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Survey Finds Growing Frustration over Dodd-Frank

A new survey published through George Mason University's Mercatus Center finds bankers at smaller institutions are growing increasingly anxious about the roll-out of the Dodd-Frank Act and subsequent regulatory requirements. One anonymous banker objected to "the maddening pace of illogical and unnecessary regulation (that would not) have done anything to prevent the 2008 collapse."

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Sunny Days Ahead for Growth?

Following a slowdown in activity over the previous two quarters, Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group expects economic activity to pick up in the second quarter of this year, bolstered by increases in the housing sector, consumer spending, and business investment. The housing market is expected to show a relatively strong performance, with housing starts increasing almost 20 percent to 1.1 million over the year.

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Consumer Spending Measure Flat in February

Deloitte’s Consumer Spending Index was largely flat in February, seeing “only a marginal change” amid moderate economic growth, the professional services company reported. The index, which tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future spending, edged down slightly to 3.9 from a reading of 4.0 in January. “The fundamentals for consumer spending remain stable,” commented Daniel Bachman, senior U.S. economist for Deloitte.

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Leading Indicators Point to Warm-Weather Recovery

The Conference Board reported its Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased 0.5 percent last month to 99.8, inclining steeper after a 0.1 percent gain in January. “The U.S. LEI increased sharply in February, suggesting that any weather-related volatility will be short lived and the economy should continue to improve into the second half of the year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board.

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Does the Labor Market Have What It Takes to Boost Housing?

In its latest Economic and Housing Market Outlook, released Wednesday, Freddie Mac expects home sales to grow along with wages this year, despite a still-tough job market in most sectors. Freddie is projecting a 3 percent rise in home sales and a 20 percent rise in new home construction in 2014, which the agency expects to level out to a 5 percent overall growth.

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Mortgage Rates Down in Lead-Up to Fed Announcement

Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey, released Thursday, showed the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaging 4.32 percent (0.6 point) for the week ending March 20, down from last week, when it averaged 4.37 percent. A year ago, the 30-year FRM average was 3.54 percent. Since falling from 4.53 percent in 2014’s first weeks, the 30-year fixed average has seen limited movements since, staying in the 4.2-4.3 percent range.

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