NZ fears for Aussie tourism

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H Tourism authorities in New Zealand are worried about the immediate future of tourism from Australia. Although visitors from Australia last year made up 44 per cent of all international tourist numbers to NZ, increasing 3.4 per cent to 1.25 million, Tourism New Zealand boss Kevin Bowler is expecting a fall in numbers for the start of this year.”I’m pretty worried about Australia at the moment,” Mr Bowler said. “We had a pretty good December but I’m picking that January will be down, given all of the natural disasters that happened.” According to Stuff.co.nz, lower trans-tasman air fares have brought with them a change in spending patterns, with the average Australian traveller in the year to June 2010 spending NZ$1548 per visit, compared to $1640 the year before.”The lower Tasman fares are helping people come over more regularly, which is great, but once you’ve done some of our attractions you don’t come back and do that every time,” Mr Bowler said. Also of concern to Mr Bowler is the strong Aussie dollar, which has seen record numbers of Australians travelling to the United States and other faraway destinations, Stuff.co.nz reported. More Aussie visitors has notequalled more Aussie dollars last_img read more

Industry praised at 2011 NTIA

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The glitz and glamour of Hollywood relocated to the Westin Hotel in Sydney on Saturday night, with some 940 industry friends dressed to impress to celebrate this year’s National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA).Hosted for the second year by Getaway presenter Jules Lund, the travel world’s best were acknowledged while attendees were entertained with the acrobatic stylings of Zimboyz.Travelscene American Express walked away with the Best Travel Agency award, beating-out last year’s winner Jetset Travelworld Group.In addition to taking out the Best Agency Group award, Travelscene American Express Members also won six categories for individual awards.   New Zealand took out celebrity central, Los Angeles, with Tourism NZ walking away as this year’s Best International Tourist Office. While Qantas Airways remained Australia’s favourite domestic airline this year, claiming the title over Virgin Australia/Blue for the second consecutive year.Meanwhile, AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury praised the industry for their efforts over the past 12 months despite uncontrollable challenges.Mr Westbury also announced that Mike Thompson would return as AFTA chairman, while Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner will step into the vice-chairman role on the AFTA board.For a full list of winners see below or click here to see photos from the 2011 NTIA awards and Singapore Airlines sponsored after-party.  The awards winners were:Rookie of the Year – Agent – Katrina Tasker, Escape Travel ChatswoodBest Travel Consultant – Retail –Anne Westby, Travelcentre BendigoBest Travel Agency Retail – Single Location – Harvey World Travel Lane Cove, NSWBest Travel Agency Retail – Multi Location – Phil Hoffmann TravelBest Travel Consultant – Corporate – Hannah Moore, The Travel Authority Best Travel Agency Corporate – Multi Location – Globetrotter Corporate TravelBest Travel Agency Corporate – Single Location – Spencer TravelBest Conference & Incentive Travel Agency – etm Group Best National Corporate Travel Management Company – Corporate Travel ManagementBest Innovation in Marketing – Retail Agency – Phil Hoffmann TravelBest Registered Travel Industry Training Institution – Brisbane North Institute of TAFEBest Hotel/Resort – Australian Property – Cable Beach Club Resort & SpaBest Hotel/Resort Group – AccorBest Agency Support Service – Air TicketsBest Tourist Office – National – Tourism QueenslandBest Tourist Office – International – Tourism New ZealandRookie of the Year – Supplier – Christian Coronica, AAT KingsBest Sales Executive – Industry Supplier – Blake Muir, TopdeckBest Car/Campervan Rental Operator – HertzBest Tour Operator – International – Insight VacationsBest Tour Operator – Domestic – AAT KingsBest Cruise Operator – International – APTBest Cruise Operator – Australia – Princess CruisesBest Wholesaler – International Product – Creative HolidaysBest Wholesaler – Australian Product – Qantas Holidays & Viva HolidaysBest Airline Domestic – Qantas AirwaysBest Airline International – Offline – Lufthansa German AirlinesBest Airline International – Online – Singapore AirlinesBest Travel Agency Group (100 outlets or more) – Travelscene American Expresslast_img read more

QF adjusts transTasman schedule

first_imgQantas has announced adjustments to its trans-Tasman schedule to maintain “the needs of business travellers”.Commencing 16 July, the airline will move its morning services 10-30 minutes later on flights; QF47 Sydney and Wellington, QF118 Wellington to Sydney, QF123 Brisbane and Auckland, QF124 Auckland and Brisbane as well as QF135 Melbourne to Auckland. Afternoon services will also depart later including; QF38 Welling to Melbourne, QF125 Brisbane to Auckland and QDF 136 Auckland to Melbourne. The airline’s regional general manager of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Rohan Garnett said changes were made after “enhanced consultation” with New Zealand trade.“The improved schedule will better support corporate itineraries in line with Qantas’ commitment to being best for business in the trans-Tasman market,” Mr Garnett said.    “It also improves same-day east coast USA connections via services from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.  Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

