U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) reported its earnings before opening bell this morning. The bank’s net income was $1.43 billion or 73 cents per share. Its revenue was $4.87 billion, compared to the consensus of $5.04 billion and 73 cents per share, according to FactSet. During the same quarter last year, the bank reported $1.34 billion in net income and 67 cents per share.

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In a statement released this morning, U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), the bank said its “earnings for the first quarter of 2013 were driven by a year-over-year reduction in noninterest expense and a lower provision for credit losses.” The bank also reported that profits rose 6.7 percent, meeting the expectations of analysts.

Although U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB)’s earnings were not as strong as the other banks which have already reported their earnings for the first quarter, U.S. Bancorp did record some positive signs that the economy as a whole may be recovering. It recorded strong new lending activity of $57.3 billion during the first quarter, including $27.1 billion in new and renewed commercial and commercial real estate commitments, $2.3 billion in lines of credit for credit cards and $27.9 billion in mortgage and other retail loan originations.

During the first quarter, U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) repurchased 17 million shares of its common stock and also received the Fed’s agreement to allow its new capital plan to go into effect. The bank said in March it would increase its share buyback program by $370 million, raising it up to $2.25 billion starting this month. It also said it will ask its board to raise its dividend for the second quarter to 23 cents per share, an increase of 18 percent.

Shares of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) were down 2.26 percent in trading on Monday and fell slightly pre-market to $33.20 per share.