Carter denies Internet rumors No Texas takeover planned

first_img How do cataracts affect your vision? Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 0 Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Top Stories The exercise is the largest conducted by U.S. Army Special Operations Command. The military routinely conducts massive air, ground and sea training around the world, and often with multiple other countries.Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has asked his State Guard to monitor the training exercise. Last week more than 200 people packed a meeting in rural Bastrop County asking whether the government was planning to confiscate guns or implement martial law.“We’re very open and up front about our training activities in the United States, and I should say that we’re very grateful for the support of communities around the United States,” said Carter, adding that officials have tried to answer all questions about Jade Helm.The three-month exercise begins in July and involves about 1,200 troops — special operations forces from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force as well as members of the 82nd Airborne Division. It’s spread across seven states — Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida — and will be conducted mainly on military installations but also on some remote public and private lands with the approval of landowners. The diverse locations are meant to replicate the various climates and conditions the special operations forces would face when deployed around the world, and allow them to hone their combat skills.According to officials, no live ammunition will be used, but there will likely be blank ammunition and other pyrotechnics, such as smoke grenades. The troops will train for a variety of military missions during the day and night, including rescue and recovery attempts, airborne operations and long-range combat movements.Internet suspicions about Jade Helm spiked on some conservative websites and social media after a map labeled Texas, Utah and parts of California as “hostile” areas for the purposes of the exercise. Military training often includes mock-ups of enemy camps or other facilities so that the U.S. forces can practices infiltration and other missions.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Ash Carter flatly denied Thursday the frenzied Internet speculation that a U.S. military exercise in Texas is part of a hostile takeover or other nefarious Pentagon mission.Asked during a news conference about the Jade Helm 15 exercise and whether the Pentagon was “planning to overtake Texas,” Carter simply said “no” as people in the packed room laughed.last_img read more

OAG marks six months of capacity growth LCCs lead the way

first_imgGlobal aviation capacity growth is gathering speed, this month recording a 5% increase on capacity growth when compared to February 2009, and it appears the Low Cost Carriers sector is leading the way.Both global frequency of flights as well as capacity went up this February, by 5% and 4% respectively says OAG in its latest global report, with all regions recording positive growth except for North America.“It is fascinating how much the movement in flight frequency and seat capacity seems to reflect the regional economic situation,” said Mario Hardy, OAG Aviation VP Asia Pacific.“Asia’s economy (except Japan) is gradually and carefully recovering and so are parts of Europe/the Middle East/Africa region, while North America and Japan appear to have difficulty and are struggling to come out of this recession.”The low cost carrier sector, which accounts for 19% of global figures continue to lead the way, with both global service frequency and capacity up by 11%.With network expansion back on the agenda, a number of new routes are being launched this month, with 174 of these coming from the Asia Pacific region and Chinese carriers leading the way here. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.Xlast_img read more

Female Captain announced at PO Cruises World Voyages

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: J.L Captain Breton and Managing Director Carol Marlow P&O Cruises World Voyages introduced their first-ever female Captain this week.Captain Sarah Breton was officially welcomed as the Master of the 1,200 passenger ship Artemis, which she set sail this week.”We are delighted that Sarah Breton has been promoted to the role of Captain on board Artemis” said P&O Cruises World Voyages first female Managing Director, Carol Marlow.“Sarah has worked on board P&O Cruises ships for many years and truly deserves to be Master of Artemis. We wish her every success in her new role”45-year-old Breton has served on more than five ships as third officer, second officer, navigator, first officer and safety officer.She was first promoted to staff captain in 2001 on the original Pacific Princess and then went on to serve onboard Coral Princess, Tahitian Princess, the new Pacific Princess, Artemis and most recently Ocean Village.“Growing up near the water I always loved boats and the ocean, so it really does fulfil a lifelong ambition of mine to be a Captain with P&O Cruises” said Breton“It is made even more special to be Captain of the first cruise ship I ever served on, after joining P&O Cruises as third officer back in 1989.”last_img read more

