Hong Kong police deals with HKTB scam

first_imgThe Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) thanked the Hong Kong police for their swift action in investigating several cases of misrepresentation of HKTB and arresting the persons suspected to be involved in the fraud.   HKTB Chairman, Mr James Tien has received reports from visitors in a number of markets, including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, who were contacted either by telephone or mail by someone claiming to be from the HKTB. The overseas visitors were told that they had won prizes in a lucky draw or promotion organised by the HKTB.In order to redeem the prizes, they were asked to provide their passport and bank account numbers or pay for taxes to the organisation concerned. A number of the fraudulent documents contained the HKTB logo. Mr Tien said: “Given that the HKTB has not organised such lucky draw or promotional activities with any organisation, we immediately filed reports to the Hong Kong Police and the law enforcement agencies in the respective markets in November 2009. “As well as informing the Tourism Commission of the Hong Kong SAR Government, the HKTB posted notices on its website to alert visitors to the misrepresentation.“The HKTB greatly appreciates the prompt investigation by Hong Kong Police, which led to the arrest of the persons concerned,” Mr Tien continued. “We will definitely continue our close co-operation with the Police so as to prevent similar cases and to uphold the image of Hong Kong as a premier travel destination.” <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/28367/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more

Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific Conquers Industry Awards

first_imgDedicated employees and innovative ideas have helped Australia’s largest vacation ownership company, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific, win five accolades at the Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council’s (ATHOC) National Industry Awards.The 2011 National Industry Awards were held at the Gold Coast Arts Centre on Friday night, recognising contributions to the success and continued growth of the vacation ownership industry across Australia.Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific received awards in the categories of Corporate, Sales and Whole of Industry – Excellence Awards.The award winners were:Melanie Hardie, Owner Services Inbound Manager – Excellence in ServiceWynnie the Wallaby initiative – Industry Innovation AwardFrederich Becker, Project Director at WorldMark Resort Denarau Island – Sales Manager of the YearKirra Beach Sales – Sales Team of the YearTullika Deswal, Corporate Upgrades – Sales Performer of the YearWyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific CEO and Managing Director, Barry Robinson said the company’s success at this year’s awards demonstrated the continued dedication and commitment of its employees to the vacation ownership industry.“Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific is fortunate to have a talented group of employees who go above and beyond to create invaluable ideas and innovations to contribute to the vacation ownership industry.”“Just to be nominated for these awards is a great achievement and puts you amongst the best in your field. All our nominees should feel honoured that they were recognised for their contribution to the industry and to Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific,” Barry added.ATHOC is the representative body for the Australian timeshare (vacation ownership) industry. With just 16 peer-nominated, nationally judged awards available and only one nominee permitted per category, per company, the industry awards are highly sought after.Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific develops and manages resorts for its vacation ownership club, WorldMark South Pacific Club by Wyndham. WorldMark South Pacific Club currently has more than 44,000 vacation ownership owners and 21 resorts across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific’s2011 ATHOC Award nominees. L-R: Toni Traicos, Markus Sigmann and AngieChristofis from Wyndham collecting the IndustryInnovation Award for Wynnie the Wallaby. center_img Source = Wyndham Vacation Ownershiplast_img read more

Château Élan Awarded Best Luxury Accommodation at the Hunter Ce

first_imgChâteau Élan at The Vintage, Australia’s premiere five star golf and spa resort, was awarded Gold in the prestigious Luxury Accommodation category at the 2011 Hunter & Central Coast Awards for Excellence in Tourism, announced at Ausgrid Stadium on Thursday night. The Resort, which opened in February 2010, was also a finalist in both Health and Well Being Tourism and Meetings and Business Tourism awards.These annual awards produced by the Hunter and Central Coast Tourism attracted more than 45 entries across 23 categories.  The awards recognise the best tourism products and services in the region.  Erik Stuebe, CEO Château Élan Hotels & Resorts, who accepted the awards at the ceremony said, “We are thrilled that Château Élan has been recognised with this key award. As a newcomer to the Hunter Valley we have aimed at establishing a new benchmark for service and luxury in the area, both for leisure and for the MICE market. The quality of our Spa and Resort facilities is second to none and our team has worked extremely hard to ensure we are worthy of this wonderful accolade.”Château Élan at The Vintage www.chateauelan.com.au  is located in the Hunter Valley, just north of Sydney. The $40m development, offers luxury retreats for up to 200 guests. The resort sits among the celebrated fairways of The Vintage – the Greg Norman-designed golf course and comprises a large Spa, a collection of super-luxury spa suites and a series of private lifestyle villas. The Spa complex has 17 treatment rooms dedicated to exclusive spa rituals, traditional hydrotherapies and social relaxation. It is one of very few places in the world where people can experience Terraké treatments supplemented by products from prestige group, Thalgo. The Couples Spa Package, a delicious shared and totally immersive experience including indulgence in the Hydrolounge, Thai Herbal Compress massages and soothing heated paraffin foot treatments, has been just one of the overwhelmingly popular packages available.Château Élan, features a purpose built and state of the art conference and events venue in the Hunter, offering five flexible conference rooms, premium dining and a range of team building activities with access to the championship golf course.  Air access with flights from Queensland and Melbourne into Newcastle Airport, is an easy 50 minute drive from the Resort. Source = Château Élan at The Vintagelast_img read more

