(Bloomberg) -- PNC Financial Services Group Inc. missed estimates for net interest income in the first quarter, a sign that the Pittsburgh-based lender has continued to grapple with muted loan growth. 

Shares fell after the company reported net interest income for the first quarter of $3.26 billion, according to a statement. That slightly missed the $3.3 billion average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg, though it was in line with what the company forecast just weeks ago at an investor conference. 

PNC continues to expects its full-year haul from net interest income to decline as much as 5% from 2023’s level, echoing an earlier forecast it gave investors.

US lenders’ first-quarter results have given investors a window into how the US economy is faring as persistent inflation has led the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates at elevated levels. PNC’s results echo those of rivals Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which both reported net interest income that missed analyst estimates on Friday.  

“During the quarter, we grew customers, reduced expenses, increased spot deposits, maintained stable credit quality and continued to build upon our strong liquidity and capital positions,” Chief Executive Officer William Demchak said in the statement.

PNC’s shares dropped 3.5% to $144.36 at 9:58 a.m. in New York, the second worst performance in the 24-company KBW Bank Index. 

The reiteration of full-year guidance for net interest income was a “modest positive relative to expectations and the difficult operating environment,” David George, an analyst at Baird, said in a note to clients.  

PNC’s stock came under pressure in February, when the company warned net interest income could drop as much as 5% in the first three months of the year compared with the fourth quarter. That was bigger than the company’s previous forecast for a drop of 2% to 3%.

The lender, which wields a balance sheet of more than $500 billion of assets and was one of the firms that had bid for First Republic, has been open about its desires to grow. 

During a call last quarter, Demchak said had the company’s a “natural player in the consolidation of an industry where scale matters.” In his letter to shareholders last month, the executive went on to say that “scale and density in banking matter more than ever before.” 

“We are well-positioned for acquisition opportunities that may exist on the horizon,” Demchak said in the shareholder letter. “Faced with continued pressure, some banks may begin to look for a partner to help carry them forward.”

PNC said in February it plans to invest about $1 billion in the coming years to open new branches and renovate standing ones. The lender also launched a national advertising campaign to tell consumers it’s “boring,” making the pitch as regional banks work to rebuild trust in the industry one year after Silicon Valley Bank’s failure.

Read More: Bank Brags About Being ‘Boring’ a Year Into Industry’s Turmoil 

(Updates with share price in sixth paragraph, analyst comment in seventh.)

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