among business and recreational travellers, particularly out of Perth,” SAA country manager Australasia Tim Clyde-Smith said.center_img The new agreement will provide direct through-connections to Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Brasília, Salvador, Florianopolis, Iguaçu Falls, Recife and Belo Horizonte. SAA currently operates 11 flights per week between Johannesburg and Sao Paulo. The alliance reinforces the airline’s growing traffic between Australia, Africa and South America. Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more

Qantas flight forced back

Qantas flight forced back

first_img“This type of disruption inconveniences our customers and comes at significant cost to Qantas, but we take a zero tolerance approach to aggressive behaviour on board.” A Qantas A380 flight was forced to return to London’s Heathrow Airport shortly after take-off, owing to a disruptive passenger’s “threating behaviour”, according to the airline. “The passenger was restrained by crew and the aircraft landed safely in London at around 11.50pm local time… the aircraft was met by local authorities on arrival,” a Qantas spokesperson said. Flight QF2 has since departed Heathrow Airport for Dubai.center_img The Sydney-bound service, travelling via Dubai, was turned around just one hour after departure, when a man had to be restrained by cabin crew, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more

Smoking passenger detained

Smoking passenger detained

first_imgThe man, understood to be a German national, was tied and bound by airline staff after he allegedly became violent and aggressive on flight EK432 from Singapore, the Courier Mail reported. The Australian Federal Police are now handling the matter, with the man due to appear before Brisbane Magistrates Court. Source = ETB News: P.T. A photograph of the incident, taken by another passenger, depicts a man restrained in a seat with his legs and arms seemingly bound. A passenger has been detained by Australian authorities after attempting to smoke several times on-board an Emirates flight to Brisbane.last_img

Corendon places Boeing 747 in its hotel garden

Corendon places Boeing 747 in its hotel garden

first_imgCorendon places Boeing 747 in its hotel gardenCorendon places Boeing 747 in its hotel gardenTravel agency, airline company and hotelier Corendon will have a complete Boeing 747-400 transported from Schiphol airport to the Corendon Village Hotel in Amsterdam this February. There the plane will be placed in the hotel garden.For this mega job Dutch specialized transport company Mammoet has been brought in. Mammoet will transport the 150 ton plane in five days from the airport to the hotel, starting Tuesday evening February 5th. During its spectacular last journey, the Boeing has to cross 17 ditches, highway A9 and one provincial road.The Boeing 747 is the former KLM aircraft ‘City of Bangkok’ that will be given a new final destination after 30 years of reliable service. In recent weeks it has been painted in the colours of Corendon in Rome. Also it is has been stripped of all serviceable parts, such as the engines, by aircraft recycling company AELS. After the transport the plane will be placed in the garden of the Corendon Village Hotel Amsterdam. The aircraft will be converted into the Corendon Boeing 747 Experience, which will open its doors at Q3 of 2019.The hotel opened last year in the former headquarters of Sony. With over 680 rooms, suites and apartments it is the largest hotel in the Benelux. Guests have a clear view of Schiphol Airport.Source = Corendonlast_img read more

London experiences 711 increase in tourist arrivals

London experiences 711 increase in tourist arrivals

first_imgThe Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) declared increase in all European country and London with 7.11%.It is found that the British Museum remained the most popular attraction with National Gallery, Library of Birmingham and British Library. Also the 100th anniversary of World War I had marked an increase in the tourist footfalls at Imperial War Museum London and Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London.Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners said, “London’s leading visitor attractions form the bedrock of the city’s status as one of the most culturally rich and historic capitals in the world. Last year London welcomed record numbers of international tourists – with four out of five citing the city’s historic and cultural assets as the main reason they come. London really knows how to put on a show and this year will be no different with another blockbuster Autumn season of exhibitions ahead including Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy, and THE WORLD GOES POP at the Tate Modern.“last_img read more