VA SQ plan Paris Netherlands code share

first_imgComing on board as a ‘marketing carrier’ Virgin Australia has applied for a new code share with alliance carrier, Singapore Airlines, on flights to Paris and the Netherlands.In its application to the International Air Services Association (IASC), Virgin said it was looking to code share on Singapore Airlines flights flying on routes; Australia – Singapore – Paris as well as Australia – Singapore – Amsterdam.The carrier said if approval is granted it would also continue to serve the Australia – Abu Dhabi – Paris route with alliance partner, Etihad, as both routing “can be accommodated within Virgin Australia’s current allocation of third country code share capacity on France”.Meanwhile on the Amsterdam route, Virgin said it was seeking an allocation of 400 seats per week for a period running up to five years. The airline expects allocation to be fully used by 24 March next year.Meanwhile this week Singapore Airlines said it was looking to expand its presence down under, with plans to increase flights in Australia from 102 to 112 per week. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Etihad introduces bank transfer payment option in Australia

first_imgEtihad Airwayswww.etihad.comEtihad introduces bank transfer payment option in AustraliaEtihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has introduced a bank transfer payment option for bookings made on etihad.com.The new payment option, introduced in response to customer feedback, is a convenient option for guests who prefer to pay for flights with cash.Etihad Airways’ General Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Sarah Built, said: “The introduction of a bank transfer payment option enables Etihad Airways to offer our guests more choice.“Bank transfers are a convenient option for making cash payments and are a popular payment method in Australia.“Overseas travellers now have more options for booking and paying for flights on etihad.com 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”Guests simply select the ‘Bank Transfer’ payment method when booking a flight at etihad.com and have 24 hours to complete the bank transfer.Australian travellers who book on etihad.com can also pay with credit/debit cards, PayPal and PoliPay. Etihad AirwaysSource = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more

Jaipur – Travel Agent Competition

first_imgroomsXML, Scoot, India Heritage and Culture Tours and ETB bring you the competition of the year for 2 lucky agents including flights, accommodation, drinks and tours. Agents only!An Australian Travel Agent and a guest is just 10 questions away from going in the draw to win prize of the year.roomsXML, Scoot Airways, India Heritage & Culture Tours and ETB Travel News are giving Aussie agents the chance to win an amazing experience of colourful Rajasthan, India.The prize includes:2 return economy tickets with Scoot to JaipurTransfer from Jaipur International Airport to Hotel Mahal Khandela in an air-conditioned carTraditional hotel welcome – showering of rose petals,beating of drums and “tilak”. Rangoli on the hotel entrance and  central courtyard.Rooms in all hotels stocked with wine and beer,fresh and dry fruits, chocolates,juices and mineral water.Gala dinner,bar-be-cue and unlimited drinks hosted by the owners of Hotel Mahal Khandela. Join in the folk dances and music a famous troupe will perform in your honour on the hotel’s roof-top.Sumptuous breakfasts,lunches,bar-be-cue and dinners during your tripFull-day sight seeing with an escort speaking the language of the guests.Complimentary Ayurvedic massageClimb up Fort Amer on an elephant.Excursions to the awesome 8th century Chand Baori step-wellSee an enthralling “aarti” being performed to Lord Brahma at the temple town of Pushkar.See magnificent frescoes of Shekhawti on a walking tour of Mandawa town during your stay at Castle Mandawa. See tigers at close quarters during a thrilling jeep safari deep into the Ranthambore Tiger Sanctuary. Transfer to Jaipur airport for flying outAnd now, the questions you need to answer to go into the draw……Name one outstanding feature of the Malani breed of horses found  in Western parts of Rajasthan – IndiaWho was the court poet who wrote the epic poem “Prithviraj Raso” in praise of a 12th Century AD Hindu King?What is the major ingredient used in the preparation of gatta curry – a well-known cuisine of Rajasthan?To which Goddess the 8th century temple at village Abhaneri  in Rajasthan dedicated to?Name any four forts of Rajasthan that are on UNESCO World Heritage Sites List.Where is the oldest temple in Rajasthan of Trinetra Lord Ganesha located?How many metallic pegs are found on the folk musical instrument called Raavan Hatta?Which Rajasthani folklorist was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006 ?Which Western expert has written a book on swords & daggers in which he has acknowledged the contribution of some members of Khandela family?To which dynasty did Raja Pajwanrai belong and who succeeded on his throne after his death? Correct answers should be emailed to au.support@roomsxml.com before midday, AEDST, on Friday 16th DecemberTerms & ConditionsCorrect answers should be emailed to au.support@roomsxml.com before midday, AEDST, on Friday 16th DecemberThe  answers to the questions will be published immediately after the competition endsThere will be no dispute as regards to the correctness of the answersThe inclusions and exclusions on the trip will appear in the detailed itineraryFlights valid until 30 Sept 2017Land operator supplier reserves all rightsScoot the airline reserves all rights learn more about roomsXML.com herelast_img read more

