Source = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Kenya Tourist regional marketing manager John ChirchirShowing off Kenyan dress Aussie safari seekers are keen on Kenya, accounting for a 23.9 percent growth in visitor numbers for 2011 compared to the previous year, according to the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB).The KTB is looking to further boost this growth and is currently travelling across Australia for the ‘Jambo Australia Sales Mission 2012’ with 10 Kenyan operators and Kenya Airways to promote the destination.At a media lunch in Sydney yesterday, e-Travel Blackboard caught up with KTB regional marketing manager John Chirchir, High Commissioner of Kenya H. E. Mr Stephen K Tarus and the delegates to discuss the destination.Mr Chirchir told e-Travel Blackboard that Kenya will continue to outperform other African destinations with the annual wildebeest migration, abundance of wildlife year round, savannahs, mountains, beaches and a unique cultural experience.All operators at the event including Serena Hotels, Vintage Africa, Private Safaris, SafariLink, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Kenya, Twiga Tours, Sun Africa Hotels, Safaria Trails and Africareps said they had experienced an increase in Australian travellers and look forward to further developing the relationship to grow more.Total arrivals into Kenya last year grew by 15.4 percent to just over 1 million. This growth has caused demand for new high end properties in the region. New luxury accommodation offerings include family owned and run lodge on the Mbagathi River, Emakoko; the Sarara Star Camp offering luxury tents located on the Namunyak Conservancy; and the addition of new rooms to Lewa House, a cottage styled accommodation.Despite recent media reporting troubles in the country, the Kenyan High Commissioner emphasised the country’s security for tourists and ensures travellers the reported events occurred on the far borders of Kenya.For more information about the destination, please visit the Kenya Tourist Board online and discover Magical Kenya. High Commissioner of Kenya H. E. Mr Stephen K Tarus
Royal Cliff Hotels Group will introduce a QR code check-in option for guests at its properties from October. The QR code express check-in will be available from 1 October 2013. Check-in details will be stored on the QR code and guests need only present this code to staff, either on their mobile/tablet devices or from a printed page in order to check-in to their hotel room. Source = ETB News: P.T. “Royal Cliff Hotels Group always looks to enhance its hospitality and services to our valued clientele,” Royal Cliff Hotels Group executive director Vitanart Vathanakul said. Developed to maximize the innovations of the current smart phone technology, this new system will enable users of smart phones and other devices to have the option of a hassle-free express check-in. The innovation is the first of its kind in Thailand, aimed at streamlining the arrivals process. Royal Cliff Hotels Group plan to extend this technology to other areas of the hotel.
Oaks Hotels & Resorts says nĭ hăo to Chinese ‘guì bīn’ programLeading accommodation provider Oaks Hotels & Resorts, a division of Minor Hotels, is delighted to officially announce the launch of its Chinese ‘guì bīn’ program across selected properties next month.Named after the Chinese word for ‘VIP’ and ‘honoured guest’, Oaks Hotels & Resorts’ specially curated ‘guì bīn’ program will be introduced in a bid to ensure its ever-increasing number of Chinese guests feel even more welcome when visiting.To date, the hotelier has already seen a 287 per cent increase in room nights from inbound Chinese travellers following the prestigious awards granted by Ctrip – China’s largest online travel agency – in late 2016, which reinforces Oaks & Hotels Resorts’ dedication to growing the Chinese market.Oaks is now taking it one step further with the introduction of a number of dedicated Chinese services and in-room amenities, including the addition of popular Asian meals to participating properties’ in-house restaurants (such as congee and steamed buns), access to 24 hour Wi-Fi, and Chinese speaking staff. Dental kits and slippers will also be made available in hotel rooms and apartments.The ‘guì bīn’ initiative is set to roll out across nine of Oaks Hotels & Resorts’ key leisure and CBD properties that are currently receiving high volumes of Chinese tour groups, including Melbourne’s Oaks on Market, the Sunshine Coast’s Oaks Oasis Resort, Queenstown’s Oaks Shores, and the Hunter Valley’s Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort.Oaks Hotels & Resorts’ General Manager of Sales, Mr Daniel Csortan, said the hotelier recognised the need to offer a tailored service to Chinese travellers and has conducted extensive research into the motivating factors that influence accommodation decisions.“With the language barrier being one of our biggest challenges, each guest will now receive a welcome letter on arrival, in Mandarin, explaining what they can expect in our rooms along with a Mandarin speaking staff member to show them how to navigate our lifts and onsite facilities,” said Mr Csortan.“From our research, we’ve discovered dental kits and slippers are supplied at all Chinese hotels, from luxury accommodation right through to low-end motels. As a result, Chinese holidaymakers expect their Australian accommodation will also provide these as a complimentary amenity within their rooms.“Supplying these key lifestyle items, in conjunction with free Wi-Fi and complimentary in-room ‘noodles in a cup’, makes quite a difference for Chinese guests and goes a long way in making them feel more at home,” he said.These additional offerings, along with the implementation of UnionPay facilities – China’s central bank, will also enable Oaks Hotels & Resorts to bid for large Chinese incentive groups for whom these are compulsory requirements.“With the continuing increase in China’s middle-class disposable income and ease of visa restrictions, we anticipate the launch of this program will increase Chinese visitation to Oaks Hotels & Resorts by 100 per cent year on year,” said Mr Csortan.Source = Oaks Hotels & Resorts
