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Retail Sales Edge Higher than Economic Forecasts

Retail trade sales rose 0.4 percent in December, the Department of Commerce reported Tuesday. The increase was twice the rate economists anticipated, and total retail activity - including restaurants - rose 0.5 percent, up from 0.4 percent growth seen in November. Sales at furniture stores - an indicator of housing activity - rose 1.4 percent after increasing 1 percent in November. The back-to-back gains followed three straight months of declines, and year-over-year sales at furniture stores were up. 5.8 percent.

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S&P Dow Jones Launches Equal Weight REIT Index

S&P Dow Jones Indices, the largest provider of financial market indices in the world, announced the launch of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Equal Weight Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Index. The new index is designed to measure the performance of publicly traded REITs and REIT-like securities, serving as a proxy for direct real estate investment.

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Potomac Mortgage Group Signs on Top Producer as VP


Potomac Mortgage Group, Inc. (PMG), one of the leading direct lenders in the Washington, D.C. area, announced the hiring of Sarah Pichardo as VP. Pichardo started her career in 2003, working quickly to establish herself as a top producer.

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Washington Bank First to Fail in 2013

The FDIC announced that the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions shuttered Westside Community Bank on Friday. The bank's two branches are reopening as branches of Irvine, California's Sunwest Bank.

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GSF Mortgage COO Promoted to President

GSF Mortgage announced COO Chad Jampedro is now leading the Wisconsin-based company as president. Jampedro began his career at GSF in June 2001 as a loan originator at the company's Illinois branch. Since that time, he has held several positions within GSF, has earned his real estate license, and even served as president of the Wisconsin Mortgage Professional Association.

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Linear Title and Closing Offers Online Consumer Portal

Linear Title and Closing announced plans to introduce a web portal just for consumers who have closed on a loan with the company. Through the portal, consumers can access their personal databases, such as the completed mortgage package, a detailed analysis of the flow of mortgage funds, any rebates due to them, and proof of the mortgage recordation, the Rhode Island-based company explained.

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