Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan told Fox Business today that the bank is seeing "modest" loan growth in April and May, as the second quarter of the year nears the halfway point.
"One of the things we've liked to see is that our pipelines are up, our origination activity, our customers are doing things," Moynihan said.
On the commercial front, Moynihan also said that customers have slowed their pay-downs of lines of credit and are starting to borrow to buy equipment and pay more employees.
The news will be welcomed by bank investors who have been anxious about loan growth this year, despite the huge GDP growth that's expected.
Most banks in the first quarter saw total loan balances and net interest income decline from the end of 2020. While most management teams expect to see loan growth pick up in the back half of the year, it has been more optimism than precise projections for many.
Loan growth would be huge for Bank of America. Moynihan said on the company's first-quarter earnings call that some modest loan growth combined with a continued increase of long-term rates could result in net interest income growing by around $1 billion in the fourth quarter of the year from levels seen in the first quarter.
Moynihan also said in the interview that consumer spending is up 20% from 2019 levels before the pandemic, and that customers have only spent around 30% to 35% of their stimulus money.
He also said that as long as the bank passes annual stress testing this year, which is all but guaranteed, it plans to raise its dividend along with increasing share repurchases.