New Fly, Cruise and Tour PackageNew Fly, Cruise and Tour PackageA cruise on Portugal’s vineyard-lined Douro River on a new, five-star ship for European river cruise line, Riviera Travel, forms the centrepiece of a new fly, cruise and tour package from Australia to Portugal in April, 2018.Riviera Travel – new to the Australian cruise market – has partnered with local holiday packager, Cruise Traveller, to create an exclusive, 20-night fly/cruise/tour package that showcases the rustic vineyards, cobblestone streets, baroque churches, ancient forts, terraced hills, medieval villages and the world’s oldest wine region – the Douro Valley – that have made Portugal an increasingly popular, off the main tourist trail destination for Australians.Cruise Traveller’s new 20-night ‘Portugal Perfection’ package combines a six-night, overland tour of Portugal with Back Roads, hotel stays in Lisbon and Porto and a seven-night Douro River cruise aboard Riviera Travel’s new, luxury, 126-guest river ship, Douro Elegance – launched in March this year.Departing Australia on April 16, 2018, the itinerary begins in Lisbon with two nights’ accommodation followed by a six-night ‘Discover Portugal’ land tour from Lisbon to Porto with travel company, Back Roads. The itinerary includes a lesson in traditional tile painting in Lisbon, the turreted palaces of Sintra, a cooking class in Alvados, the holy ‘miracles’ town of Fatima and the medieval castles and churches of Guimaraes and Porto – Portugal’s second- largest city – where guests will spend a relaxing two nights, post-tour, to explore the city’s famous links with port wine and the tangled lanes, grand squares and antique and cake shops in the city’s medieval quarter.The itinerary then moves to Riviera Travel’s Douro Elegance for a seven-night, round-trip cruise on the beautiful Douro River from Porto on the Atlantic coast to the Spanish border. The cruise along the idyllic valley with its rustic wineries, quaint villages and rugged cliffs, includes eight complimentary tours including visits to vineyards and port cellars, walled hilltop hamlets, the historic Spanish city of Salamanca – where a traditional flamenco show is included at lunch, dinner in an 18th century manor house overlooking the river and the 18th century, baroque Mateus Palace and its extensive gardens.Relaxing time cruising on the river during the day is also a highlight, with the Douro Elegance offering a restaurant, bar and lounge, pool, spa, gym and tea and coffee-making facilities in every cabin. After disembarking in Porto, guests fly back to Australia.Including return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane or Perth, the six-night land tour with 14 meals, four nights’ accommodation in Lisbon and Porto, seven-night cruise with all onboard meals and shore excursions, transfers in Portugal and onboard Wi-Fi, the 20-night ‘Portugal Perfection’ package is available from $11,195 per person, twin-share. A bonus onboard drinks package valued at $169 per person, including drinks with lunch and dinner, is also included, courtesy of Cruise Traveller. Bookings are available until January 14, 2018.See a travel agent or visit www.cruisetraveller.com.au/content/douro-river or call Cruise Traveller on 1800 507 777.Offering inclusive, five-star cruises at fares up to 50 per cent lower than river companies more established in Australia, Riviera Travel recently launched in Australia with a dedicated website and brochure – both in Australian dollars. In 2018, Riviera’s 11 luxury river ships will offer more than 300 cruises across 12 different itineraries in Europe. For general information on Riviera Travel’s river cruises, visit www.rivieratravel.com.auSource = Riviera Travel
Lufthansa will soon launch its long-haul budget carrier, Eurowings, to destinations in India even as it grapples with increasing competition from Gulf carriers. For similar reasons, the German airline said it has no immediate plans to pick up a stake in any Indian carriers.“They (Gulf carriers) are everywhere in India. It will become difficult for us to enter into tie-ups with airlines in India because of the big presence of Gulf carriers there,” said Lufthansa Group Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer Sadiq Gillani. It will be the first European airline to launch its budget carrier in the Indian sub-continent.Gillani, who is also the Chairman of the advisory board of Lufthansa Consulting, said Lufthansa Airline will be positioned as a premium offering while Eurowings will offer extremely competitive fares.The airline will mostly fly A330s with a two-class configuration — the recently launched premium economy and economy.
AccorHotels Group has officially announced the acquisition of FRHI Hotels & Resorts (FRHI) and its three prestigious luxury hotel brands: Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel. This new development has now positioned the Group as a leading player in the global luxury hotel market thereby increasing long-term growth potential and profitability. It also significantly expands the company’s footprint in North America, the world’s largest and most influential consumer market.The acquisition of these three emblematic luxury hotel brands is a historical milestone for AccorHotels. It will open up amazing growth prospects, lift our international presence to unprecedented heights, and build value over the long term,” said Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AccorHotels.Also joining the AccorHotels’ global network is a portfolio of globally acclaimed and admired hotels including The Savoy in London, Raffles Singapore, Fairmont San Francisco, New York’s The Plaza, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, and Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris.“We remain committed to providing guests with unparalleled service, while also keeping the ambition to deliver exceptional return on investment for our shareholders and hotel owners. By leveraging the operational synergies between FRHI and AccorHotels, we are well-positioned to accelerate the growth of our luxury brands and offer guests even more exciting hotel choices and destinations to explore,” added Bazin.
Changi Airport has introduced new interactive and visual treats across three of its terminals. Jointly launched by Changi Airport Group (CAG) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the showcases are designed to engage, excite and encourage visitors to explore Singapore in and beyond the airport.The new space features contemporary digital wall designed to boost interaction with the use of motion-sensing technology. Travellers now have the perfect photo opportunity to bring home a memento at the new flip-dot wall in Terminal 2’s Departure Transit Lounge, where the interactive technology is being introduced at Changi Airport for the first time. The LED ‘Dots Portrait Wall’ allows passengers to bring home monochromatic portraits of themselves at different spots of Singapore, without having to step out of Changi Airport.“Changi Airport is an integral part of the Singapore experience and a perfect place for visitors to learn more about the breadth and depth of offerings they can enjoy in Singapore. We hope that these new installations will both inspire and entertain, and help to start and end a visit to Singapore in a more memorable way. We will continue working with our industry partners to find new and innovative ways to amplify the Singapore experience,” said Jacqueline Ng, Director, Marketing Partnerships & Planning, STB.
