All Nippon Airways (ANA) will return its Boeing 787 Dreamliner to service next month, while introducing the aircraft on new international routes.Boeing gained US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for its Dreamliner’s redesigned battery last month, following the completion of certification test flights.From 1 June 2013, Dreamliner’s will join ANA’s summer schedule, resulting in partial amendments to flight schedules for international and domestic services.The Japanese carrier’s 787’s will also be placed on three new international routes; Narita to Beijing and Shanghai and Haneda to Taipei.ANA experienced issues with the Dreamliner less than a year after purchase. “ANA’s priority is the safety of our passengers. Our engineers have worked closely with Boeing to undertake the required improvements and we are fully satisfied with the safety of our 787 fleet,” ANA president and chief executive Osamu Shinobe said.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Aircraft to also service 3 new international routes.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) have identified three critical factors to ensure that Asia-Pacific continues to realize the enormous economic and social benefits of air connectivity.The three factors are continuous safety enhancement, the availability of cost-efficient infrastructure and environmental responsibility.IATA’s director general and CEO Tony Tyler, said that the industry is growing in Asia Pacific however there are steps to be taken to keep it controllable.“It is no understatement to say that air connectivity underpins modern economies, aviation and aviation-enabled tourism accounts for over 24 million jobs and over AUD$500 billion in economic activity across the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Tyler said.Globally some 3.3 billion passengers are expected to board flights this year, and is expected to grow to 7.3 billion by 2034, taking into account connecting flights that consists of some 2.8 billion journeys today, growing to 6.1 billion by 2034.“Aviation is an industry with tremendous potential. Asia-Pacific is leading the industry’s growth. But there will be challenges to become ever safer, to provide cost-efficient infrastructure and to ensure environmental responsibility,” Mr Tyler said.Keeping pace with expected growth will be a challenge for infrastructure, however this is being addressed with some $3 billion earmarked for improvements in air traffic capacity and management.Airlines are making solid progress on targets to achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020 and to cut net emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2050.Along with long-term measures to improve technology, operations and infrastructure, achieving these challenging targets will also require access (at least in the short-term) to market-based measures.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman
Royal Caribbean orders fourth quantum class vesselRoyal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL) today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Meyer Werft in Germany to order a fourth Quantum-class ship for delivery in 2019, sister ship to Australia’s recently announced Ovation of the Seas.“Today’s announcement is a reflection of the success of the first two Quantum-class ships,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We have received a remarkable response from travel agent partners and travellers, and are thrilled that we’ll be able to deliver another revolutionary ship with our partners at Meyer Werft.”“The fourth Quantum class vessel will be a trailblazer in smart-ship design and cruise innovation,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Royal Caribbean International is synonymous with adventure, and the icons and amenities on this ship will continue to challenge and expand guests’ expectations of the cruise experience.”Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are $1.6 billion, $2.3 billion, $0.4 billion, $2.4 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively.Capacity increases for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are expected to be 5.5%, 6.3%, 3.1%, 3.9% and 6.5%, respectively. These figures do not include potential ship sales or additions that the company may elect to make in the future.The order is contingent upon the completion of customary conditions, including financing.Royal Caribbean Cruises Source = Royal Caribbean Cruises
Source = Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok Awarded “Top 10 Loved by Guests”Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok Awarded “Top 10 Loved by Guests”Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok is proud and delighted to be the recipient of 4th position in the Hotels.com “Top 10 Loved by Guests” awards for luxury properties worldwide; which offer their guests the height of outstanding comfort, amenities, facilities and service.The prestigious Hotels.com Loved by Guests Awards is an annual awards program where the guests are the real judges. It celebrates and recognizes hotels that have achieved the best average review rating, determined by over 20 million genuine and trusted reviews from guests of the hotels. Hotels.com is one of the world’s leading websites for hotel bookings and lists over 325,000 properties in nearly 19,000 locations making them a true market leader in their field.Upon being informed of the award, Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok’s General Manager, Mr. Patrick Manthe stated: “Receiving this award is a real honor coming as it does from the thousands of satisfied guests we warmly welcome every year to Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. It is a testament to the effort of my entire team; which strives endlessly to provide our valued visitors with a stay that surpasses their expectations and leaves them with some truly wonderful memories of their time with us. I would like to thank each and every one of our guests for allowing us to be a part of their trip to Thailand and promise that we will do our utmost to satisfy them to the very best of our ability whenever they walk through our doors.”Chatrium Hotel Riverside is located on the bank of the capital’s majestic Chao Phraya River, or the “The River of Kings”; offering unsurpassed views of the metropolis. With a brand promise of “Live the Remarkable”, this luxury multiple award-winning 5-star property is the natural choice for superlative accommodation with its seamless blending of 396 luxuriously appointed and spacious contemporary rooms and suites with renowned warm and friendly Thai hospitality. Each guestroom or suite comes with a choice of river or cityscape view from the comfort of your bed or private balcony. The hotel’s impressive facilities include 6 restaurants and bars, meeting and conference areas, a spa, health club and pool garden. Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkokbook your accommodation here
