Sydney on top again BESydney wins national MEA Metropolitan Destinati

first_imgSource = BESydney Sydney has shone brightly once more, with Australia’s leading convention bureau, Business Events Sydney (BESydney), taking out the national Metropolitan Destination Marketing Organisation Award at last night’s Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) Awards.Held at the Darwin Convention Centre, the annual awards were among the highlights of MEA’s 26th National Conference, which ran from 4-7 May. The Metropolitan Destination Marketing Organisation category celebrates innovative and sound marketing practices within organisations that are charged with showcasing and profiling destinations, both nationally and globally.Accepting the award on behalf of BESydney, CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith said she was honoured that the team had been recognised by industry peers and thanked the bureau’s public and private sector partners for their support.“Winning international and national business events for our state requires a whole-of-city approach. I’m proud that BESydney has built valuable and strong relationships with the NSW Government, our Strategic Partners and our Members, and the wider business community. Coordination and collaboration are the keys to BESydney’s success and ensure Sydney delivers a world-class event experience every time,” Ms Lewis-Smith said.Ms Lewis-Smith noted that BESydney had also won the state and national titles in the same category at last year’s awards.She explained that BESydney was eager to demonstrate that it had continued to innovate and develop new strategies in this year’s submission. The bureau’s plans to capitalise on the burgeoning Asian market; the expansion of its Ambassador Program; the creation of its Future Leaders program; and a major internal restructure that was designed to reflect the event lifecycle more accurately, and therefore provide greater service to its clients and partners are just some of the winning strategies that helped the company leap to victory last night.“Winning this award is a credit to our hard-working global team, who tirelessly promote Sydney and NSW to the world. We look forward to competing to retain the state and national titles again next year,” she said.“Sydney is well and truly established as a global meeting place. But to stay at the top of our game, we always need to be thinking about how to do things better. Our city is constantly evolving and we have to move with it! We’ll be welcoming a new convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct, home to the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), before too long. This is exciting for our industry and it illustrates the value this city places on business events for the state’s overall health and prosperity.”last_img read more

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Sheraton on the Park Awarded Metropolitan BrasserieCafé of the Year

first_imgSource = Sheraton on the Park Sheraton on the Park has again been recognised for its consistently outstanding achievements, by winning at the 2013 TAA (NSW) Awards for Excellence, announced on Wednesday 24 July.Renowned for its popular international seafood buffet and five star service, Sheraton on the Park’s signature restaurant Feast – a world of flavours, was awarded ‘Metropolitan Brasserie / Café of the Year’. Launched in October 2012 following extensive renovation, Feast replaced the hotel’s ‘Botanica Brasserie’, which had previously been awarded ‘Best Bistro/Casual/Family Dining Restaurant’ in 2010 and 2008 and ‘Brasserie / Café of the Year’ in 2012. This prestigious award further acknowledges Feast’s reputation as the best seafood buffet in Sydney.  With its central location and sweeping views of Hyde Park, Feast is the perfect place to enjoy a meal with colleagues or loved ones.Sheraton on the Park is honoured to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame ‘Workplace Health & Safety Hotel of the Year’ in 2013. Having won this award in three consecutive years (2012, 2011 and 2010), it formally recognises the properties ongoing commitment to the safety, health and wellbeing of its associates, guests and visitors.The Tourism Accommodation Australia (NSW) Awards for Excellence are recognised as the most prestigious awards in the hospitality industry, honouring the achievement of excellence in service. According to Mr. Sean Hunt Managing Director, Sheraton on the Park and Regional Vice President Starwood Pacific Hotels, the award recognises the hotel’s commitment to taking care of both guests and associates.“Winning these prestigious awards is the culmination of many years of hard work and constant investment in our facilities and our people. Through an unprecedented string of awards, Sheraton on the Park has firmly positioned itself as the hotel of choice in the highly competitive 5-star Sydney market. All kudos to our talented team of associates, who go above and beyond to deliver exceptional services to our guests”, he said.last_img read more

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Virgin Australia expands SilkAir codeshare

Virgin Australia expands SilkAir codeshare

first_imgWith over eleven billion dollars’ worth of trade between Indonesia and Australia since 2012, the trading partnership is one of Australia’s most significant. Source = ETB News: L.B. Furthermore, as announced last month Velocity Frequent Flyer members can now earn Points and Status Credits or redeem their Points on the entire SilkAir network. “We now have the Virgin Australia marketing code on ten destinations across Indonesia that can be accessed on one ticket from all Virgin Australia serviced airports across Australia and New Zealand,” Virgin Australia chief commercial officer Judith Crompton said.center_img The new destinations are via Singapore, to Bandung, Balikpapan, Lombok, Palembang and Solo. A further five destinations have been added to Virgin Australia’s codeshare network across Indonesia, as part of the codeshare expansion with Singapore Airlines’ regional service, SilkAir.last_img read more

