State Budget supports low-cost holidaying. Source = ETB News: P.T. The Western Australian State Government has committed more than AU$40 million into developing facilities and greater access for low-cost holidaying such as caravanning and camping. Over the next four years, AU$34.4 million in Royalties for Regions funding will go to the Caravan and Camping Action Plan, with an additional AU$6.3 million allocated to the Parks for People initiative. “We need to ensure facilities are continually expanded and upgraded so that West Australians can access affordable, high-quality holiday accommodation in our own backyard.” “We want to reconnect our children with nature and our national parks, we want to bring back the family camping trip by providing better facilities and more campgrounds to choose from – while also encouraging our interstate and overseas visitors to take advantage of our spectacular parks,” Ms Harvey said. Tourism Minister Liza Harvey said the Caravan and Camping Action Plan would ensure more West Australian families could get out and explore more of the State in an affordable way. “The number of visits to national and marine parks has increased by 55 percent in the past 10 years and we expect it to grow by another 80 percent over the next decade,” Environment Minister Albert Jacob said. “We also want to ensure that commercial caravan parks are supported to attract visitors and provide the best facilities possible.” The assigned funds stem from an election promise to make low-cost holidays more accessible to West Australians, both in WA’s national parks and in caravan/camping sites.
The Asia-Pacific region posted an increase in international passenger numbers of 8.5 percent, compared to the same period last year – owing to improvements in the Chinese and Japanese economies. Global air traffic demand continues to grow year-on-year, with the Asia-Pacific region witnessing some of the strongest international growth last month. Strong demand and increased capacity amounted to positive air traffic results in August 2013. Source = ETB News: P.T. The only region to better this result was the Middle East, rising 10.4 percent during the same period. Internationally-speaking passenger demand rose 5.7 percent, while domestic passenger markets witnessed an increase of 5.1 percent, compared to September 2012. India, China and Russia all posted positive double-digit results for domestic travel in September 2013, when compared to September last year. “We are seeing a more positive environment for air travel demand, based on rising business confidence, a strong increase in export orders in September, and better performance of key emerging markets like China,” IATA director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed total revenue passenger kilometres increased 5.5 percent in September 2013, compared to the same period last year.
JNTO launches new website and exciting campaignJapan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney office’s official website http://www.jnto.org.au has been given a makeover. The innovative design and improved functionality aims to enhance the end-user experience, making information on travel to Japan easier to obtain for travellers, travel agents, media and business event planners.The site content has been expanded and rearranged, showcasing the destination’s ever-evolving offerings. Content has been separated into the inspirational ‘Experiences’ and the more functional ‘Plan Your Trip’ categories so users can navigate through it quickly and easily to find the information they are looking for. The new website is also fully responsive and optimised for mobile, tablet and desktop users.New features include:• An interactive map showcasing model routes, ski/snowboard areas and airports• A user-generated images feed to promote advocacy and inspire future travel to Japan• A tenders page listing proposal competitions conducted by JNTO Sydney• Improved functionality for travel agents to add their own travel deals and agency listings. These can then be easily searched by travellersUsers can engage with JNTO Sydney on social media, including Facebook VisitJapanAU and Instagram @VisitJapanAU. JNTO Sydney’s Instagram account was launched in October 2015 and has already reached 4147 followers, while the Facebook page has hit 44245 likes. Further buzz on social media is expected surrounding the launch of The Magic Sakura campaign, a mini-game where players can plant, grow and nurture their very own virtual cherry blossom tree. One lucky player will win a holiday to Japan for two people, including two return economy class tickets on All Nippon Airways from Sydney to Haneda, six nights’ accommodation and two Japan Rail passes provided by H.I.S Australia. There are also Lonely Planet e-books on offer as spot prizes. Conditions apply – see prize page for further details.JNTO Sydney Executive Director Mariko Tatsumi says, “We are very pleased to launch our redesigned website and an exciting campaign which offers Australians the opportunity to win an amazing trip to Japan. We hope many Australians and New Zealanders will join us on our new website and on social media to discover what Japan has to offer and plan their next trip to Japan.”Keep an eye out for further developments, including a new e-learning program for travel agents hosted on the JNTO website. Visit and explore the new website today! JNTO Sydney WebsiteSource = JNTO Sydney JNTO website