THAI Signs MOU with Civil Aviation Authority of ThailandTHAI Signs MOU with Civil Aviation Authority of ThailandMrs. Usanee Sangsingkeo, Acting President, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) and Mr. Chula Sukmanop, Director General, The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), on behalf of the company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish cooperation in aviation development at THAI’s Head Office. The objective of the collaboration is to further enhance aviation control and safety in response to international aviation safety standard. The mutual cooperation includes aviation trainings such as personnel development, and flight training to increase operational efficiency in the aviation industry.Source = Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI)
Source = PRU at Trisara Phuket PRU is the very first and only Restaurant in Phuket to receive the prestigious accoladePRU is the very first and only Restaurant in Phuket to receive the prestigious accoladeMontara Hospitality’s Farm-To-Table Restaurant, “PRU” at Trisara Phuket, was awarded One Michelin Star at the ‘Michelin Guide Thailand Star Revelation 2019’ Gala Awards Presentation at Park Hyatt Bangkok. PRU is the very first and only Restaurant in Phuket to receive the prestigious accolade. “Seafood at Trisara” restaurant also received the exciting Michelin Plate designation.The restaurant’s critically acclaimed Chef de Cuisine Jim Ophorst is touted as an “inspiring voice of change” for elevating the farm-to-table movement in Thailand. Chef Jim, 29, is originally from the Netherlands and renowned for his imaginative cooking style and innovative techniques. In 2016, Chef Jim joined Montara’s Trisara where his raw talent and conviction inspired the conception of PRU. He is a two-time semi-finalist for S. Pellegrino’s annual Young Chefs Award in 2016 and 2017.PRU’s culinary concept “Plant, Raise, Understand” stems from Chef Jim and his team’s close relationship with local suppliers and farmers as well as the opportunities to forage and discover new ingredients from the restaurant’s own farm “Pru Jampa”. The farm neighbors’ beautiful lakes whose banks are home to various local plants, herbs, organic vegetable gardens, free-range chickens and ducks.“I’m excited to discover new ingredients all the time because it pushes my creative boundaries,” said Chef Jim. “My ultimate goal is to create a 100% locally sourced menu. To cook something great, you need great products from great farmers. Great farmers are from strong communities. So, at PRU, we don’t want to be just a kitchen. We want to strengthen the local farmer community. This will yield better ingredients for better dishes at PRU. At the end, it is all about the happiness in every angle – from the farmers, to the restaurant team, to the guests at our tables”, added Chef Jim.Located at the ultra-luxe Trisara resort, PRU is now officially part of the exclusive collective of dining establishments that can refer to themselves as Michelin-starred. For Montara Hospitality, the recognition signals greater aspirations for growth within in the culinary scene. “The Michelin Star Award for PRU puts Phuket on the foodies’ world map and establishes Montara as a leader of innovative culinary destinations.” said Quentin Fougeroux, Montara’s Group Director of Food and Beverage.In addition to PRU, Seafood at Trisara, which serves authentic southern Thai dishes based on treasured family heirloom recipes, was awarded the Michelin Plate. The hotel’s Executive Chef Kla Prakobkit presents a menu featuring local favorites made from scratch and showcasing produces sustainably sourced. Chef Kla, a former apprentice to Michelin wizards, has been with the resort since its opening in 2004. “At Trisara, we see many guests return year after year, hence we want to ensure that with every visit they have the opportunity to enjoy new dining experiences.” said Kla. He and his team have always been intrigued by the traditional Thai recipes of older generations, and with Seafood at Trisara they are taking this inspiration to a new level. On a regular basis, the team explores new regions and draws inspiration from “secret local recipes”, many of which have been passed down over many generations.“We are extremely excited to have been presented with such prestigious awards and look forward to continue making our mark in the culinary scene in Phuket and beyond,” said Mr. Kittisak Pattamasaevi, Chief Commercial Officer of Montara Hospitality Group, owner and operator of Trisara Phuket.PRU is open for dinner from 6.30 pm on Monday to Saturday. For more information, please visit www.prurestaurant.com.Seafood is open Daily from 6.00 pm. For more information on Seafood at Trisara, please visitAbout PRULaunched in November 2016, PRU is Montara’s latest restaurant at the ultra-luxe Trisara resort in Phuket. Our goal is to create a unique culinary experience celebrating products from the Andaman terroir, and the best ingredients to be found around Thailand. As part of the process, the team currently sources ingredients from PRU’s own farm and local purveyor communities of fishermen and farmers. Our goal is to source 75% of the ingredients from our own farm by the end of 2019 and ultimately 100% in the future.PRU is open Monday to Saturday for dinner from 6.30 pm. For more information: www.prurestaurant.comAbout SeafoodThe award-winning Seafood at Trisara was launched in 2016 with an exciting new culinary vision. Staying true to its reputation of sourcing only the best quality seafood and creating outstandingly exquisite dishes, Seafood at Trisara is inspired by authentic Thai family heirloom recipes passed through the generations, offered in a relaxed, ocean front settingSeafood is open Daily from 6.00 pm. For more information on Seafood at TrisaraAbout Montara HospitalityAs a Thai family, we take pride in sharing our natural and cultural heritage. We want our guests to experience our most sincere and innovative services that will bring them joy.We invest in best-in-class hospitality platforms that connect investors, lifestyle travelers, and innovative hoteliers.Our properties include Phuket’s most exclusive pool villa beach resort TRISARA, Bangkok’s only river mansion boutique hotel PRAYA PALAZZO, and the innovative movie house-turn-hotel PRINCE THEATRE HERITAGE STAY in Bangrak.We developed, own and manage Phuket