Tuesday 11 January 2011 6:03 am The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and its NatWest subsidiary have been fined £2.8m for poor handling of customer complaints. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) imposed the fine, finding there was an “unacceptably high risk” that the customers had been treated unfairly.Failings identified included poor and slow dealing with complaints.RBS accepted its performance on complaints handling had been poor.The company said: “We recognise the importance of complaint handling for our customers and are focused on addressing the root causes of complaints.” More From Our Partners Astounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgSupermodel Anne Vyalitsyna claims income drop, pushes for child supportnypost.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comMark Eaton, former NBA All-Star, dead at 64nypost.com John Dunne whatsapp by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMisterStoryWoman Files For Divorce After Seeing This Photo – Can You See Why?MisterStoryMoneyPailShe Was A Star, Now She Works In ScottsdaleMoneyPailTotal PastThe Ingenious Reason There Are No Mosquitoes At Disney WorldTotal PastSerendipity TimesInside Coco Chanel’s Eerily Abandoned Mansion Frozen In TimeSerendipity TimesBrake For ItThe Most Worthless Cars Ever MadeBrake For ItBetterBe20 Stunning Female AthletesBetterBeElite HeraldExperts Discover Girl Born From Two Different SpeciesElite HeraldAlphaCute30 Rules That All “Hells Angels” Have To FollowAlphaCuteDefinitionDesi Arnaz Kept This Hidden Throughout The Filming of ‘I Love Lucy’Definition Share whatsapp RBS hit with £2.8m FSA fine over complaints Show Comments ▼ Tags: NULL
Cliff D’Arcy | Tuesday, 11th May, 2021 | More on: MRW We think that when a company’s CEO owns 12.1% of its stock, that’s usually a very good sign.But with this opportunity it could get even better.Still only 55 years old, he sees the chance for a new “Uber-style” technology.And this is not a tiny tech startup full of empty promises.This extraordinary company is already one of the largest in its industry.Last year, revenues hit a whopping £1.132 billion.The board recently announced a 10% dividend hike.And it has been a superb Motley Fool income pick for 9 years running!But even so, we believe there could still be huge upside ahead.Clearly, this company’s founder and CEO agrees. Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. Enter Your Email Address Learn how you can grab this ‘Top Income Stock’ Report now The Motley Fool UK’s Top Income Stock… UK supermarket Wm Morrison Supermarkets (LSE: MRW) released its latest trading statement (PDF) this morning. This covered recent trading for the 14 weeks to 9 May 2021. Although the Morrisons share price rose until 1pm, its was pulled down in the afternoon by wider market weakness. But I think MRW shares might have the potential to recoup their 2018 highs.Sales leap 5.3% at MorrisonsIn its latest trading figures, the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket revealed total sales (including fuel) were up 5.3% year-on-year. Like-for-like sales (excluding net new space) were up 2.7% excluding fuel and up 4.7% including fuel. But supermarket sales from March to May 2020 were volatile and erratic, with lockdown causing panic buying and dramatically reduced fuel sales. Online sales more than doubled (+113%), while wholesale like-for-like sales were ahead more than a fifth (21%). Notable hot spots were Easter, Mother’s Day, and improving food-to-go sales. Yet the Morrisons share price has actually fallen over the past 12 months.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Looking ahead to 2021/22, Morrisons said it was, “on track for strong future profit growth and low debt.” It forecast, “profit before tax and exceptionals to be higher than the £431m we would have achieved for 2020/21, had we not waived the £230m business rates relief”. Obviously, voluntarily returning £230m to HM Treasury put a big dent in the group’s bottom line. The Bradford-based business also expects “another year of meaningful profit growth in 2022/23”. But the Morrisons share price is also lower today than it was five years ago.The Morrisons share price has rebounded since HalloweenAt its five-year peak, the Morrisons share price topped 267p in late August 2018. But it declined markedly over the next two years. By 5 November 2020, MRW shares had closed at a low of 161.75p. As I write, they trade at 183.95p, up less than a seventh (13.7%) from their Bonfire Night bottom. But I’m hopeful that the stock has further to go, perhaps even back to its 2018 highs? Why would I buy MRW today?I would buy at the current Morrisons share price of just under 184p. Why? Because, recognising that it was not performing so well, Morrisons introduced its Fix, Rebuild, Grow, Sustain strategy. This aims to improve profitability and cash flow, plus reduce net debt. With lower COVID-19 costs expected (£27m in the first quarter), the group says that, “cash flow will