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Malaysia adds third Melbourne service

Malaysia adds third Melbourne service

first_imgSource = ETB News: P.T. Approximately 350,000 passengers travel between Melbourne and Malaysia each year. Malaysia Airlines has begun operating a third daily Melbourne-Kuala Lumpur service. The additional daily service has doubled capacity on the route, from 7,896 seats per week to 11,844 seats per week. “The service supports stronger ties for our tourism, education and business connections with Malaysia and the global destinations that are part of Malaysia Airlines extensive network,” Melbourne Airport chief executive Chris Woodruff said.last_img

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Qantas holds off on frequent flyer float

Qantas holds off on frequent flyer float

first_imgQantas Airways has dumped the partial sale of its AUD $2.5 billion loyalty business, with management recognising it would not be in the airline’s interest to sell off its most valuable asset.The decision is expected to be backed by the Qantas board which will meet next week.Previously, as part of the airline’s strategic review, the company had been exploring the benefits of a partial (30 or 40 per cent) or full sale of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.However , it decided against the sale because the costs of using the short term cash to pay down debt were higher than the income from the program.The program has been valued at up to AUD $3 billion and is worth more than the entire Qantas Group capitalisation.If the Frequent Flyer Program had been sold, Qantas Loyalty would have had to strike a clear agreement about the number of seats which could be used for Frequent Flyer redemptions.Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

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THAI implements new system

THAI implements new system

first_imgThai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) has adopted the Amadeus Altéa Suite to heighten customer services and operational capabilities.The Amadeus Altéa Suite is a product of Amadeus (a technology partner for the global travel industry).Already used by over 120 airlines globally, the Amadeus Altéa Suite, addresses THAIs operating functions: sales and reservations, inventory and ticketing, and departure control.The new system enhances the carrier’s objectives, by allowing superior operations and functionality, to improve customer service and drive more efficient business operations.The project involves training more than 12,000 THAI employees worldwide, saw over 500,000 Passenger Name Records (PNRs) and 1.5 million e-tickets moved to the Amadeus Altéa Suite.Used by over 65 percent of Star Alliance members, the Amadeus Altéa Suite facilitates rapid integration between partner airlines that need to share availability, fares, customer and booking information.Source = ETB News: Megan Tranlast_img read more

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US Department of Commerce predicts strong growth for international tra

US Department of Commerce predicts strong growth for international tra

first_imgThe U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) projects international travel to the United States will continue to experience strong growth through 2019, based on the National Travel and Tourism Office’s 2014 Fall Travel Forecast.Visitor volume in 2014 is expected to increase 5.9 per cent and reach 73.9 million visitors who stay one or more nights in the United States, this growth would build on the 4.7 per cent increase in arrivals in 2013.According to the current forecast, the United States would see 3.3 per cent to 5.9 per cent annual growth rates in visitor volume over the 2014 to 2019 timeframe.By 2019 this growth would produce 88.3 million visitors each year into the country from international arrivals, which is a 27 per cent increase.All but two top 20 visitor origin countries are forecast to grow between 2013 and 2019. Countries with the largest total growth percentages are China (172 percent), Colombia (72 percent), India (47 percent), Brazil (43 percent), and Mexico (38 percent).Five countries are expected to account for 72 percent of the projected growth and they are Mexico, Canada, China, Brazil and the United Kingdom.If the fall 2014 Travel Forecast is realized through 2019, the current top ten countries will retain their status, however China will make the big move from number 7 in 2013 to number 3 in 2019.The U.S. travel forecast was prepared by research staff in the Department of Commerce and National Travel and Tourism Office using economic, demographic and social factorsSource = ETB News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

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Great Barrier Reef tourism gets digital boost

Great Barrier Reef tourism gets digital boost

first_imgGreat Barrier Reef tourism gets digital boostThe Great Barrier Reef will be centre stage at Australia’s largest tourism trade event which begins this weekend following the release of a new e-magazine developed by Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ).TEQ Chief Executive, Leanne Coddington, said from today Queensland tourism operators would have access to a new Great Barrier Reef e-magazine to promote directly to international tourism wholesalers attending the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE).“The Great Barrier Reef is Queensland’s greatest natural tourism advantage,” Ms Coddington said.“101 Ways to do the Great Barrier Reef is a new promotional resource which profiles the Reef and its five distinct tourism precincts – the Wild North, Cairns and Port Douglas, Townsville, Whitsundays and Mackay, and the Southern Great Barrier Reef.“The e-magazine features lists of reef experiences only found in Queensland, information on the ‘Great 8’ marine encounters in an underwater safari as well as suggestions for how to explore the Reef from the water, air and islands along the coast.“More than 700 international delegates will leave ATE able to use the e-magazine to inspire travellers to experience the Reef first-hand.”Ms Coddington said the e-magazine formed part of a coordinated marketing effort by TEQ to drive awareness and visitation to the Reef.“The Reef attracts around two million visitors each year, supports almost 70,000 full-time jobs and is worth $5.6 billion a year to the Australian economy,” she said.“By promoting these experiences we can reaffirm the Great Barrier Reef as one of the best tourism experiences in the world.” Queensland.com Source = Tourism And Events Queenslandlast_img read more

