Munich Airport and Lufthansa start testing of humanoid robotMunich Airport and Lufthansa start testing of humanoid robotShe is 120 centimeters tall, with sparkling, round eyes and a pleasant voice: Starting today, “Josie Pepper” the robot will be answering questions for passengers in Terminal 2. Whether they need directions to their gate or want to stop at a certain restaurant or shop – Josie Pepper will look them in the eyes and give them a prompt answer.With the rollout of Josie Pepper, Munich Airport and Lufthansa are breaking new ground: It is the first-ever test of a humanoid robot equipped with artificial intelligence at a German airport. For the next few weeks, Josie Pepper will welcome travelers to the non-public area of Terminal 2, which is jointly operated by Munich Airport and Lufthansa. In her initial deployment, Josie Pepper, who speaks English, will await passengers at the top of the ramp leading to the shuttle connecting the main terminal to the satellite building. This test phase will be used to show whether Josie Pepper is accepted by passengers.Josie Pepper’s “brain” contains a high-performance processor with a WLAN internet access. This creates a connection to a cloud service where speech is processed, interpreted and linked to the airport data. What sets the system apart: When this robot type speaks, it does not just deliver pre-defined texts. With its ability to learn, it answers each question individually. Just like a “real” brain, the system gets steadily better at combining questions with the relevant information to provide more precise replies.IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) cloud-based, artificial intelligence technologies are behind Josie Pepper’s capabilities. Pepper was developed by the French company SoftBank Robotics. The lady robot was given the name “Josie” by the staff of Munich Airport and Lufthansa when she arrived at the airport.Further information and a film are available here: www.munich-airport.com/pepperSource = Lufthansa
Source = Cunard Aussie Bell Boy Uniforms Hit the Gangway in MelbourneAussie Bell Boy Uniforms Hit the Gangway in Melbourne as Cunard Reveals Plans for its Biggest Ever Season Down UnderLuxury cruise line Cunard has launched its record 54-day season Down Under by unveiling a dramatic wardrobe makeover for its famous bell boys in collaboration with iconic Australian brand, R.M.Williams.Debuting on board Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth in Melbourne today, R.M.Williams’ fresh take on the cruise line’s classic red and black bell boy uniforms is one of a series of exciting partnerships with Australian companies designed to celebrate a two-month season in local waters for the stylish 2081-guest ship.Presenting the uniforms, Cunard President Simon Palethorpe also revealed the cruise line’s plans to base Queen Elizabeth in Australian waters for an unprecedented 118 days over the 2020-21 summer, with Melbourne once again set to feature as a key homeport in the ship’s program.It will be the third consecutive summer deployment Down Under for the popular Queen Elizabeth, further building on its current 54-day season of cruises from Melbourne and Sydney and its scheduled 101-day season over the 2019-20 summer.Marking the start of Cunard’s first ever series of sailings from Melbourne today as well as the longest Australian season yet for one of its current fleet of Queens, the cruise line launched partnerships with award-winning Melbourne whisky distillery STARWARD and acclaimed performance troupe Australian Dance Theatre, in addition to R.M.Williams and legendary Australian hat maker Akubra.A first for the 179-year-old cruise line, the new seven-piece Aussie bell boy uniforms were designed by R.M.Williams – which boasts actor Daniel Craig and US President Bill Clinton among its star-studded clientele – with Australia’s warm summer weather in mind.Celebrating Cunard’s trademark colours of red, black and gold, the stylish ensemble features a red tailored jacket with gold nautical buttons and black cuffs, 100 per cent cotton black twill pants, handmade leather belts and R.M.Williams’ most recognised boots, The Craftsman, in striking Cunard red.The bell boys will also swap their traditional pillbox hats for custom-made brimmed Akubras, ideal for keeping off the summer sun.“Over the past decade we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of Australians travelling with Cunard so we wanted to acknowledge the importance of this market not only with Queen Elizabeth’s record deployment Down Under this year, but also with some ground- breaking partnerships,” Mr Palethorpe said.He added: “We’re very excited that our bell boys are going to take on a modern Australian look while we’re based here over summer, and we think local cruisers will love the opportunity to enjoy a special drop of whisky and some extraordinary Australian dance performances during the season.”R.M.Williams Chief Marketing Officer Mathew Hayward said it had been an honour to collaborate with Cunard.“The partnership with Cunard was built upon the foundation of two iconic heritage brands that place quality and customer paramount to their experiences. We are proud to celebrate this unique Australian season on board Queen Elizabeth. The new bell boy uniform has been built with purpose, as with all of our product, and maintains the superior quality that’s synonymous with R.M.Williams,” Mr Hayward said.General Manager of Sales and Marketing at Akubra, Andrew Angus added: “We’re excited that Akubra is part of this special Aussie uniform. Not only do the hats look stylish, they are perfect for Australia’s warm summers.”The arrival of Queen Elizabeth in Melbourne also marks the return of a very special piece of cargo – The Seafarer, a 225-litre barrel of Australian STARWARD whisky.Aged for two years at STARWARD’s Port Melbourne distillery, the barrel was loaded onto Queen Elizabeth last February and has spent 12 months travelling 95,000 nautical miles around the globe on a unique ‘maturation journey’ to create a first-of-its-kind single malt whisky.Australians can experience this rare whisky for themselves on board Queen Elizabeth during her season Down Under, and at STARWARD’s Port Melbourne distillery.“We’re thrilled to have partnered with Cunard on the epic journey that has created this very special spirit,” STARWARD Whisky founder David Vitale said.“Weather and environment are always instrumental in developing the flavour profile of a whisky, so the conditions that The Seafarer has experienced over the past 12 months of maturation make for a truly remarkable drop.”Cunard’s fourth partnership will come to life when performers from the Australian Dance Theatre take to the stage for the cruise line’s first special event cruise Down Under – a six- night roundtrip cruise to Tasmania departing Melbourne on March 12, 2019.During the voyage the ADT troupe will perform in their first-ever bespoke performance at sea, featuring two exclusive shows adapted from their latest work, The Beginning of Nature. Guests will be able to polish their own dance moves with movement classes led by ADT performers and the group’s Artistic Director, Garry Stewart, as part of a special itinerary building on the ship’s new wellbeing services.At 90,900 tonnes, Queen Elizabeth is the second largest ship ever to sail in Cunard’s fleet. Launched in 2010, she is also the youngest in the luxury cruise line’s current trio of Queens with features including more than 10 restaurants and cafés, a Games Deck featuring paddle tennis, croquet and bowls, a two-storey library, a ballroom and the three-deck Royal Court Theatre seating 800 guests and offering private boxes.
