Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments Share Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Parents, stop beating yourself up The company plans to unveil a new flagship smartphone in the fall, a departure from its usual practice of releasing just one flagship phone a year.On the TV front, LG is continuing its lone bet on advanced displays called OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, believing that consumers will be willing to pay a premium for TVs that can display sharper and more saturated color than televisions using LCD technology.The multibillion dollar bet, however, is not gaining much traction as other TV industry players have adopted a technology called 4K, or Ultra HD, which contains four times more pixels than regular HD TVs. LG said the sky-high price of OLED TVs has come down in the past few years and it increased the number of models. But OLED TVs are still more expensive, sometimes five times more, than 4K TVs.The company said it is confident that it will see an improvement in the third quarter with new product launches.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Men’s health affects baby’s health too SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — LG Electronics said Wednesday its second quarter earnings sank 45 percent over a year earlier as losses widened in its TV business and mobile phones earned little income.The company reported a net profit of 226.4 billion won ($195 million) for the April-June quarter, compared with 411.8 billion won a year earlier. A FactSet survey of analysts forecast 204.8 billion won profit.Sales fell 8 percent to 13.9 trillion won and operating income declined 60 percent to 244 billion won. Sponsored Stories The company’s two pillars, TVs and mobile phones, were both weak. Most of its income came from the home appliance business that manufactures refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines.LG’s TV business, the world’s second-largest, reported a second straight quarterly loss as weak currencies in Europe and Russia hurt demand for TVs and profitability. The operating loss widened to 82.7 billion won during the quarter from 6.2 billion won in the previous three months.LG’s mobile business produced a tiny profit as it spent heavily to promote the G4 flagship smartphone in the face of Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones. The company had significant growth in North America for smartphones and tablets. But revenue dropped in South Korea, which is traditionally a major source of high-end phone sales for LG.Overall, LG sold 14.1 million phones during the three month period, slightly lower than a year earlier, but produced just 200 million won of operating income, or less than $200,000.LG has been in an uphill battle in the premium smartphone market dominated by Apple and Samsung, which together account for more than 90 percent of global profits from smartphones. Its efforts to improve brand recognition and advance in the high-end phone market have not paid off. How men can have a healthy 2019
<a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/288fa/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> The SAS new Comfort Kit was awarded a Mercury for “Category 3: Light Equipment” by the International Travel Catering Association. The category is for the entry of all types of equipment that promote and enhance the overall service within the industry. Mercury is the most prestigious honor awarded by the International Travel Catering Association and sought after by the best and most pro-active companies in the industry. Source = SAS Scandinavian Airlines “The SAS Comfort Kit is a small, but execllent example of how we innovate to enhance our passengers travel experience while remaining true to our environmentally conscious roots.”– Ole Johansson, Regional General Manager, Asia & Pacific “With the introduction of the Comfort Kit, the airline illustrates their eco-consciousness to the passenger, while offering a stylish amenity kit. It meets the ‘greener’ expectations of today’s travelers.”– the Mercury Committee The Comfort kit bag and the products it carries are both environmentally friendly and unique. The exterior bag is made from PET felt, a material produced entirely from 100% recycled plastic. It has no nylon or synthetic accessories such as zippers, buttons or lining. No colorants, inks or chemical treatments were used to ensure that the bag is totally recyclable.Inside, the bag contains products from Rituals, a cosmetics company that only uses natural, renewable and organic ingredients. Each of the products is also packaged using biodegradable and recyclable materials. The Comfort Kit has been introduced to all SAS long-haul flights in Business Class. It was developed to help passengers feel at ease and at home when flying with SAS without compromising on environmental integrity.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Virgin Blue is hoping to receive good news from regulators before the weeks end for its proposed trans-Tasman alliance with Air New Zealand. The Australian carrier submitted the proposal earlier this year to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, hoping to expand its business through Air New Zealand’s global network, Australian Business Traveller reported. While the two airlines received a positive response from New Zealand’s Ministry of Transport, the Australian regulator has been less favourable rejecting the alliance in a draft ruling. The carriers responded claiming the alliance would offer more capacity and open new routes between Australia and New Zealand. Virgin Blue is also hoping to increase routes with Delta between Australia and the US.
