Banks and the Economy

Existing-Home Sales Rose in March

Existing-home sales increased 4.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million in March, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This is the highest level in the past ten years. “The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully ...

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Fed’s Powell: Some Post-Crisis Regs ‘Unnecessarily Burdensome’

Noting that the U.S. financial system is “without a doubt far stronger” than it was before the crisis, Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell said today that the collective weight of post-financial crisis rules are too complex and that some of them are burdensome and may not be needed at all -- especially in a context of sluggish productivity and GDP growth that calls for banks to “devote as much of their resources as possible to supporting economic growth.”

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Hensarling’s Choice Act Includes Key ABA Priorities

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) today released the latest legislative text of his Financial Choice Act, a 600-page bill aimed at rolling back and reforming parts of the Dodd-Frank Act’s extensive supervisory regime, as well as providing regulatory relief for banks of all sizes.

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Beige Book: Economic Expansion Continues to Pick Up

Economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace across the twelve Federal Reserve Districts over the period from mid-February to the end of March, according to the just-released Federal Reserve Beige Book. Consumer spending varied this period as reports of stronger light vehicle sales were accompanied by somewhat softer readings in non-auto retail spending. Manufacturing continued to ...

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Industrial Production Increased in March

Industrial production increased 0.5% in March after a 0.1% February increase. Over the last year, industrial production was up 1.5%. Manufacturing output decreased 0.4% in March, its first loss since August 2016. Production of durable goods fell 1.7%, while nondurables rose 2.1% during the month. Capacity utilization for manufacturing increased by 0.3 percentage point to 75.3%, a rate that is ...

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Housing Starts Declined in March

Housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.215 million in March, 6.8% below the revised February rate of 1.303 million, but 9.2% above the March 2016 rate. Housing activity increased in only one out of the four regions as the Northeast saw housing starts jump 12.9%. The West, Midwest, and South experienced declines of 16.0%, 16.2%, and ...

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Builder Confidence Remained Solid in April

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell to 68 in April, a three point decrease from March’s reading of 71. “Even with this month’s modest drop, builder confidence is on very firm ground, and builders are reporting strong interest among potential home buyers,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. ...

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ABA Submits Bipartisan Economic Growth Ideas to Crapo, Brown

ABA today urged the leaders of the Senate Banking Committee to focus on expanding portfolio mortgage lending, modernizing rules on brokered deposits, enhancing bank innovation and providing relief from unnecessary stress tests -- all of which would be bipartisan, common-sense policies to promote economic growth.

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Retail Sales Fell in March

There were $470.8 billion in retail and food service sales in March, down 0.2% from the previous month and up 5.2% from March 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. February’s estimate was revised from up 0.1% to down 0.3%. Core retail sales – excluding automobiles and parts – were unchanged for the second consecutive month. Year-over-year core sales increased ...

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CPI Decreased 0.3% in March

The Consumer Price Index decreased 0.3% in March on a seasonally adjusted basis. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index rose 2.4%. Prices for all items less food and energy, the “core CPI,” decreased 0.1% in March, down from February’s 0.2% increase. The index rose 2.0% for the 12 months ending in March. The food index increased 0.3%. Prices ...

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