A harsh winter coupled with low interest rates and less lending held back bank activity in the first quarter, said Gov. Frank Keating, president of the American Bankers Association. Keating added that the dock strike also served to slow down the economy and ultimately cause bank stocks to lag a flat S&P 500 in the first 3 months of the year. He said 'bread and butter' lending by smaller banks has lessened because the average person is buying a home later in life. Keating said he expects the Federal Reserve to raise rates later this year which should benefit long-suffering savers. Finally, Keating said small banks are struggling under the weight of compliance costs.