Jetstar CEO urges axe checks save passengers 94

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> The New Zealand and Australian governments have been urged by Jetstar CEO, Bruce Buchanan, to drop immigration checks and passenger charges to simplify trans-Tasman travel, a report said. By dropping the checks at one side of the Tasman, passengers would save NZ$94 on a return fare, the New Zealand Herald reported. Jetstar and three other airlines support the move, though Mr Buchanan believes the motion is now at a standstill with officials.”The pollies are generally very receptive,” Mr Buchanan said. “I think the bureaucrats have a bit of change-aversion.” The change would see passenger numbers rise by up to 13 percent, boosting Australia and New Zealand’s GDP by up to NZ$454 million, said an Access Economics report commissioned by Jetstar. The proposal has been a longstanding point of discussion between trans-Tasman airlines, Qantas spokesperson Olivia Wirth said, and has the support of Jetstar’s parent company. Pacific Blue, of the Virgin Blue Group Airlines, also backed the proposed changes: “We support anything that makes the journey quicker and simpler and has the potential to take costs out of the journey without compromising safety,” spokesperson Colin Lippiatt said. Contenders argue that the proposed changes pose too many risks to logistics and security. “[The proposal is] a nice concept, but it would be extremely difficult and costly to implement in practice,” Customs Minister Maurice Williamson said. “This is because there would need to be a huge amount of alignment between the two countries and their systems to ensure all biosecurity and immigration risks can be identified and managed.” Independent aviation writer David Stone said many travellers would welcome having flights across the Tasman made more like a domestic flight, although saw the hurdles as too high to overcome.”Immigration and biosecurity and such checks are the two main issues that are obstacles to having a controlled border.”I think anybody would welcome simpler processes,” he said.last_img read more

DMS connects DMC to buyer

first_imgLeila, Marissa – DMS Ladies of DMS – Kristie, Minya, Anna, Leila, Monica, Lana, Marissa, Christine, Niharika and Shaminie Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Buyers around Sydney were able to interact face to face with up to 34 different countries at this year’s DMS Annual Workshop. The event gave up to 120 buyers the opportunity to gain information on a one on one basis with 23 destination marketing companies (DMCs) DMS general manager Marissa Fernandez told e-Travel Blackboard. “Here they can get an update on the destination, what’s news and what’s worked in the past and give them suggestions,” Ms Fernandez said. “The DMCs that attend have strong experience and know what would work for different group sizes.” For the first time this year DragonFly Africa joined the workshop to build relationship with clients of a personal level. “We chose DMS because everyone says its portfolio is great and also it is great for one on one conversation with buyers,” Dragonfly Africa sales and marketing director Yolanda Woeke-Jacobs told e-Travel Blackboard. Ms Woeke-Jacobs said the workshop give her the opportunity to update clients and notify them on the company’s position. “We are hoping to get the message out that we are the biggest DMC in South Africa but we have also moved in East Africa because we recently merged with Greenroute.” Some the countries that participated in the event included New Zealand, USA, Vietnam and Japan.   The DMS and its DMCs will travel to Melbourne next week for the 14 February 2011 workshop. Cassie, Claire – Medical Meetingslast_img read more

Abu Dhabi expects further growth

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P ADTA has recently launched on the ground operations in the US and is looking forward to working closely with American travel distribution arms, to promote the destination and further grow Etihad’s essential incentive stop over programme.Mr Franklin added having representation on the ground in Moscow has resulted in an outstanding 46 per cent increase from the region and has prompted the opening of a dedicated office there in the near future.“We also anticipate accrued benefits from increased air uplift such as the launch of Cathay Pacific’s four times weekly services from Hong Kong and Etihad’s planned upscaling of its Manchester Abu Dhabi to twice daily”, Mr Franklin said.Growth is predicted to continue as Abu Dhabi prepares to host the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November 2011 and the Volvo Ocean Race over New Year’s 2012. Hotel guests from Australia to Abu Dhabi have increased 12 per cent when compared to Jan-May 2010 and Jan-May 2011, guest nights have increased by 19 per cent for the same period.According to the latest figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) guest nights climbed 26 per cent, occupancy increased ten per cent, revenue was up six per cent, and length of stay stretched by 15 per cent to just over three nights.“Increased destination competiveness with average room rates falling 15 per cent year on year for high quality product has contributed to our appeal,” ADTA strategy and policy director Lawrence Franklin said.“Hotel stays in Abu Dhabi are now more affordable than other established upscale destinations including Dubai, Paris, Sydney, New York, Rome and Tokyo,” Mr Franklin said.Abu Dhabi’s hotel occupancy and rev-par (revenue per available room) is also stronger than worldwide cities including Beijing, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Madrid and Tokyo the figures showed.center_img Abu Dhabi’s stunning and flourishing citylast_img read more

