first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Compliance Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Regulation Service Providers 2013-08-21 Krista Franks Brock Share August 21, 2013 427 Views “”Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html and “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/ have both updated their seller guides to incorporate the “”Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s””:http://www.consumerfinance.gov/ “”Ability to Repay”” rule under the Truth in Lending Act. [IMAGE]The rule will go into effect January 10, 2014. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) worked with the GSEs to update their respective seller guides in alignment with one another. The basic goal of the “”Ability to Repay”” rule is to ensure lenders act in good faith that a borrower can repay his or her loan before offering the loan. [COLUMN_BREAK]After January 10, 2014, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will only purchase loans that are fully amortizing, have terms of 30 or fewer years, and have points and fees that equal no more than 3 percent of the total loan amount. The GSEs will not accept loans with prepayment penalties. Freddie Mac explains that it will continue to accept them until January 10, 2014 if they have settlement dates are on or before July 31, 2014. The GSEs are also revising their rules regarding relief refinances for “”higher-priced mortgage loans.”” These loans must have a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45 percent, and lenders must verify the borrower’s income source and amount. The GSEs note that it will be the seller’s responsibility to ensure compliance with the CFPB’s rules before selling loans to the GSEs. “”Freddie Mac will not make the determination of whether a Mortgage is exempt from, or complies with, the CFPB final rule or whether a Seller’s designation of the status of a Mortgage under the CFPB final rule is correct. These determinations of compliance with the CFPB final rule and other applicable laws are the Seller’s responsibility,”” Freddie Mac explained in its announcement.center_img GSEs Update Seller Guidelines to Comply with Ability-to-Repay Rule in Secondary Marketlast_img read more

first_img in Daily Dose, Headlines, News First American Movers & Shakers 2014-11-26 Tory Barringer November 26, 2014 559 Views First American Announces SVP of Enterprise Data Strategycenter_img Santa Ana, California’s First American Financial Corporation recently announced the appointment of a new SVP for enterprise data strategy, naming Dianna Serio to the position.Serio has more than 25 years of experience in real estate information, focusing primarily on data product development, title plant management, data acquisition, manufacturing, and delivery options. Before joining First American, she served as chief data officer for a large real estate data and analytics company.In her new role, Serio is responsible for enhancing First American’s enterprise data and information management strategy. Her job will have her working across the enterprise to collaborate with the company’s functional and business leaders to strengthen its leading data position, data-driven product development, and title risk management.”We are very pleased to have Dianna at First American,” said Dennis J. Gilmore, CEO at First American. “Her vast knowledge of title plant, real estate and geo-spatial data, and expertise in enterprise information management will greatly strengthen our position as a leader in title and real estate information.” Sharelast_img read more

first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, Market Studies, News, Origination September 23, 2015 526 Views Mortgage loans declined from 8.7 million to 6.0 million, or by 31 percent in 2014, compared to the previous year.A recent report from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) found that a decline in refinance originations pushed mortgage originations down in 2014.Refinance originations decreased by 55 percent or 2.8 million as interest rates in 2014 remained above low levels recorded in 2013. Meanwhile, home purchase lending rose by about 4.0 percent, the FFIEC reported.“In 2014, house prices continued their upward trend evident since 2012 and mortgage interest rates declined throughout the year, although rates remained slightly higher than the historical lows reached in late 2012 and early 2013,” the report said.The FFIEC’s mortgage lending data comes from transactions at 7,062 U.S. financial institutions covered by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), which include banks, savings associations, credit unions, and mortgage companies.In 2014, the number of reporting institutions decreased by about 2 percent from 2013, an ongoing downward fall since 8,900 lenders reported HMDA data in 2006.The report also found that the nonconventional share of first-lien home-purchase loans for one- to four-family, owner-occupied, site-built properties reached 36 percent in 2014.The HMDA data also showed that Black and Hispanic white borrowers increased their share of purchase loans as 5.2 percent of these loans went to Black borrowers, up from 4.8 percent in 2013, while 7.9 percent went to Hispanic white borrowers, up from 7.3 percent in 2013.“While mortgage credit stayed generally tight, conditions appeared to ease somewhat over the course of the year as the fraction of mortgage lending to lower-credit borrowers increased, and reports from the Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices indicate that several large banks relaxed their credit requirements for prime loans,” the report explained. “However, growth in new housing construction was slow throughout the year, suggesting some persistent softness in new housing demand.”Regulatory changes that took place in 2014 including the ability-to-repay (ATR) and qualified mortgage (QM) rules appeared to have little to no effect on the limited mortgage credit availability in 2014 when compared to 2013.“There are significant challenges in determining the extent to which the new rules have influenced the mortgage market, and the results here do not necessarily rule out significant effects or the possibility that effects may arise in the future,” the report noted.John Taylor, president and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition said in a statment that “the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data release for 2014 illustrates a disturbing and highly problematic trend with hard numbers: opportunities for homeownership are still very limited. Particularly in low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color, it’s too difficult to become a homeowner.”He added, “We are in danger of becoming a society in which homeownership and its benefits are reserved primarily for the wealthy, with everyone else relegated to high-cost rental housing. Homeownership is the single best mechanism for working families to build wealth and enter the middle class. Without access to homeownership opportunities, the avenues to climb the economic ladder are few.”“Regulators need to get the picture. When federal bank regulators evaluated the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance of financial institutions in 2014, they gave passing grades to over 98 percent of institutions evaluated. Clearly this does not match the reality on the ground, where loans are too difficult to come by and creditworthy borrowers are going unserved. Federal regulators need to do more to enforce CRA and fair lending laws, and ensure that creditworthy borrowers are able to access to home loans.”CoreLogic forecasted earlier this month that mortgage originations would fall short in 2014. With a nearly perfect estimate, CoreLogic determined that mortgage originations were expected to decrease by 30 percent in 2014, due to a decline in refinance activity.The CoreLogic data also determined that refinance origination counts fell by 49 percent and the dollar volume fell by 47 percent. The drop in refinancing was partially offset by an increase in purchase money originations, which increased by 5 percent and the dollar volume increased by 7 percent in 2014. Purchase mortgage originations were able to pull out a small increase in 2014 due to a decrease in the cash sales share and strong home price appreciation.Click here to view the HMDA data report. Mortgage Originations Drop 31 Percent in 2014, HMDA Data Findscenter_img Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Home Mortgage Disclosure Act mortgage originations 2015-09-23 Staff Writer Sharelast_img read more

