Business

Business briefs

O Bee plans to open third local branch

LACEY - O Bee Credit Union plans to open its third South Sound branch sometime this summer.

The credit union has received site plan approval for a 5,000-square-foot branch at 8665 Martin Way E., according to Lacey planning department records. They reflect a building permit to begin pouring an office foundation.

The branch will relieve some of the load of Lacey customers who do business at the company's Tumwater branch, said Bruce Cramer, president and chief executive.

The new branch will offer three drive through lanes, safe deposit boxes and loan and financial services, Cramer said.

The credit union has about 15,750 members.

Economy

Decline in housing less worrisome, Fed says

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve policymakers saw a lessening of economic threats from the housing slump but continued to worry about inflation as they decided last month to leave existing interest rates intact.

According to minutes of their deliberations released Wednesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues believed that while the slowdown in housing continued to pose a threat to the overall economy, those risks had "diminished somewhat."

Retail

TJX: Data intrusion began year earlier than thought

BOSTON - A computer security breach by a hacker who stole TJX Cos.' customer data was broader than initially feared, and started 10 months earlier than first thought, the company said Wednesday.

But the parent of discount retail chains including T.J. Maxx and Marshalls also reported 5 percent sales growth during its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended just 10 days after the breach was disclosed Jan. 17.

Company executives said they saw no evidence of any exodus of customers from TJX's more than 2,400 stores after the data theft. Industry analysts agreed.

TJX initially believed the intrusion began in May 2006 and ran into last month. On Wednesday, the company said its ongoing investigation revealed the breach started nearly a year earlier, in July 2005.

Airlines

JetBlue predicts bigger loss for the first quarter

NEW YORK - JetBlue Airways Corp. said Wednesday it expects a wider first-quarter loss and lower full-year profit as it absorbs the effect of more than 1,000 cancellations caused by last week's winter blast in the Northeast.

But shares of the low-cost carrier, which has battled withering criticism since operations melted down at its New York hub, still rose after Merrill Lynch said the stock had been oversold and recommended buying it.

JetBlue said it's now looking for first-quarter pretax margins of between negative 8 percent and negative 10 percent. It previously predicted pretax margins of negative 2 percent to negative 4 percent.

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