Island’s most special resort experience TRISARA, in Sanskrit “The Garden in The Third Heaven”. Wrapped in a tropical forest and exotic gardens, the 60 spacious ocean facing pool villas and 2-6 bedroom private residences all embrace our own quiet bay on Phuket’s sophisticated and natural north-western coastline, just 15 minutes from Phuket Airport. Accolades include being part of the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List for the 4th consecutive year by 2018.In late 2017, we acquired PRAYA PALAZZO, a 17-bedroom century-old Italian style mansion directly on Chao Phraya river in Bangkok. With legendary heritage and architectural beauty, PRAYA PALAZZO was honored with accolades including Prime Minister’s “2014-2015 Thailand Boutique Awards” under “Luxury Thematic River/Lake Hotel” category, and “2011 Architectural Conservation Award” selected by The Association of Siamese Architects under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King.We launched PRINCE THEATRE HERITAGE STAY in early 2018. PRINCE THEATRE is Bangkok’s only movie house turn boutique hotel. The 26-room, 130-bed property is located at the heart of Bangrak, Bangkok’s renowned street food paradise and creative district. PRINCE THEATRE is the showcase property of Heritage Stay Company, which seeks to re-imagine how travelers connect with Thailand’s rich local heritage. For more information on Montara, please visit www.montarahospitality.com
Fiji Airways Wins Best Airline Staff in APACFiji Airways, Fiji’s National Airline has been awarded the coveted Skytrax 4-Star rating at the 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards in Paris, joining a select group of elite airlines in this prestigious category.At the same Skytrax World Airline Awards in Paris, Fiji Airways also leapfrogged from 4th to 1st place to take up “Best Airline Staff in Australia Pacific”, signalling the airline’s continued commitment to world class service and customer experience.The Skytrax World Airline Awards are one of the most sought after quality accolades for airlines. Skytrax benchmarks traveller opinion and carries out quality evaluations around a number of key categories and principles for airlines around the world. Skytrax Ratings are recognised as a global benchmark for airlines. A 4-Star Rating is a mark of distinction that recognises excellent standards, showcasing an airline’s unwavering commitment to provide high quality product and service values both onboard and on the ground. Fiji Airways joins airlines such as Emirates, British Airways, Etihad, Air New Zealand and Qantas as a 4-Star airline.“Best Airline Staff in Australia Pacific” recognises the combined airline staff service for both onboard and ground staff, in the Australia Pacific region through passenger feedback and Skytrax evaluation.Mr. Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO, believes the 4-Star rating and award is a testament to the airline’s hard work over the past four years, and the excellent customer experience the Fiji Airways’ staff deliver in the air and on the ground.“We are extremely proud to have been awarded a Skytrax 4-Star rating and the Best Airline Staff in Australia Pacific. The Skytrax Awards are highly prestigious and we are thrilled to be recognised with a 4-Star rating, a goal we set out to achieve in 2015. It has been a four-year improvement journey to raise us to a 4-Star airline status, after massive investments in customer experience, improvement in our product, and enhancing our service culture and standards through the UP! Your Service education programme.”“The Best Airline Staff Award is a highly contested accolade, which our staff and crew are humbled to have received. Fiji is famous for its world class hospitality and that underpins everything we do. Our commitment to be the best representatives of our beautiful home have borne fruitful rewards for us,” Mr Viljoen said.The 4-Star Rating and Best Airline Staff Award cap off a great first half of 2019 for the airline, having recently announced more investments with two new additions to its widebody fleet, the Airbus A350 XWB. The new aircraft are the latest step in the airline’s continued focus of offering a world class flying experience for travellers. Fiji Airways was also the launch airline to join the oneworld alliance as a oneworld connect partner.About Fiji Airways: Founded in 1951, Fiji Airways Group comprises of Fiji Airways, Fiji’s National Airline and its subsidiaries: Fiji Link, its domestic and regional carrier, Pacific Call Comm Ltd, and a 38.75% stake in the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on Denarau Island, Nadi. From its hubs at Nadi and Suva International Airports, Fiji Airways and Fiji Link serve 108 destinations in over 15 countries (including code-share). Destinations include Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK, Hong Kong (SAR China), Singapore, India, Japan, China, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. The Fiji Airways Group brings in 64 percent of all visitors who fly to Fiji, employs over 1000 employees, and earns revenues of over FJD$1 billion (USD $460m). Fiji Airways rebranded from Air Pacific in June 2013. Visit www.fijiairways.com for more information.Source = Fiji Airways
Viking OrionTravel + Leisure names Viking ‘world’s best’For the fourth consecutive year, Travel + Leisure (US) readers have voted Viking to the top of its categories in the 2019 World’s Best Awards.Viking was named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line for ships carrying 600-2,199 guests and one of the World’s Best River Cruise Lines. Since the launch of Viking’s ocean cruises in 2015, the company has been named a #1 Ocean Cruise Line every single year. Viking has also been voted a World’s Best River Cruise Line every year since the award’s inception in 2010.Travel + Leisure is the largest travel magazine brand in the US and since 1995 its readers have been asked to cast their votes for the World’s Best in cruising with considerations in the following cruise features: cabins/facilities, food, service itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities and value.