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first_imgAs the new working year begins and the post-holiday high wears off, new research from Expedia® shows Australians are keeping a close eye on their annual leave balance and are making the most of their awarded time-off.Now in its 15th year, the 2015 Vacation Deprivation® study surveyed 9,273 employed adults across 26 countries in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and South America.Globally, the report found that the median number of paid annual leave days available to workers is just less than 25 days per year, in addition to public holidays. Collectively workers take about 20 of them, leaving 20% unused.In Australia, employees are entitled to, on average, 20 days per year. Whilst almost two thirds (63%) of Aussies take all their entitled annual leave, the average Australian has two days unused each year – the lowest amount in seven years – indicating Aussies are increasingly keen to make the most of their time off work and value the benefits of taking annual leave.“As Aussies, we love to travel but often the pressure of work and life can stop us taking as many holidays as we’d like. It’s a significant shift to see Aussies taking the most annual leave in seven years and it’s encouraging as the benefits are clear,” Expedia.com.au travel expert Kelly Cull said.Countries across Europe are renowned for their generous annual leave entitlements – workers in Germany, France, Spain and are entitled to 30 days of leave, on average, and take them all. South Koreans are the world’s most vacation deprived workers – while they’re offered 15 days on average, they take only six days off within a given year.Holidays = Happy, rested and more focused employeesThe majority (89%) of Australians understand regular holidays are important for general health and wellbeing and when asked about the impact of a holiday on their overall happiness, almost all Australians (91%) said it has an impact to some degree.When it comes to rest, two in five (44%) Aussies feel they start to reap the rewards of annual leave as soon as they start their holiday and a further 23% say they truly begin to relax the moment they reach their destination. Half (49%) of those surveyed claim to have more than eight hours sleep a night when on holiday, compared to only 27% when they are at home.And while, only 15% say their holiday high lasts more than a week post-trip, after a holiday, Australian workers believe they are:Better rested (92%)Happier (89%)Less stressed/more relaxed (89%)Closer to family/friends (83%)More focused at work (77%)More than one in ten (15%) Australians book their next trip within a month of coming back from leave. Those really eager to start dreaming about their next break admit to booking holidays within a week of returning (8%), the day they return (9%) and even during their current holiday (3%).While annual leave might make most Aussies happy, for some it can also cause feelings of guilt for leaving work behind for colleagues or fears of being perceived as a ‘slacker’ by their boss.Workers in some countries, such as France, feel their bosses disapprove of them taking leave, creating a sense of holiday-guilt. Australians, however, feel no such remorse: 72% of Aussies don’t feel guilty at all about taking leave and see it as their right, and one in five (21%) said they feel somewhat guilty but take annual leave anyway.Interestingly, of all the age groups, 13% of Aussie Gen Ys fear taking leave as they were worried it would be perceived negatively by their bosses (6% for those aged 35-54 and 3% for those aged 55 and over).Kelly Cull, commented: “It’s positive to see Aussies understand the benefits of taking leave on their health and wellbeing. Whether we are travelling the world, spending the time with family and friends, or relaxing time out from work is important. And even though we’re just starting the New Year, right now is a great time to book travel.“There are so many amazing travel deals available across Australia and the world, an affordable break to rest and recharge the batteries in 2016 is only a few clicks away.”Aussies choose multiple short getaways over one long breakWhen looking at how they choose to spend their leave, more and more Aussies (50%) are choosing multiple short getaways rather than one long holiday (35%). While some have their sights set on interstate or international destinations, 5% of Aussies take leave to take care of errands.Switching offWhile two in five Aussies (42%) say they don’t check emails and voicemails at all, not all workers respect the work life divide while on holiday. When asked how often they check emails and voicemails on a seven day holiday, more than one in ten (12%) would check them once a day, a quarter (24%) would check them once or twice and 11% would check them three or four times during the week. ExpediaSource = Expedialast_img read more