Emirates SkyCargo reinforced its position as an industry leader by claiming top prize at the 2010 Supply Chain Asia Logistics Awards.Emirates SkyCargo was named Air Cargo Carrier of the Year in recognition of the benefits it brings to customers’ supply chains by providing quality innovation solutions with a relentless focus on improving service and containing costs.After two rounds – including nomination from readers followed by final voting by a group of independent judges, Emirates SkyCargo was presented the Air Cargo Carrier of the Year Award at a gala dinner at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The annual Supply Chain Asia Logistics Awards – attended by more than 300 senior executives in the logistics and supply chain industry across Asia – recognise corporations and individuals in the fields of supply chain and logistics. The Air Cargo Carrier of the Year Award is open to Asian and global air cargo carriers. “This award is testament to the hard work, talent and dedication of everyone at Emirates SkyCargo,” said Ram Menen, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo. “It is particularly pleasing to win an award with such diverse criteria, with the decision based not only on the size of our network, but also on the reliability of service, level of customer satisfaction, approach to sustainability, CSR, security and risk management. “Emirates SkyCargo is honoured to win The Air Cargo Carrier of the Year award and remains committed to surpassing the high standards we have set and providing our customers with world-class service.”The Supply Chain Asia Logistics accolade was just one of three recent awards won by Emirates SkyCargo.At the fourth annual Aviation Business Awards (ABA), hosted at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Emirates SkyCargo was named Cargo Operator of the Year (commercial airline). The prestigious ceremony was organised by ITP Business, publisher of Aviation Business magazine and ArabianSupplyChain.com and featured leading players from across the Middle East aerospace industry. Emirates SkyCargo reinforced its position as an industryleader by claiming three prestigious awards Jacky Lau Kim-leung (right), Emirates Cargo Manager,Hong Kong and South East China, received the“Air Cargo Carrier of the Year” award on behalf ofEmirates at 2010 Supply Chain Asia LogisticsAwards’ gala dinner. Source = Emirates SkyCargo In addition, at the Italian Quality Awards 2009 conducted by ANAMA – IATA Airfreight Forwarders Association, Emirates SkyCargo was voted Best Carrier Italy in the ‘All Services’ as well as ‘Flown as Booked’ category at the ceremony in Milan which was attended by 300 air cargo industry leaders, airline representatives and agents.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Andrew McEvoy sees the unlimited possibilities of Chinese tourism Tourism Australia this week launched its China 2020 Strategic Plan, (fittingly) at the inaugural China – Australia Tourism Summit held in Cairns.e-Travel Blackboard was on location as Australia’s Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson unveiled the Plan to delegates from both China and Australia.“The Plan gives the Australian tourism industry a clear direction for investing with Tourism Australia in our strong brand to make the most of the growing tourism business from China,” Mr Ferguson said.According to Mr Ferguson, the Australian tourism industry needs the tools and the education to better service the needs of the Chinese traveller. “The short term future at least, needs to be about congee for breakfast, Chinese speaking tour guides, feng shui room designs including having beds away from the windows and Chinese signage.”Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said that as China is the most sought after tourist market, Australia needs to “maintain the competitive advantage”. “We need to be more than resilient,” Mr McEvoy said.“We need to be ambitious, we need to see growth and we need to see profitability.”The China – Australia Tourism Strategy 2010 highlights five main themes:1. Know the customer better than our competitors. 2. Expand our geographic strategy beyond Beijing, Shanghai, Guandong. 3. Provide quality Australian experiences4. Develop a healthy aviation environment. 5. Grow, build and maintain partnerships.Jokingly referred to as ‘The Stalker’ throughout the Summit, Mr McEvoy said past, current and future research into the Chinese consumer’s habits would give Australia a competitive advantage over other destinations.This understanding of the consumer and their spread geographically will eventually see Tourism Australia expand into other regions in China“We currently operate in about thirteen cities and we plan to grow that to more than thirty cities over the next decade,” Mr McEvoy said.
View from the Club Terrace Room For the third year in a row, the luxurious Langham, Melbourne has been awarded the top honour by readers of respected American publication Travel + Leisure. The elegant hotel was named the top city hotel for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific in the 2011 World’s Best Awards for the third consecutive year, cementing a reputation as the luxury hotel of choice for sophisticated business and leisure travellers.The awards, which were announced on NBC’s Today Show, are a result of Travel + Leisure’s 16th annual ‘World’s Best Awards Readers’ Survey’, polled by magazine subscribers in January 2011.Being named the top city hotel by Travel + Leisure for the third year running is an exceptional achievement for the hotel, which added to its five-star room offerings this year with the launch of the Club Terrace Rooms that boast expansive 50m2 private balconies, as well as a stylish redecoration and introduction of the Grand Room category.Well-known for its timeless elegance, genuine service and luxurious facilities, including the acclaimed Chuan Spa, The Langham is situated in the heart of the city’s thriving arts and culture precinct and offers stunning views of Melbourne’s city skyline, the Yarra River and Federation Square. The hotel’s fine attention to detail, service with poise and enchanting hospitality has ensured that all guests are welcomed and looked after in only the highest esteem. The Langham, Melbourne’s Managing Director, Mr. Ben Sington was delighted to accept the award, and said that the prestigious accolade was a testament to the hotel’s staff and their continuing pursuit of excellence in guest service. “We are very honoured to have been recognized by the readers of Travel + Leisure for the third time running,” Mr Sington said. “The Langham, Melbourne epitomizes the luxury hotel experience, and we are proud that our efforts in providing the highest level of service to our guests continue to be recognized,” said Mr. Sington. “We place particular value on the Travel + Leisure Awards and the continuing acknowledgement by the magazine’s readers. The survey results are a measure of the experience we have shown our guests over the past year and provide valuable insight into the destinations and service delivery world travellers hold in high regard. To continue our success for the third year is a great honour and accolade.”The results of US Travel + Leisure’s 2011 World’s Best Awards will appear in the August issue of the magazine. Source = The Langham, Melbourne The Langham, Melbourne
