18 Dec

That cyber look

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Steve FochlerYou know what I’m talking about don’t you? It’s when someone mentions Cyber Security and our faces get that blank stare look. This is then followed by a rush of fear that our financial institution is not secure. Don’t worry. It happens to all of us, even the technologically enabled (okay geeks) when we start talking about how policy and procedure is just as important as the flashing green lights on the firewall in the computer room.Take a deep breath and exhale. This seems to work for me and hopefully it will work for you as well. Are you ready? Let’s talk about Cyber Security. Cyber Security is indeed a critical matter. But let’s call it what it is; another form of security. And our financial institution clients certainly understand security. It’s a part of their everyday life. Cyber Security is a little different in that it includes technical security in addition to physical security.When we think of Cyber Security, we typically talk about internet security, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and network monitoring systems which are critical to protect the perimeter of our networks. In addition, many of us outsource transaction processing to cloud based vendors. These vendors must prove to us they have these same technologies in place and manage them appropriately. Enter vendor risk management as a component of your cyber security program. continue reading »last_img read more

17 Aug

AccorHotels completes acquisition of Mantra Group

first_imgPhoto: Simon McGrath, COO AccorHotels Pacific and Michael Issenberg, Chairman and CEO AccorHotels Asia Pacific celebrate the acquisition at Peppers Soul, Gold CoastAccorHotels completes acquisition of Mantra GroupAccorHotels today announced that it has completed its acquisition of Mantra Group for $1.2 billion. The deal includes the Mantra, Peppers, BreakFree and Art Series brands, representing 138 hotels in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Bali.Michael Issenberg, Chairman and CEO of AccorHotels Asia Pacific said, “The Mantra Group is the latest chapter in the strong growth story of AccorHotels in the region.  Since our launch with the Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour in 1991, AccorHotels has become the largest hotel group in the Pacific, and Australia has always played a key role in that story.“AccorHotels is a significant contributor to the Australian tourism industry, and this deal is a signal of our confidence in Australia both as an attractive destination for global travellers but also as a feeder market for our Asia Pacific and wider network.”At the close of the deal, AccorHotels will operate over 330 hotels and resorts across Australia and over 900 throughout Asia Pacific. AccorHotels will also be the largest employer on the Gold Coast, outside of government.Simon McGrath, COO of AccorHotels Pacific said, “The Mantra Group brands will enhance AccorHotels’ portfolio and create new opportunities for our people, partners and guests. We believe that tourism is critical to the economic growth of the region and future job creation and this deal will allow us to further develop the industry.”Mr McGrath added that innovative growth was a hallmark of both AccorHotels and the Mantra Group. “Our innovation in economic business models, brands and customer initiatives has fueled our growth over the last 27 years and the Mantra Group has built an innovative business focused on the best partnership experience for its 10,000 strata title owners,” he said.  “Under Bob East’s leadership this bespoke approach and responsiveness has seen it maintain and grow rooms under management.  We see enormous value in leveraging Mantra Group’s entrepreneurial spirit and expertise to create new opportunities.“Mantra’s brands and properties perfectly complement the AccorHotels network and will enable us to provide new destinations and new experiences for our guests. We look forward to combining the talent and expertise of both groups to create an even more innovative, agile and dynamic team.”Bob East, CEO of Mantra Group said, “I am immensely proud of the great company we’ve built and what we’ve achieved as an Australian-based business. It’s been an enjoyable journey for me leading the team since 2007 through to our float on the ASX in 2014 and now closing this deal with AccorHotels.  I have enormous belief in the business and the team here is looking forward to working with Simon and AccorHotels to continue this success.”The Mantra Group leadership team will continue to be based in the Gold Coast office, reporting to Mr McGrath, in line with all other AccorHotels Pacific business units.“I’m looking forward to getting my feet under the desk at the Gold Coast, working with the team and getting to know the detail of this business. We welcome our Mantra colleagues to AccorHotels and together, we will benefit from our shared values, expertise and entrepreneurial spirit,” Mr McGrath said.Source = AccorHotelslast_img read more

15 Aug

Freddie Mac Refinance Activity Boosts in First Quarter

first_img Freddie Mac HARP Home Affordable Refinance Program Mortgage Refinances 2015-05-01 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Secondary Market May 1, 2015 434 Views Sharecenter_img Freddie Mac: Refinance Activity Boosts in First Quarter This week, Freddie Mac released the results of its Quarterly Refinance Analysis for the first quarter of this year, revealing that borrowers lowered their monthly mortgage payment and shortened their long-term payment by taking advantage unexpectedly low mortgage rates. Refinance activity accounted for 63 percent of all single-family originations.According to Freddie Mac, approximately 27 percent of borrowers increased their loan amount when refinancing, either by cashing out equity or consolidating loans, versus 29 percent from last quarter, 17 percent from the same time last year and well below the peak of 89 percent in 2006.”Many homeowners took advantage of low mortgage rates by refinancing in the first quarter of 2015,” said Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist. “Relatively younger loans refinanced as the median age of a refinanced loan declined to 5.6 years, down from 6.8 years in the prior quarter.”Thirty-four percent of borrowers who refinanced during the first quarter of 2015, shortened their loan term, down slightly from the previous quarter. Of eligible borrowers who used the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), 36 percent shortened their term. More than one-third of HARP borrowers shortened their term over the past four quarters.“Refinance borrowers are primarily looking to reduce payments and pay down principal faster,” Keifer said. “We estimate that borrowers who refinanced in the first quarter will save on net more than $1.4 billion in interest payments over the first 12 months of their new loan. Nearly a third of borrowers who refinanced shortened their loan term.”Quarterly Refinance Facts:The net dollars of home equity converted to cash as part of a refinance remained low compared to historical volumes. In the first quarter, an estimated $7.7 billion in net home equity was cashed out during a refinance of conventional prime-credit home mortgages, down from the revised $7.6 billion the previous quarter in 2014 dollars.The average interest rate reduction in the first quarter was about 1.2 percentage points—a reduction of about 24 percent.About 73 percent of those who refinanced their first-lien home mortgage maintained about the same loan amount or lowered their principal balance by paying in additional money at the closing table, about the same as last quarter.More than 95 percent of refinancing borrowers chose a fixed-rate loan. Fixed-rate loans were preferred regardless of what the original loan product had been.For all other (non-HARP) refinances during the fourth quarter, the median property value was up 5 percent between the dates of placement of the old loan and the new refinance loan. The prior loan had a median age of 5.6 years down from 6.8 years in the fourth quarter of 2014.See the full report at FreddieMac.com/Finance.last_img read more