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TAM joins Star Alliance enters code share with US Airways


first_imgTAM Airlines has officially joined the Star Alliance network during a ceremony in Brazil this morning. “Our integration into the world’s leading global commercial aviation alliance will allow us to expand our services, offering our customers a smooth and integrated travel experience.“There will always be a partner airline that will treat our customers as their own anywhere across the globe,” said Libano Barroso, CEO of TAM Airlines.He added that the Brazilian carrier is the 27th member to join the Star Alliance, “Our brand is now global and Star Alliance now has a strong presence in South America.”The ceremony was broadcast live online via http://www.cdclip.com.br/tam/2010/staralliance Liano Barroso In other news, US Airways have agreed to a bilateral code share pact with TAM Airlines, which will become effective from July. This agreement, which is subject to government approval, will provide US Airways passengers with a convenient, single-source booking, ticketing and baggage connection option for many new destinations inside Brazil, including Sao Paulo, Salvador, Recife and Brasilia through TAM’s Rio de Janiero hub. The pact will give TAM Airlines passengers access to US Airways flights from Miami, Orlando and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, to destinations such as Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. TAM Airlines CEO Liano Barroso, Star Alliance CEO Jaan Albrecht and TAM Airlines Vice President, Commercial and Planning Paulo Castello Branco. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Flast_img read more


Air NZs Blenheim blunder


first_imgHalloween rename campaign cops criticism from Blenheim mayor. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T The mayor of Blenheim has called on Air New Zealand to issue a “public apology” after the airline renamed Blenheim ‘Beastheim’ as part of an online Halloween campaign.The airline renamed national destinations to coincide with Halloween on its Grabaseat website.Auckland became Spookland, Christchurch was transformed into Witchchurch, Rotorua was renamed Rottingrua, and Wellington was altered to Spellington.Marlborough District Council mayor Alistair Sowman labelled the stunt offensive and said it conjured memories of serial sex offender Stuart Murray Wilson, known as ‘The Beast of Blenheim’.“We have enough problems now trying to put that name behind us,” Mayor Sowman said.Following complaints, Air New Zealand removed the Beastheim reference, opting for the title Ghosteim.“I’d like to see Air New Zealand make a public apology to people in Blenheim, particularly the victims that are still living in this town,” Mayor Sowman added.last_img read more


ATF 2014 a resounding success


first_imgA highlight of last Thursday’s closing ceremony was the Minister of Tourism and Culture Malaysia formally passing over the Chairmanship to Myanmar, by handing over the baton to Myanmar’s Minister of Hotels and Tourism. “I wish to congratulate our strategic partner, ASEAN Tourism Association for successfully co-organising TRAVEX, which set a new record for BCCK in terms of total floor space utilised for the travel fair, with all booths taken up and for the ASEAN Tourism Conference being very well received in providing fresh insights on accessibility and development of cruise and river-based tourism.” “From humble beginnings 33 years ago, we are now on the threshold of realising our goal of One Vision, One Identity, One Community for ASEAN by 2015, and through achieving 75 percent of the measures outlined under the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan, we have made significant progress indeed,” Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri said. The 33rd ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), held in Kuching, Malaysia, finished on a high, with the Minister of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz declaring the event a resounding success. The closing ceremony of the eight day event was held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) and was also attended by the Minister of Tourism and Housing Development of Sarawak, ASEAN Tourism Ministers and around 700 guests.center_img Source = ETB News: L.B. The ATF 2014 has further strengthened intra-regional cooperation and coordination in tourism through a range of meetings, announcement and events such as the Green Hotel Awards, and with close 2,000 attendees and TRAVEX 2014 at maximum capacity, the ATF 2014 was a huge success. Since its inauguration in Malaysia in 1981, the hosting of the ATF is rotated among its member countries, with Naypidaw, Myanmar set to host ATF 2015 in the theme of ASEAN – Tourism Towards Peace, Prosperity and Partnership.last_img read more


Brisbane ready for G20 Leaders Summit


first_imgAfter two years of planning and preparation, Brisbane is ready to host the G20 Leaders Summit, with the city having already welcomed 4,000 delegates for the event.The summit, to be held on 15 and 16 November at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Queensland, will be the most significant meeting of world leaders Australia has hosted.A series of initiatives are underway in Brisbane, all designed to create local experiences for visitors and delegates, ensuring the G20 Leaders Summit will leave a legacy for the city as an event destination.Some of these innovations include: Australia’s reputation for world-class food and wine is growing, and Global Flavours is an international food program casting the spotlight on Brisbane’s exceptional dining experiences and fresh local produce.In the three weeks leading up to the summit, Brisbane has come alive with the G20 Cultural Celebrations program, with hundreds of free events in and around the city and suburbs for the people of Brisbane and the thousands of international guests.Brisbane’s CBD is transformed at night by Colour Me Brisbane with sound and light displays across the city and there are also interactive light and projection installations created by some of Australia’s leading projection artists, showcasing Queensland’s diversity and talent. Tourism Australia managing director, John O’Sullivan said: “Australia’s hosting of the G20 has been a wonderful opportunity to show the world why we are regarded as a leader in delivering business events.“Brisbane is not just hosting a meeting of some of the world’s most important leaders, it has created a total G20 city experience for all summit attendees that is simultaneously showcasing some of the exceptional food, facilities and culture we have on offer here in Australia.”Source = ETB Travel News: Megan Tranlast_img read more