first_imgState: South AustraliaMust: Take a tour of the ships at the Whyalla Maritime MuseumStay for the seafood at Australia’s snapper capital, grab your gear and go on a fishing charter. Or, get into the shallow waters and catch blue swimmer crabs during the warmer months. Searching for some peace and quiet? Enjoy the solitude and calm waters by the 22m tall Point Lowly Lighthouse. From the lookout, you can watch dolphins happily swimming by in their pods. Our tip: try the City Heritage Walk to learn about the local industrial heritage and to see the wetlands.Stay at: Discovery Parks – Whyalla_______________GeelongState: VictoriaMust: Delight your palette and eat the best grub on the Bellarine Taste TrailGo Cats? Even if you’re loyal to your team, we’ll guarantee you will still love a visit to the Simonds Stadium. Discovery Parks holiday park is close by to some of the best footy games and cricket matches in the country. But don’t spend all day in there! The Geelong Harbour has plenty to see and do. Have a tasty brew at Little Creatures, see the public art installations, and reignite your senses at the Geelong Botanic Gardens. Geelong is a choice cultural, gastronomic, and historic hub along the Great Ocean Road.Stay at: Discovery Parks – Geelong_______________WarrnamboolState: VictoriaMust: Take two steps back into colonial past at Flagstaff Hill Maritime VillageAhoy, matey – welcome to the mysterious Shipwreck Coast. True to the name, the destination was not so friendly to sailors as they tried to navigate through choppy waters. Today, 21st-century Warrnambool is now a pleasant getaway on Victoria’s south-west coast. When you’re not bouncing around the 12 Apostles and the Otways, rejuvenate yourself with fromage at Cheese World. Locally-made, award-winning specialty cheddar cheese, you will want to stock up on a few blocks to take home. What should you pair the cheese with? Taste the varieties in the Henty Wine Region (grab a bottle of Basalt Wines’ Pinot Noir).Stay at: Discovery Parks – Warrnambool_______________RobeState: South AustraliaMust: Go four-wheel driving at Little Dip Conservation ParkHave you ever heard of the Coonawarra? You should have, it is one of the premier South Australian wine regions (that most people keep secret). The cool climate is ideal for rich Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blends. Walk off the buzz with a circuit around the Lake Butler Marina. With fishing boats sitting on the water and many different types of waterbirds, take a moment to enjoy this stop along the southern coast. For a calm spot to fish, head to Long Beach. You can expect to catch whiting, flathead, salmon, mullet and garfish.Stay at: Discovery Parks – Robe_______________Koombana BayState: Western AustraliaMust: Meet “Puff”, the Western Bearded Dragon, at Bunbury Wildlife ParkTwo hours from Perth, the Bunbury area is a destination for wine enthusiasts and nature lovers alike in WA’s south-west. Discover the Geographe, an up-and-coming wine region in the rolling countryside next to Geographe Bay. From Ferguson Valley to Busselton, the area boasts a maritime climate suitable for producing elegant, award-winning Shiraz. Don’t get too boozy though – there’s too much to see outside. Wildflowers bloom and flourish between September to November in the Tuart Forest, a haven for an array of wildlife. We recommend the leisurely Possum Night Spotlighting Trail, a 1.5km walk guided by torchlight on which you’re more than likely to see the rare western ringtail possum.Stay at: Discovery Parks – Koombana Bay_______________GerroaState: New South WalesMust: See the water spraying 25m high at Kiama Blowhole, the largest blowhole in the world!Overlooking the Crooked River, the Discovery Parks holiday park in Gerroa is a hidden oasis on the New South Wales South Coast. Always wanted to see a rainforest? Grab your rain boots and venture into Macquarie Pass National Park. Take the Cascades Walk, a shaded 2km trail through a towering eucalyptus forest, that leads you to a gushing waterfall. You might be lucky and even spot a platypus along the way! Treat your thirst after the long hike. Few know about our wineries on the Shoalhaven Coast. Visit Crooked River Wines in Gerringong for reds, whites and Uncle Joe’s hand-crafted beer. Come for the drinks, stay for the landscape of mountains and sea.Stay at: Discovery Parks – GerroaSource = Discovery Parks 10 Stopover destinations when heading south10 Stopover Destinations When Heading SouthTravellers tend to focus entirely on the destination of a trip and consider the journey on the way a stressful and unenjoyable event. Yet Discovery Parks, Australia’s leading tourist holiday park, believe the journey can be as enjoyable as the destination itself, if not more! Specifically, the bottom half of Australia has some of the country’s most beautiful hidden gems, making a journey down South an absolutely unforgettable experience. Discovery Parks have created a list of the top 10 stopover destinations when heading south that Aussie travellers need to explore on their upcoming Summer getaways this year.Please let me know if it’s of interest! I look forward to hearing from you.Pambula BeachState: New South WalesMust: Walk the Pinnacles Track at Ben Boyd National ParkDitch your best friends from back home, because the kangaroos here are plenty friendly and won’t cancel plans last minute. Crack open a cold one and sit among the local wildlife in Pambula Beach. The temperature is pleasant enough for a light jacket in spring and the beach itself is easily accessible. Whale watching from the Green Cape Lighthouse between September and November attracts people from across Australia – but the freshly shucked oysters over lunch will have you booking an extra night.Stay at: Discovery Parks – Pambula Beach_______________Streaky BayState: South AustraliaMust: See the sun set over the rock formations at Murphy’s HaystacksSouth Aussies know it and love it. It’s the holiday town of their childhoods. Up and around the Yorke Peninsula you’ll go, Streaky Bay sits on the coast as a gateway to the Nullarbor. You may know these waters as shark country, but that doesn’t stop the surfers from surfing and the fishermen from fishing! Take a gander at the big guy himself and visit the 5m long great white shark replica at the tourist centre. It would be a shame if you didn’t try a taste of the region. The Eyre Peninsula Seafood Trail is a mouth-watering touring route to stop for prawns, local wine and chocolate-coated olives (don’t knock ’em til you try ’em!).Stay at: Discovery Parks – Streaky Bay_______________EdenState: New South WalesMust: Visit the Eden Killer Whale Museum for some local historyWho has the best whale noises out of the lot of you? Try them out on a guided tour of the famous Eden Killer Whale Museum. The exhibitions at this 80-year-old museum showcase killer whale skeletons, a memorial for World War I, and the Rag Tag Fleet from World War II. A trip here wouldn’t be right without exploring the natural environment. Spend the morning kayaking down Towomba River and the afternoon searching for tweety bird on a birdwatching charter. In the evening, sit on the beach of Twofold Bay and enjoy the peace of watching boats glide by.Stay at: Discovery Parks – Eden_______________Port AugustaState: South AustraliaMust: Stop and smell the native plants at the Australian Arid Lands Botanic GardensBe rewarded with a stopover on the Spencer Gulf. Some treat Port Augusta as only a place to sleep before heading up to the Flinders Ranges, but the outback is ripe to be explored from this town. Did you play with train sets back when you were a kid? Your young self will love the Pichi Pichi Railways. This moving museum, operating on steam and heritage diesel engines, coasts down one of the oldest remaining sections of the Ghan. For more of the local history, travel down the tunnel of time at the Wadlata Outback Centre. This unique experience is an opportunity to listen to the stories of the local Aboriginal people that have lived on this land for 40,000 years.Stay at: Discovery Parks – Port Augusta_______________DubboState: New South WalesMust: View the night’s sky, dizzy with stars, at the Dubbo ObservatoryBlack rhinos, elephants and tigers call this town their home. Don’t get too concerned! They live in their own spaces at the Dubbo Zoo. This open range zoo isn’t just for the little ones. Roaming over 300 hectares of bushland, animals from all around the world live and play here. If you’ve had enough of the fresh air and open space, spook yourself in the confines of the Old Dubbo Gaol. Take a self-guided tour through the restored gaol grounds and learn about its 119-year history.Stay at: Discovery Parks – Dubbo_______________Whyallalast_img read more