He stated that Europamundo has complete guaranteed departures, as we never cancel any trip. The trade knows that even if they sell two passengers that will be operated.Osa further added that another major investment is that they are in the process of training the trade in the whole of India.Basumalik said that they have gone to all of North East India, West India, Central and South India. They are also doing extensive training in the smallest towns of India.“Europamundo caters to budget, leisure and traveller segment. We are a value for money product and not a luxury product,” explained Basumalik.Osa concluded that the middle-class segment is of prime importance to them, not just in India but all over the world. Kathryn Kannampuzha | MumbaiEuropamundo, acclaimed as one of the largest tour operators in the world, has positioned India as the topmost market amounting to 48% followed by Philippines, confirmed Aparna C Basumalik, Country Head, Europamundo Vacaciones. Currently, Europamundo sells 81 countries.JTB Group acquired Europamundo three years ago and since then the company has been targeting English speaking market and that is how India came into the picture.While speaking with Travel News Digest about the target for 2018, Alejandro de la Osa, Director Commercial, Europamundo Vacaciones said that Europamundo is looking at doubling the numbers of tourists that they had received in 2017.Europamundo is also taking efforts to train and educate the trade as we see this as an investment in the long run for the company, averred Osa. We have about 200 tours from across the globe including Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, England, Turkey, Mexico, Japan and other parts of the world as well. All are operated by Europamundo and distributed by our distributors in India. ‘A Time to Remember’ is our most popular product, said Osa.
Lending Leaders Tackle QM Hurdles in Panel Discussion in Origination November 12, 2013 455 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank of America Compliance Investors JPMorgan Chase Lenders & Servicers Processing Purchase Loans Quicken Loans Refinance Regulation Service Providers Wells Fargo 2013-11-12 Tory Barringer When it comes to next year’s regulatory obstacles, CEOs and senior executives from the mortgage industry’s biggest players agree on one thing: Education will be key to keeping business going smoothly.[IMAGE]In a panel at the “”2013 Realtors Conference and Expo””:http://www.realtor.org/convention.nsf/, high-level names from Quicken Loans, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America discussed the qualified mortgage (QM) guidelines, which go into effect in January 2014. While the initial implementation of these rules is expected to restrict lending to some buyers in the short-term, panelists agreed that business should even out over time.Because the QM rule lays out specific criteria for accepted loans, it’s going to be more important than ever for lenders to retain significant documentation to back up their [COLUMN_BREAK]underwriting decisions–something that professionals and consumers alike need to keep in mind, says Matt Vernon, home loan sales executive for BofA. “”It’s important for Realtors to be educated about the new documentation requirements so they can work with buyers and meet lender expectations,”” Vernon said.With a shortage of home inventory lifting competition in markets across the United States, one of the biggest concerns is the impact that more stringent standards will have on approval timelines. While timelines can vary depending on many factors, Vernon says the process is quicker and smoother when borrowers are educated about their lender’s application requirements.Bill Emerson, CEO of Quicken Loans, agreed: “”Our mission is to get someone approved. With clarity and transparency, buyers will know exactly what is needed of them. We want to do this in a manner that is as stress free as possible for consumers and Realtors.””Despite the complications ahead, the leaders on the panel agreed that they expect a healthy improvement in the market next year, with purchase originations dominating the scene as interest rates rise and refinancing continues to trend downward.””In spite of the economic crisis, Americans still want to be homeowners. That hasn’t changed one bit,”” said Mike Heid, president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. “”Homeownership is at the heart of what we do and that is worth preserving.”” Share
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued an update to their Common Securitization Platform (CSP) on Tuesday outlining the progress that as been made in developing a new infrastructure for the securitization of single-family mortgages by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.In the update, the FHFA announced that the platform’s implementation date will be in 2016, although it is still unclear as to exactly when the CSP will go into effect. In addition, the agency noted that Freddie Mac will use the CSP first, followed by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s use of the CSP to issue Single Securities.The FHFA’s update also discusses the organizational structure of the CSS and various modules that make up the CSP and their functions.”Developing the CSP is a large-scale, multi-faceted project,” said FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt. “This Update details significant progress that has been made to date in building and testing the CSP, and toward launching a Single Security. Together, these projects will bring us much closer to the goal of improving the overall liquidity of the mortgage market. They will also reduce costs for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and taxpayers.”The creation of the Common Securitization Platform was a major goal of the FHFA’s 2014 Strategic Plan for the Conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while building and testing the platform was an item on the 2015 Scorecard. Common Securitization Solutions (CSS) was created by the GSEs to operate the CSP.The 2014 Conservatorship Strategic Plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac consisted of creating a single MBS that the enterprises could provide finance fixed-rate mortgage loans backed by one to four single-family unit properties. According to the FHFA, the initial goal was to assist in building a Common Securitization Platform (CSP) and support the statutory obligation to ensure the liquidity of the nation’s housing finance markets issued by the FHFA. Taxpayers would also not have to suffer the cost of subsidizing Freddie Mac’s securitization of single-family mortgage loans with the Single Security initiative.“Today’s Single Security Update is an important milestone, providing additional details on the features of the Single Security and the strong progress made to date by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Common Securitization Solutions (CSS) on implementation planning,” said Andrew Bon Salle, EVP of single-family business at Fannie Mae. “We will continue to work with FHFA, Freddie Mac, and CSS to ensure we transition to the Single Security in a safe and sound manner.” in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Uncategorized September 15, 2015 604 Views In an effort to inform Congress of the their regulated entities goals, activities, and missions, the FHFA released their 2014 Report to Congress in June, which examines and reports the activities of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, 12 Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks), and the FHLBanks’ Office of Finance. The agency also reported the goals set forth for the GSEs and FHLBank’s mission and affordable housing programs they offer.The report highlights that the FHFA aimed to reduce taxpayer risk through increasing the role of private capital in the mortgage market, and also build a new single-family securitization infrastructure (the CSP) for use by the GSEs and adaptable for use by other participants in the secondary market in the future. These goals were outlined in the 2014 Conservatorship Strategic Plan and the 2014 Conservatorship Scorecard.