Pay agreement puts QF engineers dispute to bed

first_imgFair Work Australia has reached a pay decision on behalf of Qantas and its engineer’s union after the two parties were forced into arbitration hearings to cease ongoing strikes.Following Qantas’ decision to ground its entire fleet for an entire week as a means of dealing with continuous union orchestrated industrial action in November last year, the Australian flag carrier and the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) were ordered to enter hearings with Fair Work Australia.After months of discussions, Fair Work Australia finally handed down its decision late yesterday, concluding the airline verse employee saga at least until December 2014.Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce described the decision as a relief and a “positive outcome” that will allow Qantas to move into the future.“The union cannot take any industrial action before 2015,” he explained.“The determination from Fair World Australia does not contain any of the restrictive demands that would have handed controls of parts of the airline to the union however it provides reasonable pay increases to our workers.”The determination included a three per cent pay increase per annum, new licensing arrangements, changes that ease restrictions on extended hours rosters and an arrangement for the transition to retirement for its licenced engineers.Although the carrier can put its fiasco with the engineers to bed, Mr Joyce said the airline was still in the arbitration process with its pilots union and Transport Workers’ Union.“Our message to customers is that you can continue to book with Qantas with absolute confidence,” he added.“Irrespective of the timeframe for the Fair Work Australia process, the unions are unable to take industrial action for the period of arbitration and for the period of the EBA determination – which could be up to four years.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Luxon to lead Air NZ

first_imgAir New Zealand has appointed current group general manager Christopher Luxon to lead the airline next year and replace outgoing chief executive Rob Fyfe.Announced this morning, Mr Luxon will work with the Board and Mr Fyfe over the next six month before officially stepping into the head honcho role towards the end of December this year.The carrier’s chairman John Palmer explained Mr Luxon was selected after an “exhaustive international search” for a new leader due to his “wealth of international business experience” and “strong commercial and customer focus”.“Christopher has world class strategic, commercial, leadership and stakeholder management capabilities proven across multiple markets,” Mr Palmer said.“These have been highly evident to the Air New Zealand Board in the year that he has been with the company and we have seen him affect positive commercial outcomes in our toughest operating division.”Mr Luxon moved to Air New Zealand in May 2011 after holding a the president post at Unilever in Canada.This week Air Asia Berhad also appointed Aireen Omar as the carrier’s chief executive to report directly to Group head Tony Fernandes from 1 July this year. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

NSW government lobbies for abolition of flight caps

first_imgSource = ETB News: Tom Neale Mr Truss said that he did not want curfews to apply to the Airport at Badgerys Creek.  The NSW government is lobbying the Abbott government to remove the flight caps on Sydney Airport to help free up capacity in peak periods and to impose a more flexible curfew. Currently, Sydney Airport has a curfew of 80 an hour but is based on rolling periods of 15 minute caps so that 80 movements can be achieved. However Deputy Premier Stoner believes that the curfew change should go further and that the curfew should be potentially abolished because of the inconvenience to the airport and passengers. NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said that he was currently in talks with federal Tourism Minister Warren Truss about removing the restrictions. Minister Truss has said that he would like to tinker with the curfew so that 80 movements are achieved every hour.last_img read more

