AR first South American SkyTeam member
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Aerolíneas Argentinas (AR) has become the first South American carrier to join the SkyTeam Global Alliance, following an ongoing rationalisation and rejuvenation by the Argentinean government after regaining control of the airline in 2008. The partnership between AR and SkyTeam has provided the airline with market recognition and commitment, according to Aerolíneas Argentinas president Mariano Recalde. “Aerolíneas passengers will benefit from unprecedented global connectivity through distribution centres and Alliance networks in Europe, America and Asia, as well as the diversity of products offered by SkyTeam,” Mr Recalde said. A special ceremony was held at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Buenos Aires to commemorate the coalition, with SkyTeam chief executive Michael Wisbrum in attendance. “With the demand for travel to South America and Argentina rapidly expanding, Aerolíneas adds real value to our partnership to open broad opportunities for business and pleasure trips for our customers,” Mr Wisbrum said.The Argentinian flag carrier has acquired new flight simulators for training purposes, opened new routes, upgraded lounge facilities and made technological system upgrades as part of the government’s enduring overhaul.
Turkish Airlines revokes red lipstick ban
Airline’s CEO said it was never approved. Turkish Airlines has reversed its ban on flight attendants wearing red lipstick, claiming that the directive was delivered by lower management.Late last week, the airline faces backlash from female communities in Turkey after releasing a statement its hostesses would be banned from wearing bright lipstick in order to encourage staff to wear “simple make-up”.However, the carrier’s chief executive Temel Kotil has reportedly said the order was delivered by “low-level” management and received “no approval”, The Independent reported.“This is taking us one step back but we’re going four steps forward,” he explainedSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.
2013 South Australian Tourism Awards – Nominations close Friday
A record number of entries is expected in this year’s South Australian Tourism Awards as the program celebrates 30 years since its introduction. Entry in the 2013 South Australian Tourism Awards is open to all South Australian tourism operators. The 30 categories this year include accommodation, tour and transport operators, wineries, restaurants, events, local government, attractions, food tourism and a new category to recognise an outstanding tourism student.Nominations close on Friday the 28th of June 2013 and submissions are due by Monday the 12th of August. The Awards Gala Dinner will be held on Friday the 8th of November at the Adelaide Convention Centre.Winners will go on to represent South Australia at the national level. In February this year, a record ten 2012 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards medals were awarded to South Australian finalists.South Australian Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive Ward Tilbrook said the awards are the pinnacle of achievement within the tourism industry, and a vibrant awards competition demonstrates South Australian tourism has a commitment to excellence with experiences visitors can have confidence in.“By nominating to enter the South Australian Tourism Awards, entrants begin a journey which gives their business structure, new opportunities for growth and recognition,” Mr Tilbrook said.In addition, there is an opportunity for all non-accredited first-time Tourism Awards entrants to become tourism accredited, with the accreditation registration fee included in the Awards nomination fee.Once accredited, the business will also be a member of the South Australian Tourism Industry Council and be T-QUAL endorsed. The awards process is submission-based with an onsite assessment. Entrants are required to respond to a number of questions that cover all areas of the business’ operation.Matt Waller of Adventure Bay Charters in Port Lincoln said that in putting together the submission, he and his team learnt a lot about themselves and realised there was a lot they were doing that they didn’t realise or register as important.“It is a self audit on procedures and practices and ensures that we stay on top of our operations and best practice standards”, he said.Rawnsley Park Station owner, Tony Smith, sees the South Australian Tourism Awards as one of the important planks with which to build ‘brand’ for his business.“We try to provide the highest quality facilities and service to our guests and winning an award reinforces that message to our customers and to the tourism industry”, he said.For Deborah Smalley and Juliet Michell of The Australasian Circa 1858 in Goolwa, the motivation to enter the Awards was to receive feedback from industry experienced judges.“Each year this process has helped us improve our business plan for the next tourism year. The goal is a medal, but the process helps your business”, they said.Kate Carter of the Hahndorf Farm Barn believes having the winner’s logo to use on all their marketing collateral has been most advantageous.“It shows we are a quality tourist attraction worthy of a visitor’s time and spend’ she said.Nominations close on Friday the 28th of June 2013 and submissions are due by Monday the 12th of August. The Awards Gala Dinner will be held on Friday the 8th of November at the Adelaide Convention Centre.Source = South Australia Tourism
Helsinki Airport is the Best Airport in Northern Europe
2018 Best in Northern Europe Heikki KoskiHelsinki Airport is the Best Airport in Northern EuropeHelsinki Airport has been voted the Best Airport in Northern Europe by passengers in the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards. The results were announced at Passenger Terminal EXPO in Stockholm, Sweden on 21 March 2018.”It is an honour to receive this award by passengers all around the world. It is the best way to verify that our hard work towards enhancing customer experience in Helsinki Airport is paying off. At the same time, I want to warmly thank our Finavia personnel and all of our partners here in Helsinki Airport; without their contribution, this result could not have been possible”, says Helsinki Airport Director Ville Haapasaari from Finavia.Finavia is constantly developing services at Helsinki Airport, keeping customers’ point of view always on the top of our minds. Currently, the airport is carrying out a 900 million euro development programme in order to prepare for serving 30 million passengers.“We want to move people as smoothly as possible. We do our best to ensure smooth travelling and high customer satisfaction – also in the future. We offer safe, reliable and a unique customer experience. I welcome everyone to feel the positive atmosphere of Helsinki Airport”, Haapasaari concludes.The 2018 World Airport Awards are based on 13.73 million airport survey questionnaires that were completed by over 100 nationalities of airport customers during the survey period. The survey operated from August 2017 to February 2018, covering more than 500 airports and evaluating traveller experiences across different airport service and product key performance indicators – from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration through to departure at the gate.We celebrate the award with our passengersOn Thursday, 22 March 2018, at 12-17, the airport will have an award celebration at departure gate 29. Passengers will have a chance to be photographed by a photo wall. One picture will end up to airport’s guestbook, one picture will travel with a passenger. In addition, some smoothies with wishes for a pleasant journey will be served: For smooth travelling!Helsinki Airport is the best connected airport in Northern Europe with 145 non-stop destinations all around the world by over 50 airlines. It is an important air traffic hub between Europe and Asia. To Asia, the number of direct routes totals 20 and the number of departures per week over 100. In 2017, Helsinki Airport served 18.9 million passengers, which was 9.9% more than the year before. In 2018, the airport expects to reach the 20 million passengers milestone.The SKYTRAX World Airport Awards are the most prestigious accolades for the airport industry, voted by customers in the largest, annual global airport customer satisfaction survey which has operated every year since 1999. The Awards are widely regarded as the quality benchmark of airport excellence for the world airport industry, assessing customer service and facilities across 550 airports. The survey and awards are independent of any airport control or input and represent an impartial benchmark of airport excellence and quality. The World Airport Awards are widely known as the Passengers Choice Awards. www.worldairportawards.comMore information on Helsinki Airport accoladesSource = Finavia