“The 2014 Conservatorship Scorecard expressed the expectation that the Enterprises would, expand the volume and types of transactions that transfer single-family mortgage credit risk from the Enterprises to the private sector, continue the ongoing reduction of the Enterprises’ retained portfolios, with a focus on the sale of their less liquid assets, and take steps to ensure the stability of mortgage insurance companies that are important Enterprise counterparties, the FHFA report said. “FHFA’s 2014 Conservatorship Strategic Plan and Conservatorship Scorecard continued to make building a new infrastructure for the securitization functions of the Enterprises an important priority” Share The FHFA is also welcoming public input on the CSP update, which can be submitted on the agency’s website.Click here to view the FHFA’s Common Securitization Platform update. Common Securitization Platform Federal Housing Finance Agency Single Security 2015-09-15 Seth Welborn FHFA to Implement Common Securitization Platform at Freddie Mac First
February 19, 2016 524 Views SEC Commissioner: ‘Transparency, Accountability Central to Efforts in Financial Markets in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is shifting its focus toward greater transparency amid the rapid and significant technological innovations going on in our financial markets, while maintaining and instilling greater accountability.SEC Commissioner Kara M. Stein addressed what lies ahead the agency’s financial markets in 2016 in terms of transparency and accountability in a speech on Friday.”More and more Americans are turning to the capital markets to purchase homes, send children to college, and save for retirement,” Stein explained. “Our economy depends on these investors. And these investors depend on our economy.”More than on out of every two American are invested in the stock market. Stein noted in her speech that capital markets need to ensure that they are being transparent, investors are protected, and encourage innovation and capital formation.”All investors, whether large or small, are entitled to a steady flow of timely, accurate, relevant, and reliable information in order to make investment decisions,” Stein said. “Quality information matters. Quality disclosure matters. This is especially true given the growing complexity in our capital markets.”Stein continued, “Good regulatory oversight fosters and encourages transparency and accountability, while still fostering and encouraging innovation. We are at our best when we look back and learn, then look forward and act in a balanced and thoughtful manner to accomplish smart and effective outcomes. I think this holds true in so many of the questions we need to be asking and the work we need to get done in 2016.”The SEC recently announced that it is cracking down on those involved directly with the financial reporting processes, which is causing a number of issues in the mortgage industry.Andrew Ceresney, Director, Division of Enforcement recently spoke at the SEC’sDirectors Forum 2016 Keynote Address to highlight the importance of financial reporting misconduct and how the government agency plans to address this problem moving forward.”The importance of aggressively pursuing financial reporting deficiencies cannot be overstated. Comprehensive, accurate, and reliable financial reporting is the bedrock upon which our markets are based,” Ceresney stated. “Materially false or incomplete financial reporting saps investor confidence and erodes the integrity of our markets. The Commission is committed to holding accountable those whose actions prevent investors from receiving timely and reliable information that enables them to make informed investment decisions.” Accountability Financial Markets Transparency U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 2016-02-19 Staff Writer Share
Ginnie Mae, the wholly owned government corporation that attracts global capital into the housing finance system announced on Tuesday that its issuance of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) over a two month period totaled 186.6 billion at the end of February 2018 taking its total outstanding principal balance to $1.93 trillion, an increase from $1.79 trillion reported during the same period last year. This is a slight increase from an outstanding of $1.92 trillion reported in January 2018.According to the report, MBS rose above $1billion for the second time since 2016. Giving a breakdown of its monthly issuance in February, Ginnie Mae said that the breakdown included $31.51 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS and $1.7 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS. Together, these securities provided access to $33.56 billion in capital for single-family home loans and $1.38 billion for multifamily housing.On a month-over-month basis, the issuance of Ginnie Mae II MBS was down $3.1 billion from $34.61 billion reported in January 2018. The issuance of Ginnie Mae’s I MBS remained unchanged from the month prior, however together they provided more capital for single-family home loans as well as multifamily housing in January compared with February.Ginnie Mae’s I MBS are modified pass-through mortgage-backed securities on which registered holders receive separate principal and interest payments on each of their certificates. Ginnie Mae II MBS are modified pass-through mortgage-backed securities for which registered holders receive an aggregate principal and interest payment from a central paying agent.Recently, Ginnie Mae had announced that the MPF Program backed by Ginnie Mae had also surpassed $1 billion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) issued. The MPF Government MBS product was the result of a partnership forged by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago and Ginnie Mae to issue securities guaranteed by Ginnie Mae and backed by mortgages originated by FHLB member financial institutions. The product provides mortgage lenders, particularly smaller institutions, direct access to the secondary mortgage market, and more options when creating mortgage products for their home-buying customers. in Daily Dose, Featured, journal, News, Secondary Market Ginnie Mae Ginnie Mae 1 MBS Ginnie Mae II MBS loans MBS Outstanding Single-Family Homes 2018-03-20 Radhika Ojha Ginnie Mae’s MBS Outstanding Remains Stable at $1.9T March 20, 2018 612 Views Share
