Pakistan Afghanistan summon envoys in dispute

first_img Top Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Neither country has clarified what prompted the shootout.____Associated Press writer Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility The ministry statement also expressed concern over this week’s cross-border shooting incident, in which an Afghan border guard was killed and two Pakistani security officers were wounded. The Pakistani statement contends that the soldiers on the Afghan side of the Angoor Adda border crossing opened fire first.The circumstances surrounding the detention of the Pakistani official at the Kandahar consulate remain murky. Samim Akhpelwak, a spokesman for Kandahar’s governor, said his office didn’t detain or arrest any Pakistani official and was unaware of any such detention.Pakistan and Afghanistan have had a history of tense relations. The two governments have frequently traded accusations that each was harboring and assisting the other’s militants groups along their shared border. That mistrust appeared to have improved last year following a Taliban attack on a Pakistani school that killed nearly 150 people, mostly schoolchildren.On Thursday, Pakistan summoned the Afghan ambassador to protest the detention. Hours earlier Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had summoned Pakistan’s ambassador to protest the June 30 cross-border shooting incident, according to a statement released by Kabul on Thursday. ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan and Afghanistan are in the midst of a diplomatic dispute. The two neighbors have summoned each other’s ambassadors to lodge protests over the detention of a Pakistani official in the Afghan city of Kandahar and a deadly cross-border shootout between Pakistani and Afghan border police, officials said Friday.In a statement, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said an official working in Pakistan’s consulate in Kandahar was forcibly taken away by Afghan forces on Thursday. Hours later, according to the statement, Afghan authorities handed the official over to the Pakistani embassy in the capital, Kabul, about 450 kilometers (282 miles) away. 0 Comments   Share   Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

Learn More →

AFTA warns agents of possible scam from the US

first_imgThe Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has received a number of calls from agents who said that they have been contacted by a person who has claimed that they are looking to book tickets with an Australian agent and have contacted the agent on the advice of AFTA.AFTA is advising all members that they have made no such recommendation to any person from the USA and consider such situation a scam. They urge agents to take the appropriate action to disregard any such contact that had been made from overseas. The person will claim that they are from the US and will provide the agent with credit card details, including photocopies of the front and the back of the credit card and signature. AFTA warns that contact by this and other indirect means such as email from offshore sources should be treated with utmost suspicion. AFTA stresses that they do not recommend Australian travel agents to overseas callers due to the high probability of the call being a scam. All members must be careful with the increase in scams over the New Year period and must remember that, unless the passenger is physically present at the time of the credit card transaction and provides proof of identity at the same time, the agent is liable for any fraudulent transaction that takes place. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that every enquiry by email, telephone or other methods from any person not personally known to the travel agent as a long time client or who does not physically present themselves at the agency to conclude the transaction should be treated with the utmost suspicion at all times. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: J.Clast_img read more

Learn More →

The Hobbit will remain in Middle Earth

first_imgThe filming of the Hobbit will go ahead in New Zealand, the country which has become synonymous with Middle Earth, the mythical setting for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Earlier this month a a dispute between the film studio and the NZ actors’ union over wages put the production, and New Zealand’s film industry, in jeopardy after executives threatened to move the film to the UK.However, NZ Prime Minister John Key announced today that the two-part prequel will remain in New Zealand after the government introduced new legislation. The legislation provides a solution to the initial industry dispute as it clarifies the difference between independent contractors and employees working exclusively in the film industry. “The industrial issues that have arisen in the past several weeks have highlighted a significant set of concerns for the way in which the international film industry operates,” he was quoted as saying by News.com.au.“We will be moving to ensure that New Zealand law in this area is settled to give film producers like Warner the confidence they need to produce their movies in this country.”  “We are absolutely thrilled with the outcome of these negotiations. The Hobbit provides us with another great opportunity to promote New Zealand to the world in a unique way and to raise awareness of New Zealand as a visitor destination,” said Tourism New Zealand General Manager Public Affairs Suzanne Carter. “The Lord of the Rings films presented New Zealand to the world in a truly spectacular way. “From a tourism perspective the flow on effects of these films reach communities across the country with visitors coming to enjoy our unique scenery and lifestyle and using our tourism services as they travel. “People are still travelling to New Zealand today because of the exposure gained through the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit will provide another much-needed boost to our multi-billion dollar tourism industry.”The Hobbit is a prequel to Peter Jackson’s highly successful The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

