Afghan president says negotiations with Taliban are solution

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Ghani has in the past sought Pakistan’s help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiations, since Islamabad is believed to wield influence over the group.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Top Stories KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — In a message to the nation on a major Muslim holiday, the Afghan president said Friday that negotiations with the Taliban are the only way to “end the bloodshed” and bring peace to the country.But even as Ashraf Ghani spoke, a bomb ripped through a mosque compound in northern Balkh province after prayers for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which follows the fasting month of Ramadan. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Sponsored Stories Sarajuddin Abid, the district governor of Sholgara where the explosion happened, said two people were killed and 12 were wounded in the blast.No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.Ghani, who spoke at the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul, has made peace talks with the Taliban a priority for since he was elected president last year. This was his first Eid message to the nation.“The negotiations are the solution, the way and this is what our nation wants, to end the bloodshed,” Ghani said.He also thanked Mullah Mohammad Omar, the reclusive Afghan Taliban leader, for endorsing the peace talks and said it was important the Taliban “want to join the political process.”Earlier in July, neighboring Pakistan hosted the first face-to-face Kabul-Taliban talks, supervised by U.S. and Chinese representatives. The meeting was said to have made progress, with the two sides agreeing to work on confidence-building measures and hold more such meetings after Ramadan.In the wake of the departure of NATO combat forces at the end of last year, the Taliban have stepped up attacks on Afghan troops, which are now in charge of security in the country, and are also targeting government officials. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Comments   Share   Afghan men leave after Eid Al-Fitr prayers in Eid Gah mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, July 17, 2015. Eid al-Fitr prayer marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.(AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini) Check your body, save your lifelast_img read more

Read More →

Fire aboard Carnival Triumph

first_imgCarnival Triumph is currently without propulsion in the Gulf of Mexico, following a fire that broke out in the aft engine room yesterday.Positioned approximately 150 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula when the incident occurred, the ship’s automatic fire extinguishing systems were activated, the fire successfully extinguished and no casualties reported.Carnival Triumph will be towed to Progreso, Mexico where she is expected to arrive on Wednesday evening.The 3,143 passengers will be flown from Mexico back to the U.S. on chartered aircraft and will receive a full refund of the cruise along with any transportation expenses incurred.In addition, they will receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid for this voyage and a reimbursement for all purchases made onboard excluding gift shop and casino charges.The next two voyages scheduled for departure on 11 February and 16 February have been cancelled with passengers receiving a future cruise credit equal to the amount paid, reimbursement for non-refundable travel expenses and a 25 percent discount on a future three- to five-day cruise.Generator power has been maintained since the incident with crew successful in gradually restoring auxiliary power to operate some of the basic functions onboard.Senior cruise director John Heald reported via his Facebook page that public and cabin toilets are operational in certain sections of the ship with power restored to a limited number of elevators.Some power is available in the Lido restaurant allowing hot coffee and limited food service with enough supplies to last until the vessel arrives in Progreso.Carnival Elation rendezvoused with Carnival Triumph yesterday providing dinners for all guests onboard and additional provisions with Carnival Legend slated to do the same today.Concerned family and friends of passengers and crew may call +1 888 290 5095 or +1 305 406 5534 for more information.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A.last_img read more

