1st MMCD Volunteer Day at the Oakland Zoo – Anne-Marie Hsieh

(Special thanks goes to Anne-Marie Hsieh for organizing and managing this whole process)

There was a small, but VERY MIGHTY group of us, blazing the trail for our 1st MMCD Volunteer Day at the Oakland Zoo on Saturday!!!!

A gigantic thank you to Danielle Danson (and her friend Amanda!), Brittany Christensen (who drove ONE HOUR to get there!) and Jim Black for putting on the red shirt and carving out some time to help out at the Zoo.

We met in the lower lot (free parking!), and divided up into groups based on the needs of the Zoo that day.

One group split off to rake leaves and general clean up around the Education Center – while we, the mighty MMCD Team hiked over to the Sun Bear habitat. We were provided with gloves, lopping shears – and started removing blackberry bushes!!! We learned that the Zoo uses no pesticides, therefore – all edible plants are fed to the animals. Apparently giraffes LOVE blackberries! Thorns and All. Whoa!

We had a break mid- morning and could go to the café for a free drink (2nd perk..lots to follow! ). We finished up around 1130 – and around 1145, the bear keeper led us “back stage” to see the bears up close in the enclosure where they sleep at night. The oldest of the 3 bears came from a sanctuary in Malaysia (where the bears are poached for their livers…or maybe it’s kidneys…) The younger girls were born at the San Diego Zoo to a mother who had also been rescued from Malaysia. They have caramel colored “bibs” on their chest which are unique to each bear, allowing them to be identified by people who can read bear spots!

After we saw the bears up close and personal, we walked up to the viewing area where we saw the bears run out and climb onto their perches where some tasty treats were set out for them – they started with corn on the cob!

They girls sleep in hammocks, get along fairly well, have a sense of smell at or better than a dog’s. They know their “routine”, and move easily into their enclosure when it’s bed time (I think the little biscuits they get helps!).  One of the challenges the Zoo keepers have is finding daily enrichment activities which doesn’t involve food.

Last month, the volunteer group was tasked with clearing stick from the elephant habitat. Nobody knows what next month will bring – it depends on the needs of the Zoo that day, and how many people show up.

We received discounts for our food – a free sky ride – AND when the ticket taker saw my Volunteer shirt – free train ride as well!

I couldn’t have imagined a better way to spend my Saturday morning…as you can see from the pics – Daddy and the kiddos DID join – and had a ton of fun.

There was a lot of people who had expressed interest, but had scheduling conflicts etc…If you think you’d like to volunteer at another Oakland Zoo day – please let me know. Hands On Bay Area (HOBA) couldn’t have made it any easier – and I believe they lead a group at the Oakland Zoo once a month.

Removing blackberry bushes has never been so fun!!!!

Thank you again to our small but might MMCD Volunteer Team.

That morning will stay in my heart as a great day.

– Anne-Marie

photo photo1 photo2 photo3 photo4 photo5 photo6

Award Winning Enterprise Social Network Powers Mason – McDuffie Mortgage’s Knowledge Sharing Culture

Mason-McDuffie Mortgage has successfully implemented their Bloomfire community as an internal knowledge sharing and collaboration tool. Bloomfire allows them to communicate in real-time across multiple time-zones. Mason – McDuffie Mortgage has seen a decrease in the amount of emails sent – instead their employees are engaging within their Bloomfire. It’s their ‘go-to’ for answers to their questions as well as their central collaboration hub. Please watch the below link to see our Executive Vice President, Jason C. Frazier, explain why we chose Bloomfire.

https://blog.bloomfire.com/posts/638404-award-winning-enterprise-social-network-powers-mason-mcduffie-s-knowledge-shari/public

 

MBS Securities – The Week Ahead

Headline News and Market Report

Bond Market News and Perspective for Mortgage Professionals”

Monday, July 15, 2013

 

Retail Sales Up 0.4% in June, weaker than expected, with strength coming from strong Automobile and Gasoline sales.  Excluding motor vehicles and gasoline, retail sales dropped 0.1%.   gasoline station sales increased 0.7%, and sales at auto dealers rose 1.8%, continuing a strong pattern of sales so far this year, which are up more than 11% from a year ago.  Retail sales have grown steadily since the depths of the economic crisis, however have stalled in the spring, with sales flat in March and April and rising a downwardly revised 0.5% in May.

Business Inventories were up 0.1% in May and Sales were up 1.1%.  The total business inventories/sales ratio in May was 1.29. The May 2012 ratio was 1.28.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index climbed to 9.5, the highest since February, from 7.8 last month. Readings greater than zero signal expansion in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.

