Voyager Travel buys Lets Go Australia to boost Japanese business

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> In a bid to boost West Australian and Japanese travel markets, Australian-based TMC, Voyager Travel Corporation today announced the acquisition of corporate and luxury leisure company, Lets Go Australia.Lets GO Australia, focussing on West Australian and Japanese speaking markets, will now provide its entire corporate client base to Voyager Travel, which will further enhance services with its in-house online booking engine, Serko and business intelligence reporting tool, Zuno. “The acquisition of Lets Go Australia helps cement Voyager Travel Corporation as one of the top corporate agencies in Western Australia and the resources sector overall,” Voyager Travel, CEO, Richard Savva said.“Acquiring Lets Go Australia allows Voyager to provide specialised Japan travel services such as fluent Japanese speaking consultants and direct booking and ticketing capabilities for the Japan Rail Network to organisations with Japanese senior executives based in Australia and companies who conduct business in Japan.”Lets Go Australia already employs dedicated Japanese speaking staff, which Voyager Travel expect will leverage across its offices to ensure service standards remain high, according to the company. “One thing that will not change is Voyager Travel Corporation’s commitment to personal service to our clients.  Voyager provides complete accountability with our 100 percent service guarantee backed up by a team of professional travel consultants, each with an average of over 16 years of travel experience. We look forward to welcoming Lets Go Australia’s customers into the Voyager fold,” Mr Savva said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.Mlast_img read more

American Airlines to charge Travelport agents

first_imgFrom February next year, travel agents based outside the United States who book American Airlines (AA) using a Travelport global distribution system can expect to be hit with a per sector charge.In a letter to travel agents, AA sales vice president Derek DeCross said that, “owing primarily to dramatic booking fee increases very recently notified to American by Travelport”, agents will have to bear the brunt of the cost hike to keep AA “sustainable”.“[T]o the extent that you [the travel agent] particularly value the service of one of these GDSs, American will ask you to absorb their cost premium to American,” Mr DeCross’ letter read.According to Mr DeCross, asking the travel agents (and consequently their clients) to pay these costs is “necessary to bring the net cost of such GDSs reasonably in line with the cost to American of other GDSs and distribution platforms available in the marketplace”. “[T]hese GDSs have become significantly more expensive to American than all other booking platforms in the affected international markets,” Mr DeCross said.Australian travel agents who use a Travelport GDS will be charged AUD11.95 per sector, Canadians will be charged CAD2.05, Chinese CNY143.44, Indonesians IDR131,717.50and New Zealanders NZD17.29. Despite advising AA will continue to distribute fares through Travelport GDSs, Mr DeCross’ letter went on to inform agents of GDSs which will not be charged, including AA’s own Direct Connect.Travelport GDS president and chief executive Gordon Wilson made very clear Travelport “does not condone” the actions of AA to impose additional charges where Travelport is being used as the GDS.“Through this action, AA is penalising the very people who deliver valuable revenue to AA in these international markets,” Mr Wilson said.“It is quite clear that as any additional charges by AA will effectively be borne by consumers, the true cost of booking AA will need to be shown to consumers at the point where a buying decision is made so that consumers can make an informed choice about which carrier to fly,” Earlier this month Travelport lodged a complaint in an Illinois court, suing AA for attempting to block online travel agency Orbitz’s ability to sell AA flights, Bloomberg reported.“Travelport remains committed to resolving the dispute with AA which has arisen through what Travelport regards as an attempt by AA to force travel agencies into their Direct Connect model thereby inhibiting consumer choice between multiple airline providers, pushing more costs to travel agencies and resulting in a less efficient and fair industry model,” Mr Wilson said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.Alast_img read more

Ashes fans to be bowled over by Aussie prices

first_imgA UK survey has identified Australia as one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the world, which doesn’t bode well for the legion of English fans planning to follow the Ashes cricket series around Australia next summer – a tour that lasts over six weeks. The UK Post Office Travel Money study compared the cost of eight holiday items, including a meal out, a coffee, a beer and oddly, a packet of cigarettes across 42 destinations.According to the Press Association, the total cost of the items in South Korea and Australia, the two dearest destinations, were AU$224 and AU$222 respectively, compared to just $55 in the cheapest places on the list, Spain’s Costa del Sol and the southwest region of Sri Lanka.  Other expensive destinations included New Zealand ($195), China ($178) and Canada ($168).  A three-course dinner for two adults, including a bottle of house wine, amounted to $187 in Seoul, while the same meal cost just $37 in Sri Lanka. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H The Barmy Army will need to pack plenty of cash, as well as sunscreen, on their next visit Down Under. Image: Joe Armaolast_img read more

