first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Titanic II will have the same dimensions as its namesake, with 840 rooms and nine decks (Image AP) An Australian billionaire, who declared this week his intentions to build a high-tech replica of the Titanic, has vowed to construct a vessel that “won’t sink”.Just weeks after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original Titanic, businessman Clive Palmer announced that he had signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build Titanic II.  The ship’s maiden voyage, which has been slated for late 2016, will see the cruise liner sail from England to North America, as had been intended for its namesake.  Speaking to reporters at the announcement in Australia, Mr Palmer said Titanic II would represent the ultimate in cruising comfort and luxury, as well as be a tribute to those who had built the original ship.  “It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems,” he remarked.When asked the inevitable question of whether this Titanic could sink, Mr Palmer told reporters that the ship would be “designed so it won’t sink”.”It will be designed as a modern ship with all the technology to ensure that doesn’t happen,” he stated.  “But, of course, if you are superstitious like you are, you never know what could happen.”According to the Australian, a historical research team will be involved in the design of the Titanic II, which will only be distinguishable from the original ocean liner from below the water line. last_img read more

first_imgBrisbane Airport will introduce several international capacity increases over the next few months, following the depreciation of international arrivals and departures during August this year, compared to 2011.China Southern will fly a daily service to Brisbane from mid-December to the end of February 2013 and Etihad Airways will add four weekly flights, resulting in a daily service to Abu Dhabi from February 2013. Over 1.8 million international and domestic passengers travelled through Brisbane Airport, generating a 2.7 percent rise in total passenger numbers for August, compared with the same period last year. Intrastate traffic gained strength, increasing by more than 10 percent last month, compared to August 2011.Although international passenger numbers were down overall, visitors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Russia, Eastern Europe, South/Central America and Africa all reported increases in August, year-over-year.The Japanese and South Korea visitor markets also showed growth for the month.August also saw Tiger Airways recommence its services between Brisbane and Sydney, while Virgin Australia launched return weekday flights on the Brisbane to Mount Isa route.In related news, Brisbane Airport chief executive and managing director Julieanne Alroe highlighted the importance of growing with community support when it comes to investment and development. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Image Source: hightidelast_img read more

first_imgOrlando International AirportAll time record number of travellers through Orlando International AirportOrlando International Airport is in the midst of its busiest holiday season ever, last weekend saw more passengers than at any time in airport history.“We are anticipating more than 160 thousand passengers in the terminal on Saturday. That record number combinedwith enhanced security measures, illustrates the need for passengers to arrive 2-3 hours early for flight processing,”says Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.To better handle the expected increase in volume of passengers and vehicles at the airport, Orlando International isstrongly suggesting that the public utilize the two FREE cell phone lots located at the North and South entrances tothe airport when waiting for arriving passengers.Both are well-lit and provide easy access to the main terminal building. The North cell lot also features 200 spaces, free Wi-Fi, restroom facilities, flight display screens to track your family member’s arrival and even a dog relief area.Use of the cell phone lots is also encouraged by the Orlando Police Department, which patrols the roadways and cellphone lots on a regular basis.During peak travel times there has been an increase in the number of cars pulled off to the side of the entrance roads, which impairs safety and traffic flow. The cell lots are a much safer and convenient alternative. Orlando International AirportSource = Orlando International Airportlast_img read more

