Starwood expands in Australia with The Westin Brisbane

first_imgStarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. today announced it has signed an agreement with Mary 111 Pty Ltd, to debut the Westin brand in Brisbane in the state of Queensland, Australia.The Westin Brisbane is slated to open in 2018 as part of a mixed-use development called “Mary Lane,” which will offer an array of renowned retail outlets, vibrant restaurants and stylish residences, in the heart of the central business district.“We look forward to working with Starwood on this development project and the debut of Westin in Queensland,” said Sam Chong, Director, Mary 111 Pty Ltd.“Our vision is to create a legacy five star hotel in the city of Brisbane that focuses on putting guests’ well-being first and we’re very confident the outstanding reputation of the Westin brand will appeal to the growing number of visitors to the city.”Ideally situated for business and leisure travellers, The Westin Brisbane will feature 286 guest rooms with sweeping views of the river and city skyline.“We are delighted to partner with Mary 111 Pty Ltd to bring Westin to Brisbane, marking the brand’s presence in each of Australia’s four largest cities – Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane,” said Sean Hunt, Vice President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Pacific.“With a presence in Australia for more than 15 years, Westin has developed a loyal following thanks to its differentiated positioning around wellness, and we look forward to the brand’s continued expansion in the Pacific region.”Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk welcomed the announcement of another luxury hotel offering for Brisbane and said that it reflected the growing international recognition of the city’s status as a New World City.“Visitors to Brisbane continue to grow, with a one million international visits recorded for the first time last year, resulting in a record expenditure of $1.8 billion. With the nearby Queens Wharf project expected to boost tourist numbers further, this Westin Hotel will be a great addition to our city.”Guests will enjoy signature Westin services and amenities, such as the world-renowned Heavenly® Bed and invigorating Heavenly® Bath experience.The hotel will also offer extensive leisure facilities, including the WestinWORKOUT® fitness studio, a resort style swimming pool with swim up pool bar and the Heavenly® Spa. Westin Hotels & ResortsSource = Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.last_img read more

Vivid Sydney with kids top tips for family friendly fun

first_imgSource = Vivid Sydney – Destination NSW Vivid Sydney with kids: top tips for family friendly funVivid Sydney with kids: top tips for family friendly funAlready a firm favourite on the winter calendar, Vivid Sydney has even more in store for families this year, including the chance to walk with dinosaurs, a record number of light installations, new locations to explore – and an additional five days to pack it all into.With the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas set to run from 27 May to 18 June, Vivid Sydney organisers are encouraging families with children to visit early in the week and early in the evening to avoid late finishes for littlies.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said: “Vivid Sydney ticks all the right boxes for parents – it’s family-friendly, fun, and mostly free. With this year’s festival set to run for 23 days, families will have more time to take in the growing number of attractions and locations for this much loved event, and to visit more than once for the ultimate Vivid Sydney experience.”Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer and Vivid Sydney Executive Producer, Ms Sandra Chipchase said, “Vivid Sydney is magical for children of any age. We urge visiting and local families to come early and come often to enjoy the spectacle.”Top tips for families to enjoy Vivid Sydney:Come early in the week – it’s quieter Monday to Wednesday; and busiest on Friday and SaturdayArrive early in the evening – before the crowds grow and kids grow tiredCome back – don’t try and fit everything into one visitTravel by public transport – leave the car at home and take advantage of extra bus, train and ferry services during the festivalCome prepared – plan your visits beforehand. Vivid Sydney precinct and accessibility maps including transport options and activities can be downloaded at vividsydney.comThe best family fun for all ages:0-5 yearsJoin the dinosaurs at WildLight – The BioKinetic City – Step off the bus or train at Chatswood and discover a world of digital dinosaurs featuring 3D animations of prehistoric creatures playing at The Concourse. Join in by taking control of mechanical dinosaur frames at the Exoskelton Encounter created by puppetry masters, Erth.Victoria Street, ChatswoodElectric Jellyfish – Venture inside the spectacular dome and pluck, bounce or wobble electric light rings to create your own light and sound jellyfish – and watch it float across the surface.Museum of SydneyBe The Light for the Wild – Taronga Zoo lights up with giant, interactive animal lanterns ranging from the magnificent Asian elephant to the brightly coloured Corroboree frog. Families can interact with the larger-than-life lanterns which change colour and make sound in spectacular fashion.Sydney’s Hidden Stories at Custom’s House – A blue-tongue lizard leads a journey through enchanted forests with witches, snakes, cockatoos, gnomes and gumnut fairies in an awe-inspiring projection on the grand sandstone façade of Customs House.Customs House Alfred Street, Circular QuayCathedral of Light – Take little ones on a mesmerising walk through a 70 metre long, eight metre high tunnel made from tens of thousands of LED lights in The Royal Botanic Garden. Enter through Queen Elizabeth II Gates via the Opera House forecourt.Royal Botanic GardenVivid hot tip: Vivid Sydney at Chatswood and Taronga Zoo lights up at 5.30pm, so Vivid’s youngest visitors can get an early start (and finish).6-10 yearsSpectrum– The kids can put their own creative stamp on this interactive light sculpture by tilting a line of multicoloured rods to form unique colour and pattern combinations.The RocksShadow Wall – Your shadow has never looked so bright! Watch your shadow come to life as a multicoloured silhouette as the interactive walls mirrors your movements.Circular QuayDress Circle – The kids haven’t coloured in like this before. Add colour, light and patterns to the Circular Quay skyline using a 3D, touch-sensitive model – and see your creation light up Vivid Sydney in real time.Circular QuayIMPOSSIBLE Voyage – Take an interactive ride to strange and mysterious lands as one of Sydney’s oldest buildings is transformed into an imaginary vessel. Create a unique family journey as the light art responds to your movements, transporting you through changing landscapes.Cadman’s Cottage, The RocksSilent Disco – Sshhh! The kids can burn off energy dancing to music that you don’t have to listen to! They simply pick up a set of headphones, select an audio channel and hit the dance floor with music only they can hear.Central Park (Friday and Saturday, 6pm – 9:30pm)Vivid Hot Tip: Take advantage of Vivid Sydney accommodation deals and stay near the action. Choosing a location near the city centre, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont or North Sydney will make it easy to visit multiple precincts – and give the kids easy access to other attractions during the day.11-plusLaser-Dragon Water-Theatre – Big action for big kids. Four video-projected water-screens, 56 fountains, 22 flame jets and 10 powerful lasers create awe-inspiring forms and effects including ferocious dragons and laughing clowns on the waterfront at Darling Harbour. Darling HarbourSound Bubble – A huge, transparent, inflatable cube with an artificial brain senses when visitors approach and reacts by sending out colourful light patterns and sound effects. The bigger the crowd, the grander the display.Circular QuayU-Tube– Your family can leave a mark at this interactive sculpture, literally. You’ll form coloured shapes on the wall and leave an imprint by pushing your face, hands or whole body against the surface.Circular QuayRobowars returns – for one day only. Robots big and small and built by hand from metal, power tools and toy parts battle it out in an epic showdown on 5 June. Tickets are limited. Visit [www.vividsydney.com]www.vividsydney.comfor details.Circular QuayVivid Hot Tip: Grab a front row seat to enjoy the spectacular Water Theatre at Darling Harbour by dining at one of the restaurants along The Promenade – or get takeaway from fresh food outlets or food trucks and find a spot to watch the action on the water.Vivid Sydney is the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, which for 23 days – from 27 May to 18 June 2016 – transforms the Harbour City with its colourful creative canvas. Now in its eighth year, Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency. Vivid Sydney features large scale light installations and projections (Vivid Light); music performances and collaborations (Vivid Music including Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House); and creative ideas, discussion and debate (Vivid Ideas), all celebrating Sydney as the creative hub of the Asia-Pacific. 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Canadian Rockies wow Personal Travel Managers