“It is an unprecedented honor for a four-year-old ocean cruise line to be voted the world’s #1 ocean cruise line four years in a row,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “When we set out to reinvent ocean cruising, we knew travellers wanted something different and were interested in our destination-focused approach. We are pleased with the positive response from the travel industry and our guests. Thank you once again to the readers of Travel + Leisure for this prestigious award.”The announcement from Travel + Leisure adds to an impressive list of global accolades for Viking. Earlier this year, the company’s first five 930-guest sister ships, Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Sun and Viking Orion dominated the Cruise Critic 9th Annual Cruisers’ Choice Awards (US), receiving 11 First Place honors. All six of Viking’s ships have been awarded a top rating of five stars by Cruise Critic – and Viking also received five awards in the luxury ocean and river categories of Cruise Critic’s 2018 Editors’ Picks Awards (US). Viking was again named the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards – and has also been honored as “Best Cruise Line for Luxury Ocean Cruises” and “Best Luxury River Cruise Company” in Luxury Travel Advisor magazine’s 2018 “Awards of Excellence” for a second consecutive year.The full results of the awards can be found at www.travelandleisure.com/worlds-best.For additional information, contact Viking Cruises at 138 747 (AU) or 0800 447 913 (New Zealand) or visit vikingcruises.com.au.About Viking CruisesViking was founded in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. Designed for discerning travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises. In its first three years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure’s 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 “World’s Best” Awards. Viking currently operates a fleet of 78 vessels, offering scenic cruising on rivers and oceans around the world. In addition to the Travel + Leisure honours, Viking has also been honoured multiple times on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” as well as recognised by Cruise Critic as “Best Overall” Small-Mid size ship in the 2018 Cruisers’ Choice Awards (US), “Best River Cruise Line” and “Best River Itineraries,” with the entire Viking Longships fleet being named “Best New River Ships” in the website’s Editors’ Picks Awards (US).Source = Viking Cruises
THAI Celebrates 15th Anniversary of Flights to BengaluruTHAI Celebrates 15th Anniversary of Flights to BengaluruThai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of flights to Bengaluru, India. THAI celebrated 15 years of roundtrip flights from Bangkok to Bengaluru at the “Vibrancy of the Garden City” event that was held at the Shangri-La, Bengaluru to thank partners for their continual support and to introduce Thai smile to the Bengaluru market. More than 200 guests were in attendance, which included travel agents, cargo agents, airport authorities, and corporate customers. In 2004, THAI inaugurated flights to Bengaluru with initially four flights per week. Currently, THAI operates daily flights from Bangkok to Bengaluru. THAI has remained the preferred choice for passengers who travelled from Bengaluru to Thailand, Bali, Japan, Singapore, Philippines, China, and cities in the Indo-China region. THAI and Thai Smile operate flights from a total of eight cities in India, with flight connections in Thailand and beyond.From left to right:Mr. Saravuth Wongsomnuk (second from left), Manager of Corporate and Government Sales, Thai Smile Airways, Mr. Thamanoon Kuprasert (third from left), THAI General Manager of India, Thai Airways, Ms. Cholada Siddhivarn (fourth from left), Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand, Mumbai Office, H.E. Chutintorn Gongsaksi (fifth from left), Ambassador of Thailand to India, and Mr. Phiromtis Thongthaem Na Ayutthaya (sixth from left), THAI General Manager of Bengaluru.Source = THAI
Tourism Australia has released a new special interest training module, Self-Drive Australia, on the Aussie Specialist Program to educate travel sellers on inspiring journeys around the country as well as rules and regulations for safe driving.The online training module is available in English with a range of supporting factsheets for each state and territory with links to detailed itineraries. Approximately half of the international visitors to Australia use some form of self-drive transport during their travels.
Hilton Washington DC National Mall will welcome visitors to the nation’s capital beginning April 1. The hotel is the latest expansion of the brand in Washington and is the product of a multi-year modernisation of an existing property at the top of historic L’Enfant Plaza.Located at the hub of public transit, the hotel adds to the neighbourhood 367 guest rooms, 23,000 sq ft of flexible meeting and private event spaces and exquisite dining options. The space has been designed to serve today’s traveller – someone seeking an affordable yet elegant home away from home – in an incomparable location with sweeping views of the city and the Potomac riverfront.The hotel is perfectly situated above the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station, granting guests direct access to metropolitan Washington, D.C. year-round. It places them squarely among iconic institutions as well as a rich selection of cultural experiences. Magnetic attractions, including the ‘District Wharf’ and its alluring restaurants and shops, the renowned Smithsonian museums, modern sports arenas, and the forthcoming new International Spy Museum all await less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The hotel’s direct elevator access to the Metro connects guests to Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) and Union Station with door to door convenience, facilitating hassle-free travel to the nearby Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) and Dulles International Airport (IAD).“We are so excited to introduce guests to Hilton Washington DC National Mall, not just because of its contemporary design and amenities, but because of the doors it opens to experience D.C.,” said General Manager Claudia Eggspuhler. “Our unique location brings incomparable access to all DC has to offer. As a hotel, our goal is to help our guests create incredible memories by revealing the gems of Washington. We are hoping to convey what a world-class international destination our city is no matter what occasions bring travellers here.”The hotel will be the first in Washington to offer exclusively King Deluxe beds in every guest room with two king beds in several. Many rooms bring D.C.’s iconic cherry blossoms – a symbol of international diplomacy and the city’s springtime celebration – inside with subtle inspired artwork and floor to ceiling windows. Modern elements include plank flooring, barn doors, porcelain bathrooms, granite countertops, barstools, and slimline desks. Guests will be able to unwind and freshen up with Crabtree & Evelyn bath amenities.Hilton Washington DC National Mall will debut a variety of modern events and meetings spaces, including a sunlit Solarium.
