Top Stories Fighters from the Badr Brigades Shiite militia patrol at the front line, in Kessarrat, located (70 kilometers) north west of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, June 12, 2015. Despite concerns over heightened sectarian strife, Shiite militiamen continue to pour into Iraq’s Anbar province with the hope of recapturing the city of Fallujah from the Islamic State group. As the U.S. prepares to send an additional 450 trainers to Iraq, the Iranian-backed militias say that coalition assistance only hurts their efforts, contradicting statements by the Iraqi government that more international support is needed. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) KESSARRAT, Iraq (AP) — Ali Ahsan paced back and forth carrying a rifle more than half his height in the searing heat as his militia convoy made a pit stop in the Anbar desert to rest and pray.Unlike the rugged men in fatigues around him, his prepubescent face has barely sprung a whisker. Now that school is out, the petite 14-year-old is spending his summer break fighting the Islamic State group with his father and other members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, which includes the Shiite militias. “I’m here because it’s my duty,” the stone-faced boy in blue jeans said, referring to an edict from Iraq’s highest Shiite religious authority last year. “The Popular Mobilization Forces are not sectarian forces. They represent all of Iraq, and I want to help them liberate Iraq.”Despite concerns over heightened sectarian strife, Shiite militiamen continue to pour into Iraq’s Sunni heartland of Anbar province with the initial hope of recapturing Fallujah, the first major Iraqi city to fall to the Islamic State group last year.As the U.S. prepares to send an additional 450 personnel to Iraq, the Iranian-backed militias say that coalition assistance only hurts their efforts, contradicting statements by the Iraqi government that more international support is needed.IS fighters captured Anbar’s provincial capital of Ramadi last month, prompting Defense Secretary Ash Carter to lament that the U.S.-trained Iraqi troops lacked “the will to fight.” The Popular Mobilization Forces were called to battle in Anbar after the fall of Ramadi, despite concerns that their involvement in the province would antagonize the Sunni population, and they are now setting their sights on Fallujah. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility “We think the liberation of Fallujah will allow us to enter Ramadi without any fighting, so the battle that we are preparing is the battle of Fallujah,” Hadi al-Amiri, the head of the Popular Mobilization Forces, told journalists Friday at an outpost on the Salahuddin-Anbar border. “God willing, it will be imminent.”President Barack Obama’s decision to expand the U.S. force of more than 3,000 soldiers already in Iraq followed his acknowledgement earlier this week that Washington still lacks a “complete strategy” for training Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State. A U.S.-led coalition has launched more than 1,900 airstrikes in Iraq since August 2014 to mixed results.Many of the Shiite fighters, including Ahsan and his uncle, Salah Mahdi, believe that airstrikes have been a hindrance to their efforts to recapture territory — and in some cases, have been deadly.“We know of Hashd al-Shaabi fighters who were killed by the American planes,” Mahdi said, using the commonly known Arabic name for the Popular Mobilization Forces. “If they really wanted to help us, then they would leave Iraqis to liberate Iraq by themselves.” Comments Share Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The Popular Mobilization Forces have played a key role in several battles in the past year, but their strategy appears increasingly at odds with that of the government. While Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi continues to lobby for greater international support in the way of arms, training and aid, the Popular Mobilization Forces want the coalition to back off.Noting the increased number of U.S. advisers, trainers, logisticians and security personnel, al-Amiri scoffed at the notion that an additional “450 experts will be able to win the battle.”“There were 150,000 American troops, thousands of tanks and mortars, and hundreds of jets, and they were unable to do anything to al-Qaida in 2006 and 2007,” al-Amiri said.While there are no official estimates for the size of the Popular Mobilization Forces, they are now believed to make up the majority of fighters in Iraq, outnumbering the official Iraqi military, which virtually crumbled in the face of the militant onslaught last year.A number of the individual militias have said Iranian advisers arm and train their fighters, but officially the Popular Mobilization Force can only receive aid from the Iraqi government, leaving the U.S. somewhat at a loss for how to deal with them. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 5 ways to recognize low testosterone On the cars of the convoy young Ali Ahsan rode in, posters of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani decorated the windows and doors.In Anbar itself, red and green flags with the operation’s slogan — “Labaik ya Hussein,” or “At your command, Hussein” — flap in the wind and dust alongside posters hailing the Popular Mobilization Forces. The slogan is in honor of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Imam Hussein, who was killed in the 7th century battle that led to the schism between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.The slogan was dubbed “unhelpful” by the Pentagon last month, but the Popular Mobilization Forces dismissed any notions of sectarianism, saying the Imam Hussein is revered by all Muslims.“I am not a member of any militia,” said Saif Majid, 23, a taxi driver from Baghdad who joined last year when al-Sistani called on Iraqis to defend the country. “We are all brothers — Sunnis, Shiites, everyone.”As for whether the operation will yield success quickly, Ahsan is hopeful.“God willing,” the teenager said. “I have to go back in school in September.” 3 international destinations to visit in 2019