be strong, and debt will fall”. It also expects slightly higher profit in 2021/22, followed by “meaningful” profit growth in 2022/23.To me, the business is going in the right direction, but the Morrisons share price is lagging behind. One hopeful hint came from this statement: “We now intend to refresh our long-term capital allocation plans”. To me, this hints at higher shareholder rewards (perhaps in the form of share buybacks, special dividends, or dividend increases). Meanwhile, the current dividend yield of 3.8% is higher than the wider FTSE 100 index’s.Of course, optimistic and bullish forecasting is part and parcel of corporate life. But what happens if sales growth doesn’t rebound when cafés, delis, and salad bars reopen? After all, group revenue grew by a mere 0.4% in 2020/21. And what if the hoped-for ‘summer of sport and sun’ doesn’t arrive? Or there’s yet another protracted supermarket price war? Then Morrisons sales might disappoint. Even so, as a conservative value investor, I’d be willing to buy at the current Morrisons share price. Cliffdarcy has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services, such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool, we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. Image source: Getty Images. The Morrisons share price rises on higher sales. I’d buy MRW today Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. See all posts by Cliff D’Arcy
Please enter your comment! From the Apopka Police DepartmentCome to Chili’s on April 9th and 10th and Tip-a-Cop.Officers from the Apopka Police Department will meet and greet customers, help take and deliver drink and food orders and interact with restaurant guests at an event they are calling Tip-a-Cop. Proceeds will go to Special Olympics Florida, which offers year-round sports opportunities to athletes with intellectual disabilities.The Tip-a-Cop events will be from 11AM-2PM and then again at 5PM-8PM on both dates. For information, contact Sgt. Steve Harmon 407/703-1771 Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply Florida gas prices jump 12 cents; most expensive since 2014 Gov. DeSantis says new moment-of-silence law in public schools protects religious freedom TAGSApopka Police DepartmentChili’sTip-a-Cop Previous articleThe best news of the weekNext articleIn case you missed it: The Apopka news week in review Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Customers are encouraged to “tip the cop” for their service with a tax-deductible donation, 100% of which will go to the Special Olympics program. This donation is in addition to the customary tip left for the restaurant’s server. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here UF/IFAS in Apopka will temporarily house District staff; saves almost $400,000 Please enter your name here Special Olympics relies on fundraisers for the many services it provides for more than four million athletes, according to the organization’s website.
Twenty-two-year-old Tyree Carroll was stopped April 3 by Philadelphia police for riding his bicycle the wrong way on a one-way street. The stop escalated into a violent beating of the unarmed Black man by up to 24 cops, who charged him with assault and drug-related charges. A bystander released a videotape of the incident July 8, which has been widely viewed. (youtu.be/i6tSl-Ff8Qs)Family and friends have formed the Justice for Tyree Campaign, which has put together 14 demands, including the resignation of Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, the immediate firing of all officers involved in the incident, and that Carroll be released from jail, where he is still being held.About 100 community members marched July 18 demanding, “Not one more police beating of our children!”Police brutality has a long history in this city. A recent U.S. Department of Justice report revealed nearly 400 deadly force incidents between 2007 and 2013, disproportionately against Black civilians. Police dropped a bomb on a home to oust a political group named MOVE in 1985, killing 11 men, women and children and burning down the whole neighborhood. Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal was falsely convicted of the murder of a police officer and still languishes in prison 34 years later. And relatives are still demanding justice for Brandon Tate-Brown, killed by Philly cops last Dec. 16 during a traffic stop.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