Read More →

Cm partners with iJEt to deliver innovative travel risk management sol

first_imgFCm’s new TRM solution utilises iJET’s risk intelligence and global response hotline, in conjunction with FCm’s technology and operations, to provide clients with a comprehensive suite of cost effective TRM solutions.  “In addition, by connecting FCm’s emergency travel services to iJET’s global response hotline we can provide a more affordable yet effective solution for standardised crisis response with Secure Outreach. “iJET delivers a broad range of intelligence-driven operational risk management solutions to ensure multinational, regional and local organisations can operate globally with confidence. These solutions, when combined with FCm’s platforms will provide a leading and comprehensive TRM program for FCm and its customers,” Bruce said. “With support from iJET, FCm can provide customers with more automation, better travel risk intelligence and higher levels of response services. “There are also key elements of FCm Secure that have been specially designed for the corporate travel market which haven’t been available at the price point that we will be offering these services at. Clients will benefit from faster and more comprehensive crisis communications, which means travellers receive critical information faster.” Charles said the no cost Secure Start would be available for eligible FCm clients using FCm’s reporting tool ClientBank. Based on the ClientBank reporting platform FCm Secure will also integrate with other FCm traveller tools such as Portal and the FCm Mobile app. –          Secure Outreach: a global response hotline available for clients that require crisis support above and beyond FCm’s regular after-hours emergency services. Eligible clients who purchase Secure Outreach have access to a hotline staffed 24/7 by iJET’s global response operations. Leading travel management company, FCm Travel Solutions has partnered with iJET International to deliver a world-class travel risk management (TRM) program for its global network of corporate customers. “To be rolled out from the end of the second quarter 2014, our expanded FCm Secure program will enable customers to develop a risk management program that suits their specific needs. FCm Secure is a triple-tiered program, offering free and paid options including: –          Secure Start: a no cost program for FCm customers that acts as a starting point for building a customer’s individual TRM program. It includes itinerary-based traveller tracking; a colour coded ‘risk map’ dashboard (powered by iJET); GPS/mobile based traveller tracking; FCm global crisis communications process via email and SMS;  subscription-based security alerts to travel managers (powered by iJET); and security alerts available to travellers via FCm’s portal.center_img “Unlike other TRM programs on the market, Secure Start gives clients access to a range of free features that often come at a cost, including a custom version of iJET’s globally leading risk alerts and GPS based traveller tracking,” Charles said. Source = FCm Travel Solutions “Our clients understand that TRM is something that must be proactively adopted, no matter what industry they work in or the size of their company,” Charles said. “As a global TMC we need to make sure we continue to innovate and provide affordable TRM solutions for small, mid and larger companies. iJET CEO Bruce McIndoe, welcomed the new partnership and said iJET was excited about working with FCm to implement a unique global TRM platform for FCm customers. FCm’s Senior Director of Global TRM, Charles Brossman said that this year FCm would be investing heavily in the development and roll-out of a prescriptive global TRM program with the expansion of FCm Secure. “iJET is highly experienced in operational risk management with a global network of resources to provide up-to-the-moment intelligence on events worldwide 24/7/365 days, both of which are critical for safe and secure global travel.”   –          Secure Protect: is the combination of the base, no-cost Secure Start offering and additional paid features. Options include a communications feature giving client administrators the ability to send their own emails and SMS text messages to travellers from a traveller location report; trip briefing tied to itinerary and automated report distribution.last_img read more

Read More →

TIE 2015 opens with record numbers

first_imgTIE 2015 opens with record numbersMarking the second anniversary of The Travel Industry Exhibition, the show floors were abuzz today with travel professionals impressed with the large and diverse range of suppliers both new and well-known to the Australian market.In spite of the rainy start to the day, TIE had a great turn out in visitor numbers and with over 120 exhibiting companies from across the globe, there was plenty of new conversation to be had.Exhibitors launched new and innovative travel products and services and ran competitions which saw a number of enviable prize giveaways.Seminars were packed out with highlights including a captivating panel of bloggers led by PR expert Prue MacSween delivering practical blogging tips and tools to an eager audience, Twitter know-how with Holly Galbraith and crucial insights with Facebook into successful travel brands and how they utilise social platforms.Tomorrow’s program includes a crowd-drawing line up of speakers including TripAdvisor’s Jessica Quinlan, Brek Batley from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) and Rick Myatt from AFTA.An engaging and informative series of destination highlights begin from 2pm tomorrow for those eager to build on their travel knowledge. View the program hereSource = Travel Industry Exhibitionlast_img read more

Read More →

ICCA launches new meeting for suppliers and associations in Norway

first_imgICCA launches new meeting for suppliers and associations in NorwayThe Association Meetings Programme (AMP) is ICCA’s new annual event, where ICCA members and international association executives will learn from each other and from a top faculty of experts about key aspects of bidding and decision-making, organising, promoting, and designing international association meetings. It is replacing the old Research, Sales and Marketing Programme (RSMP), which was open to ICCA members only.Mr. Per Morten Haarr, Convention Director of the Stavanger Convention Bureau: “We’re thrilled that ICCA has chosen Stavanger to host the first ever AMP!  This will also be the first global ICCA event to be held in Scandinavia since the 2002 Congress, and we know that our ICCA friends from across the region and beyond will be eager to participate.  Stavanger has built an excellent reputation in the international association meetings sector over the past 20 years, and we plan to use that experience and expertise to deliver a programme that the participating international association executives and ICCA members will remember for many years to come!”ICCA CEO Martin Sirk on why ICCA created this new event: “Success in tomorrow’s meetings industry will increasingly depend on an ability to partner and collaborate with clients and with other suppliers. To avoid becoming caught up in a commoditised marketplace where low cost and standardised services are the norm, ICCA members need to learn new skills and adopt new business concepts.Likewise, to reach the often ambitious objectives of their meetings and deliver ROI to their delegates, international association executives need to learn how to build more constructive relationships with destination marketers, venues, PCOs, and airlines. AMP aims to bridge this gap: to build mutual understanding of objectives and business cultures; to identify practical new ways to work together; to generate ideas for improving the effectiveness and value of the meetings themselves.”“The AMP is not a new meeting concept”, Martin Sirk continues. For many years we have been running an event linked to IMEX in Frankfurt called the ICCA Association Expert Seminar (AES). Enormously popular and always with a waiting list, this event brings together 20 association executives and 40 ICCA members, for a structured series of discussions on issues of mutual interest. AMP could be described as an “AES on steroids”!”“There will be a larger faculty; more in-depth education sessions; tougher group exercises; more opportunities for private consultations and advice; extensive guidance on using all of ICCA’s research tools and business services; and inspirational meeting design concepts. It’s important to note that this is not a workshop or hard-sales event: the emphasis is strongly on education, mutual understanding and relationship building.”The inaugural edition of the AMP aims to attract 150 participants: 120 members; 20 associations (hosted by the host destination) and 10 faculty members. These small numbers enable the delivery of highly personalised sessions and advice to every attendee. ICCASource = ICCAlast_img read more

