Expedias acquisition of Wotif may have a negative impact on industry

first_imgRecently the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) granted Expedia a 100 per cent acquisition of Wotif.com, since this decision the rest of the industry has voiced some concerns.The Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) and the Tourism Accommodation Association (TAA) have both raised concerns about the decision and its impact on the on the Australia accommodation industry.Industry spokesman, Bradley Woods, has said that the acquisition may trigger major commission rate increases, and give Expedia too much control in the industry.“Currently Expedia is estimated to hold 10 per cent of the Australian hotel portal market. With the acquisition of Wotif, Expedia will grow to 45 per cent,” said Mr Woods.This acquisition removes choice for accommodation providers between foreign and Australian operators and the end effect of acquisitions and concentrations of market power may cause the consumer to bear the cost of less competition.The hotel and accommodation industry is also concerned about the emergence of rate clauses into hotel and other transaction authority (OTA) contracts.OTAs demand that hotels not be allowed to offer better rates to consumers through their own hotel owned websites or booking systems.“We have already raised the issue with the ACCC and will now take the matter further with the Commonwealth government and ACCC as it is clearly contrary to Australia’s competition and consumer law principles,” said Mr Woods. Source = ETB News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

Big projects set to reinvent the Sunshine Coast

first_imgThe Sunshine Coast capped a stellar year with the announcement of a 19 per cent increase in passenger numbers at Sunshine Coast Airport for December 2015.Total passenger movements for December were 87,097, and 508,808 for the six months from July to December, the highest ever figure recorded by the Airport, continuing two years of international and domestic arrivals growth.The record Sunshine Coast Airport figures for 2015 were a result of increases in flights by Jetstar, Virgin and Air New Zealand, and the return of Qantas after an absence of ten years.Qantas returning to the Sunshine CoastQantas has recorded near-capacity loads during its summer schedule, and will revert to a business-oriented timetable in February, which will see flights arrive on the Sunshine Coast in the evening and depart first thing the next morning.The new flights will be of particular benefit to the business travel sector, as the region undergoes its most dramatic development phase since the Sunshine Coast came into being almost 50 years ago.It was in 1966 that the former Landsborough, Maroochy and Noosa councils agreed that the name ‘Sunshine Coast’ should replace the (rather uninspiring) ‘Near North Coast’ title used at the time. The Sunshine Coast name was officially gazetted the following year (1967), and helped establish the region as one of Australia’s most popular coastal resort destinations.The region has constantly evolved, and on the eve of its 50th anniversary, the Sunshine Coast is undergoing a development boom that confirms the region’s reputation as a dynamic, multi-faceted destination.Four major projects are set to have long-term implications for the future expansion of the region:Construction of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and the associated Kawana Health Campus, which are due for completion this year;Redevelopment of the Maroochydore city centre;Proposed expansion of Sunshine Coast Airport;Development of the residential area of Aura (formerly known as Caloundra South).“These key projects will redefine the Sunshine Coast’s economic landscape,” says Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Ambrose.“The Sunshine Coast has always had a magnificent climate and some of Australia’s best beaches, but a really successful region offers a balanced mix of commercial, residential and tourism development and that is what we are seeing across the Sunshine Coast.“This is already resulting in considerable interest from major hotel groups, with the opening late last year of the new Best Western Plus hotel to service the emerging Kawana business, medical and education precinct.Sunshine Coast welcomes P&O Cruises“In addition, existing resorts such as the Novotel Twin Waters Resort are planning major expansion of their facilities, while the rebranding of Pelican Waters Resort to Sebel has added more internationally-branded accommodation and meeting facilities.“One of the most significant new accommodation openings in Australia in 2016 will be the launch of the Riverside Resort ‘glamping’ village.“It will be the first new built camping and caravan holiday park in south-east Queensland for over 40 years, and one of the first in Australia for many decades. While also catering for the family market, it will offer 80 square metre ‘glamping’ accommodation, along with high-class recreational, meeting and incentive facilities.“One of our principal local destinations, Maroochydore, is planning a remarkable makeover with 165,000 sqm of commercial space to be established, which will create a new central business district for the Sunshine Coast region. With its proximity to Sunshine Coast Airport and its picturesque surroundings, we expect to see new hotel developments and facilities to cater for the business events market.“We are confident of approval for an extension of the Sunshine Coast Airport runway during the year, as it will allow larger aircraft with greater capacity to operate into and out of Sunshine Coast Airport throughout the year.“There is a full calendar of events scheduled for 2016, and we are celebrating the range and diversity of our events program under the new tagline The World is Coming to the Sunshine Coast, starting this weekend with the Ginger Flower & Food Festival.“2016 will also see a record cruise market, with Mooloolaba establishing itself as the fastest growing destination in Australia for major cruise operators including Carnival and Azamara.“We start 2016 in a very positive frame of mind. In December we changed the name of the organisation from Sunshine Coast Destination to Visit Sunshine Coast to align our consumer and trade profiles, and with an innovative digital strategy, along with a range of exciting marketing programs, we are confident of another highly successful year.” Visit Sunshine CoastSource = Visit Sunshine Coastlast_img read more

