KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Kenyan forces fought suspected al-Shabab members in a village close to the northeastern town where a massacre of college students took place last month, according to the interior ministry.The ministry said in a statement Friday that the security forces on Thursday evening “thwarted an attempted attack” after the residents of Yumbis village, Garissa county, spotted armed militants in the area and alerted the authorities. Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories “Security forces swiftly mobilized and engaged the militants in a gun battle,” the statement said, adding that there were no casualties.The ministry later posted a Twitter update saying the security forces had ambushed an al-Shabab “mob” that had been harassing Yumbis residents for food and water. No more details were given.Al-Shabab, which has ties with al-Qaida, has launched several attacks inside Kenya in retaliation over Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia, where the Kenyan military is part of African Union forces battling the militants.Despite being driven out of many of its strongholds in Somalia over the years — and losing many of its top leaders in U.S. air strikes — the Islamic extremist group is still able to carry out lethal attacks across the country and over the border in Kenya, which shares a porous border with Somalia.Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for an April 2 assault on Garissa University College, the deadliest militant attack on Kenyan territory with 148 people killed.Kenyan officials are reportedly pondering the construction of a wall along the border with Somalia as part of the government’s efforts to stem the attacks. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of LONDON (AP) — The European Medicines Agency says it has started a review of cervical cancer vaccines to see if they are linked to two rare conditions, but emphasized it hasn’t changed its recommendations for how the shots should be used.The vaccines against HPV have been used in more than 70 million people worldwide and prevent cancers caused by HPV, including those of the cervix and womb.In a statement issued on Monday, the European drug regulator said an investigation has started into a possible connection between the HPV vaccines and two conditions: complex regional pain syndrome, and POTS, a condition where the heart rate jumps abnormally after sitting or standing. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too Here's how to repair and patch damaged drywall Top Stories Comments Share Current HPV vaccine information doesn’t include warnings about these conditions and no causal link has been found.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J In time for the royal wedding, British Airways (BA), American Airlines (AA) and Iberia have switched up flight schedules across the North Atlantic, reducing the gap between peak hour take offs. Taking effect earlier this week, the airline trio created a ‘transatlantic shuttle service’ on its top US-UK routes aligning their arrival and departure times.Where there once was a wait of three hours, five of the 11 flights between Heathrow and New York now depart every hour between 1.00 pm and 8.00 pm, reducing the take off gap.The airlines have also split four flights between Chicago and London now evenly spaced to leave every hour as well as two of the three trips to Miami from London which once clashed, now have a one hour space between. “The joint business will also now give customers the chance to fly direct between New York (JFK) and Budapest starting from April 5, and between Chicago and Helsinki, both seven times a week on American Airlines from May 1,” a statement from BA read. BA is also increased its services between Gatwick and Cancun from two to three a week and is preparing to launch daily flights between San Diego and London, commencing from 1 June this year.Meanwhile, Iberia has commenced the first ever direct flight between Spain and California and is hoping to increase the three times weekly service in July or September this year.
NRMA Tourism and Leisure specialists will continue providing agents with “expert knowledge” CEO Keith Stanley explained, as the operator focuses on consolidating its products under the Adventure World brand.Commencing 1 July, Mr Stanley told e-Travel Blackboard the move to market Value Tours, Coral Seas and Creative Cruising under dual branding with Adventure World was designed to simplify the product model for agents as well as minimise marketing efforts without dissolving the company’s level of expertise. “I think it is more effective for us to support and manage the business,” he said.“We will still have specialists but the real benefit is it will be simpler for us to market, it will be more cost effective and make it simpler for our agents to deal with.“The team are still retaining the specialisation and are really focused on giving agents the best expert knowledge that we can offer.”Mr Stanley hinted that depending on the market’s response the dual branding is part of the company’s initiative to move the entire range under the Adventure World title “on a wholesale basis”.“[Adventure World] has a good reputation as a niche operator and we will leverage that in order to get a simplified model for our agents and our people,” he added. “The streamlining of systems, processes, and services offered to our valuable partners will improve our effectiveness. “In addition to having an exceptional range of wholesale product available, we will have the power to develop our range even further to satisfy the demand for unique experiences and adventures in comfort.”The announcement comes on the back of the successful launch this year of Cruise Adventures and Luxury Adventures to the product portfolio. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Emperor Penguins Antarctica Travellers to Antarctica were spoilt to see Emperor Penguins recently aboard the Le Boreal that was able to make its way South in the Weddell Sea to Snow Hill Island, where there is the colony of these penguins.An extremely rare event that has not been achieved in the past 10 years due to difficulty of access and pending weather conditions, another vessel that attempted this a few seasons ago was trapped in ice for days.The largest of the penguin family and stars of ‘Happy Feet’ and ‘March of the Penguins’, Emperor Penguins tend to stay far south than most Antarctic passenger vessels can reach. The opportunity for travellers to witness such a rare sight was the result of Expedition Leader Larry Hobbs, who studied the ice charts in advance, receiving the forecast that the ice was likely to shift further south than normal. A mixture of good weather conditions and the ability of the Le Boreal’s speed and stability meant the ship was able to accomplish this landing.Antarctica remains one of the most unique and beautiful places in the world, unmatched by its vast expanses of ice untouched by civilisation. The combination of adventure and the wonder of nature have lured the most enthusiastic of voyages to Antarctica and for the past 20 years Abercrombie & Kent have been offering award winning cruises to the destination.A&K’s new cruiser vessel, Le Boreal takes travellers into the heart of this pristine wilderness, and face-to-face with nature at its best, with the highest standards in comfort, design and safety and journeys are accompanied by an expert group of lecturers and researchers. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W
Full VIP treatment for the VIP famil members, including TravelManagers’ Jodie Payne (back row, centre)TravelManagers join 400-strong Invasion Force on NZ Mega FamilWhat do you get if you cross 400 Australian travel agents with four million Kiwis? A New Zealand mega-famil incorporating 21 different tailor-made itineraries covering activities such as skiing, cycling, wine-tasting and even bridge-swinging… plus everything in between.Billed as “Six Days. Two Airlines. One Destination,” the All-Stars famil was hosted by Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Tourism New Zealand and aimed to give Australian travel agents a taste of the best New Zealand has to offer. To qualify, agents had to take an online quiz, after which 400 lucky agents from a range of states, agencies and years of experience were selected.Sarena Taylor (far left) and her group didn’t let Alexandra’s chilly spring weather interrupt their enjoyment of the South Island’s beautiful Central Otago regionFor Sarena Taylor, representative for Erina in New South Wales, qualifying for the famil was an opportunity to make a visit she describes as long overdue.“This famil has been a total game changer as to how I can now sell New Zealand for many different types of travellers,” she says. “I got to experience many outdoor and adventurous activities, plus I experienced and inspected hotels and restaurants that I can now highly recommend to clients, that I would not have known anything about if I hadn’t participated.”The lucky participants paid just A$200 to take part in the famil, with 21 different itineraries that focused on particular regions or interests.For TravelManagers’ Vicki Hope, representative for Heathcote, NSW, that meant six days exploring the North Island’s Far North as part of “Team Hone Heke”. Named for a nineteenth-century Maori chief and war leader whose exploits are legendary among Kiwis, the team had the opportunity to brush up on New Zealand’s history and experience a spine-tingling display of Maori culture during their visit to Waitangi.According to Hope, another highlight was a visit to Waipoua Forest.“The Footprints Night tour to see the ‘Father of the Forest’, (a Kauri tree estimated to be 4,000 years old), was completely magical. To be in an ancient forest at night, with 30 flashlights showing the way along a wooden boardwalk, listening to native birds including Kiwis calling in the darkness – it was amazing.”Like Hope, Louise Gillogly, representative for Parkes, NSW, was a member of Team Hone Heke. Despite having spent time in the South Island six years previously, this was her first visit to the North Island.“I think visiting any destination makes it so much easier to sell and clients love hearing about your personal experiences. I actually booked a family of six for two weeks, departing in January 2016, the day before I left for New Zealand, so I’m looking forward to passing on some of my new experiences to them!”All of the famil itineraries commenced in Auckland with an educational workshop and welcome event before agents departed on their tailor-made itineraries. This is the second year this mega-famil concept has operated by Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia in conjunction with Tourism New Zealand, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.In fact, Michelle Kingston, representative for Pacific Pines in Queensland, had seriously considered pulling out of the famil due to illness.“I’m so glad I didn’t cancel. The coach driver, the guides and the other agents on board all made the trip fantastic. Everything ran smoothly and we got to see and do so much,” she says.“I will now be able to help several clients who are going to New Zealand next year to do very similar itineraries to mine. I’ve brought home a lot of maps, brochures, travel guides and books which I will use to show the areas and offer extra pre-booked items to their itineraries.”Fiordland’s famously-high rainfall produces a backdrop of endless waterfalls on Jodie Payne’s overnight Fiordland cruiseJodie Payne, representative for Cranbrook in Queensland, was fortunate to be selected for the VIP itinerary which included a helicopter ride to Waiheke Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf for a zip-lining adventure followed by a winery lunch, and an overnight cruise in the South Island’s stunning fiords.