Archives for January 2014

VIDEO: Idaho – Nothing to whine about here . . .

A new video from Idaho’s wine industry tries to debunk a myth about a certain Idaho agricultural product.

“It gets tiring,” a bearded man says to the camera. “Everywhere I go … people just assume I make wine. They say things like, ‘Oh, you’re from Idaho. You must work at a winery.’ … Truth is, I’m a potato farmer.”

The tongue-in-cheek video cuts to a brown-haired woman describing her struggle, as an outfitter, to convince wine-happy tourists to take a chance on Idaho’s rivers and outdoor activities. She sulks outside a wine bar, looking through a window at people wearing berets and sipping glasses of red.

The video “Idaho: More Than Just Wine!” was created by the Idaho Wine Commission. The commission used $7,000 from a recent grant to hire the Boise company Rizen Creative to make a video.

“You guys, we need a wine video, and whenever I travel, people make potato jokes,” Moya Shatz Dolsby, executive director of the wine commission, told the marketing and production team. “The [Idaho] Potato Commission has done a phenomenal job, so let’s play off it.”

She asked the team to play off Idaho’s well-known rivers and outdoors, too.

Rizen worked with local actors Aaron Kiefer and Lisa Hawkes and local videographer Travis Swartz, shooting over a day and a half in late October.

Katie Meyers, account manager for Rizen, knew the video “had to resonate, break through all the video clutter out there — something that was memorable and funny,” she said.

The commission plans to enter the video in a contest this August for Wine Spectator magazine.

Since the video went live on YouTube in mid-January, Dolby has been addicted to watching the number of views climb into the thousands, she said.

Idaho Potato Commission CEO Frank Muir hadn’t seen the video — he’d only heard about it — when the Statesman called him to ask his thoughts on Idaho’s wineries riffing on the famous spud.

With a reporter hanging on the phone line, Muir watched the video on his computer. There were chuckles. And a belly laugh or two.

“That’s cute,” he said. “I think it’s a great parody.”

SOURCE: Idaho Statesman

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Lower Down-Payment Requirements for Jumbo Loans

Private jumbo-mortgage originations are on pace to reach the highest level since 2007, as lenders are offering low down-payment requirements to lure more borrowers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Many small lenders, such as community banks and credit unions, say they are willing to cover jumbo loans with 5 percent to 10 percent down payments now, according to the Journal.

As home values rise, banks are experimenting with loosening up lending standards by targeting private jumbo loans as a way to increase their business share. In most parts of the country, jumbo loans are those that are $417,000 and higher; in some of the most expensive markets, jumbo loans are $625,500 or more.

But with low down-payment requirements for jumbo loans entering the arena, that means a comeback for the private mortgage insurance industry. The insurance, which protects lenders in case a borrower defaults, is charged to borrowers who usually make less than a 20 percent down payment. Private mortgage insurers are reportedly lowering their costs and increasing the size of mortgages they’ll cover to accommodate jumbo borrowers.

Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. raised the maximum mortgage it will insure from $750,000 to $850,000 last month; Genworth Mortgage Insurance raised its maximum level from $625,500 to $850,000; United Guaranty recently started offering a limited program for loans up to $1 million.

The move by private lenders to increase low-down-payment jumbo loans comes as the Federal Housing Administration started reducing the amount of high-cost mortgages that it will insure in about 650 counties. As of Jan. 1, FHA loans in high-cost areas have been capped at $625,500, reduced from $729,750.

SOURCE: Realtor Magazine

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