Scoot soars with double hat-trickScoot soars with double hat-trickScoot has scored a double hat-trick in airline operations and marketing excellence, bagging accolades for Best Low Cost Airline Asia/Pacific 2017 at the Airline Excellence Awards and Marketer of the Year at the Marketing Excellence Awards 2016, for the third year running.In addition, Scoot was named Best Low Cost Airline 2016 at the Future Travel Experience Asia Awards which recognises passenger experience leadership in the aviation industry.The awards indicate strong affirmation for Scoot among industry leaders and guests, making the airline well-poised for its next phase of growth with the full integration of Scoot and sister airline Tigerair under the Scoot brand next year, as well as network expansion plans.“We are extremely honoured that Scoot has been recognised yet again for its best-in-class performance by the aviation and marketing communities. Scoot is committed to providing a unique travel experience as we combine safety, comfort, value, and a generous dose of Scootitude on board the world’s first all 787 Dreamliner fleet,” said Lee Lik Hsin, Scoot’s CEO.Airline Excellence Awards: Best Low Cost Airline Asia/Pacific 2017“Scoot has been a transformative force among low-cost carriers. We thank everyone for their support and we will continue to deliver excellence to delight the young, young-at-heart and adventurous,” he added.Sealing its position as the low-cost carrier industry’s top performer for the third year running at AirlineRatings.com’s Airline Excellence Awards, Scoot was lauded for setting the standard in bringing affordable and quality travel to millions across Asia and Australia.“Since Scoot’s launch in 2012, Scoot has quickly risen to become a benchmark and trendsetter in the low-cost market segment of the industry delivering great value propositions,” said Geoffrey Thomas, Editor of Airlineratings.com.The award is a timely affirmation for Scoot as its prepares to leverage its 787 fleet to take guests to further destinations, with the upcoming launch of its first long-haul service to Athens in June 2017. Scoot’s 787 Dreamliners are equipped with inflight wi-fi, in-seat power outlets and ScooTV which allows wireless streaming of movies and television shows to guests’ personal devices, offering guests constant connectivity and entertainment on board. Guests may also select from ScootBiz, stretch or super seats that provide more leg-room for greater comfort.Marketing Excellence Awards: Marketer of the Year 2016“A low cost airline utilising larger aircraft such as the 787 will always result in greater comfort and passenger satisfaction – it’s an excellent recipe for success,” said Mr Thomas.Scoot landed an additional hat-trick at the 2016 Marketing Excellence Awards where it was recognised by the marketing community as Marketer of the Year for the third year in a row. The airline’s haul of 13 trophies – three gold, six silver and four bronze awards – had propelled it to leadership position against some larger companies across various industries.Notable campaigns include “Scoot’s Mobile War-Fare”, where Scoot challenged social media influencers SGAG and SMRT Feedback to garner the most Scoot mobile app downloads among their fans, the “Scoot 787 – A Minute to Wing It” campaign where Scoot launched a series of social media interactions and giveaways in celebration of its second year flying a full 787 Dreamliner fleet, and hosting Singapore’s first in-flight wedding.Future Travel Experience Asia Awards: Best Low-cost Airline 2016Scoot’s tongue-in-cheek marketing campaigns as well as strong social media strategy and engagement empowered the airline to soar above the competition and garner recognition within leaders in the marketing community.The latest feather in the cap for Scoot was receiving recognition as Best Low-cost Airline for exceptional end-to-end customer experience at the Future Travel Experience Asia Awards 2016. The award recognises Scoot’s dedication to delivering seamless and enjoyable service to guests, from the point of flight search and booking to the onboard experience. Adding the airline’s unique brand personality, Scootitude, to this, guests are promised a fun and refreshing travel experience with Scoot!  Airlineratings.com Airline Excellence Awards, http://www.airlineratings.com/news/898/worlds-best-airlines-for-2017-awarded-by-airlineratings Airlineratings.com’s safety rating system is endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).2 Marketing Interactive Triple win for Scoot at Marketing Excellence Awards Singapore, http://www.marketing-interactive.com/events/triple-win-scoot-marketing-excellence-awards-singapore/3 FTE Event News 14 airlines and airports recognised for passenger experience leadership in 2nd FTE Asia Awards http://www.futuretravelexperience.com/2016/11/airlines-and-airports-recognised-in-future-travel-experience-asia-awards/ Fly Scootbook flights hereSource = Scoot
Top travel agents recognized during awards ceremonyTop travel agents recognized during awards ceremonyIt was a night of glitz and glamour at the annual awards ceremony for Cruises Inc.®, CruiseOne® and Dream Vacations agents. In addition to emceeing the night, Drew Daly, general manager of network engagement and performance, and Joelle Delva, vice president of operations, belted out popular songs during their rendition of Carpool Karaoke.The awards ceremony was an audiovisual spectacular with more than 100 agents recognized for their achievements in sales, marketing, public relations, social media, IT and more, with a record number of agents being inducted into the 2017 Circle of Excellence, the highest achievement for CruiseOne and Dream Vacations.Mike Ziegenbalg of Jasper, Ga. was recognized as the Dream Vacations Franchisee of the Year, while Lori Foster of San Clemente, Calif. received the Cruises Inc. Agent of the Year award.To follow the excitement this week aboard the Harmony of the Seas use the #AchieveConference hashtag.People with a passion for travel who want to learn more about franchising opportunities with CruiseOne and Dream Vacations, and business opportunities with Cruises Inc. should visit www.DreamVacationsFranchise.com and www.SellCruises.com.About Dream Vacations, CruiseOne® and Cruises Inc.® Dream Vacations, CruiseOne® and Cruises Inc.® are part of World Travel Holdings, the world’s largest cruise agency and award-winning leisure travel company. The Dream Vacations and CruiseOne franchise opportunities give entrepreneurs a choice in how they want to brand their travel business, and Cruises Inc. is an independent business opportunity. Both business models provide a work-from-home opportunity to those interested in selling all types of travel experiences whether it be a cruise, resort stay or land tour. With a mission of delivering a remarkable experience, travel agents with all three brands are given premium resources to plan and create a seamless vacation experience for the customer while offering the best value. For more information on Dream Vacations and CruiseOne, visit www.DreamVacationsFranchise.com, like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/DreamVacationsFranchise and follow on Twitter at @Dream_Franchise. For more information on Cruises Inc., visit www.SellCruises.com and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SellCruises.Source = Dream Vacations, CruiseOne® and Cruises Inc.®