first_imgTravelManagers’ personal travel managers Trina Rynehart (left) and Melinda Rowe on the foreshore of Lake LouiseCanadian Rockies wow Personal Travel ManagersExperiencing the Canadian Rockies just like a client would, was the highlight for TravelManagers’ New South Wales based personal travel managers Melinda Rowe, representative for East Jindabyne and Trina Rynehart representative for Wagga Wagga. The personal travel managers participated on a Rocky Mountaineer educational, experiencing the First Passage to the West! one of the company’s best-selling rail journeys with the Coastal Passage add-on.The ability to share her extensive personal travel experience and product knowledge with her clients is an absolute priority for Rowe.“With most educationals, everything is pre-arranged from transport, hotels and sightseeing allowing little time to really experience the destinations as you would if you were travelling independently. For this reason I was thrilled that we got to enjoy the rail experience exactly as our clients would enjoying overnight stays in Calgary, Banff and Vancouver.”Rynehart also enjoyed the opportunity to try local restaurants outside of the hosted famil.1886 Buffalo Café in Calgary serves the most delicious home-style breakfasts!“We discovered a great little café in Calgary called 1886 Buffalo Café which served the most delicious home-style breakfast. The Waldhaus Pub & Patio at Fairmont Banff Springs is a great place to enjoy a local or Bavarian beer, the prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is great. It’s located down the hill looking over the Stanley Thomson Golf Course and if you aren’t up for the walk back up the hill, the hotel offers a shuttle service via the scenic route.”Rynehart celebrated her birthday during the famil, where she celebrated with her colleague Rowe at the Waldhaus Restaurant at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.“Melinda and I had the most amazing fondue as we marveled at the stunning lake views, it was a lovely way to celebrate. For a really special occasion I recommend clients make a dinner reservation at sunset, it has to be one of the most incredible dining locations in the world!”For Rowe who has a family member and clients who need wheelchair access, the ability to see firsthand how Rocky Mountaineer caters for those needing extra support was advantageous.The Rocky Mountaineer – the best way to discover the Canadian west coast“I was impressed with the disabled access onto the train, including getting up to the upper deck of the carriages in Gold Leaf Service. There is a lift to get them onto the carriage and also there is a small lift onboard. The attendants graciously assisted people who needed help whether it was to go to the dining cart or restroom. It was never any trouble for them to do so. This experience has given me confidence that I know my clients who need that extra bit of help and support will be extremely well looked after. The service onboard the Rocky Mountaineer train was excellent!”Having done the Coastal Passage journey from Vancouver to Seattle by road previously, Rowe was impressed with the ease of the rail experience and enjoyed the change of scenery from the Rocky Mountains.“I have crossed the border from Canada into the USA both by car and coach previously and now by rail. Once we arrived in Seattle, customs and immigration officers set up their equipment onboard and one by one we each met with them to receive our stamp of entry. I can highly recommend the ease and comfort of travelling by rail, it really is the easiest way to cross the border without the hassles of queuing like you do by road or at airports. The scenery was also a change to the Rocky Mountains that we had seen on the First Passage to the West route.”For many seeing a couple of bears would be a highlight, but for Rynehart the Canadian West Coast with its dramatic landscapes and spectacular scenery provided so many memorable moments, it was hard to choose just one.TravelManagers’ personal travel managers Melinda Rowe (left) and Trina Rynehart make friends with the bellman of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise“A highlight was definitely Lake Louise and the beautiful Fairmont Resort with its spectacular scenery, great restaurants, cozy accommodation and wide range of adventure activities. Paddling a canoe across Lake Louise is great fun and a good way to get some snaps looking back to the hotel with the Lake Louise ski resort in the background. Banff is a great town, I loved seeing Cascade Mountain in the background of the main street. Local streets are named after local wildlife and it was incredible to see animals roaming the streets and nibbling on the gardens in the front yards of houses.”The TravelManagers’ personal travel manager educational programme is backed up by strong state and national support, which includes a national partnership office and local business partnership managers.“TravelManagers’ national partnership office provides access to virtual office technology, training, marketing, fares and ticketing as well as 24/7 access to all mid and back-office processes. Combined with seven state based business partnership managers and valuing key partner supplier relationships, personal travel managers have access to the broadest and most in-depth support nationwide. This type of behind the scenes central and local state-based support is crucial,” says Michael Gazal, TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager.For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599. TravelManagers Australiabecome a PTM todayAbout TravelManagers TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 490 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at thecompany’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases. Source = TravelManagers Australialast_img read more

SeaLink offer Free Ferry trips

first_imgSeaLink offer Free Ferry tripsSeaLink offer Free Ferry tripsTo launch the new Barangaroo to Manly Fast Ferry service, beginning Friday 8th September 2017, SeaLink is offering commuters ten trips for only $8.90, that’s nine free trips! The special 10-trips eTravelPass is valid for use from the 8th to 15th September 2017.The ‘Barangaroo Fast Ferry’ is the first ever direct ferry service from Manly to Barangaroo operating daily between Manly Wharf and King Street Wharf No.2, Barangaroo.The ferry service will depart Manly every 30 minutes during week day peak hours from 6.45am with the last service departing Barangaroo at 7.15pm. During week day, non-peak hours and weekends the ‘Barangaroo Fast Ferry’ will depart every 60 minutes.The ferry service will use a quick and easy to use ticketless system. Simply visit the App Store or Google Play Store on any mobile device, download the Captain Cook Cruises app, create an account, purchase the Barangaroo – Manly Launch Special eTravelPass, then tap and go when boarding.According to Jeff Ellison, SeaLink Travel Group, CEO and Managing Director, “SeaLink are thrilled to be starting the ‘Barangaroo Fast Ferry’ service.”“Barangaroo is a busy and growing area of the city and this Manly to Barangaroo service will provide a fast and efficient way to commute to Sydney’s best new landmark development.”  Continued Mr Ellison.One way fares are available for $8.90 per adult and $6.00 per children, or an 11-Trips eTravelPass for $82.50.For further information visit: www.barangaroofastferry.com.auSource = SeaLinklast_img read more