Solomon Islands 2016 Visitor Survey provides compelling insights

first_imgSolomon Islands 2016 Visitor Survey provides “compelling” insightsSolomon Islands 2016 Visitor Survey provides “compelling” insightsHoniara, Solomon Islands – With international visitor expenditure reaching an estimated SBD233 million in 2016 and annual visitation continuing to increase year on year, the Solomon Islands tourism sector is well on track to becoming an economic pillar for the South Pacific nation.The positive news emanates from an intensive study commissioned by the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau and delivered by Sydney-based Stollznow Research to Solomon Islands government and industry representatives in Honiara.Key findings presented by company director Neil Stollznow show that Australian visitation continues to dominate the Solomon Islands tourism landscape, accounting for more than half of all visitors (53 per cent) with leisure traffic accounting for 30 per cent of the country’s overall annual total.The main reasons cited for visiting the Solomon Islands remain ‘rest and relaxation’ (38 per cent) followed by SCUBA diving which accounts for 28 per cent of all leisure-based arrivals.The survey also found that while water-based activities including swimming and snorkelling are high on visitors’ wish lists, sightseeing, culture, history and in particular WWII, shopping, hiking, fishing, sailing and kayaking remain among the top 10 reasons for visiting.However, one of the country’s biggest drawcards remains the friendliness of its people, a factor Mr Stollznow described as “compelling”.Further insights detailed 62 per cent of visitors staying that they would definitely recommend a Solomon Islands holiday to others and 79 per cent saying they would return to the destination for a further visit within the next five years.Describing the survey findings as very positive and evidence that the Solomon Islands tourism industry is “staying on track” to becoming a major economic pillar in short time, SIVB CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said there are still some areas that are seen as in part constraining the destination’s overall tourism sector growth – accommodation infrastructure and sales agents’ awareness.“There is a need to address a current accommodation shortfall across the Solomon Islands and in particular in Honiara where would be well served by an increase in three to four-star accommodation,” Mr Tuamoto said.“We are hopeful the Solomon Islands’ successful bid to stage the 2023 Pacific Games will have a major flow-on impact, both from the perspective of increased investment in infrastructure and particularly, hotel accommodation and a dedicated convention facility.“The Stollznow Research also tells us while we are making inroads with wholesalers and travel agents in our various visitor source markets we still need to do more to get ourselves on the radar.“This is something we have to address and with government and local industry support we are working hard to make sure we become top of mind with travel agents, both in our existing visitor source markets and new areas of potential business.“Our profile is good but we need to back that up with more product and more sales of that product.”The next SIVB Visitor Survey has been scheduled for 2019. Source = SIVB – Solomon Islands Visitors Bureaulast_img read more

Excite Holidays showcases the Capital of Cool

first_imgExcite Holidays, in partnership with Destination DC, recently held an exclusive agent event in Melbourne.Held at The Bowery Locksmith in the uber trendy suburb of Richmond, the event was an opportunity to showcase Washington, DC as part of their Capital of Cool campaign.Forty agents were in attendance and had the chance to experience an authentic underground Jazz & Blues evening. In true DC style, guests were welcomed with an Old Fashioned cocktail and were entertained by a talented saxophonist and guitar duo, who kept everyone’s toes tapping all night long.Excite Holidays showcases the Capital of CoolPenny Brand from Destination DC was on hand to fill the agents in on everything that’s happening in DC, and why it really is the capital of cool! She provided some fantastic tips and tricks to the agents to help them sell this must-see destination.The fun didn’t end there, with the guests dining on delicious American-style canapés and doughnuts, and sipping on Espresso Martinis. They also had a fantastic time in the photo booth taking some fantastic shots with the DC and Presidential-themed props.The event was a lot of fun and Excite Holidays is extremely thankful to Destination DC, and all of the agents who attended and made it a night to remember! Source = Excite Holidays Excite Holidays showcases the Capital of CoolExcite Holidays showcases the Capital of Coollast_img read more

Aqua Expeditions announces 30 percent reduced rates

first_imgAqua Expeditions announces 30 percent reduced ratesAqua Expeditions announces 30 percent reduced ratesAqua Expeditions, one of the world’s leading luxury river cruise companies, is offering travellers to Southeast Asia an exclusive offer of 30 percent reduced rates on selected Aqua Mekong voyages in 2018 and 2019.Guests will experience the green Summer season on Asia’s Mekong River between Vietnam and Cambodia and experience the vibrant culture, history and cuisines of Southeast Asia aboard the sustainably crafted Aqua Mekong, a five-star floating hotel with 20 designer suites, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Mekong River, a 1:1 staff to guest ratio and twice daily off-board excursions by high-powered skiff.Aqua Mekong is the only ship on this stretch of the river to offer a fully equipped gym, screening room, outdoor cinema, observation deck and an upper-deck pool. Guests will dine on world-class dishes created by  renowned Australian Chef, David Thompson and board the Mekong’s only private tenders for expert-guided shore excursions to serene Buddhist temples and stilted villages or exploration by bicycle and kayak.The promotion is valid for 3, 4 and 7-night itineraries from 1 May to 27 July 2018 (inclusive) and 3 May to 30 July 2019 (inclusive).Lead-in rate for the selected 3-night Discovery Cruises will be USD2835 per person twin share in a First Deck Suite.Charges for professional services (such as spa treatments), bar fees for alcoholic drinks (other than complimentary wine and beer), and other on-board purchases (merchandise, souvenirs, etc.) are not applicable for the discount.For more information and bookings, please contact Aqua Expeditions Australia on 1300 124 204 or reservations@aquaexpeditions.com.auAqua Expeditions was the first adventure travel company to introduce five-star luxury cruises on the Amazon River in Peru and on the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia.  CEO, Francesco Galli Zugaro, founded Aqua Expeditions to cater to discerning, adventure travellers seeking to explore remote and culturally important destinations for luxury voyages on the world’s greatest rivers.Aqua Expeditions’ 16-suite Aria Amazon vessel entered service in 2011, a creation of Peruvian designer, Jordi Puig and featuring floor to ceiling windows, Jacuzzi, gym, sundeck and the haute Peruvian cuisine of Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. In October 2014,In October 2014, Aqua Expeditions expanded to Indochina with the launch of Aqua Mekong with 20 design suites, sailing the historic Mekong River between Cambodia and Vietnam.Source = Aqua Expeditionslast_img read more