first_imgSheraton AnnabaMarriott International expands presence in AlgeriaMarriott International, Inc (NASDAQ:MAR) , today announced further expansion in Algeria with the opening of its seventh hotel in Algeria, Sheraton Annaba . The company already operates six hotels in Algeria including Constantine Marriott Hotel, Renaissance Tlemcen Hotel, Sheraton Club des Pins, Sheraton Oran, Le Meridien Oran and Four Points by Sheraton Oran amounting to 1580 rooms. With another six hotels under development the company is set to double its footprint in the country. Owned by Société d’Investissement Hôtelière, the imposing and welcoming Sheraton Annaba is conveniently located within easy access from the airport and the city’s most charming attractions. With its iconic and sophisticated design, and appealing dining options, the hotel offers stunning views of the azure Mediterranean Sea and the scenic coastal city. “We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Société d’Investissement Hôtelière, as we open our seventh Hotel in Algeria,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “The opening of Sheraton Annaba further underlines our commitment to growth and expansion in Algeria, a market which continues to be integral to our overall development strategy throughout Africa.” Guests can enjoy spectacular sea or city views and an unmatched level of comfort at the Sheraton Annaba. The hotel’s 201 elegantly appointed guestrooms, including 15 Executive Suites and a Presidential Suite, spread over 18 floors, offer a premium Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience. With elevated amenities and services, the hotel delivers effortless and personalized services in a seamless and efficient manner. Club rooms and Suites offer exclusive access to the Sheraton® Club Lounge, providing with additional tailored services and privileges. Located on the 19th floor with mesmerizing views, the Club Lounge provides the perfect backdrop for a complimentary breakfast, tea, coffee, drinks or light snacks to enjoy throughout the day and in the early evening hours. Whether it’s relaxing at the Lobby Lounge while enjoying Sheraton’s signature ‘Paired’ menu – comprising of artisanal small plates and bar snacks paired with premium wines – or indulging a meal at one of the distinctive restaurants, the Sheraton Annaba welcomes numerous culinary experiences and delights. Guests can relish international Mediterranean dining with live cooking at the all-day dining Feast, savor delicious patisserie at the Deli with take away, treat themselves to an upscale Italian dining experience at Al Pesto located on the 19th floor, or head for a relaxed drink with a game of snooker and some foot-tapping music at the Hugo Bar. In every way, the Sheraton Annaba spoils guests with choice. With over 1400 square meters of ultra-modern and state-of-the-art meeting facilities, endless connectivity through high-speed wi-fi, and a full-service business center, the hotel offers highly flexible meeting options and personalized services, making it the ideal venue for every need, be it intimate gatherings or larger social events and business meetings. Leisure facilities include a 24-hour fitness center for maximized workouts with cutting-edge equipment, an outdoor pool for a relaxing swim, a Spa and an outdoor tennis court. Situated on the north eastern coast of Algeria, Annaba is the fourth largest city in the country and the capital of Annaba Province, often referred to as the “Pearl of East Algeria”. It is one of Algeria’s main commercial hubs and also a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches. With a warm and welcoming atmosphere, the Sheraton Annaba is where guests can make the most out of their stay, whether they’re traveling for business or for leisure.About Sheraton Hotels & Resorts: Sheraton Hotels & Resorts , part of Marriott International, Inc., makes it easy for guests to explore, relax and enjoy the possibilities of travel at more than 440 hotels in over 70 countries around the world. Sheraton continues to enhance the brand through innovative guest experience, differentiating design, multi-channel marketing and a sharp focus on service. Stay connected to Sheraton: @sheratonhotels on Twitter and Instagram and Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is the world’s largest hotel company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with nearly 6,000 properties in 120 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts. The company’s 30 leading brands include: Bulgari Hotels and Resorts®, The Ritz-Carlton® and The Ritz-Carlton Reserve®, St. Regis®, W®, EDITION®, JW Marriott®, The Luxury Collection®, Marriott Hotels®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Renaissance® Hotels, Sheraton®, Delta Hotels by MarriottSM, Marriott Executive Apartments®, Marriott Vacation Club®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Tribute Portfolio™, Design Hotels™, Gaylord Hotels®, Courtyard®, Four Points® by Sheraton, SpringHill Suites®, Fairfield Inn & Suites®, Residence Inn®, TownePlace Suites®, AC Hotels by Marriott®, Aloft®, Element®, Moxy Hotels®, and Protea Hotels by Marriott®. The company also operates award-winning loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®. For more information, please visit our website at Source = Sheraton Annabalast_img read more

first_imgSource = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman Heritage tourism getting rediscovered in JapanAway from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, is a completely different side to Japan, filled with history and beauty. A more traditional and historical Japanese holiday is becoming more popular and available in Japan. Obviously you cannot tell a tourist to Japan to ignore the big cities, however there is much more to Japan that travellers can experience.Last week, Japan hosted a Heritage Tourism Forum in Tokyo, with the aim of the forum to help bolster the rise of heritage tourism in the country. Dr David Atkinson, the CEO of Konishi Decorative Arts and Crafts Company was the keynote speaker at the event. Professor Robert Campbell of University of Tokyo was the moderator of the forum. Other panel members included Fashion journalist Yoshiko Ikoma, Naotsugu Kuroda a themed travel advisor to Club Tourism, the Executive Vice President of Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) Mamoru Kobori, and Dora Tauzin a French journalist.Panel Discussion at Heritage ForumDr David Atkinson started the event with his address, in which he discussed what his company, Konishi is doing to help increase heritage tourism sites across Japan. In 2015 Japan named its first 118 fully heritage listed sites, Dr Atkinson believes the country should have over 100 sites by 2020. “By 2020 there will be over 100 heritage listed sites in Japan, what we must do is explain all the sites and history in greater detail,” Dr Atkinson said. He says Japan has all of these fantastic historic places and artifacts but they struggle to explain in English what the history is. “Tourists come to these historic sites and leave with no greater knowledge, tourists want to learn about the history and this can be difficult if the explanations are only in Japanese.” To coincide with greater tourism numbers visiting Japan in search of a history lesson, the heritage sites need to learn to explain their history with more prowess.Also discussed at the forum was the incredible diversity of Japan. With 3,000 kilometres of coastline, you can truly do anything in Japan. The length of the country is the same as the distance between Sweden to Spain in Europe, and Dr Atkinson says you can do everything in Japan. “Japan’s coastline is the same distance as half of Europe, and you can do everything you can do in Europe, in Japan. You can do everything from skiing to scuba diving,” he said.The Japan National Tourism Organisation has set a goal to have 40 million tourists coming to the country by 2020. Last year there was 24 million tourists, so the goal definitely looks achievable. With the Olympics coming to Japan in 2020, there will be a large influx of tourists looking for things to do. Heritage tourism in Japan is on the rise and in the heritage tourism industry should be able to capitalise on the large tourism numbers in the near future. Japan National Tourism Organisationlast_img read more