Hilton has announced a new VP in Australasia

first_imgHilton Worldwide have announced a change in leadership as Paul Hutton has today been named new vice president for operations in Australasia effective 16 February 2015.Currently Mr Hutton is working as the regional general manager for China South at Hilton Worldwide, however in his new role he will be responsible for the performance of the growing portfolio of Hilton Worldwide hotels in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.Paul Hutton takes over from Ashley Spencer who is retiring from his highly successful 27-year career with Hilton Worldwide, having held senior leadership positions in the UK, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia.Hilton Worldwide president Asia Pacific Martin Rinck, said that Paul brings a great deal of knowledge and expertise to his new role.“Paul recently celebrated 30 years of service with Hilton Worldwide and we are extremely pleased he will continue to build on his already successful career with Hilton Worldwide and bring his extensive hospitality experience to the strong growth region of Australasia,” Mr Rinck said.Paul began his career with Hilton Worldwide in 1984 at the Noga Hilton in Switzerland and then took on various roles at Hiltons in Australia, the UAE, and Egypt before being promoted to the role of general manager at Athénée Palace Hilton Bucharest in 2000. Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Aircalin experiences a year of strong growth

first_imgAircalin Airbus A320. Image credit: AircalinAircalin, New Caledonia’s international airline, has recently released its 2015 full year statistics, which reveal a huge increase in passenger numbers and revenue compared to 2014 figures.Throughout 2015, the airline experienced tremendous growth, with a 25 per cent increase in passengers flying out of Australia and a 26 per cent increase in revenue.Aircalin has been working closely with New Caledonia Tourism, New Caledonian hoteliers and local operators to help continue the growth of the inbound leisure market flying from Australia.In recent years, new arrivals and refurbishments to the country’s hotel industry has enhanced New Caledonia’s international appeal.In 2014, New Caledonia welcomed the largest resort ever constructed outside of the capital city of Nouméa, the Sheraton Deva Resort & Spa, which boasts an 18-hole international golf course.The country also saw the refurbishment of Le Meridien Noumea and the introduction of the Hilton brand into New Caledonia.Founded in 1983, Aircalin is New Caledonia’s international airline, operating flights to the Pacific Region countries and providing a gateway to the world.With its fleet of Airbus A330-200 and A320 aircrafts, Aircalin operates 22 international flights to 11 destinations from Noumea: Tokyo, Osaka, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland, Port-Vila, Nadi, Wallis, Futuna and Papeete. Fly AircalinSource = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more

AirAsia X celebrates new route to Jaipur the Pink City

first_imgAirAsia X celebrates new route to Jaipur, the “Pink City”AirAsia X celebrates new route to Jaipur, the “Pink City”AirAsia X is celebrating the launch of four times-weekly flights to Jaipur, India via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia commencing 5 February 2018.The world’s best low cost airline is running a special promotion with all-in fares to Jaipur from AUD$241* one-way. Fares are available on airasia.com and on the AirAsia mobile app for booking now until 25 November 2017 for travel from 5 February 2018 until 06 May 2018.AirAsia X is the first low-cost long-haul carrier to fly direct from Kuala Lumpur to Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan. This follows a successful launch of the Bangkok-Jaipur route in September this year operated by its short-haul affiliate AirAsia Thailand.The award-winning airline also flies to New Delhi, which commenced in February 2016 and has registered a healthy average load factor of 88 per cent. Jaipur is the 12th destination in India on the AirAsia Group network.AirAsia X Group Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said, “We are very happy and proud to be the first low cost carrier to offer connectivity between Jaipur in India through this unique route. India is a very important market to us, and we will continue to expand our services to key Indian cities including the second and third tier cities especially those that lack good connectivity.”AirAsia X Chief Executive Officer Benyamin Ismail said, “This new route will offer travel convenience and affordable options for our guests. Before this, guests wanting to travel to Jaipur with us would have had to first fly from Kuala Lumpur to Delhi for five hours and 30 minutes, or to Mumbai for five hours before taking a domestic flight, spending quite a bit for another hour from Delhi or two and a half hours from Mumbai to reach Jaipur. For those who opt for ground travel, it will take at least five hours to get to Jaipur from Delhi and about half the journey from Mumbai. We are expecting to carry between 132,000 and 143,000 passengers between February and December next year for this route with a frequency of 4 times a week.”Pink in color and pink in vibrancy, the city of Jaipur is one of most beautiful and magnificent cities of India. As the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is also the largest city of the state and is the first planned city of India.Jaipur’s rich cultural heritage is displayed in the traditions, customs, lifestyle, art, jewellery, textiles and architecture of the place. Jaipur’s culture is evident through its art, music and architecture. It is one city that, even after modernisation, still holds to its history, culture and values.The majestic forts and havelis, the beautiful temples, the serene landscapes, and the rich cultural heritage, have made Jaipur an ideal destination for tourists. The foundation of the city dates back to the eighteenth century, with credit to the great warrior Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who ascended the Amber Throne in 1699.The glorious past of Jaipur comes alive in the palaces and forts in the city where once lived by the royal clans. Apart from Amber Palace, among the must-see magnificent iconic landmarks in Jaipur are City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Nahargarh Fort, Birla Temple, Jantar Mantar and Panna Meena ka Kund. The pink colour of the city captivates every heart and the atmosphere of Jaipur bring joy and delight as the tourists set their foot in the city.AirAsia X, together with AirAsia Group, provides Australians with low cost fares and access to over 130 destinations across 24 countries in Asia, Middle East and New Zealand, departing from Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast, Darwin and Perth. For bookings or further information visit www.airasia.com.*Terms and conditions apply. A non-refundable processing fee is applicable for payments via credit, debit or charge card. Fare includes airport taxes (except for selected airports where airport tax is collected at the point of departure). Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights. Valid for new purchases only. All fares are quoted for single journey (one-way) only. All taxes must be paid at the time of purchase unless otherwise stated. Foreign fares are subjected to currency exchange rates. Offer is subject to availability.Source = AirAsia Xlast_img read more