Learn More →

Magellan CEO appointed to AFTA board

first_imgThe Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has appointed Magellan chief executive Andrew Macfarlene to the group’s board, increasing the number of board seats to 11.  The announcement follows confirmation that all returning directors who fell eligible to be re-elected to the board returned this week.AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury said Mr Macfarlene’s appointment was welcomed, particularly due to his participation in AFTA forums over the past few years.“The board has a very cohesive approach to policy matters which allows AFTA to forge ahead and get results as has been the case with the Travel Review and I am sure Andrew will be a contributor in many ways going forward,” Mr Westbury said.Mr Macfarlene’s first AFTA AGM will be held on 19 July 2013 in Sydney.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: NJ Andrew Macfarlene joins the AFTA board. Image: Magellan Travel Grouplast_img read more

Learn More →

Destination NSW guides tourism businesses

first_imgMinister for Tourism and Major Events George Souris launched the instructive guide to assist businesses of all sizes throughout NSW to promote their tourism products, destinations or events. New marketing Prospectus provides practical resources. “The Prospectus is focused on practical tools – it’s everything a tourism-based business needs to know about making the most of the ways to increase sales and maximise exposure for their visitor products and experiences,” Minister Souris said. The Partnership Opportunities Prospectus has been developed in conjunction with Destination NSW, detailing more than 30 activities to assist NSW businesses. The NSW Government has launched a free marketing prospectus for tourism businesses, highlighting a range of resources and sales opportunities to help maximise exposure. 2013 marks the second year release of the Partnership Opportunities Prospectus and the guide can be downloaded directly from the Destination NSW website. “Tourism is big business for NSW, with visitors contributing more than AU$26 billion in the year ending March 2013… we are ensuring we arm our NSW tourism industry with as many useful resources as possible to support their growth.” The Prospectus offers instructions on how tourism businesses can be featured in visitor publications, information on publicity opportunities with international media, travel trade familiarisation programs, generating sale leads and digital marketing tactics and opportunities. Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more

Learn More →

TEQ first to partner with Chinese online travel giant

first_imgTourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) will target China’s fast growing Free and Independent Traveller market through a new partnership with the country’s largest social travel network Mafengwo.With China’s middle class predicted to grow from 500 million to 3.2 billion by 2030, TEQ is partnering with Mafengwo to reach the growing online travel market.TEQ Chief Executive Officer Leanne Coddington signed a two-year agreement with Mafengwo, which has 80 million active users each month, in Beijing on Friday.“Recent research shows two-thirds of Chinese now prefer to travel independently and 53 per cent book their trip online or via their mobile,” Ms Coddington said.“Mafengwo offers us the platform to communicate directly with this key growth market and travel influencers.”Mafengwo.cn is China’s largest online travel social platform and has more than 100 million registered users.“The size of the market cannot be underestimated. There are 688 million internet users and of these users, 71 per cent seek travel inspiration via wechat and social media,” Ms Coddington said.“This partnership will place Queensland directly within this online network which we know is one of the most significant influencers in the Chinese tourist market.“Through this we will be able to inspire more Chinese to visit Queensland with direct access from multiple Asian ports.“Chinese visitors spent just under $1 billion last year as Queensland’s largest market by expenditure which shows how important the market is to the state economy.”Tourism and Events Queensland will work with Mafengwo on creating themed online campaigns and enriching destination content to help Chinese travellers plan their Queensland holiday. Tourism and Events QLDSource = Tourism and Events Queenslandlast_img read more