“This really was one of the best famils I have been on – it definitely exceeded my expectations, and at such a low cost for such high end activities and experiences. I know I will never be able to see New Zealand like this again.”Helen Rolton, representative for Richmond in Victoria agrees. Originally a South Islander herself, she enjoyed the opportunity to experience the destination from the perspective of a guided coach tour.“Seeing the reaction to New Zealand of the people that hadn’t been there before has also inspired me to promote my expertise and knowledge and get around to organising the walking tours I’ve been wanting to do since joining TravelManagers,” she says.Michael Gazal, Executive General Manager for TravelManagers, says the company is thrilled to support initiatives like the All-Stars Mega-Famil.“The itineraries offer such amazing value for money – there’s simply no way that our personal travel managers (PTMs) could pack as much first-hand experience into such a short space of time for just $200. Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Tourism New Zealand have set a very high standard that we hope to see them continue in the future.”“In the meantime,” he adds, “our clients will benefit from the fresh experience and enthusiasm for selling New Zealand holidays that our seven PTMs have brought home with them and shared with their colleagues.”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 480 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. become a Personal Travel Manager herejoin here Source = TravelManagers Australia
Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin celebrate the unveiling of Steve Irwin’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (credit: Lucas Rossi Photography)Steve Irwin’s Hollywood Star to shine for Sunshine Coast tourismNorth American promotional campaign launched to fuel American growthThe unveiling today of a ‘star’ on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Steve Irwin is set to continue the strong profile of his Sunshine Coast home in the North American market.Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin, were in Hollywood at the unveiling along with some of their closest friends and family from around the world. The newest star is fittingly located directly outside the ‘Iguana Vintage Store’.Terri Irwin said Steve would have been chuffed at the award: “Steve always said that he hoped his message of conservation would live on forever. It means the world to us that Steve’s memory will live on in so many ways, including now on the internationally recognised Hollywood Walk of Fame.“We’re thrilled that so many people have joined us today in khaki to celebrate. It’s wonderful that there are lots of people back home on the Sunshine Coast celebrating too,” said Terri.Visit Sunshine Coast has worked closely with the Irwin family to gain the Hollywood recognition for Steve, who played a key role in elevating Sunshine Coast tourism through the establishment of Australia Zoo.Steve’s popularity in the American market was complemented by the success of his daughter, Bindi, who attracted national and international publicity by finishing as the winner of the top-rating US Dancing with the Stars TV show in 2015.“The Irwins – Steve, Terri, Bindi and Robert – have been great ambassadors for the Sunshine Coast, and they have always been passionate about promoting the region around the world, and particularly in America, where the Hollywood star reflects his legendary status,” said Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Latchford.Mr Latchford said that the American market had been one of the Sunshine Coast’s most powerful international markets over the past five years.“In 2012, the Sunshine Coast was attracting 71,000 room nights annually from the USA worth $5.5 million, but by the end of 2017 that had almost tripled to 190,000 room nights, generating $15.6 million in income for local operators. And Americans stay for over 20 nights on average, sharing their dollars across the region,” said Mr Latchford.“There are many attractive beach destinations in Australia, but to be able to offer attractions of the quality and integrity as Australia Zoo gives us a competitive edge. The fact that it has a backdrop of the Glass House Mountains also highlights our overall ‘naturally refreshing’ message.”Mr Latchford said that Visit Sunshine Coast was capitalising on Steve Irwin’s Hollywood star with a major promotional campaign in America, starting with the donation of a substantial auction prize at the Steve Irwin Gala Dinner in Beverly Hills on 5 May. Funds raised from the auction will go to Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, the charity Steve and Terri created in 2002 for the global conservation of wildlife and wild places.The auction prize includes over $5000 worth of inclusions from Sunshine Coast operators, with a major emphasis on natural escapes, and includes a private Wildlife Hospital tour at Australia Zoo with Bindi Irwin.In addition, Visit Sunshine Coast has partnered with leading North American outbound travel agent Goway Travel, along with Australia Zoo and Tourism Events Queensland to launch a major trade and retail campaign in North America to coincide with the Steve Irwin star accolade.The campaign focuses heavily on educating North American travel agents on the Sunshine Coast destination and is being delivered through numerous media platforms, including two dedicated Sunshine Coast webinars, blog posts, flyers, online advertising and press releases. Agents will also have the chance to win one of six spots on an all-inclusive Sunshine Coast Famil Trip which will take place in the final quarter of 2018, with Fiji Airways as the airline partner.Mr Latchford said that Goway Travel were specialists in the Australian market and would be able to tap into both experienced travellers and potential new visitors to Australia.