ONYX Hospitality Group expands its OZO presence

first_imgONYX Hospitality Group expands its OZO presenceONYX Hospitality Group expands its OZO presenceScheduled to open in mid 2019, the 255-room OZO Phuket will focus on offering an enhanced sleep experience  and seamless connectivity for travellers who are keen to embark on a deeper exploration of the destination Bangkok, Thailand. – ONYX Hospitality Group continues its portfolio expansion with the introduction of OZO Phuket in Thailand. Currently under development and scheduled to open in mid 2019, the hotel will offer 255 guest rooms and features which deliver the midscale OZO brand’s hallmarks of sleep, connectivity and exploration.Located a short walk from the Kata beachfront on the western coast of Phuket, OZO Phuket will offer guest rooms specifically designed for enhanced sleep, smart connectivity of personal devices in rooms and public areas, and curated destination tips by team members presented through interactive digital panels. The hotel will also feature OZO’s signature EAT all-day dining restaurant best known for energising breakfasts, the EAT2Go grab-and-go deli, TONE fitness centre and TALK meeting room. A unique highlight of OZO Phuket is its two separate pools – an activity pool designed for kids adjacent to a free-form main pool.Douglas Martell, President and CEO of ONYX Hospitality Group, said: “Capping off an eventful year of hotel openings and new deal agreements across several Asian countries, we are proud to announce this new development in a prime destination within our home base of Thailand. This new hotel will complement our flagship Amari Phuket, which has been relaunched following extensive renovations and the introduction of an all-suites Ocean Wing. We look forward to offering travellers more options with our two distinct brands present on the island.”OZO is a smart, simple and savvy midscale hotel brand offering an enhanced sleep experience and seamless connectivity for travellers who are keen to embark on a deeper exploration of the destination. Since the opening of the first OZO in Hong Kong in 2013, the brand has generated consistently positive feedback and continues to exceed midscale accommodation expectations. OZO is currently available in Hong Kong, Koh Samui, Colombo and Kandy, with new hotels being developed in Hoi An, Pattaya, Phuket, Johor, Penang and Xiamen.2017 has been a significant year of expansion for ONYX Hospitality Group, with its flagship Amari brand being launched in new locations including Sri Lanka, Malaysia and China. Based in Bangkok, ONYX Hospitality Group has a growing regional portfolio of 44 operating properties across three core brands in eight countries. The Group has a robust development pipeline of over 20 new properties in markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia, and has set a target of having 99 hotels open by 2024 as part of its journey towards being the best medium-sized hospitality player in the region.Source = ONYX Hospitality Grouplast_img read more