CTM recognised as one of Australias most innovative

first_imgCTM recognised as one of Australia’s most innovativeCorporate Travel Management (CTM; ASX CTD) has again been recognised as one of Australia’s most innovative companies, for its ongoing commitment to delivering innovation in its business model and service offering.CTM was ranked 37th on the AFR Most Innovative Companies List, which was announced at last night’s gala, in Sydney.This is the second consecutive year the company has been recognised for its innovation practices, having made the prestigious list in 2015 as the only travel company in the top 50.CTM’s CEO Australia & New Zealand and Global COO Laura Ruffles said the award recognises a team dedicated to service excellence, who constantly strive to innovate in their delivery of new services that challenge and improve the status quo.“The award is a testament to our dedicated team who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure CTM continues to add value to clients through its global network, industry-leading software and client offering,” she said.Ms Ruffles said as millennials become larger stakeholders in company decision-making processes, technology is becoming increasingly integral to staying competitive and winning new business.“We’re taking corporate travel technology to new heights both here in Australia and across the globe, with the delivery of tools which utilise big data and predictive technology to better understand and deliver on the needs of corporate travellers” she said.“This year we’ve delivered our clients a ground breaking new online booking tool which consumerises the process of booking corporate travel, and the first native mobile booking app built in Australia. Not only does this put the user ‘front and centre’ of the booking experience, it brings a new level of innovation, speed and agility to the corporate travel technology landscape.”CTM provides travel management solutions to some of Australia’s biggest companies and recently.partnered with Coles to deliver the technology solution behind flybuys travel which allows members to earn and burn flybuys points when booking their leisure travel.Finalists for the AFR awards are selected by industry experts, before the winners are selected by a team of Inventium analysts.About CTM CTM is an award-winning provider of innovative and cost-effective travel management solutions to the corporate market. Its proven business strategy combines personalised service-excellence with client-facing technology solutions to deliver a return-on-investment to clients.Headquartered in Australia, the company employs over 2,200 FTE staff globally and services clients in 82 countries.Source = Corporate Travel Managementlast_img read more

New York bans commercial Airbnbstyle shortterm letting

first_imgNew York bans commercial Airbnb-style short-term letting New York’s ban on commercial short term lettings – and the advertising of non-conforming short terms stays – should provide a model for Australian jurisdictions, says Australia’s peak accommodation body, Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA).New York state law prohibits apartment owners from renting units for less than 30 days if they are not present, with fines of up to US$7500 for breaches. On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo approved a law that also outlawed advertising of short-term stays on sites such as Airbnb that violated the existing law.New York ban details Click HereThe New York law follows similar crackdowns in cities such as San Francisco, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam, while Dublin and London are also considering tightening regulations.The global move to curb commercial unregulated short-term accommodation comes less than a week after a NSW Legislative Assembly Inquiry recommended a reduction in regulation, a move that has been strongly opposed by resident/strata bodies and regulated accommodation operators.“It is ironic that at a time when city administrators across America and Europe are imposing major restrictions on unregulated commercial short-term accommodation operators that a NSW parliamentary committee should be advocating a softening of regulations,” said TAA CEO, Carol Giuseppi.“The overwhelming majority of listings for unregulated short term accommodation in Sydney are for full houses and flats involving no sharing, and increasingly the sector is being controlled by commercial operators with multiple properties available 365 days a year.“This is the same situation that has occurred in American and European cities and they have taken action to control the situation.“We call on Australian governments at all levels to take note and take action to protect residents, communities and regulated accommodation operators.“As in New York we want a very specific ceiling on the number of days an apartment or house can be let out on the short-term market and we want online distribution channels to be held responsible for ensuring these limits are not exceeded and that they advertise only properties that are compliant – meeting safety, insurance, body corporate, strata, council and state regulations.“We are not against genuine ‘sharing’, but we believe there needs to be sensible and proportional regulations imposed on non-resident commercial property owners – especially multiple-property investors – who rent out full properties for short term stays.”Source = Tourism Accommodation Australialast_img read more