Hilton CEO On Track to Open Most Luxury Hotels in Company History
Waldorf Astoria: Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal and Waldorf Astoria Maldives IthaafushiLXR: The Biltmore, Mayfair in London and Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa in AnguillaConrad: Conrad Hangzhou, Conrad Hangzhou Tonglu, Conrad New York Midtown, Conrad Shenyang, Conrad Tianjin and Conrad Washington, DCThis record-breaking year marks the beginning of impressive momentum for Hilton’s luxury category and stems from more than a decade of strategic investments and planning. Following this year’s openings, Hilton’s luxury pipeline includes more than 30 properties, approximately 25 of which are expected to open through 2025.“After more than a decade of honing Hilton’s distinct luxury offerings and investing in key markets around the globe, we are embarking upon a very exciting phase for the category,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton. “Over the next five years, starting with this year’s openings, we will start to see the positive impact of our efforts, and we are confident that our amazing portfolio of properties will reinvent luxury travel for Hilton – and for the entire industry.”More than a decade in the makingLuxury became a top priority for Hilton when Nassetta took over as President and CEO in 2007 and re-focused the company’s business strategy around organic growth. Hilton leadership mapped out a luxury growth strategy that centered on two priorities: refining the two core luxury brands at the time, Waldorf Astoria and Conrad, to resonate with specific customer needs; and bringing the brands to diversified markets. Last year, Hilton identified a gap among independent luxury hotels and launched LXR, its third luxury brand, to provide customers with a portfolio of distinctive, iconic hotels and resorts – full of character and individuality – that are backed by a world-class commercial engine.“Hilton was among the first to predict that luxury travel was poised to take off across generations and markets in the years to come – and we wanted to be at the forefront of its reinvention,” said Ian Carter, president, global development, architecture, design and construction, Hilton. “Development in the luxury space requires time and resources to do it properly. Our thoughtful and targeted approach has enabled us to grow Hilton’s luxury presence globally – in many cases from the ground up – from new properties to spectacular conversions.”Growing Global DistributionAs part of the enterprise’s organic growth strategy, Hilton’s luxury development team works with strong ownership groups to select markets and tailor the respective brand’s presence. Over the past decade, Hilton and its partners expanded the luxury category’s global presence from 15 to 29 countries and territories, and they are continuing to grow the portfolio with a finely curated pipeline of more than 30 signings that are diverse in regions and market-types.Waldorf Astoria is growing to include more resort destinations, such as Los Cabos, Mexico and the Maldives, and is building a presence in more key urban markets like London (expected to open in 2021), San Francisco (expected to open in 2022) and Miami (expected to open in 2024). The Conrad brand, which has been concentrated in the Asia Pacific region, is gaining traction in other parts of the world, including the U.S. where it recently signed deals in Nashville (expected to open in 2021) and Orlando (expected to open in 2022) and opened a flagship property in Washington, D.C. LXR is gaining speed in a variety of markets with the additions of Anguilla’s world-class Zemi Beach resort and London’s sophisticated Biltmore Mayfair.Hilton and its ownership partners continue to elevate and expand the company’s luxury offerings. The Waldorf Astoria hotels in New York and Las Vegas, as well as the Conrad in Miami, are among Hilton luxury properties undergoing substantial renovations to upgrade design and enhance the on-property experience. In addition, Hilton has increasingly invested in its luxury residential portfolio, which now includes more than 2,800 units across 22 properties.Hilton’s Luxury AdvantageHilton has also made significant investments over the past decade in its commercial services for the luxury category, which have helped to attract new owners and improve performance of existing luxury properties.The category has expanded its bench of talent across corporate and property functions, which has led to the development of best-in-class resources and solutions that drive profits and efficiencies for owners. For example, Hilton has hired experts to innovate its luxury food and beverage, architecture and design, and marketing offerings, as well as doubled its luxury sales team with a focus on group accounts and transient sales, and created a data and analytics function of more than 150 Team Members to further personalize and tailor the guest experience.“Our success truly comes down to our people,” Rinck said. “We continue to hire the best talent in the business who ensure Hilton luxury is competitive in the travel landscape today and tomorrow.”Source = Hilton HiltonHilton CEO: On Track to Open Most Luxury Hotels in Company HistoryHilton (NYSE: HLT) President and CEO Chris Nassetta today announced the company is on track to open more luxury properties in 2019 than in any previous year of its 100-year history, with seven hotels expected to open by year’s end – in addition to four openings earlier this year – across its luxury brands: Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts.Hilton’s current and projected luxury openings in 2019, which join the 65 existing luxury properties, include:
World Travel and Tourism Council announces new appointments
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the World Travel and Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) has appointed Kapil Chopra, President of The Oberoi Group as the new Chairman. Ashwani Lohani, Chairman and Managing Director of Air India is the new Vice President.Commenting on the new appointment, Chopra said, “Maintaining the momentum of the WTTCII Report, Tourism Action Plan 2014, presented to the new Government, we have recently requested urgent interventions at the Prime Minister level. Tourism growth in India has been the slowest in three years and is only four percent over last year. One of the most important interventions needed at this moment is the revival, recasting and relaunching the Incredible India Campaign 2.0. The E-Tourist Visa on Arrival (ETVoA) scheme, currently extended to 113 countries, must be communicated effectively to consumers through the ‘Incredible India 2.0’ campaign as awareness continues to be low. Also this campaign should be on the same scale and magnitude as ‘Make in India’ across print, digital and social media platforms for India’s key source markets. Both campaigns need to complement each other.”