Asias first Holiday Inn® water park resort

first_imgAsia’s first Holiday Inn® water park resortAsia’s first Holiday Inn® water park resortHoliday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin has opened its doors on Thailand’s idyllic Gulf coast, becoming the first Holiday Inn® water park resort in Asia.Located just 2.5 hours’ drive from Bangkok and less than 15 minutes from the popular seaside town of Hua Hin, with breath-taking views of the glittering Gulf of Thailand, Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin is the ideal “playcation” destination for guests seeking an exciting and relaxing break from the city.Children will enjoy endless hours of fun at Vana Nava Hua Hin Water Jungle, which features an amazing array of aquatic attractions including the largest and longest water slides in Thailand. Alternatively, parents can unwind in the resort’s large infinity pool on level 26, Tea Tree Spa and 24-hour fitness centre, while the little ones are kept entertained in the kids’ club and children’s pool.The 300 rooms and suites at Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin range from 39 to 128 square metres in size and include a series of inter-connecting rooms and KidSuites®, with special ‘secret’ rooms decked out with bunk beds and play areas. Children aged 12 and under can stay and eat for free, and all guests are offered free in-room wireless Internet access, late check-out and unlimited access to Vana Nava Hua Hin Water Jungle. The 300 rooms and suites at Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin range from 39 to 128 square metres in size and include a series of inter-connecting rooms and KidSuites®, with special ‘secret’ rooms decked out with bunk beds and play areas.When they are not playing in the water park, guests can enjoy cooling daytime refreshments at the Pool Bar, savour delicious dishes at Plamong Restaurant, or enjoy stunning sea views at the stylish Vana Nava Sky Bar, Restaurant & Observation Deck, which is set to become a new landmark for visitors to Hua Hin. Designed by Bangkok-based consultant Ashley Sutton, the mastermind behind some of Asia’s most famous bars, including Maggie Choo’s and Iron Fairies in Bangkok and Ophelia in Hong Kong, this rooftop destination features a dramatic glass-bottomed deck 110 metres above ground, offering some of the most spectacular views of Hua Hin Bay.And with 950 square metres of flexible event space, including five function rooms and one of Hua Hin’s largest ballrooms, Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin is also a unique destination for outstanding meetings, impressive incentives and memorable weddings.“We are delighted to welcome guests to Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin,” said Franck Rodriguez, the resort’s General Manager. “With our unique setting at Vana Nava Hua Hin Water Jungle and extensive range of facilities, the resort is not just a place to stay – it is a destination in its own right.”Opening rates at Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin start from just THB 2,999++ per room per night (room only), including waterpark access. Children aged 12 and under can stay and eat for free. For high resolution image, please click here.“I am confident that Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin will become hugely popular with both local and international guests, including families seeking a fun-filled break from the city. Our extensive function space also provides a fantastic new option for unforgettable events. We look forward to introducing guests to this remarkable new resort,” Mr Rodriguez added.For visitors wanting to explore the local area, Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin provides a complimentary shuttle bus service to Hua Hin Beach, which is less than 10 minutes’ drive from the resort. Alternatively, the Hua Hin area, home to some of Thailand’s top golf courses, wineries and national parks, provides great opportunities for local exploration.With its unique setting, seamless guest experience and intuitive RFID technology, Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin is set to become a new landmark destination on Thailand’s Gulf coast.Opening OfferOpening rates at Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin start from just THB 2,999++ per room per night (room only), including waterpark access. Valid for bookings from now until February 2018, for stays between 15 December 2017 and 30 April 2018. This rate is applicable for weekday stays only (Sunday to Friday), except long weekends, public holidays and festive holidays.For more information and to book your stay at Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin, Click Here. Source = Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hinlast_img read more

Rayavadee early board offer

first_imgSource = Rayavadee Rayavadee early board offerRayavadee early board offerRayavadee has announced an Early Bird Offer of 10 percent savings on contract rates for new bookings received until 28 February 2018 for travel to the acclaimed Thai resort from 1 March to 29 March and 3 April to 10 May 2018.The Rayavadee Early Bird Offer is available on bookings across all room categories and includes daily breakfast, an additional bed and third person occupancy.The offer can be combined with Bonus Night and Honeymoon Offers only.A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Rayavadee presents award-winning architecture, fine cuisine, a relaxation spa and a fleet of speedboats for excursions to surrounding islands.Set within the spectacular scenery of Krabi’s Marine National Park in the heart of the Phranang Peninsular on southern Thailand’s Andaman coast, Rayavadee features 98 luxurious pavilions and four beachfront villas spread over 26 acres of coconut groves and tropical landscapes, set against a backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs and bordered by three beaches.Whether guests are looking to visit a deserted beach at sunset or spend the day on a luxurious speedboat visiting Phi Phi Island or Phang Nga Bay, the array of sea excursions promise exhilarating adventure and romance. One can kayak through a pristine mangrove forest, climb aboard an elephant for a ramble through the Krabi landscape, scale a rock wall with a private rock climbing instructor, hike a nature trail to a waterfall, learn to scuba dive or discover the art of Thai cooking.Bookings of the Rayavadee Early Bird Offer can be made through preferred Thailand wholesalers or email Svetlana Jovanovic at The Unique Tourism Collection on svetlana@uniquetourism.com quoting AUS Early Bird Offer.last_img read more