Dont spend the earth to get to heaven

first_imgSource = Scoot – Tigerair Don’t spend the earth to get to heavenMore and more travelers are making the choice to save on the cost of airfares, and spend the savings on the ground at their destination. The success of Scoot, Singapore’s value for money airline, is a direct result of a public willing to give up frills in the air, for the dollars to spend down there.Now, thanks to Scoot and Tigerair, one of the most aspirational destinations, The Maldives, is achievable for many Australian travelers.Maldives can now be reached flying with Scoot to Singapore, and then connecting with Tigerair to Male, with a through fare from $199 one-way, Economy Fly fares, (bags and food extra) but including taxes, from Perth and Gold Coast from $249 Economy Fly fare and from Sydney or Melbourne from $259 Economy Fly Fare (bags and food extra).On sale from 0001 Mon 28th November 2016 – 2359 Sun 4th December 2016, (Perth/Singapore time) these fares are guaranteed to set people dreaming about an island Holiday. Travel is for 8th Feb through till 18th May 17 2017.* *Blackout periods may apply over school holidays and eventsEven better – The Small Maldives Island Co. is offering great rates from $750++ on Finolhu and $1500++ at Amilla Fushi – their stylish and contemporary luxurious Resorts in UNESCO world biosphere Baa Atoll.Amilla Fushi – literally meaning ‘My Island Home’ – effortlessly conjures a luxurious ‘homecoming’ feeling for first timers and old friends alike. Framing its lush jungle interiors, pristine sands and crystalline lagoons with clean lines and gleaming white surfaces, Amilla’s 59 Miami-meets-Maldives Island Homes beckon – while eight majestic four up to eight bedroom Residences (POA for serious interested buyers!) offer a capacious private beach haven for VVIP parties and families.A stylish and eclectic retreat with a buzzy bon-vivant vibe, Finolhu, is a refreshing, retro-inspired burst of fun for the region, bringing toes-in-the-sand relaxation to fun-loving beach-erati alongside the best DJs, live acts and most fabulously chic parties in the Maldives. Located in the UNESCO world biosphere of Baa Atoll (just 30 minutes by speedboat from sister resort Amilla Fushi) Finolhu is the ultimate island experience for chic couples, fun-loving families and gatherings of friends alike. Finolhu’s 125 villas come on the ocean, the lagoon or by the beach, with or without pool in either one or two bedroom options.Don’t dream about it do it!Book your air tickets at and and your accommodation at / www.finolhu.mvFinolhu SandBank About Scoot and TigerairBudget Aviation Holdings (“BAH”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Airlines Group (“SIA”) formed in 2016, owns and manages SIA’s low-cost carriers (“LCCs”) Scoot and Tigerair.  Scoot and Tigerair offer a combined network of 59 destinations over 16 countries across the Asia Pacific, with Scoot operating an all-787 Dreamliner fleet to medium-to-long-haul destinations and Tigerair offering short-to-medium-haul flights on its Airbus A320-family aircraft from Singapore.  Both airlines are part of Value Alliance, the world’s first pan-regional low-cost carrier alliance. Together, Scoot and Tigerair offer travellers exciting travel possibilities at exceptional value, while ensuring the highest standards of safety and reliability. Fly Tigerair Fly Scoot * Terms and Conditions Applylast_img read more

Tourist numbers up 5 in Northern Marianas

first_imgIn March tourist arrivals to the Northern Marianas continue to rise, up five percent to 42,539 visitors, with 40,613 visitors during the same period last year. According to the Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA), arrivals to the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota registered 42,539 visitors in March 2015, compared to 40,613 visitors received in March 2014.Arrivals from Korea soared 40% to 14,989 visitors. Jeju Air launched an additional daily flight to Saipan from Incheon beginning in late March, ensuring extremely rapid growth in the Korean arrivals for the remainder of this year.Arrivals from China also increased 31% in March to 16,246 visitors. The MVA also launched a variety of outdoor advertising campaigns in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu in support of China charter flights.last_img read more

Bahrain intends to increase tourism profits to 1 billion by 2020

first_imgBahrain witnessed an 8.4% increase in inbound traffic in the third quarter of 2016 and a peak of 1.4 million arrivals during the month of August 2016.The Gulf Kingdom expects to welcome 15.8 million annual visitors by 2018. This will represent an increase of 36.2% on current figures and will place the country’s tourism industry on track to reach its $1 billion 2020 target.Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said, “The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority (BTEA) has engaged with several public authorities and private sector organisations over recent months and the returns are beginning to be realised. The BTEA now operates seven official representation offices worldwide, with a focus on source markets in Europe and Asia and will continue to work hand-in-hand with hotels, tour operators and cruise lines to achieve its objectives.”Leisure tourism is expected to drive growth in Bahrain, rising to BD1.2 billion in 2026 while business arrivals will generate BD 219.3 million per annum in the same period.The $1.1 billion expansion at Bahrain International Airport will double capacity from 7 million to 14 million passengers per year by 2020 while analysts STR estimates that there is currently 12,641 rooms and a pipeline of 4,187 rooms, an increase of 33.1% in hotel stock over the coming years.last_img read more