first_imgSource = roomsXML Niche, Focus and Diversify – Evolving your Travel BusinessConflicting ideas may be required to find the next thing in your travel business “If you have a heart attack, do you go to a GP or to a heart specialist?”It was a tag line we used for a bit;  It works nicely as a concept – this is what we do and what we do well.  But, we have clients who argue they are too busy to shop around for best price , especially when they need added services, so diversification seems to make sense. What would it cost us to diversify? But is that who we are? What’s the risk reward?I’ve seen some great focus and specialization over time, but one I will pick for a few reasons to highlight the “unknown unknowns”. Marcus Falay ran Fairy Chimney successfully for many years. With the Gallipoli centenary looming, Marcus saw an opportunity to scale up his offering by chartering an entire cruise vessel for Anzac Day 2015. He did and did well, nearly filling the boat, with a stack of accommodation and supporting ground services booked.From there the business specialised and focused on Turkey, taking a strong line of not pushing other destinations.  Business grew, Marcus moved the family over to Turkey for a year or two of change to strengthen the wholesale links and business processes and all was great.One day on the news were the first reports of trouble brewing and before anyone knew it, Turkey was embroiled in the Syria conflict.  Business dried up as fear took hold.  War is not good for business in tourism.So what was the mistake? None.  Focus on your strengths, grow business, war is a total unknown.  But can you protect against a niche focus falling over?  No you can’t; you may find yourself undergoing a reinvention for reasons outside of your control.So what’s the answer?  First of all re-define the question; how can you insulate against unknown unknowns? In other words, what can you do to ease the peaks and troughs in business.With this mindset then comes the planning.  The bills you pay today are done so through cash from a few weeks ago, which came from a booking three months ago which resulted from a strategy from 2 years before.  This means thinking about today, next week, this month, this quarter, this year and then over the horizon.The answer then highlights an opportunity for agents; refine the processes in your business for creating a niche.  It may be as simple as the templates for marketing collateral through to how you identify opportunities and apply resources to them. A niche or specialised service is mostly a packaging of just the right products and service.  How cost effectively you deliver is largely bound by product wholesale costs and your process of getting a product to market.Good process means the entry costs for creating a new product offering lowers significantly and begins to increase the flexibility with which you can offer a range of diversified niche services. Yes, through diversification, which flies in the face of being a specialist.  Diversification makes it extremely hard to deliver a focused message and stand out.  Being everything to everyone is pretty hard to pull off.Don’t do it all at once.Improved process gives you the ability to diversify your niche offerings as they are needed so whilst you are working for today, you are rolling something out for next month, which will generate revenue in a few months time and let you pay for something next year. Meanwhile, you have something up your sleeve ready for activation. Or Killing off – whichever comes first!The saying “the best plan falls apart when the bullets start flying” (or something like that) rings true for business; planning 2 years in advance is tricky, but generating potential ideas and stacking them up ready to fit into a work schedule makes great sense.Like a holiday. roomsXML – More Suppliers, Hot Deals learn more about herelast_img read more

first_imgP&O Cruises’ reveals the newly refurbished Pacific AriaP&O Cruises’ reveals the newly refurbished Pacific AriaP&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Aria has completed a 12-day dry dock in Singapore with new features and furnishings including a new-look Dome venue.The popular top-deck space with ocean views has been refreshed to take on a contemporary nautical theme with dark blue and white hues, drapes and soft lighting in keeping with the look of the Dome on sister-ship Pacific Eden.By day, the Dome is an attractive venue for board games, trivia, dance classes and a favourite place for guests to relax on the lounges with a coffee or read a book. In the evening the Dome transforms into a fashionable dance-spot.The Elemis Spa has also been enhanced during the dry dock and now sports a new Barber Shop. Complete with luxe curtains, gold framed mirrors and a leather swivel chair, the professional grooming service for the modern gentleman offers hot towel shaves, beard trimming and styling.The ship’s 28 suites, 120 balcony cabins and Penthouse have been fitted with new carpets and outdoor furniture.Pacific Aria’s finishing touch is the Southern Cross livery emblazoned on her hull – now a signature feature across all five ships in P&O’s fleet.In total, 1000 pieces of new furniture, 6000 metres of fabric and more than 10,000 square metres of new carpet have been fitted on the 1500-guest ship. A selection of modern and stylish pieces of artwork and new contemporary wallpaper adorns the ship’s public spaces.Pacific Aria will now return to her Brisbane home-port where she will undertake a range of longer cruises to the South Pacific Islands and shorter breaks closer to home.Pacific Aria’s upcoming cruises include a 10-night Pacific Island Hopper voyage departing Brisbane on October 9, 2018. Fares start from A$998.52* per person quad share.For more information visit, call 13 24 94 or see a licensed travel agent.* Subject to availability, conditions applySource = P&O Cruises Australialast_img read more