AFTA releases new report in support of Travel Agents


first_imgAFTA releases new report in support of Travel AgentsAFTA releases new report in support of Travel AgentsThe Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has today released a new monthly report titled AFTA Travel Trends, aimed at helping AFTA members and the greater travel industry understand the latest patterns in travel.The report details outbound departures and inbound arrivals data for the major Australian source markets and destinations that Australians are travelling to. The publication also provides information on the market share of airlines and the underlying purpose of international travel for Australians.“More than 70% of all Australian departures are made through an Australian Travel Agent and, as a trusted source of industry information and data. AFTA is pleased to be able to collate this into our new Travel Trends monthly report. This report is provided by AFTA at NO COST to help inform stakeholders about the facts and trends in the travel industry in Australia. We are committed to supporting the industry to prosper,” said Jayson Westbury, AFTA Chief Executive.AFTA’s March Travel Trends show that Australians took 9.9 million trips over the past 12 months (yearend Jan 2017). This was another year that the travel industry saw upward growth (+4.2% vs. previous year). In the inbound market a record growth rate of 10.3% was reported with more than 8.3 million visitors travelling to Australia.A highlight market is Japan, up 109.9% since 2013 with more than 361,000 Australians visiting last year.In addition to the AFTA Travel Trends report, AFTA has created two industry fact sheets; one on the employment profile of the sector and the other on the overall characteristics of the Australian travel sector. These fact sheets provide detailed information on the types of travel agents, the states that have the highest rate of employment from travel agents and the key attributes employers are looking for in staff.The fact sheets will be updated yearly and are based on the information provided by the industry through the ATAS process.The AFTA Travel Trends report will be produced on a monthly basis and is available to industry through the AFTA website.“AFTA hopes that these reports and information sheets will assist the broad set of stakeholders interested in knowing more about the travel industry and the trends that are developing over the coming years. We look forward to feedback on these reports and fact sheets as we continue to bring the industry valuable information in support of travel agents,” said Westbury. Source = AFTA – Australian Federation of Travel Agentslast_img read more


Seychelles Tourism Minister meets with the producers of Rocky Handsome


first_imgJohn Abraham’s production house, JA Entertainment, in collaboration with Sunir Kheterpal’s Azure Entertainment driven by Seychelles spectacular sites, were in the country for a week to shoot scenes, including a three-minute song scene for ‘Rocky Handsome’, a Bollywood action thriller film directed by Nishikant Kamat.Featuring lead actors John Abraham and Shruti Hassan on honeymoon in Seychelles, ‘Rocky Handsome’ is a remake of a 2010 popular Korean film, ‘The Man from Nowhere’.The Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St Ange, took the time to meet Sunir Khetrapal, the Founder and Chief Executive of Azure Entertainment, and John Abraham himself as they were in Seychelles.At the Minister’s Offices at ESPACE Building in Victoria, Sunir Khetrapal thanked the Seychelles Tourism Board for believing and supporting the shooting of scenes in Seychelles. “We are a very young company always on the lookout for a new setting. Seychelles offered the ideal setting for the honeymoon scene shooting.”Sunir Khetrapal said the production house had spend some time studying the option of shooting in Seychelles and with the release of ‘Rocky Handsome’ in October, he is confident of its success.Minister St Ange thanked Sunir Khetrapal for choosing Seychelles to shoot ‘Rocky Handsome’. “The idea of having a production house in Seychelles is something we have been looking at. We have played our cards well, and we are happy that it had become a reality,” he said.last_img read more


Travel guide to the south pacific nation of Vanuatu


first_imgVanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation, which is made up of roughly 80 islands stretching 1,300 kilometers. The islands are famous for offer scuba diving at coral reefs, underwater caverns and wrecks such as the WWII-era troopship SS President Coolidge. Source: Expedialast_img


SIA and CASSs partnership to help reduce carbon emissions


first_imgSingapore Airlines (SIA), in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), has started operating a series of 12 ‘green package’ flights over a three-month period on its non-stop San Francisco-Singapore route. Featuring the use of sustainable biofuels, optimised flight operations and SIA’s latest fuel-efficient Airbus A350-900 has committed to the global effort to reduce international aviation emissions.“Singapore Airlines’ fleet is already among the most modern and fuel-efficient in the world. We now want to push ourselves further and are embarking on this initiative to help promote the use of sustainable biofuel in an operationally and commercially viable manner. This is in line with our long-term commitment to further reduce carbon emissions while improving the efficiency of our operations. This initiative is especially memorable as our first biofuel flight departed from San Francisco on 1 May, when Singapore Airlines celebrated its 70th anniversary,” said, Goh Choon Phong, CEO, Singapore Airlines.“CAAS is pleased to support and participate in this initiative. This is part of CAAS’ ongoing effort to develop new initiatives to achieve the sustainable growth of aviation. Collaboration is a key in this effort. CAAS is therefore committed to continuing our work with industry partners to advance and drive greater innovation on this front,” said, Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS.The ‘green package’ flights are the first in the world to combine the use of biofuels, fuel-efficient aircraft and optimised flight operations. CAAS is facilitating the use of these optimised flight operations and Air Traffic Management (ATM) best practices which reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions for the flights. The initiative supports the efforts under the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (SSB) 2015 to develop Singapore as a Leading Green Economy.last_img read more