INK 360 the highest bar on Vietnams Phu Quoc Island

first_imgINK 360, the highest bar on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc IslandINK 360, the highest bar on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc IslandRedefining the rooftop bar experience, the new INK 360 sky bar offers the most stunning panoramic sunset views on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island with the finest mixology. Australian designer Ashley Sutton has conceived a glamorous yet jaw-dropping design incorporating the aesthetic of a giant sea creature that represents the mysteries of the ocean below.From here, the 19th floor of the new InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort which opened in June, visitors are invited to sip on signature cocktails as the sun goes down over the sparkling sea, creating a magnificent sunset view second to none on the island.A sleek, sophisticated take on the consuming might and power of a mysterious sea creature, Ashley Sutton’s design is an ode to mythical maritime tales of yesteryear. The main bar and cocktail lounge uses mother of pearl and white marble to evoke the feel of the ocean floor, while the exterior Deck offers an unparalleled vista over the ocean from the highest point on the island. The shadow play and longitudinal markings of the floor pattern represent a marine chart; further enhancing the maritime theme running throughout that redefines the concept of a sky bar.A master of one-of-a-kind designs, Ashley Sutton brings a sense of whimsy and a buzzing creative energy to his interiors. From his Iron Fairies bar in Tokyo, a magical wonderland complete with hanging vials of fairy dust, to The Bookshop in Bangkok, where books are suspended in the air as if seconds from falling,  and the femininity and decadence of Ophelia in Hong Kong, Ashley realises fantastical worlds for visitors to delight in. And INK 360 is no different to these unique, magical creations – fusing elegance with mythical play that entices visitors and guests to enjoy the best view and the finest cocktails on Phu Quoc.“INK 360 was conceived in my mind once I was on top of the rooftop parting over the ocean,” says Ashley Sutton. “The shape of the building, with its accommodation wings and its crown, felt like it needed some type of maritime mythical theme. It was extremely hard to build due to each part being hand carved and then pouring in cast aluminium. The parts are huge and therefore aluminium was chosen due to weight and saltwater erosion issues.”The mixology team at INK 360 have conceived the cocktail menu with a passion for quality ingredients and an engaging flair. Combining traditional flavours, styles and textures, they are re-imagined in a series of contemporary cocktails.Handcrafted with deference and dedication, the cocktails at INK 360 create a memorable journey of taste. Each of the bespoke cocktails are inspired by the elements – land, sea and air – and each celebrates mixology as an art form, using only the finest spirits and botanicals sourced from around the globe, as well as from Phu Quoc Island itself.Signature cocktails include  Uncle Ho Penicillin, with a scent that evokes the nostalgia of days gone by, including Scotch whisky, lemon juice, Phu Quoc honey, ginger syrup, Lapsang Souchong and black cardamom air. The curious Three Way Mirror is designed to be enjoyed in three ways, with a different taste sensation accompanying each sip, with London Dry Gin, St. Germain elderflower, sparkling wine, strawberry and tumeric dust. The Nobleman is smooth and complex, with Bacardi 8 rum, Sandeman Sherry PX, spiced sugar, chocolate bitters and coffee perfume. A light and herbaceous Coral Mule is the perfect aperitif, thanks to its mix of Triple Sec, Aperol, Luxardo Fernet Branca, ginger beer, Calamansi and lemon.A considered selection of fine and sparkling wines, Champagnes, beers and spirits are also available at INK 360, as well as a sharing plates menu with a Japanese Yakitori Selection of chicken & leek, bacon-wrapped asparagus, pork shoulder bell pepper and chicken gizzard served with roasted garlic, schichimi chilli and Teriyaki sauce. The Cured Meats & Cheeses plate features prosciutto, Italian cold cuts and premium French cheeses served with nuts, grapes, raisins and homemade bread. Desserts tempt with a Valrhona chocolate cup, and a citrus raspberry polenta cake with hazelnut crème, to name just two.As the highest sky bar on the island overlooking the sea, visitors to INK 360 will enjoy some of the most dramatic sunset views on the island. Sit back with a cocktail in hand and relax as the sun disappears over an endless ocean horizon.Source = INK 360last_img read more

Telangana displays tourism potential

first_imgAdilabad, post the formation of Telangana, is gradually disclosing its potential to develop into a prime tourist destination. An increased flow of visitors during the Christmas vacation is a testimonial to this development.It was initially adventure sports that bade enthusiasts to visit the place, some four years back. Adilabad has emerged as an excellent place for both leisure and adventure tourism, within the ambit of eco-tourism and village tourism.Nature and culture have always been valuable genres to photographers. To foster tourism, these very genres should be nurtured besides encouraging tours to interior tribal villages like Jodeghat during the Adivasi festival season. Tourism should be planned, keeping in view the fragility of the environment and the interests of the locals.Tribal people living close to eco-tourism spots could help to offer accommodation to tourists. This would not only generate income but also make the new region sustainable in tourism.last_img read more

Momin Naved

first_imgOTM is one of the biggest travel trade show in India and this year it’s more happening than last year. We are here showcasing our products to travel agents and the response has been good. OTM is the perfect platform to network, which is why we look forward to it every year.last_img

Yas Island celebrates the festive season with the Yas Winterland Festival

first_imgYas Island, the UAE’s premier entertainment destination, is set to host the first ever ‘Yas Winterland Festival’ for an entire month, which would include family-friendly events, activities and offers to celebrate the festive season. For the inaugural edition of the festival, many activities would take place like Yas Marina’s ‘Let It Snow’ celebrations, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi’s ‘Winterfest,’ Yas Mall’s Festive Season, du Forum’s ‘Winterland Carnival,’ and a midnight fireworks show to ring in the New Year.Additionally, Coldplay’s New Year’s Eve live show ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ would draw a close the winter festivities on Yas Island.The island is being completely transformed into a winter wonderland as several Yas Island attractions get set to offer winter-themed activities, events and special offers, from December 9, 2016, to January 7, 2017.“Yas Island is all about exciting experiences. The month-long Yas Winterland Festival captures the best of what Yas Island has to offer in terms of events, entertainment and leisure, with a fun winter theme. Our visitors will be able to create ever-lasting memories as they celebrate the cheery, festive winter season among their loved ones, friends and family,” said Mohamed Abdulla Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral.Commenting on the addition of the Yas Winterland Festival to Abu Dhabi’s vibrant events programme, His Excellency Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority said, “A partnership approach to events development and delivery is expected to stimulate upward momentum in hotel bookings from domestic tourists and those from our key overseas markets who have the propensity to travel. Abu Dhabi is a leading family leisure destination full of captivating experiences, and the addition of these festive offers and activities across Yas Island provides even more compelling reasons for visitors to enjoy the emirate’s year-round appeal.”last_img read more