New appointments for Voyages BoardChairman Rick Allert today announced the appointment of three new members to the Voyages Board of Directors.Dana RonanSenior tourism professional Dana Ronan has held positions with a range of tourism companies including Discovery Holiday Parks, Voyages Hotels and Resorts, travel.com.au, the APT Group and AAT Kings, as well as her own business the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk. Dana is currently on the board of Visit Ballarat, Victoria Walks and advises the boards of several private family tourism businesses.Daniel TuckerAboriginal leader and founding Managing Director of Carey Mining, the largest 100 percent Indigenous owned and managed contracting company in Australia, Daniel Tucker is a Wongatha/Mirning man and an inaugural member of the Prime Ministers Indigenous Advisory Council and has previously served on the Council of Curtin University as well as on the boards of a number of private, not for profit and publicly listed companies.Andrew McEvoyAndrew McEvoy is a former Managing Director and CEO of Tourism Australia and former Managing Director of Fairfax Life Media and Events. Andrew is currently also Chairman of Sealink Travel Group, a Director of Ingenia Communities, Chairman of AATS (Skybus), Chairman of the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) and a Director of the Lux Group.“I would like to welcome our new Board members, I know that each of them offer a wealth of experience that will benefit the Voyages business,” said Chairman of the Voyages Board Rick Allert.“Further I would like to thank outgoing Board members Ian Ward Ambler, Peter Thomas and George Bedwani for their significant contributions during their term of office,” he said.About Voyages Indigenous Tourism AustraliaVoyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) established to undertake tourism business on its behalf. Voyages offers unique experiences and cultural immersion in spectacular locations around Australia including Ayers Rock Resort in the Northern Territory, Home Valley Station in The Kimberley in Western Australia and the Mossman Gorge Centre, in Tropical North Queensland. Voyages works collaboratively with local communities, respecting and supporting the local Indigenous cultures and offering employment and training opportunities to the local and broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Profits from all business activities are re-invested in the Indigenous and resort experiences and through the various training and development programs in place around Australia.Source = Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia
The incoming government to supercharge the tourism industry’s success has recently unveiled Tourism for Tomorrow, the 2017 Tourism Election Manifesto during TRENZ 2017, the industry’s most important international trade show being held in Auckland.“Our Tourism 2025 goal is to build an industry that is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. We can do this with political and policy recognition, backed by a supportive environment for infrastructure investment,” said Chris Roberts, Chief Executive, Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA).He mentioned that the 29 priority actions for the incoming Government have been grouped under three themes:– A sustainable industry, for New Zealand’s tomorrow– Invest in infrastructure, for New Zealand’s tomorrow– Support tourism, for New Zealand’s tomorrow“These themes are closely interlinked and build on the work that TIA and the current Government have undertaken to grow the value of our tourism industry. We will look to make further progress with whoever is in charge of the Treasury benches post the election,” said Roberts.
National independent mortgage lender “”United Shore Financial Services, LLC (USFS)””:http://www.unitedshore.com/, is welcoming two new corporate leaders. The Michigan-based organization, parent company of “”United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM)””:www.uwm.com/, recently added Tim Forrester as chief financial officer for USFS and named Kristin Hammond as EVP of capital markets.[IMAGE]Prior to joining USFS, Forrester was a partner in “”Deloitte & Touche USA’s””:www.deloitte.com/ capital markets group, where he led the firm’s mortgage banking unit. Hammond joins USFS from her previous role as president of Flagstar Capital Markets Corporation. [COLUMN_BREAK]””I am excited to announce the final two pieces of our senior management team. Over the past 18 months we have sought to build the best, most experienced management team to lead USFS to our goal of being one of the largest and most respected independent mortgage banking firms in the world. Tim and Kirstin are very talented individuals that complement our existing team and allow us to continue to stay on track with our growth plans,”” said Kip Kirkpatrick, CEO of USFS.””We are very excited to announce another high profile executive is moving to Michigan to join us. We’ve hired over 500 people in Michigan this year and are proud of the part we are playing in helping Michigan’s recovery,”” added Mat Ishbia, president of UWM.””Tim Forrester has deep and broad experience in the industry. His detailed accounting and capital markets expertise will help us continue on our path of producing great client service and quality loans for our investors,”” he continued.””The addition of Kirstin Hammond will enhance our ability to continue building great relationships with our investors, while also continuing to improve our executional capabilities, so that we can continue to provide great pricing to our clients,”” concluded Ishbia. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2012-10-22 Abby Gregory Share October 22, 2012 444 Views USFS Appoints Two New Executive Leaders in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology
Midland States Bancorp agreed last week to originate millions of dollars of mortgages in predominantly minority neighborhoods as part of a settlement to resolve allegations of lending discrimination.Midland States Bancorp, headquartered in Effingham, Illinois, will originate $8 million in mortgage loans in minority neighborhoods over the next three years to resolve charges that it previously avoided doing business or establishing branches in predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods in St. Louis and northern Illinois, according to an announcement from HUD.The settlement comes as a result of a housing discrimination complaint filed against the bank by the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC), a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agency.According to EHOC’s complaint, Midland States Bancorp deliberately segmented its service area in a manner excluded areas of high minority concentration, a practice referred to as “redlining.” EHOC also alleged the bank located branches in a way that did not give equal access to customers based on race and national origin and also that the bank failed to market mortgage loans in black and Hispanic communities.All charges constitute violations of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits denying or changing the terms of a loan based on race, sex, disability, or other traits.In addition to providing $8 million in mortgage loans, HUD reports the bank has also agreed to originate $3 million in home repair loans in minority census tracts and an aggregate $4 million in loans for multifamily housing in those areas over the next three years.Midland States Bancorp will also create a $550,000 subsidy fund to provide discounted home purchases or refinance loans in minority markets in St. Louis, Central Illinois, and Northern Illinois, setting aside an additional $400,000 fund for affordable home repair loans.Furthermore, the bank will open a full-service branch in Joliet, Illinois, a loan production branch in St. Louis, and, tentatively, a full-service branch in St. Louis. All will be located in minority neighborhoods.The agreement also provides funding for affirmative marketing to African Americans and Hispanics, financial education for individuals and small businesses, support for training and education, and $200,000 for EHOC, HUD announced.”Today’s settlement demonstrates HUD’s ongoing commitment to addressing lending discrimination, no matter what form it takes,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD’s assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Everyone, regardless of their race or national origin, should have equal access to banking services and HUD will continue to take appropriate action to end discriminatory practices.” Share October 6, 2014 486 Views Illinois Bank Settles Over Alleged Fair Housing Violations Fair Housing Act HUD Loan Discrimination Midland States Bancorp 2014-10-06 Tory Barringer in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News
A federal judge ruled on Monday that the Fair Housing Act does not allow for so-called “disparate impact” claims, which are allegations that can be made based on neutral practices that may unintentionally have a discriminatory effect.U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled on Monday that only claims of direct, intentional discrimination could be made under the Fair Housing Act, which was passed in 1968. While the Fair Housing Act does not specifically state it allows disparate claims lawsuits, courts have allowed them for years.Leon said the belief of those in the Obama administration who interpret the Fair Housing Act to allow disparate impact claims “appears to be nothing more than wishful thinking on steroids.”The disparate impact rule in housing was issued by HUD in February 2013 and has since resulted in several multi-million dollar fair housing settlements against Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and other lenders.One example of a disparate impact claim occurred in 2012 in Delaware, when the National Fair Housing Alliance sued Allstate over Allstate’s refusal to insure flat-roofed houses. The suit alleged that this had a discriminatory effect on low-income minorities that were most likely to live in those houses.Leon’s ruling is a victory for opponents of the disparate impact rule such as American Insurance Association, which currently has a lawsuit pending in the U.S. District Court against HUD over a disparate impact claim.Opponents of disparate impact have one more hurdle to clear, however. The issue of whether or not disparate impact lawsuits are allowed under the Fair Housing Act is likely to be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court sometime in the next few months. In October, the Supreme Court agreed to rule on a similar case in Texas involving allegations of the disproportionate awarding of tax credits to developers who own property in low-income minority dominated neighborhoods.The U.S. Supreme Court has never issued a ruling on disparate impact claims. November 5, 2014 485 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News Federal Judge Knocks Down ‘Disparate Impact’ Disparate Impact Fair Housing Act HUD 2014-11-05 Seth Welborn Share