Stakeholders need to collaborate for North East tourism promotion KJ Alphons

Stakeholders need to collaborate for North East tourism promotion KJ Alphons

first_imgThe Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in association with the North Eastern States has organised the sixth International Tourism Mart (ITM) in Guwahati, Assam. Speaking at the event, Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, said that government is paying all the more attention to the promotion of tourism to North Eastern states. To capitalise on the momentum, states need to have better synergy with the private sector and should regularly participate in the road shows in foreign countries.KJ Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, opined that North Eastern India is the most beautiful place under the sun and to place India on the forefront in the field of tourism, we need to realise the tourism potential of North Eastern states and work in tandem.Jagdish Mukhi, Governor of Assam inaugurated the sixth ITM in the presence of Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister, Assam, Pema Khandu, Chief Minister, Arunachal Pradesh, KJ Alphons, Dr. Hemanta Biswa Sarma, Minister for Tourism, Assam, Rashmi Verma, VK Pipersenia, Chief Secretary of Assam and other dignitaries from central ministries and North Eastern states.Delivering the inaugural address, Mukhi said that this Mart is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the unique tourism treasures of North Eastern States. Keeping in view the Act East Policy of the government, this platform will serve its purpose.Sonowal highlighted that Assam Government has recently enacted the ‘New Tourism Policy’ which will facilitate the tourists and other stakeholders. He insisted on boosting Assam Tourism in a sustainable manner.Khandu lamented that connectivity and infrastructure are the two major concerns which North Eastern states are facing.Around 66 foreign delegates comprising stakeholders and media from over 28 countries namely Australia, Bhutan, Brunei, Canada, China, Cambodia, Cyprus, Fiji, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Tanzania, Thailand, USA, UK, Vietnam, Turkey and South Korea attended the event. Besides, 50 domestic stakeholders networked with 103 local suppliers from the North Eastern states.last_img read more

X Factor Winner ReLists Hollywood Home for 25M

X Factor Winner ReLists Hollywood Home for 25M

first_img Share X Factor Winner Re-Lists Hollywood Home for $2.5M Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Celebrity Homes Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-07-17 Abby Gregory in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technologycenter_img July 17, 2012 472 Views Showing fortitude as a previous winner of Britain’s _X_ _Factor_, Leona Lewis is displaying bravery once again, recently deciding to re-list her Los Angeles home. Jumping back into the city’s choppy real estate market, Lewis has put her Nichols Canyon property back on the market for its original asking price of $2.5 million.””Realestalker.com””:http://realestalker.blogspot.com/2012/07/brit-pop-star-leona-lewis-re-lists-west.html describes the house as “”contempo-mock-Med,”” and the gated estate features amenities including detached guest quarters, a home gym, and custom pool. Lewis acquired her Hollywood home in 2009 for $1.85 million, and according to the website, the property listing was only dormant for one month between her recent attempts to sell the luxury home. [COLUMN_BREAK][IMAGE]last_img read more

Hawaii Pushes New Laws for Originators Servicers

Hawaii Pushes New Laws for Originators Servicers

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Lenders & Servicers Processing Regulation Service Providers Underwriting Standards 2012-07-26 Krista Franks Brock in Government, Origination, Servicing July 26, 2012 468 Views Sharecenter_img The Aloha State recently passed three new bills related to mortgage servicing and mortgage origination. All three went into effect at the beginning of this month. [IMAGE]The “”first””:http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2012/bills/HB2375_SD2_.pdf requires the Office of Consumer Protection to educate consumers regarding fraud schemes aimed at homeowners facing foreclosure. The bill also establishes that violators of Hawaii’s Mortgage Rescue Fraud Prevention Act will be charged with a Class C felony and fined $10,000 in addition to other possible penalties. [COLUMN_BREAK]””The Hawaii Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act””:http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2012/bills/SB2763_CD1_.pdf requires adjustments to loan originator registration fees and amends Hawaii’s Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act) to comply with recent changes to federal laws. Those who originate loans on behalf of a mortgage servicer are not required to register or obtain licensing so long as “”[t]he employee’s actions are part of the employee’s duties as an employee of the mortgage servicer company”” and the employee only originates residential mortgage loan modifications. Similar exemptions are made for those who originate loans for nonprofit organizations if the nonprofit registers with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. Registered mortgage loan originators acting as subsidiaries of federally-regulated insured depository institutions are now subject to provisions of the SAFE Act. Hawaii also passed a “”law””:http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2012/bills/HB2502_CD1_.pdf affecting mortgage servicers. According to the new law, the Commissioner of Financial Institutions may require servicers to register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. Additionally, the bill states servicers must comply with all licensing requirements of the SAFE Act before offering loan modifications. Hawaii Pushes New Laws for Originators, Servicerslast_img read more