first_img The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)’s conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which will reach its eight-year anniversary in September, was only meant to be temporary.The Obama Administration does not believe that GSE reform is an urgent issue. Last year, key officials such as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Treasury Counselor Antonio Weiss publicly stated that the GSEs will not be recapitalized and released from conservatorship while Obama is president.The financial results for Q1 2016 released by both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae this week, particularly for Freddie Mac, have resulted in even more questions as to whether or not the current GSE model is sustainable—whether the GSEs can continue to be profitable under the conservatorship or whether taxpayers will be forced to fund another bailout. Freddie Mac reported a $354 million loss for Q1, its second quarterly loss in the last three quarters (a $475 million loss was reported for Q3 2015). Fannie Mae was profitable for Q1 at $1.1 billion but it was less than half of the previous quarter’s profit.“From a sustainability standpoint, it could be sustained as a conservative enterprise for quite some time, but I don’t think it’s sustainable because you’re going to eventually continue to have litigation from real shareholders saying, ‘What it the world is going on? It’s in conservatorship, not receivership,’” said Steve Williams, Principal with Cornerstone Advisors. “That’s occurring right now. Even the money moving to Treasury is still in litigation with shareholders. But more importantly, I think it’s not sustainable because having the two GSEs, essentially your mortgage market standard-bearers, in this kind of limbo could ultimately constrain the health of the economy in terms of the housing market and housing finance.”In response to Freddie Mac’s Q1 earnings release, noted Washington Post political columnist George Will wrote a piece titled “Treasury’s Fannie and Freddie Rip-Off” in which he described the “misadventures” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and characterized the GSEs’ current situation as a “maddeningly complex story” that “illustrates the toll the administrative state takes on the rule of law.”“In September 2008, the government rescued them with $187.5 billion and placed them in conservatorship, which is supposed to be temporary and rehabilitative,” Will wrote. “A conserved entity should be returned to normal business in private ownership.”“A conserved entity should be returned to normal business in private ownership.”George Will, Political ColumnistSeveral industry trade groups have joined the chorus of calls this week for GSE reform. The Community Home Lenders Association (CHLA) released the following statement following the news of the Freddie Mac Q1 loss: “The Community Home Lenders Association is renewing its call, made in a February letter to Director Watt, to have FHFA let the GSEs build a capital buffer, in order to avert a Treasury advance.  Today’s news that Freddie Mac is reporting a modest quarterly loss only serves to heighten the importance of FHFA taking this step as soon as possible.”Likewise, Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) stated after Freddie Mac’s Q1 financial results were reported, “This net loss will not trigger a draw from the U.S. Treasury as Freddie Mac’s and Fannie Mae’s capital buffer bleeds away. However, it is only a matter of time until one or both of them will need a draw, putting the housing market and taxpayers at risk. ICBA continues to call on Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to end this destructive sweep of the government-sponsored enterprises’ revenues. Further, they should follow the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and require both GSEs to develop and implement a plan to rebuild their capital buffers to prevent another bailout.”Watt first sounded the alarm in February when he expressed concern in a speech at the Bipartisan Policy Center over the GSEs’ lack of a capital buffer. That buffer, which is currently $1.2 billion, is required to be reduced to zero by January 1, 2018. The Watt speech immediately fueled speculation that GSE reform was imminent, but Treasury quickly put out the fire with a public statement that a recap and release was not going to happen. At that time, Treasury stated that, “Director Watt’s remarks underscore the Administration’s consistent position regarding the GSEs’ conservatorship: The best long-term solution is comprehensive housing finance reform.”“It’s pretty sad how long this has taken. It’s just another symptom of a very dysfunctional legislature.”Steve Williams, Principal, Cornerstone AdvisorsNot only is the capital buffer dwindling, but the GSEs are not even keeping their profits. The bailout agreement was amended in August 2012, and since then all GSE profits have been swept into Treasury—a move that has triggered several lawsuits from GSE shareholders. In the first full year after the bailout agreement was amended (and not coincidentally in the minds of GSE investors who have sued over the profit sweep), the GSEs enjoyed a historic year for profitability in 2013—a combined $133 billion, largely from non-recurring tax-related items and legal settlements. By comparison, the GSEs’ combined profitability for 2015 was $17.4 billion.Attempts have been made to reform the GSEs. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) proposed a bipartisan bill in 2013 to eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and replace them with a private insurance company system with a government backstop. The bill gained little traction, however. The Urban Institute has been publishing a series of essays written by economists and other housing experts about different GSE reform possibilities.Nearly everyone on both sides of the political aisle believe that GSE reform is necessary—it’s just that no one can agree on a sustainable solution.“The problem is that I don’t see a structured idea that is gaining momentum among the financial services industry or among Congressional staffers who inform Congressional leaders,” Williams said. “Usually by this time, there is an idea that is 80 percent bait, and as far as the question whether this will be resolved soon, I don’t see the crystallizing idea yet. Certainly a new president may say to folks around the beltway, ‘It’s time to crystallize. Give me your best option or two in the next six months.’ It’s pretty sad how long this has taken. It’s just another symptom of a very dysfunctional legislature.” in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Bailout Conservatorship Fannie Mae Freddie Mac GSE Reform 2016-05-06 Seth Welborn May 6, 2016 752 Views center_img Delving into Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Earnings Sharelast_img read more