Why is there a lack of automation in the correspondent business today?There is no single reason why there is a lack of automation in the correspondent business. The right automation, properly applied, can solve some of the biggest challenges facing today’s correspondent lender. All lenders collect an insane amount of information from borrowers—bank balances, income, credit history, tax data, you name it—and then they go out and get even more data from third-party vendors, not all of which is saved or sent in the same format. Gathering so much data form different sources and formats inevitably creates data contamination problems. For correspondents who buy these loans, there is significant value in technology that can automate the process and identify defects prior to purchase.Most correspondent lenders today are forced to rely on an LOS—or parts of an LOS—for loan acquisition due diligence. Unfortunately, LOS solutions are not really equipped to verify and validate data, nor are they capable of automating the quality control aspects of a loan file review. On a broader level, the decision to invest in automation usually happens at the higher levels of an organization. Standardizing on an LOS to serve needs across channels is not uncommon. Unfortunately, the organization’s correspondent division is then left to absorb or “eat” the cost of functionality they simply won’t use. Also, they are filling in the gaps through manual workarounds and additional systems, such as web portals and pricing engines. Technology specifically designed to automate the correspondent workflow can eliminate process inefficiencies and the need to invest in and maintain multiple systems. in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination What is the problem with relying solely on seller LOS data? A correspondent with limited automation may be tempted to improve turn time by relying solely on LOS data provided by sellers. This is a big mistake and highlights a huge myth in the industry that LOS data is the single source of truth for the loan file, which simply isn’t correct. The LOS is a system of record, to be sure, but anybody can put data into the LOS—that doesn’t make the data accurate. Correspondents who purchase loans from multiple sellers are also dealing with data from a variety of LOS systems. They need an efficient way to compare that data with the final loan documents and identify inconsistencies. Relying solely on LOS data for loan file reviews leaves a correspondent with too much exposure related to defects.Fully automating the correspondent loan acquisition process needs to go beyond the automation of standard processes and progress to “intelligent automation.” The former type of automation applies to tasks such as populating forms and sending alerts. Intelligent automation, on the other hand, leverages a rules-based architecture to interpret information in a useful way. You could say that there really is no shortage of basic automation, but there is definitely a shortage of intelligent automation. We’re trying to change that.What steps are correspondent investors taking to apply more automation?It varies by investor. Some investors want a complete solution that will help them deliver more effectively on their value proposition, whatever that may be. For example, some lenders focus on providing customers with a high-touch experience and want added data and intelligence that addresses seller improvement and competitive pricing. Others desire a more low-touch approach, and choose an elevated level of automation across all steps in the processes while focusing on providing sellers with the best prices.Then there are correspondent investors who need help solving a particular pain point, such as document processing, which is a huge challenge for many. Very large amounts of loan file data remain “locked up” in documents that require very precise technology to extract. This same technology should also enable indexing, classification, and versioning of all loan file documents.Correspondent investors may vary on their approach to automation, addressing a specific issue or pursuing systemic improvement, but there is no lack of opportunity for it to deliver value to their businesses. Chasing Loan Automation What would investors consider a digital transformation?The best possible digital experience for correspondent investors is one that prevents buybacks, reduces seller turn times, and lowers costs across all processes. The question is: how do you get there? An increasing number of investors are diving in, while many others don’t know where to begin.For example, with today’s technology, investors can verify the accuracy of any loan file, streamline the clearing of conditions, and create documented proof of compliance, which helps all sides avoid potential buybacks. The same type of technology is capable of finding and addressing loan defects across data and docs that would otherwise go undetected by using only LOS data. Automation enables this to happen efficiently, which speeds seller turn times and funding to their warehouse lines.While we may not yet be at a place where a total digital transformation is embraced by all, most investors would consider a successful digital transformation one that achieves the above three goals: preventing buybacks, reducing seller turn times, and lowering costs across all processes.Where is the tipping point for true ROI through automation?For all lenders, the holy grail is lowering costs and achieving consistent, verified, and validated compliance with investor guidelines. The only way to do both is by automating the quality control oversight of the underwriting and decision-making processes as they occur. This will ensure accurate, validated data is used to make underwriting decisions with minimal manual data entry. Real-time, in-line quality checks and automated rules will test and document compliance with investor guidelines, passing on high quality loans to correspondent investors. Pre-purchase reviews can then be streamlined, refocusing staff resource on managing exceptions.The holy grail drives quality from the start of the origination process. However, we’re not there yet as an industry. For correspondent investors, the burden is still on them to identify and cure defects prior to purchase. The good news is that a growing number of them are investing in the right technologies that are helping them achieve true, documented ROI on automation right now. November 24, 2017 652 Views Automation Correspondent Lending HOUSING LoanLogics mortgage 2017-11-24 Rachel Williams Leah Fox, EVP of Technology and Services Delivery, LoanLogicsNearly two full decades into the new century, many correspondent lenders are still stuck in the past. The sheer amount of data required to be sifted, sorted, and interpreted can be daunting for a business of any size, but emerging technology will allow lenders to automate more of this process, more easily catching defects before the purchase is already made. It sounds like a no-brainer, but many in the industry are still relying on an LOS. What’s the hold-up in embracing digital?Leah Fox is EVP of Technology and Services Delivery for LoanLogics, a recognized technology leader in loan quality management and performance analytics that helps lenders improve transparency and reliability throughout the loan lifecycle. Fox previously worked as Head of Solution Delivery Services for eBay Enterprise. MReport spoke with her about ways the industry can further embrace automation, and the challenges ahead. Share
Anticipating Tomorrow in Featured, News, Print Features Editor’s note: This story was originally featured in the December issue of MReport, out now. Anticipating what’s to come is always a tricky business. 2017 was a year defined by unpredictability, with the housing and mortgage industry facing technological updates, policy changes, demographic shifts, and a slew of natural disasters. Now, 2018 offers a clean slate and a sense of optimism as the industry continues to grow and learn.This new year will see the industry now knowing a bit more of what to expect from the now-established presidential administration, but still with plenty of questions about what course the government will chart in 2018. Both natural disasters and digital threats will almost certainly continue to provide challenges, but emerging technological advancements will also provide enormous opportunity for those who can evolve their processes and best incorporate them.But without a Magic 8-Ball to provide all the answers, the best way to predict what 2018 has in store is to talk to the people who’ve been in the trenches during the twists and turns of 2017. With that in mind, MReport spoke to a cross-section of leading industry experts whose day-to-day duties demand that they try and anticipate the next challenge, the next opportunity, and the next unexpected curveball.Leveraging TechnologyThe best way to build a better future is to understand the past. While the challenges of 2017 won’t be left behind, it is how the industry responds that is key. One trend many industry experts agree on is that the expansion of digital tools will be crucial for anyone hoping to remain competitive.