Tourism Malaysia promotes the upcoming destination of Desaru Coast

first_imgAkansha Pandey | New DelhiTourism Malaysia recently promoted its most anticipated tourism development – Desaru Coast, a premium integrated destination in South-eastern Johor, Peninsular Malaysia which will be launching by end of June this year. “Developed by Desaru Development Holdings, the soft opening in June 2018 will see two new hotels (Hard Rock and Westin), Desaru Coast Conference Centre featuring a capacity for 1,000 people to be managed by Westin Hotel and south-east Asia’s largest water park – Desaru Coast Adventure Water Park. Anantara property will debut on the coast by Q1 2019,” revealed Muhammad Zainal Ashikin, CEO, Desaru Coast.For the last 17 years, India has been one of the best performing inbound source markets for Malaysia. From January to October 2017, 449,559 Indians visited this Southeast Asian country. This year, the destination is aiming to attract six million travellers from the Indian market.The destination is also planning to offer new incentive schemes for Bollywood Producers to come and shoot in Malaysia. Expansion of capacity for film tourism is also on their cards. “The Indian outbound travel figure is growing and we aim to cater to the experiential travellers from India. Spread over 3,900 acres and 17 km of beachfront facing the South China Sea, Desaru Coast is our newest offering for the India travellers. Targeting the wedding, MICE and luxury travel segment, we are expecting at least 30-40% growth from the Indian market this year. We are also planning to launch India specific campaigns as well,” said Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, Director General, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board.last_img read more

NAHB Few Gains in Homebuilder Confidence

first_imgNAHB: Few Gains in Homebuilder Confidence Agents & Brokers Bankrate Home Prices Home Sales Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Home Builders Processing Service Providers Unemployment Wells Fargo 2011-08-15 Ryan Schuette August 15, 2011 447 Views in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicingcenter_img The market remains a dim one for new single-family homes, according to an index jointly released by “”Wells Fargo””: and the “”National Association of Home Builders””: (NAHB). The index registered confidence at 15 on a 0-to-100 scale, staying largely the same since July and remaining above the lowest dip in confidence seen in January 2009.[IMAGE]The Housing Market Index (HMI), conducted by the trade association and mortgage giant for over 20 years, measures home builder perception about single-family home sales and expectations. According to a “”statement””:, any reading above 50 amounts to a vote of confidence by builders about their market.The August reading showed that two of three component index went up slightly. Current sales hit a new high since March, moving up by one point to hit 16, with the measurement for buyer traffic following by climbing to 13 after a two-month exile at 12. Sales expectations over the next six months fell to 19.The HMI index also put regional improvements in gray territory, viewing a four-point increase to 19 across the Northeast, with the Midwest dipping by two points to 10, the South steadying at 17, and the West moving up to 15 by one point.Commenting on the pale numbers, Bob Nielsen, NAHB chairman and a Reno-based homebuilder, said in the statement that “”[b]uilders continue to confront the same major challenges they have seen over the past year, including competition from the large inventory of distressed homes on the market, inaccurate appraisal values, and issues with their buyers not being able to sell an existing home or qualify for favorable mortgage rates because of overly tight underwriting requirements.””He went on to say that 41 percent of HMI respondents signaled losses in sales contracts as a result of stagnation in home sales, with buyers unable to take their properties to market. Also appearing in the statement, David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist, fingered job creation as responsible for wavering consumer confidence.[COLUMN_BREAK]””The uncertain economic climate and concerns about job security are discouraging many potential buyers from exploring a home purchase at this time,”” Crowe said. “”While buying conditions are very favorable in terms of prices, interest rates and selection, consumers are worried about what the future will bring, and builders are echoing those sentiments in their responses to the HMI survey.””Adding to their woes, major homebuilding companies suffered losses in the financial sector last week, with a gusty Dow Jones Industrial Average blowing through stocks and shares. Stocks for “”D.R. Horton, Inc.””: scraped by with 3.90 percent Wednesday, with shares each tying off at $9.18, while those for “”KBH Homes””: witnessed their holdings fly away at 11.27 percent. Bipolar stocks battered “”Beazer Homes USA, Inc.””:, meanwhile, by leading the company into a 12-percent drop that closed shares at $1.62 per on the same day.Spokespeople for D.R. Horton and KBH Homes could not be immediately reached for comment.Economists call home construction a vital sector in the housing industry and economic recovery at large. Homebuilding companies annually create millions of jobs, with recent “”Labor Department””: reports serving up telltale signs about health in the housing industry and economic recovery: the construction industry as a whole added 5,814 jobs, marginally up from 5,734 in June.Moreover, without new home construction ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a bellwether for new sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô home prices and job creation across the larger economy are also less likely to climb out of double-dip territory.Speaking to _MReport_ for a past story, Vincent Valvo, group publisher at the Massachusetts-based “”Warren Group””:, cited wider implications for poor showings in home construction and household formation.””Very few people move into a house with the stuff they’ve got,”” he said. “”They often come in and say, I want to do some landscaping. I need a gas grill. I need new drapes. I need a lawnmower. I need a snow-blower. I need gardening equipment. When you get a house, you go out and buy stuff that has this exponential ripple effect across the economy.””And if people aren’t buying new homes? “”People don’t have jobs, so they’re not buying houses; not buying houses, not buying things; so manufacturers can’t employ people; people don’t have jobs, people can’t buy houses,”” Valvo said.Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst for “”Bankrate””:, pulled the focus back to job creation in a past interview.””So much hinges on jobs,”” he said. “”Until we see consistent and substantive job growth, people will question the strength of the economic recovery and the housing market will continue to lag as prospective homebuyers stay on the sidelines.”” Sharelast_img read more