FHFA Inspector General Lists Concerns with Oversight in Daily Dose, Featured, News October 19, 2018 617 Views Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac Housing Market Mortgage Industry Oversight regulatory issues 2018-10-19 Staff Writer The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Inspector General released a memo listing four crucial challenges she believes the agency faces in its role as regulator over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Laura S. Wertheimer, Inspector General at the FHFA, has released a memo that identifies “four serious management and performance challenges” that the agency faces in its role as a regulator and supervisor of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). The memo was addressed to Melvin L. Watt, Director of the FHFA, but can be read in its entirety here.The first challenge Wertheimer draws focus to is the agency’s inability to improve oversight of both GSEs while strengthening internal review processes for non-delegated matters. Wertheimer’s memo expresses concern about FHFA’s “limited” oversight, which she states is largely limited to attending internal management and board meetings with the GSEs. She believes FHFA has not considered “the reasonableness of Enterprise actions pursuant to delegated authority, including actions taken by the Enterprises to implement conservatorship directives.” Part of the issue, she claims, is that FHFA has not “clearly defined” its expectations, nor established any standard to which Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac must be held accountable.The second concern enumerated by Wertheimer follows logically on her first: upgrading supervision of the GSEs and Federal Home Loan (FHL) banks. The FHFA splits the responsibility of supervising the GSEs and FHL banks between the Division of Enterprise Regulation (DER) and the Division of Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation (DBR), respectively. She places particular emphasis on DER’s lack of resources in ensuring the GSEs are not engaging in risky behavior, as well as the FHFA’s lack of consistency in enforcing supervisory practices.The third challenge Wertheimer lays out involves oversight in cybersecurity, ensuring an effective information security system will protect the highly sensitive data gathered by the GSEs on borrowers. Wertheimer calls for greater cybersecurity oversight so as to reduce operational risk and ensure the GSEs update their systems.Lastly, Wertheimer states that oversight must be enhanced not only over the GSEs, but also the GSE’s “Relationships with Counterparties and Third Parties.” She discusses how both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in no small part reliant on third parties for “a wide array of professional services, including mortgage origination and servicing.” Stating that the FHFA has mostly delegated the management of these third parties to the GSEs themselves, she believes this exposes them to additional risks such as fraudulent conduct or a failure to meet contractual obligations.Wertheimer believes they can be addressed via “the development and implementation of, and compliance with, effective internal controls within the Agency.”Editor’s Note: FHFA has been contacted for further comment but has not yet responded at this time. Share
Agency NewsVirtuoso Two new Australian based agencies have joined Virtuoso – Toorak Travel and Travel Masters.“These agencies exhibit key characteristics for member success, both having well established experience and dynamic forward thinking energy,” said Virtuoso Asia Pacific Managing Director, Michael Londregan. “Travel Masters joins Virtuoso along with its sister branch, The Travel Studio in Mermaid Waters, and enjoys significant strength in the luxury cruise segment and we look forward to working with them to grow all their luxury segments.“Toorak Travel has exceptional experience in providing VIP service to its clients and these clients will now benefit from the direct relationships with the world’s finest hotels, resorts, spas, cruise lines and tour operators which will now be accessible through their Virtuoso membership.“Over the past 12 months, Virtuoso has had an overwhelming response from Australian agencies keen to develop their talents into a viable competitive advantage.“We look forward to working with these new businesses to ensure they take their place among the best of the best travel businesses in the market”L-R: Michael Londregan, Anna Rizzi and Julie Poumes from Toorak Travel, Matthew Upchurch, Suzanne Duzenman from Global International Travel Service.MAIN IMAGE: L-R: David Brandon and Elizabeth Clarke from Savenio, Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch, Neil Kirby and Julie Marshall from Travel Masters, Michael Londregan.
Atacama DesertChileEaster IslandRapa NuiTravellers Choice A recent famil started with a bang for Travellers Choice agents with a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hitting the Chilean capital, Santiago, on the day they arrived.“We were sitting in a cellar at the Casas del Bosque Vineyard enjoying a wine tasting when the floor began moving,” said Elaine Williamson from Jetaway Travel in Melbourne.“We were just looking at each other, rocking on our feet from side to side. Thankfully the locals weren’t in the least bit panicked because it’s a fairly common occurrence.”The luxury famil was hosted by Adventure World and LATAM Airlines and moved from Santiago to San Pedro for three days of exploring the spectacular Atacama Desert, known as the driest (non-polar) place on earth.Celia Mackenzie from Endeavour Travel & Cruise in Queensland said the environment was a dramatic combination of salt flats, volcanoes and steaming geysers.“One day we went up as high as 4820m to an area that was like a moonscape covered in pink flamingos. The different kinds of landscapes and rocks were just out of this world.”The group stayed at the luxurious Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa in the Catarpe Valley of the Salt Mountain Range. Water from glacial snow makes the resort an oasis, and its spa was recently named one of the 10th best in Latin America.The journey also included Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and a trek around the hundreds of majestic moai that dot the island, each with its own distinctive features.Mackenzie said the moai were even more impressive than she imagined.“You can only see the top third of most of them, but they still stand more than 7m high. In total they are probably around 21m tall and they are really imposing.”
CEO JourneyDubaiMagellan Travel GroupOman The ‘CEO Journey’ is a reward and recognition experience, hosted by Magellan Travel Group CEO Andrew Macfarlane, which this year saw a group of award winners enjoy five luxury nights in Dubai and Oman, flying business class courtesy of Emirates.The group stayed at the St. Regis Hotel in Dubai, enjoyed dinner at At.Mosphere on the 122nd floor of the iconic Burj Khalifa, saw Dubai’s many attractions while onboard a Seawing scenic flight, visited Al Maha deep within Dubai’s desert landscape, and spent 3 nights at the Six Senses – Zighy Bay in Oman.The final night stay was at Jumeriah Zabeel Saray, on Dubai’s iconic Palm Island.The winning consultants were Gerd Wilmer from Landmark Travel NSW (True Spirit Award), Jodie Shelton from Travel Centre Bendigo VIC (Corporate Travel Consultant of the Year), Richard French from Platinum Travel Corporation VIC (Corporate Travel Consultant of the Year), Misha Treasure from Cathie Rice Travel WA (Leisure Travel Consultant of the Year) and Megan Hutton, Spencer Travel Eastside NSW (Rising Star Award).The winners of the 2017 Magellan Travel Group awards will be announced at the Group’s annual conference at Crown Towers Perth in September.“This sort of recognition from peers within our network is something that Magellan loves to foster and reward. The experiences we had whilst in Dubai and Oman over the last week are ones which I hope will stay with each of our award winners for the rest of their lives,” said Macfarlane.