Auckland has once again beaten Sydney, Bora Bora, The Whitsunday Islands and Fiji’s Yasawa Islands to take out the title for Australasia’s top destination in the 2012 World Travel Awards.Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) is delighted that Auckland has received the prestigious accolade, the city’s second win in three years in this category. Now celebrating its 19th anniversary, the World Travel Awards (WTA) acknowledge and recognise excellence in the global travel and tourism industry. The travel elite of Asia, Australasia and the Indian Ocean were announced at a ceremony hosted in Singapore on Thursday 18 October.Also recognised in the awards were Air New Zealand, named Australasia’s leading airline for the fourth year in a row, and Tourism New Zealand, named Australasia’s leading tourist board.ATEED Acting General Manager Destination Jason Hill says the win reflects Auckland’s ever-growing strength as a truly international destination.“This is an outstanding result that once again shows Auckland is more than holding its own against some of the world’s most popular destinations. We are consistently ranked as one of the best places in the world to visit, live, study and invest, and this latest award is further testament to that,” says Mr Hill. The awards, described by the Wall Street Journal as the ‘Oscars’ of the global travel and tourism industry, reveal who are the ‘best of the best’ in the world. Votes are cast by 183,000 travel professionals, including travel agencies, tour and transport companies and tourism organisations in over 160 countries across the globe.Winners of the regional ceremony will now go on to compete in the World Travel Awards 2012 Grand Final in New Delhi on 12 December 2012.ATEED works to help drive Auckland’s visitor economy and contribute to making Auckland the world’s most liveable city. Source = ATEED
MSC Cruises – Cirque Du Soleil www.msccruises.comMSC Cruises to set new standards in live entertainment at seaMSC Cruises, has disclosed a long-term partnership with Cirque du Soleil, the Quebec based organisation providing high-quality artistic entertainment, that will set new standards in live entertainment at sea.In a first at sea, brand new Cirque du Soleil shows will be created exclusively for MSC Cruises guests aboard MSC Cruises’ next-generation Meraviglia ships, the first of which – MSC Meraviglia – is set to sail its inaugural season in the Mediterranean from June 2017.Exquisite dining and award-winning entertainment are two key distinguishing elements of the MSC Cruises experience. To elevate these two elements to the next level, MSC Cruises and Cirque du Soleil together designed a custom-made, latest-technology dining and entertainment venue, to become the first of its kind at sea. This is where MSC Cruises guests will be able to enjoy brand new, exclusive Cirque du Soleil shows, six nights a week, two performances per night, while enjoying an extraordinary MSC Cruises culinary experience.Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises declared: “MSC Cruises is a company built on innovation, from the unique, prototype ships we design and build to the on-board experiences we conceive and create.”“It’s this commitment to innovation, and the vision and creativity that only a family-owned company can apply, that make MSC Cruises so distinct.”Yasmine Khalil, President 45 DEGREES, Cirque du Soleil’s Special Projects Company, commented: “We have found in MSC a long term partner with a clear vision about trends in the cruising industry and a strong desire to be the leader by bringing entertainment on board to a whole new level. For Cirque du Soleil, this is what inspires us and provides us with a great creative challenge that we require for each new relationship and project that we embark on.” MSC Cruisescruise here about MSC Cruiseslearn more here Source = MSC Cruises
Clients Can Follow The Royals on their Down under ItineraryClients Can Follow The Royals on their Down under Itinerary with these TripsStop everything – The Royals are here and Meghan is pregnant! His Royal Highness Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex are undertaking a three-week tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga surrounding this year’s Invictus Games. The games are a Paralympics-style event for wounded or injured armed service veterans founded by Prince Harry in 2014 which this year is being hosted in Sydney.During their three-week working holiday the newly-weds will be visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Dubbo and Fraser Island in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and Wellington, Auckland and Rotorua in New Zealand – the couple’s first major overseas tour, sure to further boost Australia’s credentials.Not only will this their travels show off Australia to the world, but it reiterates that some of the best travel opportunities are available right in our own backyard. Ripe for clients are these incredible trips to follow in the royal footsteps!During their trip down-under, Meghan and Harry will spend five days in Sydney experiencing some of the best attractions Sydney has to offer including a visit to Taronga Zoo and a climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – Harry at least, in order to fly the Invictus games flag proudly atop our world-renowned monument. Clients can explore the best of Sydney on AAT Kings Sydney In Style full day trip that takes them through majestic Sydney harbour, the historic Rocks district and the glorious white sand of Bondi beach before a delicious sit down dinner at the Sydney Tower Restaurant with revolving panoramic views of the CBD. Expert local guides will unveil a whole other side to this beautiful city through their fascinating storytelling.Melbourne is widely considered the culture capital of Australia, bursting with amazing restaurants, café’s, art galleries, museums and fashion houses. If that isn’t enough it is also just a short trip away from world renowned natural wonders, wildlife and premium wine regions. With only one day to fit everything in, the duke and duchess may be missing out, but your clients don’t have to. Inspiring Journeys Victoria’s Hidden Gems will take them on a luxurious seven day jaunt through Melbourne and the highlights of Victoria including The Great Ocean Road and Twelve Apostles, the eclectic village of Daylesford, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Jack Rabbit Vineyard – complete with an exclusive lunch and wine tasting.Only a few hours from Brisbane off the coast of Hervey Bay is Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand bar island. This stunning natural wonder is also World Heritage Listed and for good reason, as this hot spot is an unspoiled island paradise. The royals will spend a day here visiting a completed Queen’s Canopy project, which aims to restore rainforest across the Commonwealth. Clients can “casually” run into Harry and Meghan with AAT Kings Tropical Islands & Rainforest trip leaving on the 18th of October, with seats still available!Our cousins across the water also receive the royal treatment as they host the pair from the 28th to the 31st of October before they fly back home. During their stay the royals are set to explore Wellington, Auckland and Rotorua which clients can do to on Inspiring Journeys Inspiring New Zealand. Unlike the royals, your clients’ trip won’t be cut short due to royal engagement so they can explore stunning New Zealand for the full 10 days and have truly authentic encounters, such as meeting the local Maori community at Whakawerawera Living Village. Source = The Travel Corporation
Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel by AnantaraThe Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel by Anantara Empowers Women and Supports Sustainable FarmingThe Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel by Anantara is proudly proving that authentic luxury can be enriched by adopting a mindful and holistic approach to day-to-day operations. The property’s recent initiatives incorporate smallholders into the hotel’s procurement process as part of its drive to empower local communities through sustainability projects, ensuring they get a share of the thriving tourism economy.Zambia, home to Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and Victoria Falls, has seen tourism numbers climb steadily over the past years making it Zambia’s fastest-growing national economic sector. Yet, while the more established businesses have been reaping the benefits, the smallholders are being pushed out. Watch the ‘Beyond Horizons’ video to find out more about the projects and their successes so far on Anantara.com. A successful social media campaign is helping to drive awareness about these inspirational sustainability projects with far-reaching benefits.Livingstone is home to around 300 smallholder farmers traditionally relying on roadside stand sales. More often than not, failing to make the sale, they have little choice but to turn to the profiteering middlemen. By launching a biweekly Smallholder Farmers’ Market at the hotel’s warehouse, The Royal Livingstone essentially cut out the middleman by guaranteeing to buy all of the crop directly from the smallholders, at a fair price.Zambia’s women farmers are no strangers to specialist produce, and the Maramba Women’s Mushroom Farm grows mushrooms that inspire world-class chefs. The farm was saved from closure by investment from The Royal Livingstone Hotel. The farm’s reach extends beyond specialist agriculture, by providing education, medication and support services to residents affected by HIV/AIDS. As a result of this initiative, 15 women are enabled to take care of 160 orphans, widows and vulnerable adults.At Nsongwe Women’s Farm – an indigenous fruit farm that employs more than 3,000 people – the Anantara team has trained the farm workers in sustainable agriculture techniques. Historically, even though women did much of the field work, men managed the marketing and sales of produce, seldom giving women access to earnings from production. The members have been trained in financial management and marketing principles and now sell most of their produce to local hotels and resorts through long-term contracts that ensure sustainability. Anyone can plant a seed, but not everyone has the skills needed to build and run a successful farming business like the Nsongwe Women’s Farm.Just as impactful is the Libuyu Women’s Peanut Butter Project empowering HIV-positive women by outfitting a peanut butter factory. From ensuring that the production process meets local health and safety standards, to designing and supplying uniforms and running regular sales and marketing workshops, the project has been instrumental in making local women self-reliant and confident in their future. Changing the lives of women daily, one jar of peanut butter at a time.Taking the message global, Anantara Hotels & Resorts considered various ways of sharing the success story that is Royal Livingstone’s CSR programme. The result is the brand’s “Beyond Horizons” mini documentaries, available on anantara.com and supported by a successful social media campaign, showcasing the breadth and variety of charitable and sustainability work carried out by Anantara properties worldwide.Anantara Hotels & Resorts constantly reinforces its commitment towards environmental, social and cultural conservation. Special consideration is given to employing and empowering communities, and wherever possible, sustainable products and services are sourced locally. Around the world, Anantara Hotels & Resorts works in partnership with local communities and promote cultural awareness amongst guests by integrating indigenous culture into everyday experiences.Transporting viewers to some of the world’s most stunning yet fragile destinations, “Beyond Horizons” is an honest gaze into the environmental challenges faced by local communities as well as an invitation to start a dialogue about the urgent need to act as a united front to tackle them.Shot on location, each of the videos in the Beyond Horizons series are narrated by Anantara CSR champions who share stories of progressive initiatives carried out at properties around the world through Anantara led charitable organisations such as the Thai based Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation.Anantara is part of the DISCOVERY loyalty programme. Source = Anantara Hotels & Resorts
Idea Money, the digital wallet service from Idea Cellular has announced an exclusive partnership with OYO to offer standardised affordable stays through its Retailer Assisted Model (RAM) via Idea Money retailers. The partnership is aimed at supporting Idea Money customers with limited or no internet access, to book hotels online with OYO at their nearest Idea Money Retail store.This partnership will allow users to seamlessly book an OYO across 200 cities in India for their leisure, pilgrimage and business travel needs. Idea’s network together with OYO’s network spread ensures that this collaboration benefits both retailers and end customers.The Idea Money RAM will enable Idea Money retailers to access OYO and assist customers in viewing, selecting and book hotels online at a pocketfriendly cost. Additionally, Idea Money through its RAM and network will enable OYO to extend its standardised offerings to Tier 3 and Tier 4 markets.Commenting on the partnership, Sudhakar Ramasubramanian, Designate CEO, Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank, said, “We are happy to partner with OYO and add yet another service offering to our portfolio under the Idea Money RAM. This partnership is aimed at simplifying the hotel booking process for our customers and bring more online services to our offline customers.”Abhinav Sinha, COO, OYO, said, “Our network is spread across 200 cities including all major metros, regional commercial hubs, leisure destinations, and key pilgrimage towns, serving a variety of travel needs. With this partnership with Idea Money, we will further extend our offerings to the offline customer base in Tier 3 and 4 towns.”