first_imgTripadvisor recognizes Top museums in the WorldTripAdvisor®, the travel site that helps you find the latest reviews and lowest prices, today announced the winners of its Travellers’ Choice® awards for Museums. Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for museums worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period. TripAdvisor has also highlighted top-rated bookable tours and passes on or near the site and the cost of admission for each winning museum.1“As a traveller, exploring a famous museum or discovering a new one can be the highlight of a trip,” said Brooke Ferencsik, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. “This year’s Travellers’ Choice Museum award winners belong on your must-visit list. To beat the crowds at these popular attractions, travellers should consider booking a skip-the-line pass or taking a small group tour to save time and make the most of their visit.”Top 10 Museums in AustraliaNational Gallery of Victoria— MelbourneFounded in 1861, the National Gallery of Victoria has been cited as the oldest and most visited art museum in the country. The museum boasts one of the world’s finest art collections and has a dedicated Oceanic gallery that showcases the indigenous cultures of the Pacific area.Bookable tour: Melbourne Zoo General Entry Ticket bookable on TripAdvisor from $36Admission: FreeNational Anzac Centre — AlbanyOverlooking King George Sound, the museum commemorates the lives of more than 41,000 men and women who set out for war in 1914. It offers visitors a chance to experience WWI by assuming the identities of 32 Anzac-related characters and following their life journeys through a series of interactive exhibits.Bookable pass: National Anzac Centre General Entry Ticket on TripAdvisor from $24 per personAdmission: Adult – $24, First Child (5-15 years old) – $10, Every Child Thereafter – $5, Child under 5 – FreeMelbourne Museum — MelbourneThis award-winning museum is the largest in the Southern hemisphere, housing an IMAX theatre, a touring hall and seven main galleries showcasing outstanding exhibits on natural environment, culture and history, as well as a special gallery for younger visitors.Bookable tour: Aboriginal Melbourne Tour: Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Museum and Koorie Heritage Trust on TripAdvisor from $209 per personAdmission: Adult – $14, Child- FreeQuestacon — CanberraAs the national science and technology centre, Questacon inspires and educates its visitors with over 200 interactive experiences. Its eight galleries feature themed exhibits, from astronomy to zoology, catering to all age groupsBookable tour: 3infun Canberra Attraction Pass Including the Australian Institute of Sport, Cockington Green Gardens and Questacon on TripAdvisor from $45 per personAdmission: Adult – $20.50, Tertiary – $17.20, Child – $15, Under 4 – FreeAdmission: Adult – $20.50, Tertiary – $17.20, Child – $15, Under 4 – FreeMuseum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory — DarwinRanked as the top attraction in Darwin, this museum is a new entrant to the top 10 Travellers’ Choice museums in Australia. As the Top End’s premier art and cultural institution, it houses the best travelling exhibitions from around the country and showcases the region’s natural and maritime history through its diverse collections of artefacts.Bookable tour: Explore Darwin City Sights on TripAdvisor from $110 per personAdmission: FreeNational Gallery of Australia— CanberraThe National Gallery of Australia is the national art museum of Australia as well as one of the largest art museums in Australia, holding more than 166,000 works of art.Bookable tour: Canberra Day Trip from Sydney Including Parliament House and Australian War Memorial on TripAdvisor from $149 per personAdmission: FreeArt Gallery of New South Wales — SydneyWith over 30,000 Australian, European and Asian works in its collection, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is Sydney’s leading art museum. Visitors to the museum are also rewarded to magnificent vistas of the Sydney harbour in the backdrop.Bookable tour: Private: Historical Sightseeing Walking Tour of Sydney on TripAdvisor from $385GeneralAdmission: FreeDefence of Darwin Experience –  DarwinFeaturing an interactive exhibition space that promises an immersive and multi-sensory experience, the museum offers visitors the opportunity to explore Darwin’s wartime heritage and the Territory’s involvement in WWII.Bookable tour: Explore Darwin City Sights on TripAdvisor from $110 per personAdmission: Adult – $15, Child (5-16 years) – $8, Child under 5 – Free, Seniors – $13Bendigo Art Gallery – BendigoEstablished in 1887, Bendigo Art Gallery is the largest, and one of the oldest regional galleries in Australia. The Gallery’s collection is extensive and varied with an emphasis on 19th century European art and Australian art from 1800s onwards, alongside a strong collection of contemporary Australian art.Bookable tour: Golden Dragon Museum on TripAdvisor from $28 per family (2 adults and up to 4 children)Admission: Adult — $11, Children (5-14) – $6Historic Village Herberton— QueenslandTravellers can see the real space shuttle Atlantis, touch a moon rock, meet a veteran NASA astronaut, tour a NASA spaceflight facility and get an up-close view of a real Saturn V moon rocket all in the same day.Bookable tour: Historic Village Herberton Day Trip from Cairns Including Kuranda Village and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway on TripAdvisor from $199Admission: Adult — $29, Child – $13, Child under 4 – FreeTop 10 Museums in the World:The Metropolitan Museum of Art — New York City, New YorkBookable pass: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Admission with Access to The Met Breuer and The Met Cloisters on TripAdvisor from $32 per personRecommended admission: Adult — $25, Senior — $17, Student — $12, Child Under 12 — FreeThe National WWII Museum — New Orleans, LouisianaBookable pass: The National WWII Museum Ticket New Orleans on TripAdvisor from $34 per personAdmission: Adult — $27; Senior — $23.50; Child, College Student, Military — $17.50Musée d’Orsay — Paris, FranceBookable tour: Semi Private Tour: Skip-the-Line Musee d’Orsay Must-See Tour on TripAdvisor from $145 per personAdmission: Adult — $14, Under 18 — FreeArt Institute of Chicago — Chicago, IllinoisBookable pass: Art Institute of Chicago Fast Pass Admission on TripAdvisor from $45 per personAdmission: Adult — $25; Senior, Student, Teen — $19; Child Under 14 — FreeState Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace — St. Petersburg, RussiaBookable tour: State Hermitage Museum Small-Group Walking Tour on TripAdvisor from $53 per personAdmission: Adult, Senior, Student — $12; Student, Child — FreeThe National 9/11 Memorial & Museum — New York City, New YorkBookable tour: 9/11 Memorial and Ground Zero Walking Tour with Optional 9/11 Museum Upgrade on TripAdvisor from $45 per personAdmission: Adult — $24; Senior, Veteran, College Student — $18; Youth (7-17) — $15; Child Under 7 — FreeNational Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropologia) — Mexico City, MexicoBookable tour: Viator Exclusive: Chapultepec Castle Early Access plus National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City on TripAdvisor from $43 per personAdmission: Adult — $4, Senior, Student, Child Under 13 — FreeAcropolis Museum — Athens, GreeceBookable tour: Acropolis of Athens and New Acropolis Museum Tour on TripAdvisor from $75 per personAdmission: Adult — $6; Senior, Student, Child Under 18 — $4; Child Under 5, Military — FreePrado National Museum — Madrid, SpainBookable pass: Skip the Line: Prado Museum Tour in Madrid on TripAdvisor from $55 per personAdmission: FreeV&A – Victoria and Albert Museum – London, UK Bookable tour: Guided Highlights Tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum on TripAdvisor from $60 per personAdmission: FreeFor the complete list of winners from the 2017 Travellers’ Choice awards for Museums, as well as reviews and candid traveller photos, go to: TripAdvisor.com/TravellersChoice-Museums.TripAdvisor is the world’s largest online provider of tours, activities and attractions, offering more than 56,000 bookable tours, activities and experiences in 2,500 destinations and 165 countries to help travellers unleash the full potential of their trips.Travellers can read the latest reviews and compare prices from more than 200 sites to find the lowest prices on the right hotel for their trip at www.TripAdvisor.com.Source = TripAdvisorlast_img read more