Improved services for Lufthansa lounge guestsImproved services for Lufthansa lounge guestsWith a large number of new and improved service offerings, Lufthansa wants to make the stay in the lounges as pleasant and entertaining as possible for their guests. The LoungeNet is a platform exclusively accessible for the lounge guest and free of charge. It adapts its content to the respective lounge location. In addition to general information on the forthcoming trip, such as airport information or the current flight status, the website also offers special offers from Lufthansa and other cooperation partners tailored to the lounge guest. For example, Lufthansa guests can download eJournals at no charge or view information on collecting and redeeming miles at Miles & More. In the “LoungeNet News” section, guests are informed about new products and offers in the lounges, such as the opening of new lounges or offerings in the spa facilities.The Lufthansa LoungeNet has recently also become a platform for the cooperation with the yoga company TINT. All lounge guests have access to yoga relaxation exercises via the LoungeNet, which are adapted to the conditions in the lounge. Via a link the guests can watch practical application videos and easily copy the exercises in an armchair in the lounge. Topics include neck and back pain as well as exercises to prevent jetlag. TINTYOGA.com is a multilingual yoga website that brings together the world’s leading teachers on a single platform.In cooperation with Konica Minolta, Lufthansa has been offering a free print and copy service in all lounges in Frankfurt and Munich for several months now. Lounge guests can send their documents to email@example.com and in return receive a PIN code with which they can initiate printing on the respective printer in the lounge. This service has been available in all lounges in Germany since the end of November – soon also worldwide.A popular way to pass the waiting time comfortably is the spa service in the Senator- and First-Class-Lounge in the departure area B in Frankfurt. The spa is run by the CHI-MAS Institute and offers special offers for business travelers who want to relax and need a little “break”. It includes treatments such as manicure, pedicure, facials and various massages such as hot stone, sports, head or traditional Thai massage.Source = Lufthansa
Sri Lanka Tourism has formulated a broad Strategic Marketing Plan for year 2016, with the participation of private and public sector stakeholders, addressing long standing needs of the industry and the future expectations of the country as a tourism destination. The new strategy was refined for its contents to maximise benefits to the tourism industry and to position Sri Lanka as the most sought after travel destination in Asia.The tourism promotional plan of year 2016 is formulated, based on five key strategic objectives. Attracting a target number of 2.2 million visitors with 26% annual growth, increasing average daily expenditure of a tourist up to US$ 200 and average stay, contributing to generate total tourism revenue up to US$ 2.75 billion will be the key performance measures. Uplifting Sri Lanka’s brand value up to US$ 80 million through tactical marketing campaigns focusing on main product offerings of the country will serve as the overall goal of the promotional strategy devised for 2016.The trade familiarisation tours and media familiarisation tours will continue to be a major component of year 2016 marketing plan. The traditional promotional activities such as participating for travel fairs, conducting road shows and outdoor promotions will also be carried out in each country.With regard to airlines, Sri Lanka Tourism hopes to enter into strategic partnerships with new and existing Airlines connecting the regions, capitalising on the “Open Sky” policy of the government of Sri Lanka.Positioning Sri Lanka as a venue for international and domestic events will be a key component of the 2016 marketing strategy. Sri Lanka Tourism hopes to stage internationally acclaimed tourism related events in Sri Lanka during the year such as Arugam Bay Pro- Surf, Kiteathelon, Adventure Tourism events etc.
Dubai is all set to celebrate the 23rd edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival from December 26, 2017, to January 27, 2018, providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy a rewarding shopping experience, as well as chances to win prizes and entertainment for all the family.Organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), the upcoming edition of DSF will feature a number of retail promotions and sales offering deals and discounts from a range of brands, as well as the opportunity to win amazing prizes from luxury cars and gold to cash at the daily mega raffles.This year’s DSF is filled with experiences for everyone in the family. In line with the three pillars of the festival – shopping, entertainment and winnings – including concerts by international and regional stars, fireworks shows and a range of family-oriented activities in malls, and retail activations themed under beauty & perfume, gold and jewellery, and apparel and fashion platforms.
