Business activity in the banking industry maintained its solid momentum in April, according to American Banker's Index of Banking Activity (IBA).

The IBA's April composite reading of 58.3, down a bit from March's near-record 61.1 level, nonetheless demonstrated that business trends remain favorable for banks. This month's survey also revealed that banks across the IBA's four regions all participated in the gains, in contrast to recent months which saw sharp divergences in regional activity. In this case, the convergence saw growth in the South and Midwest edge back to levels more in line with those in the Northeast and West.

As was the case in March, all but one of the IBA's components contributed to the positive reading, with commercial lending indicators showing exceptional strength in April. The one IBA outlier, which tracks deposit pricing, is likely to continue to drag on the index given the general expectation that rates will be on the rise for some time.

Noteworthy also was a rise in the component that tracks banks' staffing levels. For now, it remains too early to attach much significance to that component as gains were driven primarily by positive responses from the West. However, the increase bears watching as this component has had a strong tendency to hover along the 50-point "unchanged" line.