Vacation guide to the city of Houston in Texas
Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth-most populous city in the United States, located in Southeast Texas near the Gulf of Mexico. Nicknamed the ‘Space City,’ Houston is a global city, with strengths in business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, medicine, and research.Source: Expedia
Clarks Inn Belgaum slated to launch by the end of 2017
Clarks Inn Group of Hotels has announced the signing of a distinct hotel property at the historic city of Belgaum in Karnataka on the state’s north-western border. The new property, a 60-key strategically located business hotel is currently in its last phase of development and is slated to start operation by the year end.Speaking on the latest addition, Rahul Banerjee, Associate Vice President-Operations, Clarks Inn Group of Hotels, said, “Clarks Inn witnessed one of its biggest growth year in 2016 opening and signing a total of 21 new properties, including 12 operational, with the total tally reaching 75 hotels last year spread across 17 states in India and one in Nepal. With a strong development pipeline, we are expecting another year of robust growth in 2017. And with the latest addition at Belgaum we are confident of reaching a 100 hotel portfolio milestone by the end of the year.”The 60-key Clarks Inn Belgaum will be a vibrant hotel property with strategic location that will cater to all the needs of the modern day discerning business and as well as leisure travellers. Other facilities in the hotel will be ‘Delhi Diner’, an authentic North Indian restaurant, Terrace Grill, Bar, Swimming Pool and Spa and conference and banquet facility that can accommodate up to 800 pax.With the latest addition Clarks Inn now boasts of a portfolio of 76 hotel properties, including 42 in operation, spread across 17 states in India and one in Kathmandu, Nepal.
FHFA Reports Modest Price Growth in September
Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing The “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov/ (FHFA) reported home prices continued to climb higher in September, with prices gaining by 0.2 percent from August. [IMAGE]On the same day Tuesday, the Case-Shiller Indices “”posted””:http://www.dsnews.com/articles/case-shiller-indices-up-in-sept-momentum-slows-2012-11-27 a similar monthly increase of 0.3 percent. FHFA’s house price index (HPI) also revealed a quarterly price gain of 1.1 percent from the second to the third quarter. Compared to the third quarter last year, prices rose 4 percent. [COLUMN_BREAK]The agency stated the monthly index has increased for eight straight months now. “”With significant growth in home prices during the quarter and a modest inventory of homes available for sale, house price movements in the third quarter were similar to what we observed in the spring,”” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis.Yet, even with the consistent price gains, Leventis added, “”a number of factors continue to affect the recovery in home prices such as stagnant income growth, high unemployment levels, lingering uncertainty about the macroeconomy, and the large number of homes in the foreclosure pipeline.””On a quarterly basis, the index also found price increases for 39 states. States that saw significant quarterly increases included Delaware (+5.8 percent), Arizona (5.4 percent), and Nevada (+4.2 percent). Of the nine census divisions observed, the Mountain led with a 3 percent quarterly gain. The Pacific region saw a 2 percent quarterly increase, while the East South Central and Middle Atlantic both struggled with quarterly losses of 0.15 percent. FHFA’s report is based on data for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages originated over the past 37 years. November 28, 2012 434 Views FHFA Reports Modest Price Growth in September Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Home Prices Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-11-28 Esther Cho
Mortgage Fraud Up 11 from Q2 to Q3 2012
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Investors Kroll Factual Data Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Fraud Processing Regulation Service Providers 2013-01-24 Tory Barringer A recent report from verification services provider “”Kroll Factual Data, Inc.””:http://www.krollfactualdata.com/, shows the risk of mortgage fraud rose 1.1 percent throughout the country between the second and third quarters of 2012.[IMAGE]To assemble the report, Kroll Factual Data examined metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with at least 1,000 applications per quarter and isolated certain files that may contain indicators of potential mortgage origination fraud.In some MSAs, the company found the risk of fraud rose from Q2 to Q3 by more than 50 percent.””While fraud alerts declined in some MSAs, these declines were offset by significant increases in others. This spike in potential fraud is troubling, coming at the same time the mortgage industry is beginning to turn the corner,”” said Rod Bazzani, president of Kroll Factual Data. “”More importantly, the fact that red flags are rising in every area of the country highlights the continued need for lenders to remain vigilant against fraud.””Bazzani added that recently issued regulations from the “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/–many of which are designed to ensure verification of a borrower’s “”ability to repay””:https://themreport.com/articles/cfpb-releases-qualified-mortgage-criteria-establishes-legal-protections-2013-01-10 a loan–“”raise the stakes for lenders to catch fraud or inadvertent errors that might compromise lending decisions or risk buy-back requests.””According to Kroll Factual Data, Flint, Michigan, saw the largest quarterly increase in potential application fraud, posting a 50.32 percent rise over Q2. It’s followed by: Columbia, Missouri (29.77 percent); Lancaster, Pennsylvania (28.83 percent); Tacoma, Washington (25.68 percent); and Santa Fe, New Mexico (24.24 percent).At the other end, the MSAs with the largest decreases in potential fraud were: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois (-19.55 percent); Bridgeport-Milford, Connecticut (-18.59 percent); San Francisco-Oakland, California (-18.37 percent); Birmingham, Alabama (-17.95 percent); and Cleveland, Ohio (-17.32 percent). January 24, 2013 403 Views Share in Data, Origination Fraud,Mortgage Fraud Up 1.1% from Q2 to Q3 2012
US Home Prices Stall in July