FarEast adventure with MSC Cruises

first_imgFar-East adventure with MSC CruisesFar-East adventure with MSC CruisesIn August this year, MSC Splendida will set sail on an eight-night round-trip from Yokohama, taking in some of Japan’s most beautiful natural, historic and present-day sights in addition to Vladivostok in Russia.In Japan, each port offers a fascinating insight into the many different facets of the Japanese way of life, from gleaming high-rise cities to exquisite gardens, traditional ceremonies and crafts, ancient temples and castles.  The Japanese archipelago is also blessed with many scenic wonders – hot springs, forests and rivers – and the famous snow-capped cone of Mt Fuji.The first port of call is Muroran, Japan where guests can visit the replica Ainu village of thatched buildings, illustrating how the traditional Ainu people lived. The next port is Aomori, Japan with highlights including the Buddhist Seiry-ji Temple, made entirely of wood and the Asamushi Onsen for a hot spa experience.Vladivostok, Russia will delight with its 19th-century Triumphal Arch and 19th-century St. Virgin Assumption Church, a wooden structure that was destroyed in 1938 and rebuilt in 1997. The domed Pokrovsky Cathedral, which fared badly under Soviet rule, was rebuilt in its original spot in 2007. Savour the fabulous views of Golden Horn Bay before heading to Sendai in Japan.From Sendai, guests can cross to the sacred Kinkasan Island. From the highest point on the island, enjoy superb views of Sendai and the Kurikoma Mountains. Then visit the Koganeyama Jinja Shrine, an 8th-century structure, built in honour of the Shinto kami of good fortune. It is said that visiting the shrine three years in a row will cure all financial problems of the faithful pilgrim!Three separate days at sea offer the chance for guests to make the most of MSC Splendida ’s many attractions. Wining and dining is world-class with dozens of bars and restaurants offering dining options from Mediterranean dishes to spicy Tex-Mex. Guests can enjoy live music every night in different venues around the ship and spectacular shows are staged in the stunning Strand Theatre.   Click here for 360 degree virtual tour of MSC Splendida. Wake up to a view from a stylish oceanview cabin with panoramic window or be tempted by a private spacious balcony cabin.  From an interior cabin to whichever you may choose you’ll love the designer décor and superior comfort.MSC Splendida’s eight-night Yokohama round-trip cruise departs August 2, 2018. Fares start from $AU1,749* per person (NZ$1,949 per person) twin share.Book today and secure your cabin on this Far-east adventure!  Call 1300 028 502, visit msccruises.com.au or call your local travel agent.Source = MSC Cruiseslast_img read more

West Alexander Fair hosts fall tourism events

first_imgOfficials from West Alexander Fair and Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency gathered at the fairgrounds to start off the fair and other fall tourism events.The colourful display, which was present at the fair was sponsored by the fair board and Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency, which also officially kicked off the county’s fall season of tourism events.According to WCTPA President Jeff Kotula, tourism continues to be one of the largest industries in the county, accounting for nearly $750 million in direct annual visitor spending and supporting nearly 6,000 jobs.Carrie Fischer Lepore, deputy secretary of the Office of Marketing, Tourism and Film for the state Department of Community & Economic Development, added Pennsylvania is home to more than 109 agricultural fairs, which attract more than 5.5 million visitors annually and contribute more than $126 million to the state economy.“It’s an economic generator in both production and tourism,” Kotula said.Fair board member Dwight Hunter said the 40-acre fairgrounds generates income on a nearly year-round basis, something that illustrates the progress it’s made over its long history.It now hosts weddings, graduation parties, family reunions, weekly tractor pulls and a farmers market open from May to October.last_img read more

Velocify Releases Playbook of Top Sales Strategies

first_img “”Velocify””:http://www.velocify.com/?campaignid=115&kw=Purchase13, a provider of cloud-based intelligent sales automation software headquartered in California, announced it has published a free e-book designed to help mortgage originators increase sales.[IMAGE]Presented in the format of a football coach’s playbook, “”The Mortgage Purchase Playbook”” features strategies from experts like “”MBS Highway’s””:http://mbshighway.com/ Barry Habib, Mortgage Champions’ Dale Vermillion, and the “”STRATMOR Group’s””:http://www.stratmorgroup.com/ Garth Graham, among others. Key topics include motivating buyers to commit to the lending process, using technology to improve sales speed, and recruiting referral partners to boost leads.According to Kelly Booth, mortgage market director for Velocify, the idea for the e-book stemmed from ideas expressed at the company’s “”Virtual Mortgage Sales Summit””:https://themreport.com/articles/velocify-to-host-virtual-mortgage-sales-summit-2013-10-08, a day-long event in October in which originators from all over the United States shared their thoughts on converting leads into closed loans.””With the origination market undergoing a tremendous shift, lenders using last year’s sales techniques to win business will struggle,”” Booth said. “”However, at our Virtual Mortgage Sales Summit, we were treated to many innovative sales ideas that were too good not to share. This playbook gives all lenders some options to ‘score’ new business and increase their performance.””Booth added that the playbook is designed to serve as a companion to Velocify’s new Engage for Mortgage Purchase solution, an automated guided selling program created to help industry professionals build better relationships with borrowers and real estate partners.””Basically, our Mortgage Purchase Playbook provides originators the strategies they need while Engage for Mortgage Purchase gives them the means to execute them,”” Booth explained.””The Mortgage Purchase Playbook: 7 Winning Plays from Mortgage Industry Experts”” is available at no cost on Velocify’s “”website””:http://pages.velocify.com/MortgagePurchasePlaybook.html?campaignid=115&kw=mortgageplaybook. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-11-20 Tory Barringer in Origination Velocify Releases Playbook of Top Sales Strategiescenter_img November 20, 2013 454 Views Sharelast_img read more