Equifax Home Equity Credit Hits ThreeYear High

Equifax Home Equity Credit Hits ThreeYear High

first_imgEquifax: Home Equity Credit Hits Three-Year High October 17, 2012 439 Views Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Confidence Delinquency Equifax Home Equity Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2012-10-17 Tory Barringercenter_img Home equity revolving credit hit a three-year high in July, signaling continued growth in housing confidence, “”Equifax””:http://www.equifax.com/home/en_us said in a report.[IMAGE]The company’s October _National Consumer Credit Trends Report_ showed new home equity revolving lines of credit totaled more than $44 billion year-to-date through July. July’s total was an approximately 9 percent increase from the recession low of $40.6 billion set in the first seven months of 2010.Home equity revolving lines of credit peaked at approximately $680 billion in May 2009 and have since fallen about 21 percent to $537 billion as of September 2012, Equifax reported.The number of new revolving home equity lines of credit year-to-date through July stood at 495,000, a three-year high. However, that number is still historically low, resting 76 percent below that seven-year high of more than 2 million from January-July 2006. Since November 2007, the total number of home equity revolving accounts has declined more than 34 percent, falling from 14.7 million then to 11 million in September 2012.””Increasing new home equity revolving credit indicates homeowner confidence and momentum towards an improved market,”” said Craig Crabtree, SVP and general manager of Equifax Mortgage Services. “”While the levels are significantly lower when compared to pre-recession peaks, the recent stability has given way to consistent growth.””Equifax’s report also revealed the total balances of severely delinquent mortgages have fallen 41 percent since peaking at $714 billion in March 2010. As of September, the total balances were at an estimated $419 billion. The report noted that more than 76 percent of severely delinquent balances among home equity revolving credit balances are sourced from originations made between 2005-2007.Severely delinquent balances among mortgages sourced from the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have fallen more than 13 percent to $125 billion since peaking in March 2010, the report said. Mortgages sourced from private investors and banks have fared better, posting a 48 percent decrease in severely delinquent balances.First mortgages originated between 2005-2007 continued to show weakness: Though they represent less than 27 percent of all first mortgages outstanding, they comprise 68 percent of severely delinquent mortgage balances.Crabtree said while total first mortgages are still contracting├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øfalling 3.4 percent year-over-year in September├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øthe decreasing debt and delinquencies “”are positive signs of a stable foundation towards recovery.”” in Data, Origination, Servicinglast_img read more

FirstTime Jobless Claims Up Again After Sharp Drop

FirstTime Jobless Claims Up Again After Sharp Drop

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Payrolls Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2012-12-20 Mark Lieberman First-time claims for unemployment insurance increased 17,000 to 361,000 for the week ending December 15, the “”Labor Department””:http://www.ows.doleta.gov/press/2012/122012.asp reported Thursday. Economists expected claims to increase to 359,000. [IMAGE]The previous week’s report was revised upward to 344,000 from the originally reported 343,000.Continuing claims–reported on a one-week lag–also increased, rising 12,000 to 3,225,000 for the week ending December 8. The previous week’s initial report of 3,198,000 continuing claims was revised upward to 3,213,000. The continuing claims data series tracks the number of longer-term unemployed who qualify for regular state jobless benefits. This week’s report covered the reference week used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to develop the monthly employment situation report. Month-over-month comparisons of jobless claims–both new and continuing–are complicated, though, by superstorm Sandy, which caused a spike in both data series. The BLS report will be released on January 4.That said, both the number of first-time claims and the smoothing four-week moving average showed improvement from mid-month to mid-month, suggesting that the surge in storm-related layoffs has passed.Cutting through the exogenous events and the seasonal adjustments, the report was consistent with trends showing a stronger labor market with fewer layoffs. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending December 1 was 5,402,429, a decrease of 238,637 from the previous week. There were 7,152,130 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2011. Extended benefits were only available in New York during the week ending December 1. According to the BLS, unemployment was 12,029,000 in November, which means that of those individuals counted as unemployed, 6.81 million were not receiving any form of government unemployment insurance, up from 6.39 million one week earlier.States have been borrowing from the federal government to cover shortfalls in those funds which will eventually have to be repaid–unless Congress intervenes–with higher assessments on employers. Since those assessments are a percentage of payrolls, they discourage employers from adding new workers. As of December 18, 20 states have an aggregate $26.7 billion in outstanding loans to cover shortfalls, up from $26.5 billion one week earlier. California accounted for 37.7 percent of the borrowing.The Labor Department said states reported 2,096,545 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending December 1, a decrease of 97,708 from the prior week. There were 2,941,157 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2011.According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag, the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending December 8 were in California (+5,952), Florida (+749), Ohio (+743), Rhode Island (+197), and Colorado (+161), while the largest decreases were in New York (-11,295), Pennsylvania (-11,247), North Carolina (-8,564), Wisconsin (-5,726) and Georgia (-5,317)._Hear Mark Lieberman every Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:40 am and again at 9:40 eastern time._ in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Sharecenter_img First-Time Jobless Claims Up Again After Sharp Drop December 20, 2012 395 Views last_img read more

