Vast Majorities

So the market was greatly reassured when Tim Geithner declared that the "vast majority" of banks are well capitalized. Count me as baffled. I mean, maybe he was actually giving us a hint about the stress tests -- but I took it as a remark that was uninformative atbest, ominous at worst.

After all, there are a lot of banks in America. There are 1,722 institutions on the Fed's list of "large commercial banks." And I have no doubt that most of these banks -- indeed, the vast majority -- are in fine shape. That's because they're regional institutions that never got into the risky games played by the big guys.

But the big guys are where the money is. The top 10 institutions on that list have 58 percent of the assets.