LenderLive Welcomes Two New Regional Account Executives

first_imgLenderLive Welcomes Two New Regional Account Executives LenderLive Network Movers & Shakers 2015-02-04 Tory Barringer February 4, 2015 532 Views in Headlines, Newscenter_img Share LenderLive Network, a national mortgage services provider headquartered in Colorado, introduced on Tuesday the two newest regional account executives for its Correspondent Lending division: Andrew Lion and Wendy Lovett.Lion, whose territory will include Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, brings more than 10 years of experience as a mortgage professional working in retail, wholesale, and correspondent lending platforms. Most recently, he was an account executive for Amerisave Institutional Lending, where he assisted in developing the company’s third-party origination correspondent and wholesale lending channel from Northern California.Lovett, meanwhile, will represent LenderLive in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. She has more than 15 years of mortgage industry experience and joins the company from Stonegate Mortgage, where she assistance in developing correspondent and emerging banking and business channels as sales director. Previously, she was a top-producing VP and account executive at Credit Suisse.Both Lion and Lovett will work both current and prospective clients, including community banks and credit unions either participating in or considering LenderLive’s correspondent program.”There is growing demand for a better alternative when it comes to correspondent lending,” said David Vida, president of the LenderLive Correspondent Lending Division. “Clients are looking for new partners who can provide a consistent, superior acquisition experience and, at the same time, protect their customer relationships. Both Andrew and Wendy are seasoned professionals with long track records of working closely with correspondents and community banks to help them expand their mortgage businesses. They are important additions to our team and to LenderLive as a whole.”last_img read more

Goldman Sachs Consents to Pay 270 Million to Resolve RMBS Claims

first_img Share Goldman Sachs Pension Funds residential mortgage backed securities 2015-08-03 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Secondary Market August 3, 2015 617 Views center_img Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay approximately $270 million to resolve claims that it sold billions of dollars worth of faulty residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) to investors, according to multiple media reports.Pension funds led by NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare Fund of Illinois claim that Goldman misled them as to the quality of the loans underlying the RMBS before the 2008 financial crisis, according to a report from Bloomberg.Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally declined to comment when reached by email by MReport.This is not the first time Goldman Sachs has faced a lawsuit over the quality of the RMBS it has sold. In August 2014, Goldman agreed to pay $3.15 billion to settle a lawsuit filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) alleging that Goldman sold toxic RMBS to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for which FHFA is the conservator.In May, Goldman was ordered by an arbitrator to pay $100 million to National Australia Bank for a conflict of interest regarding MBS sales. Also in May, the New York Appeals Court reinstated a $120 million fraud claim first brought against Goldman Sachs by ACA Financial Guaranty Corp. in early 2013 regarding the sale of a pool of subprime mortgages.MBS-related suits perpetrated by investors against financial institutions over pre-crisis RMBS sales are expected to begin winding down now that the six-year statute of limitations is up. Last month, the New York Court of Appeals ruled in the in the case of Ace Securities v. DB Structured Products that the clock on the six-year statute of limitations for investors’ claims of breach of contract with regards to RMBS begins ticking on the date the contract for the securities was executed rather than at the time that the trustees fail to repurchase the underlying mortgages. Goldman Sachs Consents to Pay $270 Million to Resolve RMBS Claimslast_img read more

Risky Business OCC says Banks Getting Looser with Lending

first_img Share December 10, 2015 466 Views Banks Credit Risk Mortgage Lenders Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 2015-12-10 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, Newscenter_img A survey of 95 national banks and federal savings associations revealed overall on average, those institutions have eased their underwriting standards for the third consecutive year, according to a report from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).The 21st annual Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices conducted by the OCC showed that underwriting standards at those 95 institutions had not only eased during the period of 2013 to 2015, but reflected trends similar to those seen from 2005 to 2007 immediately prior to the crisis. The survey results cover the 12-month period ending June 30, 2015, and covers loans totaling $5.1 trillion, or about 94 percent of all loans in the federal banking system, according to the OCC.The survey found that due to the easing underwriting standards, the level of credit risk that came with the loans had increased significantly. A significant share of commercial and real estate loan products reflected increased risk from 2014, according to the OCC—and examiners expect both portfolios to see increased levels of risk over the next 12 months.“We are seeing trends very similar to those that examiners reported just prior to the most recent financial crisis,” said Jennifer C. Kelly, Senior Deputy Comptroller and Chief National Bank Examiner. “With credit risk on the rise, OCC examiners will remain focused on evaluating new loan originations to assess banks’ and federal savings associations’ efforts to maintain prudent underwriting standards and practices through this stage of the credit cycle.”Seven categories were included when calculating underwriting standards for retail products: Affordable housing, conventional home equity, credit cards, direct consumer lending, high loan-to-value home equity, indirect consumer lending, and residential first mortgages. From 2014 to 2015, the percentage of banks surveyed that eased their underwriting standards across the seven retail products categories jumped from 22 percent to 27 percent (the highest level since 2006) while the share of banks that tightened underwriting standards tumbled from 10 percent in 2014 to1 percent in 2015, according to the OCC.In residential real estate lending, the share of banks that eased underwriting standards rose from 10 percent in 2014 up to13 percent in 2015, while the share that tightened underwriting standards plummeted from 20 percent in 2014 to 6 percent in 2015.Click here to view the OCC’s complete survey. Risky Business: OCC says Banks Getting Looser with Lendinglast_img read more

