August 24, 2019
  • 11:55 pm Good news out of Florida No Zika found in samples so far
  • 7:07 am Costa Rican lawmakers approve two of three fiscal reform bills on first
  • 6:54 am Strong winds whip Escazú Curridabat
  • 6:42 am Both candidates claim win in Salvadoran presidential runoff
  • 6:37 am Verdict in on Latin American leftwing leadership

first_imgIn a move Qantas claims will simplify its policy, next month the airline will change from a weight system to a piece and weight system for its international checked baggage.The new checked baggage policy will apply to all tickets issued on or after the 2 May 2012 for all Qantas International flights and oneworld partner flights with a QF number.Under the new policy, economy passenger weight will remain unchanged at a limit of up to 23kg for non-frequent flyer Bronze customers but the new policy restricts economy passengers to travelling with just one bag.Premium Economy passengers will be allowed two items of up to 23kg each, while first and business class passengers will be allowed three pieces up to 32kg each.According to the airline 70 percent of its customers travelling internationally in economy class travelled with one piece of checked baggage. Qantas changes its baggage policy from weight to piece and weight system Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

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first_imgTropical Storm Isaac has gained Category 1 hurricane strength as it continued on its path to New Orleans, bringing with it torrential rain and winds and turning the party city into a ghost town.Seven years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Isaac will test the city’s USD$14.5 billion flood-control system and 26-foot high levees, which were closed on Tuesday. At the time of publishing, the centre of Isaac was nearing the coast of southeast Louisiana with storm surge flooding already reported and maximum sustained winds of 130 kilometres per hour. The port of New Orleans closed yesterday; making it the fourth embarkation port affected by Isaac and is scheduled to reopen on 30 August.President Barack Obama sent a warning to all residents of the Gulf Coast in a televised statement imploring all people in its path to follow directions.“I want to encourage all residents of the Gulf Coast to listen to your local officials and follow their directions, including if they tell you to evacuate,” President Obama said. “We’re dealing with a big storm and there could be significant flooding and other damage across a large area. Now is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously.”The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been in place since last week to assist local officials in Isaac’s path and to help communities with supplies and preparation. “I’ll continue to make sure that the federal government is doing everything possible to help the American people prepare for and recover from this dangerous storm,” President Obama said before promising to provide continuous updates on Isaac’s activity on both a local and national level. Hurricane Isaac has also affected several cruise ship itineraries, with lines including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian and the American Queen Steamboat Company diverting and delaying voyages. Gallery Nine Forty in the New Orleans’ French Quarter is on “hurrication”. Picture: CNN/EPA/Landov Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Alast_img read more

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first_imgWomen are more attached to their pets than people, according to a new study, which found female travellers are more likely to miss their canine companions more than their partners, friends or family while on holidays.Skyscanner research found that while 37 percent of men said they would miss their partners most if they were on holidays without them, only 21 percent of woman said they’d miss their partner compared to 37 percent of females who said they miss their favourite pooch first.The canine craze doesn’t end there, with 40 percent of dog owners claiming to have called or texted their dog-sitter to check that their pet is okay, while 14 percent have confessed to actually ‘chatting’ to their dog by phone so it can hear their voice.Although most would think a phone conversation with an animal is strange enough, another five percent of travellers have confessed to having a holiday Skype ‘chat’ with their dog and six percent said they’ve even sent their canine a postcard.According to the study, three percent of travellers have missed their pet so much while they were away that they cut their hard earned holiday short and returned home early.A Skyscanner spokesperson said most pets are seen and treated as part of the family and so it is understandable that they are missed when they aren’t with their owners.“The survey does show that there’s paws for thought as to whether a dog really is man’s best friend, particularly if they know that their partners are missing their dogs more than them when away,’ the spokesperson explained.Source = ETB News: N.J. Females miss their canines morethan their partners while on holidays.last_img read more