SpiceJet introduces business class on key domestic routes


first_imgSpiceJet is all set to roll out its all-new business class offering – SpiceBiz – from May 11, 2019.SpiceBiz is uniquely designed to enhance air travel for business-class passengers and offer unmatched value and greater comfort with the key differentiator being its attractive pricing. The airline will be offering a dedicated business class cabin with 43-inch seat pitch and 7-inch recline, complimentary lounge access, higher baggage allowance, gourmet meals and beverages, priority services and much more. The airline will also have a dedicated cabin crew for business class passengers.To start with, the new business-class seating will be available on select sectors which include Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi, Delhi-Patna-Delhi, Delhi-Bangalore-Delhi, Hyderabad-Mumbai-Hyderabad, Mumbai-Kolkata-Mumbai, Mumbai-Guwahati-Mumbai, Mumbai-Jaipur-Mumbai, Delhi-Hyderabad-Delhi, Kolkata-Chennai-Kolkata, Mumbai-Varanasi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai-Mumbai, Delhi-Bagdogra-Delhi, Mumbai-Coimbatore-Mumbai, Delhi-Kolkata-Delhi, Delhi-Jammu-Delhi, Mumbai-Dehradun-Mumbai, Mumbai-Kochi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Gorakhpur-Mumbai, Mumbai-Durgapur-Mumbai, Kolkata-Port Blair-Kolkata, Kolkata-Pune-Kolkata, Jammu-Srinagar-Jammu operated by the Boeing 737.SpiceJet will soon be offering SpiceBiz on select international routes. As the airline ramps capacity and inducts more B737s, SpiceJet will very soon be the second biggest business class operator in India.Depending on the aircraft configuration, SpiceJet will offer eight, 12 and 28 business-class seats on its B737-700/800/900 aircraft respectively. The front row and the over-wing exit rows of the economy cabin will be offered as the premium economy seats – SpiceMax.Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet said, “We are very excited to roll out our all new business class product. There is a huge demand for business class in India and we believe that our business class product, with its right pricing and the best-in-class features and services, will be much appreciated by passengers. We at SpiceJet have always tried to innovate and provide our customers with memorable flying experience and our new business class offering is yet another step in that direction.”SpiceBiz offerings include:-Lounge access: SpiceBiz passengers will currently have access to airport lounges at Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Varanasi, Jaipur, Guwahati and Kochi airports. This service will soon be available at other airports.Enhanced baggage allowance: Passengers travelling in business class will be entitled to additional baggage allowance. All domestic passengers will have a check-in allowance of 30 kg (up from the regular 15 kg). Hand baggage allowance for passengers travelling on domestic routes has also been extended to 10 kg (excluding laptops), from the current 7 kg.Dedicated check-in: The airline will offer dedicated check-in counters for all SpiceBiz customers at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Srinagar, Jammu, Goa, Port Blair, Guwahati, Varanasi, Jaipur, Coimbatore, Kochi and Patna. At all other stations, passengers will have access to a shared check-in counter with SpiceMax passengers.Priority services: All SpiceBiz customers will benefit from the priority services offered by the airline, such as priority check-in, priority boarding and priority baggage.Gourmet meals: Customers will have a wide variety to choose from. SpiceJet’s three-course culinary journey is aimed at balancing health and indulgence. The menu offers a mouth-watering array of Indian and continental cuisine, including vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Patrons will also be offered a range of cold and hot beverage through the course of the meal, before being served the finest desserts in the sky.Other facilities include dedicated coaches for SpiceBiz passengers; blankets and cushions for all SpiceBiz seats and refreshing welcome drinks and pre-meal drinks.last_img read more


NeighborWorks America Gears Up for National Homeownership Month


first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share May 28, 2013 406 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-05-28 Tory Barringercenter_img As June–National Homeownership Month–approaches, “”NeighborWorks America””:http://www.nw.org/network/index.asp is putting a spotlight on the thousands of new (and well-prepared) homeowners created in 2012.[IMAGE]According to a release, NeighborWorks America helped create 15,000 new homeowners year, prepping them for their new life with pre-purchase counseling education services. In fact, new research (using data and analytics [COLUMN_BREAK]provided by Experian) shows homeowners who received NeighborWorks counseling are about one-third less likely to become seriously delinquent on their mortgages within two years of origination.One way the organization is providing homebuyer education is through a collaborative effort with Wells Fargo called the LIFT program–a multi-market initiative with the primary goal of helping to stabilize communities hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis. According to NeighborWorks America, the LIFT program has created 3,000 homeowners since its inception in February last year.””NeighborWorks America empowers individuals looking to become homeowners, and borrowers in distress, by helping them get housing counseling and education–whether it’s homeownership or foreclosure intervention,”” said Eileen Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America. “”NeighborWorks organizations offer a variety of financial capability services that help individuals reach important goals like saving for a home.”” NeighborWorks America Gears Up for National Homeownership Monthlast_img read more