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J For the first time in up to a year Tiger Airways has touched down in Hobart as part of returning operations to the Tasmanian city since its forced one-month suspension last year.Arriving with a Tiger team including chief executive Andrew David, the announcement comes almost a year after the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia grounded the airline’s operations due to safety concerns.Although twice daily flights to Hobart from Melbourne officially commence 1 November this year, Tiger Airways chief executive Andrew David said there was potential for the services to expand to three times daily return during the busier parts of the year.Adding up to 5,000 visitor seats to Hobart Airport per week, the properties chief executive Rod Parry said the flights would “stimulate” the domestic market.”Not only does it provide more choices for everyone, but it also brings more competition for access between Tasmania and the mainland,” Minister for Tourism Scott Bacon said. “Sufficient and reliable access to our island state isn’t just important for tourism, it’s a fundamental requirement for our economy and our community.”Tourism Tasmania will continue to work closely with Tiger on cooperative marketing activities and other in-kind support to help ensure their new Tasmanian service gets off to a flying start in November.”While the airline prepares for its return to Tasmania, Tiger’s head hinted that more flight announcements could be around the corner.”There are many other destinations around Australia which are also keen for Tiger’s return or commencement of services,” concluded Mr. David. “We continue to talk to tourism and airport partners around the country and will be making further announcements in due course.”
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) says collaboration with other industry bodies has pushed the Federal Government to back down on plans to index increases on the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) that would have ‘damaged’ the industry.While the PMC will increase by $8 to $55 per visitor departing the country, the Council’s managing director Felicia Mariani said the Government has backed out of plans to raise the CPI, a move which could have been “extremely damaging” to the industry. “The industry isn’t excited about the prospect of an increase to the PMC, which comes on top of the carbon tax, the high Australian dollar and all the other external pressures faced by tourism businesses right now,” Ms Mariani said. “[However], this decision was a direct result of a coordinated and sustained campaign against this indexation that finally went beyond the halls of Canberra. “Industry’s objection to this latest grab for cash was vocal, public and solid in its commitment by ALL industry associations.”Ms Mariani said earlier this week during efforts to axe the rise, that fee increases should be considered with reference to the industry and travellers visiting the country should not be seen as an “easy revenue raiser”.
“Most people working in the service industry in the US don’t get the same sort of hourly pay rates or benefits Australian workers get so they are looking to make additional money with tips.” Over 1,000 Australians aged 18-64 participated in the online survey. According to a Galaxy Research poll, only 40 percent of Australian tourists will tip at the standard rate for the country they are visiting, while 38 percent will tip for exceptional service only. The rate for tipping in the US has long been regarded as 15 percent. “It’s something that is part of their culture and if you’re travelling in another country you normally try to fit in with the culture of another country, even though it may be a little bit out of the norm for Australians,” he remarked. At home, the poll found 63 percent of Australians tipped only for exceptional service whilst 22 percent disregarded tipping altogether. I’ve long told friends travelling to the US to carry one-dollar bills for tipping purposes. Well it seems many have either ignored the advice altogether, or heeded it a little to literally, with Aussie travellers being confirmed by a recent study as being very poor tippers. Source = ETB News: M.H. But Visit USA Australia president Geoffrey Hutton says Australians travelling to the US should be prepared to pay up to 20 percent in restaurants, bars and even for taxi drivers, News Limited reported. Image tippingresearch.com Tellingly, Carnival Cruise Lines removed gratuities from the American ship Carnival Spirit when it commenced operations in Australia last year; it will do likewise for Carnival Legend when it begins sailing Down Under next September.
Bangkok Airways Public Company Limited and Cathay Pacific recently announced partnership on frequent flyer programmes. This partnership signifies the continuous effort from both airlines in improving the proposition of their frequent flyer programmes to members.Starting from June 1, 2015, members of Bangkok Airways’ FlyerBonus programme can now earn and redeem FlyerBonus points when flying on eligible subclasses with Cathay Pacific and Dragonair. Similarly, members of The Marco Polo Club and Asia Miles can earn and redeem Asia Miles when travelling on all eligible subclasses with Bangkok Airways.Prote Setsuwan, Vice President – Marketing of Bangkok Airways said, “We are delighted to partner with Cathay Pacific, and through them we can strengthen our relationship with our own FlyerBonus members. This will bring significant benefits to passengers of both airlines. As Bangkok Airways always strives to offer the best for our passengers, especially our FlyerBonus members, we hope and trust that this partnership will enhance their travelling experience with us.”Cathay Pacific General Manager Revenue Management Patricia Hwang said, “We are very pleased to collaborate with Bangkok Airways on frequent flyer partnership. We always look for ways to improve the proposition of our frequent flyer programme to better serve our customers. We are glad that this partnership brings in great value and flexibility into the mix.”