Oz could cashin on casino tourism TTF

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Australia’s concerns on gambling are turning us into a “nanny state’, according to Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) chief executive John Lee who said embracing casinos could assist the industry.Mr Lee explained Aussies need to drop the outdated view that casinos are just for gambling because it does not represent the fact that they are used for more than just their gaming facilities, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.TTF’s head continued that properties such as the Crown in Melbourne are popular for more than just their pokie machines, with “spas, dining, bars – a whole plethora of things people can do”. With a Euromonitor International survey ranking Crown Casino as the highest Australian attraction and seventeenth most popular worldwide, Mr Lee said Australia should not have to apologise for developing properties that attract international tourists.”In terms of inbound tourism, the biggest forward market is the Chinese market and they enjoy their food and enjoy a bet – we shouldn’t have to apologise for developing the right sort of product to accommodate that,” he explained to the newspaper. .Mr Lee was concerned for the long term restrictions of the proposed law that allows gamblers to notify the venue of a maximum loss before playing.Earlier this year Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson concurred with Mr Lee’s ideas, arguing that casino tourism “is real”.”Unfortunately, this is a fact of life – high-roller tourism is big-yield tourism,” Mr Ferguson said. Topping Euromonitor’s list of worldwide attractions was the Great Wall of China followed by Walt Disney World. Oz should not roll the dice on gamblinglast_img read more

QF introduces Q Card on transTasman

first_imgYesterday Qantas launched the Q Card Reader on its Sydney, Melbourne to Auckland routes, allowing passengers to fly through airports with a quick swipe.Available to its Premium Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members flying on trans-Tasman routes and holding an Australian or New Zealand passport, passengers can now swipe their Q icon on the Card Reader before scanning their passport at the passport reader and then be on their way.“Check-in is confirmed once the light on the Q Card Reader turns green and the customer’s boarding pass is printed,” the carrier noted in a statement.  “The Express Pass logo is printed on the boarding pass allowing eligible customers to use priority immigration and security screening lanes in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. “Customers travelling without bags proceed immediately to immigration and security screening, those with bags will check them in at a dedicated Tasman bag drop counter.”The carrier said progressively it will move the Q Card Reader onto its Brisbane, Wellington, Queenstown and Christchurch.For more information click here. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Coffs Coast offers hatted dining experiences

first_imgSource = Coffs Coast Tourism The Coffs Coast left well-dressed at this year’s Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards with two of their restaurants scoring hats. Bonville Golf Resort’s Flooded Gums Restaurant was hatted for the first time this year, while No. 2 Oak Street held onto their two previously awarded hats.Flooded Gums Restaurant, located just ten minutes from the Coffs Harbour CBD, is Australia’s first and only golf course restaurant to receive a hat at the awards. This achievement now places Bonville as a leader in golf course dining. Bonville General Manger, Brad Daymond said:  “The entire Bonville team are ecstatic and extremely proud of being judged a one Hat restaurant in this year’s Guide. The Golf Course at Bonville has always been highly awarded and recognised but it is fantastic to see the restaurant receive this recognition.”Bellingen establishment No.2 Oak Street was also recognised this year, keepings it’s two hatted status for the second year running. The 2013 Good Food Guide Awards were held in Sydney on Monday evening where both restaurants received their hats. last_img read more