Azamara Journey wraps up maiden Australian season

first_imgSource = Azamara Club Cruises Azamara Journey wraps up maiden Australian seasonAzamara Club Cruises’ latest Australian ship, Azamara Journey departs for her final Australian cruise today, wrapping up her maiden season. Her inaugural visit Down Under saw almost 2,600 guests from the USA, UK, Canada, Germany and Australia experience Azamara’s unique destination immersion style of cruising, injecting an estimated $2.85 million into the local Australian economy in passenger spend alone.Azamara Club Cruises’ second boutique-hotel cruise ship arrived in late February fresh from an extensive multi-million dollar makeover, delivering Azamara’s unique destination immersive style of cruising that offers longer stays and more authentic travel experiences, all while travelling in style on an intimate 690-guest cruise ship..“It’s been wonderful introducing Azamara Journey to Australia for the first time. She has been incredibly well received and completely booked out.  She’s clearly impressed Australians -half of her staterooms for next year’s season are already booked.” said Adam Armstrong, managing director, Azamara Club Cruises Australia & NZ.Over 2600 guests sailed on board Azamara Journey during her first season Down Under. Her 18-night Sydney to Singapore sailing departing today, 22 March, is her most popular itinerary amongst Australians, with Aussies and Kiwis making up a third of guests cruising on the voyage.Known for its focus on destination immersion, Azamara Club Cruises recently announced the evolution of this position with Stay Longer, Experience More – delivering opportunities for guests to personally connect with the destinations they visit. Azamara Journey’s maiden Australian season will saw more than half of all her port calls staying late into the evening or overnight, while her new Cruise Global, Connect Local land discoveries program delivered personalised and authentic experiences, by day and night.Azamara Journey will return down under for a second season in January 2018. She’ll offer four local sailings during her season, including a brand new 18-night Bali to Sydney voyage via the West Coast of Australia departing 21 January 2018. This unique sailing offers maiden calls to Exmouth, Perth, Bunbury, Albany, Esperance, Kangaroo Island and Adelaide. Azamara Journey will also offer a 14-night Sydney to Auckland sailing, a 13-night Auckland to Sydney voyage and an 18-night Sydney to Singapore itinerary, which includes a call to Brisbane on 9 March 2018.About Azamara Club CruisesAzamara is a boutique upmarket cruise line operating two 690 passenger ships, Azamara Journey and the Azamara Quest. Azamara Club Cruises differentiates itself – and gains loyal fans – by making destinations the hero. The wide selection of Destination Immersion programming offers guests the opportunity to Stay Longer and Experience More.  Capitalising on longer stays in port, more overnights and night touring, Azamara voyages deliver authentic cultural experiences across the globe. The ships’ smaller size allows them to visit ports larger ships are unable to venture to. In 2017, Azamara will take passengers to more than 200 ports, in 68 countries, including 195 late night stays and 82 overnights. More than half of all of Azamara Journey’s maiden season calls stay longer or overnight in port.The brand offers unique and tailored Land Discoveries in each port to help guests uncover new destinations, from sailing in the Whitsundays, tasting your way around the Cairns Tablelands, exploring Hobbiton in Tauranga or visiting a local farm in Napier.Although destinations are the highlight, what’s onboard also keeps guests coming back for more. Not only is Azamara Journey completely refreshed, guests onboard also receive exceptional and personal service and enjoy fine cuisine and boutique wines from around the world. More is included in each cruise – such as beverages, gratuities, self-service laundry, English Butler service for suite guests and shuttle transportation to city centres in ports, where available.RCL Cruises Ltd Australia commenced operation in December 2008 as the Australian arm of global cruise holiday company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The company offers three cruise brands in Australia and New Zealand: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.  In the 2016/2017 cruise season Royal Caribbean International will increase the local fleet to five ships with the introduction of Australia’s biggest, newest and most technologically advanced cruise ship, US$1 billion Ovation of the Seas, joining Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas home porting in Sydney and Legend of the Seas homeporting in Brisbane. Australia’s highest rated cruise ship Celebrity Solstice will also sail her fifth local season out of Sydney, while Azamara Club Cruises’ boutique Azamara Journey  will  make her Australian debut during the 2016/2017 summer season.last_img read more

