The Top 12 U.S. Banks: From Zombies to Hidden Gems

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week proposed a series of programs, totaling $1.5 trillion, to bail out the U.S. banking system. Of course, Geithner hasn't told us precisely how he plans to spend the money, or identified which banks require such an enormous outlay.

So I thought it was worth looking at the United States' 12 largest banks to see where the problems might be and identify which banks might need big infusions of government cash. I perused the financial statements of all 12 banks, and also looked at their market valuations.

Unlike when the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) was proposed in September - when the projections for potential losses were largely financial conjecture - we now have important concrete data on the banking system's troubles; namely, each of the bank's annual financial reports for 2008.