QuickenLoans MortgageFees Dispute Reaches Supreme Court

first_imgQuickenLoans’ Mortgage-Fees Dispute Reaches Supreme Court Share October 11, 2011 420 Views A case over unearned mortgage fees reached the desk of the nation’s highest judicial authority Tuesday, as the “”Supreme Court””:http://www.supremecourt.gov/ accepted to hear a suit over unearned fees that mortgage lenders allegedly charged their borrowers.[IMAGE]The defendant: Detroit-based “”QuickenLoans””:https://www.quickenloans.com/, which an “”amicus curae brief””:http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/10-1042-Freeman-v.-Quicken-Loans_mtd.pdf, filed by borrowers in Louisiana, accuses the lender of failing to abide by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the 1974 law responsible for banning financial benefits for lenders and servicers involved in federal loans.The brief names Tammy Foret Freeman and other petitioners as the plaintiffs. “”_The Wall Street Journal_””:http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2011/10/11/supreme-court-to-consider-mortgage-fees-lawsuit/ reported that Freeman and her fellow plaintiffs present the case as one in which the mortgage fees charged by QuickenLoans were unallowable ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a position the Obama administration endorses by arguing a consistency of approach to the law from “”HUD””:http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD.According to the brief, their attorneys allege that “”HUD consistently interpreted [RESPA] to prohibit[COLUMN_BREAK]all unearned fees, regardless of whether those fees are divided between two or more people.””It cites a 1976 consumer information booklet that supplemented RESPA’s ban on settlement kickbacks with information calling it “”also illegal to charge or accept a fee or part of a fee where no service has actually been performed.””The brief says that HUD adopted a later regulation that reaffirmed the prohibition for unearned mortgage fees.Brian Sullivan, a spokesperson for HUD, declined to comment for the story.Spokespeople for neither QuickenLoans nor the “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/, under the auspices for which RESPA now falls, could be immediately reached for comment.The case climbed to the highest court following a number of disputes among lower courts, according to the _Journal_, which reported QuickenLoans winning a case on a 2-1 vote at the “”Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals””:http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/ last year.This is not the first time QuickenLoans faces a suit over questionable fees and practices. Following several years of litigation, the embattled mortgage lender celebrated a big win following the unanimous decision by a jury to reject claims over unfair compensation charges for employees.Said the company in a March “”statement””:http://www.quickenloans.com/about/press-room/us.-federal-court-jury-rules-quicken-loans: “”Our hope is that today’s victory inspires other job-creating companies to defend against meritless lawsuits which drain wealth and productivity from our society.””The _Journal_ said that oral arguments will roll forward for the Supreme Court case in early 2012. A decision by the high court is expected that summer.center_img in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Housing Affordability HUD Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Disclosures Processing Service Providers 2011-10-11 Ryan Schuettelast_img read more

Fed US Economy Faces Headwinds Far and Near

first_img Agents & Brokers Ben S. Bernanke Confidence Debt Crisis Federal Reserve GDP Home Equity House Financial Services Committee Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-07-19 Krista Franks Brock in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Fed: U.S. Economy Faces Headwinds Far and Near “”Speaking before Congress Wednesday,””:http://financialservices.house.gov/UploadedFiles/HHRG-112-BA00-WState-BBernanke-20120718.pdf Federal Reserve “”Chairman Ben Bernanke””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/bios/board/bernanke.htm predicted a slow and fragile economic recovery in the United States, one that is vulnerable to financial markets abroad as well as fiscal policy at home.[IMAGE] Amid the uncertain economic atmosphere, the “”Federal Reserve””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/ will continue its maturity extension program through the end of this year. The program calls for the Fed to purchase short-term Treasury securities and long-term Treasury securities of equal amounts. In doing so, the Fed “”induce[s] private investors to acquire “”other long-term assets, such as corporate bonds and mortgage-backed securities, helping to raise their prices and lower their yields,”” according to Bernanke. The “”Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomc.htmalso “”made clear at its June meeting that it is prepared to take further action as appropriate to promote stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability.””The housing market has revealed “”modest signs of improvement,”” according to Bernanke. He noted positive signs in new and existing home sales and construction. However, “”a number of factors continue to impede progress in the housing market,”” he stated. [COLUMN_BREAK]These factors include low levels of confidence in the market and individual economic situations, tight lending standards, negative equity, and damaged credit. After posting some gains toward the end of 2011, the economy has slowed this year. Gross domestic product rose to about 2.5 percent in the second half of 2011 but slowed to about 2 percent in the first quarter of this year “”and available indicators point to a still-smaller gain in the second quarter,”” Bernanke stated. The jobs situation has been similar. After adding about 200,000 jobs per month in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, second quarter job growth averaged about 75,000 jobs per month. “”The recovery in the United States continues to be held back by a number of other headwinds, including still-tight borrowing conditions for some businesses and households,”” Bernanke stated before Congress. He suggested the two main threats to economic recovery are the fiscal atmosphere in the euro-zone and fiscal policy in the United States.””Europe’s financial markets and economy remain under significant stress, with spillover effects on financial and economic conditions in the rest of the world, including the United States,”” Bernanke said. Additionally, Bernanke stated, “”As is well known, U.S. fiscal policies are on an unstable path, and the development of a credible medium-term plan for controlling deficits should be a high priority.””Bernanke warned that the tax increases and spending reductions set to take place early next year barring legislative action, “”a scenario widely referred to as the fiscal cliff,”” would lead to “”a shallow recession”” next year. Bernanke projects about 1.25 million fewer jobs would be created next year as a result. Amid these risks, FOMC in June reported “”a higher degree of uncertainty about their forecasts than normal.”” They predict GDP growth to be between 1.9 and 2.4 percent this year and between 2.2 and 2.8 percent in 2013. center_img July 19, 2012 425 Views Sharelast_img read more