first_imgHow Lack of Smarter Logic Cuts Into Lender Profits May 27, 2016 1,065 Views Lenders Loan Origination System Profits Smart Logic 2016-05-27 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination, Print Features, Technologycenter_img Share The ROI of Rules-Based Decision EnginesHow the Lack of Smarter Logic Can Cut Directly Into Lender ProfitsBy Lionel UrbanLenders have various loan origination system (LOS) choices available today to ensure that their operations run smoothly, but choosing the right one can be trickier than it seems. The LOS, technologically speaking, is a lender’s beating heart. When the LOS is working at its peak potential, the entire system has a higher likelihood of running smoothly. When it fails to keep up, the ill effects are felt throughout the organization.Logic: The Missing PieceWhile the late Leonard Nimoy said countless times as Mr. Spock in Star Trek, “It’s only logical, Captain,” Nimoy himself more wisely observed, “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.” To appreciate why this is true, it is helpful to examine the role of logic in the modern LOS, and how administering smarter logic can be the difference between making the right and necessary choice.After observing the countless features and tools included in an LOS, ultimately a sizeable deciding factor should be how the system is built—and how it leverages logic to streamline a lender’s work. One could well assume that popular loan origination systems all function with logic, but that’s not necessarily true. Behind fancy bells and whistles, and modern looking screens, many popular systems are antiquated in nature. Rules capabilities are not all alike, and the largest providers aren’t necessarily the most sophisticated.The two most prominent approaches to helping lenders get the most from their LOS are template-based, and rules-based designs. As the first main concept used, the template-based approach was tried and true for decades. Templates provided form and function. But do they provide logic?Managers at every level constantly think in terms of “If/Then” progressions for decision-making, and each operates within their own set of rules as set by company policy, personal experience, and business ethics. The rules-based approach to LOS technology thinks the same way, though the rules come from other sources. A look back at how the all-important LOS developed over time sheds light on the importance of making the right (and logical) choice.Farewell to Form Filler OriginationsThe first LOSs were PC-based, run by floppy disks on desktop computers. Files were saved and moved about by basic networking, and even by exchanging disks. While this sounds like the lending equivalent of starting fires by striking stone to flint, it was a big leap over the purely paper and typewriter-based processes that had gone on before. The main point of the early systems was to provide a means for inputting data once and having multiple forms populated with the repetitive information. Later in the ’90s, there were big improvements to PC-based systems, including WYSIWYG (pronounced whizzy-wig), a now-archaic term that simply means, “what you see is what you get.” Forms looked like forms instead of showing up as blinking green cursors on black screens.This led to the introduction of templates to provide information defaulted for the various loan programs and transaction types, which was a major time-saver. Templates improved efficiencies but still required users to ensure the correct template was selected, and the templates did not cover all lender activities. Additionally, this method did not take into account all the various scenarios that the staff had to deal with in real-life practices. Templates possessed a rudimentary If/Then potential, but did not accelerate true decision-making or enable advanced workflow capabilities.The Lender’s Partner, An LOS Perfect FitAs loan origination systems became more sophisticated, and shifted to installed—and later to SaaS (Software as a Service)—delivery models, capabilities increased tremendously. Rules-based decision engines became more generally available, cementing the LOS’s role as the lender’s automated partner rather than a mere clerical enhancement. The difference is as dramatic as switching from a ’90s vehicle to a modern one—complete with antilock brakes, digital fuel injection, full airbags, collision avoidance systems, self-parking, and smartphone interfaces. Template systems are still out there, but rules-based processes in the LOS enable a far smoother ride for the modern mortgage company.While templates provide some guidance on the forms, loan types, and programs, more modern rules-based methods can create a highly effective manufacturing process based on the specific data points of each loan. Examples of these additional data points that can drive file requirements include property type (single-family, condo, or planned-unit development), borrower type (borrow, co-signor, accommodation mortgagor, or U.S. citizen/non-resident alien), automated underwriting system and other interface findings, income, and many more. Each of these can affect the workflow on the loan file, some requiring documentation that others do not, and much of it highly detailed. Property type, for example, can trigger homeowners association (HOA) monthly fees and covenants, but not on all single-families, and on most of the condos and PUDs. With rules firing elements of the workflow, processing knows to ask for information on these that not only are important to have in the file, but can impact basic eligibility criteria such as debt-to-income (DTI) ratio calculations.More importantly, the rules-based approach can keep errors and defects from occurring, and this is not a trivial benefit. Experienced lenders understand that even a minor error can require significant resources to cure and can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Defects and errors can also:Increase expenses by requiring a pool of resources to focus on cures that are not necessary when efficient and accurate processes are in place;Become distractions for key managers and keep them from focusing on more productive objectives; andCut directly into profits. The costs to resolve these issues come straight out of net income, directly affecting a lender’s bottom line.Superior Intellect, Piece By PieceRules-based LOS systems are highly customizable for each lender’s process model. They typically include presets for industry best practices, providing usability right “out of the box.” But tweaking them to fit your business can be surprisingly simple. Customizing a technology system generally makes managers think of IT specialists and software developers, but that is seldom the case with the best modern LOS software. Rules engines are designed for use by business-side subject matter experts rather than technology specialists.Readily understood If/Then steps are enabled so that lender customization remains logical and nothing gets lost in translation. If dealing with a self-employed borrower, for example, then the standard best practices rules specifying tax returns are triggered, automatically listing them as a requirement during the interview process, and before taking the loan to underwriting. But what if a particular lender or investor has tighter tolerances for income from certain sources? The rules can be immediately modified for the specific range and set to fire if needed. Logic prevails and time is saved across the entire origination process.In the broader view, rules-based systems provide:More accurate file documentation right from the start of the loan process, enabling better service and fewer hours required to process each loan;Quicker and more accurate generation of disclosures;User restrictions based on employee roles that prohibit them from making changes to, approving, or funding a loan that could result in defects, providing an ongoing quality control safeguard;More accurate loans delivered to the secondary market, resulting in a reduced number of staff hours to cure investor errors and omissions requirements;Improved loan quality resulting in higher pull-through ratios and reduced secondary marketing revenue exceptions;Reduced dependency on staff training and make new hire staff qualifications more manageable, as today’s best systems accurately present the right information to the right user at the right time;Efficient systems that increase staff productivity, retention, and collaboration. When a predictable and accurate process is in place, all staffers have clearly defined responsibilities and the tracking of requirements can be transparent; andHelp in recruiting top sales talent. Quality loan originators need a predictable and high-quality back office team in place to ensure service levels are high—resulting in great real estate agent and referral source relationships for increased business referrals.Value-Added Benefits: The Finishing TouchesMany on the origination side of the house will agree that the LOS is the most important technology decision a company can make. The smarter the system, the more effective the company can become, particularly if the logic can be delivered directly to borrowers when they apply, and integrated with the lender’s other vendors.Rules-based loan origination systems—possessing what amounts to a logical, native intelligence that facilitates decisioning—play well with others. Streamlining the initial interview process and collection of documentation is most efficient with a rules-based system. In addition, virtually all lenders require third-party sources for pricing, verifications, credit reporting, and automated underwriting. Loan decisions and processing require input from these providers in order to keep the loan moving through the pipeline, and documents flowing in through a variety of means.Advanced rules-based LOS systems are able to accept and largely manage the inflow of documentation through most means, and then trigger actions based on their receipt. Communications can be generated to advise parties that the appraisal has been received, for example. Or in another example, questions exist on another piece of documentation that has arrived. Imaging systems can identify document types, read certain fields, and then send the document to the correct person who needs to see it, as well as to the appropriate loan file. Rules can also identify when certain documents are going to expire and when human intervention might be needed to prevent a delay.The ability to make simple judgments and trigger actions, thanks to a customizable set of rules, saves a tremendous number of phone calls and other time-sapping activities. And every saved minute will make it’s way to a lender’s bottom line.Finally, there is another benefit to advanced rules-based LOS systems: They are surprisingly easy to evaluate and adopt. Some have SaaS/Cloud delivery options, are designed to integrate readily, and are engineered for ease of use by mortgage staff and system administrators.All in all, it is nothing short of amazing how far these systems have come in the last decade or so. The modern rules-based LOS quite literally makes its predecessors obsolete, much the same way as the modern smartphone has replaced the old flip phones. Current mortgage professionals are able to compete at the highest technology levels, regardless of their size, thanks to these innovative software platforms. And equipped with smarter logic, in the form of the rules-based design, mortgage lenders can find “the beginning of wisdom,” a remarkable state of the art that is available today.Editor’s note: This select print feature appears in the May 2016 edition of MReport magazine.last_img read more