D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ It worked then. It could work again. But not all the time.Sooner or later the Cardinals defense will falter a bit or special teams will fail to come up with a big play. It’s the NFL, it happens. And when it does, the offense will need to be there to pick up the slack.They’ll only do so if the QB — whoever it is — brings his “A” game. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Kevin Kolb wasn’t particularly good against the Patriots. He completed just 56 percent of his passes, averaged 5.2 yards per attempt. His touchdown pass was for all of two yards, and he missed badly on a couple of throws that could have led to touchdowns. Be honest: when the Cardinals blocked the third quarter punt and had the ball first and goal from the New England two, you feared they would not be able to punch it in. That’s the sign of a punchless offense, and it was tied to the play of the QB.Kevin Kolb not losing the game for the Cardinals is not the same as Kevin Kolb helping the Cardinals win the game, and while he made some big plays, he missed on far too manyKolb threw just five passes further than 10 yards down the field, severely limiting what Larry Fitzgerald could do as well as the offense in general. Now it’s possible the offensive gameplan was incredibly conservative, either because that’s what the defense was giving them or because the coaches were afraid to really open things up. Then again, there’s also a chance Kolb is so concerned with making a mistake he’s hesitant to take any type of chance down the field. The irony is that Kolb won the same way John Skelton did last season, only a little different. Whereas Skelton made more mistakes he also made more big plays. Kolb did neither Sunday. Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Top Stories “A victory can often make you ignore it, but this was a deeply uninspiring performance, from a deeply uninspiring player,” they wrote.The responses to our question, which can be found on the Arizona Sports 620 Facebook page, are as varied as they are passionate.Between the letter grades, which ranged from as low as a D+ to as high as an A, were people saying that the team won so everyone should be happy.If only it were that simple.Part of watching the Cardinals morph from laughingstock to legitimate NFL team is the realization by fans that simply competing isn’t enough. Wins are great, but it’s worth wondering if the model for success is sustainable and repeatable. The defensive formula the Cardinals are rolling with is good enough to get the team back into the postseason, and the special teams unit is one of the best at coming up big when the moment calls for a play to be made.But the offense has been a struggle.Through two games Arizona ranks 30th in passing yards and 28th in rushing yards, and their 20 points per game are good for 28th in the NFL.All those stats are out of 32 teams, by the way.Though the running game showed some improvement in New England, it’s tough to imagine things getting too much better if the team doesn’t get better QB play than it got in Foxborough. We asked Cardinals fans a simple question based off an article based off an observation about the Cardinals game against the Patriots.“How would you grade Kevin Kolb’s performance?The question came up because the fine folks over at ProFootballFocus.com were somewhat critical of how the Cards QB played in the 20-18 win over the Patriots, saying he was skittish in the pocket and was inaccurate on many of his throws. 0 Comments Share
Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Arizona Cardinals left tackle Levi Brown had a rough outing Sunday in St. Louis.Rams defensive end Robert Quinn got the best of Brown for most of the afternoon. Quinn recorded three sacks as well as three quarterbacks hits.Brown, a 2007 first round draftee, also got called for holding in the third quarter of the contest, a 27-24 victory for the Rams. It was the seven-year veteran’s first regular season game since tearing his right triceps in a preseason contest against Oakland in August 2012. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Monday that he was disappointed with Brown’s performance in St. Louis.“There’s no way to sugar coat it,” Keim said. “I take it personal, because it wasn’t good enough. And I think it starts with me. It comes down to making sure that (offensive coordinator) Harold Goodwin and (offensive line coach) Larry Zierlein continue to work with him.”Keim said he saw some “technical issues” with how Brown played, including not moving his feet and how he used his hands to block.“There are so many options,” Keim said of the Cardinals offensive line depth. “We’ll continue to look at those moving forward, and hopefully that’ll improve this weekend against Detroit.”The general manager said the offensive line as a whole made several mistakes against the Rams defense.“Looking back at the film, there were some issues where we just had one man to beat (in the running game) or there was one guy that was unblocked,” Keim said.On the brighter side, Keim said he was impressed by the play of starting guard Paul Fanaika. The former Arizona State Sun Devil was cut by the Seattle Seahawks in training camp last year and didn’t play in the 2012 regular season. Although Keim identified a couple of quarterback pressures Fanaika gave up on Sunday, he said the right guard helped in the run game and played well overall. Your browser does not support the audio element. LISTEN: The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 0 Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact – / 27
7:00 until kickoffThe Cardinals’ starters were announced, and as Doug Franz pointed out, there wasn’t much cheering for tight end Jim Dray. A Rob Housler crowd, perhaps?Anyway, we’re a few minutes from getting this one started and there are plenty of story lines to follow.How will the Cardinals handle Detroit’s defensive line?Can Patrick Peterson slow down Calvin Johnson?Can the Cardinals win their home opener?We’ll find out soon enough. :38 left in first quarterCardinals move a little but stall, and decide against going for it on fourth-and-one near midfield. How very anti-ASU of them. Zastudil’s punt is a good one, as it is fair caught at the seven. Defense is back on the field.Early thoughts; Detroit’s offense has moved the ball but stalled, which says something. Not sure what (is the defense buckling down when necessary or is Detroit just waiting to explode?). 13:39 left in second quarterA nice play by Palmer leads to a 20-yard reception by Rashard Mendenhall, and just like that the Cards are in business. Kind of fun watching a real QB, isn’t it? Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact 7:08 left in fourth quarterPalmer hits Ellington out of the backfield on 3rd and 6, and after being up-ended the RB lands and loses the ball. Refs ruled it a fumble that was recovered by Arizona on the field, but the Cardinals are challenging that not only was it not a fumble, but a first down, too. Should be interesting, because this one is close. 