Learn More →

Norwegian Cruise Line has been named North Americas Leading Cruise Li

first_imgSource = Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Cruise Line has been named North America’s Leading Cruise LineNorwegian Cruise Line has been named North America’s Leading Cruise LineNorwegian Cruise Line has been named “North America’s Leading Cruise Line” for the first time, along with being honored as the “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line” for the fourth consecutive year at the 2016 World Travel Awards, announced Sunday evening at the Caribbean & North America Gala Ceremony in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Earlier this month, Norwegian also received awards for “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” for the ninth consecutive year, “Europe’s Responsible Tourism Award” for the second consecutive year and the award for “World’s Best Cruise Spa” for the Mandara Spa® on board Norwegian Cruise Line.“We are thrilled to once again be honored as a leader in the travel industry by the World Travel Awards, and celebrate our first ever win as North America’s Leading Cruise Line,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief operating officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We sincerely thank the many industry professionals who voted for us, and remain focused on providing an unforgettable vacation experience to each and every guest who sails with us.”The World Travel Awards has been recognizing and acknowledging excellence amongst companies involved in the global travel and tourism industries since 1993. The annual awards are voted on by thousands of travel and tourism professionals from across the globe and honor travel companies that provide outstanding products and customer service.Norwegian’s fourteen ships sail a variety of exciting itineraries, from the Caribbean to the Panama Canal, Europe, South America and the Mediterranean, as well as the Far East and Australia.  Norwegian has eight ships, including the line’s newest ships, Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Getaway, cruising to the Caribbean and the Bahamas during the Winter/Spring 2016/2017 season from convenient homeport locations including Miami, New York, Tampa, Port Canaveral (Orlando), New Orleans and San Juan, Puerto Rico.This fall, Norwegian Cruise Line will cruise to the Far East for the first time since Fall/Winter 2001-2002, with Norwegian Star sailing to the region for several unique itineraries that also feature inaugural visits to The Gulf and India. This winter, Norwegian Sun will journey south for a season full of adventure and culture with a multitude of seven, 10 and 14 day sailings departing from Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rounding out the fleet this fall is Norwegian Jewel,  sailing seven-day itineraries to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles; Norwegian Spirit, sailing the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands  from Barcelona; and the recently renovated Pride of America, sailing weekly intra-Hawaii cruises that offer guests the best way to see the islands, with 100 hours of port time.To book an award-winning cruise with Norwegian, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit www.ncl.com. Norwegian Cruise Linebook your cruise hereAbout Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 49-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising.  Most notably, Norwegian revolutionized the cruise industry by offering guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal cruise vacation on their schedule. Today, Norwegian invites guests to “Feel Free” to explore the world on one of 14 purpose-built ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed, resort style cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea.Recently, the line was named “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” for the ninth consecutive year, as well as “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line” for the fourth time and “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” for the fourth straight year by the World Travel Awards.last_img read more

Learn More →

AirAsia World Champions for ninth time at Skytrax

first_imgAirAsia World Champions for ninth time at SkytraxAirAsia is the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline for the ninth year in a row.Asia’s largest low-cost carrier won the accolades at the 2017 Skytrax World Airline Awards in the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace at Le Bourget Airport here today.AirAsia Group Cabin Crew Head Suhaila Hassan, who has been with the company for 20 years, accepted the award, flanked by AirAsia ambassador David Foster and Brazilian football player Roberto Carlos.Foster is a world-renowned Canadian producer, musician, songwriter and composer who has won 16 Grammy Awards from 47 nominations over the span of almost four decades, while Carlos is a famed left-back who helped Real Madrid win four Spanish La Liga titles and was part of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning team.Dubbed the “Oscars of the Aviation Industry”, the Skytrax Awards are the global benchmark of airline excellence with over 19.9 million customer surveys completed worldwide by more than 105 nationalities, measuring standards across 49 key performance indicators of an airline’s frontline products and services.AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said, “Today, Asean has created a world record. We are now nine times world champion. To put it into perspective, Brazil won the FIFA World Cup five times, Michael Jordan was NBA champion six times and Michael Phelps holds the record for most first place finishes at a single Olympics with eight gold medals.“We take the world champion title seriously and we will strive to continue to improve for both our guests and shareholders. Over the last 15 years we have created a great brand and over the next 15, we want to move towards One AirAsia, a truly Asean community airline. We also want to recreate ourselves as a digital airline and use technology to drive more value.“We are humbled for the support shown by our valued guests and we thank them for voting for us nine times in a row. We asked David and Roberto to accept this award with Suhaila to inspire our staff to emulate these two amazing gentleman in music and sports to be world champion and be the very best in all they do.”AirAsia Group Cabin Crew Head Suhaila Hassan said, “What an amazing honour to be given the opportunity to accept this award on behalf of AirAsia and my fellow Allstars. They are the real champions. It’s been an incredible 20 years, being part of AirAsia’s journey from a domestic Malaysian airline to the world’s best. We have a great team fueled by passion, hard work and dedication, and I have no doubt we will continue to live up to our reputation as the world’s number one LCC as we expand to China, Vietnam and beyond.” AirAsiaSource = AirAsialast_img read more