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first_imgQantas Group passenger numbers rose slightly during the last financial year, however, total yields came in lower than the previous corresponding period. Qantas Group yields for 2013/14 were lower than the prior corresponding period, owing to challenging market conditions. International yields also suffered due to continued competitor growth and an increase in available capacity to Asia resulting from the transfer of Qantas’ European hub to Dubai. Domestic operations’ (Qantas Domestic, Jetstar Domestic and QantasLink) yields suffered due to market capacity growth and poor demand for regional and leisure travel.center_img Passenger numbers for August 2013 rose by 0.5 percent, while passenger numbers for the financial year 2013/14 increased by 1.2 percent over the previous year’s figures, according to recently released preliminary traffic and capacity statistics. Source = ETB News: P.T.last_img read more

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first_imgEmporium Hotel BrisbaneTripAdvisor has announced the winners of its Travellers’ Choice™ awards for Hotels.Now in its 14th year, the Travellers’ Choice awards have recognised more than 7,000 properties around the world with lists covering 97 countries and eight regions worldwide. The hallmarks of Travellers’ Choice winners are remarkable service, quality and value.“We congratulate the properties around the world that have won Travellers’ Choice Hotel awards,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor.“Travellers considering their next trip can book confidently selecting from these award-winners that have already delighted millions of members of the TripAdvisor community.”Top 10 Luxury Travellers’ Choice Hotels in Australia:Saffire Freycinet – Coles Bay, TasmaniaBookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $2244.78 per night. Most affordable month to visit: September ($1902.63)Spicers Vineyard Estate – Pokolbin, New South WalesIslington HotelBookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $546.68 per night. Most affordable month to visit: August ($527.80)Longitude 131 – Yulara, Northern Territory Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $1200 per person per night (all inclusive).Emirates One&Only – Wolgan Valley, New South Wales Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $1383.52 per night. Most affordable month to visit: March ($1910.70)Southern Ocean Lodge – Kangaroo Valley, South Australia Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $1100 per person per night (all inclusive).. Most affordable month to visit: May-September for cool season dealsQualia Resort – Hamilton Island, Queensland Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $1289.36 per night. Most affordable month to visit: March ($1,124.34)Islington Hotel – Hobart, TasmaniaBookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $510.72 per night. Most affordable month to visit: May ($457.87)Park Hyatt – Sydney, New South WalesBookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $1092.91 per night. Most affordable month to visit: June ($997.73)Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort – Cairns, QueenslandBookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $140.61 per night. Most affordable month to visit: March ($125.51)Emporium Hotel – Brisbane, Queensland Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $271.51 per night. Most affordable month to visit: January ($227.05)Saffire FreycinetTop 10 Travellers’ Choice Hotels across the World:Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur – Jodhpur, India – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $1055.77 per night. Most affordable month to visit: July ($561)Shinta Mani Resort – Siem Reap, Cambodia – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $286 per night. Most affordable month to visit: May ($246)Bellevue Syrene – Sorrento, Italy – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $808 per night. Most affordable month to visit: November ($523)Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa – Hanoi, Vietnam – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $156 per night. Most affordable month to visit: September ($135)Achtis Hotel – Afitos, Greece – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $144 per night. Most affordable month to visit: October ($115)Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – Great Milton, United Kingdom – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $1,671 per night. Most affordable month to visit: September ($1,400)Mirihi Island Resort – Mirihi, Maldives – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $1,523 per night. Most affordable month to visit: June ($1,103)Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts Aruba – Palm Eagle, Aruba – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $673 per night. Most affordable month to visit: October ($479)Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa – Lance aux Epines, Grenada – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $1,159 per night. Most affordable month to visit: June ($774)Hotel Ritta Höppner – Gramado, Brazil – Bookable on TripAdvisor for an average rate of $266 per night. Most affordable month to visit: April ($230) View all winners hereSource = TripAdvisorlast_img read more