Home Prices S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices 2014-09-30 Tory Barringer U.S. Home Prices Stall in July September 30, 2014 632 Views Leading measures released Tuesday show home price growth suffered a setback in July, falling month to month on a seasonally adjusted basis and slowing significantly on an annual scale.Including seasonal factors, the S&P/Case-Shiller 10- and 20-city indices both posted a 0.5 percent decline from June to July, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported. Those losses compare to declines of 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, from May to June.The National Index, recently added as a monthly (rather than quarterly) measure, inched up a meager 0.2 percent, a step up from its 0.1 percent drop in June.Removing seasonal adjustments, each index increased over the month, though growth was nearly halved compared to June. According to S&P Dow Jones, the 10- and 20-city composites each increased 0.6 percent (following an even 1.0 percent in June), while the National Index was up 0.5 percent (compared to 0.9 percent).”The broad-based deceleration in home prices continued in the most recent data,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, adding that prices are still rising at double or triple the rate of inflation. “The slower pace of home price appreciation is consistent with most of the other housing data on housing starts and home sales. The rise in August new home sales … is a welcome exception to recent trends.”Out of all the markets included in the 20-city index, 19 posted month-to-month appreciation, though 17 of those saw smaller increases than in June. Only San Francisco reported a decline, with prices dropping 0.4 percent—its largest decrease since February 2012.On an annual basis, the 10- and 20-market composites each experienced 6.7 percent price appreciation, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices, stepping back from June’s 8.1 percent increase. The National Index was up 5.6 percent, also slower than June.Though all of the 20 cities tracked posted positive movement on an annual basis, 19 saw lower annual returns than in June. Cleveland was the one market where growth remained steady at 0.9 percent, putting it behind all of the other metros. Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News
Citigroup to Sell OneMain to Springleaf for 425 Billion
March 4, 2015 493 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Uncategorized Share Citigroup will sell OneMain Financial Holdings Inc. to Springleaf Holdings Inc for $42.5 billion in cash, according to Reuters. The deal would make Springleaf the largest subprime lender in the U.S, with $15 billion in assets and nearly 2,000 branches.Citigroup has been trying to sell OneMain since 2011 as a plan the bank has implemented to sell unwanted assets and focus on wealthier clients. OneMain is a part of Citi Holdings, which was created during the financial crisis to place assets that Citigroup wanted to divest or wind down. It provides loans to buy small-ticket items and meet unexpected expenses. The company posted a loss of $2 billion in 2010, but has since been profitable, with profits rising 7 percent to $415 million in nine months. OneMain has 1,140 branches in the U.S.According to the article, OneMain had filed to go public in October, but Citigroup had always preferred an outright sale. However, potential buyers had trouble raising funds and Citi was unwilling to sell at prices being offered. Industry experts thought OneMain would sell for more money. Jefferies & Co said it expected OneMain to sell for $5 million.Citigroup said it will use a part of the sale proceeds to retire certain funding that supports Citi Holdings. The combination of the debt retirement and the remaining proceeds is expected to add about $1 billion to Citi’s earnings before income taxes. Citi Holdings’ assets had been reduced to 5 percent of total assets in 2014 from a peak of more than 30 percent, by Citi.Springfield shares rose 38 percent to a record $52.44 on Tuesday, while Citigroup’s shares were slightly higher at $53.73. Springleaf CEO Jay Levine said the combined company is expected to earn $800 to $900 million in 2017, according to Reuters. Citigroup to Sell OneMain to Springleaf for $42.5 Billion Citigroup One Main Springleaf. Citi Holdings 2015-03-04 Samantha Guzman
Flagstar Reports Jump in Profits for Q1
April 28, 2015 505 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Bank Profits Earnings Statements Flagstar Bancorp Michigan 2015-04-28 Seth Welborn Flagstar Bancorp Inc.’s profits have jumped significantly since 2014, according to a first quarter earnings report released this morning.The report revealed that Flagstar pulled in a first quarter net income of $31.5 million, or 43 cents per share–nearly triple the amount it reported in Q4 of 2014. In the fourth quarter of last year, the company reported a net income of just $11.1 million, or 7 cents per share. Early in the year, Flagstar recorded a net loss of $78.9 million for Q1 2014.The first quarter of 2015 also brought in a 15 percent increase in revenue and a 2 percent decline in operating expenses when compared to 2014, and interest-earning assets rose 8 percent over the last quarter. Warehouse lending also saw an increase of 15 percent since 2014.These new numbers reveal an upward trend for Troy, Michigan-based Flagstar, one that the company’s executives attribute to improved sales margins, lowered risk, higher-quality loans and internal changes within the originations process.”Our first quarter results reflect our significant efforts to strengthen our core business and improve financial performance,” said Alessandro P. DiNello, president and chief executive officer of Flagstar Bancorp. “Mortgage volumes increased during the first quarter, providing a favorable tailwind, but most of our revenue growth was due to improved gain on sale margins in part from fundamental changes to optimize our mortgage originations business. In addition to improving our top- and bottom-line results, we also grew our balance sheet and executed on our strategic priority to reduce risk by continuing to sell lower quality loans. Nonperforming loans are now well below $100 million, a level Flagstar has not seen since 2006.But despite the forward movement, the work is not done, according to DiNello. The company will continue to strengthen its franchises and warehouse lending branches.”We are encouraged by our progress, especially in controlling expenses given this quarter’s higher business levels,” DiNello said. “We remain focused on continuing our strong results by growing our community banking franchise in Michigan and expanding our national warehouse lending business, which led our loan growth this quarter. Last quarter, we pointed to the work done the previous two years to position the Company for going-forward success. We believe this quarter delivers on our promise to continue to build on this foundation.”See the full earnings report at Flagstar.com. Flagstar Reports Jump in Profits for Q1 Share