Unemployment,First-Time Jobless Claims Soar in Steepest Increase Since 2009 October 18, 2012 401 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology First time claims for unemployment insurance shot up 46,000 to 388,000├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øthe highest level since July├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øfor the week ending October 13, the “”Labor Department””:http://www.ows.doleta.gov/press/2012/101812.asp reported Thursday. Economists expected initial claims to bounce back up to 365,000 after seasonal factors drove the number of claims down to the lowest level in 54 months.[IMAGE]The weekly increase was the steepest since the end of January 2009, when claims soared 53,000 in one week.Since claims reports are usually revised upward (the prior week’s report was increased to 342,000 from the originally reported 339,000, the 37th upward revision this year) the “”final”” claims total will likely end up as the highest since January.Continuing claims├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øreported on a one-week lag├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øfell 29,000 to 3,252,000. The previous week’s report of 3,281,000 claims was revised up to 3,288,000. The continuing claims total was the lowest since mid-May.The claims report covered the same week used for the upcoming Employment Situation report to be released on November 2, the last reading of the unemployment rate ahead of the November 6 election. It could bring the unemployment rate back up from the 7.8 percent reading for September, the lowest since President Obama took office.The change in initial filings from mid-September to mid-October though was modest, an increase of 3,000, which could mitigate the week-to-week fluctuations.Just as the previous week’s report was influenced in part by a very low seasonal adjustment factor├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øthe second lowest of the year├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øthis week’s report reflected the impact of a stronger adjustment factor. [COLUMN_BREAK]The Labor Department applies the adjustment factors to account for events which recur regularly each year to remove those factors from week-to-week comparisons. That said, the unadjusted number of initial claim filings rose sharply.On a longer range trend basis, the four week moving average of initial claims rose 750 to 365,500, and the four week moving average of continuing claims fell 5,750 to 3,275,500, its lowest level since May.The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending September 29 was 5,001,985, a decrease of 42,664 from the previous week. There were 6,694,493 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2011. Extended benefits were only available in New York during the week ending September 29. According to the BLS, unemployment was 12,088,000 in September, which means that of those individuals counted as unemployed, 7.09 million were not receiving any form of government unemployment insurance, up from 7.04 million one week earlier.States have been borrowing from the federal government to cover shortfalls in those funds which will eventually have to be repaid├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øunless Congress intervenes├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┬Øwith higher assessments on employers. Since those assessments are a percentage of payrolls, they discourage employers from adding new workers. As of October 16, 20 states have an aggregate $26.8 billion in outstanding loans to cover shortfalls, up from $26.6 billion one week earlier. Absent Congressional action, interest on those loans could lead to states increasing contribution rates required from employers.States reported 2,098,793 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending September 29, a decrease of 7,279 from the prior week, the Labor Department said. There were 2,967,054 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2011. EUC weekly claims include first, second, third, and fourth tier activity.According to the Labor Department detail, also reported on a one-week lag, the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending October 6 were in New York (+2,700), Oregon (+2,215), Illinois (+1,800), Texas (+1,724), and Georgia (+1,651), while the largest decreases were in California (-4,979), Alabama (-322), West Virginia (-50), and Rhode Island (-42). Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bureau of Labor Statistics Investors Jobs Labor Department Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers Unemployment 2012-10-18 Mark Lieberman Share
“”MountainView Servicing Group””:http://www.mvch.com/ announced the offering of another Fannie Mae mortgage servicing rights (MSR) portfolio, this one with an unpaid principal balance of $2.4 billion.[IMAGE]””Given that this low-rate Fannie Mae servicing portfolio is being offered by a 100 percent retail mortgage bank with [COLUMN_BREAK]a high net worth, we expect the portfolio to trade at the top of the market,”” said Matt Maurer, managing director at MountainView Servicing Group and the lead advisor on the sale.According to MountainView, the portfolio features 100 percent first-lien and 99.7 percent fixed-rate products (with 86 percent 30-year fixed-rate loans) and a weighted average interest rate of 3.69 percent. The offering’s weighted average FICO score is 765, the average original loan-to-value ratio is 76 percent, and there are no delinquencies.The portfolio has an average loan size of $265,833 and is mostly concentrated in Washington (75.1 percent), Oregon (7.6 percent), and Arizona (6.9 percent).Bids for the portfolio are due February 6 at 3 p.m. Eastern.The firm also announced the sale of a $504 million Fannie Mae servicing portfolio on offer by a seller that is discontinuing its mortgage banking operations. Bids for that portfolio are due February 4 at 5 p.m. Eastern. in Secondary Market, Servicing Share February 2, 2014 502 Views MountainView Announces $2.4B MSR Offering Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Servicing Rights MountainView Service Providers 2014-02-02 Tory Barringer