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first_imgMercure Auckland rebrands to ‘Grand’AccorHotels New Zealand announce that Mercure Auckland will rebrand to the Grand Mercure Auckland from June 1, following an extensive NZ$22 million refurbishment, the second Grand Mercure announced this month for the region.The hotel’s stunning transformation makes it an even more attractive base for exploring the adjacent Britomart precinct and nearby thriving Viaduct Harbour. Boasting 207 guest rooms and suites in total, all room types have been fully refurbished in harmonious textures and botanic shades. A new library, richly decorated with warm gold tones and leather, provides the ideal venue to relax and read from a collection of some of New Zealand’s finest literature. With a variety of indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, the Grand Mercure Auckland offers the largest event space of any hotel in the Britomart area with capacity for 350 cocktail style.On street level, a new alfresco social eatery has been added, Custom Lane, which transforms from café to bar as day shifts to night, capturing a sense of the lively Britomart through eclectic street art and creative design elements. Take the lift to the hotel’s rooftop Vue Restaurant & Attica Bar, which boasts unobstructed views of Auckland’s skyline and harbour, matched by fine cuisine showcasing New Zealand’s outstanding produce and wines.AccorHotels’ Senior Vice President Operations, New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia, Gillian Millar said: “Following an extensive transformation and the exciting addition of Custom Lane to tap into Britomart’s social scene, Grand Mercure Auckland redefines the upscale brand in Australasia.”“Grand Mercure is an internationally recognisable brand name in the upscale hotel space, and we saw an opportunity to further leverage the brand’s presence in New Zealand while elevating our guests’ experience.”Grand Mercure Auckland is located at 8 Customs Street, Auckland CBD, New Zealand and joins a network of over 40 Grand Mercure hotels in the Asia-Pacific Region.Experience the newly rebranded Grand Mercure Auckland from just $204 including breakfast. Source = AccorHotelslast_img read more

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first_imgroomsXML has over 96,000 properties worldwide . If you are unsure about which property to book, always check for the ‘Preferred’ logo next to the hotel; that means its been recommended by other Travel Agents. Thanks for Wikitravel for the tips. Smokin’ hot Amsterdam rates with roomsXML Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. With more than one million inhabitants in its urban area, it is the country’s largest city and its financial, cultural, and creative centre.It derives its name from the city’s origin as “Dam” of river “Amstel”. In the past, the name was “Amstelredamme” which later changed as “Amsterdam”. Amsterdam is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, attracting over 7 million international travellers annually.Amsterdam is colloquially known as Venice of the North due to its lovely canals that criss-cross the city, its impressive architecture and more than 1,500 bridges. There is something for every traveller whether you prefer culture and history, serious partying, or just the relaxing charm of an old European city.roomsXML has over 240 Properties in Amsterdam. Search, book, and enjoy the stay !Central: The medieval centre and most popular region in Amsterdam. Includes the fascinating Old Centre. Visit the culturally significant Rijksmuseum and a multituderoomsXML has 188 Properties in CentralSchipol Airport: use it as a base to discover other cities, or to soften the long travel time from Australia or New ZealandroomsXML has 30 Properties at Schipol.Outskirts: If central is a little close to the action, head out to the outskirts. Options are abundant !roomsXML has 27 Properties on the outskirts of Amsterdamcenter_img roomsXML.comconnect today roomsXML.comdiscover more here Source = roomsxml.comlast_img read more

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first_imgOTM is a very good way to bring the whole of travel industry in India under one roof. We have got a very good response from OTM, with visitors enquiring for details and offers, and we are very satisfied.last_img

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first_imgThe national carrier, Garuda Indonesia is planning to launch flights connecting Bali to Mumbai. With the objective of tapping into the large honeymoon and Hindu pilgrimage market in India, the airlines may operate charter flights in advance of plans for scheduled departures.“The Indian market has great potential. There are two strong potential markets in India, those undertaking a honeymoon and those on a religious pilgrimage. The middle to upper classes of India are those that generally go on a religious journey to Bali,” Garuda’s Commercial Director, Handayani said.last_img