Kathryn Kannampuzha | MumbaiIndia is the fastest growing economies in the world. The Indian aviation industry too, is marked for a rapid growth of about 20% in the coming years. There will be an increase in the number of airlines as future will see a visible shift from trains to planes, highlighted Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet while speaking at the CAPA India Aviation Summit 2018 and the CAPA India Airport and Airspace Summit 2018. The event was held in Mumbai at The Leela Hotels from January 30-February 1.There are many airports in India, especially in the tier-II and III cities which are unused. Indian Aviation industry needs to look at these markets aggressively and should ensure the unutilised routes in a profitable manner, he advised.Talking about privatisation of Air India, Singh was of the opinion that it is good if Air India gets privatised as the red tape is a huge challenge. Going through the tender process, for any airline, is very difficult as airlines cannot work that way. He said that the government should either allow Air India to work on its own or sell it to a private party.
Avis India recently launched its international self-drive service on their website (www.avis.co.in) and mobile app for the Indian travellers travelling to foreign destinations. This launch makes Avis the first car rental company in India which has the capability to enable customers to book self-drive cars in 170 countries with over more than 5,500 rental locations.As outbound tourism is booming, the future of international self-drive is very promising. With the upcoming months being the most preferred season for international travel for Indians, customers are increasingly looking for self-drive services in top international locations such as the U.S., UK, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, France, and Spain, among others.Customers using Avis services also get a ‘Pay-Later’ option, wherein they can reserve the car with Avis and make the payment at the time of collecting the car at the rental station abroad. Customers also benefit from Avis India’s commitment to deliver an ideal rental experience, with features like instant booking confirmation, GPS, one-way rental, unlimited mileage, option to add an additional driver, child safety seat, as well as car insurance that covers theft and damage.Commenting on the launch of the international self-drive service, Sunil Gupta, Managing Director and CEO, Avis India said, “At Avis, our commitment is to provide world class car rental experience to all our customers. All of our new service initiatives and innovations are aimed towards achieving this goal. With our comprehensive network of rental locations and customer support, we are confident that travellers from India will appreciate the comfort, convenience and experience that this service will offer to them. Avis India aims to deliver unparalleled comfort and peace of mind to Indians travelling abroad.”Additionally, as part of the introductory offer, Avis India will provide complimentary international airport lounge access to all the customers who book a car during the first month of its services.
October 9, 2012 427 Views R.J. Arnett will be taking the reins at “”ICON Residential Lending””:http://www.iconwholesale.com/ as EVP of wholesale lending, the California-based originator announced.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Arnett most recently served as EVP of CS Financial, an independent residential and commercial retail mortgage banking firm. He also worked as a managing director at MortgageIT, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, and in various positions at Countrywide Financial. In his newly-created position at ICON, Arnett oversees the national sales force with a nationwide network of mortgage brokers.””R.J. is a seasoned mortgage professional who has a tracked record of growing sales and motivating employees,”” said Andrew Pollock, ICON’s recently-appointed CEO. “”We’re pleased to welcome him to our management team.””ICON president Graham Fleming shared the sentiment.””I am delighted to have R.J. join the ICON family,”” Fleming said. “”We are certain that his experience and accomplishments will be a great asset to ICON going forward.”” New,ICON Welcomes New EVP of Wholesale Lending in Origination, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Service Providers 2012-10-09 Tory Barringer Share
March 7, 2013 454 Views Consumers Show Mixed Feelings About Housing, Economy Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Confidence Fannie Mae For-Sale Homes Home Prices Home Sales Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Processing 2013-03-07 Esther Cho In “”Fannie Mae’s””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html most recent housing survey, consumers maintained their optimism toward home prices, while the share of consumers who said now is a good time to sell reached a record high. However, consumers in the survey were less optimistic about the economy and their own financial situation. [IMAGE]Nearly half, or 48 percent, of respondents in the February survey said they expect home prices to rise in the next 12 months, up from 45 percent in January. On average, consumers expect prices to rise by 2.9 percent over a year, up from 2.4 percent the month before. Seventy-three percent of respondents said now is a good time to buy, an increase from 69 percent the month before. At the same time, 25 percent also believe now is a good time to sell, the highest level since the survey’s June 2010 inception. “”Despite fiscal headwinds and political uncertainty, consumer sentiment toward housing is robust and continues to gather strength,”” said Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “”We expect home prices to firm further amid a durable housing recovery, gradually reducing the population of underwater borrowers and helping to boost the share of consumers who say that now is a good time to sell.””