Tourism Australia has launched a new, short film aimed at encouraging more domestic and international visitors to include Indigenous tourism experiences as part of an Australian holiday.Entitled ‘Aboriginal Australia: Our Country is waiting for you’, the film was created in collaboration with renowned Australian filmmakers Brendan Fletcher and Warwick Thornton and tells the story of Australia’s unique Indigenous tourism offerings.Developed in partnership with Austrade, the film features a diverse range of Indigenous activities, adventures and immersive cultural experiences which can be enjoyed in the Red Centre and Outback, lush rainforests and tropics as well as in cities and urban environments.One of the misconceptions that the film aims to dispel is that Indigenous tourism experiences can only be found in hot, dry and remote areas.Australian directors Brendan Fletcher (Mad Bastards) and Warwick Thornton (best known for his work on acclaimed movies Samson and Delilah and The Sapphires), worked closely with nine Indigenous tourism operators from four states and territories across Australia.Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, said the film aimed to increase awareness, interest and participation in Indigenous tourism experiences across Australia.“Australia’s Indigenous experiences are a unique and important part of our tourism offering. Currently, 14% of our international visitors participate in an Aboriginal cultural experience during their trip, helping to inject USD 6.4 billion annually into our visitor economy.“We’re confident this new short film and our plans to make sure it is widely distributed both in Australia and overseas, will help promote this important facet of Australian tourism and grow these figures,” O’Sullivan added.The film will be shown in Australia and a number of Tourism Australia’s key international markets, including China, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, the UK and the U.S. where it is expected to be seen on TV, online and in cinemas by more than 50 million people over the next few weeks.The film has already received strong backing from the tourism industry, including airports (Sydney Airport), international airlines (Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia) and hotel groups (AccorHotels Australia and IHG) who have all agreed to provide a platform to show the film to their passengers, guests and employees.
Ethiopian Airlines has now started flying to New York-Newark from Addis Ababa, thrice a week, with effect from July 3.The airline has deployed the modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner on this route, the world’s most environment friendly aircraft with lower emissions.This new service enables passengers to connect between New York-Newark and many cities throughout Africa. At Lomé, passengers enjoy seamless connections to and from points in West Africa with ASKY, Ethiopian partner airline based in Lomé. Connections are available to and from Abidjan, Bamako, Bissau, Brazzaville, Conakry, Dakar, Douala, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, N’djamena, Niamey, Ouagadougou and Yaoundé. At Addis Ababa, passengers will be enjoying seamless connections to and from points in East and Southern Africa, including Nairobi, Dares Salaam, Khartoum, Kampala, Kigali, and Johannesburg.Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, remarked, “We are thrilled to resume our service to New York, our fifth gateway in the Americas. New York is one of the world’s most economically powerful cities and including it in our ever expanding network will play a critical role in the expansion of trade, tourism and investment between the fast growing continent of Africa and the United States. I would like to thank all who strived hard to make the route possible.”New York-Newark is Ethiopian’s 93rd international gateway and fourth gateway in North America.
Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state in the northern part of the island of Borneo. The city is known for its bustling markets, modern boardwalk, beaches and waterfront Kota Kinabalu City Mosque. Source: Expedia
Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways, both members of Star Alliance have entered into an expanded codeshare agreement, inked on October 01, 2016 and projected to be effective as of 2017 summer season.The revamped codeshare agreement is anticipated to further enhance the cooperation among the two carriers and avail a range of additional destinations for customers to travel to.Girma Shiferaw, A/Vice President- Strategic Planning and Alliances, Ethiopian, remarked, “Revamping the already existing codeshare agreement with our partner, South African Airways, emanates from our common ambition and joint effort to expand our footprint to different destinations and better serve our esteemed customers globally. The expanded codeshare agreement between the two carriers enables our customers enjoy the best possible connectivity options to multiple destinations and also plays a significant role in enabling greater people-to-people, investment, trade and tourism ties within Africa as well as with the rest of the world.”Acting Chief Commercial Officer at South African Airways, Aaron Munetsi, said, “This enhanced codeshare agreement enables us to offer our mutual customers more destinations including Durban, Cape Town and Toronto as additions to the existing codeshare flights. This enables both airlines to offer our legendary reliable and world class service to our ever growing markets that demand customer focused service. We believe the partnership will be scaled up further in the future for the betterment of customer service.”Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways signed the first codeshare agreement on September 17, 2003 and extended the codeshare agreement on October 01, 2016 on destinations such as Cape Town, Durban and Toronto. More codeshare destinations will be added in the near future.