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first_imgFrom glittering mosques and towering mountains to frankincense and beekeeping, the Arab nation of Oman is embracing tourism whilst staying true to its 6,000-year-old history.Source: BBClast_img

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first_imgRanthambore National Park, also spelled as Ranthambhore, is a national park and tiger reserve located in the Sawai Madhopur district in Rajasthan. The 275 square km park is one of the best places in India to see tigers in the wild and is one of the most filmed wildlife reserves in the world.Source: World Travel Guideslast_img

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first_imgIn mid-2017, the Department of Home Affairs (HA), formerly the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, extended online lodgement of visitor visa applications to all Indian nationals. The online application process provides a more convenient option for Indians looking to visit Australia, by allowing them to apply for their Australian tourist visa within the comfort of their home, without any biometric requirement or physically submitting their passport to the Department. In an age where travellers are increasingly self-reliant in planning and booking holidays, the e-lodgement facility allows tourists greater independence when planning a trip to Australia and has proved to be a strong catalyst for boosting tourist arrivals from India. Since the introduction of this new visa system, arrivals from India to Australia have surged by 20%. Tania Gerlach, Chief Migration Officer, Department of Home Affairs commented, “Australia has a long history of innovation in its visa services. The expansion of online lodgement to Indian applicants is an important step in managing a large number of visitor visa applications processed in India. Processing times for these visas are now faster, as both applications and supporting documentation are immediately available to the processing office.” Commenting on the success, Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager – India, Tourism Australia said, “Travellers today are digitally savvy and are increasingly habituated to a click or a tap to accomplish most tasks each day. Since the digital medium is now widely used in all aspects of travel planning, we see the introduction of online visitor visa lodgement as a progressive and innovative measure to ease travel logistics. In addition to destination delights to woo potential tourists, ease of access is usually seen as a catalyst that drives decision making. Going digital for visa facilitation is a huge convenience for travellers and further strengthens the appeal of Australia in attracting a higher share of visitors from India.”Consumers can conveniently apply for their Australian visitor visa through the Department’s Immi Account portal. Online visa lodgement offers benefits such as 24/7 accessibility, electronic payment of the visa application charge and the ability to check the status of applications lodged online.With the applicant’s permission, the online form can be completed by a third party such as a family member here in India or in Australia, or HA’s contracted visa application centre, VFS. Many travellers opt to use the service offered by key travel agents to do their online lodgement.last_img read more

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first_img September 28, 2012 401 Views V.I.P. Mortgage Reveals ‘Shoot from the Heart’ Employee Philosophy in Origination, Servicing While some employers may be struggling to find practical and cost-effective strategies to keep employees happy and productive, “”V.I.P. Mortgage””:http://www.vipmtginc.com/ aims for the heart.[IMAGE]The Scottsdale, Arizona-based mortgage bank points to a number of charitable causes undertaken for its employees, including V.I.P.’s sponsorship of one employee’s efforts to raise awareness for multiple sclerosis. The employee biked more than 150 miles through New Mexico, and the company contributed $1,000 to his fundraising efforts.V.I.P.’s Colorado Springs office has taken similar steps, raising more than $1,800 to assist juvenile diabetes research in support of an employee’s son – $1,000 of which was pledged from the firm’s corporate team. In addition, the Colorado Springs branch hosted a “”Support Our Troops”” drive in the spring, handing out corporate-sponsored custom T-shirts to donors.While V.I.P. has a history of reaching out, its employees also work to create solidarity within the company family. When one employee lost her hair in a battle with cancer, the company’s founders, along with a number of colleagues, showed their support by shaving their heads.In a release, the company said its goal is to “”make employees’ passions and lives feel more valued and supported.””””In five short years, V.I.P. has grown from two to more than 200 people, and company culture has been a key in solidifying employees as a family,”” the release reads. “”By supporting employees’ not only within the work arena, but in their other endeavors, one begins to feel part of the bigger picture, which leads to company loyalty and retention.””center_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-09-28 Tory Barringer Sharelast_img read more