first_imgThailand hosted ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Youth Summit 2017Thailand hosted ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Youth Summit 2017The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports recently hosted the ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Youth Summit 2017, from 18 to 24 September in Bangkok.The event was attended by 46 delegates, including tourism youth and officials from the National Tourism Organisations of ASEAN member states as well as Japan. The participants continued their activities in the Philippines, from 25-30 September, 2017.The ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Youth Summit 2017 was co-hosted by Thailand and the Philippines with the aim to promote a network of tourism youth in the region. The event was held under the theme ‘ASEAN Plus Three Youth for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism Development’ in line with the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan for 2016-2025 and to mark the United Nations Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in 2017.Dr. Walailak Noypayak, TAT Executive Director for ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific Region said, “TAT recognises the importance of developing a sustainable and well-integrated tourism industry, for which close cooperation with all concerned is required. This tourism youth initiative is a great tool to build love and understanding, and can lead to balanced sustainable tourism development both for Thailand and the region.”In Bangkok, delegates of the ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Youth Summit 2017 attended a meeting on 21 September at the Berkeley Hotel Pratunam. They were also hosted to several activities that focused on unique Thai local experiences during the seven-day trip.This included the ‘Bangkok Hidden Treasure Hunt’ at Nang Loeng Market, where delegates had the chance to try their hand at many local experiences including a Lakhon Chatri, lesson, one of the oldest forms of Thai music and dance arts. They also learned how to make Thai iced-tea, a traditional dessert and one of Thailand’s all-time favourite dishes, Som Tam.“Delegates were keen to learn about unique Thai local experiences, and enthusiastically shared their experiences with their friends and followers on Instagram. The interaction among delegates plus the community people helps build a better understanding of the Thai culture and local way of life,” said Dr. Walailak.Following the completion of the 13-day trip in Thailand and the Philippines, a group of youth will be selected to attend the ASEAN Plus Three Youth for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism Development project in Japan, from 15 to 19 October, 2017.Source = Tourism Authority of Thailandlast_img read more


first_imgDuring the first quarter of 2015, Barbados tourism sector broke a 25 year record to reach 171,471 long-stay arrivals.According to Alvin Jemmott, Chairman of Barbados Tourism Marketing, Inc. (BTMI), there were record arrivals in each of the first three months of 2015 and extended his congratulations to all industry workers and partners for their steadfast efforts on behalf of the destination.“This was a very strong winter season. The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) has predicted a five percent increase in long stay arrivals for the region for the entire year and we believe our performance in this first quarter bodes well for us to comfortably exceed that target.”Jemmott attributed this milestone performance to a number of factors including increased airlift capacity negotiated by the BTMI; healthy economic conditions in key markets, a commitment to developing new source markets, Barbados’ strong reputation among its global partners and the agency’s solid promotional strategies for reaching the travel trade, media and consumers in each market.CEO, William Griffith stated, “I am pleased to say that we have begun the process of updating a number of critical polices in the areas of human resources, marketing and finance in keeping with our commitment to increasing employee engagement and productivity; maximising our return on marketing investment, and achieving greater levels of fiscal prudence.”Griffith broke down the performance by market, which showed that arrivals from the UK, U.S., Canada, and Caribbean and Latin American grew by 12.9%, 27.7%, 28.4% and 10.6% respectively. Germany also grew by 23.6%.last_img read more


first_imgA new tourism report has revealed that wealthy tourists from the Middle East spent the most in South Korea in 2016. The survey was conducted with the participation of 10,203 foreign nationals who visited South Korea last year.According to the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, Middle Eastern tourists spent an average of approximately $2,593 last year, amounting to nearly 3 million won when exchanged to Korean won, while Japanese tourists spent around $813, making them the only country with average spending below $1,000.Among the 135 tourists from the Middle East who were surveyed, the number who spent over $10,000 accounted for over 10%, while those who spent between $3,000 and $9,999 accounted for 32.6%, which means four in ten Middle Eastern visitors spent at least $3,000 in South Korea. Foreign tourists spent an average of $1,625, down from last year’s figure of $1,712.An official at the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, said, “Middle Eastern visitors tend to spend a lot because many of them visit South Korea for health care.”last_img read more


first_img June 8, 2012 431 Views Agents & Brokers Home Sales Housing Affordability Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-06-08 Sara Ortega Share in Data, Origination, Servicingcenter_img While Miami home sales in April fell slightly, the multimillion-dollar luxury home market experienced a 36.5 percent increase from both the month before and previous year, according to San-Diego based “”DataQuick””:http://www.dataquick.com/.[IMAGE]In April, 101 homes sold for more than $2 million or more. During the first four months of 2012, 286 homes sold for the same amount or more, up 14.4 percent from the same period in 2011. Miami-area home sales rose modestly in April compared with March but fell slightly short of the year-ago level, as sales continued to drop for homes priced below $200,000. [COLUMN_BREAK]In the overall Miami market, the median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in April was $140,000 – the highest for any month since November 2010. The April median rose 3.7 percent from $134,950 the month before and rose 12 percent from $125,000 a year earlier.Also in April, 9,752 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the metro area encompassing Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. That was up 2.2 percent from the prior month and down 0.2 percent from a year earlier.The month’s total sales were 14.5 percent below the average number of sales in the month of April since 1997. However, if newly built homes are excluded from the sales mix, then the number of houses and condos that closed escrow in April was just 1.0 percent below the historical average for the month. The region’s new-home sales were the lowest on record for April and nearly 78 percent below average for the month.Meanwhile, use of a form of low-down-payment financing that’s popular with first-time homebuyers – government-insured FHA loans – inched up in April to 36.1 percent of all home purchase loans from 35.2 percent in March, but down from 40.4 percent a year earlier. The March and April figures are the lowest since late 2008. Miami Home Sales Fall from Previous Year, Luxury Market Riseslast_img read more


first_img September 21, 2012 468 Views The “”FDIC””:http://www.fdic.gov/ wants you to help it unload its bad assets ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and by you, we mean only investors. And by investors, the agency is searching for women and minorities in particular.[IMAGE]According to a recent release, the FDIC will conduct a number of workshops for interested investors on how to go about buying assets from failed banks. [COLUMN_BREAK]The agency will hold these to-dos in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York across September and October.Workshops will touch on issues like structured sales transactions, pre-qualification processes, and details about the Small Investor Program and Investor Match Program.””Our outreach workshops have been met with tremendous enthusiasm by investors. The workshops are an example of our commitment to ensure that the structured sales transaction process is inclusive of all firms, large and small,”” Pamela Farwig, deputy director of the FDIC’s division of resolutions and receiverships, said in a statement. “”We believe that expanding the investor pool will assist in minimizing losses to the Deposit Insurance Fund.””The agency continues to unwind from the bulk of bank failures that taxed its Depository Insurance Fund. Many of the failures left it with a load of assets that it often sells to recover losses.*Are you an investor? If so, does these kinds of workshops help you?* Send your thoughts to editor@themreport.com for a chance to appear in our monthly magazine. in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing FDIC Searches for Investors to Buy Up Bad Assetscenter_img Agents & Brokers Bank Failure FDIC Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-09-21 Ryan Schuette Sharelast_img read more


