Banking stocks are struggling these days, and value investors are starting to do some bottom-fishing. At the very bottom of the barrel is Cleveland-based National City (NYSE:NCC) -- but does that make it the deal of the bunch?

Year to date, National City's stock has hurt investors the most, falling more than 15% to a recent 52-week low. Today's second-quarter earnings miss could keep the shares hovering near their lows, and higher provisions for credit losses from mortgage and home equity loans are just the types of categories investors want nothing to do with these days.

So while National City gets back to the basics of commercial lending and other services, it's still having to put past difficulties to rest. In late 2006, it sold its First Franklin noncomforming loan business to Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER), but kept a number of related loans that accounted for about half of the quarterly credit loss provision.

The core business isn't exactly firing on all cylinders, and key banking metrics are falling. Net interest margin fell to 3.59% and return on equity came in at a lowly 11.35%. Both net interest income and fee-based non-interest income fell from last year's quarter, as did average portfolio loans. Total deposits actually grew, but did little to offset the overall anemic trends.

Results could settle down going forward, as the bank is moving into Florida with a couple of recent acquisitions. And back in May it agreed to acquire Illinois-based MAF Bancorp (NYSE:MAFB). Additionally, the bottoming of the share price has pushed the dividend yield to a hefty 5.3%.

Unfortunately for National City, better-performing peers are also reaching low share prices. Banking behemoth US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) also sports a yield greater than 5%, with Citigroup (NYSE:C), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and Wachovia (NYSE:WB) not far behind. These money-center banks are also struggling less with the current crunch in credit quality. Few expect negative sentiment to improve anytime soon, but from a bottom-fishing perspective, if National City latches onto your line, you may want to throw it back.   

For related Foolishness:

National City, Bank of America, and US Bancorp are Income Investor recommendations. See why with a free 30-day trial to our dividend-focused newsletter service.

Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann is long shares of Western Union, but has no financial interest in any other company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.