Total Mortgage Services Launches Redesigned Website

first_img Share In Connecticut, “”Total Mortgage Services, LLC””: announced the launch of its new and improved website offering users with a dynamic browsing experience across all devices.[IMAGE]””We are very excited to unveil our new and improved Total Mortgage website, which was designed based on the feedback we have received from our customers,”” said John Walsh, president of Total Mortgage. “”Our commitment to offering borrowers industry-leading technology remains a top priority, and we are proud to offer one of the industry’s most user-friendly websites that focuses on educating [COLUMN_BREAK]borrowers to enable them to make the best choice for their home mortgage.”” The new website features responsive Web design intended to provide users with an optimal viewing experience across a range of devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones. Its proprietary content management system allows the company’s development team to make quick updates and improvements, allowing mortgage experts to publish up-to-date rate and product information with maximum efficiency.Visitors to the new website will also notice new resources, such as in-depth guides to purchasing or refinancing a home, in addition to many other tools.””We look forward to receiving feedback from our customers on the new website, and plan to use these valuable responses to inform our plans to roll out additional resources and elements that meet the needs of our customers,”” Walsh said. “”At Total Mortgage we understand that as the mortgage industry and technology changes, we must change with it, and our refreshed website is part of our overall goal to deliver the right mortgage solution and best service to borrowers.”” Total Mortgage Services Launches Redesigned Website Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-05-15 Tory Barringercenter_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology May 15, 2013 420 Views last_img read more

First Title Radio Show Nears 10 Episodes

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing “”First Title & Escrow””: is gearing up to celebrate the benchmark 10th episode of its radio show, the company announced.[IMAGE]The First Title Radio Show debuted on May 31 and has aired seven episodes so far. In that time, host Doug Dennison–a radio, real estate, and government auction [COLUMN_BREAK]expert–has interviewed more than 15 real estate professionals, including representatives from Sperry Van Ness, Florida Keys Real Estate, Rowell Auctions, Inc., and the Five Star Institute. _[Editor’s note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of_ MReport _and]_””We want to continue educating our listeners by engaging professionals each week on a variety of industry-specific topics,”” Dennison said. “”I’m pleased to have already interviewed such amazing guests, and look forward to having more experts on the show in the coming weeks.””””Building everlasting alliances with industry resources and paying it forward are principles that are highlighted in the company’s core values,”” said Stephen Papermaster, CEO of First Title & Escrow. “”The show is a shining example of those tenets being realized, and we hope to see continued growth in online listenership.””The First Title Radio Show airs live every Friday morning from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Eastern on “”””: Episodes are archived at the show’s “”YouTube channel””: and at Share First Title Radio Show Nears 10 Episodescenter_img July 18, 2013 417 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-07-18 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

NTC Recognized as One of Nations FastestGrowing Companies

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-08-22 Tory Barringer August 22, 2013 447 Views NTC Recognized as One of Nation’s Fastest-Growing Companiescenter_img “”Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc.””: (NTC), a leading service provider to the mortgage and financial industry, ranked on _Inc.’s_ 500|5000 list again this year, coming in hundreds of spots higher than in 2012–despite the fact that the nation’s economic growth rate so far has been underwhelming.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]According to an announcement from the Florida-based company, NTC was ranked “”No. 1900″”: on _Inc.’s_ list, moving up 830 spots from the position it held last year. To qualify, NTC had to meet a number of criteria, including having generated at least $200,000 revenue in 2009 and at least $2 million in 2012.””It is very encouraging to be recognized among other nationally-ranked companies on this prestigious list–our employees have been working extremely hard for years to establish and perfect the systems we have in place,”” said NTC CEO John Hillman. “”Collectively, we consider this award an honor and a testament to our hard work.””To celebrate its achievement, NTC has been invited to attend the exclusive 32nd Annual _Inc._ 500|5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony, an annual three-day event that brings some of the nation’s most successful business minds together. The event will be held October 10-12 in Washington, D.C. Sharelast_img read more