Treasuries Advance After June Retail Sales Lower Than Forecast.  The 10yr UST is up 11+/32 to yield 2.54% as of 10:44AM, and FNMA 3.0% are up 14/32, 3.5% up 13/32.

Bernanke testimony to be released 8:30 a.m. Wed.  The House Financial Services Committee said Monday it plans to release Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony to the panel at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday. The remarks had been set for a 10 a.m. release. The committee said the change in timing would allow members of the House panel to review the testimony before the hearing begins at 10 a.m.

Bernanke Boom Signaled by Yield Surge as Market Recalculates.   The worst first half for Treasuries in four years has wrung the unprecedented Federal Reserve stimulus out of bond prices as investors now look to low inflation and slow economic growth to contain yields.

What If Bernanke Could Be Blunt   David Wessel: Five things Bernanke would say to Congress this week if he chose to be blunt, and speak for himself

Economic Indicator News Release Calendar for the weeks ahead

Week of July 15 – July 19

Date

ET

Release

For

Actual

Consensus Forecast

Prior

Revised From

Jul 15 08:30 Retail Sales Jun 0.4% 0.7% 0.5% 0.6%
Jul 15 08:30 Retail Sales ex-auto Jun 0.0% 0.4% 0.3%
Jul 15 08:30 Empire Manufacturing Jul 9.46 3.6 7.8
Jul 15 10:00 Business Inventories May 0.1% -0.1% 0.3%
Jul 16 08:30 CPI Jun 0.3% 0.1%
Jul 16 08:30 Core CPI Jun 0.2% 0.2%
Jul 16 09:00 Net Long-Term TIC Flows May NA -$37.3B
Jul 16 09:15 Industrial Production Jun 0.3% 0.0%
Jul 16 09:15 Capacity Utilization Jun 77.7% 77.6%
Jul 16 10:00 NAHB Housing Market Index Jul 51 52
Jul 17 07:00 MBA Mortgage Index 07/13 NA -4.0%
Jul 17 08:30 Housing Starts Jun 958K 914K
Jul 17 08:30 Building Permits Jun 1000K 974K
Jul 17 10:30 Crude Inventories 07/13 NA -9.874M
Jul 17 14:00 Fed’s Beige Book Jul NA NA
Jul 18 08:30 Initial Claims 07/13 348K 360K
Jul 18 08:30 Continuing Claims 07/06 2950K 2977K
Jul 18 10:00 Philadelphia Fed Jul 5.3 12.5
Jul 18 10:00 Leading Indicators Jun 0.3% 0.1%
Jul 18 10:30 Natural Gas Inventories 07/13 NA 82 bcf

Mortgage Rates – Perspective

National Average Contract Mortgage Rate: Historical Data

About the National Average Contract Mortgage RateCurrent ValueHistorical Data Starting from January of 1990

Image

National Average Contract Mortgage Rate History Starting from January of 1980

 

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

January

11.78

13.24

15.37

13.04

11.70

12.09

10.40

9.19

8.92

9.31

9.68

February

12.30

13.73

15.22

12.88

11.73

11.90

10.46

8.89

8.84

9.44

9.74

March

12.56

13.91

15.07

12.61

11.69

11.72

10.24

8.80

8.84

9.62

9.74

April

13.21

13.99

15.39

12.42

11.61

11.62

10.00

8.79

8.93

9.76

9.82

May

13.74

14.19

15.57

12.36

11.63

11.62

9.80

8.93

8.90

10.13

9.83

June

12.88

14.40

15.01

12.21

11.79

11.29

9.83

9.02

8.98

10.27

9.85

July

12.23

14.77

14.96

12.18

12.03

11.02

9.88

9.05

8.98

10.10

9.85

August

11.89

15.03

15.03

12.25

12.24

10.87

9.88

9.05

9.00

9.81

9.70

September

12.00

15.38

14.71

12.38

12.43

10.76

9.71

8.91

8.98

9.82

9.70

October

12.31

15.47

14.37

12.19

12.52

10.86

9.59

8.86

9.11

9.86

9.67

November

12.85

15.80

13.74

12.11

12.38

10.80

9.48

8.89

9.16

9.80

9.69

December

13.15

15.53

13.44

11.94

12.26

10.70

9.29

8.86

9.31

9.69

9.58

 

Source: Federal Housing Finance Board. Monthly values for the National Average Contract Mortgage Rate are derived from the Federal Housing Finance Board’s Monthly Interest Rate Survey (MIRS).