10:29 left in first quarterWell, first play went to Fitz for a first, and the Cards picked up some yards by way of some excellent Carson Palmer passes. However, the QB missed Fitz on an open deep ball, and then the receiver walked off the field (before a third down play). The third down play went to Andre Roberts (on another excellent throw), but he could not hang on and the Cards were forced to punt. A holding penalty on the return has the Lions backed up to their six. HalftimeWell that shows how much I know, as the Lions elect to sit on the ball and head into the half up 14-10. Interesting 30 minutes of football, to say the least. Game overCards get the first win of the Bruce Arians era. Kind of need to score a TD here. By the way, Palmer is playing some good football. 5:43 left in fourth quarterFacing 3rd and 7, Palmer throws across his body to find Michael Floyd for what would have been a first — if it was ruled a catch on the field. The receiver is sure he caught it, though, and Arians tossed his challenge flag. Replays appear to show that this was, indeed, a catch. Will the refs see conclusive evidence here? End of third quarterAn incomplete pass by Palmer makes it second and 10, which is where we’ll be when play resumes. The Cardinals are hanging in there, but could really use a touchdown here. Sound familiar? Ball is on the Detroit 23, by the way. 1:15 left in fourth quarterLions facing a fourth and four from their own 43. This is the play of the game (up to this point, anyway). Cards get a stop, Cards get a win. It’s that simple. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 1:59 left in fourth quarterCardinals drive the ball down the field, and a pass interference call gives Arizona the ball at the one. An incomplete pass is followed by a Mendenhall score. Two-point conversion attempt fails, but the Cards are up 25-21. Defense has been great this half, if they can just get one more stop this one will be over.4:28 left in fourth quarterCards force a HUGE three-and-out. Peterson returns the 58-yard punt just five yards, though, and Arizona takes over at its own 39. This may be their last chance to put a drive together, and they’ve got a short field with which to try and get at least a field goal. 5:43 left in fourth quarterRefs say ruling on the field stands, which means they didn’t have enough to overturn it. If it had been called a catch on the field and then reviewed, it would have stayed as a catch. Tough luck for the Cardinals.And on another note, Fitz is now questionable to return to the game.Zastudil is brought on to punt, and this one is downed at the seven yard line. Cards lost a big timeout on the losing challenge, too. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 10:32 left in third quarterKickoff is a touchback, and the Lions take over at their 20. They’re still up, and the turnover was of the unforced variety, so you have to think they still feel pretty good about things. Calais Campbell comes up with Arizona’s first sack of the season on third down, but a good punt leaves Peterson with no return at the Arizona 48. Excellent chance for the Cardinals take an early lead on this drive, let’s see if they can come through. 2:00 left in second quarterLions are driving. Detroit’s ball at the Arizona three, and the Cards have showed little resistance of late. The quick-pass game has worked well for the Lions, and either that (or a fade to Johnson) may be dialed up here after the break. 7:04 left in third quarterUhhh, oops. Facing a third and six, Palmer is pressured into making a pass that is picked off and returned 66 yards by DeAndre Levy for a touchdown. Given that the Cards were down a point and driving, that is an incredibly bitter pill to swallow. Palmer’s second interception in two games, and while he’s looked really good otherwise, both his picks have been costly. 14:24 left in second quarter 9:56 left in third quarterDefense gets the stop and the Cards take over. First play is a 17-yard pass to Patrick Peterson. Yes, the defensive back. Cardinals near midfield. 11:55 left in third quarterAsk and you shall receive! Bush fumbles the handoff (nobody touched him), and Campbell jumps on the ball at the Detroit seven. :53 left in second quarterCards get a first down but not much more, and Zastudil punts the ball away. Lions have it on their own 21, and with three timeouts to go (plus that Calvin Johnson guy), so they may try to tack on a few more points before the half. 2:38 left in third quarterDefense forces a three-and-out, and the punt is fair caught at the Arizona 26. D has come to play today, especially this half. Can the offense capitalize? Comments Share 5:45 left in second quarterLions convert on a third down play with a reception by Reggie Bush, who is down on the ground after the tackle. The former Heisman Trophy winner* was on the field for a bit but ended up walking off. Lions have the ball at their own 41. 1:59 left in fourth quarterKickoff goes out of the end zone, Lions have it at their 20. This place is getting loud…first time that’s happened in a while. 10:33 left in third quarterOK, maybe you don’t get everything you ask for. The Cards go basically nowhere, and a third down pass to Floyd comes up short of the end zone when Fitzgerald failed to make a block. Feely comes on for a 23-yard field goal, and while points are nice, Arizona still trails 14-13. Missed a golden opportunity there. Top Stories 10:20 left in second quarterHis name is Megatron, folks. Matt Stafford throws a quick pass to Calvin Johnson, who takes the ball 72 yards for a touchdown. Karlos Dansby nearly knocked the ball down (or even picked it off), but the ball made it through to the receiver. Not much you can do about that, folks. Guy is the best in the business for a reason.7-3 visitors. 11:44 left in second quarterSome confusion on the kickoff as Spurlock nearly takes the ball out of the end zone before deciding it’d be best to stay put. The refs rule it a touchback, and it’s probably the right call. 11:44 left in second quarterDrive stalls there, but Arizona still scores some points by way of a 47-yard Jay Feely field goal for the 3-0 lead.Cards up, but certainly not in control. 4:14 left in third quarterWell that was an interesting drive. Cardinals move down the field with some good runs and good passes, one of which was from Patrick Peterson to Kerry Taylor. Besides the fact that it appears Peterson would have been a better option than anyone the Cardinals used at QB last season, the most disappointing thing is Arizona had to settle for another field goal. Feely boots it through, but they’re still down 21-16. 