“2017 provided for many good challenges in bringing more and more automation and technology to an industry that desperately needs it,” said Mike Lyon, EVP at Nexsys Technologies. Using digital tools as a means to enhance consumer experience through workflow may become the primary focus for many lenders in 2018. As in many cases, efficiency will be key.“Lenders are going to have to be more efficient—if the purchase business takes more effort, you have to get more efficient in the business,” said Jonathan Corr, President and CEO of Ellie Mae. “Technology can help address this challenge by helping lenders close loans faster, close more loans, and reduce the cost to originate, all while operating with the compliance necessary in today’s world.” Jeff Sandman, Co-Founder of Pendo, added, “The adoption of technology has reduced redundancies, errors, and simplified the process while producing an appraisal in less time and with better accuracy.”As the industry moves into 2018, there are also technology solutions that lenders can implement to drive costs out of the mortgage process and deliver greater transparency and control for proof of compliance. According to Tim Anderson, Director of eServices at DocMagic, “What was once referred to as eMortgages has now been renamed to the Digital Mortgage process to take time, paper, and risk out of the entire process and store critical data and docs to ensure compliance of the process all the way from initial loan application to closing and investor delivery.”There will inevitably be speed bumps along the way, of course. While Stanley Street, President of Street Resource Group, suggests the industry will see an accelerated use of eNotes in 2018, He says much depends on adoption amongst the secondary market.“Major lenders are actively pursuing completely digital technology, and warehouse lenders have become increasingly comfortable financing digital-mortgage products,” said Street. “Our hope is that increase demand for eNotes next year will help move additional aggregators and institutional non-GSE investors off the fence.” Looking ahead, Shelley Leonard, Black Knight’s Chief Product Strategy Officer, forecasts a renewed focus over the next five years on leveraging innovative technologies to improve the experience for the borrower and advance the mortgage industry as a whole.“Examples of these include continually innovating new ways to apply data and analytics throughout the mortgage lifecycle,” Leonard said.Overall, these advancements can improve profitability and efficiency for the lender or servicer, while also buoying customer satisfaction.With greater technology comes a greater ability to acquire data. With pools of high-fidelity data available, the industry can accelerate and expand the use of alternative and innovative forms of credit risk transfer, particularly those utilizing reinsurers, according to David Gansberg, President and CEO of Arch Mortgage Insurance. “While the mortgage industry has made tremendous technological advances over the years, there are still massive opportunities to adopt emerging technologies to further benefit the entire lending ecosystem—from lenders to borrowers to mortgage insurers and GSEs,” Gansberg said. Easing the Consumer Experience While financial technology is accelerating rapidly and providing new opportunities for lenders, it can also create confusion among customers, according to Eric Egenhoefer, President & CEO of Waterstone Mortgage. Companies that understand how to leverage technology effectively to increase efficiency and reduce friction will come out ahead and increase their market share. “Today’s consumers are increasingly more informed about the mortgage process, so lenders need to be up to speed with current customer service trends, from providing a mobile application to enhancing communication with clients,” Egenhoefer said. To best prepare for 2018, it is important to keep focusing on providing a better customer experience and understanding where to place technology bets to support it. “Borrowers are demanding a better customer experience,” said Scott Slifer, Chairman and CEO, Sutherland Mortgage Services, Inc. “Lenders must find a way to stand out and win new purchase business.” In fact, borrower expectations could be the biggest element to shift in 2018, says Joe Dombrowski, Director of Product Management at Fiserv. While compliance has grown and access to capital has changed, those changes have largely been incremental over several years.“Among the biggest market challenges in 2018, housing professionals will have to address building new lending products to reflect changing borrower needs,” said Dombrowski. “We see hints of this already with work being done on improved reverse-mortgage products and introduction of new equity products.”Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource, said that improvements for 2018 include educating buyers. He believes first-time homebuyers’ biggest problem isn’t that they don’t qualify to buy a home, it’s that they think they don’t qualify. “Since these consumers aren’t actively seeking homeownership, mortgage professionals need to seek them out in ways they haven’t in the past,” said Chrane. “More than ever, there’s no one-size-fits-all mortgage, and buyers will want to work with lenders who can help them evaluate multiple options.”Millennial homebuyers will be a key group to target in the upcoming year. As a demographic cohort, millennials are far more educated about consumer choices than prior generations, seeking more education about loan products and the loan process. According to Dombrowski, lenders should be examining the means they use to educate first-time borrowers, as well as boomers who may be looking at their next loan. “Saturday-morning first-time homebuyer seminars may have worked 15 years ago, but a more digital approach is needed today,” said Dombrowski.However, while evolving technology can provide plenty of opportunities in 2018, there are also potential perils.CybersecurityData breaches and cyberattacks were a big challenge in 2017, and some industry experts claim it was the biggest challenge of the year—and one that will continue in 2018. “Housing professionals are ‘one-stop shopping’ for cyberthieves, as we all have multiple pieces of confidential information on each party to the transaction,” said Bill Burding, EVP, General Counsel, Orange Coast Title Company. “The types and means of fraud have morphed literally from day to day, so it is a full-time effort to keep up with this challenge.”Going into 2018, it is important to regularly review and update cyber policies and ensure that the highest standards are maintained to protect consumers. Paul Wetzel, EVP of Product Management at Mortgage Cadence, said cybercrime is a growing threat for the mortgage industry. The quantity and complexity of hacking efforts are on the rise, leaving borrowers’ personal and financial information, not to mention company reputations, at risk. “In order to confront this risk head-on, housing professionals must invest in an alternative solution to email, the most common point of entry for hackers,” Wetzel said. “A private network that enables multi-party communication and real-time collaboration will prove to be the industry’s best defense against cybercrime, and must be adopted sooner rather than later.” A Shift in the MarketIn the past, the industry has experienced several significant changes in the marketplace that will require more attention from lenders in 2018. Ray Brousseau, President of Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC, said that the days of simple “rate-and-term” refinancing are largely a thing of the past. Interest rates have dropped as much as possible, and there is a shift from refinancing to consumers taking advantage of the increased appreciation in their homes and cashing out. “Second, we’ve experienced a very slow shift in the willingness of lenders to help distressed or borrowers with credit challenges,” said Brousseau. “The overall market has been slow to respond to them and demonstrate its willingness to work with this underserved market.” Dan Hoppes, SVP at Assurant Mortgage Solutions, said market valuations have shifted dramatically in the past five years. “Coming out of the mortgage crisis, there was a high degree of regulatory focus on all parties, including appraisers and appraisal management companies (AMCs),” Hoppes said. “Add the changes to closing a loan with regards to TRID, and the industry had a lot of change to digest in a very short time period.” There is still a high focus on the regulatory environment, but now that everyone is gaining a comfort level with most of the increased requirements fostered by Dodd-Frank, the focus is moving toward innovation and efficiency.Not everyone agrees with the comfortability of the increased requirements. Anderson said he is hopeful that he will see a bit of moratorium slowdown in the number of major regulations to provide the industry some breathing room. Major regulations include: Qualified Mortgage (QM), TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID), Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), and Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD).Additionally, Matt Woolley, SVP of Sales with LoanLogics, zeroed in on one aspect of the mortgage industry he would gladly leave behind in 2018. “In a word, overregulation,” Woolley said. “Under the current administration, we look forward to the elimination of burdensome lending regulations that added costs to loan production, yet did not provide consumers and investors with any concrete benefits.”Forecasts for 2018 also include looking forward to more of a purchase home loan market versus the heavy percentage of refinances experienced over the past several years.