April 27, 2015 664 Views BB&T Earnings Drop in Q1 in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Share Bank Profits BBB&T Earnings Statements 2015-04-27 Seth Welborn BB&T Corp.’s profits are down for the first quarter of 2015, dropping 1.6 percent since Q1 last year, according to a recently released earnings report.The company posted a net income of $488 million for the quarter, down from $496 million a year ago. Earnings per share came in at 67 cents, compared to 68 cents per share in Q1 of 2014.Despite the notable drop, according to Kelly S. King, chairman and CEO of BB&T, the dip in profits doesn’t send up any alarms for the company.”Given the challenges of the current rate environment, I am pleased with our financial performance and other accomplishments during the quarter,” King said. “We enjoyed solid loan growth, good expense control in a seasonally challenging quarter and outstanding credit quality.But while earnings dropped, mortgage-banking income and actual revenues for BB&T both increased. Since Q1 last year, mortgage-banking income rose by 48.6 percent, and total revenues for the company jumped by 1.5 percent, or $34 million, coming in at $2.3 billion total.“These results were driven by continued strength in our fee-based businesses, with insurance achieving a record quarter,” King said. “Excluding residential mortgage loans, average loans grew 5.4% compared to last quarter, and our credit metrics improved across the board.”Despite improved revenues, BB&T still failed to meet the expectations of analysts. According to the Wall Street Journal, Thomson Reuters said analysts projected the company would reach revenues of $2.4 billion and 70 cents per share for the quarter.In addition to falling profits, income on loan interest also decreased, dropping by 2.6 percent in the first quarter. According to the Wall Street Journal, BB&T CFO Daryl Bible expects these numbers to recover over the next year, as the company acquires both Bank of Kentucky Financial Corp. and Susquehanna Bancshares Inc.“Both opportunities are fantastic, and at this point we feel more excited about them than the day we announced,” Bible told the Wall Street JournalBB&T also recently acquired 41 branches in Texas, increased its partnership interest in AmRisc and sold its subsidiary American Coastal Insurance Company.Other notable items in this week’s earnings report included in a significant increase in noninterest expenses (from $28 million to $1.4 billion), a 2.4 percent drop in average deposits and a slight jump in the company’s adjusted efficiency ratio from 58.2 to 58.5 percent.
CitiGroup Investors File Multi-Billion Dollar Suit Over Toxic RMBS A group of Citigroup Inc., investors recently filed a lawsuit against the bank, with the allegations that the bank failed to address problems related to toxic residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS).The suit, filed by Pacific Investment Management Co., (PIMCO) and other investors, accuses Citigroup of disregarding problems related to toxic RMBS backed by $13.8 billion of mortgage loans, which investors claim resulted in $2.3 billion in losses, according to multiple media reports.Reuters reported:“According to a complaint filed Tuesday night in a New York state court in Manhattan, Citigroup breached its duties as trustee for the 25 private-label trusts dating from 2004 to 2007 by ignoring “pervasive and systemic deficiencies” in how the underlying loans were underwritten or being serviced.”“The investors said Citigroup looked askance at the loans’ “abysmal performance” out of fear it might “jeopardize its close business relationships” with loan servicers including Wells Fargo & Co and JPMorgan Chase & Co, or prompt them to retaliate over its own problem loans.”Law360 reported:“It further alleges that Citibank was the target of government investigations and lawsuits over its allegedly deficient servicing operations.”“The abysmal performance of the trust collateral—including spiraling defaults, delinquencies and foreclosures—is outlined on monthly remittance reports that Citibank, as trustee, publishes and publicly files with the government,” Tuesday’s complaint claims. “Citibank did nothing to protect the trusts and certificate holders, choosing instead to deliberately ignore the egregious events of default for its own benefit and to the detriment of the class.”Citigroup and PIMCO did not immediately respond when contacted for comment.Despite being hit with this lawsuit, Citigroup Inc., experienced a substantially profitable third quarter.Citigroup reported $4.3 billion in net income for the third quarter, or $1.35 per diluted share, up from 53 percent or $2.8 billion, or $0.88 per share, in the same quarter a year ago. The bank also has revenues that reached $18.7 billion, down from $19.7 billion last year.The company also returned $2.1 billion of capital to common shareholders and repurchased 36 million common shares.”The quarter had more than its fair share of volatility and our results speak to the resilience of our franchise globally,” said Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup. “And despite revenue headwinds, we once again proved our ability to manage our risk, our expenses and our capital. We remain on track to deliver our full-year efficiency and ROA targets. I feel good about the quality and consistency of our earnings over the course of this year, as we have continued to make solid progress against our core priorities. Share Citigroup Investors Pacific Investment Management Co Toxic Mortgage-Backed Securities 2015-11-30 Staff Writer November 30, 2015 544 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Secondary Market