Learn More →

New scholarship launched for hotel students

first_imgNew scholarship launched for hotel studentsNew scholarship launched for hotel studentsA new scholarship for students studying towards a career in hotel management has been launched at the 2019 New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference today.Four New Zealand Hotel Industry Scholarships worth $3000 each will be awarded for study in 2020. Applicants will need to be entering their final year of study, on a hotel management or business degree with a major in hotels/hospitality.Applications will open later this year.Tourism Industry Aotearoa Hotel Sector Manager Sally Attfield says the scholarships are a way to support individuals wanting to join the sector.“Hotels offer fantastic career opportunities, from guest-facing roles to numerous behind-the-scenes positions that all contribute to running an accommodation property. We want to encourage young people to consider hotel careers,” she says.Horwath HTL Director Stephen Hamilton says the growth in tourism means hotels can offer more opportunities than ever to young people, in every part of the country.“Wherever your interests lie, you are sure to find a suitable role in our hotel sector,” he says.TIA and Horwath HTL are co-hosts of the New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference, taking place at Cordis, Auckland on 19-20 June 2019.Source = Tourism Industry Aotearoalast_img read more

Learn More →

FAITH highlights industry concerns at prebudget meet

first_imgTherein, FAITH raised the points of export status for tourism, IGST unlocking for hotels, B2B credit for tour operators, transaction-based GST for hotels, GST reduction from 28%, the rate of 1.8% as against 5%, no GST on outbound from India, special status for adventure and heritage, special tourism fund for product development and monetise old heritage buildings, highway facilities creating marine drives along all our seas and river coastlines for encouraging domestic and road tourism.  The Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) was recently invited to attend the pre-budget meeting with Arun Jaitley, Union Finance Minister along with other officials.  For IGST and export status, they have recommended approaching law team of GST.center_img FAITH was invited to represent the travel, tourism and the hospitality industry. All the participants were very appreciative of tourism inputs. The federation is now going to follow up on this meeting with the Finance Minister by meeting the officials in Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Tourism.last_img read more

Learn More →

Closing Will Cost You in New York

first_img July 18, 2011 421 Views Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Agents & Brokers Bankrate Housing Affordability Investment Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Disclosures Mortgage Rates Processing Service Providers 2011-07-18 Abby Gregory Closing Will Cost You in New York in Data, Origination, Servicing, Technologycenter_img The numbers are in, and New York tops the list of states boasting the highest mortgage closing costs nationwide. The results of the “”Bankrate, Inc.””:http://www.bankrate.com/ survey demonstrate New York’s dubious dominance in closing fees for the second straight year. [IMAGE]Other high-cost areas rounding out the top five? Texas, Utah, San Francisco, and Idaho. New York leads the U.S. with average closing costs of $6,183, and Texas follows with a much lower average fee of $4,944. Utah’s closing totals average $4,906, and San Francisco and Idaho ring in with average fees of $4,832 and $4,643, respectively. Nationally, the total cost of origination and title fees has risen since last year by 8.8 percent, to an average cost of $4,070 on a $200,000 mortgage. [COLUMN_BREAK]””Bankrate””:http://www.bankrate.com/?ec_id=m1027719 credits the increase in overall costs to origination fees levied by lenders, and the data generated during the recent survey showed a 10.3 percent jump in mortgage origination fees. Lender fees include such services as underwriting and processing costs, and the average charge for a borrower stands at $1,614 nationwide, according to “”Bankrate’s””:http://www.bankrate.com/?ec_id=m1027719 statistics.States coming in on the low end of the closing cost spectrum include Arkansas, North Carolina, Indiana, Iowa, and Alabama. Arkansas claims the most diminutive total average fees for borrowers at $3,378.””Bankrate’s””:http://www.bankrate.com/?ec_id=m1027719 senior financial analyst, Greg McBride, CFA, said of the findings, “”Interest rates get a lot of attention, and rightfully so, but it’s also important for consumers to compare lender fees when shopping for a loan.”” To obtain its data, the company polled 10 lenders in every state during June and based each average on estimates for a $200,000 mortgage on a single-family home with a 20 percent downpayment.””Bankrate’s””:http://www.bankrate.com/?ec_id=m1027719 survey reflects the average costs of lender fees and third-party fees, like appraisals and title insurance, but the poll excluded other costly items for borrowers such as taxes, property insurance, association fees, and interest.””Bankrate, Inc.””:http://www.bankrate.com/ is comprised of a network of companies such as Bankrate.com, Interest.com, Mortage-calc.com, Nationwide Card Services, InsureMe, CreditCardGuide.com, Bankaholic, Credit Cards.com, and NetQuote. Each business within the Bankrate, Inc. profile targets consumers and consumer information to assist borrowers in making important personal finance decisions. Sharelast_img read more