ExIndyMac Execs Ordered to Pay 169M for Negligent Loans

first_img Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Ex-IndyMac Execs Ordered to Pay $169M for Negligent Loans December 10, 2012 459 Views center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies FDIC Homebuilders Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-12-10 Tory Barringer A Los Angeles jury ruled that three former IndyMac Bank officers must pay $169 million in damages to the FDIC for making “”negligent loans”” to homebuilders, according to a report from “”Bloomberg””:http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-08/indymac-executives-found-liable-for-negligent-loans.html.[IMAGE]The FDIC’s suit, filed in 2010, alleged that Scott Van Dellen (former CEO of IndyMac’s Homebuilder Division), Richard Koon (former chief lending officer), and Kenneth [COLUMN_BREAK]Shellem (former chief credit officer) caused $500 million in losses by pushing for loans before the real estate crash without taking into consideration credit quality. According to the suit, the executives made loans to homebuilders that weren’t creditworthy or didn’t provide sufficient collateral.The jury found the three men liable for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.Kirby Behre, an attorney for Shellem and Koon, said in an emailed statement that the verdict “”is the result of a deliberate effort by the government to scapegoat a few men for the impact that the unforeseen and unprecedented housing collapse in 2007 had at IndyMac.”” Behre also asserted that Shellem and Koon used “”the utmost care in making loan decisions, and there is no doubt that all of the loans at issue would have been repaid except for the housing crash.””A lawyer for Van Dellen did not immediately return a call from Bloomberg requesting comment.last_img read more

Survey Shows Gap in Use of Online Tools

first_img January 3, 2014 476 Views A recently released borrower survey on shopping habits shows increasing reliance on online tools when mortgage shopping, though many still find the learning curve too steep.[IMAGE]””Fannie Mae’s””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html Economic & Strategic Research Group released Thursday the findings from its latest topic analysis. The data was taken from “”consumer survey results””:http://www.fanniemae.com/resources/file/research/housingsurvey/pdf/010214-topicanalysis.pdf from throughout the second quarter of 2013.According to the group, the collected data show higher income borrowers–those earning at least $100,000 per year–are more likely to use online applications to make their own mortgage calculations, while low earners–those [COLUMN_BREAK]making less than $50,000 annually–rely more on real estate agents, lenders, and advice from family and friends in making their borrowing decisions.In addition, when asked for suggestions in making the shopping process easier, high-income borrowers focused more on the technological side, with most saying they would like an improved way to compare multiple loan offers. On the other hand, low-income consumers were more likely to say they want easier-to-understand loan terms and costs.””Higher income borrowers are using online shopping approaches about twice as frequently as lower income borrowers, which aligns with a stronger focus on doing their own calculations and using tools,”” said Steve Deggendorf, director of business strategy for Fannie Mae’s research group.However, Deggendorf noted, all income groups said they would like to make greater use of the Internet than they currently do, “”indicating that online technology will likely play an increasingly larger role for all borrowers in the mortgage shopping process and presents opportunities for shopping enhancements.””””Enhanced online tools … could help consumers of all incomes to become better mortgage shoppers and achieve better outcomes by addressing the issues they think will make the process easier,”” he added. in Data, Origination Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2014-01-03 Tory Barringercenter_img Survey Shows Gap in Use of Online Tools Sharelast_img read more

California Housing Sees Improvements in March

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Share California Housing Sees Improvements in March April 21, 2014 471 Views center_img California Association of Realtors DataQuick Home Prices Home Sales Housing Supply 2014-04-21 Tory Barringer California’s housing market looked healthier in March than it did at any other point so far this year but remained sluggish compared to last year’s numbers.Data released last week by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) shows statewide sales of existing, single-family homes totaling a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 367,000 last month, up 1.4 percent from February but down 12.3 percent from year-ago levels.It was the fifth straight month in which sales came in below 400,000 and the eighth straight annual decline, C.A.R. reported.“While the demand for housing was up from February, the market is taking a hit from lower housing affordability compared to a year ago, which led to a decline in home sales from last year,” said association president Kevin Brown.“Moreover, concerns over tighter lending standards and increased borrowing costs are also contributing factors to the sluggish market as they both negatively impact the bottom line of home buyers who obtain financing through mortgages,” he added.According to the group’s report, which compiles data from more than 90 local Realtor associations and multiple listing services around the state, the median price of an existing home in March was $435,470, coming up 7.7 percent from February and reversing a declining trend that started the year. Compared to March 2013, prices were up 14.9 percent, marking more than two years of straight yearly gains.Meanwhile, housing inventory fell between the previous month and the previous year, ending March at a months’ supply of 4 months. That figure was down from February’s Unsold Inventory Index of 4.7 months but up from 2.9 months in March 2013.A six- to seven-month supply is considered typical in a normal market, C.A.R. said.Out of those homes left unsold, many were “priced above what the market will bear and are not moving,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, VP and chief economist for C.A.R.“As such, even with improved home prices over the past year, new listings are lagging because would-be sellers who have limited options on where to move are hesitant to put their properties on the market,” she said.The association’s report came a day after DataQuick released its monthly statistics for the state. In its own findings, the company reported an estimated 32,923 transactions, slightly higher than C.A.R.’s calculated seasonally adjusted monthly average.last_img read more

HUD Chief Faces Questions on FHAs Financial Position

first_img In his first time to testify before Congress since taking over his post last July, HUD Secretary Julian Castro on Wednesday defended the decision to lower Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance premiums and predicted that the agency’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund would exceed the required 2 percent ratio within two years.Castro faced the House Committee on Financial Services and explained why he believes that FHA is in a “strong” position to lower its premiums by 50 basis points down to 0.85 percent despite the MMI Fund’s value falling well short of the 2 percent threshold it is required by law to maintain. HUD reported to Congress in November that the economic value of the MMI Fund  represented a capital reserve ratio of 0.41 percent.”We’ve taken aggressive action to improve our underwriting standards, including introducing a credit score floor, requiring a higher down payment from borrowers with a FICO score under 580, and imposing higher minimum net worth requirements for lenders—and FHA is back in the black as a result,” Castro said in his opening remarks. “Our Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund has a net worth of $4.8 billion, according to the independent actuary’s most recent annual report to Congress. It’s grown more than $21 billion in just two years. Even with the reduction, premiums are still 50 percent higher than pre-crisis levels.”Castro estimated that over the next three years, the recent lowering of the insurance premiums will save more than two million households more than $2 billion, bring an estimated 250,000 new homebuyers into the market, and create “tens of thousands of jobs.”One of Castro’s primary goals in his seven months as HUD Secretary has been taking measures to increase homeownership among Americans and therefore boost the economy.”So our actions maintain a careful balance between strengthening our fund and advancing our mission,” he said. “That’s why dozens of nonpartisan groups—from the National Association of Realtors to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition to the Mortgage Bankers Association—are supporting our measures. And we’ll continue to work with stakeholders to preserve FHA’s role as a champion for opportunity.”Some of the members of the House Financial Services Committee were not convinced that recent measures enacted by HUD and FHA were in the best interest of the American people, however.”If a private company operated the way FHA operates, it would be shut down,” said Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Missouri), Chairman of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee. “Much of the capital FHA does hold has come from a taxpayer bailout and justice department settlements. I fear that has created a false sense of security surrounding the fiscal health of the agency. In spite of all this, the agency has decided to lower mortgage insurance premiums. This policy change squeezes what could be a more robust private industry out of the market and increase taxpayer exposure.”Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the committee, was skeptical of Castro’s prediction that the MMI Fund would rise above the 2 percent ratio in the next two years. While Castro admitted that the fund is currently below the required 2 percent ratio, he would not admit that HUD was in violation of the law.”I sense you do not care to state the obvious, Mr. Secretary,” Hensarling said. “With all due respect, you’re relatively new on the job. Many of us have been here before listening to your predecessors, listening to Ms. [Carol] Galante’s predecessors, saying in no time flat, the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund is going to recover. We get all these rosy projections, and none of the projections have ever proven accurate. So we are concerned. After all these years, at what point does HUD and FHA intend to follow the law? Is there some point?”Castro responded that HUD and FHA were “working very hard to reach the 2 percent ratio,” to which Hensarling said, “If you’re working very hard, you just cut off an income stream. You just lowered premiums by 40 percent. That is revenue that could have gone back to help compensate taxpayers, number one, for their bailout, and number two, to help you get back to compliance with the law.”Castro then doubled down on his prediction that the MMI Fund would be above the 2 percent ratio within two years, citing its growth by more than 21 billion in the previous two years and safeguards that have been put in place to strengthen the fund, such as five insurance premium increases, a credit score floor, and the elimination of seller-assisted down payments. in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News HUD Chief Faces Questions on FHA’s Financial Position February 11, 2015 543 Views center_img FHA House Financial Services Committee HUD Julián Castro 2015-02-11 Seth Welborn Sharelast_img read more