Le Boat

first_imgLe Boat It’s Le Boat’s biggest sale of the year and you only have until Thursday 2 February 2017 to grab deals of up to 20% off a holiday on the waterways of France, Belgium and Ireland.For all trips of seven nights and more and valid for travel in 2017 only.20% off France (excluding Lot region) 1 to 4-star fleet20% off Belgium 1 to 4-star fleet20% off Ireland 1 to 4-star fleet10% off 5-star fleet in France, Ireland & Belgium (excluding Horizon cruiser & Lot Region in France) combinable up to 15%Minimum duration: 7 nights or moreValid for travel in 2017 ONLYlast_img read more

The 5 Takeaways from the Coyotes introduction of

first_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Three years ago the Arizona Cardinals lost seven games in a row.Last season they dropped six straight.This season? The losing skid is at six and counting. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt’s tenure in the desert started well enough, as his team won eight, nine and 10 games in his first three seasons. Arizona won the NFC West twice during that stretch and even reached the Super Bowl.But things have gone south since Kurt Warner retired, as the offense is unable to play well enough to support a playoff-caliber defense. And given the fact that Whisenhunt is an offensive coach, one wonders how safe his job will be barring a strong finish to the 2012 season. Top Stories “In the National Football League, quite simply, you like guys, you don’t like guys, whatever you feel towards a guy is irrelevant,” ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo, “you have to win. 0 Comments   Share   ErrorOKFree Rate QuoteCall now 623-889-0130 ErrorOKlast_img read more

Cardinals Average Power Ranking 127 up from 14

first_imgCardinals Average Power Ranking: 12.7(up from 14.8 last week)High Ranking: #8 (NFL.com)Low Ranking: #18 (Bleacher Report) It wasn’t anything you’d put in a time capsule to commemorate because of its beauty, but the Arizona Cardinals pretty much dominated the New York Jets 28-3 on Monday Night Football.The win was the Cards’ second in a row — and the second to feature running back David Johnson as the focal point of the offense. The second-year star ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns in the victory, which got Arizona back up to .500 heading into a Sunday night showdown with NFC-leading Seattle at University of Phoenix Stadium. – / 33 Bruce Arians’ squad is also climbing most national NFL power rankings (except ESPN’s, which actually dropped them three spots after a 25-point win, but whatever) heading into Week 7.Here’s a rundown of what some prominent national outlets (and ArizonaSports.com) are saying about the Cardinals: Meanwhile, the Cardinals are recapturing their old defensive form. The sacks weren’t there in Week 6, but Tyrann Mathieu was. Teams are testing his lateral quickness on drag routes and pick plays; the Honey Badger is looking better every week. Only five teams field a better scoring defense than Arizona’s right now.NFL Power Rankings: 49ers are league’s worst team and might be for a whileCardinals rank: #12 (▲ 1)David Johnson is amazing. He has quickly become one of the best players in the NFL.USA Today Power Rankings – Week 7Cardinals rank: #15 (–)RB David Johnson has five TDs over past two games, both Arizona wins. It appears Bruce Arians’ play-calling duties just got easier.NFL Week 7 power rankingsCardinals rank: #10 (▲ 2)Are the Cardinals back? Was a game against the paltry Jets all they needed? There’s still a long way to go before we crown them an NFC powerhouse, but perhaps this was the spark Arizona needed. David Johnson is an absolute stud, and the secondary is playing as well as any in the NFL – mostly thanks to Tyrann Mathieu moving back to nickel corner.PFT’s Week Seven Power RankingsCardinals rank: #14 (▲ 4) David Johnson will soon be the best running back in the NFL. And by soon I mean right now. Arizona Sports Week 7 NFL Power Rankings: Vikings still on top; Cardinals riseCardinals rank: #10 (▲ 1)Climbing back up. Real clarity comes in the next two weeks.Week 7 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots slip past Vikings for No. 1Cardinals rank: #13 (▼ 3)833: Carson Palmer had a strong bounce-back game against the Jets, taking no sacks and throwing no picks. Palmer’s best work, however, was handing off or throwing to David Johnson, who leads the NFL with 833 yards from scrimmage this season.NFL Power Rankings, Week 7: Cowboys soaring; AFC North fallsCardinals rank: #8 (▲ 5)Look out, NFL. The offense looked balanced behind phenom David Johnson. The defense? Made big plays all over the field, including a red-zone takeaway to thwart the Jets’ last real chance to get in the game. Agreed with Jon Gruden on the ESPN broadcast that Michael Floyd’s prospective reemergence could be the key to Arizona reemerging as an NFC contender. The lone downer: Seeing Jaron Brown, a solid contributor, get hurt on a meaningless completion late. Hate that kind of stuff. Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) scores a touchdown against the New York Jets during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments   Share   Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling NFL Week 7 Power Rankings: The list of true contenders is a very short oneCardinals rank: #12 (▲ 3)The Cardinals’ offense is undergoing a transition akin to a dad teaching his son how to drive a car. It starts with the dad giving directions from the passenger seat while the son takes a spin in an empty parking lot, and ends with the son speeding off while the dad stands wistful in the driveway. So, hey Carson Palmer, just give David Johnson the keys already.NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys crack the top five, Raiders, Eagles plungeCardinals rank: #16 (▲ 1)They looked good beating the Jets, but now they face a big division battle with the rival Seahawks. Are they ready for that?NFL power rankings 2016, Week 7: The Vikings and Patriots are neck-and-neck for No. 1Cardinals rank: #12 (▲ 4)No comment.Chris Simms’ NFL Power Rankings Ahead of Week 7Cardinals rank: #18 (▲ 1)Arizona’s offensive play-calling in one word? Brilliant.Everyone and their sister expected a deep-ball-centric attack from Bruce Arians. He was a step ahead; pass-catchers from John Brown to Jaron Brown faked the long pattern only to cut back for easy completions. Carson Palmer could cruise with those throws and David Johnson’s heavy lifting. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