Lufthansa has announced special fares on its flights to Europe and North America from India. Through its latest promotional offer, Lufthansa aims to provide its Indian customers with a chance to avail the comfort, convenience and luxury of its premium economy class along with significant cost savings. All premium economy travellers on Lufthansa flights are provided double baggage allowance, wider seats and extra leg-room. They can also enjoy Lufthansa’s vast in-flight entertainment programme and have access to select Lufthansa lounges for an extra charge.Under the limited-time offer, Lufthansa customers in India can book premium economy seats on select European and North American routes for as low as INR 85,800 and INR 1,21,500, respectively. The offer is available to travellers who book Premium Economy seats till March 15, 2019, and will be valid for travel until June 30, 2019.
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Economic Analysis Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers Mark Lieberman Service Providers Unemployment 2013-01-31 Mark Lieberman Share January 31, 2013 440 Views Personal income jumped a staggering 2.6 percent in December, almost four times the 0.7 increase economists forecast, the “”Bureau of Economic Analysis””:http://bea.gov/newsreleases/national/pi/2013/pdf/pi1212.pdf reported Thursday. Personal consumption spending rose 0.2 percent, slightly below the expected 0.3 percent increase.[IMAGE]The sharp December gain came from special dividends paid by many companies in anticipation of changes in individual income tax rates, which were tied into negotiations to avoid the “”fiscal cliff.””Spending rose at about half the rate of November’s increase, which itself was a recovery from October’s 0.1 percent drop.By the numbers, income rose $352.4 billion, of which $268.2 billion came in the form of dividends. Part of the December increase, BEA said, was due to “”accelerated bonus payments and other irregular pay in private wages in anticipation of changes in individual income tax rates.”” [COLUMN_BREAK] Wage and salary payments–which took a hit in October following Superstorm Sandy–rose $44 billion in December after increasing $61.4 billion in November.Transfer payments–largely Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance–rose 0.4 percent ($8.9 billion) in December, up from 0.3 percent in November. Social Security rose 0.7 percent ($5.3 billion), and Medicare was up 0.5 percent ($3.1 billion). Meanwhile, unemployment insurance payments dropped 5.9 percent ($6.2 billion).The increase in personal spending–$22.6 billion –came primarily in spending on services, which rose $14.2 billion. Spending on durable goods rose $12.4 billion, reflecting purchases of autos and other high ticket items destroyed in Superstorm Sandy. Spending on non-durable goods dropped. That spending rose because of the purchase of durables suggests the increase may not be sustainable. Personal interest payments–non-real estate related–fell $1.6 billion, the third straight month-over-month decline. Personal savings jumped $310.2 billion to $805.2 billion and savings–savings as a percentage of after-tax personal income–zoomed to 6.5 percent from 4.1 percent in November.Inflation, as measured by personal consumption expenditures, considered the Federal Reserve’s favored gauge, remained tame, dropping to 1.3 percent (year-over-year increase) from 1.4 percent in November. Core inflation–excluding food and energy–was 1.4 percent, down from 1.5 percent in November._Hear Mark Lieberman Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 8:45 a.m. and again at 11:45 a.m. Eastern time._ Personal Income Jumps With Fiscal Cliff Dividends in Data, Government, Secondary Market
May 23, 2013 376 Views Underwater,Negative Equity Rate Down, but Concerns Loom The number of homeowners underwater on their mortgages continued to fall in Q1, but millions still lack enough equity to afford to move, “”Zillow””:http://www.zillow.com/ revealed in its first-quarter Negative Equity Report.[IMAGE]According to the report, the national negative equity rate was 25.4 percent in the last quarter compared to 27.5 percent at the end of 2012. That percentage represents slightly more than 13 million homeowners with a mortgage, Zillow said.However, when including homeowners with less than 20 percent home equity, the “”effective”” negative equity rate climbs to 43.6 percent, or a total of 22.3 million homeowners. In its report, Zillow explained that these [COLUMN_BREAK]homeowners likely can’t afford a down payment for a new home, tying them to their current homes and exacerbating the inventory shortage.””Reaching positive equity, even barely, is an important milestone. But things like real estate agents’ fees and a down payment for the next home traditionally come out of the proceeds from the prior home’s sale,”” said Zillow chief economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “”Without enough equity, these costs will instead have to come out of a homeowner’s pocket, leaving many still stuck.””Looking at the effective negative equity rate could