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has recently announced a signing agreement with Soraya Development Company Limited (SDCL) to develop a luxury resort in Phang Nga Bay – the InterContinental Yao Yai Resort – set to open in 2020.The InterContinental Yao Yai Resort will rise on the bay’s largest island to become IHG’s 25th hotel across five brands in Thailand.The 170- key resort will be situated about half an hour from Phuket and Krabi airport, as well as the Phuket and Krabi private piers.Rajit Sukumaran, chief development officer, Asia Middle East Africa, IHG commented: “Together with our trusted partner, Soraya Development Company Limited, we are delighted to bring our world-class InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand to Koh Yao Yai. We are expanding our luxury footprint to give affluent travellers a new destination to explore and unwind.“As one of Thailand’s most popular areas, Phang Nga Bay attracts over five million visitors annually and this number is expected to rise substantially, thanks to continuous infrastructural development.” He added.Along with three restaurants and bar outlets, a gym, pool, spa and resort centre, the hotel features the Water Facilities Centre, high-end transfer to and from the hotel, as well as meeting facilities and wedding arrangements. Special occasions can also be arranged at the private sandbank during low tide periods.Khun Sornkom Kitprasan, president, Soraya Development Company Limited said, “With our success in bringing two IHG hotels to Thailand, we are excited to work with IHG once again to bring luxury travel experiences to the up-and-coming Koh Yao Yai at Phang Nga Bay.”
October 31, 2011 410 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Servicing Agents & Brokers Bank of America Citigroup Company News First-Time Homebuyers Fixed-Rate Mortgage HARP Home Sales Housing Affordability Investment Investors JPMorgan Chase Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage-Backed Securities Processing Refinance Service Providers Shares Stocks Subprime Loans Top Corporate Headlines 2011 Wells Fargo 2011-10-31 Ryan Schuette Litigation fees, poor economic climes, and new regulation helped shape earnings figures over the third quarter for the nation’s largest lenders and financial institutions in October.[IMAGE]Along with numerous other banking holding companies and investment firms, “”Bank of America””:https://www.bankofamerica.com/, “”Citigroup””:http://www.citigroup.com/citi/homepage/, “”JPMorgan Chase””:http://www.jpmorganchase.com/corporate/Home/home.htm, and “”Wells Fargo””:https://www.wellsfargo.com/ released their reports to the media and investors over the past two weeks.The results: more mortgage lenders continue to exit the business, while financial institutions stepped up the public debate against onerous regulations and ongoing court battles with federal agencies.Bank of America led the way in overall earnings, reporting $6.2 billion in net income and $0.56 per diluted share. This compares with sour figures seen last year for the lender, which reported net losses of $7.3 billion and $0.77 per diluted share over the same stretch last year.””CEO Brian Moynihan””:http://mediaroom.bankofamerica.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=234503&p=irol-govBio&ID=197628 highlighted recent changes, including the decision to exit correspondent lending, by describing in a statement “”our ongoing transformation toward becoming a leaner, more focused company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª in a very challenging environment.””Bank of America drubbed up $33 billion in residential loans for first-time homebuyers over the third quarter, laying claim to 151,000 borrowers who either purchased a new home or refinanced their current mortgages. The financial institution attended to 12,000 first-time homebuyers via retail channels and reportedly reached 54,000 low- to moderate-income homebuyers, with first mortgages and refinance amounting to 47 percent and[COLUMN_BREAK]53 percent of activity, respectively.By earnings, JPMorgan Chase ranked second over the third quarter, reporting $4.3 billion in net income and $1.02 per diluted share. Revenue hovered at more than $24 billion.Said “”CEO Jamie Dimon””:http://investing.businessweek.com/businessweek/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=170444&ticker=JPM:US in a statement: “”Our shareholders should rest assured that we are being extremely cautious while navigating through this challenging economic environment. We are working hard to meet all of the requirements of the new and complex regulatory environment, and we continue to invest in the future while remaining focused on serving our clients and communities around the world.””JPMorgan chalked up the figures to $1 billion in pretax litigation fees incurred by federal agencies, other lenders, and a number of plaintiffs, which persist in fighting the financial institution over subprime mortgage losses during the financial crisis.Wells Fargo resumed the role of preferred lender among all the mortgage giants, citing a first-quarter $214-million uptick that crested at $1.8 billion in mortgage banking non-interest income. Originations topped $89 billion, up from $64 billion from the second quarter. The mortgage lender also recorded $4.1 billion in net income, 3 percent above figures seen last quarter and more than 20 percent from the same time last year. “”The economic recovery has been more sluggish and uneven than anyone anticipated,”” “”John Stumpf””:https://www.wellsfargo.com/about/corporate/executive_officers/stumpf, Wells’ chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “”We can’t change the economic environment, yet we have worked hard to control the variables we can.””Of the big four, Citigroup fell last in line by third-quarter figures, reporting $3.8 billion in net income and $1.33 per diluted share. Earnings rounded out to $2.6 billion for the mortgage giant and revenue came to $20.8 billion for the financial institution.Addressing shareholders in a “”YouTube video””:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZLst_sTLGs, “”CFO John Gerspach””:http://people.forbes.com/profile/john-c-gerspach/19725 described the results as “”a solid performance, especially given the tough economic environment.””In other news, the big four recently signed on to modifications en route for the Home Affordable Refinance Program. Share Big Four Release Earnings, Citing Economy, Litigation
