(Bloomberg) -- Fifth Third Bancorp jumped the most in four months, leading bank stocks higher, with Chief Executive Officer Tim Spence predicting that income from lending has bottomed out.

First-quarter results will mark the low-point for net interest income, Spence told analysts on a call Friday. Those earnings totaled roughly $1.4 billion on a taxable-equivalent basis in the period, slightly ahead of Wall Street estimates.

“Our operating priorities for many years now have been stability, profitability and growth, in that order,” Spence said in an interview. “We just believe that the best banks, the best companies in our industry, are the ones that are safe harbors, not the ones that are chasing the tiger and trying to catch it by the tail.”

Shares of Cincinnati-based Fifth Third rose 5.9%, the most since December and the second-best performance in the 71-company S&P 500 Financials Index, after American Express Co. 

The upbeat outlook contrasts with a year ago, when regional banks were under pressure. Fifth Third is looking to expand in the Southeast US, where it’s adding branches, while building out a commercial-payments business and wealth management platform, the CEO said.

As expectations shift around the path for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates, geopolitical tensions have risen and the US election adds uncertainty, Spence said it’s an environment where there’s “low conviction” in how the world will evolve.

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

Concerns about commercial real estate exposure have been weighing on regional lenders since New York Community Bancorp reported a surprise loss. Fifth Third recorded no net write-offs within its commercial real estate portfolio for the first quarter, according to a statement.

Other lenders whose shares advanced after reporting results include Western Alliance Bancorp, which said that it’s tracking to the upper end of its prior range for net interest income growth this year, and Huntington Bancshares Inc., which reaffirmed its NII forecast.

Huntington CEO Stephen Steinour said he expects loan growth to accelerate in the current quarter and that net interest income will climb each quarter into 2025, he said Friday in a Bloomberg Television interview.

--With assistance from Peter Eichenbaum.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.