first_imgThe regional wing of Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, has unveiled a new mobile app that provides travellers with a greater travel convenience from booking to boarding. The mobile app, which has been designed to be fast and intuitive, is aimed at providing users with a functional and seamless user experience.The mobile app includes key features like flight booking, exclusive fares and itinerary management. The SilkAir mobile app home screen can personalised by the users to show relevant flight updates and information, while push notifications can be enabled to receive prompt check-in reminders for upcoming trips. Travellers flying from Singapore Changi Airport can also opt for Mobile Boarding Pass feature that would allow for more efficient flight check-in.In addition, the mobile app would allow members of KrisFlyer to view their membership details, like miles and tier information in an easy-to-read design.SilkAir is celebrating the launch by offering special ‘app-clusive’ deals starting from all-in fares of SGD 159 to Langkawi, SGD189 to Phuket and SGD 229 to Yogyakarta, amongst other destinations. Additionally, bookings paid with MasterCard on the mobile app entitle the customer to free Resorts World SEA Aquarium Passes.“SilkAir is constantly improving and enhancing our various digital touch points to keep up with the changing landscape of the travel industry. With the SilkAir mobile app, customers can expect greater control and convenience when it comes to planning their travel itineraries.” said SilkAir’s Vice President Commercial, Ryan Pua.The new SilkAir mobile app, which has been built in conjunction with MTT, is now available for download at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The mobile app is compatible with iOS 8 and 9 and all Android versions released after 4.0.3 respectively.last_img read more

first_imgThe Turks and Caicos Islands won the award for Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination 2018 and other top accolades in the recently concluded World Travel Awards’ Caribbean and North America gala.This year’s ceremony was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Ramon Andrews, Director of Tourism, Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), said, “We are elated that Turks and Caicos Islands was named the Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination. This award is evidence of our destination’s distinction among our Caribbean counterparts. Tourism is not only our main industry; it is our way of life.” “We are fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful beaches however this award would be meaningless without the diligent hospitality workers who go above and beyond to ensure that our visitors have memorable experiences.”last_img read more

first_imgSabre Corporation and Visa announced a partnership to support the growth of business-to-business (B2B) virtual payments in the travel industry. Under this agreement, travel buyers and suppliers will be able to pay and get paid with virtual Visa commercial cards, through the Sabre Virtual Payments solution.Sabre’s work with Visa combines Sabre Virtual Payments with the world’s leader in digital payments. Through this partnership, Sabre and Visa’s mutual customers can access Visa’s virtual B2B payment solutions, enabling faster, more secure payment options as well as more control and visibility into individual B2B travel-industry payments.“Bringing together Visa’s leadership position in digital B2B payments with Sabre’s virtual payment technology and global network of customers represents a tremendous opportunity to increase the adoption of B2B virtual payments in the travel industry,” said Wade Jones, President of Sabre Travel Network. “Sabre’s investment in virtual payments and its integration into existing agency processes makes it quick and easy for our customers to adopt and use.”“Supporting the expansion of electronic B2B payments in the travel industry is one of our core focus areas,” said Kevin Phalen, Global Head, Visa Business Solutions, Visa. “By bringing together Visa and Sabre’s travel-industry capabilities and solutions, we will help further streamline cash flow and overall finance management practices for suppliers and buyers, helping remove barriers to transparency in business payments created by paper-based processes.”Sabre Virtual Payments is the most flexible electronic payment solution in the travel industry, offering multi-bank, multi-card, credit and prepaid accounts that allow customers to select the best payment option to ensure the most favourable payment terms.last_img read more