GDP Growth Expands to 37 Percent for Second Q2 Estimate
Gross Domestic Product Home Sales HOUSING U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis 2015-08-27 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News, Secondary Market GDP Growth Expands to 3.7 Percent for Second Q2 Estimate Share The nation’s real gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded expectations in the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ second estimate for Q2 released Thursday, expanding at an annual rate of 3.7 percent—an increase from 2.3 percent growth reported in the BEA’s advance estimate for Q2 last month.Real GDP growth in Q2 is way up from a paltry 0.6 percent annual growth rate in Q1 and at 3.7 percent is now way ahead of forecasts for the remainder of 2015. But when all economic factors are considered, is the news all good?According to the BEA, the increase in real GDP estimate for Q2 reflects positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCEs), exports, state and local government spending, nonresidential fixed investment, and private inventory investment. Imports, which are subtracted in the calculation of GDP, increased in Q2, according to the BEA.Q2’s real GDP growth is consistent with the positive news for most housing metrics as of late. Existing home sales are at pre-recession levels, and in the July 2015 pending home sales report released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), pending home sales were up by 7.4 percent year-over-year. Affordability and tight inventory remain obstacles to home sales, however.”The GDP release today is very positive but most importantly because all components of the GDP showed strong improvement,” Trulia Chief Economist Selma Hepp said. “Also, the growth in all components suggest that we may be looking at a strong third quarter as well. In terms of housing, the economic improvement may actually put more pressure on affordability because we are still not seeing improvements in inventories. While job growth is generally strong, the wage growth is still lagging. We will see more wage pressures going forward which will help potential buyers’ purchasing power, but that process will be slow.””The GDP release today is very positive but most importantly because all components of the GDP showed strong improvement.”Measuring the housing market can be tricky this time of year because of the seasonality of the market, which can vary in different parts of the country, according to Realtor.com chief economist Jonathan Smoke. But housing has benefited from since the stock market recently entering correction mode on August 21 for the first time in four years, Smoke said.”While momentum remains strong, we are entering a slower time of year for demand,” Smoke said. “However, the recent stock market correction has produced a gift to the housing market in the form of lower mortgage rates and a window of time before rates move up again.”Amid the positive news for both GDP growth and housing, the question still looms large as to whether the Fed will raise interest rates at the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which will be September 16 and 17. Many are speculating that the turbulent stock market activity in the last week will cause the Fed to postpone raising rates. Earlier in the week, New York Fed president Bill Dudley said a September rate hike seemed “less compelling” now.”In lieu of good economic data, the looking question is what is going to happen to interest rates,” Hepp said. “I think the financial turmoil we saw over the last week is going to postpone Fed’s decision to do anything. This is good for consumers since their confidence was just shaken by the turmoil and increase in rates may further derail their decisions to enter the housing market.” August 27, 2015 401 Views
The Housing Low Down on the Oil Crisis
The Housing Low Down on the Oil Crisis January 26, 2016 573 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News As oil prices continue to decline in the U.S., many in the mortgage industry are expressing concern about how America’s new crisis will affect the housing sector.ProTeck Valuation Services released its Home Value Forecast Tuesday, which explains how U.S. oil prices will affect the housing market, particularly home values.“Many of us are enjoying the benefits of oil at its lowest price in over 12 years, in the $30 a barrel range as of this release,” said Tom O’Grady, CEO of Pro Teck Valuation Services. “The impact on the U.S. oil industry, however, has been alarming.”To provide a clearer picture of the oil crisis, ProTeck explained that at the end of December 2014, there were 1,882 active oil rigs in the U.S. Just a year later, that number has fallen to 714. In the state of Texas alone, the rig count dropped by more than 62 percent in 2015.A report from Capital Economics found that there are two ways that lower oil prices can affect the economy, but ultimately feels that the decline in oil prices will boost economic growth.“In principle, a lower oil price should be positive for the world economy. The transfer of income from producers to consumers, who are more likely to spend on other goods and services, should boost global demand,” Capital Economics stated. “At worst, the impact might be expected to be neutral, with the winners offsetting the losers. In practice, though, the net impact of the recent slump in oil prices appears to have been negative or at least perceived as such in financial markets.”The report continued, “On balance, then we continue to expect an extended period of lower oil prices to boost global growth over the next few years, even if this process may take longer than we had anticipated.”Perhaps the most interesting connection between oil prices and housing was recently made by Bloomberg Business writer Tracy Alloway and Bank of America analysts.Alloway reports that one year ago, Bank of America connected the subprime mortgage crash with low oil prices. So could this oil crisis be the first sign of a subprime mortgage crash?Bloomberg reports that Bank of America analysts recently said this about the oil prices and subprime crisis relationship:The