in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Servicing December 13, 2017 482 Views Servicers Keen on Performance, Technology, and Regulation in 2018 Fitch Ratings HOUSING mortgage Servicing 2017-12-13 Nicole Casperson Despite rising servicing costs mortgage servicers remain focused on performance, regulations and leveraging technology in 2018 according to a new report by Fitch Ratings issued recently.The report, which is based on the U.S. RMBS Servicer Roundtable in New York says that servicers identified five key performance areas of focus during the Roundtable:Preparedness for future industry performance stressExisting service continuity risk in U.S. RMBSCost of servicingChallenges in comparing servicer performanceImpact of the 2017 hurricanes on performanceApproximately 69 percent of servicers at the Roundtable responded that they were seeing negative impact after hurricanes Harvey and Irma earlier this year. However, they agreed that the ripple effect was not as bad as originally feared even though most of the borrowers in the affected areas did not have flood insurance. The servicers indicated that most of the property inspections have been completed and estimated that 5 percent to 10 percent of loans suffered significant damage.Servicers also agreed that their performance has been enhanced through the use of technology and leveraging it will be their key focus for 2018. According to the report, servicers have been leveraging technology to increase automation and provide efficiencies to the servicing platform. The availability of new and improved technology has made tracking and dissemination of regulatory changes easier, leading to greater standardization and reduced risk of regulatory non-compliance. While servicing technology remains expensive and burdensome to implement, it can increase business efficiency.Servicers said that they continued to invest in technologies and processes to make servicing transfers less disruptive, which should help to ensure smoother RMBS transaction cash flows. Approximately 75 percent of the Roundtable attendees indicated that new technologies have proved beneficial in servicing transfers.Control over servicing costs and the increase in the number of states scrutinizing servicers are other trends for 2018 identified by the servicers. Share
Encompass Consumer Connect Single Sign-On (SSO): Encompass Consumer Connect now supports Okta, Salesforce and Microsoft Azure for SSO. This provides the ability to easily manage and secure authentication while streamlining borrower login and access between a lender’s corporate site, loan application and borrower portal. New loan audit capabilities: In addition to being the mortgage industry’s only solution that helps lenders make smarter decisions faster by providing access to all Encompass loan data fields in near real-time, with no negative impact on their production systems, Encompass Data Connect now helps lenders significantly improve loan quality and reduce buyback risks with the ability to track changes to loan files. The new loan audit capabilities give lenders visibility into all changes for every loan in a single system of record, for comprehensive loan auditing, reporting and risk mitigation. May 24, 2019 571 Views Ellie Mae technology 2019-05-24 Mike Albanese Share Expanded Investor delivery services: Lenders can reduce the amount of time it takes to manually prepare loan packages with the ability to deliver secure data and documents through Encompass Investor Connect with a simple click of a button. Ellie Mae has partnerships with correspondent investors AmeriHome, Flagstar Bank, Franklin American Mortgage, Mr. Cooper, NewRez (formerly New Penn Financial), TMS and Wells Fargo, as well as other banks, with more partnerships to be announced in the coming quarters. Ellie Mae, a cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, announced that it has launched a new release of Ellie Mae’s Encompass Digital Lending Platform. The latest release will help lenders of all sizes originate more loans across a wider variety of loan types, capitalize on the growing HELOC demand, sell and deliver loans more efficiently, provide a better loan officer experience and leverage the power of data to make better decisions faster.“Ellie Mae is offering a true digital mortgage solution to help our customers succeed in today’s competitive marketplace,” said Jonathan Corr, President and CEO of Ellie Mae. “With this new release we’re providing lenders with enhanced support to capitalize on the growing HELOC opportunity, an expanding ecosystem of Investor Connect integrations and Loan Officer Connect updates to help lenders close loans faster while offering a best-in-class borrower experience.”The release of the Encompass Digital Lending Platform 19.2 includes:Temporary buydown and enhanced HELOC support: The new release helps home builders with mortgage operations originate more loans. This release offers the ability to filter change of circumstance reasons, making it easier for the lender to re-disclose to the borrower. Additionally, lenders who originate HELOCs will have enhanced payment options to provide the most accurate DTI evaluation for underwriting and sets expectations with the borrower for the initial estimated payment on their HELOC. in Headlines, News Loan officer workflow enhancements: Lenders can close more loans and provide a better borrower experience with the 19.2 enhancements to Encompass Loan Officer Connect. With service management capabilities, administrators can now configure each service and control to begin to automate the ordering of a service, such as credit, once a milestone has been met. This is the first phase towards the vision for a fully automated service ordering experience within Encompass Loan Officer Connect that will be delivered throughout 2019. With new Cash-To-Close and Affordability tools in Loan Officer Connect, loan officers can provide prospective borrowers with multiple loan scenarios that they are eligible to apply for within their financial means. Loan officers will also benefit from the new at-a-glance eligibility view across all of their opportunities, with one-click ability to send eligibility letters to borrowers – all from their mobile device. Ellie Mae Announces Release of Digital Lending Platform