Choice Hotels new marketing campaign set to be a game changer

first_imgChoice Hotels’ new marketing campaign set to be a game changerChoice Hotels’ new marketing campaign set to be a game changerChoice Hotels Asia-Pac, one of New Zealand’s largest hotel franchise groups, has today launched its new marketing campaign, ‘Need A Break’, aimed at inspiring everyday Kiwis to head out and explore their own backyard.The direction is in response to new independent research[1] commissioned by Choice Hotels that showed 65 per cent of Kiwis are feeling stressed, with 44 per cent agreeing the best way to alleviate this stress was to take a short break (one to three nights) from the daily grind. The ‘Need A Break’ Report also revealed that 81 per cent of New Zealanders would like to take more short breaks, but believe they are just too busy.Choice Hotels’ comprehensive campaign strategy will include the launch of its new online platform www.NeedaBreak.com, a new TVC, a tactical partnership with TVNZ, storytelling-focused advertising, search advertising, a new social direction, email marketing, innovative programmatic digital display advertising, outdoor media and traditional PR.The television commercials will run throughout the year and have been produced with clever creative that shows an office descending into chaos, after a seemingly innocent and relatively innocuous source of irritation sets off a chain reaction of hilarious events, ultimately ending with a photocopier in flames being thrown out of a building.General Manager, Marketing for Choice Hotels Asia-Pac, Matt Taylor, says he is thrilled to launch the innovative new campaign and creative direction for the brand.“After 12 months of rigorous research, we identified a huge opportunity to hone in on the short break market,” said Mr Taylor.“Utilising a full suite of advertising and marketing creative and launching a new travel-centric website, we believe we can position Choice Hotels as champions of the short break and ultimately be front-of-mind for people who are looking to take these types of getaways in the future.“We wanted to adopt an upbeat, light-hearted tone to our campaign to reflect the sense of revitalisation that short breaks provide. Our research confirmed 83 per cent of Kiwis and 82 per cent of Aussies feel revitalised after a short break and that ultimately short breaks renew a sense of happiness, healthiness, work motivation and sense of connection to partners and kids,” says Mr Taylor.This strategy also enables Choice Hotels to showcase its breadth of accommodation options across New Zealand and Australia.“Choice Hotels has over 250 properties across all regions of New Zealand and Australia. Through this offering we can allow people to explore all areas of our two great countries. The NeedaBreak.com website will be a vital driver to facilitating this, providing a range of information, travel tips, ideas and advice and planning tools, including a unique itinerary builder that will help everyone to get away from their daily grind,” added Mr Taylor. Choice HotelsNeed a Break?Source = Choice Hotelslast_img read more

Hard to beat roomsXML in Hong Kong

first_imgHard to beat: roomsXML in Hong Kong. roomsXML 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. roomsXML.comconnect today roomsXML.comdiscover more here Source = roomsxml.comcenter_img A British colony for 150 years, Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 after decades as a manufacturing and financial base. Designated a Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong is a place of legal and political independence; known as the Oriental Pearl. Explore the mountains and some pockets of wilderness (yes…even in Hong Kong !), shopping take a trip to Macau and relax at one of the dozens of top restaurants. With over 350 properties in Hong Kong, roomsXML has you covered:Wan Chai: check out the Wan Chai Heritage Trail, Golden Bauhinia Square, or the Tai Yen Street Market.roomsXML has 30 Properties in Wan ChaiKowloon: Northern part of Hong Kong with great shopping, arts and entertainment districts.roomsXML has 119 Properties in KowloonCauseway Bay: densely populated and a trendy shopping Mecca for the youngroomsXML has 150 Properties in Causeway BayWestern & Central District: An administrative district with Hong Kongs main central financial areas.roomsXML has 56 Properties in the Western & Central Districtlast_img read more

Tripigator launches KitnaPadega campaign

first_imgAfter the launch of its web application and mobile app, Indian online travel itinerary maker, Tripigator.com launched a campaign to make users aware of the approximate cost of any trip. The campaign, #KitnaPadega, has been initiated to answer the most common question of all users, i.e. ‘How much would a trip, with all its features, cost?’The Operations and Data Sciences teams at Tripigator worked together to answer this question so that users could get an estimation as to how much a planned holiday would cost, even before they begin to personalise it, informed Co-Founder of Tripigator, Mukul Garg. The tool is accessible on KitnaPadega.com, and is available in 17 languages across the country.Garg said that the customers questions about the approximate cost of an itinerary made them think of a campaign tool for the same. “We are the first technology company to develop such a hashtag campaign in 17 Indian languages. We already have a reach of five lakh customers daily.  With this campaign, we want double our reach,” he stated. He went on to add that the booking app, which was launched six months ago, has been received well by the market and has reached 50,000 downloads till now.The estimation provided by the #KitnaPadega tool consider factors such as the destination, number of days, pax, and the choice of hotel, before tallying the cost with the prices Tripigator gets from its vetted network of wholesalers. The tool intends to provide users with a cost estimate that is up to 20% cheaper than that offered elsewhere online, Garg informed.last_img read more