Visual Arts Contemporary Art by Alex Israel to be Installed in Historic Huntington Art Gallery, In Site-Specific “Intervention” “Alex Israel at The Huntington” will be on view Dec. 12, 2015 – July 11, 2016 From STAFF REPORTS Published on Thursday, November 5, 2015 | 12:24 pm Name (required) Mail (required) (not be published) Website First Heatwave Expected Next Week Left to right: Alex Israel, Self Portrait (Dodgers), 2014?2015, acrylic and bondo on fiberglass, 96 × 84 × 4 in. Collection of the artist. Photo: Joshua White; Grand hallway of the Huntington Art Gallery. Photo: Tim Street-Porter. 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Required fields are marked * Subscribe The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens announced today that it will stage an “intervention” in its historic Huntington Art Gallery of works by Alex Israel, one of the most recognizable emerging artists on the contemporary art stage. “Alex Israel at The Huntington,” on view Dec. 12, 2015, through July 11, 2016, will integrate a significant group of Israel’s works—including paintings (freestanding and mural) and sculpture in sizes ranging from five inches to 16 feet—throughout the Beaux Arts building that once served as the residence of Gilded Age collectors Henry E. and Arabella Huntington and, for the past eight and a half decades, as the gallery for a priceless European art collection.“More than just a showcase for Alex’s work, this exhibition is intended to spark a dialogue between the new and the old—the one informing the other—that is both a provocation and a love letter,” said Kevin Salatino, Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Collections at The Huntington. “Alex’s practice addresses celebrity culture and the iconography of L.A. through the conceptual lens of Warhol and Duchamp. The staging of his work within the historic mansion—the paradigmatic Hollywood set and home of the ‘painted’ celebrity, Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy—will create a stimulating discourse on place and identity, two things fundamental to understanding Henry Huntington’s own love affair with Southern California, a region whose identity he helped forge.”The Huntington Art Gallery opened to the public in 1928—one of the first art museums in Los Angeles—displaying one of the most distinguished collections of 18th-century British paintings in the nation along with glittering examples of French decorative art and a small but critically lauded group of Renaissance works.Born and raised in Los Angeles, Israel (b. 1982) has been visiting The Huntington since childhood. Several of the works on view in “Alex Israel at The Huntington” will have been created exclusively for the project—his first museum exhibition in L.A.Exhibition HighlightsThe works in “Alex Israel at The Huntington,” all dated between 2012 and 2015, will be seeded throughout the Gallery’s two stories. Examples of the intervention include the artist’s most recent sculpture, the ghostly, life-sized Self-Portrait (Wetsuit) (painted aluminum) installed in the large library, and Risky Business (crystal mounted on black glass base), an homage to a significant prop in the 1983 Tom Cruise film, placed on the mantel of the Huntingtons’ stately dining room in dialogue with the room’s elaborate18th-century crystal chandelier.The Gallery’s grand double staircase framing views of formal gardens will become the location for a site-specific scenic-painting intervention, transforming the central interior wall of the mansion into a sort of enormous, fragmented sky.Just outside the Thornton Portrait Gallery (where The Blue Boy hangs) will be three grand-manner-sized Israel self-portraits (acrylic and bondo on fiberglass), one depicting the artist in a blue satin L.A. Dodgers’ starter jacket reminiscent of Blue Boy’s iconic suit. Israel’s portraits are intended to complement—and comment on—the grand gallery, which is filled with 17th- and 18th-century portraits of famous figures of the British noble class as well that of Sarah Siddons, the great actress and celebrity of 18th-century London.Upstairs, Israel’s monumental painting Sky Backdrop will be installed among 18th-century Beauvais tapestries; and the permanent installation of Renaissance bronze sculptures will make room for Israel’s Maltese Falcon (cast bronze with black patina), while a room hung with works of art related to the Grand Tour will include Desperado—an acrylic-on-bronze, souvenir-like sculpture depicting a vintage convertible in a desert setting.One of the most dramatic installations will feature The Huntington’s masterpiece of the French Enlightenment, Jean-Antoine Houdon’s life-size bronze Diana, behind which Israel’s Untitled (Flat)—a starburst-shaped work, constructed like a set-piece, coated in stucco, and painted in hues of gold, pink, and orange—will hang. Opposite Diana, one of Israel’s brilliantly-colored monumental sunglass lens sculptures will be installed, “slyly referencing the goddess of the hunt,” according to Salatino.Finally, an entire upstairs gallery will be devoted to a site-specific mural of plants from The Huntington’s botanical gardens.