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first_img Share December 16, 2014 565 Views Mortgage Denials Point to Much Tighter Market Credit Availability Credit Standards Urban Institute 2014-12-16 Tory Barringercenter_img in Daily Dose, Data, News, Origination Reinforcing concerns of a too-tight credit market, a new measure of mortgage application denials suggests getting a loan might be even tougher for lower-credit borrowers than previously thought.In a report released Tuesday, researchers at the Urban Institute (UI) say that previous “traditional” observations of mortgage denial rates (calculated by dividing the number of denied mortgages by the total number of applications) provide an inaccurate look at credit availability because they include applicants with near-perfect credit profiles—those who are unlikely to be turned down for most products, in other words.”Because it conflates those with near perfect credit with those who might actually be denied a mortgage, the traditional method fails to accurately reflect mortgage market trends,” researchers Laurie Goodman and Wei Li wrote.By excluding those high-credit applicants, they say they can piece together a more accurate picture of how willing lenders are to accept applicants that might pose some risk.Using the adjusted calculation, UI found that 43 percent of borrowers with “less-than-perfect” credit were denied in 2013, nearly triple the unadjusted estimate of 14 percent and up from 25 percent in 2004 (though Goodman and Li admit that “the terms of many loans made in 2004 were not favorable to borrowers.”)Furthermore, the study suggests that the gap in denial rates between white and minority applicants has been exaggerated by inaccurate reporting. While the observed denial rates for black and Hispanic applicants over the last 16 years have been nearly double that of white applicants, that disparity is narrower when looking only at low-credit profile Americans: 45 percent for black applicants, 41 percent for Hispanics, and 34 percent for whites.The slight gap comes as no surprise to Goodman and Li, who note that across their 16-year study period, the share of low-credit applicants has been consistently higher among the black and Hispanic groups than in the Asian and white groups.”Therefore, the latest [real denial rate] numbers show that racial gaps are not the major challenge on credit accessibility,” they wrote. “The key challenge is that the mortgage market is excluding half the borrowers with weaker credit profiles, including minorities.”last_img read more

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first_img Labor National Association of Home Builders Subcontractors 2016-06-28 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination Housing numbers might be doing well in general, but what happens when everyone wants to buy a house but no one wants to build them?That question isn’t an abstract worry. A new survey of single-family builders conducted by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) has shown that shortages of labor and subcontractors have soared, with more than half the contractors surveyed reporting at least some shortage in nine building trades.Carpenters in particular are in short supply. According to the survey, roughly a quarter of all contractors reported “serious shortage” in both rough and finishing carpenters, as well as framing crews. Half reported at least “some shortage” in carpenters, and at least 40 percent reported some shortage in framing crews, painters, and masons.Overall, 72 percent of builders reported a shortage (either serious or some) of construction workers willing and able to do rough carpentry.Averaged across the nine trades, the share of builders reporting either some or a serious shortage overall has skyrocketed over the last four years. Shortages were low (21 percent) in 2012, but ramped up to 46 percent in 2014, 52 percent in 2015, and now 56 percent.NAHB economist Paul Emrath stated that a shortage of subcontractors could be quite serious, “and ignoring it gives an incomplete picture of the problem’s severity.” The most common effects of such shortages, he said, have been the need for builders to pay higher wages and subcontractor bids (an issue reported by 75 percent of builders in an earlier NAHB survey) that translates into higher home prices (68 percent) and making it difficult to complete projects on time (58 percent).One bright spot: The shortages vary across the country.“Not all builders in NAHB’s 2016 survey reported shortages,” Emrath said. “Some even wrote in specific comments that they were not seeing any shortage of labor in the markets where they currently build.” June 28, 2016 572 Views center_img Share Builders Enduring Labor Shortage While Costs Soarlast_img read more