Mortgage Rates Down in LeadUp to Fed Announcement

first_img Share Fixed mortgage rates moved down just “a tad” this week, keeping movements within a fairly narrow range year-to-date as the first quarter comes closer to an end.Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, released Thursday, showed the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaging 4.32 percent (0.6 point) for the week ending March 20, down from last week, when it averaged 4.37 percent. A year ago, the 30-year FRM average was 3.54 percent.Since falling from 4.53 percent in 2014’s first weeks, the 30-year fixed average has seen limited movements since, staying in the 4.2-4.3 percent range.The 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.32 percent (0.6 point), down from 3.38 percent in last week’s survey.Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac, attributed the fall back to weak housing data earlier in the week, though he added there may be a pickup soon—compliments of the Federal Reserve.“Mortgage rates eased this week as housing starts declined 0.2 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 907,000, below consensus forecast,” Nothaft said. “The rate on the 10-year [T]reasury note rose following the Fed’s announcement Wednesday afternoon and, if this holds, interest rates may begin to trend higher going into next week.”In adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.02 percent (0.4 point), down from 3.09 percent previously, while the 1-year ARM moved up a basis point to 2.49 percent (0.4 point).Meanwhile, reported in its weekly national survey that the 30-year fixed came down this week to 4.46 percent from an even 4.50 percent, while the 15-year fixed was down to 3.48 percent from 3.51 percent.The 5/1 ARM also slipped, dropping to 3.26 percent from 3.30 percent last week.According to analysts for the finance site, “[t]he mostly static nature of mortgage rates in recent weeks” is due to a dearth of meaningful news regarding the economy and the situation at the Fed.“With the Fed maintaining the taper and pledging to hold short-term interest rates at record lows, there were no bombshells in [Fed Chair Janet] Yellen’s initial meeting at the helm of the Fed,” Bankrate said in a release. “While investors are reading into a slightly earlier timetable for Fed rate hikes, Yellen assured observers the Fed had not changed their policy.” March 20, 2014 494 Views Bankrate Federal Reserve Freddie Mac Housing Starts Mortgage Rates 2014-03-20 Tory Barringercenter_img Mortgage Rates Down in Lead-Up to Fed Announcement in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Originationlast_img read more

Solutionstar Announces Acquisition of Title365

first_img Share Acquisitions Company News Solutionstar Title365 2014-11-21 Tory Barringer November 21, 2014 431 Views Solutionstar Announces Acquisition of Title365center_img Solutionstar, a subsidiary of Texas-based Nationstar Mortgage Holdings, announced Friday it has entered into an agreement to acquire Experience 1, Inc., the holding company for Title365 and two other technology subsidiaries in a $36 million cash deal.In its announcement, the company described the strategic acquisition as another step in its “continuing growth as the nation’s premier real estate technology company.”With the new addition, Solutionstar says it hopes to expand its purchase title services, further diversify its revenue streams, expand into new markets, and position the newly combined enterprise as a premier player and innovator in the national title arena.Friday’s announcement is just the latest in a series of strategic moves on Solutionstar’s part to grow as a leader in real estate technology. In May, the company acquired Real Estate Digital (RED), a real estate data aggregation firm that provides online marketing, data, transaction management, and digital media solutions.The company took another major step earlier this month with the addition of renowned technology executive Kal Raman as CEO.”When I was hired to take the helm at Solutionstar, we promised to continue to make significant, sustained investments in innovation and expand our products and services to elevate the company as a national leader in real estate technology,” Raman said. “Acquiring RED was an important step in that evolution, and acquiring Title365 underscores Solutionstar’s commitment to leverage our technological expertise to deliver comprehensive, end-to-end online services for homebuyers, home sellers and real estate professionals.”The transaction, which is subject to customary approvals and consents, is expected to close in January 2015. in Headlines, News, Technologylast_img read more