Learn More →

Mortgage App Volumes Down Another 12

first_img March 19, 2014 439 Views Share in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates Purchase Loans Refinance 2014-03-19 Tory Barringercenter_img Last week saw another tumble in mortgage applications despite a slight fallback in interest rates, according to weekly data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).MBA’s Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, fell 1.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending March 14. On an unadjusted basis, the index dropped 1 percent compared to the previous week.In refinances, volume was down 1 percent week-over-week, representing 56.5 percent of total application numbers, a decline from 57 percent. It was the sixth straight week in which the refinance share of mortgage activity fell, MBA reported.The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index was also down, decreasing 1 percent week-over-week. Unadjusted, the index was flat compared to the previous week but down 15 percent against the same week last year.With refinance numbers fizzling, market watchers have been anxiously waiting for purchase loans to fill the growing gap in the market, an occurrence that has yet to happen—leaving applications down by more than half year-on-year.In other news, the MBA’s measure for the average 30-year fixed rate fell slightly to 4.50 percent last week, with points decreasing to 0.26 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value loans. The group’s metric stands in contrast with other interest rate reports for the week, which showed average rates climbing following the government’s report on February job numbers. Mortgage App Volumes Down Another 1.2%last_img read more

Learn More →

Home Prices Flat in First of Weeks Reports

first_img Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News Appreciation Black Knight Financial Services Home Prices S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices 2014-03-24 Tory Barringer March 24, 2014 452 Views center_img The Data & Analytics division of Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS) reported no monthly change in its Home Price Index (HPI) for January, underlining the question as to where other home price reports—including the monthly Case-Shiller Home Price Indices—will land for the year’s first month.BKFS’ latest report shows the index registering $232,000 in January, unchanged from the end of 2013. Year-on-year, the index was up 8 percent from $215,000.”Prices have flattened out due to seasonal effects and a slowing in the market,” said Raj Dosaj, VP of behavioral models and HPI for Black Knight Data & Analytics.Given January’s flatness, national prices remain 14 percent off their peak of $270,000 in June 2006.Of the 20 largest states, California posted the biggest year-over-year increase at 14.8 percent. On a monthly basis, it ranked among the top five largest states, reporting a gain of 0.3 percent.Among all states, New York topped in gains with a 0.6 percent monthly increase. Following the Empire State were New Jersey (0.5 percent) and Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and the District of Columbia—all at 0.4 percent.Not making the top 10 list in January was Texas, which, after several months spent climbing to new price peaks, backed off a bit with a 0.3 percent month-over-month decline.Among metros, half of the top 10 performers in January can be found in California—not a surprise, given the state’s representation in past HPI reports. Top movers included San Jose (0.9 percent), Santa Rosa (0.8 percent), and Oxnard (0.7 percent), California, which took up the top three spots. Also reporting gains were New York City and San Francisco, each at 0.7 percent.As for this week’s other indices, Dosaj expects to see flat to dropping prices, “as they tend to be impacted by seasonal effects more strongly than the Black Knight HPI,” as they include short and REO sales that are more prone to seasonal volatility.”Going forward we should see positive growth in 2014 but at a more moderate pace compared to 2013.  Somewhere between 2-4 percent for the year is likely,” he said. Home Prices Flat in First of Week’s Reportslast_img read more

Learn More →

Refinance Purchase Mortgage Activity Drive Applications Down This Week

first_img November 4, 2015 452 Views 30-Year Fixed Rate Purchase Mortgages Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Refinances Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey 2015-11-04 Staff Writer A slowdown in refinances and purchase mortgage loans drove overall applications down this week, according to the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association.The Market Composite Index, which measures mortgage loan application volume, determined that mortgage applications decreased 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending October 30, 2015.The Index fell 1 percentage point on an unadjusted basis compared to last week, the MBA reported. The Refinance Index and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index both decreased 1 percent from the previous week. Meanwhile, the unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent compared with the previous week, but was 20 percent higher than the same week one year ago.The MBA data showed that the refinance share of mortgage activity rose to 59.7 percent of total applications from last week’s number of 59.5 percent, while the adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.7 percent of total applications.The FHA share of total applications declined to 13.2 percent from 13.7 percent from last week, the survey found. The VA share of total applications fell to 11.9 percent from 12.3 percent the week prior, while the USDA share remained unchanged from last week at 0.7 percent.For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less), the average contract interest rate increased to 4.01 percent from 3.98 percent, with points increasing to 0.47 from 0.44 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. MBA also found that the effective rate for these loans increased from last week.For 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000), the average contract interest rate increased from 3.88 percent to 3.90 percent, with points increasing to 0.34 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate for these loans increased from last week. Refinance & Purchase Mortgage Activity Drive Applications Down This Weekcenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination Sharelast_img read more