“Having the Irwins championing the Sunshine Coast really gives us a unique entree to the American travel market because Steve’s face and name still resonates so strongly in the market,” he said.“They love big characters and Steve was deeply popular with Americans for his incredible enthusiasm and energy, and his ability to mix adventure with a true commitment to conservation.“The timing of the campaign is perfect as the American economy and dollar are at their strongest levels for many years, and airline capacity from North America has grown substantially over the past few years.”Source = Visit Sunshine Coast
Dream Cruises is collaborating with Sony Pictures Animation to host thematic sailings of Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation, the latest instalment of the animated movie franchise, aboard Genting Dream and World Dream this summer. From May 25 to August 31 2018, guests will enjoy fun experiences and amenities aboard Asia’s mega cruise ships as they cruise to summer idyllic destinations in Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand – their journeys at sea will be complemented by the company of their favourite legendary monsters through meet-and-greet, bedtime storytelling, costume parties and their ultimate monster fantasy.Thatcher Brown, President of Dream Cruises said, “We are pleased to enrich the summer sailings of Dream Cruises with the cast of Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation aboard our new ships Genting Dream and World Dream. Our onboard teams are excited to deliver Dream Cruise vacations where these lovable monsters – as seen in the movie – will come to life. Fun and great entertainment are a big part of what Dream Cruises offers our guests in innovative ways. Our guests will enjoy the privilege to interact with their favourite characters throughout their summer voyage.”“As our monster family takes a family cruise adventure in the film, worldwide audiences will be inspired to go on cruises of their own which makes Dream Cruises an ideal partner for Hotel Transylvania 3,” averred Jeffrey Godsick, Executive Vice-President, Brand Strategy and Global Partnerships, Sony Pictures Entertainment.Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation releases in cinemas from July 12, 2018.In Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation, join our favourite monster family as they embark on a vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can take a summer vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel. It’s smooth sailing for Drac’s Pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to exotic excursions and catching up on their moon tans. But the dream vacation takes a dangerous turn when Mavis realizes Drac has fallen for the human captain of the ship, Ericka, who holds a mysterious secret that threatens them all. Directed by GenndyTartakovsky and written by Genndy Tartakovsky and Michael McCullers, the film is produced by Michelle Murwdocca.
Agents & Brokers Barack Obama Confidence Existing-Home Sales Federal Reserve FHA First-Time Homebuyers Fixed-Rate Mortgage Home Prices Home Sales Housing Affordability HUD Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Realtors Pending-Home Prices Processing Refinance S & P Index Service Providers Underwriting Standards Valuation 2011-11-03 Ryan Schuette November 3, 2011 430 Views An October ""HUD scorecard"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=OctNat2011_Scorecard.pdf released Thursday by the Obama administration portrayed the housing market as one beset by mixed circumstances over September and the months before.[IMAGE]A still-heavy foreclosure glut matched with declining home values and prices left the market slightly worse for the wear in some areas.""Housing data available through September underscore market fragility and paint a mixed picture of recovery,"" the report began. Despite some progress claimed by the Obama administration, ""we have much more work to do to reach the many households who still face trouble and to help the market recover,"" ""HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/about/principal_staff/assistant_secretary_bostic said in a statement.""To help responsible homeowners, we have to make it easier for people to refinance at interest rates that are now near 4% ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô putting hundreds of dollars in real savings back in their pockets each month, and giving a boost to our fragile economy,"" he added.The report measured up home prices, home sales, and [COLUMN_BREAK]refinance originations, finding declines for some and stabilization for others.The ""Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index"":http://www.standardandpoors.com/indices/sp-case-shiller-home-price-indices/en/us/?indexId=spusa-cashpidff--p-us recorded home prices falling from approximately 148,000 in September last year to 142,000 this year.New home sales stayed largely the same this year as compared with last year, hovering at around 26,000 over the time frame, while existing-home sales rose from approximately 365,000 last year to top 409,000 during the same month this year.Mortgage refinance originations on record meanwhile fell from nearly 1.3 million in September last year to about 964,000 over the same time frame this year.The findings track pending-home sales figures reported last week by the ""National Association of Realtors"":http://www.realtor.org/ (NAR), which reported a 6.4-percent boost over September this year in contrast with numbers from the same time last year ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô still overwhelmingly weak, historically speaking.""A combination of weak consumer confidence and continuing tight lending criteria held back home buyers, even though the private sector added nearly 2 million net new jobs in the past 12 months,"" ""Lawrence Yun"":http://www.realtor.org/research/chief_economist_bio, the trade group's chief economist, said of the pending-home sales figures in a statement.A positive portrayal of efforts in housing by the Obama administration also met with less favorable consumer sentiment, with a recent ""Thomas Reuters/University of Michigan index"":http://thomsonreuters.com/products_services/financial/financial_products/a-z/umichigan_surveys_of_consumers/ finding pessimism among customers in October.The survey found that 57 percent of all consumers regard current federal policies in an unfavorable light ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the highest ever assessed by the index. Sixty-one percent of respondents reported feeling less favorably toward the ""Federal Reserve"":http://www.federalreserve.gov/ that month. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing HUD Scorecard Delivers Mixed Results for Housing Share
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2011-12-21 Abby Gregory Texas-based ""Supreme Lending"":http://corporate.supremelending.com/ is expanding its reach, with the recent announcement that the company added branches in Alabama. The five new locations, which are spread throughout the Southern state, are part of Supreme's growth strategy plan for 2012.[IMAGE]Currently, Supreme's Alabama branches close nearly $500 million mortgages per year. Supreme's decision to extend its service area builds on the company's proprietary technologies and its in-house operations for underwriting, closing, and funding loans.Commenting on the Alabama project, Supreme's senior vice president and national production manager, James Iley, said, [COLUMN_BREAK]""We have aggressive growth goals for 2012 and these new branch managers, who are some of the top producers in Alabama, are a big part of meeting those goals. This is just the beginning of our expansion efforts for the coming year. We have plans to continue our southeast expansion with branches in Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky as well as a major addition in Florida."" It's worth noting that Iley, a recent hire for Supreme, was added to the company's personnel to continue and solidify its plans for expansion. Shannon Fortner, a manager with Supreme's Huntsville, Alabama, branch said of the company's recent moves, ""My number one goal is to provide the best service to my prospects, customers and referral sources. With James Iley's direction, Supreme Lending's reputation, and the company's commitment to using the best, most modern technologies, I knew that my objectives would be completely supported. Joining Supreme isn't just a big win for me, it's a big win for everyone I do business with.""├âÔÇÜ├é┬áBy facilitating a unique combination of offerings, Supreme's loan officers are able to provide customers with cost savings and a streamlined experience throughout the mortgage cycle. Supreme is currently licensed in 40 states around the U.S., and the company states that it is actively adding employees and branches in its locations around the country. Share Texas Lender Expands Into Southern Region December 21, 2011 400 Views
Agents & Brokers Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2012-07-09 Tory Barringer July 9, 2012 388 Views in Origination, Servicing The ""Gulf Coast Mortgage Bankers Association"":http://www.gulfcoastmba.org/ has a new president.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]Academy Mortgage Corporation announced Monday that sales manager Joe Adamaitis was inducted as president into the Gulf Coast chapter of the MBA.Adamaitis possesses 30 years of mortgage industry experience, serving as a VP of the Gulf Coast MBA between 2011 and 2012. He is also a member of the Mortgage Alliance of Southwest Florida, which was formed to offer leadership and education to both the industry and the public and to promote high professional standards and service. He is also an avid writer and is expected to release his third mortgage-related publication in fall 2012. Adamaitis said his priority it to unite all those in the mortgage industry.""We are all faced with numerous issues confronting the housing markets and how we do our business,"" he said. ""We must continue and expand our community service. We must continue to give back to the people we serve and united with our Realtor partners with continued education as it relates to serious regulatory pressures on us all."" Mortgage Sales Manager Named President of Gulf Coast MBA Share
The ""Consumer Financial Protection Bureau"":http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ (CFPB) announced Steve Antonakes will serve as acting deputy director while the agency continues searching for a replacement for departing deputy director Raj Date.