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first_img Credit Risk Sharing Freddie Mac Front-End Risk Sharing 2016-09-26 Seth Welborn Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been at the forefront of credit risk sharing initiatives since 2013, having transferred to private investors a portion of the credit risk on mortgages with UPB totaling more than $1 trillion between them through various credit risk sharing programs.Nearly all of those credit risk transactions conducted by the GSEs have been of the back-end variety, however, meaning they have occurred after the mortgages are already on the GSEs’ balance sheets. That changed on Monday, however, when Freddie Mac announced a new pilot front-end credit risk transfer offering, Freddie Mac Deep MI CRT.With front-end transactions, the credit risk is transferred before the loans hit the GSEs’ balance sheets. The Deep MI CRT provides additional coverage beyond primary mortgage insurance on 30-year fixed rate mortgages with LTVs between 80 and 95 percent, and the coverage is placed immediately when the loan is sold to Freddie Mac. All transactions are conducted via a competitive, transparent auction process, according to Freddie Mac.“Deep MI CRT builds on the success of our Agency Credit Insurance Structure (ACIS) program and is the first credit risk transfer offering in the market with a flow-basis structure on loans purchased from our diverse lender base,” said Kevin Palmer, SVP of credit risk transfer at Freddie Mac. “The pricing certainty provided by day one coverage offers us an economically sensible way to transfer mortgage credit risk away from taxpayers. Deep MI CRT embodies all the core elements of our single-family credit risk transfer program, and also helps us expand our important relationships with mortgage insurers.”Palmer continued, “Risk transfer outside of the capital markets is a meaningful part of our single-family credit risk transfer strategy and we continue to explore options to expand our front-end risk transfer offerings.”Since introducing its Structured Agency Credit Risk (STACR) program in mid-2013 and subsequently launching Whole Loan Securities (WLS) and Agency Insurance Credit Structure (ACIS) transactions, Freddie Mac has transferred a significant portion of credit risk on nearly $545 billion of UPB on single-family mortgages and grown its investor base to more than 200 unique investors, including insurers and reinsurers.“The deeper mortgage insurance pilot transaction that Freddie Mac is conducting represents an important step in the ongoing effort of both Enterprises to enhance their credit risk transfer programs,” FHFA Director Mel Watt said. “Assessing the feasibility of such front-end credit risk transfer structures is a conservatorship priority and was included in the 2016 Scorecard for the Enterprises. The Enterprises have been working with individual mortgage insurance companies on this important issue over the last several months.”Watt added, “The pilot transaction Freddie Mac is announcing today is consistent with the principles FHFA laid out in June in our Single-Family Credit Risk Transfer Request for Input, including the ability of an Enterprise to manage their counterparty exposure and thereby reduce taxpayer risk. This transaction will include mortgage loans that are originated by lenders of all sizes and it also has certainty of coverage and collateral requirements that are consistent with other credit risk transfer transactions. Further, the coverage begins at the time the loans are delivered to the Enterprise, consistent with FHFA’s definition of a front-end credit risk transfer.”Lindsey Johnson, President and Executive Director of U.S. Mortgage Insurers, noted that there is still an opportunity for MI to play a greater role in these transactions.“Our industry proposes expanding the current risk protection provided by MI, which today guards up to 35 percent of a loan’s value, as a means of front-end credit risk transfer that has significant impact on protecting taxpayers while also ensuring borrower access to low down payment mortgages,” Johnson said. “By using more MI to provide deeper front-end risk sharing on loans the GSEs guaranty, the GSEs and taxpayers will be at a much more remote risk of losses, while also providing many other positive attributes, such as ensuring prudent access to affordable mortgage credit and access for lenders of all sizes and types. Having the GSEs increase that protection coverage would put more private capital at risk—precisely what taxpayers and the economy need. We look forward to continuing that dialogue with FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, policymakers, and other stakeholders.”Watt noted that the FHFA’s request for input on the transaction closes on October 13. Share in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Secondary Marketcenter_img September 26, 2016 656 Views Time For Change: GSE Credit-Risk Sharing on the Front Endlast_img read more