Learn More →

Is Freddie Mac Back or is the Q2 Profit a Mirage

first_img Freddie Mac recorded a net income of nearly $1 billion for the second quarter of 2016, according to the GSE’s Q2 earnings report released on Tuesday. Depending on what that number is compared to, it’s either a significant gain or a sign of further financial trouble for the GSE.Freddie Mac’s Q2 net income of $993 million—most of which will send to the U.S. Treasury‒‒is a major recovery from its Q1 net loss of $354 million, as is its reported $1.1 billion comprehensive income for Q2, a $1.3 billion upswing from its comprehensive loss of $200 million in Q1.Compared to a year earlier, however, Freddie Mac’s quarterly profit declined due to lower interest rates and losses from derivatives. A year ago, the GSE posted a profit of $4.17 billion. But Q2’s biggest number is an increase in net income of $1.3 billion from Q1.“The company’s second quarter 2016 results were significantly less affected by market-related items than results for the first quarter of 2016,” the report stated. Those items included the net interest rate effect of $400 million estimated fair value loss in Q2 (compared to a $1.4 billion in Q1) and $2 billion in derivatives losses, compared to $4.1 billion.Based on Freddie Mac’s net worth of $2.1 billion as of June 30, 2016, less the 2016 capital reserve of $1.2 billion, Freddie Mac’s dividend obligation to Treasury in September 2016 will be $933 million. Freddie Mac has now paid $99.1 billion to Treasury pursuant to the Preferred Purchase Stock Agreement which was amended in 2012. That amount, which includes the September 2016 obligation, is $27.8 billion more than the $71.3 billion taxpayer-funded bailout the GSE received in September 2008.Freddie Mac’s Q2 net interest income was $3.4 billion, up $38 million from Q1.“We had both solid business and financial results this quarter, reflecting further improvement in our competitiveness and capabilities, highlighted by strong new guarantee business volumes,” said Freddie CEO Donald Layton. “We also further reduced taxpayer risk through both the efficient disposition of legacy assets and our credit risk transfer transactions, which achieved a major milestone in having now cumulatively transferred a significant portion of credit risk on over $650 billion of single-family and multifamily loans.”Still, Freddie Mac’s capital buffer, which is currently at $1.2 billion, is required by law to be reduced to zero by January 1, 2018. That combined with significant net losses for Freddie Mac in Q3 2015 and Q1 2015 (each more than $350 million) has many stakeholders concerned about Freddie Mac needing another taxpayer-funded bailout; FHFA Director Mel Watt, conservator of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, expressed concerns in a speech back in February about the GSEs’ dwindling capital buffer.Laurie Goodman, co-director of the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center (HFPC), said in June, “As capital continues to go down it makes it more likely that they end up with a draw.” Throughout 2016, Urban Institute’s HFPC has published a series of white papers written by housing policy experts on both sides of the political aisle proposing different methods of GSE reform.Tim Rood, Chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Collingwood Group, said that Freddie Mac’s Q2 showing was impressive, all things being considered.“That’s getting back to the high side of their historical average,” said Rood, a former Fannie Mae executive. “When you consider all of the revenue stripping activities imposed on them and on their sibling, Fannie Mae, plus the added burdens of implementing and monitoring government loss mitigation and foreclosure prevention activities, it’s a remarkable feat that the GSEs remain so profitable.”Click here to view Freddie Mac’s complete Q2 earnings report. in Daily Dose, News, Secondary Market Is Freddie Mac Back or is the Q2 Profit a Mirage? Earnings Freddie Mac Profits 2016-08-02 Seth Welborncenter_img August 2, 2016 614 Views Sharelast_img read more