Read More →

TravelManagers takes personal approach with FacetoFace Training

first_imgTravelManagers personal approach with Face-to-Face Training TravelManagers Sydney based personal travel managers all smiles after a business review cluster meeting facilitated by the NSW Business Partnership Managers and hosted by Captain Cook CruisesTravelManagers takes personal approach with Face-to-Face TrainingTravelManagers, Australia’s leading personal travel manager network continues its personal approach with its recent Sydney intra-state cluster business review day, a dedicated face-to-face training session for Sydney based personal travel managers.Facilitated by the company’s two NSW Business Partnership Managers and hosted by Captain Cook Cruises’ Business Development Manager New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory Aleksandra Markovska, 22 Sydney-based personal travel managers enjoyed a day of work sessions, shared ideas and networking in the Endeavour Private Lounge on board MV Sydney 2000 as it sailed Sydney Harbour.For personal travel manager Diane Craig, representative for North Balgowlah the day was full of surprises.“When the invitation came I thought I really didn’t need to go as there was nothing new, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The presentations were so interesting and there was so much to learn that I’ve came away with shared knowledge and feel completely invigorated.”Captain Cook Cruises’ MV Sydney 2000 provides the ideal venue for TravelManagers during a business review cluster meeting for Sydney-based personal travel managersThe day began with Markovska updating the personal travel managers on Captain Cook Cruises’ and Sealink product initiatives. TravelManagers’ finance and commercial manager Tanyu Cilek then presented a budgeting tool.“The tool is designed to assist personal travel managers budget for their business income and expenses and also enables them to analyse year on year actuals,” says Cilek.Personal travel manager Maria Furnari, representative for Panania found the budgeting tool an extremely effective way to manage her business finances.“I took heaps of notes on all the presentations, but the budgeting tool was really interesting. It has certainly given me something to think about and I just love the fact that TravelManagers is always looking at ways to assist us in our businesses.”Jose Canas, TravelManagers’ national fares and ticketing manager provided an update on the Round the World airfares giving plenty of tips and tricks. The business day concluded with New South Wales’ Business Partnership Managers Julie Anderson and David McCarthy providing an interactive workshop.“We took the personal travel managers through a two page business plan with the aim to focus their thoughts on what they can do to grow their business in 2016,” says McCarthy.Executive General Manager – Michael GazalTravelManagers Executive General Manager Michael Gazal says the intra-state cluster meetings are a consequence of feedback received from personal travel managers.“Personal travel managers have always enjoyed our inclusive strategy, strong leadership from our national partnership office and support from their locally based business partnership managers. Local training and networking sessions of this nature is just another extension of our support for our personal travel managers,” says Gazal.Gazal highlights the benefit of working regionally with the personal travel managers is the ability to cater for their local and individual requirements.“By individually tailor making training and business plans by state it allows for the meeting to be personal and relevant, which ensures strong attendance and high engagement. The feedback from our personal travel managers is consistently positive so we know it’s a winning formula.”An overriding response from the personal travel managers was they valued the practical training sessions and thought provoking interactive discussion that was achieved through face-to-face training.“The ability to be more interactive and bounce ideas off each other was invaluable. Webinars are great for short updates but for more complex information, you can’t beat the face-to-face approach from the experts. The fact that the training was also tailored to our requirements by state was also fantastic, it made it really worthwhile to attend and I can’t wait for the next one,” says Virginia Stace, representative for Naremburn.For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagersTravelManagers 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 the company’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. Travel Managers Australiaclick here to discover how you can become a personal travel manager Source = TravelManagers Australialast_img read more