[COLUMN_BREAK]Along with the increase in prices, more consumers also think mortgage rates will go up, with 44 percent of respondents expressing this view last month compared to 41 percent in January. Only 7 percent believe rates will go down. With the year-end HARP deadline looming ahead, Duncan explained rising rate expectations should prompt some borrowers to refinance soon to take advantage of more favorable mortgage terms. As a result, Duncan said this should “”add to their disposable income, helping to offset ongoing fiscal drag.””As for views on rent prices, 50 percent of consumer expects rent prices to go up in the next 12 months, unchanged from the month before and at the highest level since the survey began. A large majority of respondents, 67 percent, said they would buy if they were to move rather than rent, up from 65 percent the month before. When asked about the economy, 53 percent of respondents said the economy is on the wrong track, unchanged from January.Consumers were more pessimistic about their personal financial situation, with 41 percent believing it will get better, down from 43 percent the month before. More respondents said they think their financial situation will stay the same, with 41 percent of consumers expressing this view, up from 37 percent. The share of respondents who said their household income is significantly higher compared to a year ago decreased over the month to 21 percent from 23 percent. However, 31 percent said their expenses are significantly higher, down from 38 percent in January. Fannie Mae’s survey polled a representative sample of over 1,000 respondents. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share
Survey: 23% of Americans Report Errors in Credit Information Nearly one-quarter of Americans say they have encountered problems with their credit report, according to a survey from “”FindLaw.com””:http://www.findlaw.com/, a legal information website.[IMAGE]Twenty-three percent of Americans surveyed said they have had a problem with their credit report at one point or another, with inaccurate or outdated personal/credit information being the most common complaint. Other errors include incorrect credit scores and identity theft/mix-ups. Many consumers reported being denied credit because of these issues, according to FindLaw.While the frequency of these mistakes may cause concern, the vast majority of people who had problems in the past say they were able to correct the issue. According to the survey, 68 percent of people who found a problem said it was later corrected to their satisfaction; an additional 14 percent encountered multiple problems but were able to get at least one corrected.The remaining 18 percent were never able to get their problems corrected, FindLaw reported.The report comes on the heels of another recent survey, which found that 22 percent of Americans have never checked their credit report to verify accuracy, despite the fact that credit reporting agencies are required to provide free copies annually upon request.””It’s important to check your credit report periodically to ensure the information it contains about you is accurate and up to date,”” said Stephanie Rahlfs, attorney and editor with FindLaw.com. “”The credit reporting agencies all have detailed procedures for correcting errors. And our survey found that people are generally having success in getting the agencies to correct those errors.”” Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Credit Standards Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-05-28 Tory Barringer in Data, Origination May 28, 2013 460 Views
Despite some recent pushback from Senate Democrats, the Johnson-Crapo reform bill that plans to phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac passed the Senate Banking Committee by a bipartisan vote of 13–9. The legislation is an agreement between Chairman Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) “designed to stabilize the housing finance market and strengthen the American economy,” the committee said in a press release.”After the housing crisis we experienced, real reform is clearly necessary to stabilize the housing system and renew the faith in the American dream of homeownership for generations to come,” Johnson said. “Even though the support was not unanimous, every member on the Committee was actively engaged in this collaborative process, and passing this legislation out of committee is only the first step.”The bill would get rid of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in their current form, allowing private companies to enter the space vacated by the two companies. Currently under the conservatorship of the federal government, the companies can’t be relinquished from federal control without an act of Congress or their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).The bill would create a reinsurance fund, known as the Mortgage Insurance Fund, to protect taxpayers. The new system would be regulated by the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation, which would function similarly to FDIC.”Today’s vote marks an important milestone. For the first time in the nearly six-year conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both bodies of Congress have passed legislation to reform our broken housing finance system. I thank everyone for their continued work on this legislation and look forward to further discussions as the process continues,” Crapo said.The White House lauded the committee for its work, calling Thursday’s vote “an important step toward achieving a more sustainable housing finance system that helps protect the American dream of homeownership.”However, many viewed today’s vote neither as a win nor a positive long-term outcome for the American people.An outspoken critic of the bill, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) believes the bill is nothing more than a wealth redistribution scheme:”[T]he Senate bill features a controversial and irresponsible new politicization of mortgage credit insisted by Senate Democrats under the guise of affordable housing. This wealth redistribution scheme, far worse than that of the current system, would be a multi-billion dollar annual invitation to return to the lower credit standards, higher risks, and unsustainable lending that created the crisis in the first place.”Democrats also found problems with the bill, albeit for different reasons. “I remain concerned that this bill in its current form does not do enough to produce a housing market that works for middle class America,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), who voted against the bill.Nevertheless, the bill now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to have an uphill battle gaining support for a floor vote. in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News, Secondary Market May 15, 2014 435 Views Share Fannie/Freddie Phase-Out Bill Moves Forward Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Johnson-Crapo Politics Senate Banking Committee 2014-05-15 Colin Robins