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first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Secondary Market Consumer spending Economic Growth 2017-06-19 Brianna Gilpin Fannie Mae Says Uncertainty Lies Ahead June 19, 2017 659 Views center_img Share The U.S. is embarking on its ninth year of economic expansion and Fannie Mae is predicting economic growth rebound. According to their Economic & Strategic Research Group’s June 2017 Economic and Housing Outlook, second quarter economic growth will rebound to 2.9 percent from last quarters 1.2 percent. Consumer spending growth is expected to return to its traditional role as the biggest contributor to economic growth, picking up to 3.1 percent this quarter from 0.6 percent in the first quarter. Fannie Mae said moderate growth is expected to continue into next year, however uncertainty in fiscal and monetary policy makes the forecast a little difficult.“This month marks the eighth anniversary of the U.S. economic expansion, the third-longest of the post-World War II era. While we expect modest growth to continue in 2018, the potential for fiscal stimulus remains a notable wild card,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “The odds that Congress will enact major pieces of legislation this year and jump-start meaningful fiscal stimulus have diminished, and the economy also faces another fiscal policy uncertainty in coming months, as Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a government shutdown.”Duncan said the Federal Open Market Committee’s June decision to raise the fed funds rate by 25 basis points has increased the uncertainty of monetary policy.“Our June forecast assumes that the Fed will increase the target rate once more this year in September and will begin to taper reinvestment of principal payments from its securities holdings in December. However, the recent slowdowns in hiring and inflation could lead the Fed to hold off on the September rate hike in order to gather more data.”According to Duncan, the housing market hasn’t changed all that much in the last year. Labor and inventory shortages are constraining sales and therefore increasing home prices.“We expect total home sales to rise 3.2 percent this year and total single-family mortgage originations to drop about 21 percent to $1.62 trillion,” Duncan said. “A large drop in refinance originations will likely outweigh a modest rise in purchase originations. We expect the refinance share to move down to around 34 percent in 2017 from 48 percent in 2016.”For more details on Fannie Mae’s June 2017 Economic and Housing Outlook, click here.last_img read more

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first_img Share CFPB Increasing Thresholds in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News July 14, 2017 545 Views center_img HELOC 2017-07-14 Brianna Gilpin The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed Friday that the reporting requirements for banks and credit unions regarding home equity lines of credit (HELOC) should be eased in regards to reporting. Come January 2018, the new rule will be that a bank must report HELOCs if they made more than 500 loans through calendar years 2018 and 2019 versus the currently standing 100. This change would be temporary, allowing the CFPB to consider whether to make the adjustment permanent.“Home-equity lines of credit worsened the foreclosure crisis that swept the country in 2008 and 2009,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We need to keep track of the responsible use of these loans for consumers, but after hearing from community banks and credit unions we want to reconsider whether that goal can be achieved with a higher reporting threshold.”Originally enacted in 1975, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act was updated in 2015 to help financial institutions in their quality of reporting. Of the updates taking effect in January 2018, the most significant thus far requires lenders to collect, report, and disclose data on certain dwelling-secured open-end lines of credit, including HELOCs.Because of the nature of HELOCs, the CFPB believes it’s important to collect data on them. Just like a mortgage, homeowners can default on a HELOC and lose their home. The foreclosure crisis in the late 2000s had much to do with the overleveraging and defaulting due to these products. The CFPB is working to clear the blind spot present at that time when this lending wasn’t visible to HMDA data or any other publicly available data source.According to the CFPB, they have heard increasing concerns from community banks and credit unions on the challenges and costs associated with reporting open-end lending at the 100-loan threshold. Both the costs and the amount of institutions reporting open-end lines of credit are turning out to be more than the CFPB originally estimated.You can see the proposed rule here.last_img read more