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Great savings with Collettes New Year Global Sale

Great savings with Collettes New Year Global Sale

first_imgGreat savings with Collette’s New Year Global SaleGreat savings with Collette’s New Year Global SaleLeading global tour operator Collette is offering travellers huge savings on its New Year Global Sale. For bookings made between 28th December 2016 – 9th January 2017, the sale offers savings of 15% off over 120 of Collette’s captivating itineraries across all 7 continents.The sale is applicable only for 2017 departures and covers a range of exciting destinations. Whether its sampling culinary wonders in the beautiful Tuscan and Umbrian Countryside, experiencing the rich blues culture of America’s Music Cities, exploring an iconic city in-depth through Collette’s Spotlight tours, an escape into the wilderness in Costa Rica: A World of Nature or close wildlife encounters in Spectacular South Africa, this sale has something for every traveller.To save on your next adventure with Collette, visit gocollette.com and enter the code NYEAR17. For more details on your tour or this fantastic offer, contact your local travel agent or call Collette on 1300 792 195. For full terms and conditions, visit gocollette.com.Private Chauffeur ServiceCollette’s private chauffeur service is included on all Collette tours for customers within a 40km drive of an Australian international airport. as are tips for the land portion of each tour.For more information visit gocollette.com/chauffeurAbout ColletteEstablished in 1918, Collette is a third-generation, family-owned worldwide tour operator. With headquarters in Rhode Island, Collette’s recently- opened Sydney office adds to the company’s global presence which includes offices in Vancouver, Toronto and London.On offer is an extensive collection of four-star escorted tours, river and ocean cruises, rail journeys, small group tours, family tours and garden holidays. Renowned for connecting guests with cultural experiences which go far beyond those of an ordinary holiday, Collette prides itself on providing real value to its guests and agent partners. Knowledgeable tour managers, an industry-leading travel protection plan and inclusive touring are just part of the top-quality Collette experience. Just sit back, relax and be guided on your Collette adventure!Source = Collettelast_img read more

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Customer Service Matters – Submitting Requests

Customer Service Matters – Submitting Requests

first_imgSource = STUBA.com Submitting Hotel Requests“Requests” are an important part of a trip, potentially the icing on the cake and can be the difference between a good experience and a bad experience. It could be a “nice to have” like a high floor, not near the elevator or check in an hour earlier.However others can be very specific and need guaranteed confirmation. For example 2 beds for the grandfather and the granddaughter, disabled access and non-smokingThese requests that need to be handled with extra care.Some agents like to go directly to the hotel as this seems “easier”. The challenge being that the correspondence is often fragmented, only between the agent and the hotel and therefore, impossible for anyone else to assist with.At Stuba we strongly encourage agents to manage requests through us. Why wouldn’t you let us do the hard work? We have the contact channels, the details and the right email addresses to get a faster result.By putting the requests through us, all of the appropriate channels are aware of what’s needed in what’s going on. This way the person you pay is the one who you go to if there is an issue.“Get it in writing” – probably the most important step when submitting requests – more so when it’s to be on a guaranteed basis. A verbal request is not worth the paper it’s not written on. Without anything in writing, the hotel can easily turn around and say “we never received a request from you”. We’ve seen it happen, we’ve had agents complain that they called the hotel and the front desk person said “it would be fine”.Problem is, there is no name, no proof and no authority.Our support team do an amazing job when it comes to submitting these requests, especially when you consider the volume we manage. Perfect? Not always. Sometimes in our control, sometimes outside of our control. But always the aim to ever improve.Stuba ensures that we gather as much information as possible, including who we have spoken to at the hotel to ensure that your clients are well looked after when they arrive at their destination.The happier they are, the happier you are, and the sooner we expect to see you back at Stuba. www.stuba.com learn more about stuba.com herelast_img read more

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Shadow Play by Peppers Melbourne has opened its doors