explain why recent, healthy declines in the number of underwater borrowers haven’t yet translated into more homes for sale. The only cure is patience, as rising home values continue to build equity to the point where more homeowners can realistically sell,”” he continued.Among the 30 largest metro areas covered by Zillow, those with the highest effective negative equity rate are Las Vegas, Nevada (71.5 percent); Atlanta, Georgia (64.1 percent); and Riverside, California (59.7 percent).For the first quarter of 2014, Zillow predicts the negative equity rate among all homeowners with a mortgage (but excluding those who are in low positive equity) will fall to 23.5 percent, lifting more than 1.4 million additional homeowners into positive territory. in Data, Origination Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies For-Sale Homes Home Equity Home Values Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers Zillow 2013-05-23 Tory Barringer Share
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Investors Lenders & Servicers Politics Richard Cordray Service Providers 2013-07-16 Tory Barringer July 16, 2013 491 Views Share The “”U.S. Senate””:http://www.senate.gov/index.htm voted Tuesday to confirm Richard Cordray as director of the “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ (CFPB).[IMAGE]According to the Senate website, Cordray was confirmed in a 66-34 vote. News of the confirmation came hours after an announcement of a 71-29 vote for cloture, effectively putting to an end the debate surrounding Cordray’s nomination.President Obama installed Cordray as a recess appointment in 2012, a move that attracted criticism from opponents, who say the Senate was not actually in recess. Republican critics of the CFPB had vowed not to confirm any nomination for director until the agency underwent substantial changes.In a statement, Kathleen Day at the “”Center for Responsible Lending””:http://www.responsiblelending.org/ called the confirmation “”an historic moment.””””As businesses compete under the same set of rules, working families will receive fair financial services,”” Day said. “”We celebrate this great achievement and look forward to working with the Director to bring overdue relief to families who have dealt with abusive financial practices for far too long.””Meanwhile, President Obama praised the efforts of senators to end the bipartisan gridlock that was partly to blame for the delay in Cordray’s confirmation vote. Democrats in the Senate had been threatening a “”nuclear option”” to change rules in an effort to ease the nomination process.””I’m pleased that the Senate took action today to move forward on the nominees who have waited far too long for a vote. … I want to thank the Senators from both parties–including Leader Reid, Leader McConnell and Senator McCain–who have worked together to find a path forward and give these nominees the votes they deserve.”” Senate Confirms Cordray in 66-34 Vote in Government
While home price gains continue to exceed historical norms at a national level, the latest asking price report from “”Trulia””:http://www.trulia.com/ reveals marked differences in price gains between “”red”” and “”blue”” metros. [IMAGE]Asking prices rose 12.5 percent year-over-year in October blue metros and 11.1 percent in red metros, according to the “”Trulia Price Monitor””:http://info.trulia.com/trulia-price-and-rent-monitors-oct-2013 which observed the 100 largest metro areas and the nation, breaking them into categories based on the 2012 presidential election. “”Home prices are skyrocketing in many of America’s bluest metros, like Oakland and Detroit,”” said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia, also noting that, “”The home-price rebound has bypassed most of America’s reddest metros.”” “”But Red America shouldn’t turn green with envy at Blue America’s recovery: housing remains much more affordable in red metros than blue metros, and unemployment is lower, too,”” Kolko said. In general, blue metros suffered more from the housing crisis than red metros, according to Trulia. [COLUMN_BREAK]””The uneven housing and economic recoveries in America across red and blue metros could aggravate political partisanship,”” according to Trulia. In particular, representatives from blue metros will face pressure to reduce unemployment and make homeownership more attainable, according to Trulia. Annual price changes in the top five reddest metros range from 2.2 percent in Knoxville, Tennessee, to 12 percent in Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Worth was the only one of the reddest metros to post a double-digit price gain over the year in October. On the other hand, four of the top five bluest metros posted double-digit price gains over the year in October with the highest gain in Detroit at 24.5 percent, and the lowest in New York at 7.3 percent. As mortgage rates increase, housing inventory increases, and investor activity subsides, prices gains will continue to slow, according to Trulia. October’s 0.6 percent monthly price gain is the second-lowest price increase in seven months, according to the Trulia Price Monitor. The annual price increase in October was 11.7 percent. On the other hand, rents are rising at a slower pace with a 2.7 percent annual gain in October, according to the Trulia Rent Monitor. San Francisco posted the highest year-over-year rent increase at 10.1 percent, and its median rent price for a 2-bedroom unit now tops the charts, even exceeding New York. The median rent price for a 2-bedroom unit in San Francisco is $3,250. Agents & Brokers Asking Prices Attorneys & Title Companies Home Prices Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers Politics Service Providers Trulia Unemployment 2013-11-07 Krista Franks Brock What Does Political Partisanship Have to Do with Home Prices? Share in Data November 7, 2013 384 Views