Aircalins New Caledonia On Sale

first_imgAircalin’s “New Caledonia On Sale”Aircalin’s “New Caledonia On Sale”Aircalin Australia is excited to offer your clients a new special “New Caledonia on Sale”, flying to Noumea from only $259* one way including taxes.Experience true relaxation on our idyllic pristine beaches bordered by the azure warm waters of the world’s largest lagoon. New Caledonia is waiting for you. With its blend of French and Melanesian culture, amazing food and wine and friendly locals you won’t believe Noumea is just over 2 hours from Brisbane, under 3 hours from Sydney and less than 4 hours from Melbourne, flying on direct services with Aircalin.Take advantage of this amazing sale and visit your closest South Pacific neighbour today.Sale Period: From 06 April 2018 to 20 April 2018Travel Period 1: 23 July 2018 to 08 August 2018, 29 August 2018 to 21 September 2018, 06 November 2018 to 30 November 2018Prices are ONE WAY GROSS airfares and include all taxes. (Surcharge dates may apply)Sydney to Noumea:                                 from $259* one wayBrisbane to Noumea:                              from $259* one wayMelbourne to Noumea:                          from $286* one wayTravel Period 2: 06 April 2018 to 22 July 2018, 09 August 2018 to 28 August 2018, 22 September 2018 to 05 November 2018, 01 December 2018 to 31 December 2018.Prices are ONE WAY GROSS airfares and include all taxes. (Surcharge dates may apply)Sydney to Noumea:                                from $294* one wayBrisbane to Noumea:                             from $294* one wayMelbourne to Noumea:                         from $311* one wayThese discounted airfares have protected inventory on every flight in each direction to ensure excellent availability for the Australian market and are booked in W-class.Should you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact.Chris Thistlethwaite:                           Phone: +61 2 9264 3644                                                                 Email: chris.thistlethwaite@aircalin.com.auSource = Aircalinlast_img read more

Thomas Cook to promote sustainable tourism

first_imgThomas Cook provides boundless opportunities for people to enjoy new experiences, discover new cultures and create fantastic memories. Their operations have an impact around the world, both in creating employment and economic benefit. They have now embarked on fostering sustainable tourism.Thomas Cook believes that responsible tourism is capable of generating positive economic and social development whilst minimising environmental impact. The Group is thus committed to making all holidays more sustainable.Sustainable tourism for Thomas Cook is “simply about making a positive difference to the people and environment of destinations…(The) mission is to perfect the personal leisure travel experience whilst at the same time, managing activities in a sustainable way.”last_img

Tourism Australia eyes 10000 Indian tourists for 2018 Commonwealth Games

first_imgTourism Australia is targeting the Indian market and is hoping to attract at least 10,000 tourists for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.Australia has always been able to attract a large number of Indian tourist, with more than 40% of Indians travelling to Australia to pay a visit to their friends and relatives. As many as 260,000 Indians have visited Australia in 2016.“Tourism Australia is taking proper measures to lure Indian tourists. Our global consumer campaigns such as ‘There’s nothing like Australia’, ‘Aquatic and Coastal’ and ‘Restaurant Australia’ continues to showcase some of the best attractions and experiences Australia has to offer for travellers. India is currently the eighth largest inbound market for Australia, and is expected to be within the top five markets by 2025, with around 500,000 Indian visitors annually,” said John O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia.Leanne Coddington, CEO, Tourism & Events Queensland, said, “More than 57,000 Indian travellers visited Queensland in the year ending March 2017 and we know much more will come to our state next year for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.”Tourism Australia is working towards more direct flight services between India and Australia.last_img read more