StartupKnockDown series to present a spectrum of opportunities for innovators in traveltech

first_imgStartupKnockDown+ is just a fortnight away and this time it’s bigger and better. StartupKnockdown+ is an initiative by TravHQ in association with TTF to highlight the emerging travel technologies across various cities in India. The previous event had successfully put promising startups like Fxk00art and Confirmtkt in the spotlight and gave many others the chance to get inputs from industry experts to fine tune their product and gain new opportunities. It will be hosted first at Kolkata from July 8-10, thereafter following Hyderabad from July 15-17, 2016.The Kolkata and Hyderabad sessions have an esteemed line-up of judges and mentors. They have been placed as vanguards in investments in the travel industry and are at the forefront in driving the trend in the hospitality sector. Their proficiency in business incubation & entrepreneurship ecosystem development has given them an edge over others which help them to evaluate the product well. Travel StartupKnockDown+ would not only let the expert panel judge the pitching start-ups but also engage with them before the event during multiple workshops.To facilitate this, the team has some interesting partners on-board. They include various leaders in the start-up space like Calcutta Angels, 10,000 start-ups- a NASSCOM initiative, Hyderabad Angels, Amadeus, Indian Angel Network. This battle would put a plethora of opportunities on the table for the participating start-ups. These leading players would back the winning start-up. This platform would catapult the network build-up and help them get media recognition to partners like Entrepreneur.com.Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman, Fairfest Media Ltd (organisers of TTF), who is also a Chartered Member of the TiE, remarked, “Building on the successful debut of Travel StartupKnockDown alongside the TechForum at the OTM in Mumbai, we decided to launch the shows within the TTFs in several cities across the country. Apart from serving the travel industry in general by showcasing and deliberating on latest technologies in travel, it also acts as a very important platform for the Startup ecosystem to come together.”“We are very excited to partner with TTF and create a community platform for travel startups. The StartupKnockDown+ in second half of 2016 presents an exciting spectrum of opportunities for innovators in the travel-tech segment to showcase their offerings,” said Sunny Jindal, Managing Partner, TravHQ.As the last week commences, the participants can register for StartupKnockDown+ event on the website startupknockdown.travhq.com. For enquiries call at +91-9990663373 or write to tanu.arora@travhq.com.last_img read more

Azerbaijan allows filming Indian movie scenes to attract more Indian tourists

first_imgWith an aim to attract Indian tourists to the country, the Azerbaijan Tourism Association (AzTA) is working hard and negotiating with various Indian companies informed AzTA Chairman Nahid Bagirov.“The Association took the initiative of filming Indian movie scenes in Baku, which ended relatively recently. When this film comes out, it will be a big advertisement for Azerbaijan. India is a big country and advertising through the cinema will become a more effective method of demonstrating Azerbaijan’s possibilities. Such films will also affect the flow of tourists from India,” said Bagirov.Azerbaijan is interesting for filmmakers as elements of cities such as Paris, London, Dubai, etc. can be found in the Azerbaijani capital, informed the Head of AzTA.“We are also working on attracting video bloggers to Azerbaijan, in particular from Arab countries that have a wide audience in social networks,” said Nahid Bagirov.Bagirov also said that tourists mainly visit Gabala among the most popular regions of Azerbaijan.“The infrastructure is very developed in Gabala, and a lot of hotels, modern ski resorts are located there. And this area is popular among Arab tourists. Today, Indian tourists also visit there. It’s nice that an Indian restaurant has already been opened in Gabala. This is evidence of something,” said the Head of AzTA, while noting that other regions of the country, such as Ganja, Mingachevir, Lankaran, need to be developed, which will increase the number of nights tourists spend in hotels of Azerbaijan.Bagirov also emphasised that Azerbaijan is a very safe country, and political and economic stability play an important role in attracting tourists to the country.last_img read more