Read More →

Worlds first Boeing 78710 Dreamliner touches down in Australia

first_imgWorld’s first Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner touches down in AustraliaWorld’s first Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner touches down in AustraliaSingapore Airlines flight SQ223 touched down in Perth today at 14:21pm marking the world’s first Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner flight to Australia.Perth has become just the second destination in the world, behind Osaka Japan, to welcome the newest member of the Dreamliner family for regular scheduled services.Singapore Airlines’ Regional Vice President South West Pacific, Mr Philip Goh, said the deployment of the 787-10 to Perth, the first Australian city to welcome the new Dreamliner, is a testament to the Airline’s longstanding connection to the city.“Perth was the very first destination we operated to in Australia more than 50 years ago,” Mr Goh said.“Today we mark another fantastic milestone with the arrival of the 787-10 further emphasising our commitment to this wonderful city.“With the arrival of the 787-10 we are not only providing our West Australian customers the latest in aircraft technology but also our newest regional cabin products, which I am sure will delight our customers.”Passengers travelling on the inaugural flight from of Perth today, 7 May, to Singapore were treated to pleasant surprises at check-in and boarding. A string quartet from the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO), an organisation proudly supported by Singapore Airlines for the past six years, entertained customers who were also served light refreshments.  Premium passengers in the Airline’s SilverKris Lounge enjoyed a magical atmosphere, thanks to a harpist from WASO.From Tuesday 8 May onwards, the 787-10 will be deployed to operate SQ215 departing Singapore at 18:45 and arriving in Perth at 23:55, before turning around and operating as SQ216 departing Perth at 01:10 and arriving in Singapore at 06:35.The new 787-10s are configured with 337 seats across two classes, featuring 36 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 layout and 301 Economy Class seats in a 3-3-3 layout. The new seating configuration represents an almost 5 percent increase in overall weekly seat capacity to Perth.The new cabin products feature full-flat beds in Business Class, with a staggered forward-facing layout providing direct aisle access for all customers. The ergonomically-designed Economy Class seats feature contoured backrests and six-way adjustable headrests to provide greater comfort and neck support. All customers will enjoy the latest in personalised in-flight entertainment through myKrisWorld.The Airline’s 787-10s will be used on flights of up to eight hours duration, with more destinations to be added as additional aircraft are received.Singapore Airlines is the largest customer for the 787-10, with firm orders for 49 of the aircraft. The Airline is investing US$350 million to install the new medium-haul cabin products on the first 20 787-10 aircraft.Source = Singapore Airlineslast_img read more

Read More →

US Consul General Meets Agents

first_imgUS Consul General Meets Agents1US Consul General Meets Agents at Visit USA Expo BrisbanePrizes, presentations and a celebrity vibe brought Brisbane travel agents out in droves to the Visit USA Expo in Brisbane last night with over 250 agents attending.Held at Howard Smith Wharves, travel agents chanted throughout the prize rounds, celebrating the prize-winners announced by I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here winner and MC Mr Richard Reid.US Consul General Sharon Hudson-Dean also made a surprise visit to mix with the agents commenting,“The energy and enthusiasm at the Visit USA Expos 2019 is really impressive.”“The USA has an endless list of top class tourist destinations and we’re thrilled that Australian travellers come for long visits to explore and experience as much as they can, frequently more than once,” commented Ms Hudson-Dean.  “Our doors are open and we love to host Australian visitors.”The roadshow moves on to Sydney tonight 20 February at the Hilton Hotel.Details at www.usatraveltrade.org.auSource = Visit USAlast_img read more

Read More →

Vietnam records 16 billion tourists in 2015

first_imgVietnam has registered more than 1.6 million domestic and foreign visitors in the province from the beginning of 2015.In addition to a myriad of festive activities, the province is also enhancing tourism promotions and investments with Savannakhet Province (Laos) and Mukdahan (Thailand), which is helping to lure visitors to the locality, according to Nguyen Van Chien, Vice Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.In response to the programme themed ‘Vietnamese people travel across Viet Nam’, the local tourism sector has launched historical and spiritual tours to Truong Son National Cemetery, Quang Tri’s ancient citadel and the Hien Luong bridge across the Ben Hai river, among others.The tourism sector expects an increase in the tourist numbers by 3.4% in 2016. To realise this goal, the province is promoting tourism, constructing facilities and completing a master plan for the Cua Tung and Cua Viet tourism sites, while attracting investors and promoting sea and island tourism as well as tours to the La Lay and Lao Bao border gates, said Chien.last_img read more