“Although many companies continue to survive on these refinances, a successful housing and mortgage market cannot be sustained by an overabundance of refinances,” said Woolley. “Refis artificially bolster the economy with a short-term boost from the extra cash homeowners realize after refinancing.”Will Fisher, SVP, National Sales and Marketing Director of Citadel, said the market will experience a “sea of change” in the type of borrower that is available to purchase or refinance. “This will be due to two factors: the first, increased interest rates,” Fisher said. “Second, government intervention, with potential changes to the tax code and housing regulation.”However, a sustainable and successful housing market and economy are based on a strong home-purchase market—and Woolley believes the industry should start to see a stronger purchase market in 2018 and beyond. Tom Hutchens, SVP at Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, anticipates 2018 to shed light on winners and losers emerging from the refinance cliff. “We have already seen refinance volume dry up as rates rose throughout 2017,” Hutchens said. “Lenders who prepared by adding additional purchase products have been successful in attracting new customer bases. However, those who did not diversify their product offerings will face challenges in 2018 and beyond.”The expected rise in interest rates may reduce refinancing ap-plications and also drive competi-tion in the market, potentially resulting in decreased margins for lenders.Seth Kronemeyer, Vertical Marketing Leader, Equifax Mortgage & Housing, says preparation is paramount. “Mortgage lenders should develop their purchase-market strategy and target anticipated Closing Protection Letter (CPL) acquisition costs through all marketing mediums, including direct real estate and indirect lead providers.” In fact, competition among lenders in purchase markets could be a driving force in 2018, according to Jonathan Corr, President and CEO of Ellie Mae. “As a lender, you’ve got to be doing more to achieve that volume on the purchase side,” Corr said. “It’s a relationship-oriented market—it means working with real estate agents and perhaps longer gestation periods. Lenders have to get in earlier in that point of interest for the homebuyer.”The Year of Uncertainty One of the biggest challenges the mortgage servicing industry will face moving from 2017 to 2018 is the lingering impact of the unprecedented hurricane season of 2017. Although the servicing and property preservation industries have responded to massive increases in disaster-related inspections, Chad Mosley, COO at Mortgage Contracting Solutions, said, “We have only started to scratch the surface related to the preservation, rehab, and repair on properties in these impacted areas.” “It will be imperative that servicers and service providers alike build on the lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane season,” Mosley added. “There were positives related to the massive volume of highly concentrated inspections that were completed in a short time period, as well as new technologies that were implemented to assist with the inspection and reporting on storm-damaged areas.”In addition, the marketplace is at a tipping point—there is quite a bit of unknown. “For example, what will happen with the GSEs and the regulatory environment?” asked Charles Chacko, Managing Partner at OS National. “How fast will new technological innovations be implemented and embraced? We will also have new leadership at several posts, and add to the mix interest rate changes.” According to Denis Brosnan, President and CEO of DIMONT, one of the biggest challenges the industry will face in 2018 will most likely be continued uncertainty within the regulatory environment and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Additionally, there remains ambiguity around the Federal Reserve, particularly with the replacement of Janet Yellen in early 2018.“There was an expectation in 2017 that the new administration would enact sweeping changes that would either benefit or harm the mortgage industry,” said Dave Worrall, President, Executive Department of LoanCare, a ServiceLink Company. “However, as the issues that the administration has chosen to take on, such as mortgage interest deduction, are very controversial, it is unclear what will change and when.” If there is one thing that is certain, it is that despite all the predictions, the industry will never truly know what’s in store for the new year—which very well could be the biggest challenge in itself. “Uncertainty can lead to nervousness that can gather momentum,” said Edmond Buckley, President, Aspen Groves Solutions. “So, as housing professionals, we prepare for that by focusing on the positives and providing innovative solutions to combat the uncertainty and remove obstacles—perceived or real.” Predicting the future might be an uncertain business, but it’s not just about anticipating the future—it’s about working to help shape it proactively. 2018 looks to be an exciting ride for the housing and mortgage industry, so long as the lessons of 2017 aren’t forgotten as they fade into the rearview. December 18, 2017 613 Views 2018 HOUSING mortgage 2017-12-18 Nicole Casperson Share
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News June 8, 2018 638 Views Bank of America Makes a Business Case for Inclusion Share From providing its 6,000th mortgage-free home in April and most recently launching a $20 million lending program for U.S. military veteran entrepreneurs, Bank of America has been strengthening its business case for inclusion this year. The latest being an announcement on Friday to hire 10,000 people from low- and moderate-income communities by partnering with nonprofits to fuel its talent pipeline. The bank’s consumer and small business division targets to achieve this goal over the next five years through its Pathways Program. Through this program, Bank of America is working with nonprofits to build a pipeline of local talent to connect to sustainable jobs. Some of its nonprofit partners include organizations such as Year Up and Unidos US, that empower career-ready individuals to gain an entry point to full-time employment. Other partners such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Urban Alliance, provide opportunities for younger individuals to gain valuable skills for a future career. “The bank supports these nonprofit partners in recruiting candidates for the Pathways program, which provides a defined onboarding plan, education for required skills, on-the-job training, and a roadmap to full-time employment and future career opportunities,” Bank of America said in a statement.According to Dean Athanasia, President and Co-head of Consumer and Small Business at the bank, by hiring from communities that the bank serves and “helping our teammates develop their careers at the bank, we are helping our clients, and their employees, lead better financial lives.”In fact, many banks and mortgage lenders are opening up to the benefits of Diversity and Inclusion to their business strategies and looking at recruiting as well as retention practices that stress on inclusion of a diverse set of employees. In MReport’s June issue, we turn the spotlight on Diversity and make a case of how initiatives in this field are helping organizations enhance and fulfill their goals and strategies in our cover story titled “Measuring Change.” Bank of America Communities Consumers Inclusion Jobs Low Income Moderate-income Small Business 2018-06-08 Radhika Ojha
Etihad Aviation Group has appointed Robin Kamark as chief executive officer, Airline Equity Partners, responsible for leading and developing the Group’s minority equity investment strategy, which includes stakes in airberlin, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Etihad Regional and Virgin Australia.Reporting to the group president and CEO, Kamark takes over from Bruno Matheu (who has held the role since May 2016, and is leaving for personal reasons) in October 2017, and will lead strategic developments to optimise business performance, revenues and cost synergies between Etihad Airways and its equity partners across the world. He will also provide strategic leadership for airline partners where Etihad Airways has management responsibility.Kevin Knight, group strategy and planning officer, will also work with Bruno Matheu to provide continuity across Airline Equity Partners as the group manages the transition over the coming months.Kamark will become one of the five key business unit executives within the Etihad Aviation Group, joining Peter Baumgartner, CEO of Etihad Airways; Jeff Wilkinson, CEO of Etihad Airways Engineering; and Chris Youlten, Managing Director of Airport Services. Hala, the company’s destination marketing and global loyalty unit, will announce a permanent CEO shortly.A 17-year veteran of the airline industry, Kamark has previously held a range of strategy, commercial and general manager roles at SAS Group, rising to become chief commercial officer. For the last five years, he has been executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Storebrand ASA, a leading Nordic financial services business.H.E. Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, chairman of the Board of the Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad Aviation Group continues to invest in world-class talent at the most senior level, building our executive team to lead the business into the next stage of its development.“Robin is a well-respected leader in global aviation, with wide-ranging experience at SAS Group. He performed important roles in the restructuring of that airline and has broadened his experience more recently in financial services.“Our equity partner strategy continues to be an important element of our business model, and Robin will drive the strategy by adjusting and progressing our approach.“We would like to thank Bruno for his sterling efforts over the last two and half years, as we have built and consolidated our equity partner approach.”The EAG Board is currently involved in a search for a new Group CEO. Long-serving president and CEO James Hogan announced that he would step down from the company later this year.