Another Taylor Bean Exec Lands in Jail

first_imgAnother Taylor Bean Exec Lands in Jail Share in Government, Origination, Servicing Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank Failure Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing 2011-06-24 Ryan Schuettecenter_img The saga of a nearly $3-billion fraudulent scheme that resulted in two bank failures, billions of dollars in losses, and the loss of over 2,000 jobs came to a close on Wednesday when courts found the culprits guilty on counts of fraud and false statements, among other charges.[IMAGE]U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema sentenced Paul R. Allen, former CEO of “”Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corporation””:http://www.taylorbean.com/PressRelease/Press.aspx (TBW), to 40 months in federal prison for his role in purposefully misrepresenting financial statements to banks over a period that lasted from 2005 to 2009.[COLUMN_BREAK]””Mr. Allen’s sentence reflects his ultimate cooperation with this investigation, but also sends the message that unless executives expose and stop fraud when they first learn of it, they will be punished,”” said Neil MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, according to “”_The Huffington Post_””:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/22/mortgage-fraud-ceo-prison-paul-allen_n_881946.html.””I messed up. I messed up big,”” “”_The Post_””:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/22/mortgage-fraud-ceo-prison-paul-allen_n_881946.html reported Allen as saying at his hearing. “”There was no excuse for my behavior.””Allen’s sentence went alongside convictions for Sean Ragland, a co-conspirator, on charges of bank and wire fraud. The convictions follow April’s conviction for former majority holder Lee Farkas, who authorities say masterminded the bank fraud. Farkas, the last of seven senior executives and employees to receive sentencing, may serve 385 years for his multiple fraud counts.According to “”_The Los Angeles Times_””:http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-fraud-sentence-20110625,0,1075014.story, the trial brought to light Farkas’ extravagant lifestyle, which included a private jet, a number of classic cars, and expensive real estate along the East Coast.””Taylor Bean””:http://www.taylorbean.com/PressRelease/Press.aspx fell apart in 2009, exposing the fraud, shedding over 2,000 employees in the process, and leading to the failure of Colonial Bank, one of the nation’s 25 largest banks, when it posted $500 million in losses stemming from overdrawn accounts, according to “”_The Times_””:http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-fraud-sentence-20110625,0,1075014.story. Two other banks, “”Deutsche Bank””:http://www.db.com/index_e.htm and “”BNP Paribas””:http://www.bnpparibas.com/en/home/, suffered $2 billion in losses as a consequence of related fraudulent acts. June 24, 2011 471 Views last_img read more

Firm Headlines New Valuation Insurance Program

first_img “”Kirchmeyer & Associates, Inc.””:http://www.kirchmeyer.com/, made waves with the announcement that it added a new program for collateral valuation insurance in line with a new partnership.[IMAGE]In a statement, the national real estate company said that it facilitated the program by partnering with Group9 Insurance Solutions.””Addressing risk mitigation concerns is a priority for us and by starting with a quality and accurate appraisal, we consistently deliver a quality valuation from the [COLUMN_BREAK]beginning of the loan cycle to the end with this protection program for our clients,”” James Kirchmeyer, president of Kirchmeyer & Associates, said in a statement. “”Rebuilding the mortgage industry’s confidence is paramount in today’s market, and having a plan in place enables the industry to thrive,”” he added. “”With Group9 Insurance Solutions we can deliver solid protection. It’s more than just insurance with a mortgage transaction, it’s reassurance.””The company said that the program will shield financial institutions against financial losses in matters where collateral value exceeds the collateral value of the original value. It is underwritten by insurers working with Group9.””We are excited about the partnership with Kirchmeyer & Associates,”” Christopher Ulsh, president of Group9 Insurance Solutions, also said in the statement. “”We greatly appreciate the privilege to combine our comprehensive and highly rated appraisal insurance solution with such a quality and long standing organization such as Kirchmeyer & Associates.””In operation since 1994, Kirchmeyer & Associates is an appraisal firm located in New York. in Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Appraisals Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Insurance Processing Service Providers Valuation 2011-11-28 Ryan Schuette Sharecenter_img Firm Headlines New Valuation Insurance Program November 28, 2011 457 Views last_img read more

Social Game Gives Players a Chance at 200K Mortgage Payoff

first_img October 19, 2012 420 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-10-19 Tory Barringer There are many popular social games that allow people to create cities for virtual dwellers, but none of them have ever helped players in their real-life living situations. Until “”PopRox Entertainment””:http://www.race4myplace.com/ CEO Mike Gramling stepped onto the scene, that is.[IMAGE]Gramling, the mind behind city-building game “”Race 4 My Place,”” said he started to see the situation many homeowners were left in after the housing crash when he had to deal with his own mortgage burden. In response, he created PopRox’s first game, which pits players in a contest to win real-life prizes-including a $200,000 mortgage payoff (or a $100,000 cash alternative).””I wanted to create a way to give value back to homeowners, and harnessing the growing social gaming market to do that made sense,”” Gramling said. “”It’s time to stop playing for fake plows and barn bucks and win big, real big.””In the game, players race to construct their own virtual version of Los Angeles. Users who successfully complete the building of their city will be entered into the grand prize drawing, which will be held after the game ends in March 2013. In addition to having a chance at the grand prize, players who sign up early will have a weekly opportunity to win monthly mortgage payments (or $1,061 cash).Interested gamers can register through “”Facebook””:https://www.facebook.com/Race4MyPlace?fref=ts. Registration has already started, and the game is scheduled to launch in December. Monthly prize drawings are already underway.””Race 4 My Place”” is free to play and open to U.S. residents. Winners must be over the age of 18.center_img Share Social Game Gives Players a Chance at $200K Mortgage Payofflast_img read more