Shadow Play by Peppers Melbourne has opened its doors

first_imgShadow Play by Peppers, MelbourneShadow Play by Peppers, Melbourne has opened its doorsAccor has opened the doors of its newest luxury Melbourne hotel – Shadow Play by Peppers – in the city’s vibrant Southbank arts and entertainment district.Developed by luxury property developer Jonathan Hallinan of BPM and echoing Melbourne’s sophistication, the 46-storey landmark hotel features an exquisite selection of spacious one and two bedroom apartments with full kitchen and laundry facilities and floor to ceiling windows for lashings of natural light and incredible city or bayside views.In-room mini bars are stocked with locally sourced produce and, for the ultimate indulgence, guests can stay in a Two Bedroom Corner Apartment which comes complete with a private outdoor winter garden.Avant garde design elements feature throughout the property, breaking tradition and routine hotel design with a cohesive collection of contrasts – light and dark, formal and informal, and seductive dark statement pieces contrasting with white stone and timber.On arrival, guests are welcomed to the hotel in a beautifully appointed lobby on the ground floor, which flows into Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar.This brand new venue is positioned to be one of Melbourne’s finest food and wine experiences with itsseasonally curated menu and extensive wine list, with distinct Victorian flavour, meticulously selected by the Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar’s sommelier.Shadow Play by Peppers also boasts an array of unique guest spaces including a heated pool, gymnasium, sauna and steam room, and an enclosed garden space on the 46th floor, complete with a freestanding fireplace, a lavish guest lounge and library with an adjoining patio, and commanding bayside views.Nestled in the heart of the city and within walking distance to the Eureka Skydeck, Melbourne Arts Centre, the National Gallery of Victoria, Crown Casino, the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, and the city’s finest shopping and dining precincts, Shadow Play by Peppers offers a stylish urban retreat for leisure and business travellers.“We’re excited visitors to Southbank can now experience Peppers’ unique style and acclaimed hospitality. Shadow Play by Peppers has added a new level of sophistication and luxury to Melbourne’s accommodation offering, which caters perfectly to an increasingly selective global market that is looking for quality, location and facilities of a world-class caliber,” Accor Chief Operating Officer Pacific, Simon McGrath said.Shadow Play by Peppers is the brand’s second Melbourne property. The first, Peppers Docklands, opened in January 2016.Experience Shadow Play by Peppers from $199* per night in a One Bedroom Apartment including breakfast for two and Wi-Fi. To book, visit www.peppers.com.au or call 1300 737 444.Shadow Play by Peppers308-320 City RoadSouthbank VICwww.peppers.com.au/shadow-playReservations: 1300 737 444*Conditions apply, subject to availability. Valid for sale and travel until 30 September, 2019. Source = Accorlast_img read more

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onefinestay Offers Agents Italian Booking Bonus

onefinestay Offers Agents Italian Booking Bonus

first_imgonefinestay Offers Agents Italian Booking Bonusonefinestay Offers Agents Italian Booking BonusEarn extra 5% Commission until July 15Leading hospitality brand onefinestay (part of Accor since 2016), opens doors to the finest homes and villas in the most desirable destinations and delivers a one-of-a-kind service to both guests and homeowners.Inspire your clients to fall in love with la dolce vita. From today until 15th July, earn an additional 5% commission* when you book a client in a onefinestay home in Italy. The exclusive incentive is valid on any City Collection homes in Florence, Milan and Rome for stays throughout 2019.About onefinestayLeading hospitality brand onefinestay opens doors to the finest homes and villas in the most desirable destinations, and delivers a one-of-a-kind service to both guests and homeowners. The company launched in London in 2010 and became part of Accor in 2016. Today onefinestay’s expertly curated portfolio is defined by two distinct and complementary collections: City & Villa. Every stay includes a personal welcome, local support and the option to add tailored amenities and services, such as chauffeured transfers, grocery deliveries, destination experiences and more. With each memorable stay, onefinestay delivers a level of personal service and professional hospitality unmatched in the private rental industry.For more information, please visit www.onefinestay.comFor booking inquiries and quotations, travel agents are invited to email advisors@onefinestay.com.It’s open to all registered travel agencies globally.*Terms and conditions: Bonus commission is only applicable on onefinestay City Collection and must be booked direct with onefinestay as a registered Travel Agency. Offer starts on the 15th May and expires on the 15th July 2019. Available for new bookings in 2019 only. All bookings must have confirmed funds on file to receive the additional commission. Net or gross payment is permitted and bookings will be capped at €25,000k EUR.Source = onefinestaylast_img read more

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Bahamas launches new social media contest to attract more tourists