South Africa buoyed by tourism growth

first_imgA 10.2 percent growth in international tourists to South Africa has been deemed an affirmation of the country’s tourism industry and tourism marketing efforts.However, President Jacob Zuma, who announced the 2012 figures in Cape Town late last week, warned the country against growing complacent in a competitive market.“More and more countries around the world are realising the opportunity that tourism presents…and our geographic position makes our fight for the global tourism share more difficult than most,” he said.According to President Zuma, the South African tourism industry needs to work together to promote the country’s accessibility in order to continue to “fuel [South Africa’s] industry’s success”.Tourists from Central and South America grew by 37 percent in 2012 over the previous year and South Africa also saw impressive growth from Asia (33.7 per cent), lead primarily by population super powers China and India.However, it is still Europe and the United States bringing in the most tourists to the country. 1,386,978 Europeans visited South Africa as did 326,643 tourists from the United States.16.2 percent more Australians visited South Africa last year over 2011.“This phenomenal tourism growth is evidence that we are successfully setting ourselves apart in a competitive marketplace,” President Zuma said. Cape Minstrels, Hout Bay Harbour, Cape Town. Image: South Africa Tourism Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G. A.last_img read more

Christchurch Convention Centre to boost New Zealand on world stage

first_imgNews the Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre is on target to be opened in late 2019 is being welcomed by Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ).CINZ Chief Executive Sue Sullivan says the announcement of Christchurch’s new venue is another boost to New Zealand’s reputation as an exciting and unique conference destination.“New Zealand has always punched above its weight, but we have needed this type of world-class infrastructure to attract large multi-day conventions,” she says.“At this month’s CINZ Meetings tradeshow Christchurch’s new convention centre design was viewed by hundreds of local and international conference organisers and it was exceptionally well received.”Sue Sullivan says having a purpose-designed facility in the South Island, with easy international access via Christchurch Airport, will lift help New Zealand’s profile as a great place to do business.“It will bring people with new and world-class ideas to meet here, attract potential investors and export partners, and bring high-spending visitors.“With the New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland and this premium boutique centre in Christchurch we can now compete on the world stage, challenging Australia and South East Asia for high-value convention business,“ she says.The key attendance drivers for convention delegates are education opportunities, networking and the destination. “We tick all the boxes here,” she says.“Christchurch is the gateway to the South Island, and a smart, future-focused city with expertise to share in diverse sectors including agriculture, building technology, earth sciences, health sciences, international education, and technology.”“The city is already winning major conference business and there is high demand for this new facility in Christchurch. We look forward to seeing it get underway very soon.” CINZSource = Conventions and Incentives New Zealandlast_img read more

MTA and Virtuoso quartet on song

first_imgMTA and Virtuoso quartet on song for 10-year anniversary celebration plansMTA and Virtuoso quartet on song for 10-year anniversary celebration plansPictured (from left to right) Virtuoso chairman and chief executive, Matthew Upchurch, MTA – Mobile Travel Agents co-managing directors Karen and Roy Merricks and Virtuoso executive general manager Australia, New Zealand and Asia, Michael Londregan.The high-profile industry quartet recently got together at Sanctuary Cove to discuss ideas for a series of events both organisations have planned to celebrate MTA’s upcoming tenth anniversary since becoming a Virtuoso member.“We don’t want to give too much away at this stage but there are some very special events being planned both here in Australia and at Virtuoso Travel Week taking place in Las Vegas next August,“ Mr Merricks said.“While people traditionally celebrate a 10-year anniversary with tin, I can assure you our 10-year anniversary celebration with Virtuoso will be a 24-carat gold event.“Our personal relationship with Matthew goes back a lot longer than 10 years having connected with him via our Virgin Galactic links long before MTA became a Virtuoso member. It’s a similar story with Michael whom we have known for many years.“We look forward to continuing our relationship with them and the Virtuoso team for many many years to come.”Source = Mike Parker-Brown, MTA – Mobile Travel Agents’ PRlast_img read more