first_img Share January 23, 2012 429 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-01-23 Abby Gregory First Niagara Moves Forward with HSBC Acquisitioncenter_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Continuing its sell off, “”First Niagara Bank”” has announced its intention to liquidate another 27 branches. [IMAGE]The move is part of the company’s transition following its acquisition of “”HSBC Bank’s”” regional retail business in New York and Connecticut.[COLUMN_BREAK]Earlier in January, First Niagara, which is based in Buffalo, New York, sold 37 of its locations. The company’s aggressive sales strategy will facilitate the bank’s plans to purchase 195 HSBC Bank branches in a deal that is reported to carry a price tag of around $1 billion.First Niagara’s most recent sale included “”Community Bank System””, which bought 19 of the branches, and Financial Institutions subsidiary, “”Five Star Bank””, which purchased the remaining eight branches.The locations sold by First Niagara were primarily those in upstate New York. The branches are estimated to have been worth a combined total of $1.4 billion in deposits and another $315 million in loans. The bank announced its maneuver to buy HSBC Bank’s regional retail network last year, and First Niagara released a company statement that noted its plans to sell of around half of the branches. First Niagara’s transaction earlier this month resulted in “”KeyCorp’s””: purchase of all 37 branches offered for sale.last_img read more

first_img Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Churchill Announces National Growth with 17 New Employees “”Churchill Mortgage’s””: family got quite a bit bigger with the addition of 17 new employees across multiple branches, the company announced.[IMAGE]Paula J. Fosa and Josh Johanson joined Churchill’s office in Brentwood, Tennessee. Fosa is responsible for preparing mortgage applications for underwriting, while Johanson signed on as a web assistant. Meanwhile, in Jackson, Brittney Potts Wells is serving the company as a loan coordinator. Scott Thurmer, Don Bennett, and Sandra McGehee round out the Tennessee group from their branch in Memphis. Thurmer is the branch’s newest loan officer, while Bennett is the lender’s new home loan specialist. McGehee serves as a mortgage loan specialist.LeKeisha Briscoe, Lynn Archey, and Opehlia Dearing make up the new faces at the Herndon, Virginia branch. Briscoe brings more than five years of experience to the team, while Archey received commendations from previous employers for outstanding performance. Both will serve Churchill as loan processors, while Dearing is the branch’s receptionist.Bonnie Hoskins is now supporting Churchill’s efforts in Georgia. Hoskins was recruited as a customer care representative and is responsible for lead management, phone support, and customer care.In Churchill’s North Texas branch, Jessica Hymes is working as a mortgage processor responsible for home loans for Dallas and the Greater Texas Region. Senior loan officer Jeannie West, loan officer David Crockell, senior home loan specialist Chase Gamble, and residential mortgage loan originator Jesse Bruton III are also representing Churchill in the Lone Star State at the company’s Houston branch.Finally, Jeffrey Patrick Green and Traci Waters joined Churchill’s Tupelo, Mississippi branch as a junior loan officer and a loan processor, respectively.””This has been a year of significant growth for us, and we continue to have a need for talented professionals across the nation,”” said Mike Hardwick, president of Churchill Mortgage. “”We are pleased to welcome this new group to the Churchill Mortgage team, and we look forward to their success as we continue to help families and individuals achieve their goal of homeownership.””center_img October 17, 2012 487 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2012-10-17 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Celebrity Homes Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-10-29 Abby Gregory in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology French Castle in Pyrenees Foothills Lists for $27.4M Though a few “”recent U.S. real estate listings””: have promised royal living in oversized stateside mansions, a sprawling home in France has hit the market, giving potential buyers the opportunity to purchase an authentic castle that’s truly worth of a fairytale. Located in Ceret, an “”artsy”” town in the Pyrenees foothills, Chateau D’Aubiry is for sale, priced at $27.4 million.””According to Curbed””:, the 32,300-square-foot palace was commissioned by Jean Bardou as a home for his son. Finished in 1900, the 13-bedroom abode was designed by Danish architect Viggo Dorph-Petersen and is said to be an “”untouched example of a baroque masterpiece from the Belle ├âãÆ├óÔé¼┬░poque.”” Curbed went on to add that the expansive estate also includes a chapel, traditional English gardens, a pool, and a conservatory.[COLUMN_BREAK][IMAGE]center_img October 29, 2012 466 Views Sharelast_img read more

first_imgzipLogix, AnyMeeting Partner to Offer Web Conferencing Service January 21, 2013 411 Views Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technologycenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-01-21 Tory Barringer In Michigan, “”zipLogix””:, the creator of zipForm–the real estate industry’s leading contract software–announced the release of a new web conferencing service powered by “”AnyMeeting””:, a leader in small business web conferencing.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]As part of the partnership, AnyMeeting will provide zipForm users a co-branded web conferencing tool integrated with zipForm 6 Professional. Existing users have instant access to features including: video conferencing, built-in conference calling, screen sharing, video sharing, and support for up to 200 participants.The integration includes the ad-supported version of the software (available at no additional cost), or users can upgrade to an ad-free version for an additional monthly fee.””The zipConsult product expands the feature set up zipForm and enables our users to easily meet online, review documents and close more deals,”” said Walt McDonald, chairman at zipLogix. “”AnyMeeting is the ideal solution to power this service with their strong focus and commitment to the needs of small business.””””We are very excited to be empowering real estate professionals across North America to meet online, share and collaborate,”” said AnyMeeting president and CEO Costin Tuculescu. “”Brokers and Agents represent an important segment of the small business market, which is our focus at AnyMeeting.””last_img read more