Leadership Shakeup Underway for Freddie Mac

first_img October 26, 2011 505 Views Freddie,Leadership Shakeup Underway for Freddie Mac in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing In a surprise move, the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov/ (FHFA) announced a flurry of resignations for “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ over this year and the next, with “”CEO Ed Haldeman””:http://www.freddiemac.com/bios/exec/haldeman.html, “”Chairman John Koskinen””:http://www.freddiemac.com/governance/bios/koskinen.html, and several other board members set to step down.[IMAGE]Other resigning officers include “”Laurence Hirsch””:http://www.freddiemac.com/governance/bios/hirsch.html, a board member who will not seek re-election, and “”Robert Glauber””:http://www.freddiemac.com/governance/bios/glauber.html, chairman of the GSE’s nomination and governance committee.The biggest news came with Haldeman’s decision to leave Freddie, which the FHFA referenced toward the end of a “”statement””:http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/22735/FRECH102611.pdf largely devoted to Koskinen and Glauber.The chief executive had previously notified the board of his intentions to resign as soon as Freddie’s directors cobble together a succession plan that it will begin “”shortly,”” according to the statement. There is no deadline for the succession plan.””Ed Haldeman has brought strong leadership to Freddie Mac,”” FHFA “”Acting Director Edward DeMarco””:http://www.fhfa.gov/Default.aspx?Page=67 said in the statement. “”I appreciate his commitment to leadership stability during the upcoming transition.””Haldeman played an instrumental role in the history of the mortgage company, stepping into his role as CEO when the GSE transitioned into conservatorship at the height of the financial crisis. [COLUMN_BREAK]””_The Washington Post_””:http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/within-year-mortgage-firms-chief-executive-chairman-and-2-board-members-will-be-out/2011/10/26/gIQAt2dkJM_story.html reported that he grasped the reins immediately following the resignation of then-CEO David Moffett and the then-CFO’s suicide.The departure is likely to carry some heft in the markets, given the GSE’s role as a guarantor and owner of some $11 trillion in federally insured mortgages it shares with “”Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html.The chief regulator announced the other resignations, namely those for Koskinen and Glauber, as ones in line with corporate governance guidelines that mandate retirement for officers of a certain age.””John Koskinen and Robert Glauber have provided outstanding service to Freddie Mac and the country in their roles on the Freddie Mac board during this time of conservatorship,”” DeMarco added.He portrayed the legacies left behind by Koskinen and Glauber as ones reflective of “”a long record of public service and accomplishment”” during Freddie’s time of transition.Without referencing the others, he said that “”Christopher Lynch””:http://www.freddiemac.com/governance/bios/lynch.html, who heads up the GSE’s audit committee, will take the reins from Koskinen as Freddie’s new chairman come December.Freddie Mac said in a “”separate statement””:http://freddiemac.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=12329&item=74461 that Hirsch cited personal and professional obligations for reasons why he will not seek re-election to the GSE’s board. Like Haldeman, the retiring director joined Freddie Mac at the height of the financial crisis, and leaves at a time when lawmakers and policymakers continue to float proposals about how best the federal government should wean the GSEs off taxpayer dollars.Without referencing his own leave-taking, Koskinen said in the statement that “”Larry has been an invaluable resource on Freddie Mac’s board of directors at a time when the company is playing a vital role providing liquidity and stability to a fragile housing finance market.””Spokespeople for neither the FHFA nor Freddie Mac could be immediately reached for comment.center_img Share Company News Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Mortgage-Backed Securities Movers & Shakers Processing 2011-10-26 Ryan Schuettelast_img read more

AllianceBernstein Releases White Paper on Housing Finance

first_img The relationship between housing finance and the government has been a hotly debated topic from Wall Street to Main Street since the mortgage crisis began, and the recently released white paper from “”AllianceBernstein””:https://www.alliancebernstein.com/ABCOM/global_landing_page/index_page.htm?corp=true provides a critical look at the role of private capital in reducing the housing market’s dependence on Capitol Hill. Written by the company’s Structured Asset Portfolio Management and Research division, the document emphasizes the importance of tapping into private funds to develop a stable foundation for the mortgage sector.[IMAGE]The white paper, which is titled “”Increasing the Role of Private Capital in the Mortgage Market,””:https://www.alliancebernstein.com/Research-Publications/White-Papers/Housing-Finance/Stories/6718-Housing-Finance.htm was created by Matthew D. Bass and Michael S. Canter, and through the insight provided by its researchers, AllianceBernstein hopes to advance the cause of attracting more private capital to the mortgage marketplace. The company’s evaluation encompasses three specific aspects of facilitating investments in mortgage assets including the necessary position of the government in housing, as well as the solutions possible via greater private market involvement and the deleveraging first loss capital. Within its white paper, AllianceBernstein clearly noted that “”government involvement in the mortgage market is necessary to ensure a stable, well-functioning market.”” However, the company couched its statement carefully, going on to write, “”The private market is better positioned to price risk ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª private investors should provide first-loss capital to the mortgage market to protect taxpayers from losses, while the government should provide catastrophic loss insurance to ensure stability in periods of market stress and to maintain the credit risk-free nature of agency MBS.””Bass and Canter also commented on the length of time such a transition would take, and the document’s creators stated that “”the greatest chance of success will depend on the development of multiple private-capital based options to provide the broadest and deepest investor base.””Other key notations within the white paper included the call for first loss capital to be unlevered and for the credit tranches applied to be removed for the first loss piece. Additionally, Bass and Canter mentioned that there is “”secular demand for income producing assets like first loss mortgage risk from longer-term investors such as pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurers with longer-duration liabilities.””Generally, the white paper focused on building quality in the housing finance sector in order to achieve long-term stability, as opposed to targeting quantity through initiatives like lower mortgage rates based on systemic leverage. In conclusion, Bass and Canter stated, “”The process of bringing private capital into the mortgage market will take time. If these changes are well communicated and the market is structured appropriately, we believe that there is a deep investor base that is ideally positioned to invest in first-loss mortgage risk over the long term.”” Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology December 14, 2011 416 Views center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-12-14 Abby Gregory AllianceBernstein Releases White Paper on Housing Financelast_img read more