Report Rising Rates No Threat to Recovery


first_img The recent rise in mortgage rates is not enough to pose any real threat to the housing recovery, but that’s not to say the increase doesn’t come with any risk, according to a recent analysis from “”Capital Economics””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/. [IMAGE]Freddie Mac’s most recent “”survey””:http://www.dsnews.com/articles/freddie-mac-30-year-fixed-rate-nears-4-2013-06-13 showed the 30-year fixed rate is almost back at 4 percent, while the Mortgage Banker Association “”reported””:http://www.mbaa.org/NewsandMedia/PressCenter/84772.htm the 30-year was up to 4.15 percent, the highest since March 2012. To put things into perspective, Ed Stansfield, chief property economist at Capital Economics, noted that on a long-term view, rates are still “”exceptionally low”” as they return to levels seen in late 2011 and early 2012.[COLUMN_BREAK]Also, borrowing costs are also still at affordable levels and the employment situation is showing signs of improvement. Capital Economics estimates a mortgage on a median priced home would require less than 15 percent of median income compared to the long-run average of 22 percent. However, 18 months ago, when mortgage rates hovered around the levels seen today, “”house prices were at best flat, if not still edging lower, while the recovery in housing sales was very much in its infancy,”” Capital Economics stated. Potentially, the firm says a rise in mortgage rates could discourage home sales, hamper builder confidence, which will slow starts, and trigger more delinquencies for struggling homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages. Though, so far it appears rising rates have had the biggest impact on refinancing applications, according to the analytics firm’s observations,Refinancing applications recently rose “”5 percent””:https://themreport.com/articles/mortgage-application-volume-reverses-downward-trend-2013-06-12, but Capital Economics stated, “”the scale of previous falls meant that refinancing applications were still over a third lower than in the first week of May.””At this point, the firm determined it’s still early, adding changes in mortgage rates can take six months before impacting demand. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Capital Economics Home Prices Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Rates Service Providers 2013-06-14 Esther Cho Report: Rising Rates No Threat to Recovery in Data, Originationcenter_img June 14, 2013 427 Views Sharelast_img read more


CFPB Discrimination Report Made Public


first_img CFPB Discrimination HSFC Richard Cordray 2015-03-10 Samantha Guzman March 10, 2015 477 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Government The Federal Reserve Inspector General made his findings of the investigation of discrimination in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) public Monday, stating the CFPB has made progress in combatting discrimination, but still was work to do. Last week, legislation was introduced to replace the director of CFPB with a five-person committee to combat the alleged overreach of the Bureau, according to House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).Allegations of workplace discrimination within the CFPB arose in 2013 when documents were leaked by employees to the media. Employees alleged they were givin unfair evaluations based on gender, race, and age, not job performance. Head of the CFPB Richard Cordray admitted the employee evaluation system used in 2012 and 2013 was unfair and launched his own internal report last year. Cordray’s report found black and Hispanic workers, those over age 40, those outside Washington, D.C., and those in the union were more likely to get bad performance evaluations under the system, which worsened their pay and career advancement prospects.The inspector general’s review found that in three of the CFPB’s six divisions in fiscal year 2012, white employees received higher performance ratings than their black colleagues, and the same was true in two of the six divisions when it came to Hispanic co-workers. The report released Monday found that the CFPB’s policies for promoting diversity and inclusion within its workforce fell short of what was necessary to achieve the goals set at the end of fiscal year 2013.While the inspector general’s own review and the review of an outside consulting firm found there was “statistically significant” discrepancy, there was no evidence of an intentional policy to target nonwhite, non-male employees, according to the report.“The results of the external consulting firm’s analysis of the CFPB’s fiscal year 2012 and fiscal year 2013 performance ratings indicated statistically significant disparities among CFPB employees across certain demographic groups. However, these statistically significant differences do not necessarily indicate discrimination and could be due to a wide variety of explanations, such as actual differences in employee performance,” the report said.HSFC Committee Chairman Hensarling said the report findings show the CFPB “is a very troubled bureaucracy” whose managers “seem to have a real problem when it comes to how they treat minority employees.””Each day, it becomes more apparent that the CFPB is an unaccountable Washington bureaucracy in need of real reforms,” Texas GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling said in a statement.The CFPB has since scrapped the old evaluation system and said it has taken steps to improve diversity within their organization.”The CFPB appreciates the OIG’s affirmation of diversity and inclusion efforts as critical to the overall development and performance of an organization. The CFPB concurs with the OIG’s recommendations regarding additional policies and enhancements to the Bureau’s diversity and inclusion efforts, and has already made significant progress in addressing the recommendations since the close of the evaluation period in October 2014,” the CFPB said in a statement in the report.The CFPB has taken several steps to improve diversity in the organization, according to Sam Gilford with the CFPB. Since allegations, the CFPB has created new training on diversity and inclusion for managers and supervisors. It has also launched a third-party review of the Bureau’s internal processes, starting with performance management and the organization is continuing to train managers and supervisors on diversity and inclusion as part of the Supervisor Development Seminar and Leadership Excellence Seminar. About 97 percent of CFPB managers, supervisors and leaders have attended training.Ranking member of the Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters (D-CA) led Democrats in asking for the report from the Inspector General. She said she is pleased with the CFPB for agreeing to make changes that were recommended in the report, in a statement.“While the findings confirm anecdotal suspicions, I am pleased to see that the CFPB has agreed with every recommendation made by the Inspector General and has already begun taking significant steps to address diversity and inclusion issues within its ranks,” she said. “But our concerns about diversity in the federal government do not stop at the CFPB. In the coming months, I will be releasing a detailed analysis of the diversity and inclusion practices of all the federal financial regulators.”center_img CFPB Discrimination Report Made Public Sharelast_img read more