Experts Say Fed Minutes Could Signal Hike

first_img The Federal Reserve will release the minutes of its April meeting on Wednesday afternoon, and if industry experts are on track, they could point to another rate hike on the horizon. The Fed previously raised rates from 0.75 points to 1 in March.According to Robert Kaplan, President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, employment is on the rise, but that may start to level out—and that could signal a rate hike down the line.“We are making good progress toward reaching our full-employment objective,” Kaplan wrote in a recent essay. “The most recent April jobs report showed an increase of 211,000 jobs and a decline in the headline unemployment rate to 4.4 percent. This report is consistent with the three-, six- and nine-month average gains of approximately 180,000 new jobs per month. As we move forward, I would not be surprised if the average rate of job growth slowed somewhat, consistent with a declining level of labor slack in the economy.”Neel Kashkari, President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, agreed that recent job growth is promising, but said it’s still a long way until the country reaches full employment.”We are closer, but we don’t know how far the shore is,” Kashkari said in a press conference at the Minneapolis Fed on Tuesday.But jobs and employment aren’t the only factors that point to a rate hike. According to Kashkari, inflation is also a concern.”Right now inflation is going in the wrong direction, and so that is concerning to me,” he said.Kaplan also covered inflation in his essay, noting that “reaching our 2 percent inflation objective has been slow over the past several years.” Considering this, as well as other factors like energy, aging of the workforce, technology trends and more, Kaplan is on board with another two rate hikes in the coming year.“I continue to believe that three rate increases for 2017, including the March increase, is an appropriate baseline case for the near-term path of the federal funds rate,” he said.Kashkari was the only person to vote against the Fed’s rate hike in March, but has said he is unsure if he will vote similarly in June, when another rate hike is up for consideration.”Anything is on the table, depending on how the data comes out,” Kashkari saidIf he does vote against it, he may not be the only one. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard called the three expected rate hikes “too aggressive” last week, noting the same concerns as Kaplan and Kashkari—slowing job growth and inflation.But, Kashkari said, the Fed’s plan to cut down the bank’s balance sheet should provide a strong alternative to a rate increase, and tax reform could help as well. The Fed intends to publish its plan for trimming down its $4.5 trillion budget by the end of 2017.“I believe we should begin the process of gradually reducing the size of the Federal Reserve balance sheet,” Kaplan said. “I think it will likely be appropriate to begin this process sometime later this year.”Stay tuned to MReport for full details of the Fed’s minutes. Fed Rate Hike Federal Reserve james bullard Neel Kashkari Rate Hike robert kaplan 2017-05-23 Aly J. Yale May 23, 2017 648 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, Newscenter_img Experts Say Fed Minutes Could Signal Hike Sharelast_img read more

Real Estate The New Gold Standard

first_imgReal Estate: The New Gold Standard in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, Market Studies, News Gold real estate Stock 2017-07-19 Joey Pizzolato July 19, 2017 557 Views center_img Share Real Estate is American’s favorite long-term investment, according to a recent poll by Bankrate. In its Financial Security Index, which was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, they asked 1,002 adults via telephone—for money that wouldn’t be touched for at least 10 years—what did they think was the best investment?Twenty-eight percent said real estate, while cash investments came in a close second at 23 percent. Bringing up the rear was the stock market, at 17 percent; gold, at 15 percent; and bonds at 4 percent. Six percent of those polled answered “other.” Bankrate suggests that the reason real estate is the favorite is three-fold: rising home prices, perpetually low interest rates, and tax incentives. Plus, there’s the added bonus of having a place to call home, permanently.However, in terms of return on investment, real estate historically doesn’t have the highest yield. Bankrate cites a study by professors at the London School of Business that showed average returns on housing was only 1.3 percent annually, and notoriously difficult to sell even in a strong market. In comparison, stocks usually returned four times that amount.This doesn’t seem to matter, although, there is a slight generational gap when it comes to the idea that real estate is the best investment. More Gen Xers and Baby Boomers believe real estate is a better investment than millennials that do, but not by a large margin. Millennials are split in their vote—30 percent for cash investment, and 30 percent for real estate investment. One reason for this could be that real estate is less risky when compared to stocks, and because millennials have less wealth that their predecessors, are less willing to play with it and take risks?Real estate, in that sense, is a safe investment, especially when compared to other routes.last_img read more