Bahamas launches new social media contest to attract more tourists

first_imgThe Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) has recently launched new social media promotion #BahamasTakesFlight where pilots, aviation enthusiasts and anyone who have had or wish to have a fantastic, exotic vacation to the Islands of The Bahamas will have a real treat as their wish can now become a reality.According to Andre Miller, General Manager, Global Communications and Social Media, for BMOT, said, “The social media contest was designed to heighten awareness of the Bahamas’ multiple islands in the aviation community, build its creative videos and image banks by showing the visual experiences of pilots who have visited the destination and simultaneously, showcase and differentiate the marketing methods of the past for the aviation market with this new social media twist.”Open to past visitors and also those wishing to visit The Bahamas, persons can log on to Bahamas.com/TakesFlight and simply submit their creative photo and videos, depicting great aviation experiences and stating how much they love The Bahamas, #BahamasTakesFlight.All photos should be accompanied by a short story saying why they deserve a trip to The Bahamas, and those on video should do the same in video format. There are no limits on the amounts of videos and photos each person can submit and the deadline for submission is May 29, 2015. From May 30 through June 13, 2015, family and friends will be able to vote for their favourite applicant via social media.A panel of judges will decide on the final winner, which will be announced on June 22, 2015 via the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as traditional electronic and print media.last_img read more

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Participants from 22 countries to take part in Rickshaw Run 2016

Participants from 22 countries to take part in Rickshaw Run 2016

first_imgThis edition of the Rickshaw Run, a three-wheeler event organised by UK company The League of Adventurists, is said to be the biggest one since the first Rickshaw Run in 2006, with 104 teams and 275 participants.The team members from around the world gathered in Kochi and met their painted rickshaws; from there they embarked on a journey to Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The teams have no set route and back up along the way.The participants, representing 22 countries would be riding across the subcontinent, covering approximately 3,500 km on their way to Jaisalmer. Each team is said to raise GBP 1,000 for charity; around half of which would go towards the rainforest preservation charity, Cool Earth.Event Manager, Matthew Dickens said, “This event certainly has a lighter side, but the important message is clear; we plan to introduce our participants to the real India – this is not a typical package holiday. When the teams are lost, stuck and all hope seems futile, Mother India and the generosity of Indians shall envelope them in a fondness that many would not have encountered before. We also like to bring attention lesser travelled places such as Kochi and Jaisalmer. We are thrilled to be raising a large amount of money for charities across the nation too. The Rickshaw Run has now raised over GBP 2,000,000 (around $3.1 million) – which is a boost to the good work that these charities and our official charity Cool Earth are doing.”last_img read more

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REMAX Is Housing Finally In Recovery Mode

REMAX Is Housing Finally In Recovery Mode

first_img in Data, Origination, Servicing RE/MAX: Is Housing Finally In Recovery Mode? Agents & Brokers Home Prices Home Sales Housing Affordability Lenders & Servicers Processing RE/MAX Service Providers 2012-08-20 Tory Barringer August 20, 2012 455 Views center_img Looks like the dragon will have to step aside: 2012 is now “”The Year of the Housing Recovery,”” according to “”RE/MAX””:http://www.remax.com/.[IMAGE]The real estate giant released its National Housing Report for August 2012 (covering July), showing that both sales and prices have posted year-over-year increases for most of 2012. Home sales appear to have peaked year-to-date in June, with July’s sales falling 9.4 percent month-over-month. However, sales were up 10.3 percent from July 2011, marking the 13th consecutive month for year-over-year sales gains.Of the 53 metro areas surveyed by RE/MAX, 44 reported higher sales than one year ago, and 26 of those areas posted double-digit increases.The median sales price in July was $169,000, a 0.6 percent drop from June, but a 3.7 percent increase over July 2011. [COLUMN_BREAK]The increase marks the sixth straight month in which the median price outdid itself year-over-year.Forty-two of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported price increases over last year, 12 of which showed double-digit gains.””It’s reassuring that both sales and prices continue to rise higher on a yearly basis, indicating that this housing recovery is real,”” said “”Margaret Kelly””:http://www.remax.com/national-corp/biographies/margaret_kelly.aspx, RE/MAX CEO. “”Overall, the picture is getting brighter each month, but what we need for a sustainable recovery is a turn-around in unemployment and better availability of mortgages, especially for higher priced homes.””The average days on market for homes sold in July was 82, a two-day drop from June and a six-day drop year-over-year. July is only the second month since September 2011 with days on market below 90 and is the lowest average since July 2010.The drop in average days on market was attributed to low inventory. Inventory levels for July fell 5.4 percent from June and 26.8 percent from July 2011, marking the 25th consecutive month for shrinking month-to-month inventories.Given the current rate of sales, RE/MAX calculated the average months supply to be about 5.3, two months lower than the average 7.2 in July 2011.In the report, RE/MAX said falling inventory represents a major challenge to the recovery.””Inventory is now becoming a serious challenge to this recovering market, with available homes-for-sale falling 26.8 percent lower than the same month last year. Home sales could be much greater if more inventory was available, especially in the lower price range, where most sales are now occurring.”” Sharelast_img read more