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Confidence Consumer spending Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-03-12 Tory Barringer After dipping into negative territory last month, consumer sentiment inched up in March, according to the “”Consumer Reports””:http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm Index.[IMAGE]The index’s sentiment measure improved to 50.7 in March from a reading of 48.9 in February. The greatest improvement among income brackets was seen in lower-income households earning less than $50,000–that index climbed 3.7 points.Besides sentiment, the index report tracks consumer responses on four other key measures: financial troubles, stress, retail activity, and employment.The “”Trouble Tracker”” measure, which gauges the scale and frequency of financial woes faced by Americans, also improved for the fourth straight month. The tracker stands now at 38.8, just above its all-time low of 38.7 set in November 2012. The greatest improvement was among [COLUMN_BREAK]middle-income households (earning between $50,000 and $99,000), where the measure declined 14.6 points.According to Consumer Reports, the two most prominent troubles Americans have faced over the past month were missed payments on a major bill (other than mortgage) and being unable to afford medical bills or medications.””The long view shows the financial hardship faced by Americans has declined sharply from the dire days of two years ago. But, that has yet to translate into robust levels of retail spending for 2013,”” said Ed Farrell , director of consumer insight at the Consumer Reports National Research Center.The index’s past 30-day retail measure fell to 9.9, coming in below February’s reading of 10.5 and March 2012’s 11.5. The decline was mostly driven by softness in both major home and personal electronics as well as small appliances. Planned consumer retail activity for March–as predicted in the next 30-day retail measure–shows year-over-year losses in the same categories.The employment measure picked up slightly for the second straight month, edging up to 49.9 from 49.4 previously. Consumers reported that job gains (at 4.2 percent) more or less kept pace with job losses (4.3 percent) in the past 30 days.Finally, the measure of consumer stress was largely unchanged from February at 56.1. The most stressed Americans are those in households earning less than $50,000 (58.0), those aged 35-64 (56.7), and those living in the Northeast (58.1). March 12, 2013 446 Views Consumer Sentiment Up Slightly in March, Spending Still Down
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Federal Reserve Home Sales Investors Lenders & Servicers Purchase Loans Regulation Service Providers 2013-03-12 Krista Franks Brock March 12, 2013 491 Views Fed Governor: Consumer Protections May Come with a Cost As the industry prepares to implement the “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ (CFPB) new “”ability-to-repay rules””:https://themreport.com/articles/cfpb-releases-qualified-mortgage-criteria-establishes-legal-protections-2013-01-10, “”Federal Reserve””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/ Governor “”Elizabeth Duke””:http://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/bios/board/duke.htm warns new consumer protections may come at a cost to the industry as lower-quality-credit borrowers are precluded from the housing market. [IMAGE]””It will be up to policymakers to find the right balance between consumer safety and financial stability, on the one hand, and availability and cost of credit, on the other,”” Duke said during a speaking engagement at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s “”Mid-Winter Housing Finance Conference””:http://www.midwinterconference.com/2012/default.html. Loans that do not fall under the CFPB’s qualified mortgage (QM) standards may soon pose more costs to lenders, according to Duke. [COLUMN_BREAK]Non-QM loans are open to more potential litigation, which poses new costs to lenders. If securitized, lenders must maintain part of the risk for these loans–another potential for increased costs. Lastly, Duke pointed out “”investors may be wary of investing in securities collateralized by non-QM loans because it is difficult to gauge the risks.”” Increased costs may deter lenders from making non-QM loans to lower-credit-quality buyers. Attempting to cover these added costs by charging higher interest rates or points and fees may have a hard time doing so. Lenders who charge higher interest rates may not hold as strong of a defense against a lawsuit alleging violation of the ability-to-repay rule, according to Duke. Additionally, QM rules prohibit points and fees that exceed 3 percent of the loan amount, Duke points out. While conceding this stipulation does protect consumers from being “”overcharged or defrauded,”” the rule, Duke says leaving lenders without a way to account for the added risk and costs of lending to lower-quality borrowers may lead lenders to stop making these loans at all. As the broader economy continues to improve, household formation will increase, according to Duke, “”but if credit is hard to get, these will be rental rather than owner-occupied households.”” “”And without first-time homebuyers, the move-up market will be sluggish, new and existing home sales will be more subdues, and purchase mortgage volumes will return only slowly,”” Duke said. in Data, Origination Share