first_img Share in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Federal Open Market Committee Federal Open Market Committee Minutes Federal Reserve Inflation Interest rates minutes Tax Reform 2018-01-03 David Wharton The Federal Reserve released the minutes for the Fed’s December 2017 Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday afternoon, providing insights into the recent decision to increase interest rates, as well as other key economic concerns. That meeting saw the Fed agree to increase its benchmark interest rate from 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent.The minutes reveal that the Fed officials expect the recent tax cuts passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump to boost both consumer and business spending, although there were no firm predictions as to exactly how much of an impact they will have. The minutes do cite the tax changes as one reason the Committee boosted their forecast for 2018 GDP growth from 2.1 percent to 2.5 percent.According to the minutes, “Most participants indicated that prospective changes in federal tax policy were a factor that led them to boost their projections of real GDP growth over the next couple of years.” The minutes also explained that “broad equity price indexes rose over the intermeeting period, likely reflecting in part investors’ perceptions of increased odds for the passage of federal tax legislation and an associated potential boost to corporate earnings.”Even though the actual passage of the tax bill hadn’t happened at the time of the FOMC meeting, the Committee members were still generally positive about economic conditions as 2017 neared a close. The minutes stated that “real economic activity appeared to be growing at a solid pace, buttressed by gains in consumer and business spending, supportive financial conditions, and an improving global economy.”There were some concerns and disagreement during the meeting, however. Inflation has been an ongoing concern for the Fed, specifically the failure to hit the organization’s target rate of 2 percent. Committee members Charles Evans and Neel Kashkari both voted against the interest rate hikes, citing inflation concerns as a factor. However, the minutes said that most Committee members “judged that much of the softness in core inflation this year reflected transitory factors and that inflation would begin to rise as the influence of these factors waned.” The minutes do, however, record some concerns that “inflation might stay below the objective for longer than [Committee members] currently expected.”The minutes added that “in light of elevated asset valuations and low financial market volatility, a couple of participants expressed concern that the persistence of highly accommodative financial conditions could, over time, pose risks to financial stability.”The next Federal Open Market Committee meeting is scheduled for January 30-31, 2018. You can read the full text of the Federal Open Market Committee minutes by clicking here.center_img January 3, 2018 535 Views The Fed on Tax Reform, Inflationlast_img read more