Financial Stability Oversight Council Too Big to Fail Existent or Nonexistent


first_img The question of whether “Too Big to Fail” still exists remains a hotly debated topic among lawmakers in Washington, and it was the prime topic of discussion on Tuesday at an oversight hearing for the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) in the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.Eight of the FSOC’s 10 voting members testified at the hearing; among those that testified were Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, and FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg.The FSOC, like the CFPB, was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. While supporters of Dodd-Frank claim that the controversial legislation put an end to the taxpayer-funded bailouts for institutions deemed “Too Big to Fail,” its opponents claim that the law actually codifies “Too Big to Fail” by giving the FSOC the authority to designate certain institutions as “systemically important.” The Council’s criteria for designating institutions as such as been another highly debated topic in Washington.“Of all of the Council’s activities, none generates more controversy than its designation of non-bank financial institutions as ‘systemically important financial institutions,’ or SIFIs. Designation anoints institutions as Too Big to Fail, meaning today’s SIFI designations are tomorrow’s taxpayer-funded bailouts,” said Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chairman of the Committee. “Designation also ominously grants the Federal Reserve near de facto management authority over such institutions, thus allowing huge swaths of the economy to potentially be controlled by the federal government.”One non-bank institution designated by the FSOC as systemically important, MetLife Insurance, has sued to try to have that designation removed, claiming that the designation results in higher compliance costs which in turn lead to higher prices for their customers. Indeed, the Council’s independent insurance expert, Roy Woodall, Jr., testified at Tuesday’s hearing that the systemically important designation attached to insurance companies such as MetLife has the potential to lead to higher prices for consumers.“Designation anoints institutions as Too Big to Fail, meaning today’s SIFI designations are tomorrow’s taxpayer-funded bailouts.”Jeb HensarlingThe transparency of the FSOC was also called into question during the hearing; it was brought out that the Council’s meetings are mostly held in private and the publicly released minutes from those meetings do not contain much substantive information on what was discussed in those meetings. The Council also determined that the process for designating an organization as systemically important has been “marked by a striking lack of due process” and that organizations targeted by the FSOC for designation do not have access to materials the FSOC uses to make its determinations—and therefore they have limited opportunities to modify their activities in order to become less “systemically important.”The Committee also determined that the regulatory process is politicized because the FSOC’s authority is concentrated in the hands of its members—all of whom except one (Woodall) are heads of regulatory agencies, who have been appointed by the president. Such a structure “not only distorts the lines of accountability and expertise among regulators, it distorts the balance that exists within regulatory agencies and erodes their independence,” according to the Committee.Click on the Council member’s name below to read his or her opening remarks at the hearing. The two voting members not present at Tuesday’s hearing were Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.The Honorable Mary Jo White, Chair, Securities and Exchange CommissionThe Honorable Timothy G. Massad, Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading CommissionThe Honorable S. Roy Woodall, Jr., Independent Member with Insurance Expertise, Financial Stability Oversight CouncilThe Honorable Debbie Matz, Chairwoman, National Credit Union AdministrationThe Honorable Melvin L. Watt, Director, Federal Housing Finance AgencyThe Honorable Martin J. Gruenberg, Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance CorporationThe Honorable Richard Cordray, Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial ProtectionThe Honorable Thomas J. Curry, Comptroller of the Currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Financial Stability Oversight Council: ‘Too Big to Fail’ Existent or Nonexistent? December 8, 2015 545 Views Sharecenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 Financial Stability Oversight Council Too Big to Fail 2015-12-08 Seth Welbornlast_img read more