Veros Partners with SWBC Lending Solutions

first_img in News Share Veros Partners with SWBC Lending Solutions September 20, 2018 479 Views center_img Veros Real Estate Solutions, a developer of enterprise risk management, collateral valuation, and predictive analytics services, and SWBC Lending Solutions, which provides cost-effective and compliant lending products for originators, loan servicers, and portfolio managers, have partnered to provide complete, end-to-end collateral valuations and analytics services.Texas-based SWBC Lending Solutions, a subsidiary of SWBC, will now offer Veros’ AVM solutions, including the company’s proprietary VeroVALUE suite and the breakthrough VeroPRECISION valuation decision engine, for all mortgage industry participants seeking to maintain valuation accuracy, while cutting costs and increasing operational efficiencies.”SWBC Lending Solutions has a stellar reputation for providing comprehensive services and solutions that touch every stage of the mortgage lifecycle and, with the addition of Veros as a preferred supplier, they will now have the ability to offer even greater benefits to their customers,” said Darius Bozorgi, President and CEO, Veros. “We look forward to working with the SWBC team and to leveraging our innovative products, compliance expertise, and outstanding customer service to support their business objectives, as well as those of their valued customers.””We are thrilled to have partnered with Veros Real Estate Services,” said Ted Robinson, CEO of SWBC Lending Solutions. “They are the leader in AVM modeling and technology, and our customers will benefit greatly from these innovative products.”According to Veros, by adding VeroPRECISION to its product line, SWBC now offers “next-generation AVM decision logic technology.” Based upon machine learning in a production environment, the VeroPRECISION decision engine determines the most accurate valuation at the subject property level.”While some valuation service providers actually compete directly with their partners, Veros is committed to supporting our partners completely and providing them with the resources they need to succeed,” said Robert Walker, CMB, CMT VP of Sales at Veros. “Our sales and support personnel serve as an extension to our partners’ teams, providing them with the resources they need for optimal efficiency and profitability.” Veros 2018-09-20 Seth Welbornlast_img read more

Addressing Automation Needs in Mortgage

first_imgThe layout-specific configurations needed for each document variation can take a long time to set up if the number of document variations/types is high.These layout-specific configurations need to change if the layout of a document changes.  The graphical signature approach tends to be less reliable with more than one hundred document variations/types to compare, affecting accuracy in some cases. Image processing time tends to be linear relative to the number of document variations/types.This approach fails to leverage the rich text present in a mortgage file to detect document boundaries for multiple page documents, while also lacking the ability to extract data from the documents once indexed. December 4, 2018 1,735 Views in Commentary, Daily Dose, Featured, News, Technology Addressing Automation Needs in Mortgage However, this system also has certain drawbacks, which include: 3. Visual Classification (a.k.a ‘Fingerprinting’)This legacy approach has recently been remarketed for use in the mortgage industry. While it does have the advantage of sub-second speed, it is not an OCR solution. Instead, an image analysis (non-text based) approach is used to identify documents and page types.Visual classification attempts to differentiate between document types A and B largely by examining the distribution of ink on samples of each known document. Similar to thumbprint analysis, the graphical signature of each document type is learned and remembered. It has the following advantages: Processing speed.Works well on documents with a static layout such as tax forms or a 4506-T form.Training time, as it is relatively simple for the system to learn a small range of document variations from image signature analysis. Many technology options are available today to automate mortgage document processing tasks. Some solutions are well marketed with great claims of mortgage ‘knowledge’ and an ability to provide tremendous results. In some cases, providers use offshore labor rather than technology, or some combination of the above. When conducting due diligence, understanding the differences in these approaches is key to supporting expansion and scalability requirements.Three technology approaches help determine the right solution for automating mortgage processing documents:1. Zonal OCRThe zonal Optical Character Recognition (OCR) approach looks in specific locations, or ‘zones’, on a page for relevant text. The benefits of this system include:Minimizing the OCR processing time since only configured zones are processed by the system.Works well on documents with a static layout such as tax forms or a 4506-T form.However, this process is administratively heavy, as variations in document layout require distinct zonal templates. Many times the relevant text is in a highly volatile location, making it difficult to find.2. Full Page OCRThis approach makes a full-page OCR ‘read’ of every page of every document, much the same as a human being. Ideally, each page is read in less than one second and the content is processed through a set of rules to determine the document type of each page. While this may seem to be the obvious way to approach the task of indexing the diverse documents found in the mortgage industry, most technology providers are unable to deliver the speed necessary to successfully scale with this approach. The benefits of this approach include:Works on all mortgage document variations, even pay stubs with millions of variations.  Ability to index document versions which may have never been seen before by the system assuming they are lexically similar (same words and phrases found throughout similar learned examples).Ability to accurately distinguish between leading and following pages, eliminating the need for adding document separator sheets. Ability to “discover” data in a manner similar to a human being, using words and phrases across the entire document to find key data elements for extraction.High-speed OCR allows for almost infinite scalability with a relatively small hardware footprint. Automation Documentation loan mortgage OCR Processing technology 2018-12-04 Radhika Ojha Sharelast_img read more