first_imgMalaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) has embarked on a refurb of the four Golden Lounge facilities at its KLIA hub. Central to the Golden Lounge refurbishment program are new demonstration kitchens where chefs will create Malaysian and international gourmet dishes while interacting with travellers and customising meals to their personal tastes.There will also be a bistro service in the business lounges, and a revamped fine dining experience in the first class lounge, with all locations also receiving faster wireless internet and additional universal power sockets, allowing visitors to easily recharge their devices without an adaptor.Adopting a design created by internationally-renowned firm Duoz – the same company behind the RitzCarlton Kuala Lumpur and the Marriott Sydney Harbour at Circular Quay – guests will notice patches of greenery for a touch of colour throughout, and to minimise disruption to travellers, only two lounges will be refurbished at one time.The Regional Golden Lounge in the Main Terminal Building was closed last Friday and will reopen on 15 August 2017. This facility is used by passengers on regional international services to destinations such as Singapore, ASEAN and the SASC (South Asian Sub-Continent). Passengers travelling in business class or who hold oneworld Sapphire/Emerald frequent flyer status (including MH and QF Gold and Platinum members) will be directed to the 24-hour International First or Business Class Golden Lounges in the Satellite Terminal Building (STB). Under oneworld Alliance lounge access rules Sapphire/Emerald frequent flyers are also able to use the Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge which is also located within the STB. The Domestic Golden Lounge will close between 2 June and 15 August. As passengers cannot access the airport’s international departures area where the International First and Business Class Golden Lounges are located, a temporary lounge space will be created at gate B3. Here lounge-eligible passengers will find light refreshments available along with dedicated seating, wireless Internet, newspapers, magazines and flight information screens. Toilets, showers and prayer rooms won’t be offered within this temporary space, although the nearest restrooms can be found just outside the gate area, with the closest prayer room aside the Malaysia Airlines Gate A transfer desk. airportKuala LumpurloungesMalaysia Airlineslast_img read more

first_imgagentsAmericaeventsrailRail Plus Rail Plus treated around 100 agents to a private screening of the American Essentials Film Festival’s ‘Kodachrome’ at Palace Cinemas in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane last week. While the agents enjoyed the many Kodak (and Instaworthy) moments of North America’s contrasting and beautiful landscapes, Rail Plus’ BDMs, James Hooper, Larry Burrows and Matt Symonds (who has recently re-joined the team) reinforced the many benefits of booking Great Train Journeys through the rail provider, including having the one contact from start to completion, and the ability to tailor itineraries. Agents were reminded that in North America, apart from the already popular Rocky Mountaineer, Via Rail, Amtrak Vacations and Alaskan Rail also provide equally spectacular experiences across the continent with a wide range of itineraries to choose from, as well as upgradable hotel options. Sydney agents also heard from special guest Sean Lane of VIA Rail, who shared updates and key features of the train, including the year-round service; private cabin sleeper services on board ‘The Canadian’, The Ocean’ and the ‘Winnipeg to Churchill’ routes; the dome cars and 180 degree windows in the panorama car; and budget friendly itineraries.IMAGE: Matt Symonds, Rail Plus, with Sean Lane, VIA Raillast_img read more

first_imgEmirates will launch a new daily service from Dubai (DXB) to Mexico City International Airport (MEX), via the Spanish city of Barcelona (BCN), commencing 9 December 2019.Emirates’ Mexico City flight will be a linked service with Barcelona, meaning that customers can now travel between the two cities in unprecedented style and comfort. Citizens from Mexico, Spain and the UAE only need their passports to enjoy visa-free travel to each respective country.The new route will be operated with a two-class Emirates Boeing 777-200LR which offers 38 Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and 264 seats in Economy Class. The new 777 flight will also offer up to 14 tonnes of cargo, opening up access to more global markets for Mexican exports such as avocados, berries, mangoes, automotive parts and medical supplies. Emirates SkyCargo has been flying freighters to/from Mexico City since 2014 already and in the last year carried over 22,500 tons of cargo on the route.Emirates flight EK 255 will depart Dubai at 03:30 local time, arriving in Barcelona at 08:00 before departing again at 09:55 and arriving into Mexico City at 16:15 on the same day. The return flight EK256 will depart Mexico City at 19:40 local time, arriving in Barcelona the next day at 13:25. EK256 will depart once again from Barcelona at 15:10 bound for Dubai where it will arrive at 00:45 the following day, facilitating convenient onward connections to numerous destinations in India, South East Asia and the Middle East. airlinesBarcelonaDubaiEmiratesMexico Citylast_img read more

first_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke That’s about the only thing fans will be able to tell or not, if the Cardinals took care of the ball. The preseason, and especially the first game, is more a time for coaches and players to evaluate where they are at and make necessary adjustments.ArizonaSports.com’s Kyndra de St. Aubin contributed to this report Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Top Stories “That’s Ken’s call and I’m sure he’ll talk to all of us and see how we feel.”Kolb said the important thing is “getting that first one under our belt,” which is a moment both he and Cardinals fans alike are anxious for.Still, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to be on the field — a lot.“As much as time as [head coach Ken Whisenhunt] gives us, that’s as much time as we’ll need,” Kolb said. Whisenhunt has said Kolb may play more than is normal for the first of four games that don’t count simply because he needs more work in the system, but how much extra he plays will be dictated by the game itself. The game itself, though, doesn’t matter so much. Teams generally focus on themselves, paying little attention to the squad they are lining up against. The Cardinals will be no different.“We haven’t game-planned them or anything like that,” Kolb said, “which is usually the standard procedure this first game.“It’s more about what we want to do as a team, getting through certain plays, getting through certain looks and then just executing and taking care of the football.” Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation For the first time in an NFL game, Kevin Kolb will wear an Arizona Cardinals jersey.Kolb will get the start Thursday when the Cardinals play the Raiders in the preseason opener, though how many snaps he takes remains to be seen. “That’s a good question, I think we’ll just have to see what we feel like there,” Kolb said. “Obviously health is more important, still, than making a few mistakes. 0 Comments   Share   last_img read more