Morgan Stanleys Capital Plan is Close But


first_img Banks CCAR Comprehensive Capital Analysis Review Federal Reserve Morgan Stanley Stress Tests 2016-06-29 Seth Welborn June 29, 2016 553 Views Morgan Stanley’s Capital Plan is Close, But. . . The Federal Reserve did not object to the capital plans of 30 out of 33 bank holding companies tested as part of the Fed’s Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR), according to an announcement from the Fed on Wednesday afternoon.The Fed objected to the capital plans of two out of the 33 companies tested, Deutsche Bank and Santander Holdings USA. While the Fed did not object to Morgan Stanley’s capital plan, the central bank is requiring the firm to submit a new plan by December 29, 2016, in order to address weaknesses found in its capital planning process.The CCAR evaluates the largest U.S.-based bank holding companies’ capital planning processes and capital adequacy. The tests examine the firms’ planned capital actions, such as dividend payments and share buybacks and issuances. The purpose of the CCAR is to test the ability of banking organizations to lend during times of severe economic stress; companies with strong capital levels have the ability to absorb losses brought on by economic shock.“Over the six years in which CCAR has been in place, the participating firms have strengthened their capital positions and improved their risk-management capacities,” Fed Governor Daniel K. Tarullo said. “Continued progress in both areas will further enhance the resiliency of the nation’s largest banks.”The Fed considers both quantitative and qualitative factors when examining a firm’s capital plan for the CCAR. Quantitative factors include projected capital ratios under hypothetical scenarios of severe economic stress, while qualitative factors may include the strength of the firm’s capital planning process. The plans of Deutsche and Santander were rejected by the Fed based on qualitative concerns; no firms’ plans were rejected based on quantitative concerns.According to the Fed, the weaknesses found in Morgan Stanley’s capital plan “warrant further near-term attention but do not undermine the quantitative results of the stress tests for the firm. They include shortcomings in the firm’s scenario design practices, which do not adequately reflect risks and vulnerabilities specific to the firm, weaknesses in some aspects of the firm’s modeling practices, and weaknesses in governance and controls around both scenario design and modeling practices.”“Continued progress in both areas will further enhance the resiliency of the nation’s largest banks.”Fed Governor Daniel TarulloMorgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James Gorman said that the investment banking firm is “committed to addressing the Fed’s concerns about our capital planning process and fully expect to meet their requirements within the established timeframe.”The Fed did not object to the capital plans of (alphabetically): Ally Financial, Inc.; American Express Company; BancWest Corporation; Bank of America Corporation; The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation; BB&T Corporation; BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc.; BMO Financial Corp.; Capital One Financial Corporation; Citigroup, Inc.; Citizens Financial Group; Comerica Incorporated; Discover Financial Services; Fifth Third Bancorp; Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; HSBC North America Holdings, Inc.; Huntington Bancshares, Inc.; JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Keycorp; M&T Bank Corporation; MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation; Northern Trust Corp.; The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.; Regions Financial Corporation; State Street Corporation; SunTrust Banks, Inc.; TD Group US Holdings LLC; U.S. Bancorp; Wells Fargo & Company; and Zions Bancorporation.According to the Fed, M&T Bank Corporation met minimum capital requirements on a post-stress basis after submitting an adjusted capital action.Results of the Dodd-Frank Stress Tests (DFAST) released last week indicated that firms have substantially increased their capital since the first round of stress tests conducted by the Fed in 2009. The common equity capital for the 33 bank holding companies combined has increased by $700 billion up to a total of about $1.2 trillion during that period, according to the Fed.Click here to view the complete results of the CCAR.center_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Sharelast_img read more


Is a Digital Brand Necessary for Lenders


first_imgIs a Digital Brand Necessary for Lenders? By Scott K. StuckyWe’re all familiar with the Internet these days and it seems like everyone has a mobile smart phone. We hear about how millennials do all of their business from their mobile devices, everything has to be online, etc. As mortgage lenders we still taking applications, process, underwrite, close the loans and continue to go about our business. We’ve got systems and technology that allow a pretty efficient processes. Many lenders have some type of online presence, certainly a website, maybe a way to take an application online. But do mortgage lenders have a digital brand, a message, or image in the ever increasing online world? Do they need one? If so, what things should they consider before they do decide to develop a digital brand?Let’s start by understanding what a digital brand is. It’s basically very similar to any other marketing brand, it’s an image, a reputation, a standard or expectation associated with a company. Many times it’s associated with an image (i.e. logo or slogan). In the digital world, it’s just that, digital. Not print, not radio or TV, but digital. So is it really different from a regular brand? Yes and no. The overall concept is similar, but in the online world things move and change fast. Anyone remember myspace.com? Basically gone these days. In the digital world social media allows consumers to gather and share information rapidly. When something goes crazy in the digital world it’s said to be ‘viral’. Well, relative to a digital brand something going viral could be really good or really bad. Really fast.Lenders continually hear how the millennial generation is the largest ever and how they are different. They are heavily influenced by online information and studies show they pretty much always go there first to gather information. They value their peers above others in terms of opinion. If you don’t have an online reputation, a digital brand, odds are pretty high they aren’t going to get exposure to the services your firm offers. Millennials aren’t the only generation that uses mobile online technology, studies show that baby boomers and others also rely on it to gather information.While there is significant potential associated with having a digital brand, many organizations lump it together with their regular marketing and brand development initiatives. This can be a mistake because of the rapid rate at which information moves and changes online. If something negative comes about relative to your brand online it can be very difficult and expensive to correct. If something positive comes out online you’ll also want to take advantage of those circumstances as well, but you’ve got to be ready to do so quickly. You will hear about the issue almost instantaneously and it will be necessary for you to manage your brand and reputation immediately. This is where a digital brand is very different from a traditional brand. Furthermore, it’s very important to ensure your digital branding efforts are focused on potential borrowers where they can have the most positive effect for your company.Establishing a digital brand is important in our current economy. Companies who ignore the concept or consider it the same as regular marketing and brand development stand to be left behind. The 2 largest generations in our history rely on digital online information before all other sources and the succeeding generations will as well. The upside is huge, but due to viral reviews and rapid communication the downside is important to consider as well. Make the most of the opportunity and establish a strong, well-managed digital brand for your firm so you and your company don’t get left behind.Scott K. Stucky is Executive Vice President of Data and Software Solutions for SettlementOne in San Diego, California. He is an alumnus of the University of Florida, has been in the financial services industry for over 30 years, and is an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at sstucky@settlementone.com. August 16, 2016 605 Views Sharecenter_img Digital Brand Mortgage Lenders 2016-08-16 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Technologylast_img read more