“Most everyone who comes to the Huntington Art Gallery is instantly struck by the richness of the collection and the magnificence of the setting,” said Catherine Hess, chief curator of European art at The Huntington and co-curator with Salatino of the exhibition. “But it is our job to bring all this alive in creative ways and, from time to time, to offer new ways of looking at these great works. Placing Alex’s art among The Huntington’s European collections will turn a visit to our familiar rooms into a treasure hunt of surprises.”Exhibition catalogIn conjunction with the exhibition, The Huntington will publish a catalog in the spring of 2016, also titled Alex Israel at The Huntington. Lavishly illustrated with installation photographs by Fredrik Nilsen, the book will include two scholarly essays: one by art critic, novelist, and filmmaker Chris Kraus, and the other by Los Angeles art writer, educator, and curator Jan Tumlir—as well as an interview with Israel by Kevin Salatino, Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Collections at The Huntington.Decorating the Holiday TreeThis year, The Huntington’s annual holiday tree, which traditionally stands at the base of the grand staircase in the Huntington Art Gallery, will be decorated by Alex Israel. The installation will go on view the weekend after Thanksgiving. The Huntington has invited artists and designers to decorate the tree for the past two years.About Alex IsraelAlex Israel earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s of fine arts from the University of Southern California. Some of his most notable exhibitions include “Alex Israel” at Le Consortium, Dijon, 2013; “Lens” at LAXART, 2013; and “The Los Angeles Project” at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2014. His work currently is the subject of “Sightings: Alex Israel” (Oct. 24, 2015 – Jan. 31, 2016) at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas. His first feature film, “SPF-18,” is currently in production. Israel is also founder and president of Freeway Eyewear, Inc.About The Huntington Art GalleryOnce the residence of Henry E. Huntington (1850–1927) and his wife, Arabella (1850–1924), the Huntington Art Gallery opened in 1928 to display one of the greatest collections of 18th-century British art in the country, including the celebrated Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough and Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence. When the finishing touches were put on the building in 1911, it was proclaimed one of the finest in Southern California, and a major achievement by architects Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey. The core collection was built by Henry and Arabella with the help of Joseph Duveen, the influential British art dealer who helped supply the collections of J. P. Morgan and Henry Clay Frick, among other high profile American collections at the time. Since then, The Huntington’s European collections have grown and now contain strong examples of art of the Italian, French and Netherlandish schools, as well as a broader range of British art and design. It presently numbers about 420 paintings, 370 sculptures, 2,500 objects of decorative art, and some 20,000 prints and drawings.The Huntington Art Gallery once before provided context for an exhibition of contemporary works. The critically successful “Lesley Vance & Ricky Swallow,” (Nov. 10, 2012 – March 11, 2013) comprised about 20 abstract paintings and domestic-scale sculptures installed in a single room of the mansion.About The HuntingtonThe Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.orgVisitor InformationThe Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and major holidays. Information: (626) 405-2100 or huntington.org. 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WhatsApp Twitter Pinterest By Digital AIM Web Support – February 25, 2021 Previous articleKRAFTON, Inc. Announces the Future of Battle Royale, PUBG: NEW STATENext articleASCO White Paper Explains Paralleling Switchgear for Multi-Generator Backup Systems Digital AIM Web Support TAGS Pinterest SUNNYVALE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb 25, 2021– Armorblox, a cybersecurity innovator that helps organizations communicate more securely over email, today announced that it raised $30 million in Series B venture capital funding. Led by Next47, with participation from Polaris Partners and Unusual Ventures, as well as General Catalyst and other early investors, the funding round brings Armorblox’s total funding to $46.5 million. Armorblox is on a mission to restore and uphold trust in email communications by stopping targeted, socially engineered attacks from compromising people and data. The funding comes amidst fast-paced customer growth during 2020, accelerated further by the widespread shift to remote work and a growing discontent with the complexity and ineffectiveness of traditional email security controls. Already protecting over 9,000 organizations, Armorblox is using the new funding to expand its go-to-market, engineering, and data science teams and further cement its position as a next-generation email security provider that is centered around delivering customer value. The pace of enterprises shifting to cloud-delivered email increased considerably in 2020, with Gartner’s 2020 Market Guide for Email Security noting that 71% of companies now use cloud or hybrid cloud email 1. Enterprise customers are moving away from legacy secure email gateways and now look for augments to built-in email security that are easy to use and take a materially different approach to threat protection. Armorblox deploys rapidly by connecting with Office 365, G Suite, and Exchange over APIs without disturbing the mail flow or requiring MX record changes. The Armorblox Natural Language Understanding (NLU) platform analyzes thousands of signals to understand the context of communications; this context enables it to stop Business Email Compromise (BEC) and targeted phishing attacks, protect sensitive PII and PCI, and automate remediation of user-reported email threats. “We could not be more excited to join Armorblox on their journey to secure the human layer,” said T.J. Rylander, General Partner at Next47. “Feedback from Armorblox customers has been unanimously positive – whether it’s the quick time to value they have seen from the product, the velocity of new capabilities that move the needle for email protection, or how easy they’ve found collaborating with the Armorblox team.” “The biggest benefits of Armorblox to the City of San Jose are the confidence we get that it’s working and preventing a lot of risk from hitting our organization, and the ease of management,” said Rob Lloyd, Chief Information Officer at the City of San Jose. “The fact that we can cover 7,000+ employees, 10,000+ accounts, use AI in a very fruitful and productive way to manage risk, and do so without over inundating our security operations center and cybersecurity staff, are powerful validators of the value Armorblox provides.” “Security in healthcare requires rethinking the fundamentals at a foundational level. Email is as basic as it gets, and at TeamHealth, we were very impressed by the ability of Armorblox to protect us against targeted attacks, and automate triage and remediation of threats,” said Tom Perrine, CIO and CISO, TeamHealth. “Our decision to invest in Armorblox was driven by the magnitude of the customer problem it serves as well as the universal applicability of its unique technology,” said Dave Barrett, Managing Partner at Polaris Partners. “The company has experienced exceptional traction across large enterprises, mid-tier and small/medium business segments. Targeted email attacks affect organizations regardless of size, and we’re delighted to partner with a company like Armorblox that combines true enterprise-grade security with consumer-grade simplicity of operations.” According to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 22% of breaches involved social engineering, and 96% of those breaches came through email. In 2019, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received over 23,000 complaints about BEC and Email Account Compromise (EAC) with adjusted losses of over $1.7 billion. “Incumbent email security technology was not designed to protect against the targeted, socially engineered attacks plaguing organizations today,” said DJ Sampath, co-founder and CEO of Armorblox. “Relying solely on threat feeds, metadata, and other one-shot detection techniques will never be enough to stop emails specifically crafted to attack organizations and compromise their business workflows. This funding enables us to continue refining and scaling our approach to context-aware threat detection to protect the most attacked and most vulnerable security layer – the human layer.” To learn more about Armorblox and its latest funding round, read a blog from the Armorblox CEO here. ResourcesIndustry recognition: Armorblox was named a 2020 Gartner Cool Vendor in Cloud Office Security.Customer story: How the City of San Jose used Armorblox to stop targeted email attacks from disrupting operations.Customer story: How a global communications provider enlisted Armorblox to streamline and accelerate phishing response. About Armorblox Armorblox secures enterprise communications over email and other cloud office applications with the power of Natural Language Understanding (NLU). The Armorblox platform connects over APIs and analyzes thousands of signals to understand the context of communications and protect people and data from compromise. Over 9,000 organizations use Armorblox to stop BEC and targeted phishing attacks, protect sensitive PII and PCI, and automate remediation of user-reported email threats. Armorblox was featured in the 2019 Forbes AI 50 list and was named a 2020 Gartner Cool Vendor in Cloud Office Security. Founded in 2017, Armorblox is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA and backed by General Catalyst and Next47. To learn more, visit https://www.armorblox.com/. Note 1 – Gartner, “Market Guide for Email Security,” Mark Harris et al, Sept. 08, 2020. View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210225005352/en/ CONTACT: Armorblox Contact Abhishek Iyer [email protected] KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA CALIFORNIA INDUSTRY KEYWORD: PROFESSIONAL SERVICES DATA MANAGEMENT SECURITY TECHNOLOGY SOFTWARE VENTURE CAPITAL INTERNET SOURCE: Armorblox Copyright Business Wire 2021. PUB: 02/25/2021 09:00 AM/DISC: 02/25/2021 09:01 AM http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210225005352/en Twitter Facebook Facebook WhatsApp Local NewsBusiness Armorblox Raises Series B Funding to Restore Trust in Email Communications
Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Previous: The Week Ahead: Eye on U.S. Mortgage Performance Trends Next: Innovative Solutions Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Related Articles The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Share Save December 7, 2018 1,446 Views Home / Daily Dose / After the Dust Settles About Author: Radhika Ojha David Wharton, Managing Editor at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has over 16 years’ experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. Wharton and his family currently reside in Arlington, Texas. He can be reached at [email protected] in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Print Features Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Editor’s note: This feature originally appeared in the December issue of DS News, out now.The 2018 midterm elections were historic on numerous fronts, with the Democrats retaking the House of Representatives and Republicans padding their majority in the Senate. CBS News and other outlets reported that an estimated 113 million people participated in the elections, which marked the first time in history that a midterm saw more than 100 million votes. Moreover, estimates indicate that around 49 percent of eligible voters participated in the midterms. For perspective’s sake, only just over 36 percent participated in the 2014 midterms, generating one of the lowest voter turnouts in U.S. history.The elections also saw a number of “firsts” checked off the list. More than 100 women were elected to Congress, and the 2018 midterms also saw a 75 percent increase over 2012 in the number of women of color running for Congress. The tumultuous election night saw the youngest woman ever elected to Congress(Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, age 29), the election of the first two Native American congresswomen, the first two Muslim congresswomen, the first Korean-American congresswoman, and the first openly gay male governor (Jared Polis, D-Colorado).With a new status quo settling over Washington, D.C., and the rest of the country, DS News set out to examine the landscape as the dust is settling and determine how this election is most likely to impact housing and mortgage markets going forward.THE FATE OF THE GSES AND THE BCFPAfter a decade under the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) conservatorship, the Trump administration has indicated its intentions to work toward ending the conservatorship of the GSEs, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.In a recent memo, Laura S. Wertheimer, Inspector General at the FHFA, identified four serious management and performance challenges that the agency faced in its role as a regulator and supervisor of the government-sponsored enterprises. They included: 1) the agency’s inability to improve oversight of both GSEs while strengthening internal review processes for nondelegated matters, 2) upgrading supervision of the GSEs and Federal Home Loan Banks, 3) oversight in cybersecurity, ensuring effective information security in order to protect the sensitive borrower data gathered by the GSEs, and 4) enhancing oversight over the GSEs’ relationship with counterparties and third parties.While it is possible the conservatorship will be unwound in the next few years, Democratic control of the House makes it likely they will look to build language into any such agreement that would provide funds for affordable housing and offer expanded credit provisions for underserved borrowers. The size and scope of the GSEs are also expected to change.The stewardship of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) is another area that is likely to be impacted by the election results. “Who replaces Director Mick Mulvaney—and whether that new director will continue to take the bureau in the same direction—will depend to a certain extent on which party controls the House and Senate. A more stridently conservative director, for example, is unlikely to be approved by a Democratic House,” Rick Sharga, EVP, Carrington Mortgage Holdings, recently told DS News.One likely source of friction will be Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California), a vocal critic of President Trump now expected to become the Head of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the United States banking system. Waters released a statement after the election indicating that she will make it a key priority to ensure “that [the BCFP] can be allowed to resume its essential role of protecting consumers from harmful practices without interference from the Trump administration.” This could put her on a course to butt heads with BCFP Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, or his appointed successor, Trump nominee Kathy Kraninger, assuming she is confirmed (which is likely with a Republican-controlled Senate).Waters also said that the House Financial Services Committee would work to protect consumers from fraud and predatory lending.Sharga said that while the BCFP has been working in tandem with the mortgage industry by soliciting input from practitioners and creating an environment where qualified borrowers got a better chance to secure a loan, “a return to more of an ‘enforcement’ mentality could cause the pendulum to swing back once again and make it more difficult for borrowers to achieve their dreams of homeownership.”LEGISLATION AT STAKEWith the Democrats in control of the House and Republicans maintaining a majority in the Senate, legislation will demand more partisan cooperation or run the risk of stalling. This new dynamic has the potential to impact numerous pieces of affordable housing legislation, including the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, the New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act, and the Historic Tax Credit Enhancement Act.Furthermore, while Republican control of the Senate and the White House will make it challenging for Democrats to pass any new regulatory legislation, it will be equally difficult for any new deregulatory bills to make it past the House—a definite change from the landscape of the past two years.Tax cuts have long been a primary objective of the Republican Party, leading up to the successful passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017. However, even with Democrats in control of the House, the two parties might find common cause in further tax reform, and that would inevitably send further ripples through the housing market.Nine months in, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 appears to have had some impact on home-value growth. Some of the changes brought by the December 2017 act were a $10,000 cap on total state and local tax (SALT) deductions, a lower threshold for full mortgage interest deductions, and higher standard deductions for most filers. According to a report by Zillow, following the introduction of the act, home growth appears to have slowed, particularly in areas with homeowners that historically used the SALT deduction, compared to areas with a lower percentage of homeowners who use the SALT deduction.Speaking to Yahoo Finance, Robert Hockett, Edward Cornell Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, said, “The progressive wing of the [Democratic] party, which has all the momentum, is not as concerned about the deficits. They would look to keep the corporate tax cuts (instead of repealing them), but also add tax cuts for the middle class and those who need it the most.”CROSSING OVERIn addition to the larger housing-related issues at stake in the midterms, two particular races involved familiar faces from within the industry itself.In Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt, the founder of Gateway Mortgage, won the gubernatorial race against Democrat Drew Edmondson. While at Gateway, Stitt was a member of the National Mortgage Servicing Association (NMSA), a Five Star trade association representing 90 percent of the mortgage market.During the primaries, Stitt gained the support of Republican politicians such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who won re-election against Representative Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).“I congratulate the voters of Oklahoma for electing Kevin as their next Governor,” said Ed Delgado, President and CEO of The Five Star Institute (DS News’ parent organization). “They have voted for someone whose strong business acumen helped propel a business he founded in 2000 into a nationwide mortgage company and will also help to strengthen Oklahoma’s economy.”Meanwhile, Richard Cordray, the former Director of the BCFP, lost out to Republican Mike DeWine in his bid for the governorship of Ohio. Cordray has a long history in Ohio. Before his stint as head of the BCFP, Cordray served as an Attorney General, Treasurer, and Solicitor General for the Buckeye State.Another development to keep an eye out for—former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro told Rolling Stone earlier this year that he would be making a decision after the midterm election as to whether he would launch a presidential bid for the 2020 election. While he didn’t outright confirm those plans, he did say it was “likely” and that he would “make a final decision after November.”While Secretary of HUD, Castro focused his efforts on stabilizing the post-Recession market; helping homeowners who lost their properties in Hurricane Sandy, floods, and other natural disasters; and giving public-housing residents access to high-speed internet through the ConnectHome program.During Castro’s tenure, HUD also worked with the Department of Justice and 49 state attorneys general to protect homeowners from mortgage fraud during the