Hotel Upgrades

first_imgSource = roomsXML – More Suppliers, Hot Deals learn more about here Scoring a hotel upgrade can really make a holiday even more special.While there are no guarantees on how to get these perks for your pax, here are some basic tips to increase their chancesCome here often? – if your client stays at the same hotel frequently, advise the hotel prior to the check-in date, as they will be given priority for upgrades. Keeping regular guests happy encourages repeat business.  In roomsXML, use the help system to let us know.Manners cost nothing – this tip is one of the easiest, and to be honest should be a standard rule that is followed in life. Whilst your pax may have done the long haul, they could be the 50th grumpy couple that day lining up at the same desk.  Tell your guests to engage with the hotel staff at the front desk, be polite and friendly. Ask how their day has been, be genuine and show some interest.Who are you? – being a travel agent can be advantageous, especially when dealing with hotels. You’re the ones that are selling and recommending properties to your clients, so hotels will want to ensure you have the best experience possible.  Agai let us know so we can let them know (and give you a  discount!)Ask and ye shall receive – asking never hurt anyone. The worst case scenario will be that they say no. In my experience, offering to pay in the first sentence allows someone to say “you know what, you can just have that…”Celebrate good times –Honeymoon? Birthday? Anniversary? Leaving the kids at home with your parents? Whatever it is, you can use the roomsXML online help system located inside the booking to let the hotel know of your special occasion. Also keep in mind roomsXML offers an agent discount on bookings made for yourself.So give these tips a go – who knows pax might get lucky!last_img read more

UNWTOWTM Ministers Summit social media changing destination branding

first_imgMinisters of Tourism and private sector leaders meeting at the 9th UNWTO & World Travel Market (WTM) Ministers’ Summit agreed that destination branding and the way tourism marketing organisations operate need to be adapted to the changes brought in by social media (London, United Kingdom, November 3, 2015).Over 60 tourism ministers and leaders from Facebook, Expedia, Melia Hotels, Eurostar and the World Travel and Tourism Council meeting in London discussed how market changes and consumer empowerment has fully shifted destination branding. Participants recalled that the current social media landscape requires destinations to invest further in understanding and engaging travellers in social media.The Summit, moderated by CNN International’s Richard Quest, addressed issues such the need for transparent, honest and swift action in social media in times of crises, how to generate engagement with travellers and transform them into destination ambassadors and how to maximise big data to develop targeted marketing.Opening the Summit, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, underscored that, “Today consumers have access to more information, more choices, and more opportunities to voice their opinions and can be the whistle-blowers for unethical practices or the biggest ambassadors for destinations and service providers. In this context, branding is an ever more complex challenge requiring destinations and companies to adjust their structures, their policies and their strategies.”Speaking at the Summit were Nikolina Angelkova, Minister of Tourism of Bulgaria; Li Shihong, Vice Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA); Mauricio Ventura Aragón, Minister of Tourism of Costa Rica; Darko Lorencin, Minister of Tourism of Croatia; Nayef H Al-Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of Jordan; Dato Sri Mohamed Nazri Bin Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia; Edward Zammit Lewis, Minister of Tourism of Malta; Derek Hanekon, Minister of Tourism of South Africa; Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand and Walter Mzembi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry of Zimbabwe as well as Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive Officer of Eurostar International: Noah Tratt, Global Senior Vice President of Expedia, Inc.; Lee McCabe, Global Head of Travel for Facebook; Anthony Cortizas, Vice President of Global Brand Strategy of Meliá Hotels International and David Scowsill, President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).last_img read more

AccorHotels buys hotel distribution expert Gekko

first_imgAccorHotels buys Gekko, a specialist in hotel distribution solutions for business travellers in a 100 million euros deal.Gekko has a database of more than 500,000 hotels worldwide has more than 300 corporate customers and 14,000 business travel agencies in France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. Gekko’s founders Stephane de Laforcade and Olivier Delouis will continue to run the company following its acquisition by Accor.Thibault Viort, Accor’s chief disruption and growth officer, stated, “We are very pleased to have Gekko’s team join our group. AccorHotels’ extensive global footprint, together with Gekko’s technological leadership, today paves the way for the creation of a global leader in business-to-business hotel distribution.“Since business travellers represent a key segment of the group’s business, our capacity to respond to the specific requirements of this segment across the entire value chain is a factor that really sets us apart.”The transaction will assist Accor to build strategy aimed at improving the range of services offered to business travellers.last_img read more