Deloitte Consumer Spending Index Loses More Ground in December

Deloitte Consumer Spending Index Loses More Ground in December

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer spending Deloitte Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2013-01-18 Tory Barringer January 18, 2013 450 Views Deloitte Consumer Spending Index Loses More Ground in December Sharecenter_img Consumer spending continued its backslide in December, according to professional services firm “”Deloitte””:http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/index.htm.[IMAGE]Deloitte’s Consumer Spending Index–which is made up of components measuring consumer tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages, and real home prices–slipped to 3.81 in December from November’s reading of 3.96. The decline continues a downward trend that started in November after nearly a year of steady gains.Most of December’s decline in spending stems from a sharp increase in initial unemployment claims following [COLUMN_BREAK]superstorm Sandy, according to Deloitte vice chairman Alison Paul. First-time claims reached 405,750 at the start of December, an increase of nearly 40,000 from the previous month.””On the plus side, consumers benefited from falling gasoline prices through the last quarter, which helped temper declining real wages,”” Paul noted. “”However, the fiscal cliff debate appears to have impacted consumer confidence late in the year, compounding the adjustment to new tax rates–all of these factors may lead to more conservative spending in the months ahead.””According to Deloitte, the tax burden on consumers reached 11.03 percent for December, up slightly from November. The company explained that an increase or decrease in tax burden can be a sign of weak or strong growth in taxable incomes.Real wages continued to fall on a year-over-year basis, slipping 0.3 percent. While wages were down, Deloitte notes that the pace of the decline leveled somewhat as gas prices fell in November.Further declines were also mitigated by improvements in the housing market, which pushed real home prices up nearly 13 percent year-over-year. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

USFN Hires Director for Education and Marketing

USFN Hires Director for Education and Marketing

first_imgUSFN Hires Director for Education and Marketing USFN, a legal and information resource network serving the mortgage industry, has recruited Michele Champion as director of education and marketing.A certified association executive, Champion is now responsible for developing USFN’s premium educational programs and overseeing sponsorship management, advertising, and event management for the organization.Champion brings to the group more than 10 years of experience in management, professional development, training, and events. Most recently, she served as director of education and events for the San Diego County Apartment Association, where she supervised and trained assistants, interns, and volunteers. Previously, she served as both the education assistant and director of education for the association.Outside of work, Champion is an active member of the California Society of Association Executives and Meeting Professionals International.”Michele’s experience, combined with her work ethic and passion for education and planning, make her the perfect addition to our team,” said Alberta Hultman, executive director and CEO of USFN. “I am confident that she will exemplify our values of professionalism, leadership and integrity, while continuing to deliver the level of quality and service our member and associate member firms have come to expect.” July 23, 2014 479 Views Movers & Shakers 2014-07-23 Tory Barringercenter_img in Headlines, News, Uncategorized Sharelast_img read more