Learn More →

Qualia Announces ezJacket Integration

first_img ezJacket Old Republic Title qualia 2017-03-08 Staff Writer Title settlement provider Qualia announced on March 2 that is has completed integrations with Old Republic Title’s ezJacket and Closing Protection Letter software applications. Title agents can now generate policy jackets, policy reports, and CPLs directly within the Qualia system.“Settlement software should improve the title agent’s ability to work with key business partners, which is why Qualia is committed to delivering superior integrations with leading title vendors,” said Nate Baker, CEO of Qualia. “Through our integration with Old Republic Title, we have streamlined the title process for our mutual agents by centralizing all title work into a single system.”Qualia provides all-in-one solutions for more efficient and seamless closings. Tampa, Florida-based Old Republic Title is comprised of multiple title and related service company. Qualia Announces ezJacket Integration Sharecenter_img March 8, 2017 658 Views in News, Technologylast_img read more

Learn More →

Paradatec Passes Fannie Mae Certification

first_img Share Paradatec Passes Fannie Mae Certification in News, Servicing July 13, 2017 548 Views center_img Company News Fannie Mae 2017-07-13 Staff Writer Paradatec, Inc. announced that the company’s new UCD module has passed Fannie Mae’s tests, the certification process required to produce valid Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD) files.The new WriteUCD module effectively uses Paradatec’s advanced Optical Character Recognition (OCR) solution for the mortgage market to extract important data from Closing Disclosure (CD) documents, and then formats that data in the MISMO standard required by Fannie Mae.To pass Fannie Mae’s requirements, the certification process included submitting test UCD files for numerous lending scenarios to be reviewed. Paradatec’s clients can feel secure knowing that the certification has been achieved well before the requirement deadline.According to Neil Fraser, Paradatec’s Director of U.S. Operations, it was a logical decision to develop this new module to format data that fits the UCD specification because many clients were already using Paradatec’s solution to extract data from the TRID documents to support certain internal review and audit procedures.“Now that we’ve attained certification with Fannie Mae, our clients who work with them are assured of complying with their September 2017 UCD requirement,” Fraser said.The company also announced the release of a new AuditUCD module, which serves as a solution to offer a high degree of automation and operator efficiency when auditing UCD file content.“Developing this module was a logical extension to our mortgage solution,” Fraser added. “It’s just as easy for us to unpack a UCD file’s content to compare the individual data elements against the values extracted from the submitted CD to verify the integrity of both components in the UCD file. Any elements that don’t match will be flagged in our XML output for further review and resolution.”last_img read more

Learn More →

Freddie Mac Announces SmallPool Pilot With EarnUp

first_img Danny Gardner EarnUp financial health Freddie Mac GreenPath Financial Wellness HomeFree-USA homeowners InCharge Debt Solutions Income loan payments low Matthew Cooper moderate VP 2017-10-13 Dean Terrell Freddie Mac Announces Small-Pool Pilot With EarnUp October 13, 2017 605 Views in Headlines, journal, Technologycenter_img Freddie Mac is announcing a 12-month long pilot with EarnUp, a financial technology company that helps consumers make timely loan payments and manage their financial health.  FreddieMac is encouraging low and moderate income earners to participate in the program by doing it through three non-profit financial counseling organizations: HomeFree-USA, GreenPath Financial Wellness, and InCharge Debt Solutions.  According to Matthew Cooper, co-founder and CEO of EarnUp, “People are more likely to stay current on their loan payments if we make it quick and easy for them to do so. EarnUp is proud to be working with Freddie Mac to provide technology solutions that can help consumers.” EarnUp will also help customers improve their credit score and overall financial health, Cooper said. The collaboration also allows a limited number of customers to use EarnUp for free during the pilot. “Experimenting on a relatively small scale allows us to easily evaluate results” said Danny Gardner, VP of affordable lending and access to credit in Freddie Mac’s Single-Family Business. “We believe EarnUp’s online platform is an innovative and convenient approach that may help the next generation of potential homebuyers meet their future goals” Gardner said.    HomeFree and InCharge are currently part of Freddie Mac’s Borrower Help Network and intend to support prospective buyers for sustainable homeownership, including buyers with pre-existing Freddie Mac-owned mortgages. According to the New York Fed’s Quarterly Report on Household Debt And Credit, aggregate household debt experienced its 11th consecutive increase in the first quarter of 2017. In contrast, U.S. homeownership in the second quarter of 2017 has risen to 63.7 percent, up from 62.9 percent during the same period last year.Twenty-two percent of adults claim their monthly income varies occasionally while 10 percent say their income varies often from month to month based on a May report from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System this year. Ninety percent of EarnUp’s customers are considered to be either low- or moderate-income earners and 86 percent who join EarnUp are doing so for the first time, based on internal data from EarnUp.The full press release can be found on Freddie Mac’s website here. Sharelast_img read more