Its Not Only Demand Thats Raising Home Prices


first_img Share Construction Home Prices Housing Demand rising S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 10-City Composite Home Price Index S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices 2018-01-30 Radhika Ojha It’s Not Only Demand That’s Raising Home Prices in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newscenter_img Home prices continued to rise three times faster than the rate of inflation, showing year over year increase in prices of 5 percent or more for 16 straight months, according to data from the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices released by S&P Dow Jones on Tuesday. The indices indicated that home prices grew 6.2 percent in November, slightly up, from 6.1 percent growth shown in October 2017. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices are constructed to accurately track the price path of typical single-family homes and consists of three parts—The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 10-City Composite Home Price Index, and The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index.“Given slow population and income growth since the financial crisis, demand is not the primary factor in rising home prices,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Construction costs, as measured by National Income and Product Accounts, recovered after the financial crisis, increasing between 2 percent and 4 percent annually, but do not explain all of the home price gains.” The indices showed that from 2010 to the latest month of data, the construction of single family homes slowed, with single family home starts averaging 632,000 annually. This is less than the annual rate during the 2007-2009 financial crisis of 698,000. “[These numbers are] still lesser than the long-term average of slightly more than one million annually from 1959 to 2000 and 1.5 million during the 2001-2006 boom years. Without more supply, home prices may continue to substantially outpace inflation,” Blitzer said.Reflecting the national trend, the 20-City index has also climbed at a pace of 5 percent for 28 months. Cities in Western U.S., particularly, Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities on the 20-City Index, as Seattle led the way with a 12.7 percent increase, followed by Las Vegas with a 10.6 percent increase, and San Francisco with a 9.1 percent increase.“Looking across the 20 cities covered here, those that enjoyed the fastest price increases before the 2007-2009 financial crisis are again among those cities experiencing the largest gains. San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, and Las Vegas, price leaders in the boom before the crisis, are again seeing strong price gains. They have been joined by three cities where prices were above average during the financial crisis and continue to rise rapidly – Dallas, Portland, and Seattle,” Blitzer said. January 30, 2018 583 Views last_img read more


Why Arent Homeowners Tapping Into Equity


first_imgWhy Aren’t Homeowners Tapping Into Equity? Homeowner equity grew 7 percent by more than $380 billion in the first quarter of 2018, according to the latest Mortgage Monitor report released by Black Knight on Monday. In fact, this is the largest single quarter growth since Black Knight began tracking this data in 2005. Yet, homeowners with mortgages withdrew only $63 billion in equity via cash-outs or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) representing a 7 percent decline from the last quarter of 2017, Black Knight’s report revealed.Despite a 16 percent increase in equity over a one-year period, just 1.17 percent of the total equity available was withdrawn over the quarter, representing the lowest share in four years. “Collectively, American homeowners now have $5.8 trillion in equity available, yet only 1.17 percent of that total was withdrawn in the first quarter of the year,” said Ben Graboske, EVP of Black Knight’s Data and Analytics division. “Somewhat surprisingly, even though rising first-lien interest rates normally produce an increase in HELOC lending, the volume of equity withdrawn via lines of credit dropped to a two-year low as well.”According to the report, cash-out made up 70 percent of all refinance transactions in Q1, with 45 percent of homeowners who took a cash-out refi having to increase their rate to do so. Cash-out refi withdrawals were also up 5 percent from last year compared to HELOC withdrawals, which slipped 1 percent during the period. The report concluded that these numbers pointed out to the fact that as short-term rates rose, traditionally good potential HELOC borrowers were turning to cash-out refis due to their competitive rate advantage.So what’s driving the decline of HELOCs? “One driving factor in the decline of HELOC equity utilization is likely the increasing spread between first-lien mortgage interest rates–which are tied most closely to 10-year Treasury yields–and those of HELOCs–which are more closely tied to the federal funds rate,” Graboske said. “As of late last year, the difference between a HELOC rate and a first-lien rate had widened to 1.5 percent, the widest spread we’ve seen since we began comparing the two rates 10 years ago. The distance between the two has closed somewhat in Q2 as 30-year mortgage rates have been on the rise, which does suggest the market remains ripe for relatively low-risk HELOC lending expansion.”The Federal Reserve raised its target interest rate again at its June meeting, and according to Graboske that would also increase the standard “interest rate on HELOCs in Q3 2018.”Learn more about what the Mortgage Monitor Report found in April: Is Home Affordability at Breaking Point? July 9, 2018 852 Views Black Knight Equity HELOC interest loans mortgage 2018-07-09 Radhika Ojhacenter_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination Sharelast_img read more