ExistingHome Sales Feel TRIDs Wrath

ExistingHome Sales Feel TRIDs Wrath

first_imgTRID wasn’t the only factor driving November’s slowdown, however. Inventory remains an issue, declining by 3.3 percent to 2.04 million existing homes for sale—1.9 percent lower than in November 2014. The current unsold inventory is at a 5.1-month supply at the current pace of sales, which is an increase from October’s 4.8-month supply. Meanwhile, the median existing-home price rose by 6.3 percent year-over-year in November up to $207,200, marking the 45th consecutive month the median existing-home price has risen over-the-year.“Sparse inventory and affordability issues continue to impede a large pool of buyers’ ability to buy, which is holding back sales,” Yun said. “However, signed contracts have remained mostly steady in recent months, and properties sold faster in November. Therefore it’s highly possible the stark sales decline wasn’t because of sudden, withering demand.”All-cash sales for November totaled 27 percent, their highest share since January, up from 25 percent from November 2014. Individual investors purchased 16 percent of homes in November, also the largest share since January, up from 15 percent from the previous November. NAR reports that 64 percent of investors paid cash in November.Distressed sales, which include foreclosures and short sales, rose from 6 percent in October to 9 percent in November, though they remained unchanged year-over-year. That 9 percent breaks down to 7 percent for foreclosure sales and 2 percent for short sales. Foreclosed homes sold for an average of 15 percent below market value in November, compared to 18 percent in October. The short sale discount went the other direction, according to NAR; short sales in November were discounted by 15 percent compared to 8 percent in October.Click here to see the NAR’s existing-home sales chart. in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Origination “The good news is that we should see the closing disruptions dissipate over December and January as the delayed closings turn into an increase in sales for subsequent months.”Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist, Realtor.com Existing-Home Sales Feel TRID’s Wrath The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported on Tuesday that existing-home sales dropped off in November to an annual rate of about 4.76 million, the slowest pace in 19 months.November’s decline represented a 10.5 percent drop from October’s downwardly revised total of 5.32 million, and the sales pace for November was the lowest since it was reported at 4.75 million in April 2014. November’s pace is now 3.8 percent lower than November 2014, marking the first time the existing- home annual sales pace declined year-over-year since September 2014.One of the major drivers of November’s dropoff in the pace of existing-home sales is likely the implementation of the “Know Before You Owe” mortgage rule, commonly known as the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule, which went into effect on October 3. According to the Realtors Confidence Index in November, 47 percent of respondents said they were experiencing longer closing times compared to last year—up from 37 percent in October. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the longer closing times may be delaying transactions until the following month, making the slowdown in existing-home sales for November temporary.“It’s possible the longer timeframes pushed a latter portion of would-be November transactions into December,” says Yun. “As long as closing timeframes don’t rise even further, it’s likely more sales will register to this month’s total, and November’s large dip will be more of an outlier.”“Realtors worked hard to prepare for Know Before You Owe, and we knew there would be some near-term challenges as the industry continues to adapt,” said NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. “Nonetheless, an early trend of longer lead times to closings is cause for concern. As Realtors report issues with their transactions, we will continue to work with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ensure as little disruption as possible to the business of real estate.”Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke stated, “The abrupt change in the pace of sales is out of sync with demand indicators on Realtor.com and point to other likely factors causing a unique short-term disruption to closings, which the sales data represent. The good news is that we should see the closing disruptions dissipate over December and January as the delayed closings turn into an increase in sales for subsequent months.”center_img Share Exisiting-Home Sales National Association of Realtors TRID 2015-12-22 Seth Welborn December 22, 2015 696 Views last_img read more

Builder Confidence Rises to SixMonth High

Builder Confidence Rises to SixMonth High

first_img June 16, 2016 535 Views Builder Confidence Rises to Six-Month High Share Builder confidence for newly constructed single-family homes in June increased to its highest level since January after holding steady for four consecutive months, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released Thursday.According to the NAHB, the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. Builder confidence rose to 60 in June after holding at 58 for four straight months and is at its highest level since posting a reading of 61 in January.The HMI is now seven points lower than its recent peak of 65 in October, but the index is still well above the tipping point of 50.All three components of the HMI increased over-the-month in June, according to NAHB: current sales conditions ticked up by a point from 63 to 64; the component that measures sales expectations for the next six months increased from 65 to 70; and the component of the index that measures buyer traffic jumped from 44 to 47.The sales expectations component has risen by eight points in the last two months; June’s five-point spike followed a three-point increase from April to May, according to NAHB.“The fact that future sales expectations rose slightly this month shows that builders are confident that the market will continue to strengthen,” NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said in May. “Job creation, low mortgage interest rates and pent-up demand will also spur growth in the single-family housing sector moving forward.”center_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination Builder Confidence Wells Fargo NAHB Housing Market Index 2016-06-16 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