eVisa scheme garners INR 14 billion revenue

first_imgSince the launch of the e-Visa scheme in 2014, the government has earned INR 14 billion as revenue from the scheme. Union Home Ministry officials said that the popular e-Visa scheme was availed by 1.9 million tourists in 2017 and it is expected that more than 2.5 million tourists will avail the facility in 2018.The e-Visa fees are divided into four slabs of zero, USD 25, USD 50 and USD 75 which were fixed on reciprocity and depending on nationality. The e-Visa scheme has been implemented by the foreigners’ division of the home ministry with a view to improving the efficiency and transparency of various services being provided to foreign nationals.The facility is now available for nationals of 163 countries for entry into India through 25 international airports and five seaports. Under the e-Visa scheme, an applicant, when an online application is submitted, receives an e-mail authorising him or her to travel to India after it has been approved.The tourist can travel with a print-out of this authorisation. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then allow the entry into the country.With a view to promoting cruise tourism, cruise tourists with e-Visas have been exempted from the requirement of biometric enrolment till December 31, 2020, as many of the cruise ships coming to India are mega ships with 2,000 – 4,000 passengers on board.last_img read more

Report Increased Regulation to Boost Profitability in Coming Years

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank of America Citigroup Dodd-Frank Investors JPMorgan Chase Lenders & Servicers Processing Profits QRM Regulation Service Providers Wells Fargo 2012-11-26 Tory Barringer Standardization and market stability brought on by increased regulation will pave the way for a bright future for mortgage banking and related industries, “”FBR Capital Markets””: speculates in a recent report.[IMAGE]The report, titled _Future of the Housing & Mortgage Markets: Winners & Losers,_ examines the impact of heightened scrutiny and changing markets to determine where the industries will head in the next five years.According to the forecast, FBR believes that “”companies directly involved in mortgage banking or housing, or involved in a derivative of the two, such as homebuilders, housing rental companies, mortgage/title insurance, and reverse mortgages, should enjoy strong profitability, less volatility, and better valuations relative to historical expectations.”” At the same time, portfolio lenders and private-label securitizers “”will be at a strategic disadvantage.””While many mortgage professionals have been expressing anxiety about certain aspects of proposed regulations, FBR points to the end result: a more stable market with higher underwriting standards and lower risk from “”exotic”” mortgage products such as low/no-doc loans and prepayment penalties. “”The capacity constraints created by increased barriers to entry and regulatory oversight, coupled with the standardization of the mortgage product and the [COLUMN_BREAK]continued dominance of the government guarantee, should produce a more stable and consistently profitable mortgage origination market,”” the report reads.Although the mortgage industry as a whole is expected to benefit from the increased regulatory oversight, some proposed regulations–particularly those related to qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rules–are expected to give preference to loans securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These risk retention requirements may stifle any private securitization activity and potentially keep out new entrants who could otherwise bring down underwriting standards.In addition, with larger banks like “”Citigroup””:, “”JPMorgan Chase””:, and “”Bank of America””: scaling back their lending operations (leaving behind an estimated $1.3 trillion in annual origination capacity), “”the opportunity set for smaller players in the origination and refinancing market has increased.”” While “”Wells Fargo””: continues to dominate the market, FBR notes the biggest lender’s originations are flat relative to pre-crisis levels. As a result, about 60 percent of the market will still be driven by smaller players.””We believe the largest opportunities in mortgage originations are with a smaller, mortgage-concentrated model,”” the report says. “”This model will allow lenders to have the appropriate local knowledge to understand their market risk while maintaining the necessary regulatory quality controls.””At the same time, originations are expected to continue growing as a demographic shift supports a healthier purchase market. With the average homebuying age at 34, the market is squarely in the hands of the large “”echo boom”” generation, or the children of the baby boomers. This phenomenon will lead to a boom in construction (with an estimated 1.3 million to 1.7 million additional housing units expected to be demanded in the next several years) and home purchases.As a result, the recovering purchase mortgage market could expand to exceed $1 trillion, creating a net for the industry as refinance volume falls. In total, FBR anticipates overall originations between $1.5 trillion and $2.0 trillion over the next five years. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing November 26, 2012 432 Views center_img Report: Increased Regulation to Boost Profitability in Coming Years Sharelast_img read more