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Analysts Address Mortgage Interest Deduction at Realtor Expo

Analysts Address Mortgage Interest Deduction at Realtor Expo

first_img Share in Data While other hot-button issues have drawn national attention away from the subject of tax reform, speakers at the “”National Association of Realtors'””:http://www.realtor.org/ (NAR) “”Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo””:http://www.realtor.org/midyear.nsf/ urged industry professionals not to forget what’s at stake.[IMAGE]Speaking at a session at the expo, political commentator and analyst Jeffrey Birnbaum assessed the issues currently holding Washington’s attention (including gun control, immigration reform, and the Affordable Care Act), discussing their potential impact in the real estate world.””Although the economy appears to be slowly coming back, the Administration’s second-term agenda may have stalled,”” Birnbaum said. “”Political winds have a tendency to suddenly shift though, so no one should take current tax policies for granted. If compelled to act, Congress could move legislation quickly on tax reform.””Those reforms could bring changes to the mortgage interest tax deduction (MID), which was floated as a potential casualty in last year’s “”fiscal cliff”” negotiations. [COLUMN_BREAK]Analysts in the past have questioned the overall utility of the deduction–alarming “”industry groups””:https://themreport.com/articles/industry-professionals-call-for-preservation-of-mortgage-interest-tax-deduction-2012-12-21, who argue that it is a fundamental economic incentive for homeownership.Though tax reform appears to be on the backburner for now, Birnbaum cautioned Realtors not to rest on their laurels.””Modifying or eliminating some current tax measures for homeownership is a very real possibility, so don’t count them out from future tax reform. Lawmakers need to hear from you about the importance of maintaining current tax policies for homeowners and investors,”” he said, adding that “”[n]o one wants to be caught flat-footed if Congress decides to act quickly with tax reform.””In another session, NAR research economist Danielle Hale refuted the common criticism that the MID isn’t widely used. According to Hale, approximately three out of four homeowners with a mortgage (a quarter of all tax payers) claim the deduction–about the same number as those who claim charitable contributions.She also noted that first-time homebuyers can benefit from the MID, as most of them finance their purchase. The deduction is particularly useful in the early years of a mortgage and is typically not claimed toward the end, when the amount of interest paid is so little that the standard deduction is a better option.””At any given time, only half of home owners claim the mortgage interest deduction, but over the course of a lifetime we estimate that roughly 70 percent of households that ever own a home will use the MID,”” Hale said.According to NAR, the typical beneficiary of the MID is younger than 45, married, has children, and earns less than $200,000 annually. May 17, 2013 398 Views center_img Analysts Address Mortgage Interest Deduction at Realtor Expo Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Realtors Politics Service Providers 2013-05-17 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

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Loan Officers Report Rising Demand for NonTraditional Loans

Loan Officers Report Rising Demand for NonTraditional Loans

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing August 5, 2013 454 Views Adding to concerns of a new housing bubble, lenders reported an increase in demand for “”non-traditional”” and sub-prime mortgage loans and that they’ve responded to that demand by easing standards, the Federal Reserve reported Monday in its quarterly “”Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey.””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/snloansurvey/201308/fullreport.pdf [IMAGE]According to the survey, a net 3.1 percent of lenders responding said demand for “”non-traditional”” residential loans increased from the survey released three months ago and a net 25 percent of respondents said demand for loans from sub-prime borrowers was higher than it was in May.Almost half (49.3 percent) of lenders surveyed said demand for loans from prime borrowers had increased, up from 39.1 percent in the second quarter survey.At the same time, a net 6.3 percent of lenders said they had eased lending terms and standards for non-traditional mortgage loans, while a net 25 percent of survey respondents said they tightened standards for loans to sub-prime borrowers. The survey results are reported as a diffusion index, that is the percentage of respondents saying they are easing lending standards somewhat or considerably is subtracted from those who report they are tightening standards for a range of different lending products. [COLUMN_BREAK]In the case of “”traditional”” mortgage loans, a net 7.5 percent of banks reported easing lending criteria. In the second quarter survey, a net 7.8 percent reported easing. The increase in demand for non-traditional– generally “”Alt-A””–loans and from sub-prime borrowers comes as sales of both new and existing-single family homes are generally rising and as both prices and mortgage rates are increasing.Overall, the quarterly survey showed an increase in demand for most types of loans: commercial real estate loans, commercial and industrial loans from small and large firms (as determined by sales volume) consumer loans, credit card loans, and auto loans as compared to the second quarter report issued in May.And, banks which have been criticized for creating hurdles for applicants, eased lending standards for all types of loans.According to the survey, a net 62.5 percent of lenders said they had narrowed spreads for commercial and industrial loans to large and middle-market firms after a net 63.2 percent of lenders reported making such loans less expensive in the second quarter survey. Loans were less expensive for small firms as well with 51.4 percent of lenders narrowing spreads over their own cost of funds after a net 57.8 percent of landers narrowed spreads one quarter ago.While a net 27 percent of lenders reported stronger demand for auto loans, a net 14.1 percent said they had eased standards for such loans.In all, 13 percent of banks surveyed reported increased willingness to make consumer loans, down slightly from 22.2 percent three months ago._Hear Mark Lieberman on P.O.T.U.S. (SiriusXM 124) on Friday at 6:20 a.m. Eastern._ Sharecenter_img Loan Officers Report Rising Demand for Non-Traditional Loans Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Borrower Profile Credit Standards Demand Home Prices Home Sales Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Loan Officer Surveys Mark Lieberman Mortgage Rates Processing Service Providers Subprime Loans Underwriting Standards 2013-08-05 Mark Liebermanlast_img read more