first_img September 25, 2012 495 Views Mortgage rates slid to new lows this week as investors dumped their cash into safe-haven Treasury debt, prompted by the Fed’s decision to keep interest rates low for an unfixed time.[IMAGE]””Zillow””:http://www.zillow.com/ found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipping past 3.2 percent for the first time to arrive at 3.18 percent, down from 3.35 percent on Wednesday last week. The real estate website said this marks the lowest rate for the 30-year home loan since 2008, when it launched its weekly survey. [COLUMN_BREAK]Across the rest of the country, rates for the 30-year mortgage fell accordingly, plunging by 21 basis points in California, 16 basis points in New Jersey, and 15 basis points in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, respectively.Interest rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 2.59 percent, while those for 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.43 percent.””Mortgage rates saw a significant drop this week, reaching an all-time low, as the market continued to digest the significant and sustained impact of the Federal Reserve’s decision to offer a new round of stimulus which unlike prior stimulus plans, does not carry a preset expiration date,”” Erin Lantz, director of Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, said in a statement. “”The Federal Reserve’s commitment to keep the federal funds rate close to zero into the middle of 2015 also affected rates,”” she added, saying that the real estate website expects “”rates to rise slightly as lender capacity begins to fill up from a new influx of borrowers interested in refinancing at these historically low rates.””*Do you think the Fed’s decision was a wise one?* Send us your thoughts by emailing us at editor@themreport.com for a chance for appear in our monthly magazine. Share Agents & Brokers Federal Reserve Fixed-Rate Mortgage Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Processing Service Providers Zillow 2012-09-25 Ryan Schuettecenter_img Fed,Fed’s Stimulus Decision Prompts Record-Low Mortgage Rates in Data, Government, Origination, Servicinglast_img read more


first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bankrate Freddie Mac Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Service Providers 2013-03-07 Tory Barringer in Origination Mortgage Rates Unchanged as Job Report Looms Sharecenter_img Mortgage rates held steady this week as markets were caught between positive housing news and mildly disappointing economic developments.[IMAGE]””Freddie Mac’s””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ Primary Mortgage Market Survey indicated little to no movement in fixed rates for the week ending March 7. According to Freddie Mac’s readings, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.52 percent (0.7 point) this week, up slightly from the previous 3.51 percent average. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.88 percent.The 15-year FRM was unchanged from last week, averaging 2.76 percent (0.7 point).Adjustable rates were similarly sluggish. The 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.63 percent (0.5 point) this week, up from 2.61 percent [COLUMN_BREAK]previously. The 1-year ARM average was 2.63 percent (0.3 point), down a single basis point.””With gross domestic product growing only 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, inflation remains at bay and consequently mortgage rates low,”” said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at Freddie Mac. “”Moreover, these low mortgage rates are helping to revive the housing market. For instance the CoreLogic home price index rose 9.7 percent between January 2012 and 2013, marking the largest annual increase since 2006.””Meanwhile, “”Bankrate.com””:http://www.bankrate.com/ reported no movement in any of its three major metrics. The 30-year fixed averaged 3.73 percent, the 15-year fixed averaged 2.96 percent, and the 5/1 ARM averaged 2.68 percent, all the same as last week.””The movement in mortgage rates was rather tame this week as the monthly look at the labor market looms,”” Bankrate said in a release. All-in-all, the economic recovery is plugging along, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a new high, but it all boils down to jobs. Those that are working are seeing stagnant wages, so the best hope for a jump in consumer spending and a boost to the overall economy lies in adding more jobs.Nearly half of analysts surveyed by Bankrate last week had projected a decline in rates this week. “”For next week””:http://www.bankrate.com/news/rate-trends/mortgage.aspx, 58 percent forecast no change, 25 percent forecast an increase, and the remaining 17 percent predict a decline. March 7, 2013 445 Views last_img read more


first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies FHFA HARP Investors Lenders & Servicers Refinance Service Providers Zillow 2013-10-03 Tory Barringer “”Zillow””:http://www.zillow.com/ partnered with the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov/Default.aspx (FHFA) Thursday to review eligibility requirements for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and respond to borrowers confused about the program.[IMAGE]Meg Burns, senior associate director for housing and regulatory policy for FHFA, joined Zillow for a Google+ Hangout session to field questions from underwater homeowners and explain HARP’s finer points. Hosting the call was Erin Lantz, Zillow’s director of mortgages.Responding to borrowers’ worries about their financial situations, Burns reiterated that HARP has no minimum income or credit score requirements (though different lenders may have their own criteria). “”It’s a very streamlined product, which means lenders don’t do traditional underwriting. They don’t assess the borrowers’ income amount nor look at the credit report,”” she said. “”Most lenders really like that feature of the product because it makes it much easier for them to qualify a borrower for participation.””Instead, borrowers are required to have a solid payment history, with no missed payments in the six months prior to refinancing and up to one missed payment in the 12 months prior. That history is used instead as a proxy for a borrower’s ability to pay.””One of the great things about HARP is, if you continue to make payments on time, you ultimately will meet the payment history requirement,”” Burns remarked.[COLUMN_BREAK]She also stressed that the program can also be used for second homes and for investment properties, though the fees may be slightly higher.Also discussed were several enhancements to the program (sometimes dubbed as “”HARP 2.0″”) that went into effect in 2012 and expanded eligibility to more borrowers. Because those changes went into effect well after HARP’s inception, Burns urged borrowers who applied prior to March 2012 to try again.One of the biggest changes was the removal of the original HARP’s 125 percent ceiling on loan-to-value (LTV) ratios. The elimination of that cap has been especially helpful for borrowers in states like Nevada, which has seen a significant boost in HARP refinances since eligibility opened up, Burns said.In the second quarter of 2013 alone, loans with LTVs of 125 percent or higher made up nearly 20 percent of all HARP activity, FHFA revealed in its latest quarterly report.Finally, answering a Realtor’s question regarding dubious advice offered by some companies to struggling borrowers, Burns warned consumers to be careful of who they trust–especially if that person recommends deliberately missing payments.””Don’t ever go delinquent on your mortgage if you want to qualify for a program,”” she said. “”It’s highly likely, for one thing, that you’ll be rejected anyway, and it’s really bad for your credit score.””Thursday’s question and answer session represented one way in which FHFA is working to spread knowledge of HARP and get more borrowers involved. In addition to loosening eligibility requirements last year, the agency has “”extended the program””:https://themreport.com/articles/fhfa-to-extend-harp-through-2015-2013-04-11 for an additional two years, bringing the expiration date to December 31, 2015. In addition, FHFA recently announced the launch of a “”public awareness campaign””:https://themreport.com/articles/fhfa-launches-campaign-for-harp-awareness-2013-09-24 that has it partnering with HGTV personality Mike Aubrey.Through the end of this year, FHFA will be working with Zillow on a HARP-specific blog created to answer questions about the program’s specifics and offer advice. More information can be found at “”Zillow.com/education/HARP””:http://www.zillow.com/education/HARP/. FHFA’s Burns Tackles HARP Questions with Zillow October 3, 2013 401 Views center_img Share in Originationlast_img read more