HSBC Reaches New Low with Historic TwoYear Fixed Rates

first_imgHSBC Reaches New Low with Historic Two-Year Fixed Rates in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-12-04 Abby Gregory Sharecenter_img December 4, 2012 441 Views In the United Kingdom, “”HSBC””: is responding to market demand by rolling out the financial institution’s lowest-ever two-year fixed rate mortgage. Announcing the new offering, HSBC revealed that borrowers can secure a 1.99 percent fixed rate with a 40 percent deposit or home equity value.[IMAGE]Explaining the new initiative, HSBC’s head of mortgages, Peter Dockar, stated, “”While there remains a low expectation of bank base rate increasing in the near future … we don’t know whether the new Governor will bring a change of heart within the monetary policy committee. [COLUMN_BREAK]””We have seen increasing numbers of customers seeking the security of a fixed rate and I expect this trend to continue. With the security of our retail deposit funding, HSBC is committed to offering competitive rates to benefit our customers,”” Dockar elaborated.HSBC launched additional rate changes including a two-year fixed rate of 2.49 percent on loans with a 60 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and a five-year fixed rate of 3.19 percent on loans with a 60 percent LTV, both of which mandate a fee of ├âÔÇÜ├é┬ú599 and ├âÔÇÜ├é┬ú499 respectively. Borrowers seeking a five-year mortgage that requires no up front fee can do so at a fixed rate of 3.39 percent.The company went on to note that its structure for loans with a 10 percent deposit and 90 percent LTV will remain the same, with a five-year fixed rate of 4.69 percent accompanied by a ├âÔÇÜ├é┬ú899 fee. HSBC will also continue to offer a similar product with a two-year discount at a rate of 3.84 percent and a ├âÔÇÜ├é┬ú999 fee.””’s””: finance expert, Rachel Springall, commented on HSBC’s mortgage rates, noting, “”The HSBC 1.99 percent deal has the lowest rate for a two-year fixed mortgage on the market and existing customers will be rewarded with ├âÔÇÜ├é┬ú500 off the booking fee, which is great to see.””last_img read more

60 of Homeowners Planning for Home Improvements

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Home Equity Home Values Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Zillow 2013-06-24 Esther Cho in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing For homeowners who are stuck in their home due to negative equity or a lack of inventory, summer home improvement projects are way to make the most out of current surroundings, according to Seattle-based “”Zillow””: [IMAGE] In a recent survey from “”Zillow Digs””:, 60 percent of respondents said they are planning a home improvement project this summer. Out of the different age groups, younger homeowners (18-to-34-year-olds) were more likely to plan a home improvement project for the summer, with 71 percent falling into this category. [COLUMN_BREAK] On the other hand, 51 percent of homeowners aged 55 and older said they were planning a project, while 61 percent of owners aged 35 to 54 said they are making plans as well. Homeowners with children were also more like to plan a project, with 65 percent of households with children planning a summer home improvement project compared to 57 percent for households without children. The median budget for homeowners who are planning projects was $1,200, though owners with children and those 54 years of age and younger plan to spend a bit more, with a median of $1,500. Households without children and owners 55 and older plan to spend a median of $1,000Of the home improvement project, the largest share of owners who are taking on projects were focused on outdoor spaces, at 40 percent, while bathroom projects were the second most popular, at 17 percent. To get ideas for projects, online sources were the most frequently utilized, with 37 percent turning to the web for inspiration. When broken down by age group, 53 percent of younger homeowners said online sources are their main starting point for ideas. June 24, 2013 1,089 Views center_img 60% of Homeowners Planning for Home Improvements Sharelast_img read more