NTC Recruits Todd Gomes as National Account Executive

first_img February 13, 2015 524 Views in Headlines, News Share NTC Recruits Todd Gomes as National Account Executivecenter_img In Florida, Nationwide Title Clearing (NTC) announced the hiring of Todd Gomes as national account executive.As compliance issues sit front and center for the mortgage industry, NTC says Gomes will work to assist the company in promoting its research and document processing services and consulting with prospects to build processes that work for them.Gomes is a career sales and management professional, bringing experience in both the financial and legal marketplaces. He was a co-founder and former director of MG Capital Inc., where his efforts resulted in $10 million in annual sales. His resume also includes past posts at LERETA and CT Lien Solutions.”Qualified industry savvy personnel are not easy to come by and NTC is very happy to have Todd on the team,” said NTC CEO John Hillman. Movers & Shakers Nationwide Title Clearing 2015-02-13 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

OCC Head Emphasizes Innovation in Finance

first_img April 7, 2016 430 Views OCC Head Emphasizes Innovation in Finance Share The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is making innovation a priority, and according to OCC head Thomas J. Curry, big banks, credit unions, and regulators need to, too.In his speech at the American Banker Retail Banking Conference in Las Vegas today, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry spoke to the importance of innovation in the financial services industry–especially amidst the constantly changing technological environment.“The reality is that the environment in which financial institutions operate is changing,” Curry said. “It’s changing quickly, and for the most part, it’s changing for the better. Businesses and consumers expect more from financial institutions, and technology opens the door to products we couldn’t have imagined even a decade ago, let alone in 1995.”He listed innovations like mobile banking, online card activation and deactivation, and income-smoothing services as just a few of the advances that have changed the industry in recent years.Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry“The reality is that the environment in which financial institutions operate is changing. It’s changing quickly, and for the most part, it’s changing for the better. Businesses and consumers expect more from financial institutions, and technology opens the door to products we couldn’t have imagined even a decade ago, let alone in 1995.” -Comptroller of the Currency Thomas CurryAnd though he was speaking to retail bankers from across the nation, Curry made sure to note that it’s not just banks that can innovate.“I see national banks and federal savings association embracing change and, in many cases, leading it. But regulated banks aren’t the only show in town when it comes to financial services,” Curry said. “After all, technology has made it possible for nonbank companies to offer an array of bank-like services without the necessity of a single brick-and-mortar branch.”He also said that, while the OCC encourages innovation, those innovations must be executed responsibly and in a way that minimizes risks.“Innovation often involves taking on unfamiliar risks,” Curry said. “Banks engaged in responsible innovation need to strike the right balance between providing benefits to consumers and businesses with sound risk management.”Curry also cautioned bankers against the urge to not innovate–to stay static.“Not every innovation is appropriate for a regulated financial institution, and not every innovation that is appropriate for a regulated institution is appropriate for all regulated institutions,” he said. “But avoiding new approaches completely is equally dangerous.”Regulators play a big role in preventing that, he said.“Banks have to continuously adapt in order to prosper,” Curry said, “and we, as regulators, have to be knowledgeable enough to understand new technology and nimble enough to render timely decisions on matters requiring regulatory approval, as well as guidance about our supervisory expectations.”The OCC is prepared to do just that, according to Curry. Currently, the OCC is developing a framework to support and evaluate innovation in the industry. This framework will be based on eight principlesd: Supporting responsible innovation; fostering an internal culture receptive to innovation; leveraging internal experience and expertise; broadening access to financial services through innovation; ensuring safety and soundness in innovation; encouraging banks of all sizes to innovate; promoting ongoing dialogue about innovation through outreach; and collaborating with other regulators.Curry got more specific about how the OCC would handle outreach and collaboration.“To stay abreast of changes in the market and changes in technology, the OCC will engage in an ongoing way with technology providers, banks and others,” he said. “We also intend to sponsor events such as ‘innovator fairs’ to bring together banks and nonbank innovators with OCC experts to discuss regulatory requirements and supervisory expectations and ensure a clear understanding of the financial services regulatory environment.”The basis for the OCC’s innovation framework, as well as details on all eight principles, was recently published in a white paper, “Supporting Responsible Innovation in the Federal Banking System.”center_img in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Banks OCC Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Tech Innovation 2016-04-07 Staff Writerlast_img read more