Learn More →

Cities With the Most Longtime Homeowners

first_imgCities With the Most Long-time Homeowners June 30, 2018 608 Views homeowners Homeownership homes HOUSING metros Residents Trulia 2018-06-30 Alison Rich Jaunt through just about any established enclave, and you’ll likely encounter at least a handful of houses inhabited by long-time homeowners. That said, there are certain areas in which more long-timers tend to congregate, and Trulia set out to locate them.To find these decades-dwelling homeowners, the company analyzed and mapped the median move-in date for residents spanning the nation at the ZIP code level in the largest 100 metros. Unsurprisingly, many places with a multitude of long-timers exhibited a higher-than-average homeownership rate. And that makes sense, as renters typically pick up and move more often. Echoing that trend, most of the locales with homeowners who’ve stuck in the same spot are far from urban cores, Trulia says.Some of the findings: The median move-in year in more rural zones is 2004, the oldest in the sample, the company says. By contrast, it’s 2006 in suburban areas and 2007 in urban ones.As for the “oldest” 10 percent of ZIP codes by metro area, rural ZIPs are overrepresented by 54.7 percent, Trulia reports. Suburban and urban ZIP codes, however, are 35.4 percent and 70.3 percent underrepresented, respectively.  Numerous metros boasting the biggest concentrations of “long-tenured-resident ZIP codes” have charted sluggish population growth over the past 3.5 decades, with some even losing residents altogether, it found.Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of just seven large metros, that has lost population since 1980, contains several of the oldest U.S. ZIP codes. A fair distance from downtown and near the West Bend area, the median move-in year for people in ZIP 15433 was 1984. And get this: 41.4 percent have nested there since 1979 or before.Generally speaking, though, folks living in Midwest, East, and Northeast metros have stuck at the same address longer than those hailing from metros in the Southeast, Southwest, and West, Trulia reports. All but one of the metros recording the highest proportion of people who’ve called their current residence home since 1979 or before are in the Midwest and Northeast. Honolulu, Hawaii, is the lone Western metro to land in the top 10, while Pittsburgh leads the pack, with 16.9 percent of people in the metro area living in homes they’ve been in since 1979 or earlier. Rounding out the bottom of the list: Las Vegas, where just 1.5 percent of the population has lived in the same home since 1979 or earlier, Cape Coral and West Palm Beach, Florida; and Phoenix, Arizona.center_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Sharelast_img read more

Learn More →

Vendorly Launches Contract Management Feature

first_img December 3, 2018 561 Views Vendorly, a vendor oversight platform for financial institutions, announced the launch of its Contract Management feature to enhance insights into contract terms, performance, and spend analysis within the vendor management solution. Contract Management is available as a new feature for existing customers using the VendorlyTM platform, or as an independent software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering.In a Vendorly survey conducted earlier this year, 44 percent of banking and mortgage professionals surveyed said their organizations were responsible for managing at least 100 vendors. When asked how often their organizations monitor and assess vendor performance, 30 percent of respondents said annually. With the addition of the Contract Management feature, Vendorly makes it easier to gain valuable insights into contract terms, performance, and spend analysis of third-party vendors. Financial institutions can proactively manage key metadata within a contract and create action date triggers to automate reminders to help avoid missing renewal and other relevant dates and terms.In addition to offering customers a SaaS solution, the Vendorly platform also offers its customers managed vendor oversight services including vendor due diligence, document management, annual assessments, information security assessments, financial condition reviews, and on-site audits.“Contract management is an essential component of a robust third-party risk management program (TPRM) because many controls and best practices stem from the contract language,” said Jim Vaca, SVP of Vendorly. “As TPRM gains more focus from the C-suite, it is important to offer insight into the vendor contracts to help mitigate contractual and compliance risks by ensuring that relevant contract clauses, such as indemnifications, performance levels and assignment terms, are in place and managed appropriately. Having a single-vendor contract repository with reporting functionality will enable insight into not only vendor spend, but the contract terms and associated requirements.”Vendorly is part of the Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. family of businesses, based out of Luxembourg and with U.S. offices in Arizona, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Banking HOUSING Jim Vaca Lender mortgage SaaS software-as-a-service third-party risk management program TPRM Vendory 2018-12-03 Rachel Williams in Headlines, News, Technologycenter_img Vendorly Launches Contract Management Feature Sharelast_img read more

Learn More →