Read More →

AirPortr to provide baggage delivery service at Heathrow

first_imgAirPortr has arrived at Heathrow to provide customers with an on-demand baggage delivery service.AirPortr delivers passengers bags within hours between London locations and Heathrow – providing same-day, on demand bag free travel for Heathrow’s passengers. AirPortr concierges will initially be at Terminals 3 and 5 with a rollout to Terminals 2 and 4 planned in early 2016.Randel Darby, AirPortr CEO, said, “Our vision has always been to transform the way we travel here in London. Today’s announcement marks a major milestone and realisation of that vision to deliver ‘bag free’ travel. We are delighted to now be an official partner of Heathrow, the UK’s hub airport, being a fundamental pillar of our strategy, connecting our city with global business and tourism.”AirPortr can be pre-booked in advance or on the day of travel from any device.last_img read more

Read More →

MEGA Maldives Airlines holds successful India launch party in New Delhi

first_imgMEGA Maldives Airlines had organised its India Launch Party’ at Shangri-La, New Delhi. The event was witnessed by approximately 350 Delhi-based travel agents, tour operators and also members of the travel and lifestyle media.MEGA also hosted a number of special guests at the event which included Zoravar Kalra, the celebrity Indian restaurateur and Masterchef Judge and Ashima Leena, the fashion designer. Also attending the event were His Excellency Ahmed Mohamed, Ambassador of the Maldives to India and Abdulla Rasheed, Director of Air Transport at the Maldives Civil Aviation Authority.A number of co-sponsors had partnered with MEGA Maldives Airlines in hosting the event that included Jumeirah Vittaveli, Shangri-La, Crown and Champ Resorts, Voyagers Maldives, Trans Maldivian Airways, Bird Travels, Group Concorde, Kandima Maldives, LUX South Ari Atoll Maldives, Soneva, Maldives Getaway and W Maldives.The event was a huge success for MEGA Maldives Airlines, as it was warmly embraced by the travel and trade industry in India. This is the first time that an airline has operated non-stop flights between Delhi and Male, paving the way for increasing tourist arrivals from India in addition to establishing Maldives as a premier destination getaway.Speaking at the event George Weinmann, CEO of MEGA Maldives Airlines stated that the airline had acknowledged the enormous potential of the Indian market and had understood why it was important to have non-stop connections between Maldives and cities in India. Hence, MEGA had decided to start operations not only to Delhi but also to Mumbai as well.While the first Delhi non-stop service had already commenced on November 17, the non-stop services to Mumbai is due to begin before the end of the year.last_img read more

Read More →

Dubai Tourism signs up Nijhawan Group to leverage its top source market

first_imgAkansha Pandey | New DelhiDubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) appointed Nijhawan Group as their India representation office led by Priyanka Nijhawan, Director-Representations, Nijhawan Group.In 2017, India retained the top spot as the inbound source market for Dubai. Indian arrivals to Dubai recorded a landmark 16.8% growth with 2.1 million Indian travellers visiting Dubai last year. With this figure, India became the first country for Dubai to cross the two million mark in a single year, according to the latest data published by Dubai Tourism.“The “Be My Guest” campaign which was launched last year starring Actor Shah Rukh Khan has been re-positioned for this year focusing different pillars that Dubai has to offer. Our target audience from India is varied and we receive all segments of travellers from students, women, family, solo, business, MICE and luxury travel,” said Khalid Mansoor Alawar, Assistant Manager, Proximity Markets International Operations, Dubai Tourism.He further suggested that this year Indian visitors who want to experience real Dubai can undertake mosque tours, experience the stunning new Bulgari Resort, diverse wildlife at Dubai Safari, the picturesque Dubai Frame, XLine Dubai Marina, Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, the Camel Racing Festival, Dubai Food Festival and The Opus by Zaha Hadid.last_img read more

Read More →

US House Passes Extension of GFee Increase for Immigration Reform

first_img A controversial bill that would extend an increase on guarantee fees (g-fees) on mortgages backed by the GSEs or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has passed in the House of Representatives.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The bill, “”H.R. 6429″”:http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d112:1:./temp/~bdMrS0::/home/LegislativeData.php?n=BSS;c=112| (“”STEM Jobs Act of 2012″”), proposes reforms for immigrant visas offered to immigrants who possess advanced training in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. A section added to the bill calls for a one-year extension of g-fee hikes to help pay for the program, changing the end date on the fee increases from October 2021 to October 2022.The legislation passed 245-139. It still needs to go before the Senate.The proposal has attracted criticism from trade groups and industry representatives. Only one day before the bill passed, “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://www.mbaa.org/default.htm president and CEO David Stevens “”called on Congress””:https://themreport.com/articles/mbas-stevens-asks-congress-to-reconsider-g-fee-hike-for-other-costs-2012-11-29 to reconsider the use of g-fees for purposes other than aiding the housing industry, noting that “”[d]ipping back into the housing piggybank to pay for unrelated policy items on the backs of America’s homebuyers sends the wrong message at a time when the housing market is starting to show signs of recovery.”” Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae FHA Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Politics Service Providers 2012-12-03 Tory Barringer in Government, Secondary Market December 3, 2012 444 Views center_img U.S. House Passes Extension of G-Fee Increase for Immigration Reform Sharelast_img read more