A Broader Perspective on Diversity and Inclusion

first_img in Daily Dose, News, Print Features A Broader Perspective on Diversity and Inclusion (Editor’s note: This select print feature originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of MReport magazine.)Sandra Thompson took time to speak with MReport about her work at the Federal Housing Finance Agency—where she serves as Deputy Director of the Division of Housing Mission and Goals—and about how the diversity landscape has changed in the housing and financial industry over the course of her 30-year career. Prior to joining FHFA she held senior leadership positions with the FDIC and Goldman Sachs. She values the opportunity to be a public servant, having said, “You can’t overstate the rewards that come from knowing that the work that you’re doing impacts millions of people and their finances every single day, whether it’s housing or banking.”M // What will be the focus of your work for policy development for the GSEs in 2017? THOMPSON // We’ve spent the past several years focused on Fannie’s and Freddie’s response to the housing crisis. These efforts included initiatives that supported home retention, availability of mortgage credit, and also strengthening some of their risk management practices. Next year, you’ll start to see our work pivot toward post-crisis opportunities, especially after offerings like HAMP and HARP come to an end. We’ll likely announce more details on a high LTV refinance option as a kind of a quasireplacement for HARP and a post-crisis modification to address life after HAMP. We’re going to probably complete some of the work that’s been on the scorecard for Fannie and Freddie for the past few years around alternate credit scores. We know that many institutions are starting to use or leverage technology in the mortgage process, and, as a byproduct, the enterprises can continue to think about how to best leverage technology in their business practices. We’re going to continue to work on the affordable housing needs of borrowers like millennials, seniors, retirees, workforce, and multigenerational households. We’re going to continue to promote liquidity in the housing market, as that is one of our statutory responsibilities. Along those lines, our primary focus is making sure that we have responsible access to credit by borrowers from all segments of the market.M // What steps are involved in the process of changing existing policy or adopting new ones? THOMPSON // Our first step when someone proposes to change a policy or procedure or adopt a new one is figuring out what the problem we are trying to solve is. Once we have adequately defined the problem, we establish a project plan. A project plan includes a charter, a scope, and timetables.Then we start collecting evidence, including any data that is available. We conduct stakeholder outreach, which I can’t emphasize enough—is crucial to solving any issue. We want to make sure we get ample feedback so that we understand the impact that this proposed policy change would have on all the stakeholders. The last thing we want to do is create a policy that has unintended consequences. Once we get all that input, we analyze the evidence and figure out some policy options. Often, there is just not a single solution to a particular issue. We weigh the pros and cons of different options and their impact on a range of stakeholders. Then we propose options and a recommendation that we socialize. I think we really go out of our way to develop a deep understanding of an issue in order to provide the agency’s director with a thoughtful analysis that will help him make the final policy choice. The mortgage and housing markets touch borrowers, investors, lenders, sellers, and servicers. There are so many participants in the process that you have to do thorough research and analysis on any issue to really understand the impact of any proposed solution on all of the stakeholders. In some cases, after policies are put in place, we conduct afteraction reviews to see if those policies have been applied in the way that we thought that they should.Sandra ThompsonM // What challenges have you faced as a minority woman in the housing and financial industry over the course of your career? THOMPSON // I was the first woman and first African American to be head of the risk management division at the FDIC, and when I joined Goldman Sachs in 1986, there weren’t very many women and there certainly weren’t very many minorities. At the management level in the private sector or in the federal government, you walk into a room and sometimes you’re the only female or you are the only minority. You have to get over that fairly quickly. It does register, or it did when I first dealt with it. Sometimes I would walk into a meeting and I would be the senior official there and most people did not expect that.M // How can women and minorities work to overcome similar challenges? THOMPSON // We need to take more risks, and we need to get out of our comfort zone. At times, women and minorities don’t speak up in meetings, perhaps because we feel like we have to have all of the answers. That is just not the case with non-minority men. I read an article where it said that women apply for promotions and opportunities only if they thought they met 100 percent of the qualifications for that particular job, and men applied when they met less than 100 percent of the qualifications. This isn’t my quote, but I find it to be my truth: Under-qualified and under-prepared men don’t think twice about leaning in, and over-qualified and over-prepared women will hold back. I think that minorities and women really only feel confident when they’re perfect or practically perfect. For example, we don’t usually answer questions unless we’re completely sure of our answers. Sometimes we let our non-minority or non-women colleagues take risks and we don’t. We take the safe route. I’ve been in meetings where one of two things has happened: An issue came up and I was thinking something and I didn’t say it, and the next thing you know somebody else says what I was thinking. Or the other thing that happens is I said what I was thinking and people acted like they didn’t hear it. Then another colleague, a non-minority, nonwoman, said exactly what I said, and it’s like a new revelation and the greatest idea ever. And I always end up thinking, “Why didn’t I say what I had to say?”M // Where do you think this need among women and minorities to be ‘perfect’ originates?THOMPSON // I don’t know if it goes to a fear of many nonminorities thinking you’re underqualified or you got the job not because of your qualifications but because of some sort of, I hate to use the term, “affirmative action,” but there’s some notion in there that really goes to the heart of our confidence that we need to get over. The competence is there, but I think the confidence is an area that we really need to focus on. My mentors at Goldman Sachs, Neil Levin and Howard Altarescu, and also John Bovenzi at the FDIC, really helped change my thinking. They taught me how to dismiss the mental noise and key in on the issues at hand. I learned to highlight the facts, understand and communicate the evidence so I could stay focused and deliver a databased presentation. They said that the rest would fall into place, and people would learn to rely on me and seek me out to work on projects. They said, “It’s important to remember that the worst thing that could happen is you’re wrong.” You don’t want to be wrong too many times, but you need to start somewhere and take some gradual steps.M // What advice do you have for women who are just starting in the industry who are trying to break in? THOMPSON // Take chances and be open. If you’re in an organization, I always recommend that people go on detailed assignments. You can get locked into a particular office or a particular division’s way of thinking. Broaden your perspective and understand the entire organization to the best of your ability. Understand where you fit in with your organization, and try to make yourself invaluable. Do something new; do something different. You might not like it, but at least you’ve tried it. and you can make an informed decision when you’re making your career choices. These are the types of things that build confidence and credibility. I say, just go for it. December 22, 2016 761 Views center_img Share Diversity and Inclusion FHFA GSEs 2016-12-22 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

Will Additional Charges on Luxury Housing Help Govt Revenue

first_imgWill Additional Charges on Luxury Housing Help Govt. Revenue? Share How much state or local revenue can be generated through an additional charge on luxury homes? A recent report by the Urban Institute examined estimated tax revenue that could be generated in eight states and the District of Columbia by levying such a surcharge on luxury homes.For this research, Urban Institute used data from state property records to estimate the total value of luxury residential properties. The analysis was restricted to single-family homes and excluded luxury rentals and co-ops.“In the U.S. only two states, New York, and New Jersey currently enforce transfer taxes on luxury home sales,” Urban Institute said in the research. Thus the analysis estimated the potential revenue generated from two types of taxes on high-value residential properties—a real estate transfer tax and a property tax surcharge. While the former would fall on the sales price at the point of transaction, the latter would be levied on the assessed property value, the research said. The report, which compared the revenue generated at different value thresholds for the tax surcharge, revealed that California was likely to generate the largest total tax revenue by levying such taxes. However, Colorado had the highest property tax revenue per capita.However, the report pointed out that the amount of revenue generated and the feasibility of imposing such taxes would depend on the tax laws and revenue limits or restrictions in each state. “Many of the examined states have limits in place; California and Colorado have some of the strictest,” the report said.The analysis also revealed that the stock of high-priced luxury homes varied widely across states and therefore state policymakers should consider their individual housing markets when setting thresholds for such surcharges to ensure that the revenue generated met expectations.California, home to high-growth cities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles, generated the most revenue from implementing a property tax surcharge, the research revealed, followed by New York. Maine, Nevada, and the District of Columbia had the lowest expected revenues.When it came to transfer tax, California again topped the list with the research revealing that the Golden State would generate the most revenue from such a tax, followed by Colorado, District of Columbia, Michigan, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Washington. May 22, 2018 634 Views center_img Government HOUSING Luxury Homes luxury housing Property Tax Revenue tax Transfer Tax Urban Institute 2018-05-22 Radhika Ojha in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newslast_img read more