Federal Reserve Chair Janet L. Yellen testified before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday morning to discuss supervision and regulation among U.S. financial institutions, but the looming interest rate hike was the subject no one could resist touching on.Yellen appeared before the Committee due to President Obama’s failure to appoint a Vice Chairman for Supervision at the Federal Reserve, a requirement of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was signed into law five years ago.As a requirement of the Dodd-Frank Act, the position is supposed to be filled by a person appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.“Dodd-Frank’s massive expansion of the Federal Reserve’s authority has made the Fed America’s most powerful regulatory agency as well as our nation’s central bank,” said Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), House Financial Services Committee. “President Obama’s inability or unwillingness to fulfill this requirement of Dodd-Frank and appoint a Vice Chair for Supervision deprives Congress of an important opportunity to conduct effective oversight and hold the Fed accountable. That’s simply unacceptable. Until the president appoints someone, we will have Chair Yellen testify and answer our questions.”Chairman Hensarling announced in late October that Yellen would testify before the Committee to talk about pressing concerns surrounding banks including regulation, stress testing, interest rates, compliance, community banks, and a host of other topics.Federal Reserve Chair Janet L. YellenChair Yellen began her testimony by identifying some goals of the financial system, which included strength, resiliency, and the ability to serve a healthy and growing economy.“Today we aim to regulate and supervise financial firms in a manner that promotes the stability of the financial system as a whole,” she said. “This shift in focus has led to a comprehensive change in our regulation and supervision of large financial institutions.” —Fed Chair Janet L. Yellen Chair Yellen added, “We have introduced a series of requirements for large banking organizations that reduce the risks to the system and our economy that could result from the failure or distress of these institutions. In addition, we have made changes in our supervision that now allow us to supervise large financial institutions on a more coordinated, forward-looking basis.”In terms of imbalanced supervision, Chair Yellen said in her testimony that the Fed takes it very seriously and has made fulfilling the supervisory role an important responsibility.“Congress created that position and I welcome having it filled,” Chair Yellen noted. Until this happens, she mentioned that Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo has done “an outstanding job of leading or work in this area.”Regulation among banks was another hot-button topic during the testimony.Chair Yellen identified several reforms that have been put in place to address risks from large banks, but the possibility of failure of these large banks persists.“Taken as a whole, the reforms we have adopted since the crisis, including those mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, represent a substantial strengthening of the regulatory framework for the largest financial institutions and should help ensure that the U.S. financial system remains able to fulfill its vital role of supporting the economy,” she said. “Our supervisory approach is more comprehensive and forward-looking while also tailored to fit the level of oversight to the risks and scope of the institution.”Interest rates nearly took center stage in this banking testimony as Chair Yellen noted that the domestic economy is “pretty strong” and the “gradual rise in rates should not derail the housing market.””Employment is going up, income is going up, [consumers] are in better shape to form households,” she explained. “If labor market improves, inflation will move up. December sounds incrementally more likely, but hinges on jobs reports.”However, Democrats on the Committee were adamant about holding off on the rate hike. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California) told Chair Yellen that “God does not want you to raise interest rates until May.”In the midst of Chair Yellen’s testimony, U.S. stocks “wavered” and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17908. The S&P 500 was mostly flat and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.1 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.Chair Yellen wrapped up her testimony by noting that there is more work to be done, but she hopes that changes that have taken place can been seen by all.“We know our work is not complete. In the coming year we anticipate moving forward on other rulemaking initiatives that will complement the steps we have already taken,” she concluded. “The Federal Reserve is committed to remaining vigilant, diligent, and forward-looking as a regulator and supervisor of the financial institutions that serve our economy. We will do everything we can to fulfill the responsibility that has been entrusted to us by the Congress and the American public.”Click here to watch the testimony.Click here to read Chair Yellen’s testimony. Fed Chair Yellen Addresses Bank Concerns & Possible December Interest Rate Hike Banks Chair Janet L. Yellen Federal Reserve Regulatory Supervision 2015-11-04 Staff Writer November 4, 2015 463 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Share