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The Cardinals Twitter account responded rather appropriately, given Seattle has only played two games since that loss. No. RT @nflnetwork: Are the Seahawks…Unbeatable at home? pic.twitter.com/tG24uzaj8M— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) January 12, 2014 Top Stories Every good team, in any sport, has a signature win — a moment it can hang its hat on. For the Arizona Cardinals, that win came on Dec. 22 in a 17-10 win at the Seattle Seahawks, handing second-year Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson the first home loss of his career. It’s no secret that Seattle is a daunting environment for visiting teams, thanks in large part to crowd noise. So the NFL Network posted a question on its Twitter account this morning, asking if the Seahawks are unbeatable at home. center_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Comments   Share   Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retireslast_img read more

first_imgThe Arizona Cardinals made a couple of roster moves Wednesday.The team announced it had signed defensive tackle Bruce Gaston from the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad. In a corresponding move, the Cardinals released running back Jalen Parmele.An undrafted free agent out of Purdue, Gaston spent the preseason with the Cardinals but was part of the final round of cuts on Aug. 30. It was believed the team was hoping to sneak him onto their own practice squad, but he was claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots. Top Stories Comments   Share   He was claimed by the Dolphins after the Patriots released him on Sept. 3, but was inactive the first two games of the season. He was released by them on Sept. 20 and re-signed to their practice squad.Parmele was signed by the Cardinals prior to last week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. He carried the ball once for no gain. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retireslast_img read more

first_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories For the Friday 5, each week B-Train and I will take a closer look at five topics from around the National Football League.The Arizona Cardinals have their first preseason game of the year Friday against the Raiders. With the first preseason game Friday night, we took a look at five of players we will be watching very closely.B-Train tells us what he needs to see from these five players to stand out and compete for the 53-man-roster. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

first_img Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling “I’m excited about it, man,” Ellington said. “I’ve been working at it — I’m starting to get a little comfortable back there, but I’m still a while away from where I want to be. But it’s still early, so we’ll see.” Andre Ellington waits during a training camp practice Aug. 5. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Comments   Share   Just as it is for a running back, a player can only do so much without at least adequate blocking. This time of year special teams can be a work in progress, since many of the players who are filling the role will ultimately not make the final roster.Besides that, though, there is also the fact that Ellington is still learning all the nuance that comes with returning punts.“Punts, you have to be able to judge how the ball is kicked off their foot and you have to kind of be aware of the gunner play, guys are coming down there 100 miles per hour, you have to be aware of that,” he said. “And just feeling the catch and making sure you feel the catch before trying to run.”Ellington admitted it’s tough to get down, but he likes it because once the ball is in his hands there is a chance to make something happen. He smiled at the notion that the coaches want to get the ball in his hands however they can, noting, “it’s a nice feeling” to have that kind of support.Arians said he believes Ellington is getting used to the new role, adding the plan right now is for him to be the team’s punt returner Week 1 when the Cardinals host the New England Patriots. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires A couple years ago, the Arizona Cardinals talked about getting the ball into Andre Ellington’s hands 25-to-30 times a game because he proved as a rookie in 2013 just how dynamic a player he was.Injuries soon robbed him of his explosiveness and ability to be on the field, though, and in the coming years additions to the roster took his role as the lead back.Entering the 2016 season, the 27-year-old is third on the running back depth chart behind David Johnson and Chris Johnson, and though he is finally healthy again, will likely need injuries ahead of him to carve out any significant role within the offense. With that in mind, and with the idea of once again getting the ball in his hands as much as possible, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has decided to make Ellington the team’s primary kick and punt returner.Ellington has some experience returning kicks, as he averaged 24.7 yards on 26 returns with one score in college, and as a rookie in 2013 gained 21 yards on a return.As for punts, however…there isn’t much to go off of.According to sports-reference.com, Ellington returned one punt for three yards in 2009.That’s the extent of his experience in that role, yet this training camp and preseason has seen him take over there, too.Ellington returned one punt for eight yards against San Diego and gained three yards on his lone effort against Houston.“It’s cool, man, I’m getting used to it,” Ellington said of his new job. “I’m actually liking it. I’m just ready to get loose, open space.”When talking about the special teams’ issues, Arians pointed to the blocking as why Ellington has struggled to get much out of his returns. Multiple times this offseason the coach has talked about how the player has a chance to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball, so there’s an understandable excitement — and perhaps disappointment — in the inability to give him any kind of room to run. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

first_imgFILE – In this Feb. 1, 2009, file photo, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner throws a pass during against the Pittsburgh Steelers during NFL football’s Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla. Pittsburgh won 27-23. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 0 Comments   Share   Top Stories Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner is a finalist to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the class of 2017, the NFL Network revealed on Tuesday.It is Warner’s third time as a finalist.Warner spent his final five NFL seasons (2005-09) with Arizona after six years with the St. Louis Rams (1998-2003) to begin his NFL career and a one-year stint with the New York Giants in 2004. He led the Cardinals to the 2008 Super Bowl after piling up 4,583 yards with 30 touchdowns to 14 interceptions and a 67 percent completion rate. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Warner was a four-time Pro Bowler, two-time MVP and one-time Super Bowl MVP. His career included a championship run with the Rams in 2000 and a Super Bowl loss to the Steelers with Arizona eight years later.Joining Warner as a finalist is former Cardinals coach Don Coryell, who coached St. Louis from 1973-77, and guard Alan Faneca, who played a single season with Arizona in 2010.Former Cardinals running back Edgerrin James, who was a finalist for the Hall of Fame in 2016, did not make the list this year.Kicker Morten Anderson, offensive tackle Tony Boselli, receiver Isaac Bruce, running back Terrell Davis, safety Brian Dawkins, tackle Joe Jacoby, cornerback Ty Law, safety John Lynch, center Kevin Mawae, receiver Terrell Owens, defensive end Jason Taylor and running back LaDainian Tomlinson fill out the list of finalists.Additionally, senior finalist and former safety Kenny Easley plus two contributors in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue are up for induction. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more