Do you have clients heading to New Zealand? DriveAway is taking 50% off ALL Ezi Car Rental vehicles picking up from Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Queenstown when you book during the DriveAway Frenzy sale that ends at midnight AEST tomorrow (Wednesday 23 August 2017), and you can secure free additional drivers and unlimited kms in the bargain.DriveAway says its pickups have increased by 10% over the last year, and that New Zealand is a popular self-drive destination, not just in the winter but throughout the spring and summer months as well. “Destinations like Queenstown and Auckland have had some of the biggest growth of up to 13% and the average duration on these hires are over 8 days giving travellers time to take in the stunning scenery of New Zealand.”Travel is until 31 October 2017.For more information or to book, visit DriveAway.com.au or call 1300 363 500. driveDriveAway HolidaysNew Zealandsale
The Inflighto app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play as a free download. Inflighto also offers a number of paid ‘upgrades’ for users who want premium features such as live weather radar overlay – so they can see where the clouds are on the flight-path and at their destination. Co-founder John Hopkins said; “Passengers can access live weather information so they can better understand why an aircraft may be placed in a holding pattern due to severe weather or anticipate when to expect turbulence during their flight. It’s like the weather radar pilots have in the cockpit but in the palm of your hand!”.App features include geolocated points of interest, tourist destinations and events information so airline passengers can easily see flight path highlights and identify key landmarks as they fly. The Inflighto app is the first in-flight entertainment app designed by pilots for use by airline passengers while in-flight. It combines highly-accurate ADSB flight-tracking technology and premium content to give passengers an elevated perspective of the world from the air, and supersedes the traditional ‘moving-maps’ currently used by airlines.Inflighto’s co-founder, Christopher Smyth said that the Inflighto app allows airlines to transition traditional, seat-back moving-maps to passengers’ own mobile devices. He said that many airlines are replacing seat-back, in-flight entertainment systems with ‘bring your own device’ solutions to reduce the cost of expensive technology installation and to save weight and fuel costs. “The Inflighto app provides a cost-effective moving-map solution to airlines that is fully autonomous and doesn’t require integration with aircraft systems. Inflighto uses ADSB flight-tracking technology so it remains super-accurate on large airliners, at any altitude, anywhere in the world”. The Inflighto app is designed for use with in-flight Wi-Fi which is being rolled-out on commercial airlines globally, and tracks over 90,000 flights and 7,000 airlines world-wide. airlinesappInflighto Inflighto Pty Ltd is an Australian-based technology company formed in 2017 by two Australian pilots, John Hopkins and Christopher Smyth, and the company yesterday announced the launch of Inflighto – a sophisticated in-flight entertainment and flight-tracking app. Inflighto is also the only flight-tracking app to incorporate live marine vessel tracking, live weather radar, satellite images and in-flight chat. For aspiring pilots, the Inflighto app provides live flight data including altitude, ground speed, vertical speed, and heading and geographic location coordinates. Another unique feature of the Inflighto app is In-flight Chat. This innovative feature allows passengers to chat with flight crew and fellow passengers in an open chat-room dedicated to their flight. “Inflight Chat provides the potential for pilots and cabin crew to communicate with interested passengers about flight path highlights without using the PA system. This doesn’t disrupt other passengers who may be resting,” said Smyth.Inflighto also allows passengers to share flight-path images and accurate flight schedule information on social media.
agentsG AdventuresIncentiveUMI in the Islands A thirteenth bonus spot was up for grabs in G Adventures’ UMI in the Islands incentive, and to decide who would get the lucky space, the names of all 1,411 members of the UMI Australia/NZ Facebook group were written on post-its and then stuck onto the balls in the Outpost’s infamous ball pit meeting room.The winning ball was then randomly drawn by Director of Sales (Australia and New Zealand), Ingrid Kocijan who, whilst donning a seal onesie, dived into the ball pit and came out with the ball with the lucky winner’s name – and, via video, in the UMI Australia/NZ Facebook page, Rebecca Owen from STA Brisbane was announced as the first agent on their way to the GalapagosThe other twelve spots on UMI in the Islands, which will have agents spotting giant tortoises, sea lions and island birds in abundance, will be given to the six top sellers as well as six randomly picked agents who have booked at least one client during the months of the incentive.
The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Alex Smith completed 18-of-19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Michael Crabtree. With the win, the 49ers improve to 6-2, while the Cardinals fall to 4-4.The Good:For the Cardinals, there was really nothing good. The offense played with usual ineptitude and the defense followed suit.Oh, Michael Floyd made a nice one-handed catch in garbage time with the Cardinals down three touchdowns.The Bad:The Cardinals offense was absolutely punchless against the league’s top-rated defense. Cardinals cornerbacks Patrick Peterson, William Gay and Jamell Fleming were all burned in coverage and compounded it with tackling issues.Arizona’s defense got burned by San Francisco Alex Smith, who threw three touchdown passes and had only one incompletion on the evening — a drop by tight end Delanie Walker. The pass protection wasn’t good again, as the Niners defense, which came in with just 11 sacks on the season, racked up four more against the Arizona offensive line.The Cardinals’ running game managed just 7 yards on 9 carries.Noted:• The Cardinals have now lost four straight after starting the year 4-0. In fact, ESPN Stats and Info tweeted that the Cardinals are just the third team to start a season 4-0 and lose their next four games. The others are the 1993 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2002 Oakland Raiders are the others. Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won’t tell you everything that happened in a football game. So, we will give you Bird Bits providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Cardinals’ 24-3 loss to the 49ers.The Story:The San Francisco 49ers absolutely dominated the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football, pounding them on both sides of the ball in a 24-3 win at University of Phoenix Stadium. Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires • With the loss, the Cardinals are now 1-8 on Monday Night Football since moving to the Valley in 1988. They’re 1-5 against the 49ers on Monday night.• Alex Smith completed 94.7 percent of his passes against the Cardinals — the highest percentage in NFL history by a quarterback with more than 15 attempts in a game. Smith broke the record held by Craig Morton who completed 17-of-18 passes (94.4%) for the Denver Broncos in a win over the San Diego Chargers September 27, 1981 and Fran Tarkenton, who had the same numbers for the Minnesota Vikings in a 1977 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.• The win marked the 42nd all-time Monday Night Football victory for the 49ers, second-most in history. Only the Dallas Cowboys (43) have more MNF triumphs.• San Francisco is now 7-1 in NFC West games since Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach prior to the 2011 season.He Said It:“We had a big test tonight, and you saw how we responded to it. It wasn’t good enough,” — Cardinals head coach Ken WhisenhuntComing Up Next:The Cardinals hit the road to take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field next Sunday. – / 19 Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