Grapes in Charts Mexico helps make America grape


first_img Grapes in Charts: Mexico helps make America grape … July 18 , 2019 The calm before the storm: Undersupplied U.S. tabl … You might also be interested in Table grape growers in the state of Maharashtra could soon be boosted by the formation of a federation which would improve marketing efforts, according to the Financial Express.The state’s Nashik is the leading production and export area for the fruit, having last season reached record exports of 143,000 metric tons (MT).But despite this success, the area’s grape farmers have long-remained unorganized, an issue that the Maharashtra Grape Growers Association (MGGA) has decided to tackle.To do this, the association plans to bring farmers together to form farmer producer companies. These groups could then join forces under a common federation for grapes.This could have positive implications for the 50,000 farmers associated with grape farming in the district, who grow across 150,000 hectares of farmland. One of the goals the federation would have would be to improve marketing, which is currently a big challenge for most farmers, says the publication.Kailas Bhosale, the secretary of the association, was quoted as saying: “There are several factors involved right from getting the right prices for grapes, lack of insurance, traders not honoring their financial commitments and the absence of a platform for addressing farmer grievances.” Study finds molecules in oranges, grapes, carrots … Yet he believes farmer producer companies, able to market produce together through a common platform, would be more effective.This strategy would help eliminate the common risks posed by farmers needing to rely on agents or traders.“At present, most farmers end up contracting their produce to commission agents or traders, and there have been several cases of traders duping farmers of their money,” Bhosale was quoted as saying.Moreover, because of the unorganized nature of the market, farmers end up taking whatever prices they get, he says. For example, he notes that in the season that just concluded, farmers received barely Rs 18-36 per kg (US$0.26 – US$0.52) for the fruit.The situation was similar in the export campaign as well because traders ended up dictating their price, he adds.But the federation could invite traders to register so that local farmers only sell their produce to registered traders. This approach would follow the example of APEDA, in which grape growers have to register themselves with GrapeNet.Read the full story herelast_img read more


Viking CruisesViking Sigyn


first_imgViking CruisesViking Sigyn The captain of Viking Sigyn, a 64-year-old Ukrainian national, has been charged with ‘reckless misconduct in waterborne traffic leading to mass casualties’ after Sigyn collided with the much smaller Hableany, or Mermaid, on the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary, last Thursday. Through his legal team, the Captain has formally protested his detention and denied violating any rules, citing his 44 years of experience without incident or accidents.Seven people from the Hableany have been confirmed dead, with a further 21 passengers and crew of the boat missing. Thirty South Korean tourists and three tour guides, as well as two Hungarian crew, were on board the Hableany.In a statement, Viking Cruises said:“The Viking river ship Sigyn was involved in a collision with another vessel – a Hungarian tourist ship – on the Danube River in Budapest [on 29 May].“Sadly, there have been reports of fatalities and we offer our heartfelt condolences to those affected by this tragic accident. There were no injuries to Viking crew or Viking guests. We have been and continue to cooperate fully with the authorities while they undertake their investigations.”last_img read more


There was more than a little disbelief when the Ar


first_imgThere was more than a little disbelief when the Arizona Cardinals went to Gillette Stadium and beat the New England Patriots 20-18 last Sunday.The Pats were a 13.5-point favorite, and had won ten straight home openers, so something extraordinary had to have taken place for the Cardinals to win, right?Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton shared what he thought was a big difference in the game during Doug and Wolf’s show on Arizona Sports 620 Tuesday. 0 Comments   Share   – / 18 “We knew that whenever [Aaron] Hernandez was in tight, it was going to be a run, so we had a run check. But when he got hurt, it screwed that up because they went to three wide receivers. What they did, and we figured out real quick was, whenever Tom Brady was under the center, they were going to run the ball and whenever he was in the shotgun, they were going to pass the ball,” Horton said. “We told our players ‘hey, make the run check if Tom Brady’s under the center. If he’s in the gun, go to the pass check.’ D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Top Stories last_img read more