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Former TARP Execs Charged in Massive Bank Fraud

Former TARP Execs Charged in Massive Bank Fraud

first_img Bank Failure Freddie Mac Mortgage Fraud SIGTARP TARP 2014-04-14 Colin Robins April 14, 2014 470 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Former TARP Execs Charged in ‘Massive’ Bank Fraudcenter_img The office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) announced that four men—Sean Cutting, Brian Melland, Bijan Madjlessi, David Lonich—have been indicted on federal charges of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, false statements to a bank, false bank entries, and obstruction of justice.Cutting was the former president and CEO of TARP-recipient Sonoma Valley Bank. Melland served as a SVP and chief lending officer at the bank. Madjlessi is a real estate developer, and Lonich an attorney for Madjlessi.According to an indictment by a federal jury, Madjlessi is alleged to have defaulted on a loan of more than $30 million relating to a real estate project known as Park Lane Villas East in Santa Rosa, California. Working with the other three, Madjlessi allegedly obtained a loan from Sonoma Valley Bank to purchase his own defaulted loan on the premise that the nominee was the actual borrower, when in fact Madjlessi and Lonich were the real borrowers.”According to the Indictment, Cutting and Melland failed to disclose their knowledge of the true identities of the borrowers to Sonoma Valley Bank and took steps to authorize the loan. Madjlessi’s nominee successfully obtained the loan from Sonoma Valley Bank and purchased the defaulted loan from a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation contractor,” SIGTARP said.Madjlessi and Lonich then settled litigation related to the property, obtaining the title to Park Lane Villas East. The two obtained refinancing on the property through Freddie Mac, but not before Sonoma Valley Bank failed in August 2010. The bank had received more than $8.65 million from TARP.”The two TARP bank executives, Cutting and Melland, are alleged to have skirted the bank’s internal controls and defrauded Sonoma Valley Bank by authorizing the bank to lend $9.5 million to a straw purchaser so that the funds could be used by real estate developer Madjlessi to repurchase part of the same condominium project for which Madjlessi had already defaulted on a construction loan,” said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP.She continued, “In order to help Madjlessi regain control of residential units in the project that had already been sold and to obtain financing from Freddie Mac, TARP bank CEO Cutting is alleged to have produced letters, on Sonoma Valley Bank letterhead, falsely stating that straw buyers had sufficient funds at the bank to purchase the units.”All four defendants were arrested on April 9 and released on a $250,000 bond. The next scheduled hearing is on April 18, 2014. Sharelast_img read more

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By Region LowestPriced Homes Survived Housing Crisis

By Region LowestPriced Homes Survived Housing Crisis

first_img Lower-priced homes stood a better chance at survival during the 2006-2009 housing crisis, according to an Urban Wire blog post by the Urban Institute and authors Jun Zhu and Bing Bai. Not only did cheaper homes recover more quickly from the bust, according to national averages and location data found by the Urban Institute, but cheaper homes became more expensive during the boom as well.According to the post’s authors, there are four price tiers when it comes to home values: low, middle-low, middle-high, and high. The institute found that on a national level the homes in these tiers follow the same trends of boom, bust, and recovery, but each has slight variations of numbers.Prices of cheaper homes grew about 88 percent from 2001 to 2006, in comparison with 80 percent for the middle-low tier, 77 percent for middle-high, and 65 percent for the high.Urban Institute data reveals that the low tier fell 26 percent from 2006 to 2009 after the housing market collapsed, a four percent increase over the high tier. The middle-high and middle-low tiers endured the most impact with a drop of 28 and 31 percent. The lowest tier experienced the best recovery, with prices up by 33 percent, a 2 percent deficit from its peak level. On the other hand, the middle-low, middle-high, and high-priced tiers increased 16 to 23 percent over the same time frame.The authors found that the prices of homes can mostly be attributed to region—essentially where the home is located will affect the cost of the home. They cited Minneapolis as prime example of the national trend that the lowest-priced tier did better than the high-priced tiers. Homes in the lowest tier appreciated about 61 percent compared with 49 to 54 percent for homes in the higher tiers before the crisis in 2001 to 2006. While the crisis was happening during 2006 to 2009, the highest-priced homes experienced the least amount of depreciation. Meanwhile, after the crisis, the 8 to 17 percent that the middle and high tiers appreciated fell short to the 40 percent appreciation that the lowest-priced tier experienced.To see the full blog post, visit: Urban.org By Region, Lowest-Priced Homes Survived Housing Crisis in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News The Housing Crisis Urban Institute Data Urban Wire 2015-05-06 Staff Writercenter_img Share May 6, 2015 639 Views last_img read more