NewDay USA Recruits Baseball Legend as Spokesperson

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Baseball’s all-time “”Iron Man”” has joined forces with “”NewDay USA””:http://www.newdayusa.com/, the Maryland-based company announced.[IMAGE]Cal Ripken Jr., former Baltimore Oriole and one of the diamond’s greatest legends, has been brought on to serve as spokesperson for the lender’s philanthropic activities and community outreach efforts. He will also promote the education and training programs of NewDay USA University, the company’s mortgage banking training initiative.””We are thrilled that Cal Ripken will now work with NewDay USA,”” said CEO Rob Posner. “”He embodies loyalty, integrity and dedication to both hard work and teamwork–values that the team at NewDay USA emulate as we strive for excellence in both our service to our customers and in our commitment to our employees’ career development.””””During my visits to NewDay USA’s headquarters I have been impressed with the teamwork, work ethic and commitment to career advancement that was displayed at all levels of the organization,”” Ripken said. “”NewDay USA’s philanthropic initiatives and professionalism led by an unmatched board and senior staff made them an organization I very much wanted to be aligned with.””Ripken added that he is “”pleased to represent NewDay USA and its efforts to create opportunities for young people, support members of the armed services and help families in communities across the nation.””NewDay USA is one of the nation’s leading providers of Veterans Affairs, reverse, and government-insured mortgages. December 5, 2012 399 Views NewDay USA Recruits Baseball Legend as Spokespersoncenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-12-05 Tory Barringer Sharelast_img read more

Freddie Mac Names New Board Member

first_img February 12, 2013 413 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-02-12 Tory Barringer New,Freddie Mac Names New Board Member Sharecenter_img “”Freddie Mac’s””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ board has a new member. The company announced the election of Steven W. Kohlhagen, Ph.D. to its board of directors.[IMAGE]Kohlhagen brings more than three decades of experience with him, having held senior executive positions at leading financial institutions, including First Union National Bank (predecessor to Wachovia National Bank), American International Group, Stamford Capital Group, Bankers Trust Corporation, and Lehman Brothers.He has served since 2001 as an advisory board member of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and since 2006 as a director of AMETEK Inc., where he is a member of the audit committee. In addition, he is a director of Abtech Holdings Inc., where he is a member of the audit committee, and Reval Inc., where he is a member of the governance and nominating committee.In the public sector, Kohlhagen’s experience encompasses consulting work for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve Board. He also served for a time as senior staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisors at the White House.At Freddie Mac, he will serve on the business and risk committee and the compensation committee.””Steve is nationally recognized as a leading financial expert with extensive knowledge of mortgage finance and the capital markets,”” said Christopher S. Lynch, Freddie Mac’s non-executive chairman. “”He will bring to the board a unique combination of senior executive leadership skills and a deep understanding of economics, modeling and complex financial instruments. Steve will be invaluable to the board during an important time for the housing industry and the nation.”” in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicinglast_img read more

Residential Finance Corporation Ensures Timely Closings

first_imgResidential Finance Corporation Ensures Timely Closings in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing March 27, 2013 449 Views Sharecenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Residential Finance Corporation Service Providers 2013-03-27 Krista Franks Brock “”Residential Finance Corporation,””:http://www.residentialfinance.com/ based in Columbus, Ohio, recently announced the launch of its new “”Purchase Loan Quick Reaction Force,”” a team dedicated to ensuring mortgage loans close on time.[IMAGE]Daniel Jacobs, managing director of the company’s retail branching division, points out meeting the transaction deadline is important for all participants in the home purchase process as it has the potential to make or break a sale.””There’s more competition for homes and there may be multiple offers,”” Jacobs said. “”Missing a contingency deadline and delaying the closing can mean the buyer will lose out on getting the house they want.””Not only will this serve as a disappointment to a hopeful homeowner, but also, Jacobs said for a loan originator, meeting or missing a deadline “”can make the difference between keeping referral sources and losing them to a competitor.””Residential Finance Corporation’s “”Purchase Loan Quick Reaction Force”” works to anticipate potential problems or delays and address them early in the purchase process.””By establishing our Quick Reaction Force, we are taking a proactive approach to make certain we provide an outstanding customer experience for borrowers, loan originators and real estate professionals,”” Jacobs said.With refinances making up the majority of originations of late, “”many lenders have become less accustomed to the time-sensitive nature of home purchase loans,”” Jacobs said.Jacobs said the new working group is proof of Residential Finance’s focus on the purchase market.Danny Kettle, owner of Help-U-Sell Legacy in Layton, Utah, says Residential Finance is his “”go-to lending resource”” for clients who don’t already have a lender, asserting, “”their turn-time is great.””last_img read more