first_img September 4, 2014 497 Views In Florida, document processing provider Nationwide Title Clearing has hit a major milestone in its efforts to help the mortgage industry move into the Digital Age, announcing that 60 percent of its volume is now being submitted to county recorders in electronic form.”This is a major achievement, not just for our company, but for the entire industry,” said Nationwide Title Clearing’s CEO, John Hillman. “Electronic documents and eRecording have long been key elements of our strategy. We have pursued the goal of interfacing with County Recorders aggressively and partnered with some of the leading technology firms in the industry.”I’m very pleased to see this approach paying dividends to our clients,” he added.Not only is eRecording faster, NTC says, but it also provides a safer, more reliable way to process documents, minimizing risk of losing documents in transit and cutting down on the time and effort it takes to find public records.Though eRecording is catching on in most states, a few have been more receptive than most—including Colorado and Nevada, where 90 percent or more of NTC documents have been recorded electronically.”We’re always working to find the best way to help our clients conduct their business,” Hillman said. “Recording all documents electronically remains an important goal for NTC. We will continue to work with County Recorders and technology partners to achieve it.” in Headlines, News, Technology NTC Hits Major Milestone in eRecordingcenter_img Company News Nationwide Title Clearing 2014-09-04 Tory Barringer Sharelast_img read more


first_imgChurchill Mortgage Hires 15 Industry Professionals in Headlines, News, Origination June 5, 2015 559 Views Churchill Mortgage Lender National Homeownership Month 2015-06-05 Staff Writercenter_img Churchill Mortgage recently announced the new hiring of 15 industry professionals across its California, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia branches. The company’s latest additions are an effort to be prepared for National Homeownership Month in June and to support continued growth through the summer months.“National Homeownership Month underscores the importance and aspiration of owning a home as part of the American Dream,” said Mike Hardwick, president of Churchill Mortgage. “For all of us at Churchill, preserving this dream is important, as well as imperative to long-term economic stability.”Churchill Mortgage, founded in 1992 and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Churchill Holdings, Inc. is privately owned by over 300 of its employees, according to the release. This company provides conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA residential mortgages across 33 states. It is also the only mortgage lender endorsed by nationally syndicated radio personality and personal finance expert and author, Dave Ramsey.In the Brentwood, Tennessee location, Churchill welcomes Ross McBride as processor with 15 years of experience in the mortgage industry, the company announced. Kelly Lesko and Darren McCroskey will also work in the Tennessee location as home loan specialists with more than 12 years of combined expertise. The lender also adds Rick Wooten and Garrett Fredrick as home loan specialists in training. Christopher Talley joins as a technical support specialist and David Bacon as an accounting intern. Jenny Moehle serves as a loan partner for the company in the Tennessee location.Donna Sartin will also work in Tennessee at Churchill’s Chattanooga branch as a home loan specialist, the company said. She has more than 16 years of industry experience and is a member of the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors and the Tennessee Association of Realtors.According to the Churchill, Kevin Shaknazarian and Mark Faulkenberry bring three decades of combined expertise to the company’s branches in Houston and North Texas, respectively. Valarie Padilla is the lender’s newest production assistant in Orange, California and Emily Day joins the Herndon, Virginia branch as a receptionist. In Michigan, Derrick Kring joins the Lansing branch as a home loan specialist assistant and Seth Vanderwey joins as a home loan specialist in training in Grand Rapids.“We’re continuing to see positive momentum within the housing market, and as such, we will continue to expand our team to meet borrower demand,” Hardwick said. “We remain dedicated to making debt-free homeownership enjoyable, practical and achievable.” Sharelast_img read more


first_img Share Conspiracy and Fraud Nomura Securities International residential mortgage backed securities U.S. Department of Justice 2015-09-09 Seth Welborn A federal grand jury in New Haven, Connecticut, has returned a 10-count indictment against three former residential mortgage-backed securities traders for Nomura Securities International, according to an announcement on the U.S. Department of Justice’s website.Ross Shapiro, 41; Michael Gramins, 33; and Tyler Peters, 32, all of New York, New York, have all been charged with multiple fraud and conspiracy offenses stemming from their actions when they supervised the RMBS desk for Nomura in New York, according to the unsealed indictment. All three defendants are former employees of Lehman Brothers.According to the indictment, Shapiro, Gramins, and Peters conspired to defraud Nomura customers by fraudulently inflating the purchase price at which Nomura could buy an RBMS bond to induce customers to buy the bond at a higher price; the three defendants then fraudulently deflated the price at which Nomura could sell an RMBS bond in order to induce customers to sell the bonds at cheaper prices. Nomura and the three defendants illegally profited as a result of the scheme, the indictment stated.The indictment also alleges that the three defendants trained their subordinates to lie to customers and encouraged them to do so after providing them with the language to use to deceive customers. The defendants also allegedly created fictitious third parties in order to increase their profits and colluded with at least one outside client to broker trades deceptively on their behalf.”The defendants’ alleged scheme was simple: To drive up profits they lied to and deceived their victims.””This indictment alleges that, for several years, these three defendants handsomely profited by repeatedly lying to Nomura’s customers in violation of federal law,” said Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. “The victims of this alleged conspiracy include numerous funds, retirement plan providers and taxpayer-provided bailout funds that helped our nation to recover from the 2008 financial crisis. Our investigation into corrupt practices in the RMBS and other financial markets continues. I commend SIGTARP, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General for their outstanding investigative work in this area.”Victims of the defendants’ scheme include funds from around the world, retirement plan providers and a fund manager for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), according to the DOJ.”The defendants’ alleged scheme was simple: To drive up profits they lied to and deceived their victims,” said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for the TARP (SIGTARP). “They are alleged to have overstated the price Nomura paid. They are also alleged to have created fictitious third-party sellers when the RMBS sat in Nomura’s inventory. And they are alleged to have bragged about it to each other.”This week’s announcement of the indictments adds to Nomura’s recent problems with its mortgage-backed securities practices. Nomura chose to go to trial with FHFA rather than settle claims that the Japan-based bank along with the Royal Bank of Scotland misrepresented the quality of mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the financial crisis. In May, a federal judge found the banks liable and ordered them to pay $806 million in damages; last week, that total was increased to $839 million. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, Newscenter_img Ex Nomura RMBS Traders Face Conspiracy and Fraud Charges September 9, 2015 502 Views last_img read more