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first_img Company News Dworbell Inc Eddie Seiler 2018-03-05 David Wharton Eddie Seiler Joins Dworbell, Inc. as VP The Washington D.C.-based Dworbell, Inc., a trade association management firm providing public policy analysis and advocacy, has announced that Edward Seiler, Ph.D. has joined the firm in the role of VP, Research and Economic Analysis. In this capacity, Seiler will lead economic research for the organizations that Dworbell manages, including the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA), the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA), and the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC).Seiler was previously Chief Housing Economist and Director at Summit Consulting, an analytics firm with expertise in applied economics and mortgage finance. Prior to joining Summit, Dr. Seiler was Director of Economics at Fannie Mae, where he directed the development and implementation of analytical models used to guide credit loss management decisions. He has lectured graduate-level micro-econometrics at Johns Hopkins University and published several peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Seiler was previously employed as a manager at Bates White (an economics litigation consulting firm) and as a post-doctoral fellow at The Hebrew University.He earned his Ph.D. in economics from The University of Chicago, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. in Featured, Headlines, Newscenter_img March 5, 2018 663 Views Sharelast_img read more

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first_img CIRT EPMI Fannie Mae Insurance Lenders LTV mortgage 2018-07-11 Radhika Ojha Fannie Mae has recently introduced another insurance product to help lenders satisfy its charter requirement for high-LTV loans. The government-sponsored enterprise’s (GSE’s) charter requires it to ensure appropriate credit enhancement of loans that have a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio that’s greater than 80 percent when it is acquired by Fannie Mae.”Fannie Mae’s Enterprise-Paid Mortgage Insurance (EPMI) offering provides our lender customers with another option for obtaining mortgage insurance that satisfies Fannie Mae’s charter requirement for high-LTV loans,” Robert Schaefer, VP, Credit Enhancement Strategy and Management at Fannie Mae wrote on the GSE’s blog. “Initially, we are offering EPMI on a limited pilot basis, as an execution option that is available to participating lenders and borrowers.”Schaefer wrote that the new lender option would enable Fannie Mae to streamline the operational requirements of “participating lender customers, increase the certainty of coverage for our credit investor partners, and better manage Fannie Mae’s counterparty risk.” He said that the new product applied many of the same concepts developed in Fannie’s Credit Insurance Risk Transfer (CIRT) structure and represented another innovation for transferring credit risk from Fannie Mae to the private market while diversifying the providers of the credit protection for its single-family business.The EPMI enables lenders to deliver a loan with an LTV greater than 80 percent to Fannie Mae without the lender-acquired mortgage insurance, in return for an additional loan-level price adjustment fee paid by the lender to Fannie Mae. The GSE said that loans under this option would be covered under a forward insurance arrangement secured by Fannie from an approved insurance provider.”The process for settling EPMI claims is streamlined by Fannie and is similar to the process for settling claims under its CIRT transactions. If a loan defaults, claims are paid after the property disposition when the actual loss on the loan is known,” Schaefer said.According to Fannie Mae, the product offers a more streamlined process for lenders in the following ways:Fannie Mae is responsible for acquiring the insurance, filing claims, and performing monthly reporting.Loan quality and eligibility are determined by Fannie Mae, not a combination of Fannie Mae and MI guidelines.Participating servicers look to one set of servicing guidelines for their loss mitigation offerings, liquidation decisions, and related approvals.Because the operational processes required under EPMI are similar to those required for CIRT, Fannie Mae can leverage the simplified process and infrastructure that already supports CIRT transactions.When Fannie Mae files a claim under EPMI, it submits a single data report to the insurance provider.The claim is settled after property disposition when the actual loss on the loan is known. in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Secondary Market Fannie Mae Expands Mortgage Insurance Options for Lenderscenter_img July 11, 2018 1,011 Views Sharelast_img read more

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