Citigroup Freddie Mac Reach Agreement on Repurchase Claims

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Citigroup Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage-Backed Securities Service Providers 2013-09-30 Tory Barringer in Secondary Market September 30, 2013 480 Views Sharecenter_img “”Citigroup””:http://www.citigroup.com/citi/ and “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ have reached an agreement to settle potential future repurchase claims on millions of loans sold to the GSE in the last decade.[IMAGE]According to a release from Citi, the bank will pay Freddie Mac $395 million, all of which is covered by its existing mortgage repurchase reserves as of the end of Q2.The agreement covers claims for breaches of representations and warranties on 3.7 million loans sold between 2000 and 2012. It does not release Citi from liability with respect to the bank’s servicing or other obligations on the included loans. Also not included is a small population of less than 1,000 loans sold with resource or some guarantee of performance and those currently in the repurchase process.Citi says it is “”adequately reserved”” for those loans not covered by the agreement.Jane Fraser, CEO of CitiMortgage, said the agreement “”marks another important milestone in successfully resolving Citi’s remaining legacy mortgage issues.”” She added that the bank will remain focused on “”continuing to provide high quality mortgage products and service to [its] customers.””The agreement is the latest in Citi’s efforts to clear up legal issues stemming from the housing collapse. The bank settled with “”Fannie Mae””:https://themreport.com/articles/citi-fannie-mae-announce-968m-repurchase-agreement-2013-07-01 in July over similar claims and is one of a few banks that have reached an agreement with the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:https://themreport.com/articles/fhfa-citigroup-settle-mbs-claims-2013-05-29 over allegations of misrepresented loans sold to both GSEs. Citigroup, Freddie Mac Reach Agreement on Repurchase Claimslast_img read more

TRIDs Mixed Reviews 6 Months Later

first_imgTRID’s Mixed Reviews 6 Months Later Borrowers CFPB Consumer Financial Protection Bureau TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule TRID 2016-05-16 Staff Writer May 16, 2016 543 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, News, Originationcenter_img Share The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule went into effect over six months ago and took the industry through many changes in their mortgage process.Many in the mortgage industry have complained of the complexity of implementing the rule and the difficulty of complying, despite the rule’s goal of making it easier on all parties involved to close a mortgage loan. But do homebuyers share these same sentiments?TD Bank’s fourth annual Mortgage Service Index, which surveyed 1305 home owners who purchased a home in the last 10 years and have a mortgage, found that consumers had an overall good experience with the new mortgage Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms related to TRID.The index showed that nearly two-thirds, or 64 percent, of those surveyed indicated that they had a very good experience with the new loan estimate and closing disclosure forms, while only 4 percent did not have a good experience with the new forms at all. In addition, 87 percent said that the forms were easy to understand.According to TD Bank, stressful was not the word to describe the homebuying process with the new TRID forms. In fact, 86 percent said that they had a good experience with the new forms and 91 percent said that they found the forms easy to understand.However, despite the less than stressful experience with the TRID forms, 63 percent of consumers said that the new forms prevented them from closing their home within their desired time frame, the report said.On a positive note, for both the industry and consumers, the CFPB recently hinted at some TRID relief coming soon.CFPB Director Richard Cordray has written a letter to the financial industry trades and their members recognizing the “operational challenges” the industry is experiencing as a result of the Bureau’s TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule implemented last October.With that in mind, Cordray said in his letter that the Bureau is considering making some “adjustments” in the regulation text to provide greater certainty and clarity.“We recognize that many of implementation of the Know Before You Owe rule poses many operational challenges,” Cordray wrote. “We also recognize that implementation is particularly challenging because of the diversity of participants, from small to large financial institutions, mortgage brokers, real estate brokers, and title companies, through warehouse lenders, investors, due diligence firms, and ratings agencies, whose perspectives may vary as to what compliance under the rule requires.”Cordray continued, “We will continue to work with industry, consumers, and other stakeholders to support a smooth transition for the mortgage market. As we do so, we and other regulators are all agreed that our oversight of the implementation of the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule in the months ahead will continue to be sensitive to the progress made by those entities that have squarely focused on making good faith efforts to come into compliance with the rule.”last_img read more