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Barack Obama Existing-Home Sales Home Sales Homebuilders Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Mark Lieberman Mitt Romney National Association of Home Builders National Association of Realtors Residential Construction Service Providers 2013-03-15 Mark Lieberman It’s been two weeks since the dreaded sequester took effect and we’re still standing. So far, the only casualty of the sequester has been the White House tour.[IMAGE]There actually have been some positives, with both parties presenting budgets–an inexcusable first for the Democrats who so far have been quick to criticize Republican plans but reluctant or unable to produce budgets of their own.Both the GOP–read: Paul Ryan–budget and the Democratic plan have one major similarity: Each is dead on arrival and destined to be at best, a one-house budget, which leaves the country back where it was.Well, not exactly. The current fiscal year, which ends in September, is on track to produce an under $1 trillion deficit ($845 billion to be precise, according to the Congressional Budget Office) and marks the second year in a row the deficit has gotten smaller. The deficit was $1.417 trillion in fiscal year 2009, Obama’s first year in office (but the year was three and a half months old when he took office), up from $454.8 billion the year before. In fiscal year 2010, it was $1.294 trillion. In fiscal year 2011, it was $1.299 trillion and then $1.089 trillion in fiscal year 2012. If the $254 billion year-over-year reduction were to continue, we’d have a balanced budget by fiscal year 2017, the president’s last budget year.Of course, straight-lining the deficit reduction is overly simplistic, but it does serve as a reminder to Obama critics who complain of his lack of fiscal toughness. Indeed the president was tough, insisting on tax increases that contribute to the deficit reduction. Budgets, after all, are two-sided documents consisting of revenues and expenses. We can either raise the bridge or lower the water, since relying too heavily on either side of the ledger can create a new set of problems.That, of course, is the rub, and both Democrats and Republicans have been too eager to embrace a meat cleaver approach to a problem which requires something closer to a surgeon’s scalpel.It is often at times like these, though, that legislators–or at least those elected to sit in the legislature–resort to more grandiose schemes like turning to a “”balanced budget amendment”” as the solution to the nation’s finances. While a proposal such as separate capital and expense budgets for the federal government (“”advanced in this space a few weeks back””: might be just as theoretical, the balanced budget amendment–just as both the Democratic and Republican budgets–skirt the fundamental issue of what role we want or expect of government.Budgets, when we get down to it, are political documents. Those who describe President Obama as a “”redistributionist”” are not wrong because that is what government–Republican or Democratic–budgets do: redistribute resources from one segment of the population to another. The question becomes whether, in the minds of those who give, those who receive should.Governments are called upon to work in “”bad”” times, whether the bad times are a disaster (think Katrina or the Joplin tornadoes) or a recession throwing millions of people out of work. Indeed, the counter-cyclical spending in the federal budget–primarily unemployment insurance and food stamps–coupled with reduced tax revenues represented nearly half the increase in the deficit between fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2009. In fiscal year 2005, the fiscal year immediately following and including Katrina aid, the federal emergency management administration spent $24.1 billion, more than twice the $11.8 billion it spent the year before. While some of those dollars may have been wasted (“”heck of a job Brownie””), the overall objective was on target: the federal government coming to the rescue of those who need it. That’s no different than what was done in the aftermath of the slower moving but perhaps more devastating “”storm”” known as the Great Recession.Getting back on track is equally difficult, but not impossible. One possible approach is to take small steps. While neither of the competing Democratic and Republican budget plans achieve a balanced budget in the short term, there is an alternative.The first step would be harsh but perhaps less so: developing a plan to achieve “”practical balance””–a balanced budget excluding interest on public debt–in an agreed-upon time frame. In the last fiscal year, the government spent about $454 billion on interest, about 42 percent of the total deficit and about 54 percent of the projected 2013 deficit. While cutting $454 billion would not itself be easy (though certainly easier than cutting $845 billion), it would at least avoid the awkward situation of going deeper into the hole because of interest payments. Under the new legislation government credit cards, each credit card statement indicates how much debt we run up by making only the minimum credit card payment each month. Setting a target for practical balance would take the country a step closer–with less pain–toward reducing the deficit while at the same time recognizing the deficit is not the immediate problem.+The week ahead:+Housing numbers will be in the news next week, starting with Monday’s report on builder confidence from the “”National Association of Home Builders””: After reaching a six-plus year high in December, the HMI stalled and then slipped. The consensus forecast sees the index resuming its upward climb in March, but not setting a record.Single-family housing starts hit their highest level in January since July 2008, a milestone almost lost as multi-family activity dragged starts down. Total starts, “”reported Tuesday””:, are expected to recover in February, again dominated by multi-family activity.Existing-home sales recovered slightly in January, but the real story was a sharp decline in the inventory of homes for sale, which fell to the lowest level since December 1999, with the months’ supply (based in part on the sales rate) at the lowest level since April 2005. The consensus forecast shows a rebound in sales to be “”reported Thursday””:, but the range is wide enough to include a further slip.The Federal Open Market Committee meets this week as well with a new round of economic forecasts to be released following the meeting statement Wednesday._Hear Mark Lieberman on P.O.T.U.S (Sirius 124) on Friday at 6:40 a.m. and again 9:40 a.m. EST._*_Want to write an opinion piece for our site? Send your submission to_* “””” March 15, 2013 417 Views Commentary: Budget Painscenter_img in Data, Government Sharelast_img read more