pattern of the decline in the price of oil that began in mid-2014 is remarkably similar to the 2007-2009 pattern of the price decline of ABX, the credit derivative index that referenced subprime mortgages and, ultimately, the U.S. housing market. Given that both housing and oil prices were fueled to spectacular heights in the two periods by massive credit expansion, it’s probably more than just coincidence that the respective “bubble” bursting patterns are so similar.Consider how things tend to work. Denial on what constitutes fair value is a big component of bubbles, on the part of both market participants and policymakers. When perceived “bubbles” burst, markets take their time in steadily shredding views of the perception of fundamental value, as prices move lower and lower. Along the way, many will cite “technical factors” as the cause of the decline, which in some way suggests the price decline may not be real when in fact it is all too real. In the end, the technicals drive the fundamentals, as credit flees and borrowers go bust, and a feedback loop lower kicks in. Lower prices beget accelerated selling, as asset owners need to raise cash. It could be margin calls or it could be producer selling needs, it doesn’t really matter: the selling becomes inevitable and turns into forced selling. Share HOUSING Mortgage Industry Oil Prices 2016-01-26 Staff Writer
The Byproduct of Improved Loan Performance
The Byproduct of Improved Loan Performance in Daily Dose, Data, News Banks Mortgage Servicers Nonbanks 2016-10-10 Seth Welborn Share October 10, 2016 511 Views By Kendall BaerDepository institutions appear to be reducing mortgage servicing staff at a faster rate than non-bank servicers as portfolio sizes decline and loan performance improves, according to Fitch Ratings’ latest quarterly U.S. RMBS Servicer Handbook.This installment of the Servicer Handbook (the sixth that Fitch has published) contains data on key indicators through Q2 of 2016 that, when taken together, can give insight into the overall health of the mortgage market.The glaring statistic associated with the report is that banks have reduced their mortgage servicing staff by nearly half on average in the past two years. Two years ago, the average depository institution employed approximately 8,000 employees devoted to mortgage servicing. That number has dipped down to just north of 4,000. In contrast, the report says that non-bank servicers do not appear to be in any hurry to reduce staffing levels, the number of servicing employees at these institutions has remained fairly constant on average at approximately 2,000 employees.Fitch attributes the steadiness in staffing levels to the focus these non-bank institutions are putting on growing their servicing portfolios. Further, historically speaking, the company argues that the need for more robust staffing levels is also buoyed by the requirement that non-bank customers have for more frequent interaction.“In addition to lower mortgage delinquencies, high credit quality portfolio additions mostly brought on by origination activity are also contributing to reduced staff among bank servicers,” the ratings agency said while previewing the release. “In fact, bank servicers now manage more than twice as many mortgage loans per employee compared to nonbank servicers, a comparison not likely to change to any great degree anytime soon.” The handbook also dives into the difference in loss mitigation strategies between the two types of servicing institutionsClick HERE to view the Report
Banks Profits Fly South for the Winter
Share October 14, 2016 695 Views Banks’ Profits Fly South for the Winter JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and PNC Financial Group all experienced year-over-year declines in net income in their Q3 2016 earnings reports released Friday.Chase saw its net income drop by 8 percent in Q3, from $6.8 billion last year to $6.3 billion this year. For Citi, the third quarter decline was half a billion, down to $3.8 billion. PNC saw its net income fall from $1.1 billion in Q3 2015 down to $1 billion in Q3 2016.ChaseAccording to Chase, Q3’s net income of $6.3 billion “reflects higher income tax expense in the current quarter. The prior-year quarter included tax benefits of $2.2 billion due to the resolution of tax audits and the release of deferred taxes.”For Chase, despite the 8 percent drop in net income from the previous year, mortgage banking fared well. Mortgage banking income spiked by 21 percent over-the-year in Q3 at Chase, from $1.55 billion up to $1.87 billion. According to the report, the increase was “driven by higher MSR risk management results, higher production margins, and portfolio growth.”CitigroupCitigroup reported a net income of $3.8 billion for the third quarter, a half billion lower than the net income reported in Q3 for the year prior. This was also a decrease from the last quarter of $200 million, or 8 percent. Citi reports that the drop is due to the lower revenues, particularly offset by lower cost of credit and lower operating expenses.Despite this, Citi CEO Michael Corbat said, “I am very encouraged by the underlying momentum across our franchise, notably in several areas where we have been investing. In the quarter, both our Global Consumer Bank and Institutional Clients Group had solid year-over-year revenue increases in nearly every business line and geography. We also continued to grow core loans and deposits while reducing non-core assets to just 3 percent of our balance sheet.”Citi’s loans consisted of $638 billion as of the end of Q3, up 2 percent from the prior year period, and up 3 percent in constant dollars. In constant dollars, 7 percent growth in Citicorp loans was somewhat offset by continued declines in Citi Holdings, driven primarily by continued reductions in the North America mortgage portfolio.PNC Financial ServicesPNC Financial Services Group’s net income for Q3 was $1.0 billion, up from $989 million in the second quarter but down from $1.1 billion from Q3 of 2015. Residential mortgage banking net income accounted for about $13 million of Q3’s net income, compared to the total from Q3 2015 (a loss of $4 million). Residential mortgage banking noninterest income decreased by $5 million over-the-quarter but was up $35 million over-the-year in Q3 up to $160 million, driven by lower net hedging gains on mortgage servicing rights and lower servicing fees offset by higher loan sales revenue from higher origination volumes.“PNC delivered another good quarter,” said William S. Demchak, Chairman, President and CEO. “We grew revenue and managed expenses, loans and deposits increased, and capital levels were strong. Looking ahead, we continue to lay the groundwork for greater efficiencies and revenue growth to deliver positive operating leverage and create long-term shareholder value.”Click here to view JPMorgan Chase’s Q3 earnings report.Click here to view Citi’s Q3 earnings report.Click here to view PNC’s Q3 earnings report. in Daily Dose, Headlines, News Citigroup Earnings JPMorgan Chase PNC Financial Group Profits 2016-10-14 Seth Welborn