[IMAGE]""CFPB announced in November"":https://themreport.com/articles/cfpb-deputy-director-to-leave-bureau-2012-11-14 that Date would depart at the end of January 2013.Antonakes' background includes more than two decades as a financial services regulator. He began his professional career as an entry level bank examiner with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Banks in 1990, serving in managerial positions before being [COLUMN_BREAK]appointed by successive governors to serve as the commissioner of banks from December 2003 to November 2010. In addition, he served as the first state voting member of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), as the vice chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), and as a founding member of the governing board of the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS).Antonakes first joined CFPB in November 2010 as the assistant director of large bank supervision and was named the associate director for supervision, enforcement, and fair lending in June 2012. As he assumes his temporary role, he will maintain responsibility for his current associate director duties.""We will be forever grateful to Deputy Director Raj Date for his tremendous work to protect American consumers,"" said CFPB director Richard Cordray. ""Although we will miss Raj, he has helped to build a strong, talented team and I am pleased that Steve will be taking on the role of acting deputy director.""Steve's knowledge, expertise, and judgment will continue to be invaluable as we move forward with our important work--making markets work for consumers and responsible businesses."" in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing January 31, 2013 408 Views Share CFPB,CFPB Announces Acting Deputy Director as Date Departs Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-01-31 Tory Barringer
California-based ""DocMagic, Inc."":https://www.docmagic.com/, a provider of fully-compliant loan document preparation, compliance, and eDelivery solutions, announced it has received approval from Fifth Third Mortgage Company as an eDelivery and eSignature vendor for correspondent lenders who sell to the bank.According to the bank, Fifth Third will now permit electronic delivery and signature of eligible initial disclosure documents from approved correspondent sellers that utilize DocMagic as an eServices vendor. The bank must approve the use of any eServices vendors in advance.""We're delighted by this approval and expect this to open up potential relationships between our existing clients and Fifth Third's correspondent division,"" said Tim Anderson, director of eServices for DocMagic. ""This will also create [COLUMN_BREAK]opportunities for existing Fifth Third correspondents to take advantage of DocMagic's free eSign technology and our industry-leading compliance services.""[IMAGE] Fifth Third Approves DocMagic for Correspondent eServices in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology June 18, 2013 440 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News DocMagic Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-06-18 Tory Barringer Share
Census Bureau Homebuilders Private Construction Residential Construction 2014-03-03 Tory Barringer in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News Share Construction spending saw an unexpected—albeit slight—uptick in January, according to monthly data released by the Census Bureau.The government’s latest report shows spending on all construction projects was up 0.1 percent from December, coming to an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of $943.1 billion. That figure is 9.3 percent ahead of January 2013’s estimate of $863.1 billion.Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.5 percent decline in spending to follow December’s originally reported 0.1 percent improvement.Private construction spending led the way, gaining 0.5 percent month-over-month to an annual adjusted rate of $670.8 billion. Spending on private homebuilding projects was at a rate of $359.9 billion, 1.1 percent above December’s revised estimate.Breaking down the numbers, spending on new single-family construction was at a rate of $186.0 billion, up 2.3 percent month-over-month, while multifamily spending came to $36.3 billion, up just 1.0 percent.On the public side, spending was down 0.8 percent to an adjusted rate of $272.3 billion, with residential projects contributing about $4.5 billion (down 13.4 percent compared to December). March 3, 2014 458 Views January Construction Spending Beats Forecast
Share Mortgage interest rates stayed fairly level this week, settling in ahead of Friday's August jobs report.Freddie Mac released on Thursday the results of its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, showing the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) coming in at 4.10 percent (0.5 point) for a third straight week, the lowest level seen so far this year.The 15-year fixed average was down slightly, dropping 1 basis point to 3.24 percent (0.5 point).It was a similar story for adjustable rates, with the 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged a rate of 2.97 percent (0.5 point), unchanged from last week, and the 1-year ARM averaging 2.40 percent (0.4 point), up from 2.39 percent previously.The numbers coming from Bankrate.com's weekly survey were similar, with the 30-year fixed average moving up a point to 4.24 percent and the 15-year fixed moving down a point to 3.37 percent. The 5/1 ARM moved slightly more, dropping 7 basis points to 3.25 percent.While it's been a tame summer for mortgage rate movements, analysts at Bankrate say it's only a matter of time before that steadiness ends, especially as economic improvements spur policymakers at the Federal Reserve to stop holding interest rates down as much."If we get another upbeat jobs report this week, the bond market could begin to realize that higher interest rates are an eventuality, leading mortgage rates higher," they said in a release.As for what will happen next week, expert opinions are split between an increase and no meaningful change."[W]hen rates do rise, they won't go up gradually, like a gently sloping hill. They'll march upward in steps, like a flight of stairs," said Holden Lewis, assistant managing editor at Bankrate. "That first step might be a doozy. It might happen in the coming week (doubtful) or months from now." in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Bankrate Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac Mortgage Rates 2014-09-04 Tory Barringer Fixed Mortgage Rates Hold for Third Straight Week September 4, 2014 472 Views