Leading U.S. green-skinned avocado importer says n … You might also be interested in April 05 , 2019 According to Ernst, Maluma is now reaching an”inevitable production scale where market resistance is becoming less and less”.”The market is growing increasingly fond of the industry-leading seed to flesh ratio that means more bang for buck for the consumer. Maluma’s shelf life when handled according to our protocols far outlasts all the established cultivars. We also see that many agents and retailers grow more and more fond of Maluma’s internal and even more external appearance.”Excitement continues to grow globally for Maluma, he added, saying that many regions such as Chile, Mexico and California “cannot wait to produce” the variety and see how it performs in their climates.”Maluma has become more than just a cultivar. People now associate it with a new era in avocado production,” he said. He added that attendees were increasingly impressed with the trellising work that Allesbeste has done, which is proving more and more that it’s a viable growing method and “possibly the future of avocado production”.”Obviously we still have much to learn but increased yields of 300% to even 650% in initial production begs the question where it can go if more and more trellis orchards are established, as more can be learnt in a shorter timeframe by having comparisons in different techniques between orchards,” he said.”Allesbeste will by the end of 2019 have no less than 17 hectares of avocado production under trellis (tatura and verticle systems). Trellis dominated just over two hours on the day, and there is no doubt that Allesbeste and Maluma are doing groundbreaking work to be the first to prove that commercial high density trellis production is firstly viable and also that it provides huge benefit in terms of the return on investment of avocados.” The Maluma Symposium held in South Africa in March was a big success, with a much larger attendance than last year and a stronger focus on farming methods such as trellising, amid growing excitement for the cultivar around the world.The annual two-day event is hosted in the Limpopo province by Allesbeste, the global variety owner, and includes educational sessions, networking opportunities and farm visits.This year there were 515 registered attendees, which is up 24% on 2018 and 160% on 2015. That figure includes 54 international guests from 11 different countries, as well as 53 government officials and 56 developing farmers, according to Zander Ernst of Allesbeste.”We were at an almost even split between producers and non-producers,” Ernst said. “254 farmers in one hall dedicated to one cultivar. It’s nearly 70% of our industry – that is impressive.” Avocado, coffee and citrus ‘threaten global food … He said the attendees really enjoyed the day, with many people still surprised at the amount of pioneering work done by Allesbeste as a single entity.”People comment regularly that they are now highlighting the day on their annual calendars, to be sure not to miss it,” he said. “It has become a highlight on the global avocado calendar, and those who miss out on the day miss out on groundbreaking work being done on the avocado industry.” U.S.: California’s avocado supply remains tight bu … NZ: ‘Catapulting’ avocado prices affect local busi …
May 16 , 2019 You might also be interested in “British Columbia leads in packing and processing technology advancement and grows some of the best quality blueberries for the global markets,” said Parm Bains, chair of the IBO Organizing Committee. “Along with some of the most ideal growing conditions and high food safety standards, BC blueberries have the trust for quality and food safety, putting them in high demand from customers around the world.”With the global blueberry community gathering in one place in Vancouver, we are expecting a very open dialogue and discussion of our strengths and challenges that we face as a blueberry industry.”This year’s IBO Summit is set to be the biggest yet, providing excellent opportunities for attendees to network with a large number of key players from across the entire global supply chain in one location.”The IBO Summits held over the years have continued to grow no matter how you look at it – the number of participants, the range of activities, speaker topic and expertise, and global representation,” said Peter McPherson, chairman of the IBO.”The agenda that the Canadian organizing team has put together will only enhance the importance of this truly international event. The presenters and speakers at the conference will be at the leading edge of all topics in blueberries globally.”In addition, there is a clear intention to provide quality time to allow all industry participants to network with industry leaders and experts to gain insights that will grow their individual wisdom in this great industry. Clearly, this is an event not to be missed by all in the blueberry business.”Click here for more information about the IBO Summit on June 24-26.This article is sponsored content. The global blueberry industry is set to meet from June 24-26, in Richmond, Vancouver, where the International Blueberry Organization (IBO) Summit will bring together experts to discuss the biggest opportunities and challenges for the industry worldwide.The agenda is full of top-notch speakers and a full-day tour that includes retail, a blueberry field and a processing facility, giving the attendees an overview of one of the world’s most experienced blueberry industries.”The IBO summit brings the global blueberry industry together under one roof to address challenges and explore opportunities moving forward,” said Anju Gill, executive director of the BC Blueberry Council. “The international delegation will experience first-hand the natural beauty of British Columbia, the largest highbush blueberry-growing region in Canada.”We are pleased to announce a superb lineup of industry specialists, and ‘on-the-ground’ panelists, including fruit quality experts, breeders, retailers and exporters from around the world.”The program consists of a broad range of educational and forward-thinking sessions, panels and presentations, which will enlighten guests on important topics including the latest developments and future trends in production, marketing, logistics, equipment, trade and market access, substrate production, breeding and genetics, retail and more.The IBO Summit is held in a different blueberry-producing country every 18 months, highlighting the interconnectedness of the global blueberry industry as both demand and production continue to grow at astonishing rates all around the world. Canada ranks third globally behind the U.S. and Chile in terms of production volume. Peru set for another big increase in blueberry exp …
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