first_imgNew Single-Family Home Sales Dip, But is the News All Bad? in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, News New single-family home sales and the median home price began the year on weak note in terms of the monthly changes, but there are some optimistic signs behind the data.According to data estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD, new single-family home sales in January 2016 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 494,000, down 9.2 percent from the revised December rate of 544,000 and 5.2 percent below the January 2015 estimate of 521,000.Much of the decline in new home sales can be credited to a 32.1 percent  drop in sales in the West and a slightly decline in the Midwest. Meanwhile, sales in the Northeast and South rose.Ralph B. McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia noted, “New home sales in January start off weak, but the 12-month rolling total looks solid. The share of new homes purchased that haven’t started construction sits near a 10-year high, likely reflecting a fall in inventory of existing homes.”He continued, “All new home sales numbers from the U.S. Census are extremely volatile: the margin of error is wide and often includes zero, which means we can’t be certain whether the month-over-month or year-over-year changes actually increased, decreased, or stayed flat.”The report found that the median sales price of new homes sold in January 2016 was $278,800, while the average sales price was $365,700. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 238,000, which represents a supply of 5.8 months, the highest level since October 2009.The decline in the median home price “is not because of widespread discounting but rather a result of builders offering more affordably priced entry-level homes,” said Realtor.com Chief Economist, Jonathan Smoke.But the silver lining of the new home sales report is the 12-year rolling total, which is up 11.9 percent year-over-year but down 0.4 percent month-over-month.McLaughlin stated, “This reflects a slow but steady increase in demand from homebuyers as well as increasing confidence of homebuilders. It also a positive sign for the U.S. economy headed into 2016, as new home sales leads to new construction and consumer demand for housing-related goods and services.””The large month-on-month drop in new home sales in January was unexpected, but big swings in this volatile series are not unusual. With demand for housing rising gradually, and the inventory of new homes for sale at healthy levels, we doubt this dip is signalling the end of the upwards trend in new home sales,” said Matthew Pointon, Property Economist at Capital EconomicsThe increased popularity of the single-family rental (SFR) market in the last two years has led to an increased number of SFR homes built for the expressed purpose of renting. The market for detached SFR homes built-for-rent is on the rise despite a falling market share in the last three years, according to Robert Dietz, Vice President for Tax and Market Analysis for NAHB.The increased popularity of the single-family rental (SFR) market in the last two years has led to an increased number of SFR homes built for the expressed purpose of renting. The market for detached SFR homes built-for-rent is on the rise despite a falling market share in the last three years, according to Robert Dietz, Vice President for Tax and Market Analysis for NAHB.For the fourth quarter of 2015, built-for-rent SFR homes accounted for about 3.5 percent of all SFR starts, according to data from the Census Bureau (Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design) and analysis from the National Association of Home Builders. While that market share is higher than the historical average of 2.8 percent, it is more than 2 percentage points lower than the market share at the start of 2013, just three years ago (5.8 percent). Meanwhile, the number of SFR homes built for the purpose of renting ticked up from 25,000 in 2014 to 26,000 in 2015, according to NAHB.“The market for single-family for-sale homes is growing faster,” Dietz said, noting that this was also the custom home market was also experiencing similar movements. “The 2014-2015 volume is higher than, for example, prior years, but market share is falling as the for-sale segment expands.” February 24, 2016 546 Views center_img Census Bureau HUD New Home Sales 2016-02-24 Staff Writer Sharelast_img read more


first_img Share How Will Big Data Transform the Mortgage Lending Industry? in Commentary, Headlines, Media, News Today, lenders and consumers spend up to six weeks from loan application to closing. Soon, the entire process will be complete in mere days—if not hours—resulting in a more cost-effective, consumer-centric approach. On-demand access to granular data on active loans, accrued equity, and the ability to more quickly and accurately generate appraisals are driving important changes for lending.Instantly Qualifying and Approving BorrowersPredictive analytics has changed the way many industries manage and derive insights. Retailers have retooled how they staff locations, banks have become proficient at detecting fraud, and insurance companies have begun to offer personalized services—all based on deep data and intelligent algorithms. These insights have largely been missing from the lending industry—until now.Availability of APIs allows lenders to engage prospects with all the critical data points at their fingertips—including details that enable the lender to create an individualized and direct appeal that captures information critical to conversion. By accessing data that pinpoints current equity and collateral valuation; shows loan history, payment information, equity; and provides a definitive view of the current and future value, lenders can intelligently pre-qualify leads and create their best loan offer on the spot.Reducing Rework, Closing More LoansToday, more than 30 percent of loans fall short of the collateral valuation agreed to between customer and loan officer. In fact, this disparity is routinely not identified until weeks, if not months, later. This means time and effort wasted for both parties.The industry’s leading data and predictive analytics companies incorporate and test hundreds of factors. This allows lenders to pre-approve with greater confidence that the value aligns on the back end and ensure lenders recapture those loans that fall short in valuation.Using decades of historical data, hundreds of trending macroeconomics, and local insights, sophisticated algorithms mimic the experience of the appraiser. Weighted to the most locally relevant factors, they also capture property trends the human eye rarely sees. The availability of industry-specific APIs means lenders can integrate data to not only streamline workflow and expedite the qualification of borrowers but close more loans.Appraising More AccuratelyToday’s appraisal process is the source of pain and frustration. Regulations, compliance issues, and a fragmented suite of solutions have contributed to significant increases in cost and the time it takes to complete a thorough appraisal. Appraisers have been bombarded with new requirements, and the population of active appraisers isn’t keeping up with the demands of the markets. Appraisals take anywhere from 15 to 45 days to complete, and frequently don’t align with transaction perceived values. Powerful predictive analytics are now available. New end-to-end, cloud-based appraisal platforms on desktop and mobile devices are radically reducing time to completion—from weeks to as quick as two hours. These tools can suggest adjustments, select optimal comparable homes, and inform the valuation process with predictive algorithms, while increasing objectivity and accuracy. For example, the best data analytics providers are able to flag where the data is different than MLS or public records data and identify possible errors while in flight—allowing the appraiser to more confidently portray the value without unknown risks cropping up during the AMC, lender, or GSE review process.Innovation is changing the way and pace at which appraisers work. Pre-populated forms and the integration of MLS, public records, permitting databases, plat maps, and flood maps mean laborious data entry is eliminated. The result allows appraisers to cut the time required to aggregate data, conduct baseline analyses, and increase time spent actually assessing value.Accurate appraisals improve the likelihood of valuations aligning with the collateral assessment used in the upfront borrower engagement. Accurate collateral underwriting means less rework and a better client experience at lower cost to the lender, resulting in reduced prospect leakage, more loans, and a bigger bottom line.The future of lending is about speed driven by analytics and new technology. Consumers have been trained by other industries to expect speed, accuracy, and the best offer. Mortgage lenders and consumers stand to benefit from the industry shift to on-demand accurate data available through the entire lending experience.Source: HouseCanarycenter_img Big Data HouseCanary 2017-02-06 Staff Writer February 6, 2017 929 Views last_img read more