As for Monday? Well, the coach likes what he’s seen.“I was really pleased,” he said. “After a week off, I expected it to be a lot sloppier.”The Cardinals have a little more than a week left of OTAs, and then they’ll be off until training camp in August.Which means, of course, there is still time to work.“Got a couple more things in,” Arians said of what was accomplished Monday. “Just continue to put players in different positions and see what they can do and what they can’t do, especially the wide receivers.”Oh yeah, those wide receivers. After drawing their coach’s ire a couple weeks ago, how did they fare Monday? Much better. “Ever since that day,” Arians said with a smile. “Funny how that works.” Comments Share Organized Team Activities, or “OTAs” for short, are a coaching staff’s first real chance to try and install schemes and get to know a roster. And, if all goes well, it’s a chance to see some improvement, too.That’s what Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians would like to see, anyway, and compared to the last time he spoke to the media, he’s very pleased with what he saw.Then, the coach said, “I don’t like mistakes, and I really don’t like mental mistakes, especially if you made the same one last week. That should be corrected and in the books by now. Our receivers are not getting that done.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires – / 22 Top Stories
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Andre Ellington has been the most pleasant surprise of the Cardinals’ season thus far. And with a crucial game looming Thursday against Seattle, a storyline to monitor is whether Bruce Arians will continue to use No. 38 in a role that seems to suit him, or rather develop a fever where the only prescription is more Ellington. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Following Ellington’s best statistical game of the season — 92 total yards and a touchdown against the 49ers — the climb isn’t likely to end. At least it shouldn’t.Good things happen when Ellington gets the ball. His 7.0 yards per carry is more than twice the average of starting running back Rashard Mendenhall. Ellington’s 8.3 yards per touch creates an even bigger gap between he and Mendenhall, who averages 3.7 yards each time he touches the ball. In addition, Ellington has more catches (18) for more yards (180) than No. 3 receiver Andre Roberts (15, 150), despite having been the target of fewer passes. The rookie has also scored twice (once more than Michael Floyd) and hasn’t fumbled (Larry Fitzgerald has).And I’ve saved the rookie’s most impressive stat for last: Ellington moves the chains. He’s picked up a first down a remarkable 19 times on just 43 chances. That’s a 44 percent conversion rate. Mendenhall is earning a first down 20 percent of the time. Heck, Adrian Peterson only moves the chains 24 percent of the time, and NFL yardage leader LaSean McCoy converts 29 percent of the time.Granted, Ellington plays mostly on third down, but when the cat is making the entire chain gang move nearly every other time he’s touching the ball, one has to wonder if it’s time to expand his role. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 0 Comments Share Top Stories It’s not always greedy to ask for more. Sometimes it’s simply the right thing to do.Oliver Twist asked for more gruel and touched off a meaningful rebellion.Bruce Dickinson asked for more cowbell and the Blue Oyster Cult soared into stardom.So, don’t be ashamed, Cardinals fans, to ask for more Andre Ellington. It might just be the kick in the pants the offense needs.The sixth-round pick out of Clemson impressed the coaching staff during training camp, enough that he earned a roster spot — just not much playing time. Ellington had one touch in the season opener, but his role in the offense has expanded each week, climbing from six touches in week two to 12 in Sunday’s loss to San Francisco.
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The week concludes with the Irrelevant Week XL Banquet on Friday night, which hosts past and present stars and celebrities. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Christian would receive the key to Newport Beach.#MrIrrelevantXL @hungry4gr8tness has the key to Newport Beach! His other gifts: http://t.co/3x1101ehRg pic.twitter.com/6kaoWSmngE— TheUndefeated.org (@undefeatedorg) July 8, 2015 From there Christian would appear on the NFL Network’s NFL Total Access program.Tune into @NFLTotalAccess today during 4 o’clock hour to catch #MrIrrelevantXL @hungry4gr8tness of the @AZCardinals! pic.twitter.com/XNz484NZD7— TheUndefeated.org (@undefeatedorg) July 7, 2015 Believe it or not, being selected No. 256 in the NFL Draft has its perks, and that’s what Arizona Cardinals selection Gerald Christian has learned this week.The former Louisville tight end has had a week-long vacation for being “Mr. Irrelevant” in the NFL Draft. The tradition of “Mr. Irrelevant Week” continued with Christian.His week in California started with what a lot of celebrities in California have to endure: the paparazzi. The week-long trip had many more stops, including a trip to Disneyland.#MrIrrelevantXL @hungry4gr8tness & his entourage made it to the happiest place on earth! @Disneyland pic.twitter.com/QnyOhCHOfd— TheUndefeated.org (@undefeatedorg) July 8, 2015 Comments Share Top Stories Paparazzi has found #MrIrrelevantXL @hungry4gr8tness at @JohnWayneAir! Let the #IrrelevantWeekXL games BEGIN! pic.twitter.com/UrBTzqjATb— TheUndefeated.org (@undefeatedorg) July 7, 2015
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Lamar Louis (52) reacts to a play during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) TEMPE, Ariz. — Following last Thursday’s preseason finale against the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals linebacker Lamar Louis said if he was to make the team’s 53-man roster, it would be “mission complete.”Well, complete the mission is.The Cardinals made their final cuts on Saturday, and Louis’ name was not among them. The undrafted rookie free agent out of LSU beat the odds and made the team. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments Share The Cardinals have used him at linebacker, and while they are pleased with his potential there, what earned him a roster spot was indeed his work on special teams.“Made about six tackles on special teams the last two games,” coach Bruce Arians said of Louis. “Solo tackles.”It was that simple.A guest of Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday, Cardinals GM Steve Keim said about halfway through training camp they saw Louis as someone who could make the team because at that point, if they were to keep an extra linebacker, his production in the game’s third phase would make him a candidate.“And as an inside linebacker he’s extremely explosive, he can run laterally well, and he’s a guy I think because of experience can continue to get better,” he said. “He also has positional versatility. He can play both inside spots and we feel really good moving forward with some of these young guys.”Louis said he went into his first offseason with the Cardinals knowing he was going to have to make an impression on special teams because, if you are not a starter, that is where your hope lies.Yet, while he did enough to stay, he knows he is far from a finished product. But that’s not the only thing he’s hoping to accomplish.“Some goals that I’ve set for me, personally, I want to be like a guy that we’re about to face; I want to be a (Matthew) Slater, I want to be a (Justin) Bethel,” he said. “I want to be able to make the Pro Bowl as a specialist, so that’s a goal I have set for this year.”Follow Adam Green on Twitter “It feels really good,” he said Tuesday. “Just all the hard work you put in and being able to see it come to fruition; it’s just a real good feeling.”Louis said upon hearing the good news, the first thing he did was thank God for giving him the opportunity before letting his parents know. He said they were “ecstatic.”“My parents know the road that I traveled, probably one of the hardest roads,” he said. “And they’ve been with me the whole way, so when I made it, they felt like they made it.”One of Louis’ teammates, safety Tony Jefferson, has a unique perspective on the rookie’s accomplishment, having gone undrafted in 2013 before joining the Cardinals as a free agent. Because of that, Jefferson understands what it’s like to to make it this far and made sure to congratulate Louis Tuesday.“It’s huge when an undrafted guy, you know the odds are definitely against us and he definitely earned his spot,” he said. “He did a great job in special teams. Much ups to him.”Louis played in 48 games for LSU — including 17 starts — and tallied 97 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, three passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. The 5-foot-11, 232-pound player was clocked around 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and there was some talk before the draft of some teams seeing him as more of a safety than a linebacker. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact “As far a special teams, I would say that I’m very raw right now,” he said. “I’m just ‘see ball, get ball’, but special teams is like another position; you have to study, watch film, look at different sets, look at tendencies — so I have some growth to do there, of course.”Of course, Louis would also ultimately like to make an impact at linebacker, too, and for that to happen he says he needs to continue to grow. While he’s third on the depth chart at inside linebacker now, as long as he is on the roster, there may come a time when the team needs him.“Because if somebody goes down, which it’s a contact sport, it’s likely, you have to be ready,” he added. “Next man up.”No one is expecting Louis to come in and be a star right away, and he knows being on the roster now does not exactly offer much in the way of guarantees for the future.But for Louis, who is eager to learn, having Deone Bucannon and Kevin Minter — the latter of whom he was teammates with at LSU in 2012 — in the same linebacker room has proven to be useful in his quest to learn and improve, which is one of his goals for this season. Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling
Award WinnersDo we have to give any this week?Offense: Carlos Hyde, San Francisco – Hyde had a career-high 193 yards on 17 carries and added a 7-yard touchdown reception for the Niners.Defense: DeForest Buckner, San Francisco – The rookie from Oregon had two of San Francisco’s six sacks and four quarterback hits.Special Teams: Certainly nobody from the CardinalsWhat’s on Tap in Week 15:• Los Angeles Rams (4-9) at Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1) – Thursday, December 15 – 6:25 p.m. at CenturyLink Field• New Orleans Saints (5-8) at Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1) – Sunday, December 18 – 2:05 p.m. at University of Phoenix Stadium• San Francisco 49ers (1-12) at Atlanta Falcons (8-5) – Sunday, December 18 – 2:05 p.m. at Georgia Dome – / 31 Top Stories Stat of the Game: The Seahawks have now been outscored 52-15 in their last two road games — losses at Tampa Bay and Green Bay.Atlanta Falcons 42, Los Angeles Rams 14The Rams went out and celebrated head coach Jeff Fisher’s inexplicable new contract extension by falling behind by 42 points before softening the blow with two garbage-time touchdowns in their fourth straight loss.Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes and the Falcons’ defense forced five L.A. turnovers and scored two touchdowns in the rout.The Rams left little doubt about how the game was going to go from the outset. Rookie Michael Thomas fumbled the opening kickoff and Ryan hit Justin Hardy on a 3-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first play from scrimmage, just ten seconds into the contest.Ryan hit Tevin Coleman on a 6-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter and Deion Jones capped the first half scoring with a 33-yard interception return for a score.Atlanta added three more touchdowns in the third quarter, including a 64-yard Ryan-to-Taylor Gabriel pass and a 21-yard fumble return by Vic Beasley.Quotable: Take it away, Todd Gurley.VIDEO: The Rams “looked like a middle-school offense out there.” — Todd Gurley @CVRamsClub @VCStarSports pic.twitter.com/gryb1VhmAl— Joe Curley (@vcsjoecurley) December 12, 2016 Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Stat of the Game: The Rams have scored six total touchdowns in five home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.New York Jets 23, San Francisco 49ers 17Many had speculated that the New York Jets have just up and quit on second-year head coach Todd Bowles.That line of thinking gained credence Sunday when the visiting Jets fell behind by 14 points to a 49ers team riding an 11-game losing streak in the first quarter.Pride must’ve kicked in.The Jets closed the game by scoring 20 consecutive points, including a 19-yard touchdown run in overtime by Bilal Powell to give them a 23-17 win — just their fourth of the season.The 49ers got a quick start after Jimmie Ward picked off a Bryce Petty pass on the Jets’ second play from scrimmage. Colin Kaepernick then found Carlos Hyde on a 7-yard touchdown pass on the next play, and San Francisco had a 7-0 lead just 56 seconds into the contest.On their second drive, Hyde ripped off a 47-yard run down to the Jets’ 4-yard line that set up Shaun Draughn’s touchdown run to give the Niners a 14-0 lead much to the delight of the dozens of fans in attendance.Quotable: “That’s on me as a play-caller, but I just really wasn’t confident.” — 49ers head coach Chip Kelly, when asked about San Francisco’s conservative nature in the second half. Green Bay Packers 38, Seattle Seahawks 10It was a day to forget for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. He became the only quarterback not named Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw five interceptions in a game this season as the Packers crushed the Seahawks at Lambeau Field, 38-10.Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes, including two to Jordy Nelson, as the Packers won their third straight and delayed the Seahawks’ division-clinching celebration.Spanning three possessions in the second and third quarters, three consecutive Seattle possessions ended in interceptions, allowing Green Bay to build a 28-3 lead.Quotable: “Obviously, we can’t turn the ball over and I put that on me. That game was on me.” — Russell Wilson Stat of the Game: The 49ers had 17 passing yards in the second half.Standings Quotable: “The last three minutes of the game, we didn’t win it. We played a hell of a fourth quarter up until the last three minutes.” — Arizona head coach Bruce AriansStat of the Game: To sum up the sloppiness on a rain-soaked field, we’ll let ESPN Stats and Info handle it:The 6 combined turnovers by Cardinals & Dolphins ties the most in a half in a game this season (last done in Week 7 by Vikings-Eagles)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 11, 2016 Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The Arizona Cardinals are living the recurring nightmare every week on special teams. The problem area reared its ugly head again at rainy Hard Rock Stadium Sunday.Arizona missed a field goal and an extra point. Another point after touchdown was not only blocked, but returned for two points by Miami. All of it allowed Miami to get a game-winning 21-yard field goal by Andrew Franks that kept Miami’s playoff hopes alive and crippled Arizona’s.The Cardinals (5-7-1) rallied in the fourth quarter behind two touchdown passes from Carson Palmer and actually found themselves in great position to win. With the game tied at 23-23, the Cardinals took possession after a Dolphins’ punt at their own 25-yard line with 1:55 left in the contest and two timeouts in their pocket. The rain picked up, and the Cardinals made the decision to throw the football on first down. Quarterback Carson Palmer had the ball squirt out of his hand as he attempted to throw and was sacked by Bobby McCain back at the 19-yard line, putting Arizona behind the sticks. They attempted throws on the next two plays and punted after using only 26 seconds of game clock.Drew Butler’s punt was only 43 yards and returned 20 yards by Jarvis Landry, giving Miami great field position. Backup quarterback Matt Moore then went to work on a perceived weak link in the Cardinals’ secondary. He completed two passes to Kenny Stills for a total of 41 yards — both against reserve corner Justin Bethel — which got them down to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Franks booted the field goal that sent everyone home. To say that it wasn’t a great week in the NFC West is an understatement.All four teams lost for the second time in three weeks.The Seahawks failed to clinch the division. The Cardinals failed on special teams (again). The 49ers and Rams, well, they just failed.Here’s a closer look at what went down in the NFC West in Week 14.Miami Dolphins 26, Arizona Cardinals 23You ever have one of those recurring nightmares? You know, the one about being back in school and walking into class naked. Or a car accident or falling from a height? Comments Share Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact