U.S. Bancorp posted profit that matched analysts' estimates as expenses declined and commercial lending accelerated.
Second-quarter net income was $1.48 billion, or 80 cents a share, little changed from $1.5 billion, or 78 cents, a year earlier, the Minneapolis-based bank said Wednesday.
Record low interest rates have been "torture" for regional banks, and margins won't improve until the Federal Reserve raises its benchmark rate, Chief Executive Officer Richard Davis has said. U.S. Bancorp has said it plans to hold more mortgages on its balance sheet instead of selling them.
"They have to show loan growth," said Chris Mutascio, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp.'s KBW unit. "Investors are focused on loan growth and whether regional banks can grow loans as a means to fight off margin compression."
A rise in rates could help bolster net interest margin, the difference between what a bank pays for deposits and charges for loans. U.S. Bancorp's NIM fell to 3.03% in the second quarter from 3.08% the preceding period and 3.27% a year earlier, the company said in a press release.
U.S. Bancorp shares have declined 2.4% this year, compared with the 5.1% advance of the 24-company KBW Bank index.