first_img February 8, 2018 701 Views Mortgage Loans Go Mobile Share Gagan Sharma, President and CEO of BSI Financial ServicesMReport talks with Gagan Sharma, President and CEO of BSI Financial Services to discuss the company’s recent launch of its newest technological advancement.BSI Financial Services, a Texas-based mortgage-centric financial services company providing mortgage servicing and special servicing, released a new mobile app that enables borrowers to manage their mortgage loans using a tablet and mobile devices. The technology was designed and built in-house by BSI Financial software engineers.Utilizing BSI Financial’s mobile app, borrowers can verify loan payments, view transaction history, and identify future payment dates and amounts. They can also make one-time or ongoing loan payments using Automated Clearing House (ACH) functionality.In addition, requests for loan verification and payoff statements can be made using the app, with the option of fax or postal mail delivery. The app also allows borrowers in default to monitor events and milestones in the loss mitigation process and communicate with their BSI Financial representative.M // What drove the creation of this app?Sharma // First, over the last few years, we have been investing in technology to really re-think the servicing process—looking at automation, looking at processes. This part has been driven by our goal to enhance and change the borrower experience, and consumers are moving more mobile. We as individuals, as consumers do everything on a smartphone, and the most immediate trigger was a portion of our business that is around servicing—what we call business purpose loans—which is basically investors that are buying properties to either fix them to rent them, or to fix them to sell them. And when we were servicing the loans, those guys don’t want to get on the phone, and they’re usually out fixing the house. They don’t have the time to get in front of a computer to check their payments or make their payments.So our goal was: “How can we give them a quick tool, that no matter where they are, they are at a Home Depot buying supplies for their construction job, they can go online, check the balance, make their payments?” Our answer is through the app, where they can do all of that. That was the most immediate trigger for a type of portfolio, and more broadly the goal is consumers are doing more digital. They’re doing more mobile. So how do we stay with them where they are?M // How does this app set itself apart from others in the market?Sharma // I think the benchmark that we kept for ourselves was what the large servicers and the large entities are doing. We are a more midsize servicer, so the way we think about it is really benchmarking ourselves against what the big guys have done in terms of the ease of use, and the types of transactions.I myself have a mortgage, right? So I look at what my mortgage company allows me to do. I said, “How do we basically create the same experience for our models that I get from my mortgage company?” That’s really what we have done. Borrowers can check transactions, make payments, look at their monthly statements, and most importantly—communicate with us.M // What other strategies set BSI Financial Services apart from other companies? Sharma // What we are really focusing on is what we are calling the big data-driven approach. We ask: “How do we identify exceptions, how do we minimize compliance risks, how do we identify exceptions before they have a chance to become big problems, how do we minimize compliance risks, and how do we minimize borrower impact?” We’ve been using the data and analytics platform, which is a proprietary capability that we have built out.We’ve brought in a lot of data—we are running probably over 600 business rules on that data every day to identify exceptions in our portfolio. We say they may be small exceptions, but how do we make for a perfect experience for our consumer, for our borrower, and therefore for the investor and the regulator? The next step as we’re thinking about it is things like the process automation and other elements that—probably this time next year—you’ll hear us talk about.center_img BSI Financial Services Gagan Sharma HOUSING mortgage 2018-02-08 Rachel Williams in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Servicing, Technologylast_img read more


first_img Charlotte, North Carolina-headquartered RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation (RoundPoint) announced that it has earned the Servicer Total Achievement and Rewards (STAR) Program performer recognition from Fannie Mae. This recognition is given by Fannie Mae to top performing servicers.RoundPoint said that it earned the STAR recognition for two categories: General Servicing and Solution Delivery, based on specific metrics set by Fannie Mae.“We are honored to receive Fannie Mae’s STAR recognition because it acknowledges the tremendous effort put forth by our customer service team to consistently deliver exceptional support,” said Kevin Brungardt, CEO of RoundPoint. “The recognition aligns with our corporate values, our focus on service excellence, and being ‘all things home’ to our customers.”The STAR Program is a performance management and recognition program with a transparent and formal framework that recognizes Fannie Mae’s servicing partners for their competency, capacity, and overall performance.The program was created to measure servicers across key operational and performance areas relative to their peers and to recognize high achievement through STAR designations. It is based on Scorecard metrics related to customer service and foreclosure prevention results and Operational Assessments of the servicer’s processes, policies, and capabilities.Founded in 2007, RoundPoint is a national co-issue servicer, loan subservicer, and residential mortgage lender. As one of the nation’s largest nonbank mortgage servicers, it currently services nearly $90 billion worth of mortgage assets and is authorized to service loans in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fannie Mae Lender Lending mortgage Roundpoint Servicer Servicing 2019-04-02 Radhika Ojha April 2, 2019 1,352 Views RoundPoint Recognized as Fannie Mae STAR Performercenter_img Share in Headlines, News, Servicinglast_img read more


first_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ “I think it’s definitely disappointing, but I won’t saythat I’m completely surprised,” Warner told Arizona Sports620’s Burns and Gambo Friday, adding that heisn’t sure the Saints did what they are being investigatedfor. “I’m not surprised that there were teams out theredoing those kinds of things behind closed doors.”If it is true — and even if it’s not — Warner said theconcept is not exactly a new one.“Guys, I believe, have gone out and tried to put the mostviolent hit on people and knock people out of the game foryears and years and years,” he said. “Where I think itcrosses the line is when guys start taking cheap shots.“I don’t know if that was a part of this period of timeand when this was going on — I know I took that hard hit— but like I said, I look back on it and say there wasn’tanything illegal about it; he went after me and he hit mehard.” What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke A report has come outalleging that the New Orleans Saints players maintained abounty program, one that led to them targeting opponentswith the intent to injure them. The NFL began its investigation intothe matter in early 2010 after hearing that quarterbacksKurt Warner and Brett Favre had been targeted. Warner, who retired a couple weeks after the Cardinalslost a playoff game to the Saints, said the news isn’t atotal shock. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocationcenter_img 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right awaylast_img read more


first_img“They’ve got to stop the bleeding,” ESPN NFL insider John Clayton told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Thursday. “They’ve played hard, they did a lot of good things, but in the end I still think the tackle situation is so bad. It’s hard.“This is a stretch right now where it’s a must-win because you start to look at these next three games and you see three potential losses.”Clayton said the best way to prevent that would be to win Monday, though that is easier said than done with the NFC West leaders coming to town. 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The Arizona Cardinals have lost their last three games.A quick look at the schedule and one might think they’ll lose their next three, too.Faced with hosting the San Francisco 49ers before traveling to play the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons, the Cardinals are a team in desperate need of a win. Otherwise, what is right now a disappointing three-game skid could quickly turn into a season-defining six-game slide. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo ErrorOKFree Rate QuoteCall now 623-889-0130 ErrorOK Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more