Home sellers have had a windfall in 2017 with buyers paying more than the list price on 24.1 percent of home sales during the year according to a report by real estate website Zillow. The report said that approximately one in four U.S. homes sold above the asking price as a combination of factors led to sellers netting an average of additional $7,000 over their initial price over.The report indicated that the share of homes selling above list price has grown considerably since the beginning of the housing recovery in 2012 when slightly more than one in six home sales closed above asking price. This share of homes selling above their asking price has risen every year in the past three years. The typical price increase for homes that sold above the listed price was 3.1 percent in 2017.Low mortgage rates, limited supply and high demand, demographic shifts, and a strong economy were some of the factors that have led to this surge in prices, the report said. Additionally, a shortage of home inventory, especially at the entry level and a growing demographic of young first-time buyers looking to start families have also been responsible for this kind of a market.Cities where the lucrative tech market is booming were more likely than others to see this trend, according to the report. More than half the sellers in San Jose, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Provo sold their homes for more than their asking price.The report indicated that in each of these markets, on an average, sellers made at least an additional of $20,000 over their initial asking price. The largest difference in asking price and what a house sold for was found in San Jose, where the average home sold above list netted sellers an additional $62,000. Name your Price, Buyers Tell Homeowners Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News January 12, 2018 680 Views asking price Buyers homes HOUSING Listing Price market mortgage Sellers selling price trends 2018-01-12 Staff Writer
“This proposal to make horticultural production an Environmentally Relevant Activity (an ERA) would restrict future horticultural development and sends the wrong message to our rural communities. It shows the Queensland Government is not supporting future rural economic development.”If introduced, the ABGC has told the government the provisions would result in serious profitability and sustainability issues on grazing land within existing banana farms and on other land that has been bought for the production of bananas or other horticulture.On top of that, they would hinder future innovation and diversification in the banana industry that directly and indirectly supports 18,000 jobs in North Queensland and has a flow-on value of AUD$1.2 billion (US$844 million), says the council.The ABGC notes that it understands and welcomes the need for measures to protect the Great Barrier Reef. The banana industry has worked closely with the Department of Environment and Science on proposed minimum sediment and nutrient standards and has a range of initiatives in place to improve farm practices and water quality, it adds.The ABGC suggests that, instead of the proposed ERA, the new minimum nutrient and sediment standards be applied to all existing freehold land, regardless of whether it has previously been developed for horticulture.No matter the parcel of land or its history, the ABGC comments that this approach will best complement existing Best Management Practice farming systems.This is the best way to achieve the desired result of no net decline in the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef, it emphasizes.“The proposed ERA simply seems to ignore the realities of farming – be it varying climates, the fact that most banana growers have diversified to combat natural disasters and disease, or even just the longterm planning involved in keeping a farming business afloat,” Lowe says.“I know many growers would happily welcome representatives onto their farms to demonstrate the very real ways decisions like this could affect farming into the future.” Australia: Massive hail storm rips through NSW avo … You might also be interested in July 15 , 2019 Australia: Costa Group upbeat for 2019 despite pro … Tasmanian researcher investigates delicate balance … The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) has voiced concerns over a proposal by the local Queensland Government to implement additional regulations to better protect the Great Barrier Reef.The ABGC said the new policies could ‘devastate’ its industry by regulating the land they already own.It would classify new horticultural development – on both current and future banana farms – as a new Agricultural Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA), requiring farmers to implement “expensive and impractical measures”.The provisions fail to take into account location, landscape or climatic conditions, the ABGC adds.It is the ABGC’s firm belief that they would not only have a negative impact on banana growing, but fail to do anything further for the Reef.“Though we have tried to communicate this to the Queensland Government both in writing and face-to-face, it would appear that our views on the development of current grazing land in North Queensland are either not understood or are simply being ignored,” ABGC chair Stephen Lowe says.“The Government’s proposal is to restrict new horticultural development on land that has not had horticulture or other crops on it three years out of the last 10, with at least one of these in the last five years. Australia ups efforts against Queensland fruit fly …
cruiseEuropehotel bargeScotland European Waterways has completed its €400,000 upgrade program which includes a refurb of the company’s fleet and includes redesigned sundecks and saloons, new bathrooms and new ground transport Mercedes-Benz vans.According to Managing Director Derek Banks, the company’s upgrades always begin at their most basic, with a thorough inspection and repair, where necessary, of all its vessels to ensure they operate smoothly and quietly. The maintenance is part of a rolling annual program to provide its guests with the most comfortable experience as they cruise the canals and waterways of some of the world’s most picturesque countryside.