In Dallas, HomeStar Companies announced the appointment of a new CFO and COO, naming longtime housing veteran Steve Hozie to the dual roles.Hozie has three decades of experience in the housing sector and joins HomeStar from Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, where he was SVP of strategic financial planning. During his tenure there, he started and managed a loan originations division and was also responsible for pricing on all of the company’s financial product offerings.Before that, he was CFO for American Home Mortgage Servicing, American Mortgage Investment Corp., and Fleet Mortgage Group.In his latest role, he will oversee financial matters and day-to-day operations for the HomeStar family, which includes HomeStar Property Solutions, HomeStar Property Claims, and HomeStar Property Management.In a release, the company said Hozie’s addition comes “at a pivotal moment of growth.””Steve’s vast experience and financial expertise make him an invaluable asset to HomeStar as our company grows,” said Michael Breese, president and CEO of HomeStar Companies. September 8, 2014 482 Views Share in Headlines, News, Uncategorized HomeStar Companies Names New CFO, COO HomeStar Companies Movers & Shakers 2014-09-08 Tory Barringer
A Credit Shuffle Among Mortgage Lenders March 24, 2016 608 Views Credit Standards Fannie Mae Mortgage Lenders 2016-03-24 Staff Writer Fewer mortgage lenders are reporting that they are loosening credit standards, and many do not expect credit to become more accessible over the next few months.The share of mortgage lenders reporting easing credit standards over the prior three months fell for the second straight quarter, according to Fannie Mae’s first quarter 2016 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey conducted in February.In addition, the survey also found that the share of lenders that expect credit standards to ease over the next three months decreased from last quarter for all mortgage types.Fannie Mae reported that 13 percent of lenders surveyed noted that credit standards eased over the last three months in the first quarter of 2016, down from 17 percent in the previous quarter. Over the next three months, 13 percent of lenders said credit standards will ease, down from 18 percent last quarter. Five percent of lenders said that credit tightened over the last three months, up from 4 percent last quarter. Only 7 percent of lenders said credit will tighten over the next three months, the same as last quarter.The survey also showed that more lenders reported that they expect to increase the percentage of their mortgage servicing rights (MSRs) sold to a third-party in the first quarter of 2016. More mid-sized institutions expect to increase their share of MSRs sold to a third-party compared to the first quarter of 2015.Doug Duncan, SVP and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, explained, “Lender expectations for easing over the next three months have also moderated. Many lenders also indicate a likely increase in the sales of mortgage servicing rights, possibly to compensate for these countervailing pressures on profits and to take advantage of current favorable pricing in the market.”According to Fannie Mae, the net share of lenders reporting purchase mortgage demand for all loan types decreased significantly from a year ago but lenders expect an uptick in refinance demand.The net share of lenders reporting increased purchase mortgage demand for the prior three months declined significantly across all loan types from one year ago but similar to level reported last year.Over the past three months, 39 percent of lenders reported a decline in refinance demand, compared to 42 percent last quarter. A total of 26 percent of lenders said that refinance demand increased over the last few months, up from 19 percent last quarter.For the next three months, 11 percent of lenders indicated that they expect refinance demand to decrease, down from 62 percent last quarters. Meanwhile, 50 percent expect to see an uptick in refinancing compared to 6 percent the previous quarter.”This quarter’s Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey results reflect recent market volatility. Lenders anticipate a pickup in refinance demand in light of the decline in interest rates this year, but report a slowdown in purchase demand perhaps because of a seasonal component,” Duncan stated.Click here to view the full report. in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News, Origination, Secondary Market Share