Eye on the Industry Updates on Pavaso LERETA and More

first_img Share Eye on the Industry: Updates on Pavaso, LERETA, and More industry KLR Group lereta loans mortgage Pavaso Quicken Loans UWM 2018-09-13 Radhika Ojha September 13, 2018 833 Views center_img From new appointments to rewards and recognition, get the pulse of the mortgage industry in this weekly update.Pavaso, a Texas-based digital mortgage closing technology company has announced the appointment of Brenda B. Clem as EVP of Capital Markets. “Pavaso is the developer of the industry’s only digital closing platform that brings lenders, title companies and borrowers together in one single digital portal.” According to Pavaso, Clem is a mortgage industry veteran with over 30 years’ experience in operations and secondary markets. Her focus at Pavaso will be on education and increasing awareness in the mortgage industry on how to improve residential lending through technology, including eNote, eMortgage, and eWarehouse adoption. Additionally, Clem co-chairs MISMO’s eWarehouse workgroup and is a frequent speaker at industry events. She also authors articles for a variety of mortgage trade publications. “Brenda is already a familiar face in the mortgage industry, and we are honored to have her on our team,” said Mark McElroy, CEO, Pavaso. “She will be one of Pavaso’s top spokespersons in leading the charge toward universal adoption of eMortgage. Brenda’s passion, experience and her ability to articulate complicated information clearly make her an outstanding resource for Pavaso’s clients, as well as for the industry as a whole.”_________________________________________________________________________________________LERETA, LLC, a provider of real estate tax and flood services for mortgage servicers, has selected Tiffany Stringfellow as its VP of Business Development. In this position, Stringfellow will be responsible for maintaining and growing the relationships with LERETA’s largest clients. According to LERETA, Stringfellow has proven experience in the industry. She spent 13 years with CoreLogic where she focused on multiple projects including solutions design in advisory services, capital market business development and regional sales in Northern California. “Customer service is at the forefront of maintaining healthy relationships with our clients, followed closely by developing systems that improve processes and the way the industry approaches to tax and flood servicing as a whole,” said John Walsh, CEO of LERETA. “Tiffany is uniquely skilled in both those areas and is a true asset to our team. We look forward to a long, productive future that includes her valuable contribution.”  Stringfellow has spent most of her career focused on client relationships and was recognized for her efforts by being nominated for MReport’s 35 under 35 Women in the Workplace. Stringfellow received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sacramento State University in 2005 and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2007._________________________________________________________________________________________United Wholesale Mortgage has passed Quicken Loans to become the top non-bank purchase lender in America, according to a statement released by the company citing an industry report. UWM produced $11.2 billion in loan volume during the second quarter, with $8.3 billion of its business (74 percent) being attributed to new home purchases, compared to Quicken Loans, which purchase loans made up only 31.6 percent of its second-quarter loan volume. “This is a major accomplishment for us at UWM, and highlights the efforts of more than 2,700 team members here who are dedicated to helping our mortgage broker clients be the hero to their borrowers and the realtors they work with,” said Mat Ishbia, President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage. “The high amount of purchases going through the mortgage broker channel reinforces that borrowers don’t want to communicate with a call center loan officer that is 1,000 miles away or use an app that is more sizzle than substance. They prefer local, they want an expert, and they want the process to be fast and easy – and that’s what mortgage brokers provide.”_________________________________________________________________________________________The KLR Group, a Boston-based full-service due diligence firm, servicing residential mortgage lenders, servicers and investors with individualized review products and services have announced the new hire of Andrea (Andi) Cochrane to the position of SVP. As SVP, Andi will be responsible for the direct client interaction and development of individualized solutions and quality delivery of product and services. According to KLR, Cochrane has over 20 years of industry experience. Her specialties include: Underwriting, Quality Control, Pipeline Management, and Process Management. Under KLR her duties will be client focus areas such as lowering loan/MSR rejection, due diligence systems/platforms, and workflow improvement/efficiency. Cochrane’s previous positions include Promontory Financial Group, Urban Lending Solutions, First Federal Bank of CA, Acoustic Home Loans, Long Beach Mortgage. in Daily Dose, Featured, Newslast_img read more

Leading Online Real Estate Marketplace Expands Its Team

first_img January 25, 2019 892 Views California-headquartered Auction.com has appointed Daren Blomquist as VP, Market Economics. In his new role, Blomquist will focus on analyzing and forecasting complex macro and microeconomic data trends within the marketplace and greater industry. The company said that Blomquist would report to Ali Haralson, Chief Business Development Officer, Auction.com.“Auction.com is committed to leveraging the power of market research and analysis to provide unique value to our sellers and buyers. By leading our efforts to identify, analyze and forecast trends at the portfolio and market levels, Daren will enhance our data-driven disposition strategies and solutions to the benefit of our greater marketplace,” Haralson said.Blomquist joins Auction.com from Attom Data Solutions where he served as VP and directed ATTOM Media, a division of ATTOM Data Solutions. He has been widely recognized as an authority in the housing and mortgage industries. Blomquist also served as executive editor of the Housing News Report, named the best newsletter by the National Association of Real Estate Editors in 2015 and 2016.“Over the last decade Auction.com has revolutionized the distressed real estate marketplace with much-needed transparency, data, and technology,” said Blomquist. “I am excited to help build an increasingly efficient marketplace on that already strong foundation.”Auction.com is the nation’s largest online real estate transaction marketplace focused exclusively on the sale of bank-owned and foreclosure properties. The company brings a breadth of quality assets to the market, attracting prospective buyers through world-class marketing and leveraging a scalable technology platform to conduct transactions in a transparent, efficient manner. Headquartered in Irvine, California, Auction.com is a Thomas H. Lee Partners company with offices in key markets across the nation. Share Leading Online Real Estate Marketplace Expands Its Teamcenter_img Auction.com Daren Blomquist HOUSING mortgage 2019-01-25 Radhika Ojha in Headlines, News, REOlast_img read more