“It’s the small details that make the difference between a good holiday and a great one,” said Banks. “Once we have the engineering work completed, we are free to focus on the exclusive, personalised service that our guests adore. This includes working with renowned interior designer Marion Falchi and her team to create interiors that are a wonderful mixture of homely tradition and contemporary style.”The company’s latest upgrades include a complete redesign of the saloon for the 12 passenger L’Impressionniste hotel barge, which cruises Southern Burgundy, France. The hotel barge also received a new staircase, bar area, banquettes, and an oval dining table to help create more space and seating. The 8-passenger L’Art de Vivre, cruising Northern Burgundy, was upgraded with new bathrooms, while the Anjodi, an 8-passenger vessel on the Canal du Midi, was fitted with a new hardwood sundeck to complement a new saloon last year. Deck furniture has also been upgraded across many of the vessels.European Waterways’ luxury hotel barges in Scotland, which cruise Loch Ness and the Great Glen between Inverness and Fort William on the Caledonian Canal, have been spruced up for the new season. The 8-passenger Scottish Highlander, whose subtle use of tartan furnishing recalls a comfortable country house, has been improved with a new guest entrance and easier access. Meanwhile, the elegant 12-passenger Spirit of Scotland, the most recent addition to the fleet, has received a new jacuzzi, new curtains, carpets and improved interior lighting.Read Travel Monitor’s European Waterways review IMAGE: L’Impressioniste
The group enjoyed an action-packed itinerary, carefully curated to showcase Seattle’s very best – with highlights including a culinary tour of Pike Place Market, the oldest, continuously operated, public market in the US; a tour of The Boeing Factory where the new 787 Dreamliners are assembled; and a trip to the top of the city’s most iconic landmark, The Space Needle, where the agents enjoyed spectacular aerial views of the city and beyond. In between activities, the group relaxed in their luxury accommodation provided by Thompson Hotel Seattle and The Westin Seattle.A day trip to Mount Rainier National Park, where the group went snowshoeing, and Woodinville Wine Country, which is home to 100 plus wineries, broadened the appeal of what Seattle can offer visitors, all within easy driving distance of the city limits.FAMIL GROUP PHOTO ABOVE:Top row L-R: Adam Barnes (TA Warringah Mal), Mark Jeffries (FCBT Adelaide St), Bridget Cringle (SF Belconnen), Jacob Walton (FC Product), Harley Wright (FC Toowong)Bottom row L-R: Libby Harvey (FC Port Lincoln), Noelle Loyzaga (FC Cherrybrook), Andrea Campbell (Visit Seattle host), Ray Cashman (FC Product) If you remember the 90s then Seattle will always be, first and foremost, the much celebrated birthplace of Grunge – and that’s an accolade enough for the city, just on its own. (hats off to you Seattle – and thank you!) But now it’s 2018 and this fabulous city has cemented a reputation for being all that and so much more, and rightly so, particularly appealing to Aussie travellers.Thanks to Visit Seattle and Delta Air Lines eight Flight Centre Travel Group agents were able to find out, first hand, just why there is such a buzz about this vibrant US destination, known as ‘The Emerald City’. agentsDelta AirlinesFamilsFlight CentreSeattle
australiaCoral Expeditionscruisesingle supplementsolo travellers Solo travellers can benefit from a range of offers, including No Single Supplement on select cruises, in Coral Expeditions’ new expanded solo traveller program. “We are seeing a building interest and demand from solo travellers in the expedition sector in recent years,” says Jeff Gillies, Commercial Director of Coral Expeditions. “We understand guests are choosing to travel on their own for many different reasons, so we are motivated to ensure we are offering attractive and suitable options for explorers to consider.“Our ships hold no more than 120 passengers at one time, which is a deliberate decision to ensure the experience is intimate and the onboard atmosphere is warm and welcoming. All guests dine together, swapping stories and making new friends as they take in the ever-changing vistas on our expedition sailings.“We’ve had many instances where travellers have initially met on an expedition voyage and now choose to cruise together every year. That’s shows us true friendships and bonds can be made on our adventures.”The suite of options available for the single traveller on the Coral Expeditions fleet:No Single SupplementNo Single Supplement offers are available on all Great Barrier Reef departures year-round and on a growing range of selected itineraries in regions such as Raja Ampat and the Spice Island, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon’s and South Pacific.For 2019, limited spots are available on the below itineraries:New Guinea Circle35-nights departing Darwin 2 October 2020. 17-night half-segments available.Customs & Craftsmen of New Guinea22-nights departs 8 October 2019. Half segments available.A Passage to the Solomon’s, The South Pacific11-nights departs Cairns to Honiara departing 16 October 2019; or Honiara to Cairns 11-nights departing 27 October 2019.Raja Ampat & Spice Islands12-nights departs 21 December 2019.Single Occupancy faresSingle Occupancy fares are for guests who would like a confirmed booking on a voyage in a private cabin. Single Occupancy fares apply to designated single cabin categories on each ship. These fares give the certainty of a double cabin to the single traveller.Standby Single faresTravellers who enjoy spontaneity or are happy to patiently wait for a saving can take Coral Expeditions’ Standby Single fares. This option is suitable for guests who are flexible in their travel times but would like to have a private cabin without paying a single supplement. Standby Single fares are applicable to limited cabin categories and guests can pre-register to be placed on a standby list for their desired trip. Should there be availability, they will be contacted 30 days prior to departure to confirm their travel. Although this fare does not guarantee a place on the ship, there is not cost involved and travellers can receive the no single supplement and their preferred cabin category.Single Guest MatchSolo travellers looking to buddy up with someone during their sailing can be matched up with another likeminded single. Single Guest Match, like the Standby Singles fare, is suitable for guests who are flexible in their travel times but are willing to share a cabin with another guest of the same sex. Unlike the Standby Singles, it is possible to receive a confirmation well ahead of departure if the reservation team can match up single travellers. Successful matches are introduced to each other prior to ensure a rapport is built up before sailing.