Metro Areas Facing Growing Inequality May 11, 2015 469 Views Gini Index Metro Area Homeownership Inequality National Association of Realtors 2015-05-11 Staff Writer Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News, Origination According to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) recent study, rising prices of homes have helped homeowners build housing wealth, but the research found a worsening inequality in homeownership gains in metro areas.The study estimated wealth and income inequality in 100 of the largest metropolitan statistical areas across the U.S. based on homeownership rates, changes in single-family median home prices, and a measure of inequality (the Gini Index) between 2010 and 2013.In more than 90 percent of metro areas, homeownership declined when the value of homes rose and income remained constant, the study says. Also, the distribution of wealth was found to be more unequal in places with low homeownership rates. This includes pricey areas such as Los Angeles, New York, and San Diego.“Homeownership plays a pivotal role in the U.S. economy and has historically been one of the primary sources of wealth accumulation for middle class families,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Home prices have steadily recovered in most metro areas in the past five years, providing a boost of $5 trillion in housing wealth (from the downturn’s cyclical low) for homeowners during this time.”When renting households cannot become homeowners this leaves them behind financially, he adds. Rises in home values and declining mortgage balances means a higher net worth for a homeowner. In contrast, renters endure rising rental costs and are not likely to invest in the stock market.“Unfortunately, due to an underperforming labor market, insufficient housing supply, and overly-stringent underwriting standards since the recession, homeownership has plunged to a rate not seen in over two decades,” Yun said. “As a result, the country has become more unequal as the number of homeowners has fallen while the number of renters has significantly risen.”The study observed different levels of inequality by finding the change in the number of owners and renters during times when home values are up. The researched showed that from 2010 to 2013, 93 out of 100 markets encountered a declining homeownership rate.Metro areas such as Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Fresno, CA, and San Diego have the most unequal wealth distribution due to low homeownership rates and greater inequality because renters usually have a lower net worth than homeowners, the study showed.“Changes in wealth during this period are especially profound in high cost metro areas that have seen robust price growth,” Yun said. “For instance, a typical homeowner in San Jose, CA., enjoyed an increase of $210,671 in housing wealth while renters were left behind and likely exposed to annual rent increases.”The study also used the Gini Index to emphasize the fact that wealth and inequality are growing across the county and discovered that 93 out of the 100 reviewed metro areas show a rising index. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, New York, Miami, and New Orleans have the most unequal distribution of income according to the data.“The decline in homeownership has serious implications for our economy and is currently leading to a more unequal America,” Yun said. “Although better economic conditions should eventually open the door for more prospective buyers, improving access to mortgage products to creditworthy borrowers and ramping up new home construction–especially to entry-level buyers–will help ensure the opportunity is there for more American households to enjoy the potential wealth benefits and long-term stability homeownership provides.”
Mortgage Loan Closings Mortgage Loan Originator 2016-08-17 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Lenders Win When Originators Attend the Closing While lenders have long touted the value have having the originator of a mortgage loan attend the closing, a recent analysis from STRATMOR Group uncovered added benefits.According to STRATMOR Group’s Insights report for August 2016, originators should attend the closing if for no other reason than potential sales and marketing benefits that come from meeting the realtor and buyer. But for the originator, there is also the benefit of potential contact with the seller.The data collected from STRATMOR’s MortgageSAT Borrower Satisfaction Program (year-to-date in 2016 through July) showed that not only does borrower increase by 7 percent when the 0riginator attends the closing, but the “Likelihood to Use Again” category also went up.The buyer was also more likely to recommend the lender (primarily to family and friends) and more likely to comment favorably on social media when the originator was present during the closing, according to the analysis.“The increase in borrower satisfaction when the originator attends the closing also hints at one reason why Borrower Satisfaction for the Retail Channel is higher than for the Consumer Direct Channel, for which loan originators are tied to a call center and cannot attend the Closing,” the report stated.The analysis from STRATMOR found that while there is a theoretical cost associated with loan originators attending closings, originators who closed an average of three to five loans per week it ended up using up an average of only about 5 to 10 percent of their available hours, assuming a 40-hour work week.“Based on these findings, it appears that requiring retail loan originators to attend their loan closings is likely to be very cost effective—and it requires virtually no capital investment,” the report stated. “Originator attendance at loan closings can have a positive impact on borrower satisfaction with potential marketing and sales benefits. To us, this is a ‘low hanging fruit’ opportunity.”Click here to view the entire report. August 17, 2016 748 Views Share