first_img “”Equifax””: announced the availability of Equifax Dimensions, a new product created to deliver more in-depth picture of past credit behavior to predict future trends.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Users of the new solution can see up to two years’ worth of detailed consumer credit activity, allowing them to make more precise lending decisions. Equifax Dimensions analyzes hundreds of payment characteristics to identify consumer patterns, enabling lenders and service providers to identify which consumers are most likely to open accounts, predict how much and where consumers are likely to spend, predict capacity to incur additional debt while staying current, and determine the “”breaking point”” of spend that will lead to default.””Equifax is constantly utilizing deeper, more meaningful analytics so that we can provide innovative solutions designed specifically to meet our customers’ needs,”” said John Cullerton, SVP of product innovation and management for the Atlanta-based company. “”This new product is an example of one of those solutions–and a simple way to help our customers increase their bottom line, while still effectively taking care of the consumer.”” September 3, 2013 440 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Equifax Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-09-03 Tory Barringercenter_img Share New Equifax Offering to Provide Better Credit Insightslast_img read more

first_imgJudge Throws Out Much of RMBS Suit Against BofA Bank of America RMBS 2015-02-09 Seth Welborn February 9, 2015 490 Views in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Secondary Marketcenter_img A federal judge in New Jersey dismissed most of a lawsuit filed by Prudential Financial Inc. against Bank of America that claimed the North Carolina-based megabank sold them more than $1.9 billion worth of toxic mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, according to multiple media reports on Friday.U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler in Newark ruled that Prudential failed to show sufficient proof that Bank of America and its Merrill Lynch misrepresented the quality of its loans backing securities to ratings agencies, according to reports.Prudential claimed in the lawsuit that Bank of America was guilty of “wide-ranging fraud” that left Prudential with “countless” bad securities that led to foreclosure or default. Chesler dismissed most of Prudential’s claims with prejudice, according to reports. He did rule that Prudential could re-submit a claim involving 21 securitizations where Bank of America acted as underwriter but not as a sponsor or issuer.Chesler said in his ruling that Prudential could not rely on “after the fact” computer analysis to determine that Bank of America knew at the time that the property appraisals for 54 securitizations it issued from 2004 to 2007 were being misrepresented.Spokespeople from both Prudential and Bank of America declined to comment on the suit and the judge’s ruling.Bank of America has had its share of legal troubles over RMBS in the last year. In August 2014, the bank entered into a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice for record $16.65 billion over the packaging and selling of toxic mortgage-backed securities that led to the financial crisis. And last week, a federal judge in Manhattan denied the bank’s request to remove a $1.27 billion penalty imposed in July 2014 for a government lawsuit against the bank which accused its Countrywide unit of fraud with regards to mortgage-backed securities. Sharelast_img read more