Follow Craig Grialou on Twitter

first_imgFollow Craig Grialou on Twitter The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Comments   Share   Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling This will be the second straight game Mathieu has missed since hurting the shoulder in the second quarter at Carolina, just ahead of the bye week.The Cardinals’ remaining inactives include wide receiver Chris Hubert, cornerback Tharold Simon, guard Cole Toner plus defensive tackles Robert Nkemdiche, Corey Peters and Olsen Pierre.Both Simon (ankle) and Peters (foot) are hurt. Peters did not practice at all during the week.The good news is safety Deone Bucannon is OK to play despite dealing with an ankle issue that kept him off the practice field on Wednesday and Thursday.For the Vikings, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee) and guard Zac Kerin (hand) are out due to injury.The others not in uniform for Minnesota are quarterback Taylor Heinicke, tackle Rashod Hill, tight end David Morgan, linebacker Edmond Robinson and wide receiver Jarius Wright.Winning on the road has not come easy for the Cardinals this season, especially when the game kicks off early as it does today.“I don’t know what time we kick off,” quarterback Carson Palmer said Wednesday. “I don’t really pay attention to that until we get later in the week. Sunday is Sunday, whether it’s 6:30 p.m. and you have a little more time on your hands, or 1:15, or whatever it is. There is not much of a change in prep.”center_img Three weeks ago, safety Tyrann Mathieu suffered a shoulder injury, and while he was hopeful he’d be able to play this week at Minnesota, he will not.The Arizona Cardinals made it official Sunday, listing Mathieu among their seven gameday inactives against the Vikings.Mathieu had been limited in practice all week, and he was designated as questionable on the final injury report.“Ty ran around good. The shoulder is sore, and we’ll see how it goes,” head coach Bruce Arians said Friday. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

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first_img 0 Comments   Share   TEMPE, Ariz. — If nothing else, Trevor Knight looks the part of an NFL quarterback.At 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, he has arm strength to spare along with athleticism and excellent speed for the position.The question now, as he begins rookie camp with the Arizona Cardinals, is if he can grow into the job.If it is to happen, the process began Friday.“Living a dream out here,” he said after his first NFL practice. “First day’s a little chaotic, trying to put in a new offense after only being here 24 hours. That athleticism — at the NFL Scouting Combine he ran a 4.54 second 40-yard dash, which was the fastest among QBs in Indianapolis, and was also the top performer among passers on both the vertical and broad jumps — has some thinking that his future may not be at quarterback.Knight, however, said he is confident he can play QB in the NFL, and though his college career featured its share of ups and downs, his final season in College Station convinced him he can play the position at a high level.The concept of switching to a new position is not something he has thought about, and the confidence Arians has shown in him makes him feel good about his prospects under center.“Obviously I didn’t get drafted, but just the way that he approached me coming into camp and even moving forward after that, he feels really confident in my skill level, and that made me feel good,” Knight said.In terms of where he needs to improve, Knight said the key is being more consistent. He is excited to learn from the team’s veteran passers, like starter Carson Palmer, and is not particularly worried about the number of quarterbacks who are currently with the team.Including Knight and Antonio Pipkin, who is also in rookie camp (but on a tryout basis), the Cardinals have six quarterbacks in the fold. Knight said he cannot spend time looking over his shoulder, and instead will work hard, be a good teammate, learn and do the best he can. His highlight was a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama in which he completed 32-of-44 passes for 348 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. That effort really put him on the map, and it caught the attention of Cardinals coach Bruce Arians.Knight started 10 games the following season, completing 56.6 percent of his passes for 2,300 yards and 14 touchdowns with 12 picks. He added five touchdowns on the ground, but lost his grasp on the starting job the following season and chose to transfer after graduating.He landed at Texas A&M, where in 11 games he completed 53.3 percent of his passes for 2,432 yards and 19 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He added another 10 scores as a runner, but suffered a shoulder injury late in the season and after winning seven of their first eight games to start the season, the Aggies struggled in his absence, ultimately finishing 8-5.Arians was impressed with Knight on Friday, saying he showed good grasp of the offense and threw the ball well.“He had a rough, sore shoulder almost all season, and his arm is healthy,” the coach said Friday. “He threw one about 55 yards down there today.“But the athleticism he brings with the position, he showed already today.” “But the coaches understand; they understand it’s not going to be perfect. They just want to see how react to it, how you handle the stress and how you make one mistake, but don’t make it again.”That Knight is in Arizona working with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians and the rest of the staff is no accident. An undrafted rookie free agent pickup, he said he and his agent felt Arizona offered the best opportunity for him.“After the conversations I had with Coach Arians and Coach (Byron) Leftwich and everybody else on the staff, I just felt comfortable,” he said. “Like my future was best here in Arizona.”As an undrafted rookie free agent pickup rather than a player in camp on a tryout, Knight figures to have more than just this weekend to show the coaches what he is made of.In some ways, he did not always get that chance in college.A four-star prospect coming out of high school as a dual-threat quarterback, he began his career at Oklahoma by redshirting in 2012, and in 2013 was named the team’s starting quarterback. He started five games and played in eight overall, completing 79-of-134 passes for 819 yards with nine touchdowns and five interceptions that season while also running for two scores. Trevor Knight breaks the huddle during Cardinals rookie camp on May 12, 2017. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelocenter_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories This weekend, with only rookies on the field, he has a chance to prove the team should keep him around.“They throw a lot at you and you’ve got to make it stick; it’s not what sticks, it’s you’ve got to make all of it stick, and then just go make plays,” Knight said of his first weekend in the NFL. “But he (Arians) stressed in our team meeting when we first got here, it’s still just football — don’t make it any bigger than it is.“It’s the next step up, it’s the highest level of football, but don’t stress out about that. Just do what you do, do what you know, and go do a good job with it.”Follow Adam Green on Twitter Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