Share in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Supreme Court Prepares to Hear Disparate Impact Arguments Disparate Impact Fair Housing Act HUD 2015-01-05 Seth Welborn January 5, 2015 486 Views The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to begin hearing arguments on January 21 on whether or not “disparate impact” claims are allowed under the Fair Housing Act of 1968.For years, lower courts have repeatedly ruled in favor of groups bringing disparate impact claims, which are allegations made based on neutral practices that may have a discriminatory effect—thus allowing litigation to be brought for discrimination even when there is no discriminatory intent.The Obama Administration, specifically HUD, passed the Disparate Impact Rule for housing in February 2013, which has resulted in several multi-million dollar settlements against lenders such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and others.The Supreme Court was scheduled to hear cases that involved disparate impact claims in both 2011 and 2013, but both cases were settled before they could be heard by the court.The case scheduled to be heard later this month, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, et al., v. The Inclusive Community Project, Inc., centers on claims that the Texas state housing department’s fixed criteria for approving tax credits for low-income housing developers resulted in the approval of such credits for a larger percentage of developers in areas more heavily populated by minorities than in areas more populated by whites.Opponents of the Disparate Impact Rule claimed a victory in early November 2014 when U.S. District Judge Richard Leon struck down the rule in the case of American Insurance Association, et al., v. the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, ruling that only claims of direct, intentional discrimination could be made under the Fair Housing Act.”This is, yet another example of an Administrative Agency trying desperately to write into law that which Congress never intended to sanction,” Leon wrote in his decision.Some lawmakers concurred with Leon’s decision, claiming that the Fair Housing Act should not allow disparate impact claims.“The McCarran-Ferguson Act established a system of state-based insurance regulation that has worked to the benefit of all consumers for nearly 70 years,” U.S. Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, said on the day Leon issued his decision in November. “HUD’s application of the disparate impact standard to homeowners insurance would not only be duplicative, inefficient and impractical, but also contrary to existing state and federal law. I’m pleased with today’s ruling in the D.C. District Court and I applaud Judge Leon for recognizing that Congressional intent trumps the faulty housing policy desires of the Obama administration. It is my hope that the Supreme Court looks to this case and quickly addresses disparate impact.”Those in favor of the rule claim it is necessary to end discrimination in housing. Last month, a 17-state coalition led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold the Disparate Impact Rule.”The disparate impact model originated as a judicial response to the practical challenges of detecting and proving bias in cases of hidden and covert discrimination, and it continues to serve this essential function today,” the brief said. “Without disparate impact claims, States and others will be left with fewer critical tools for combating the kinds of systemic discrimination that the FHA was intended to address.”
May 25, 2016 512 Views Share in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News An independent monitor reported on Thursday that JPMorgan Chase is about 97 percent of the way toward fulfilling its consumer relief obligation under the $13 billion RMBS settlement reached in November 2013.The Office of Joseph A. Smith Jr., Monitor of the Chase RMBS settlement, announced that he has credited Chase with $3.88 billion in consumer relief to 165,191 borrowers through September 30, 2015.“I have credited Chase with $3.88 billion in consumer relief after an in-depth review of its consumer relief activities,” Smith said. “Chase self- reported an additional $113 million in relief, which I will review and discuss in my next report.”Should Smith approve the additional $113 million (to another 2,613 borrowers, through December 31, 2015) and $62.7 million (to 1,156 borrowers through March 31, 2016) reported by Chase’s Internal Review Group, it would satisfy the bank’s consumer relief obligation under the terms of the settlement a year and nine months early. The bank has until December 31, 2017, to provide the remaining $120 million.“We’ve been there for our customers from the beginning of the crisis and remain committed to supporting those who require assistance,” said Peter Muriungi, head of mortgage servicing at Chase. “We’re pleased with the findings of today’s report which speaks to our continued focus on helping our customers remain in their homes.”The report released Thursday was Smith’s eighth report on Chase’s progress toward fulfilling the terms of the settlement. Smith credited Chase with an additional $206 million in consumer relief during the third quarter of 2015, bringing the total credited up to its current level of $3.88 billion. More than half of that $3.88 billion has been in the form of modification-forgiveness/forbearance ($2.018 billion). Approximately $874 million of the relief has come in the form of rate reduction, and about $1.17 billion has been in the form of low- to moderate-income and disaster area lending.Chase settled with the government in November 2013 for a then-record $13 billion amid claims that the bank, along with Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, sold faulty residential mortgage-backed securities to investors prior to the financial crisis. Chase was required to make $9 billion in direct payments to government agencies and five states and provide $4 billion in consumer relief under the settlement.Click here to view the monitor’s complete report. Chase Consumer Relief RMBS Mortgage Monitor 2016-05-25 Seth Welborn Chase Ramps Up Consumer Relief Efforts
Then, Now, and Later in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines Today’s financial system is a safer one thanks, in large part, to the Great Recession—as well as the reforms that followed it. Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve said as much during her address at the Fed’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this morning.In her speech, Yellen looked back at the crisis—now nearly a decade in our sights, offering insight into the lessons learned, the reforms made, and the impact both of these have on the financial markets of today.”Because of the reforms that strengthened our financial system, and with support from monetary and other policies, credit is available on good terms, and lending has advanced broadly in line with economic activity in recent years, contributing to today’s strong economy,” Yellen said. “At the same time, reforms have boosted the resilience of the financial system. Banks are safer. The risk of runs owing to maturity transformation is reduced. Efforts to enhance the resolvability of systemic firms have promoted market discipline and reduced the problem of too-big-to-fail. And a system is in place to more effectively monitor and address risks that arise outside the regulatory perimeter.”According to Yellen, some of the biggest, and arguably most impactful, reforms made following the crisis were those that “increased the loss-absorbing capacity of global banks.””Preeminent among these domestic and global efforts have been steps to increase the loss-absorbing capacity of banks, regulations to limit both maturity transformation in short-term funding markets and liquidity mismatches within banks, and new authorities to facilitate the resolution of large financial institutions and to subject systemically important firms to more stringent prudential regulation,” she said.Still, while Yellen says post-crisis reforms have made the American financial system “substantially safer,” there are still challenges to be addressed.”There is more work to do,” she told the audience. “The balance of research suggests that the core reforms we have put in place have substantially boosted resilience without unduly limiting credit availability or economic growth. But many reforms have been implemented only fairly recently, markets continue to adjust, and research remains limited. The Federal Reserve is committed to evaluating where reforms are working and where improvements are needed to most efficiently maintain a resilient financial system.”Yellen’s term as Fed Chair will conclude on Feb. 1. President Trump has not yet indicated whether he intends to reappoint her or not. Read Yellen’s full remarks here. Share August 25, 2017 504 Views Federal Reserve Financial Crisis Housing Crisis Janet Yellen 2017-08-25 Aly J. Yale
Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, journal, News Spill-over buyers and record-breaking industry lows are creating one of the most competitive buying seasons in years, according to a survey released by Realtor.com, an online real estate listings website, based in Santa Clara, California. Statistics from February 2018 indicated, inventory was moving 8 percent more quickly than in February 2017. The median age of properties listed through the database was 83 days.”We’re only a few weeks into March and already seeing the market heat up,” said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com. “Holdover buyers hoping for greener pastures this spring are likely to find sparse options that require them to pay top-dollar or make other concessions.”Even as prices continue to climb—increasing by 10 percent year-over-year—and are predicted to reach new record highs this spring and summer, buyer demand is booming. A portion of this demand is originating from buyers who are considered holdovers from last summer and previous buying seasons. The survey shows that 40 percent of today’s buyers have been searching for more than seven months, 34 percent for four to six months, while only 26 percent of those surveyed have been searching for three months or less. Inventory is down 8.5 percent from a year ago, and 35 percent of respondents indicated they anticipate “a lot of competition,” while 36 percent expect only “some.” When asked about strategies heading into the spring buying season, 42 percent responded that they were checking listing sites every day, while 40 percent of buyers plan to put more than 20 percent cash down. Additionally, 33 percent are setting price alerts, 31 percent plan to put a larger earnest money deposit down, while 26 percent are willing to offer above asking price.Despite the bleak outlook, 53 percent of buyers expect to close on their future homes in less than six months, while 18 percent expect the process to take four seven to nine months, 15 percent have estimated their buying process to take ten to twelve months, and only 15 percent expect the process to exceed more than a year. Despite Inventory Lows, Homebuyer Demand Skyrockets March 22, 2018 528 Views 2018-03-22 Staff Writer
Share Consumer credit totaled 4.1 trillion on a seasonally adjusted basis according to the latest G.19 Consumer Credit Report from the Federal Reserve. Additionally, the Fed found that revolving debt totaled $1.1 trillion, and $3.0 trillion in nonrevolving debt, an increase of $17 billion from the previous month. Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5%, and nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 4 percent.According to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), the nonrevolving debt increase is a good sign for sentiment of American consumers, especially for those looking to make large purchases, such as houses. Potential homebuyers are increasing their credit card purchases and opening of credit card accounts. For the first time in 5 months, as of April 2019, revolving debt increased from the previous month at a faster rate than nonrevolving debt.“For the first time in 5 months, as of April 2019, revolving debt increased from the previous month at a faster rate than nonrevolving debt,” the NAHB states. “The trend continued in May. Interestingly, in May, there was also a series of declines in purchase mortgages, per the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly reports. One possibility is that the freeing of this type of nonrevolving debt has made other nonrevolving debt loans more appealing.”According to the Fed, potential buyers are feeling more optimistic about their finances. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s June Survey of Consumer Expectations found that respondents were more optimistic regarding their financial situation and the labor market. Expectations on the U.S. unemployment rate, finding a job, and losing one’s job all improved.Consumers’ expectations of an increase in the average interest rate on savings accounts over the next year declined to their lowest level since May 2015, according to the survey.According to the Federal Reserve Bank’s survey, median expected household income growth increased to 2.9% in June from 2.8% in May. Median household spending growth expectations decreased from 3.5% in May to June’s 3.3%. Potential Homebuyer’s Credit Increases Credit Debt Fed National Association of Home Builders 2019-07-11 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination 22 days ago 258 Views