first_img March 10, 2016 497 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News CFPB Director: Mortgage Credit is “Still Too Tight, In My View” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mortgage Credit 2016-03-10 Staff Writercenter_img Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray called attention to the mortgage industry, particularly lenders, in a speech on Wednesday, where he highlighted some of the progress and pitfalls that the housing market faces.An Urban Institute report recently confirmed Cordray’s remarks by finding that between 2009 and 2014, 5.2 million borrowers with less-than-pristine credit were unable to get a mortgage loan due to tight lending.The data showed that between 2009 and 2013, 4 million loans could have been originated if credit standards were like 2001’s levels. On top of this total, an additional 1.2 million borrowers were unable to get a mortgage loan.”A tight credit box means that fewer families will become homeowners at an opportune point in the housing market cycle, depriving them of a critical wealth-building opportunity,” Urban Institute said. “It slows the housing market recovery by limiting the pool of potential borrowers. Ultimately, excessively tight credit hinders the economy, as it slows all the associated economic activity that comes with home buying, such as furniture purchases, landscaping, and renovations.”In his speech, Cordray stated that the millennial generation is beginning to welcome homeownership despite the stereotype surrounding this generation, but as they are facing with the issue of tightening credit.”Credit is still too tight, at least in my view, but we can now look in the rear-view mirror and see that some of the undue fears people had about legal liability under the QM rule, or market paralysis due to streamlining the mortgage disclosure forms, can be put in healthier perspective,” Cordray explained. “There is ample opportunity in the mortgage market as it continues to heal, and you should be doing what you do best: serving your customers through great deals and great customer service. Homeownership still remains the most effective engine of wealth accumulation for the American middle class, and you are the ones who are making that happen and rebuilding a key marketplace that failed this country so brutally less than a decade ago.”Despite the bleak credit picture, mortgage lending practices have improved since the financial crisis, Cordray said in his speech.”The market crash itself led to many changes, with bad actors and bad practices no longer feasible in a marketplace that had all-too-belatedly exposed the risks inherent in irresponsible and often predatory lending. Indeed, if anything, the market meltdown produced an overreaction, marked by very tight credit and historically low levels of consumer demand and available supply,” he said. “For those of us engaged in the important work of protecting consumers, these developments posed a very tricky task in implementing reforms. We were well aware of the concerns many had raised that the cost of protecting consumers would constrict the availability of credit and even drive many financial service providers out of business altogether. Sharelast_img read more

first_imgIt’s Not Just in the Eye of the Beholder Home Values 2016-10-20 Seth Welborn October 20, 2016 506 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Newscenter_img By Ryan SchuetteU.S. home values leapt up by 5.5 percent since last September, reflecting the fastest rise in appreciation for more than two years, according to Zillow.The Seattle-based real-estate company disclosed the findings in a September Real Estate Market Report it released on Thursday.Zillow found a median home value of $189,400.According to the report, there were 6 percent fewer homes up for grabs than there were a year ago. This comes as a result of steady declines in housing inventory and increased demand in the housing market.Boston and Indianapolis saw the most significant declines in the number of homes for sale over the past year, down 26 percent and 25 percent, respectively.”Increasingly strong demand has been contributing to dwindling inventory stocks across the nation,” Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist for Zillow, said in a statement. “Healthy demand for for-sale homes amidst low inventory has been driving the market.”This is “another sign that the housing market is recovering nicely,” Gudell added.By comparison, rents crept ahead by 1.5 percent over the past year, reaching a Zillow Rent Index of $1,403.The highest year-over-year rent appreciations took place in cities like Seattle, Portland, and Sacramento, for which Zillow reported year-over-year changes of 9.3 percent, 7 percent, and 5.8 percent.According to Zillow, bidding wars are also on the rise as homebuyers scramble to lock down competitive home purchases.“Buyers in the nation’s fastest moving markets can expect the search process to last a few months, as market conditions are often extremely competitive with homes selling for above asking price and receiving multiple offers,” Gudell said. “It’s definitely a seller’s market right now, with some homes being more expensive than ever.” Sharelast_img read more

first_img Company News Freedom Mortgage Simplifile technology 2017-01-18 Staff Writer Simplifile, a provider of real estate document collaboration and recording technologies for lenders, settlement agents, and counties, announced that Freedom Mortgage has joined its network of mortgage lenders. Freedom Mortgage will be using the Simplifile Collaboration service in its wholesale division.Mike Graham, VP of National TPO Operations at Freedom Mortgage, is looking forward to working with a more efficient method to go through the closing process. “Freedom’s network of settlement partners plays a significant role in our ability to deliver superior service and on-time closings to our mortgage customers,” he said. ”Through the Simplifile Collaboration service, we are able to work with our settlement partners in real time, which creates a more streamlined closing process and ultimately leads to a better borrowing experience for the customer.”Simplifile Collaboration enables lenders to share, receive, and validate documents and data with settlement partners via a protected platform and provides clarity into settlement partner processes. The system also automatically notes file changes, updates, deficiencies, and statuses to craft an audit-ready compliance trail, according to the press release.Paul Clifford, President of Simplifile, said that Simplifile will spark lenders and providers to hold more conversations regarding the closing process. “The importance of true collaboration between lenders and settlement providers in the post-TRID era cannot be overstated,” he said. “By facilitating direct, real-time interaction, Simplifile Collaboration provides a consistent, secure, auditable means of completing key mortgage loan documents in accordance with TRID.” Freedom Mortgage Joins the Simplifile Network in Headlines, News, Technologycenter_img Share January 18, 2017 755 Views last_img read more