in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News On Wednesday, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray testified before the Financial Services Committee in a hearing titled “The 2016 Semi-Annual Reports of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.”In his opening statement, Financial Services Committee Charmin Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) expressed surprise at Cordray’s appearance at the hearing, citing the president’s ability to remove the Director at will and reports that Cordray was to pursue an Ohio gubernatorial bid.“There is no greater form of consumer protection than fostering competitive, innovative, and transparent markets, and then vigorously policing them for fraud, theft and deception,” said Hensarling. “In policing our markets, under Mr. Cordray’s leadership, the CFPB’s success record is anything but clear.”According to Hensarling, the CFPB has shown an “utter disregard for protecting our markets and has made credit more expensive and less available.” Rather than acting as a “cop on the beat,” Hensarling called the Bureau the “Judge, Jury, and prosecutor all rolled up into one.”Ranking Committee Member Maxine Waters (D-California) shared her support of the Bureau.“Republicans have been clamoring to destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since its inception,” said Water. “There are constituents in every state who have been ripped off by financial institutions. Why aren’t Republicans fighting for them or their financial security?”“I will continue to stand up for the hardworking consumers, whom the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau stands up for every day,” Waters continued.In his prepared remarks, Cordray defended the role of the CFPB, especially given the current debate surrounding the Bureau.“Years of uneven federal oversight on behalf of consumers allowed a lot of bad behavior to go unchecked,” Cordray’s remarks state. “As the independent consumer watchdog, we are solely focused on the job Congress gave us of assuring that these markets are fair, transparent, and competitive and consumers have access to sound financial products and services. Today, I want to highlight some areas where people remain vulnerable without the Consumer Bureau to stand up for them.”More on this story as it breaks. Watch the hearing here. April 5, 2017 529 Views CFPB hearing 2017-04-05 Seth Welborn Financial Services Committee Holds Semi-Annual CFPB Hearing Share
Housing Demand 2017-08-04 Brianna Gilpin According to CNBC who cited Redfin, the same amount of people are looking at homes, so why is the percentage of submitted contracts going down? See why in the Video Spotlight.Housing demand strengthens through summer, but here's why some buyers are giving up from CNBC. Sign On the Dotted Line in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Media, News August 4, 2017 590 Views Share
Blueberries in Charts: Mexico sends record volumes ... The U.S. will soon impose a 17.5% tariff on Mexican tomato imports, after the Commerce Department confirmed the country had withdrawn from a 2013 agreement that suspended a U.S. anti-dumping investigation.“The Department of Commerce remains committed to ensuring that American domestic industries are protected from unfair trading practices,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a statement on Tuesday. “We remain optimistic that there will be a negotiated solution.”The tariff will go into effect in about a week, Reuters reported on Tuesday evening.The U.S. Commerce Department said in early February that the U.S. would resume an anti-dumping investigation into Mexican tomatoes, withdrawing from The Tomato Suspension Agreement that halted the investigation as long as Mexican producers sold their tomatoes above a pre-determined price. Many U.S. tomato growers and lawmakers say that deal has failed. But while many in the U.S. tomato industry welcome the withdrawal from the Tomato Suspension Agreement, critics say that the move is unjustified and could lead to immediate and significant price rises for U.S. consumers.The Commerce Department said tariffs could be refunded if a subsequent investigation finds no unfair pricing.Mexico exports around US$2 billion worth of tomatoes to the U.S. annually.The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) said in a statement on Tuesday it is disappointed the agreement has been terminated, saying it had been "an important tool in protecting over 33,000 American jobs and creating stability in the marketplace"."Many entities appealed for the signature of a new or revised Tomato Suspension Agreement. To that end, FPAA would like to acknowledge the efforts of our members, their growers, the Congressional Delegation, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, and many others," it said in a statement."It is our understanding that the Mexican growers put several proposals on the table to improve an already-effective agreement. Despite the fact that the agreement has been terminated, our hope is that Commerce continues to work in good faith with the growers in Mexico to negotiate a new agreement that balances concerns of growers in Florida with the need to protect our robust trading relationship." U.S. FDA investigates multistate cyclospora outbre ... You might also be interested in The calm before the storm: Undersupplied U.S. tabl ... May 07 , 2019 Mexican berry growers' sales dip amid U.S. border ...