Businesses are asking for more credit, consumers want more loans and mortgage demand is the highest in US Bancorp's history, CEO Richard Davis told CNBC Tuesday.
That makes him optimistic the economy is taking small steps toward recovery, he told Closing Bell.
"The number of businesses asking for more availability of credit is quite remarkable," he said. "People are hungry to take on a little more possible debt for the opportunities that might present themselves as the recovery starts to become more present."
With "every type of company" across the country showing some sort of improvement, "We're optimistic" about the economy, he said, adding, "We see a slow, steady recovery."
Earlier Tuesday the Minneapolis bank reported first-quarter profit above analysts' expectations on improved credit quality.
Mortgage growth, mainly for repurchases or refinancing, was the best in US Bancorp's history, Davis said. "It's looking pretty good. People are buying homes" and prices are going up in some markets.
He hopes the Federal Reserve does not keep interest rates low through 2014. He said he "appreciates" that Chairman Ben Bernanike is trying to keep inflation rates low. However, "it's not a good thing for banks for a long period of time. But we can manage that for quite some time" thanks to having strong deposit growth and other fee businesses.
"I hope he doesn’t go to the end of 2014 with flat rates," Davis said of Bernanke. "That would be longer than I would expect. But the fact of the matter is we’ll manage whatever case comes to us."