Josh3Rosens first career throw 🎯🎯🎯 LACvsAZ

first_img.@Josh3Rosen’s first career throw?🎯🎯🎯 #LACvsAZ pic.twitter.com/JQba9arVXp— NFL (@NFL) August 12, 2018Rosen showed his ability to be mobile and move out of the pocket to avoid getting sacked. #CAPSZN pic.twitter.com/ajfw57hNmb— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 12, 2018Fourth-string quarterback Charles Kandoff was the only Cardinal with a touchdown pass, on a nice 14-yard throw to tight end Bryce Williams. In case you missed @ChristianDavon2’s first career touch…😱😱😱 #LACvsAZ pic.twitter.com/MgrYKwzI0f— NFL (@NFL) August 12, 2018Another rookie, Josh Rosen, also made his preseason debut. He threw for 41 yards on an efficient six completions on 13 passes. The 10th overall pick in the NFL Draft grabbed low snaps and faced pressure, as protection was inconsistent. .@jaycash_16 scoops. @jaycash_16 SCORES!@AZCardinals can take this one to the bank. #LACvsAZ pic.twitter.com/1CW0LEZodp— NFL (@NFL) August 12, 2018Cornerback Bené Benwikere tipped a pass that A.J. Howard intercepted and returned for seven yards. 0 Comments   Share   That. Burst. Good to have you back, @DavidJohnson31. #LACvsAZ pic.twitter.com/T8MHzuuMH8— NFL (@NFL) August 12, 2018Johnson’s backup, Chase Edmonds, came in and scored on an impressive run breaking multiple tackles at the goal line. He finished with five carries for 11 yards and the Cardinals only touchdown of the first half. That @josh3rosen kid miiiiight be a keeper. Watch the throw. 👀💪 #LACvsAZ pic.twitter.com/zCyZgSTchN— NFL (@NFL) August 12, 2018Linebacker Jeremy Cash scored on a fumble recovery in the second half. It was the only score for the Cardinals until the third quarter. Cash was later carted off the field due to a knee injury. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories Second effort.Third effort.Fourth effort.Touchdown. A+++ for effort, @ChaseEdmonds22. #LACvsAZ pic.twitter.com/hVrcpNY4EI— NFL (@NFL) August 12, 2018Hometown rookie Christian Kirk had a special moment in his debut, returning a punt for 38 yards before tripping and falling trying to fake out the defending punter on a potential touchdown. Arizona Cardinals tight end Bryce Williams (80) scores a touchdown as Los Angeles Chargers linebacker D’Juan Hines (59) pursues during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Together we can do more.@TUoffTOz with the tip. @aj25howard with the pick! pic.twitter.com/5ONBuBXHV9— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 12, 2018Cap Capi lead the defense in making plays, finishing with three sacks and a force fumble. Notable @Princeton alumni: Woodrow Wilson, James Madison, @AZCardinals reserve QB Charles Kanoff. @IvyLeague represent! #LACvsAZ pic.twitter.com/NhmbDRfBGH— NFL (@NFL) August 12, 2018The Cardinals won the preseason opener 24-17. Next game will be against the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 17. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Arizona Cardinals fans can finally rejoice: Football is back.Granted, it’s preseason football, but fans still showed up Saturday night to host the Los Angeles Chargers.After missing 15 games last season, running back David Johnson returned with two solid runs for 28 total yards before coach Steve Wilks sat him for the night. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories Since divisional realignment in the NFL in 2002, 21 teams have made the jump from finishing last place in their division, to first place the next season.It’s never happened in the NFC West.There have been 128 teams that have had the chance to make the jump from worst to first and only 16% of teams have actually accomplished the feat.The Cardinals hope that a high-volume roster turnover, including a new quarterback, will do the trick. 24 Comments   Share   Related LinksPatrick Peterson’s absence from voluntary OTAs not captain-likeOn 1st day of OTAs, Cardinals’ Kingsbury tight-lipped about offenseCardinals’ Kirk on former college teammate Murray: ‘He’s just electric’Cardinals support Patrick Peterson, other absent vets at voluntary OTAsThe good news for the Cardinals is that at least one team in the NFL has made the worst-to-first jump every season except for 2014.Thirteen of the 21 teams have been out of the NFC.However, another mitigating factor for Arizona is that no team that has taken the No. 1 overall draft pick from the previous offseason and improved that high in the standings. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Arizona Cardinals’ Andy Isabella, center, works out with teammates during an NFL football organized team activity, Monday, May 20, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)last_img read more