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Fintechs Present Both Opportunities and Challenges

Fintechs Present Both Opportunities and Challenges

first_imgFintechs Present Both Opportunities and Challenges July 12, 2016 721 Views in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Technology Fintechs House Financial Services Committee Online Marketplace Lending Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit technology 2016-07-12 Seth Welborncenter_img Congress has taken note of the rise of companies that utilize technology to make financial services more efficient, or fintechs as they have commonly become known, and their increasing role in the financial services market.In a House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit hearing on Tuesday, Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) noted that while online marketplace lending represents only a fraction of the $3.5 trillion in outstanding consumer debt, it shows both tremendous growth potential and identifiable challenges.“Over the last year, we have seen growing attention paid to this market by federal regulators, the media, and other market participants,” Neugebauer said in his opening statement at the hearing. “For example, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Treasury Department have considered the appropriate federal regulatory framework for these lenders. One proposal being considered would offer a limited-national banking charter that could provide operational efficiency and regulatory clarity.”The key takeaways from the hearing, according to the Committee, is that online marketplace lending is expanding access to credit by providing loans to certain borrowers who might not have otherwise received capital, and the new credit models present an opportunity to leverage technology to expand credit access into underserved markets.“We believe marketplace lending brings significant value to both borrowers and investors,and that it will play an increasingly important part in the financial industry in the years to come,” said Sachin Adarkar, General Counsel, Prosper Funding, one of the witnesses in the hearing.“For various reasons stated above, traditional small business loan programs are not able to adequately serve the capital needs of our nation’s small businesses,” said Parris Sanz, Chief Legal Officer, CAN Capital, a witness in the hearing. “This is especially true when small businesses need $100,000 or less, which accounts for 90% of small business loans. Companies like CAN Capital and other ETA member companies have been able to address this unmet need by developing data-driven risk and underwriting models and user-friendly technology platforms to quickly and effectively provide small businesses with access to the capital they need to grow their businesses and, in turn, help propel the U.S. economy.”For at least a few months, the financial industry has been discussing the possibility of a national bank charter for non-bank fintechs. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has warned that fintechs would not replace banks in the financial industry, but at the same time the OCC has encouraged dialogue between fintechs and banks to foster responsible financial innovation. The OCC held a forum on June 23 including representatives from both fintechs and banks to have such a dialogue.“Banks have grappled with questions surrounding competitiveness and partnership,” Neugebauer said. “Some have been quick to point to an uneven regulatory structure, while others have embraced the opportunity to partner with lenders to leverage their technology and consumer reach. I am hopeful that our community financial institutions will benefit most from these technological advancements and partnerships.”Neugebauer noted improvements in capital markets, citing $10.3 billion in cumulative securitizations since the first securitization in 2013. But at the same time, he cited a report from Deloitte earlier this year which predicts large consolidations and strategic partnerships with traditional banks. Neugebauer said in order to make better policy decisions, the Subcommittee must do three things: Understand business models and product offerings of fintechs; understand how banks and lenders compete and collaborate; and understand the current regulatory framework and how policy decisions may determine the market’s future.Witnesses at the hearing included Parris Sanz, Chief Legal Officer, CAN Capital, on behalf of the Electronic Transactions Association; Sachin Adarkar, General Counsel, Prosper Funding; Rob Nichols, CEO, American Bankers Association; Bimal Patel, Partner, O’Melveny & Myer; and Gerron Levi, Director of Policy & Government Affairs, National Community Reinvestment Coalition (click the witness’s name to read his or her testimony).Neugebauer said that Tuesday’s hearing was the first in a series he intends to convene on fintechs, noting that online marketplace lending (also known as peer-to-peer lending) has increased rapidly over the last decade. Sharelast_img read more

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