first_img Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact NFL Insider John Clayton, however, is expecting the Cardinals to address the position in free agency.Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, Drew Brees, Josh McCown and Case Keenum are some of the top quarterbacks on the list of available candidate. However, Brees is expected to stay with New Orleans and the Vikings are expected to retain at least one, if not all three of their free agent quarterbacks.Alex Smith is not the only name being floated in the NFL rumor mill. Eli Manning of the Giants and Andy Dalton and A.J. McCarron of the Bengals have all been recently discussed as possible trade bait.Even though the Cardinals have no quarterback on the roster at the moment, there is no shortage of candidates.The competition to sign a top quarterback, however, might be stiff. The Broncos, Browns, Giants, Jets, Dolphins, Bengals and Redskins have all been identified as teams with a potential need at QB. All seven of those teams are ahead of the Cardinals in the 2018 draft order. Not to mention teams like the Ravens, Bills and Jaguars who may have interest in some of the names listed above.The choice of a quarterback might be significantly impacted by the selection of a new head coach. If Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is chosen, the likelihood of Bridgewater, Bradford or Keenum rises significantly. If Eagles quarterback coach John DeFilippo is hired, the Cardinals could turn their attention to the draft instead of free agency. 97 Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Between the retirement of Carson Palmer, and with backups Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert and Matt Barkley now unrestricted free agents, the Arizona Cardinals’ roster has a major void at the quarterback position.NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has reported the Cardinals have shown interest in trading for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.The #Chiefs are open to trading QB Alex Smith this offseason. Keep an eye on the #Browns & GM John Dorsey and the #AZCardinals, who called about Smith when the #49ers traded him: https://t.co/0rd4hhjGwh— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 6, 2018center_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires FILE – In this Nov. 19, 2017, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Chiefs and Tennessee Titans meet in a wild-card playoff game in Kansas City on Saturday, Jan . 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File) Mike Jurecki from The Blitz with B-Train and Jurecki on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station also tweeted about the possibility of Smith becoming the next Cardinals signal caller, despite the league-wide demand.This makes sense, Smith is going into the last year $17M, it will a cost a draft pick or two?Browns have 1st and 4th overall pick. (QB-RB) https://t.co/nmOd2Ow7Ki— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) January 6, 2018Alex Smith has a career completion percentage of 62.4 percent and 183 career passing touchdowns. In the 2017 season, he set a new career high in passing yards with 4,042, while leading the Chiefs to a 10-6 record and an AFC West title.Smith, 33, has one year left on his contract, but what makes him an intriguing trade candidate is his back up, Patrick Mahomes. Last year’s 10th overall pick in the draft, Mahomes has been waiting for his opportunity to start despite the success of Smith. The Chiefs may want to get what they can from the veteran Smith mimicking what the Patriots did with Jimmy Garappolo.Whether it be through the draft, free agency or trade, Cardinals GM Steve Keim will have to address the situation at some point.At the 15th spot in the draft, the Cardinals have been linked to four prospects including Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. One name not on that list is Washington State’s Luke Falk who many in the Valley would be familiar with from playing in the Pac-12. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more

first_img 4 Comments   Share   Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact On one hand, the Arizona Cardinals aren’t worried about losing any of their stars.The list of free agents that could depart includes several key players, however, and general manager Steve Keim will navigate who to re-sign, who to let go and how that fits as he attempts to fill in holes by bringing in outside free agents at quarterback and beyond.All that’s known heading into the new league year, which begins on March 14, is that valuing Arizona’s free agents is complicated. Quite simply, it depends on who you ask.Here is a look at various websites’ lists of the top NFL free agents, where few agree about where the Cardinals players stand.Related LinksA list of the Cardinals’ unrestricted, restricted and exclusive free agentsCardinals free agent Jaron Brown receiving interest as No. 2 receiverSteve Keim: Cardinals looking to re-sign ‘four or five’ free agentsESPN: Ranking the top 100 NFL free agents for 2018ESPN’s Kevin Seifert has an interesting few takes. He ranks backup cornerback Justin Bethel as Arizona’s best free agent despite Bethel losing his starting job to veteran Tramon Williams, who played well down the stretch run of the year.Williams, a free agent himself, could be a value signing for the Cardinals, as he will turn 35 on March 16. Bethel, who had 41 tackles, one interception and four passes defensed last season, may hold more value in the longterm due to his age (28 years old) and ability as a special teams player.56. CB Justin BethelBethel failed to hold down the starting job opposite Patrick Peterson after five years of grooming, albeit with some unfortunate injuries along the way. But he could prove valuable from a depth perspective given his experience.Others Cardinals ranked: WR John Brown (66), DE/LB Kareem Martin (75)Seifert cites Arizona’s overall offensive woes as a possible reason for Brown’s decreasing production the last two years, but so too were Brown’s injury problems and limitations from dealing with a sickle cell trait. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 48. WR John BrownLike so many intriguing free agents, Brown has a history of injuries that makes him a boom-or-bust option. He hasn’t been quite right since his 1,000-yard season in 2015.Others Cardinals ranked: S Tyvon Branch (68)Walter Football: Top 100 2018 NFL free agentsBranch is tops for the Cardinals on Walter Cherepinsky’s list.51. S Tyvon BranchOthers Cardinals ranked: CB Tramon Williams (92)Tramon Williams surprisingly played extremely well for the Cardinals this past season. Unfortunately for Williams, he may not be able to repeat that in 2018, as he’ll be 35.center_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Martin is an intriguing pick. He received limited snaps the past two years playing behind Chandler Jones and Markus Golden.Pro Football Talk: PFT’s Free Agent Top 100The folks at Pro Football Talk have another Cardinals receiver on their list.They have Jaron Brown coming in as the highest-rated Arizona free agent at No. 62. Brown caught 31 balls for 477 yards and four touchdowns in 2017, easily out-producing John Brown’s 299 yards on 21 catches.62. WR Jaron BrownOthers Cardinals ranked: S Tyvon Branch (93), CB Justin Bethel (94)SB Nation: The top 100 NFL free agents in 2018Branch earned a hefty bit of praise from former head coach Bruce Arians and compiled 69 tackles to go with a forced fumble and six passes defensed before tearing his ACL on Nov. 9. Harry Lyles Jr. of SB Nation has him ranked way up there, just after quarterback Sam Bradford and before defensive lineman Mo Wilkerson.27. S Tyvon BranchOthers Cardinals ranked: CB Justin Bethel (65), CB Tramon Williams (82)NFL.com: Top 101 NFL free agents of 2018NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling are pretty complimentary of John Brown, ranking him 48th on their list of the top free agents.But they also do some safe hedging. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories last_img read more