financial crisis. The result was a $25 billion agreement in 2012 with the country’s five largest lenders, providing relief to millions of homeowners across the country.THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLYVoters in key states cast their ballots on housing-related legislation that focused on everything from increasing home construction to introducing new rent regulations to protect tenants. While Georgia passed a ballot referendum to help nonprofits in the state provide housing for those living with mental illness, California voted on three separate affordable-housing ballot measures.Affordable housing has become a hot-button nationwide issue in 2018. According to the National Association of Home Builders/ Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, only 56.4 percent of homes sold in Q3 2018 were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $71,900. That’s down from 57.1 percent in Q3 2018, and represented the lowest percentage since mid-2008. California has become a prime example of the affordability challenges in recent years, home to consistently unaffordable metros such as Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Diego.The Veterans and Affordable Housing Act will allow the state to sell $4 billion in general bonds to fund existing affordable-housing programs for low-income people, veterans, and farmworkers. Most of the funds will go toward existing affordable-housing programs while $1 billion will go toward veteran housing programs.Proposition 10—or the Local Rent Control Initiative Act—was one of the most hotly debated pieces of legislation in the Golden State, as well as one of the costliest legislation campaigns this election. According to a CNBC report, proponents of this legislation spent around $26.2 million on the campaign, while those opposed spent $76 million.At the heart of the battle over this proposition was a state law that restricts the scope of rent-control policies that cities and other local jurisdictions may impose on residential property. If the proposition had been enacted, that law would have been repealed, resulting in a potential net reduction in state and local revenues of tens of millions of dollars per year in the long term.According to the Official Voter Information Guide on California’s General Election, those supporting the proposition had said that enacting this legislation would restore authority to establish rent control in local communities while putting annual limits on the amount landlords can raise in terms of rent. Proponents argued that this would keep tenants in their homes rather than potentially pushing them into homelessness.Opponents of the initiative included real estate agents and residential real estate investors, among others, who argued that the legislation would only exacerbate California’s housing crisis. They reasoned that the initiative would have hurt both renters and homeowners as it allowed for the regulation of single-family homes and put “bureaucrats in charge of housing by letting them add fees on top of rent.”The voters of California sided with the opposition and voted no on this legislation. That means, for now, the 1995 state law remains in place.THE ROAD TO 2020While speculation abounds regarding what the next few years will look like, history suggests there will be more than a few surprises along the way, and the industry faces no shortage of challenges regardless of who controls which aspects of the federal government.Natural disasters are taking an increasing toll—according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there were 31 U.S. weather and climate disasters that caused losses exceeding $1 billion in 2016 and 2017 alone. Earlier this year, a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists estimated that as many as 311,000 coastal homes will be at risk of chronic flooding within the next 30 years. As of this writing, the National Flood Insurance Program is weeks away from expiring unless Congress votes to extend it once again.While 2018’s twin challenges of home affordability and insufficient housing inventory are beginning to see relief in some markets, many still speculate on when and how the next economic downturn will occur, and how it will impact the housing market when it does. According to a Bloomberg report, “two-thirds of business economists in the U.S. expect a recession to begin by the end of 2020.”Whatever the future holds, it will be imperative that the industry works diligently to adapt to and anticipate the challenges ahead, whether Washington, D.C., enters a new era of bipartisan cooperation or becomes immobilized—once again—in gridlock. After the Dust Settles Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and copy-editor, and a reporter for DS News. She is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her masters degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha, also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas. 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