Read More →

CFPB Issues Final Rule on Housing Counselor Requirement

first_img Share The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this week issued a final interpretive rule on how lenders are to provide mortgage applicants with a list of local homeownership counseling organizations, amending its 2013 guidelines.Wednesday’s update spells out how lenders are to provide mortgage applicants with homeownership lists of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, homeownership counseling lists, the use of a consumer’s mailing address to provide the list, and high-cost mortgage counseling qualifications. Part of the last is an update of the bureau’s anti-steering measure designed to keep unwary borrowers from being directed towards predatory lenders.Housing counselors‒‒which can be the lenders themselves‒‒can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues at little or no cost to consumers. The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 included a requirement that mortgage lenders provide applicants with a list of local housing counselors, which consumers are to receive shortly after they apply for a mortgage. Lenders comply with this requirement when they provide a list of ten HUD-approved housing counseling agencies.Lenders may counsel applicants by using CFPB-developed housing counseling lists, available through an online CFPB tool. Lenders may also create their own lists using the same Department of Housing and Urban Development data that the CFPB uses to build its lists.“Buying a home is often the largest financial decision in a consumer’s lifetime, and we want to ensure that consumers can access the independent and informed advice they deserve before making that decision,” said CFPB director Richard Cordray. “Housing counselors are a crucial source of that helpful advice.”The changes to the bureau’s counseling rules come after a January report that found that nearly half of all mortgage seekers do not shop around for mortgages. This, the bureau stated, is a major disservice to borrowers, who could save thousands if only they knew to look around, and where to look. In fact, the CFPB estimates that over the first five years of their mortgage, a borrower with a 4.0 percent 30-year fixed rate could save up to $3,500 in mortgage payments over one with a 4.5 percent rate. CFPB Issues Final Rule on Housing Counselor Requirement April 17, 2015 434 Views center_img CFPB Housing Counseling Agencies HUD 2015-04-17 Scott_Morgan in Featured, Newslast_img read more

Read More →

Demystifying Housing Finance Reform

first_imgRead the full post by Jim Parrott here. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News March 6, 2017 654 Views Demystifying Housing Finance Reform Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Ginnie Mae Housing Finance MBA Reform 2017-03-06 Staff Writer In a recent blog post from the Urban Institute, Jim Parrott, Senior Fellow, explains the key differences in a few proposed Housing Finance reforms. The three proposals discussed are the Promising Road Proposal, which was proposed in part by Parrott, the Milken Proposal, and the MBA Proposal. Parrott states that the differences between these proposals have not been explained in any “in any intelligible way”, though he states that the this can be narrowed down to two or three key differences.Parrott cites the pre-reform system involving Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Prior to the reforms made to shift to a more competitive private market, the GSE duopoly was heavily relied upon. Shareholders were willing to take risks for greater profits as they would be backed by a bail out should they fail, and inevitably, Freddie and Fannie did fail. Each proposal acknowledges the need to lessen dependence of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.Each of the proposals hold a common set of principles. Each are designed to attract the interest rate investors important to long term-fixed rate lending, minimize the chance that taxpayers will need to bail out the system again, ensure the stability of the system and lender access to the secondary market, and to minimize disruption to the market.The proposition from the Mortgage Banker’s Association mandates that Fannie and Freddie would continues to share the majority of the non-catastrophic risks on mortgages they guarantee. Fannie and Freddie would be turned into privately owned utilities in order to check their inclination to take on excessive risks, and additionally would open them up to the possibility of competition.Parrott’s own co-authored proposal would see the common secularization platform along with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae combined into a single corporation. The Milken proposal would, like in the MBA proposal, see Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in a more competitive environment, but risk the inclination to take on risk would be checked by converting them to mutuals owned by lenders. The Ginnie Mae infrastructure would be built upon and approved issuers would receive credit enhancement from private institutions along  with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the department of Veterans Affairs. These issuers would issue securities through Ginnie Mae. Sharelast_img read more