first_imgAlong with the four, Arizona had a total of eight exclusive free agents on the roster from last season, including cornerback Ronald Zamort, offensive linemen Vinston Painter and Daniel Munyer, and tight end Ifeanyi Momah. The Arizona Cardinals have officially signed four exclusive free agents for the 2018 season, the team announced Tuesday morning.After tendering the four in March, the Cardinals inked cornerback C.J. Goodwin, running back Elijhaa Penny, defensive lineman Olsen Pierre and offensive lineman John Wetzel to one-year deals.Goodwin joined the Cardinals last season after he was claimed off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15. As an undrafted rookie free agent in 2014, Goodwin spent his first two seasons in the NFL on the practice squad for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons. Top Stories He made the transition from wide receiver to cornerback before the 2016 season, playing in 24 games for the Falcons over the course of two years primarily on special teams.Penny joined the Cardinals in 2016 as an undrafted rookie free agent from the University of Idaho, spending his rookie season on the practice squad. In 2017, Penny played in all 16 games for the Cardinals after injuries plagued the Cardinals’ run-game.He rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. He also had four catches for 38 yards.Like Penny, Pierre joined the Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent. He spent the duration of the of his rookie season on the Cardinal’s practice squad, and was inactive in all 16 games during the 2016 season.However, he found his way to the field in 2017. In 14 games for the Cardinals, Pierre recorded 32 tackles and 5.5 sacks, the second-most on the team.Wetzel, the most tenured member of the Cardinals to receive the offer Friday, joined the league in 2013 as an undrafted free agent with the Oakland Raiders.He spent his first three years in the league on the Cowboys and Colts practice squads before joining the Cardinals’ in 2015.Wetzel started eight games for the Cardinals in 2016, making an appearance in all 16. In 2017, he again played in all 16 games for the Cardinals, making 11 starts at both right and left tackle. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim watches Cardinals players warm up prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Oakland Raiders Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. The Raiders defeated the Cardinals 31-10. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)center_img 18 Comments   Share   Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

first_imgSabre Corporation is launching a beta test of a new hotel digital marketing program from Google designed to help drive more bookings.The Google Hotel Ads Commission Program combines the benefits and reach of Google Hotel Ads with the hotels’ existing commission programs by making the hotels’ best available retail rates searchable and bookable on Google.When travellers search for a hotel on Google Search, Google Maps or Google+, they will be able to select the property and rate they want, and then book the room directly with the hotel without ever leaving the page, reducing the abandonment rate commonly seen when consumers have to switch sites to complete a transaction.“Our ability to be the first CRS provider to offer the Google Hotel Ads Commission Program shows the influence of the Sabre brand in the industry as well as our commitment to deliver new and valuable opportunities to our hotel customers,” said Sabre Hospitality Solutions President Alex Alt. “This is just the latest example of how we are continually investing in innovative solutions that deliver unique value to hotels and the travellers they serve.”As compared to Google’s Hotel Ads cost-per-click model, Sabre hotel customers participating in the new commission-based model only pay a commission on confirmed bookings for their property. The program gives hotels another cost-effective option to drive bookings by putting their brands front and centre when travellers are ready to book.last_img read more

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletter >Luxury travel operator, Abercrombie & Kent, is now giving clients the opportunity to travel to remote and unspoilt locations in Papua New Guinea, visiting local villages and witnessing cultural traditions.Guests will stay in comfortable lodges in the highland and Sepik regions, accessing remote villages by private charter aircraft. They will spend a full day of cultural touring in the Tari Valley and experience local life in Karawari before finishing their journey at the Goroka Show.Held in September every year, the Show is famous for its dazzling array of sing-sing groups, showcasing some of the many cultures of Papua New Guinea.The trip will be escorted by Abercrombie & Kent Tour Director, Carolyn Andrew. Carolyn has worked as an A&K guide for over 20 years. Her first trip to PNG in 2002 left her with an everlasting affection for a country rich in culture and diversity. Returning 3 or 4 times a year, she is well respected in the remote villages and has up to date knowledge on all areas covered in the programme.Dates for the tour are 11-19 September 2016 and prices are US$9,458 twin share per person and an additional US$1,027 for a single supplement. Domestic Air Niugini flights are not included.Go back to the e-newsletter >last_img read more