Gap Widens Between Most, Least Expensive Cities in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies Share harvard Home Price Appreciation Home Prices HOUSING Housing Prices joint center for housing studies mortgage 2017-06-16 Aly J. Yale Home price appreciation rates are pretty disparate across the nation, according to the State of the Nation’s Housing report issued by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard on Friday. In fact, while 16 percent of U.S. markets saw housing prices jump 40 percent since the year 2000, another 30 percent of cities actually saw prices decline over the same period.According to the Center, this is causing an ever-widening gap between the country’s priciest and most affordable cities.“Longer-term gains in real prices varied widely across the country, with some markets experiencing home price appreciation of more than 50 percent since 2000, while others posted only modest gains or even declines,” the Center reported. “These differences have added to the already substantial gap between home prices in the nation’s most and least expensive housing markets.”Nominally, prices rose in 97 out of the nation’s 100 biggest metro areas last year. The steep uptick is a result of both increasing demand and ever-tightening housing supply, according to Chris Herbert, Managing Director for the Joint Center for Housing Studies. Housing starts just haven’t been able to keep up.“While the recovery in home prices reflects a welcome pickup in demand, it is also being driven by very tight supply,” Herbert said. “Any excess housing that may have been built during the boom years has been absorbed, and a stronger supply response is going to be needed to keep pace with demand—particularly for moderately priced homes.”According to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, the lack of supply is “one of the most pressing challenges in the housing market today.”“Since 2009, new housing supply has been falling short of new housing demand,” Fleming said. “Currently, I estimate that the amount of housing supply necessary to just keep pace with demand is probably around 1.5 million housing units a year.”The report found that housing starts hit just 1.17 million last year—a jump of 5.6 percent, but still well below Fleming’s 1.5 million goal.But despite short supply and ever-rising prices, many Americans are still venturing into homeownership. According to Daniel McCue, Senior Research Associate at the Center, the country’s long-declining homeownership rate appears to be leveling off.“Although the homeownership rate did edge down again in 2016, the decline was the smallest in years,” McCue said. “We may be finding the bottom.”Whether or not that happens will depend on affordability, which the Center’s report shows is on the downslope. According to the report, about 19 million U.S. households spent more than half of their annual incomes on housing in 2015. June 16, 2017 534 Views
Brian Grow Appointed as President of Morningstar Credit Ratings Share in News, Origination February 18, 2018 514 Views Credit Market Economy Lending Morning Star Credit Ratings 2018-02-18 Radhika Ojha Chicago-headquartered Morningstar Credit Ratings has announced the appointment of Brian Grow as President of the company. In his new role Grow will oversee the day-to-day operations of the company’s business and will be based out of New York. He will report to Haywood Kelly, Head of Global research at Morningstar, the company said in a statement.“Brian has proven to be an extremely effective leader and has helped take Morningstar Credit Ratings from a single-asset class to a full-service and diverse rating agency,” said Kelly. “His analytical and technical expertise, high-quality standards, and history of strategic decision-making will support Morningstar in its mission to help investors reach their financial goals. I look forward to working closely with Brian to continue building our ratings and research offerings.”Grow joined Morningstar Credit Ratings in 2011 and most recently he was managing director of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and asset-backed securities (ABS) at the company. In his previous role, he spent 10 years in various leadership roles at Standard & Poor’s in its New York and Melbourne, Australia offices. He has also worked for JPMorgan Chase Bank and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.“I’m excited to lead our talented team, better understand investor needs, and respond with innovative products,” said Grow. “Morningstar’s long-term perspective allows us to continue building tools and providing insight into the credit market during dynamic economic cycles.”Grow holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Lawrence University and a master’s degree in business administration from Yale University. He succeeds Vickie Tillman, who retired as president of Morningstar Credit Ratings at the end of 2017.