Read More →

Millennial Buyers Favor Local Lenders Agents

first_imgMillennial Buyers Favor Local Lenders, Agents in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Origination Share Homebuying Lenders Millennials 2017-04-18 Seth Welborncenter_img April 18, 2017 780 Views Millennials don’t want the homebuying process to be as digital as some might think—at least not according to a recent survey by CentSai. In fact, the survey revealed that most would rather use local real estate agents and lenders over online-based ones.According to a recent CentSai survey of 2,050 millennials—adults aged 18 to 34—a whopping 75 percent of the sought-after demo would rather use a local real estate agent than an online one. Almost the same amount—71 percent—said they’d rather use a local lender, too.According to CentSai, “This is stark contrast to recent data showing approximately 69 percent of all homebuyers would apply for a mortgage online.” Doria Lavagnino, Co-founder and President of CentSai, an online financial wellness community, said the surprising results reflect the “peace of mind” many millennials need when buying their first home.“We were surprised to learn that online providers are not yet as big a disruptor in this sector as we first thought, despite purported cost savings,” Lavagnino said. “We found that millennials place a high value on the personal touch and knowledge of a local agent. Buying a home for the first time is daunting, and working with a local agent – particularly an agent referred by a parent or friend – could provide peace of mind.”Survey respondents cited a number of reasons for wanting the help of a local agent. Topping the list were the personal touch/handholding it could provide, longstanding relationships they had, the agent’s local knowledge, and the agent’s ability to decrease the overall hassle of the buying process.Though online agents and lenders might not be as popular as once thought, the survey did reveal a millennial leaning toward one online process: Research. More than 90 percent of survey respondents said they would use an online site or mobile app to research neighborhoods, homes, and prices when buying a home.In addition to revealing millennial attitudes toward online homebuying solutions, the CentSai survey also revealed that 56 percent of millennials plan to purchase a house in the next two years. Of the remaining 44 percent who said they will not be buying a home, 68 percent cited an inability to afford it as their reasoning. Another 12 percent said they liked the “freedom of renting,” with 10 percent blamed student loan debt.last_img read more

Read More →

Diversity and Inclusion Award Recognizes Industry Leader

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, journal, News Share July 19, 2018 673 Views 2018-07-19 Kristina Brewercenter_img Diversity and Inclusion Award Recognizes Industry Leader On Thursday, the Council for Inclusion in Financial Services (CIFS) hosted the 2018 CIFS Diversity and Inclusion Awards at the 2018 FinServ Expo, where Ed Delgado, president and CEO of the Five Star Institute, was presented with the Fusion Award for “implementing inclusive practices that produced a culture that embraces a collage of thought, race, gender, generations, and preferences.” These awards were presented to those in the financial services industry who have driven initiatives through philanthropy, technology, and business practices,  and who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to changing the landscape of their industry by cultivating diversity, creating an inclusive culture, and championing underrepresented groups.“Recipients impacted both the financial services industry and the community at large byproving that there is power in inclusion,” said John Darden, Board President of the Council forInclusion in Financial Services. “We applaud their work and are pleased to honor theseinfluencers.”This award was given to Delgado in honor of his efforts toward the formation of the American Mortgage Diversity Council (AMDC), a professional association for mortgage industry operators that provides a platform for collaboration of industry leaders for the advancement of the dialogue surrounding diversity and inclusion.According to the AMDC’s website, the organization helps professionals develop tools and strategies “to create an understanding and appreciation of individual differences in thought, experience, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, style, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” “I am humbled and honored to accept this award,” Delgado said. “Diversity and inclusion are inextricably tied to the future of mortgage banking. It is my honor to work alongside many champions in our industry to ensure that our policies, practices, and workforce reflect the diverse nature of our consumer base.”The additional awardees and award categories are as follows: Lifetime Achievement Award: For demonstrating a life-long commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives that influenced/transformed the industry—Dwight Robinson, Freddie Mac, Retired.Catalyst Award: For accelerating positive impact in diversity and inclusion through philanthropic efforts and/or initiatives in support of underrepresented groups—Keith and Mara Murray, PCV|VRM, Seeds of Hope, and Candace Russell, Carrington Mortgage Services.Impact Award: For technological innovation that supports/enhances inclusion by increasing access to varied options for market participants—Cheryl Travis-Johnson, The Council for Inclusion in Financial Services.Prism Award: For promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives by educating others on the benefits of expansive thought and embracing differences—Wells Fargo Advisors; as well as Patty Arvielo, New American Funding; Charmaine Brown, Fannie Mae; Darlene Slaughter, United Way; and Tony Thompson, National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America.Trailblazer Award: Influencers who have established new and creative diversity and inclusion initiatives that are currently transforming the industry and/or community—Marcia Davies, Mortgage Bankers Association; Desiree Patno, Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem; and Margo Posey, D/FW Minority Supplier Council.See more stories related to the AMDC below:The Dos and Don’ts of Diverse Hiring, a RecapTown Hall to Tackle Diversity in Mortgage and HousingFannie Mae Executive to Advance Diversity and Inclusion Councillast_img read more

Read More →

Analyzing the Dip in Summer Home Sales

first_img September 26, 2018 608 Views Analyzing the Dip in Summer Home Sales Census Bureau Construction HUD New Homes 2018-09-26 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, News, Originationcenter_img Sales of new single-family homes increased both month over month and year over year, according to the August 2018 new home sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. August saw 629,000 new homes sales, up 3.5 percent from July’s 608,000 and up 12.7 percent from August 2017.Despite the increase, National Association of Homebuilders Chief Economist Robert Dietz notes the downwardly revised estimates for June and July, coming off a “summer soft patch.” Additionally, Dietz notes the impact of Hurricane Florence on sales and construction.“Despite the disappointing numbers for the summer, total sales for the first eight months of 2018 (448,000) are 6.9 percent higher than the comparable total for 2017 (374,000),” said Dietz. “We expect the volume of new home sales to continue to expand along the current modest pace, driven by favorable demographic demand but subject to monthly volatility, supply-side cost concerns, and declining buyer affordability. Moreover, Hurricane Florence will likely have disruption effects on sales figures due to flooding in large new home construction markets in North and South Carolina.”Zillow Chief Economist Aaron Terrazas also discussed the soft summer sales. According to Terrazas, the Census Bureau’s otherwise lackluster August report is a welcome relief coming off such a slow summer.However, Terrazas notes that August is the second-lowest performing sales month since October 2017, especially as new construction has “gummed up” following leveling off of demand. Rising construction costs have done nothing to alleviate the issue, but the need for rebuilding from Hurricane Florence should cause demand to pick back up.“We should see a spurt of home building in the fall as the recovery gets underway, but we would have to see a very large jump in new home construction beyond the Southeast to avoid posting year-over-year declines in new home sales,” said Terrazas. “For now, the housing market closes the summer on a disappointing note. While it’s still a buyer’s market, there’s an autumn chill in the air. Builders are, perhaps prematurely, bundling up, wary of catching a cold.”Sales of new homes are also threatened by increased demand for owner-occupied homes, according to Genworth Mortgage Insurance Chief Economist Tian Liu.“The strong shift in housing demand towards owner-occupied housing will continue to underpin new home sales because that demand must ultimately result in higher housing construction and sales of new homes,” said Liu. “However, that demand is currently being weakened by rising interest rates and rising home prices on existing homes. This provides an opportunity for homebuilders to expand sales provided they can find workers and maintain cost control.” Sharelast_img read more

Read More →

A Refreshed Identity

first_imgA Refreshed Identity in Daily Dose, Featured, Media, News Bank of America Brian Moynihan HOUSING mortgage 2018-11-21 Donna Joseph November 21, 2018 674 Views center_img Reinforcing what they stand for, Bank of America unveiled its campaign focused on the question “What would you like the power to do?” with a refreshed logo. The question captures the bank’s role as a partner invested in the success of its customers helping clients and communities have the power to achieve their goals. The theme also highlights the stories of the company’s long-standing partners and the impact they are making in addressing critical environmental and social issues.The campaign assumes great significance to the real estate market as well, given Bank of America’s large mortgage lending portfolio and its collaboration with partners in the real estate market. Watch Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America talk more about the significance of this question to the way the bank does business. Read more about the campaign here. <span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span> Sharelast_img read more

Read More →

Raspberry production was 19170MT an increase of

first_imgRaspberry production was 19,170MT – an increase of 2%, which was accompanied by a 4% increase in average prices.This brought gains for US$151.8 million (130.4 million euros), 4% higher year-on-year, in part thanks to a 14% rise in planted hectarage, which is now 2,212 hectares.Finally, the blackberry season, which began at the end of February, was 3% higher year-on-year, with 1,800MT, with average prices 5% lower.Photo: Shutterstock The 2017-2018 strawberry season has wrapped up in Spain’s main growing region, Huelva, with an 8% year-on-year decrease in total production due to poor weather at the start of the year.Although 9% more hectares were planted, industry body Freshuelva reported that only 280,300 metric tons (MT) were produced due to the low temperatures of January and early February and the rains during late-February and March.Returns reached US$508.9 million (437 million euros), which was 4% lower, despite prices being 4% higher on average, the organization said.Meanwhile, blueberry production grew 15% to 38,800MT, driven by a 12% rise in hectarage. Returns increased 4% while average prices dropped 3%, it said. Berries Australia: Govt must do more to address la … Mexican berry campaign running well ahead of sched … July 20 , 2018 center_img Mexican berry growers’ sales dip amid U.S. border … You might also be interested in NA: Heatwave, thunderstorms to affect grape, berry … last_img read more

Read More →