Genworth USMI Completes Integration with Encompass 360 PCLender Systems

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-02-13 Tory Barringer February 13, 2013 445 Views Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technologycenter_img Genworth USMI Completes Integration with Encompass 360, PCLender Systems “”Genworth’s U.S. Mortgage Insurance””:http://mortgageinsurance.genworth.com/ (USMI) unit announced the completion of integrated electronic interfaces with “”Ellie Mae’s””:http://www.elliemae.com/ Encompass 360 and “”Lender Processing Services'””:http://www.elliemae.com/ (LPS) PCLender loan origination systems (LOS).[IMAGE]According to a release from Genworth, more than 300 lender customer accounts now have the ability to process loans faster and receive mortgage insurance commitments electronically as a result of the integration.The integrations with Encompass 360 and PCLender allows mortgage lenders to get direct access with [COLUMN_BREAK] Genworth USMI rate quotes and ordering of commitments to grand mortgage insurance without having to leave their internal LOS. This feature reduces time and simplifies the process needed to obtain confirmation of coverage.While the ability to order mortgage insurance through LOS interfaces is available for customers authorized by USMI to underwrite loans based on its guidelines, the option to obtain a rate quote is available to all LOS users.According to Genworth USMI, customers who have completed the LOS integration now originate more than 80 percent of their loans using the faster electronic interface.””Genworth technology solutions can streamline our customers’ mortgage origination processes,”” said Erika Stinson , digital channel product manager for Genworth USMI. “”The integrations are part of Genworth USMI’s ongoing technology innovation and process improvements to ensure that it is easy for customers to do business with us. Our integrations with PCLender and Encompass360 make these improvements available to even more customers.””Genworth USMI is a unit of Genworth Financial, Inc., based in Virginia.last_img read more

Buying Costs Still Beat Renting but for How Long

first_img Housing Affordability Mortgage Rates Trulia 2014-02-26 Tory Barringer Share Despite reports of declining home affordability nationwide, Trulia’s latest data shows purchasing a home still remains more affordable than renting in the largest markets—though the scale is close to tipping in a few.Mortgage rates would have to climb to 10.6 percent before ownership costs eclipsed rental costs on a national scale, Trulia says in its Winter 2014 Rent vs. Buy Report. The last time rates went that high was nearly 25 years ago, the company points out.“However, some markets might tip in favor of renting this year if prices continue to outpace and if mortgage rates rise,” Trulia notes. “Given current home prices and rents, Honolulu would tip at 5.0 percent, followed by San Jose and San Francisco [at 5.4 percent and 5.8 percent].”Freddie Mac’s latest forecast predicts 30-year fixed rates will hover near 5.0 percent by the fourth quarter of this year.Moreover, the company determined that if prices in each market took an unexpected tumble over the next few years, renting would become cheaper than buying in 37 of the 100 largest metros—by as much as 79 percent in some cases.“In many markets, the rent-versus-buy decision depends on the one factor you can’t control or perfectly predict: what happens to home prices after you buy,” said Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko. “Sharp price appreciation could make homeownership essentially free, but price declines could mean that renting would have been the better deal in hindsight.He added: “The current home-price recovery could lull prospective buyers into thinking that future price gains are inevitable, but when doing the rent-versus-buy math, people should prepare for the worst, not just hope for the best.” February 26, 2014 506 Views center_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News Buying Costs Still Beat Renting, but for How Long?last_img read more