1:55 left in second quarterAnd just like that, a three-yard toss to Johnson in the corner of the end zone. Excellent route, great throw, and Lions regain the lead. Congrats to anyone who had the foresight to put Calvin Johnson in their fantasy lineups today. Brilliant! End of first quarterA shifty run by Reggie Bush goes for three and that’s where we’ll pick up when play resumes. Cardinals D with an excellent chance to force a punt here, and if it does so the offense will have good field position. As it is, this first quarter was a little strange. No one on either team looked particularly great, but no one looked really bad, either.The Cards can take solace in the fact that Palmer has looked pretty good, and the Lions can feel good about how they’ve moved the ball. The result of it all is a 0-0 score, though, so take it for what it’s worth. 1:09 left in fourth quarterLions come up short on the pass as Tyrann Mathieu makes a great tackle, and just like that this one will go to the Cardinals. It’s all victory formation from here. Final score: Arizona 25, Detroit 21. Pretty fun game. 7:32 left in second quarterThey responded very nicely, thank you very much.Some good runs from Mendenhall and a great throw from Palmer to Fitz was followed up by an even better throw on a wheel route to Andre Ellington. You know, a play you may remember from an incomplete pass on 3rd and 2 last week in St. Louis. This one goes for a 36-yard TD, and the Cards are back on top. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 1:29 left in third quarterCardinals get their first third-down conversion by way of a penalty that just so happened to wipe out a sack/fumble. Palmer then hits Kerry Taylor with a ball down the field for a good gain, and when you add another 15 yards due to a personal foul on Detroit, Arizona is back in business. 12:41 left in first quarterD looks good, and survives a well-designed Detroit screen on third and long to force a punt. Patrick Peterson returns it to the Arizona 21, which is where we get our first look at the offense. And by the way, Fitz is playing, though with his injury who knows for how long and how effective. 15:00 left in first quarterCardinals kick off to start, with Jay Feely sending it to the end zone.Lions start at their own 20, we get an early look art at Arizona’s D against one of the league’s better offenses. 14:17 left in fourth quarterCards don’t go much further, as a third down play fails (shocking) to pick up the first. Feely is brought on for a field goal, which he makes from 33-yards out. 21-19 Lions. 7:08 left in fourth quarterCardinals win the challenge and get the first down. The drive continues… 8:43 left in fourth quarterDefense holds the Lions to a field goal attempt, which is blocked by Justin Bethel. Ronald Talley recovers the ball and takes it to the Arizona 42. Kind of a big series coming up here. 10:20 left in second quarterKickoff sails out of the end zone. Cards have it at their own 20, let’s see how they respond. 12:43 left in third quarterCards gain some yardage on Mendenhall runs, but drive stalls and they are forced to punt. Spurlock runs backwards on the return and is downed at the Lions’ six. Would be a good time for the D to force a turnover, or at least a three-and-out. 15:00 left in third quarterAkers’ kick is a touchback, and the Cards will start at their 20. Some interesting first half stats:Palmer: 12-of-17 for 165 yards and a TDMendenhall: Four carries, 25 yards along with two receptions for 28 yardsEight different Cards receivers caught a passOn the Lions’ side:Stafford: 16-of-20 for 210 yards and two TDsMegatron: Four receptions for 96 yards and two TDsBush: Eight carries for 18 yards 3:28 left in first quarterLions pick up some yardage but the defense holds. The Lions brought out David Akers for a 52-yard field goal, which he pushed left. However, the Cards were flagged for ‘running into the kicker’, which gave the veteran another shot, this time from 47-yards out.He pushed it right. Who needs consistency, anyway?So, yards were gained, but no points scored, and the Cards go back on offense at their own 37.
Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling TEMPE, Ariz. — To know why Arizona Cardinals first-round draft pick D.J. Humphries is who he is, look no further than his father. “My dad always told me when I was a kid if you be yourself then people are going to love you,” he said Friday, the day after the Cardinals made him the 24th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.“I feel like him being in my life affected me positively. He means the world to me, man.” Humphries said he and his father are often mistaken for brothers, which given the small age gap, is understandable.Humphries didn’t want to imagine where he would be, growing up in South Carolina without his father.“Man, there’s no telling,” he said. “I could probably be somewhere, prison or on the corner somewhere doing something illegal; something that I shouldn’t be. I’m super-excited to have him in my life.” Top Stories Comments Share The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Humphries was born to teenage parents on Dec. 28, 1993.His father, D.J. Sr., was 15 and his mother, Keisha Means, was 16 at the time.Early on, Humphries was raised by his mom, though dad was always nearby.That changed when Humphries was 12, he said, and he moved in with his dad.“It was getting to be that age where I was becoming a teenager and I was living with my mom. I needed to be with my dad, to have that man in my life,” he said.Mom understood, according to Humphries.“It kind of hurt her,” he said. “She knew I needed to move in with my dad but she loved me so much she didn’t want me to let me go. They never had any problems or anything to where it would be an argument about letting me go. She knew that I had to leave. She knew it was going to work out for the best. And to see how it worked out for the best, she’s so emotional about it all the time. She’s so excited. She knew the path that I was on and she knew which way I was going and she knew what I needed. She’s so excited that it all worked out.”Of course having a young father meant having a different childhood. Humphries found this out through stories about his upbringing. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires “I never used to be in a car seat when I was with him,” he said. “I was a front seat rider when I was with him. He was like, ‘man, I was so young, I didn’t know any better.’ He’s like, ‘I know better now. I thought you’d be fine.’ That’s probably why I’m so tough. He probably got me whiplashed when I was a kid or something.”Looking back, Humphries can now laugh about those days.But it was no laughing matter growing up.Humphries’ father was strict and not afraid to punish his young son when he got out of line.“Oh, yeah. (My dad was) very hard (on me),” he said. “I think it was just because he was so young. A lot of the stuff, like I said, he didn’t know any better. A lot of the stuff he knew the answer was ‘crack-the-whip.’ That was his answer to a lot of stuff. I feel like it made me who I am today, don’t get me wrong. I feel like it made me who I am today, but he was definitely hard on me. “It pays off.”It paid off in a big way when Humphries became the first Florida offensive lineman selected in the first round since 2011 and the first Florida player ever drafted by the Cardinals in round one.