Jamie Dimon We are Holding Ourselves Back

first_img September 13, 2017 668 Views Jamie Dimon: Policies are holding us back from CNBC.,Jamie Dimon: We are Holding Ourselves Back Share JPMorgan Chase President and CEO Jamie Dimon had much to say on the state of the U.S. economy at the Delivering Alpha Conference in New York City, according to CNBC.Lending was the first talking point of Dimon’s interview, who debunked the myth that current economic policy hasn’t affected lending. “Absolutely untrue,” Dimon said. “Any small—any new small business owner has trouble getting a loan. Mortgage lending—I wrote about this, our economists did real work—because of the higher cost of mortgaging, the servicing legal requirements, and less availability, we think mortgage could be $2 trillion higher.”Dimon went on to say that even if that number were to be halfed to $1 trillion, that would add 10 percent to lending, and would contribute to growth, small business, middle-market, and even “rugs,” along with homebuilding, and new household formation.“You’re telling me we’re not holding ourselves back? The fact is, we are,” Dimon said. “I do think these things are policy issues,” he continued. “It’s not just the way it is.”Dimon recognized that Washington is a difficult place, and recommended that thought, analysis, policy, and collaboration was the best way to make progress in moving the industry forward. Consumer and business confidence is on the rise, but Dimon is of the opinion that the Administration should remain focused on the agenda it pitched at the start of its campaign.You can view the full interview above.center_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, News, Origination, Servicing Dimon Economic Outlook 2017-09-13 Joey Pizzolatolast_img read more

agentsAranui cruisesincentives

agentsAranui cruisesincentives

first_imgagentsAranui cruisesincentives Agents and wholesalers can earn an extra five per cent commission on all bookings on an Aranui 5 cruise made until April 2018. All new bookings made on Aranui 5’s February 1, February 20, March 10 and April 17, 2018, departures will be eligible for the bonus commission. Priced from $6,360* in a Stateroom and $8,670* in a Premium Suite with a balcony, Aranui 5’s 14-day cruise across the South Pacific includes visits to nine islands in the Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands. During the roundtrip cruise from Papeete, the freighter line dispenses cargo while guests disembark and explore a range of complimentary excursions including hikes, 4WD tours, visits to archaeological sites and a picnic on a private island in Bora Bora. The Aranui 5 cruise includes shore excursions through the 17 scheduled ports of call, a weekly laundry service, all main meals and complimentary French wine with onboard lunches and dinners.IMAGE: Aranui 5/James Morganlast_img read more

Cornerback Patrick Peterson has become a household

Cornerback Patrick Peterson has become a household

first_imgCornerback Patrick Peterson has become a household name in just two seasons in the NFL. In his rookie year, he turned heads with his return game, taking four punts to the house. Last season, his seven interceptions brought more attention to his defensive skills. He made the Pro Bowl both seasons. This summer, ESPN’s Herm Edwards, in an Insider piece, ranked Peterson as the top young cornerback in the league.It would seem as if the former Louisiana State standout has it all figured out in the pros. But, with the Arizona Cardinals in the midst of training camp, Peterson said he still has skills yet to be sharpened. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments   Share   Top Stories “I want to kind of mix up my game a little bit and show the receivers and quarterbacks different looks,” Peterson said. “I want to be able to see the whole field now, and read the quarterback a little bit. I want to stop playing with my back to the quarterback.”Peterson said he’s also eager to return to the winning ways he had in college. Individual accomplishments aside, the Cardinals’ struggles the past two seasons made for a difficult ride, he said. He sounds more optimistic about the team based on what he’s seen in practice and training camp thus far.“I believe we’re a much better ball club, on both sides of the field,” Peterson said of this year’s squad. “If we can continue playing with relentless effort, full speed, I believe we’ll be a pretty good ball club and defense as well.” – / 25center_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelolast_img read more