Freddie Mac Lessons Learned from the Crisis

first_imgFreddie Mac: Lessons Learned from the Crisis Freddie Mac Mortgage Crisis Mortgage Servicers 2016-07-11 Seth Welborn July 11, 2016 654 Views in Featured, News, Secondary Marketcenter_img The mortgage servicing industry has become stronger and more efficient in a post-crisis world due to the efforts of servicers to delegate authority to make modification decisions and to offer modifications with more favorable terms to borrowers, such as step rate mortgages and principal forbearance, according to Yvette Gilmore, VP Single-Family Servicer Performance Management with Freddie Mac.Gilmore stated that Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has played an important role in helping borrowers by setting industry standards to assist in a unified way.Nearly eight years after the crisis, the five lessons Gilmore said Freddie Mac has learned from the crisis are as follows:Lower paymentsEarlier borrower engagementReduced documentationSimpler programsMore feedbackPayment relief drives ongoing modification performance and is the biggest predictor of long-term success for borrowers, Gilmore said. And the earlier servicers can engage with a borrower, the better the chances of completing a modification and the greater chance it will perform better over time.“Together with our servicers we have helped nearly 1.2 million struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure since the crisis began in 2009,” Gilmore said. “Our serious delinquency rate—the percent of borrowers who are 90 days past due or in foreclosure—is at its lowest level in seven years. And an improving housing market and economic picture bode well for many homeowners who are underwater or struggling.”Freddie Mac is currently preparing for the “new normal” in mortgage servicing for 2017 and beyond, Gilmore said. The current outlook is for fewer underwater borrowers, rising mortgage interest rates, and “more localized patterns of booms and stress in the housing market and the economy as a whole.”The new normal includes making sure that loss mitigation programs continue to be effective for borrowers, which includes planning for a world without the government’s HAMP and Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), both of which are set to expire at the end of the year.These are important considerations we’re thinking through with our regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the industry,” Gilmore wrote. “However, I think it’s important to note that the majority of modifications we complete today are through our proprietary programs.”Also to be considered in the era of the new normal, Gilmore said, is how to determine borrower eligibility—for example, when to require documentation and when a streamlined process is necessary. Sharelast_img read more

The Week Ahead The Beige Book

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Share The Beige Book 2017-09-03 Brianna Gilpin Other Events in the Week Ahead: Freddie Mac Weekly Mortgage Survey, Thursday, 10 a.m. EDT.Fed Balance Sheet, Thursday, 4:30 p.m. EDTSenate Banking Executive Session, Thursday, 9 a.m. EDT The Week Ahead: The Beige Book This Wednesday, the main indicator for a change in interest rates will be released— the Beige Book.Roughly two weeks before monetary policy meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Beige Book depicts an overheating economy or inflationary pressures, according to Bloomberg Markets. Since it is released in advance of FOMC meetings, investors can take a look at one of the many indicators Federal officials use to determine interest rate policy and position their portfolios accordingly.In June 2017’s Beige Book, economic activity was up in all 12 Federal Reserve Districts, with the pace of growth ranging from slight to moderate. Many districts experienced softer consumer spending and loan demand was steady.Residential construction activity was flat to expanding in most districts. Four out of six First District states reported year-over-year changes to April 2017. Single-family home sales were down by moderate margins, according to the report, attributed to a decline in inventory rather than weak demand.At the time, the report said most were optimistic about market activity and continued strong buyer demand, in part because of high consumer confidence due to low unemployment rates. However, some were still concerned that first-time homebuyers could be priced out of the market.How will consumers feel in the incoming beige book? Take a look this Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT. September 3, 2017 568 Views last_img read more

FHFA HARP Refinance Continue Helping Borrowers

first_img September 14, 2017 576 Views FHFA Home Refinance Report 2017-09-14 Joey Pizzolato FHFA HARP Refinance Continue Helping Borrowers in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News, Originationcenter_img Share The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its July 2017 Refinance Report, showing that total refinances for the month were down, which the report attributes to the fact that mortgage rates are still higher than they were year-over-year.The average interest rate for a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage rose month-over-month from 3.90 percent to 3.97 percent, unencouraging to refinancing.Still, there were a total of 2,305 refinances initiated in July through the HARP program, which totals 3,473,109 since the program’s inception, and represents a total of 2 percent of all refinance volume. Out of that pool of loans, 7 percent had a loan-to-value ratio over 125 percent.Year-to-date numbers from the reports are as follows: 19 percent of all HARP refinances had LTV ratios greater than 105 percent, and 26 percent of underwater borrowers that took advantage of the HARP program were composed of shorter term 15-year and 20-year mortgages.Regionally, nine states and territories accounted for over 60 percent of national HARP eligible loans via refinance. The top five states, as of March 31, 2017 were as follows: Illinois (14,105); Florida (13,115); Michigan (11,179); Ohio (10,587); and Puerto Rico (9,390). Trailing the list was New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York.For the full refinance report, click here.last_img read more