Last year China increased tariffs on a large range
Last year China increased tariffs on a large range of important U.S. fresh fruit imports, including table grapes, cherries, citrus and apples from 10% to 50%, effectively pricing many companies out of what had been a strong growth market.”We don’t know what the next round of retaliation could look like. It’s possible that China would increase tariffs in retaliation even more,” said Owen.”For the products that have already been targeted, I don’t know that it would do a lot more damage, but if they put it on additional products, there could be more impact,” he said, explaining that there were still some U.S. fruit and vegetable products going into China that had not been affected by last year’s tariff increase, mainly processed products.Loss of market opportunityHowever, he said that the longer-term issue for the U.S. produce industry is the ongoing loss of market opportunity, with many farmers having hoped that the trade war would be over by now.”Every time you substitute products from one market to another market, you’ve got to fight to get those markets back. So the longer you’re out of a market then the more you have to fight to come back in,” he said.”So the Chinese buyers are looking for products from other countries to fill that void, and the longer that happens or the longer the trade war continues then the market kind of shifts and readjusts with the reality.”Owen said that the overall mood in the U.S. produce industry was “frustration” of not knowing what the end goal is with this escalating trade war. There is also the sense that fruit and vegetable growers are getting “caught in the crossfire”, he said.But he was hopeful that both sides would reach a deal that could end the trade war and allow the countries to move forward. May 10 , 2019 Chinese cherry production, imports to rise in 2019 … Chinese market apple shortage leads to highest pri … Japanese apple saplings reportedly sold illegally … U.S., China revive trade talks ahead of Trump-Xi G … You might also be interested in The recent tariff increase on Chinese imports will lead to higher input costs for U.S. farmers, according to the Produce Marketing Association (PMA).At 12.01 a.m. on Friday the U.S. Administration raised tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%, in what analysts say is a major escalation of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.The value of Chinese goods imported into the U.S. in 2018 was US$539 billion, according to the US Census Bureau, and so the tariff rise affects almost half of total imports.Speaking to FreshFruitPortal.com, Richard Owen, vice president of global membership & engagement at the PMA, said there could be several implications to the U.S. produce industry.”For this round of tariff increases – which are really across the board on a number of Chinese imports – they’re really going to affect farmers’ input costs on a number of things, such as fertilizers and equipment,” he said.”Input products are sometimes mixed in with other things, but there are a lot of items that are included. If you think of the electronics that go into a lot of the farm equipment – technical equipment in particular -, if you think of inputs greenhouses if you’re a vegetable producer … that’s an increase for farmers as well so it narrows the margins even further.”Potential retaliationThe effect of China’s threatened retaliation on U.S. farmers is another important factor. The Chinese Government has not yet said what form this would take but has vowed to implement the “necessary countermeasures”.
14 Chicago Bears – Ha Ha ClintonDix S Alabama
14. Chicago Bears – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, AlabamaMeet another member of the Aaron Donald fan club, but if the Pitt defensive tackle is off the board, the Bears could look at the best safety prospect in the class, and they may believe it is Clinton-Dix.15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan StateThe Steelers have not drafted a corner in the first round in ages, but Dennard fits perfectly into the Steelers “tough as hell” mantra.16. Dallas Cowboys – Calvin Pryor, S, LouisvillePryor gives the Cowboys a physical presence in the back end of their defense.17. Baltimore Ravens – Zack Martin, OT, Notre DameThe Ravens need help along the offensive line and Martin offers starting right tackle upside.18. New York Jets – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon StateLast season the Jets were waiting for Tavon Austin with the ninth pick, but the Rams traded up to make sure they secured the speedy receiver. This year, they don’t miss out on Cooks, as they get more weapons for Geno Smith or Mike Vick.19. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio StateThe rumor is that Shazier will not get past the Dolphins, who need help and youth at the linebacker position. 3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Khalil Mack, Edge Rusher, BuffaloI want to mock Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel here, but just can’t do it. Jaguars grab their fit in the Bradley defense.4. Cleveland Browns – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&MThe Browns get a weapon for Brian Hoyer. Evans gives the Browns a dynamic weapon to pair along with Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron and Ben Tate.5. Oakland Raiders- Sammy Watkins, WR, ClemsonAl Davis may be gone, but his spirit lives on and the Raiders take the best wide receiver in the draft. 6. Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (Possible Trade Spot)The Falcons need to find a way to protect Matt Ryan or rush the opposing quarterback (up to two for Mack), so it comes down to the “sure thing” in Matthews or the superior specimen in Anthony Barr.7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh(Possible Trade Spot) This spot will coveted, as teams try to secure the services of Donald, but the Bucs and Lovie Smith get their “Warren Sapp”.8. Minnesota Vikings – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia TechMike Zimmer wanted a shot at Donald and offensive coordinator Norv Turner wouldn’t mind Bortles or Carr, but getting secondary help is a must, and Fuller has been the hot name being bandied about. Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The dynamic Ward goes to a very talented team, who may be just missing that one player to get them over the hump.25. San Diego Chargers – Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLAThe Chargers need help along the line to keep the offense afloat and Philip Rivers upright. Su’a-Filo is the best guard prospect in the draft and he’ll be an ideal fit in San Diego.26. Cleveland Browns – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, LouisvilleThe Browns take a similar chance in 2014 that they took in 2012, this time going wide receiver early and quarterback late in round one.27. New Orleans Saints – Marcus Martin, C, USCThe Saints lost their starting center, the linchpin to their offensive line and a very important battery mate to Drew Brees, and somehow they upgrade with Martin.28. Carolina Panthers – Morgan Moses, OT, VirginiaThe Panthers need a left tackle badly, so they take the top player left on the board in Moses.29. New England Patriots – Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, MinnesotaThe Patriots get maybe a top-five athlete in the draft, but off-the-field concerns may cause Hageman to drop. The Patriots gladly accept the gift.30. San Francisco 49ers – Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 20. Arizona Cardinals – Blake Bortles, QB, Central FloridaLet the fan base be divided. The Cardinals sit at 20 with the intention of picking up the best defensive player on the board, but have fate them with the ultimate dilemma.With Bortles available at 20, Steve Keim and Bruce Arians will have to decide if the answer is “YES” to the future or “YES” to the here and now. 21. Green Bay Packers – C.J. Mosley, LB, AlabamaMaybe it is unlikely that the Alabama product falls all the way to 21, but the Packers take advantage and pull the trigger on a key part to what they hope is an improved defense.22. Philadelphia Eagles – Marqise Lee, WR, USCChip Kelly has a familiarity with the Pac-12 product and the Eagles need to find a way to get DeSean Jackson’s production back. Lee has the ability after the catch and can play all of the positions in the Eagles attack.23. Kansas City Chiefs – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&MThe Chiefs having the ability to either sign Alex Smith long-term, or draft maybe the perfect Andy Reid quarterback. They’ll do the latter and take the polarizing Manziel.24. Cincinnati Bengals – Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois 9. Buffalo Bills – Eric Ebron, TE, North CarolinaWhile Taylor Lewan should be in play here, the idea the Bills need more help for E.J. Manuel is real. Ebron is similar to Mike Evans, whom the Bills supposedly covet, and can be used as the big-bodied wide receiver they need.10. Detroit Lions – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSUBeckham is a hot name right now, with rumors the San Francisco 49ers would like to come up and get the talented wideout. But he goes here to the Lions and will give them an option next to Calvin Johnson.11. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLAThe Titans moving to a 3-4 defense need either a pass rusher or a corner for the defense, and they take the highly talented Barr and let DC Ray Horton groom him.12. New York Giants – Taylor Lewan, OT, MichiganThe Giants score a huge victory. Getting Lewan at #12 will help protect Eli Manning, or whoever is the Giants quarterback going forward.13. St. Louis Rams – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma StateThe Rams are one of the teams that could move up to get Aaron Donald. If that doesn’t work out they’ll take the player highest on their board between Gilbert and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. 0 Comments Share Here’s a look at Seth Cox’s final mock draft.1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, Edge Rusher, South CarolinaThe rumor has it the owner wants Johnny Manziel, but everyone else likes Clowney. That’s the right pick, unless you draft Khalil Mack.2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn (Possible Trade Spot) No mocking of trades, but it seems as though it is a foregone conclusion the Rams will move from here. Without a move they take the best run blocker in the draft, and let Jeff Fisher continue to build his offense. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Latimer could be the answer the 49ers have been looking for at wide receiver. The long, lean and athletic Latimer didn’t get much of a chance to show what he could do at Indiana, but that will change by the bay.31. Denver Broncos – Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYUIf the Broncos have shown us anything, it is that they are going all in this year, and they won’t let their defense be what keeps them from winning a Super Bowl.32. Seattle Seahawks – Joel Bitonio, OT, NevadaSeattle needs help along the offensive line and take one of the top offensive line prospects in the draft this year in Bitonio.
Starwood has now finalised its sale of The Gritti
Starwood has now finalised its sale of The Gritti Palace in Venice to Nozul Hotels & Resorts, the owner of W Doha Hotel, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Jaidah Holdings for €105 million (approximately US$117 million).Starwood will continue to operate the hotel under The Luxury Collection brand flag under a new long-term management agreement.Adam Aron, CEO of Starwood on an interim basis, said, “As we said on our quarterly earning’s conference call on April 29th, Starwood reaffirmed our confidence that, as part of our asset light strategy, we would complete $800 million in hotel dispositions in the balance of 2015, while maintaining these hotels’ continued participation in the Starwood system. The sale of The Gritti Palace is an important and positive step toward achieving our 2015 target.”Built in 1525 as the private residence of Doge Andrea Gritti, The Gritti Palace has built a reputation as one of the world’s most iconic and luxurious hotels.Many of the property’s 82 rooms (including 21 suites) offer views of the Grand Canal and Santa Maria della Salute.The hotel, which joined The Luxury Collection brand in 1992, completed a significant restoration last May and features the world-renowned Club del Doge restaurant, Bar Longhi, and the Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Spa.13 May 2015