Defaults Dividends Employment Fannie Mae Goldman Sachs homes HOUSING loans Modifcations mortgage profit Wages 2018-11-02 Radhika Ojha November 2, 2018 873 Views A Housing Market Update Share A report examined the state of the economy and how the housing market is faring. A government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) completing a decade under conservatorship announced its Q3 results. And a large bank moved toward settling mortgages under the direction of the Department of Justice. These are three of the top stories making the news this Friday. Here’s what you should be keeping tabs on as the nation goes to vote for the mid-term elections on November 6:The Case for a Strong EconomyThe Bureau of Labor Statistics released the jobs data for October on Friday, indicating that while unemployment remained low, wages saw an annual increase of 3.1 percent from the same period last year.”The updated information released today suggests that the labor market remains strong and inflation remains manageable, supporting our call that the Fed will raise its key policy rate in December,” said Doug Duncan, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. “Meanwhile, the housing sector also registered job gains this month, but the stronger growth in average hourly earnings relative to the private sector overall suggests that labor availability remains a challenge.”According to Tendayi Kapfidze, Chief Economist, LendingTree, the low labor force participation rate has been holding wages back “so it will be important to see if this uptick is sustained since the year-over-year growth may have been biased upwards by a weak number in October 2017.”Rising wages have affected home buying too, according to Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American. “If household income had not increased compared with a year ago, rising mortgage rates, which jumped from 3.9 to 4.8 percent over the last year, would have reduced consumer house-buying power by $38,000,” Fleming said. “Rising household income mitigated the impact of higher cost mortgages by $11,000.”Business Fundamentals at Fannie MaeFannie Mae turned a profit in the third quarter and expects to pay $4 billion in dividends to the U.S. Treasury, according to the GSE’s Q3 financial statement, released Friday.Net revenues for the quarter were $5.37 billion. That’s up from $5.27 billion in Q3 of 2017. Pre-tax income was $5 billion. After-tax net income and total comprehensive income for the quarter were both $4 billion, up from $3 billion a year ago. The GSE posted a Q3 value of $7 billion.What all this means for shareholders is a net income of $36 million or $0.01 per share. That compares to last year’s Q3 net loss of $25 million.Fannie’s interim CEO, Hugh Frater, said Q3’s results show a positive forward momentum. “We are focused on serving our customers, helping them navigate market headwinds, and enabling a mortgage process that is better, faster, cheaper, and safer,” Frater said. “That means we have a responsibility to innovate while maintaining our strong commitment to safety, soundness, and stewardship on behalf of taxpayers.”According to the report, the GSE provided $122 billion in liquidity to the single-family mortgage market in the third quarter. It estimated its market share of new single-family mortgage-related securities issuances was 40 percent.Goldman Sachs Moves Closer to Consumer ReliefGoldman Sachs’, forgiving principal on 746 loans, is steadily moving closer towards fulfilling its $1.8 billion consumer-relief obligation under its two April 11, 2016, mortgage-related settlement agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice and three states, according to an announcement by Eric D. Green in his ninth report as independent Monitor of the consumer-relief portions of the agreements.Since Green’s previous report on August 1, 2018, Goldman Sachs has forgiven a total of $78,678,617 in principal on 746 first-lien mortgages, for the average principal forgiveness of $105,467 per loan and total reportable credit of $79,272,978after the application of appropriate crediting calculations and multipliers. The bank has now modified a total of 10,671 mortgages.The modified mortgages are spread across 42 states and the District of Columbia, with 32 percent of the credit located in the settling states of New York, Illinois, and California, and 47 percent of the credit located in Hardest Hit Areas, or census tracts identified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as containing large concentrations of distressed properties and foreclosure activities.”I am pleased to be able to confirm that Goldman Sachs continues to make steady progress toward meeting its obligation to provide Consumer Relief valued at $1.8 billion,” Green said. in Daily Dose, Featured, News
You might also be interested in August 09 , 2018 Harris joins Honeybear with a broad ranging background that includes product development, brand management, product marketing and advertising. Among other consumer product marketing roles, she spent more than six years at C. H. Robinson as Brand Marketing Manager, charged with positioning Robinson Fresh as a leader in the produce category and with responsibilities for major consumer facing brands including Welch’s, Tropicana, Mott’s and Green Giant. In her new role, she will join the Honeybear Brands marketing team with responsibility for shepherding the day-to-day development of the Pazazz brand ahead of the 2019 sales season and beyond.Kristi is a graduate of Arizona State University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Marketing.# # #About Honeybear Brands (www.honeybearbrands.com) 952-746-1315 Honeybear is a leading grower and developer of premium apple varieties. The company started as Wescott Agri Products, a family run apple orchard in the early 1970s. From that early start several generations ago, Honeybear still employs the same hands-on, personal attention to apple varieties produced through the Honeybear Apple Varietal Development Program. Honeybear is the leading grower of Honeycrisp in the Northwest and offers complete domestic and global apply supply integration from varietal development to growing, packing, shipping and retailer support. PRESS RELEASEElgin, Minn. – Honeybear Brands has appointed the company’s first Pazazz-specific brand manager, following runaway sales success of the variety across North American retailers. Kristi Harris, a produce industry veteran, joins the company’s Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based marketing team, effective immediately.“Sales of Pazazz grew by around 300 percent in the 2017-2018 sales season,” says Don Roper, vice president, sales and marketing, Honeybear Brands. “As a brand we’re entering more new markets and seeing demand from new retailers attracted to the Pazazz brand and our retail programs. It made absolute sense to us to add someone like Kristi to our already strong marketing team, so she can focus exclusively on the growth of the Pazazz brand. She brings a wealth of produce industry brand experience to the role and we’re thrilled to have her ahead of Pazazz’ next season.”