The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) was essentially flat today, but yesterday's two biggest losers -- JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) -- turned it around in a big way today, soaring 4.6% and 2.2%, respectively.

Shares of each of the two companies had become 20% and 12% cheaper in just a little over a week after JPMorgan announced that it would take at least a $2 billion loss on a derivatives bet gone bad.


Price-to-Tangible-Book-Value Ratio

Price-to-Normalized-Earnings Ratio

JPMorgan Chase 0.99 7.6
Bank of America 0.55 16.9

Yesterday, JPMorgan announced that it will suspend its stock buyback. Today we found out the bank has hired the SEC's former chief enforcement officer to help it handle the alphabet-soup investigations coming at it from the SEC, CFTC, OCC, and FBI. For its part, the SEC is interested in whether JPMorgan properly disclosed to investors changes to its (failed) models that calculate trading losses.

Humorously, as JPMorgan first announced its trading losses, it had been in the middle of trying to persuade the CFTC that offshore derivatives transactions don't need to be regulated. A House panel had also been looking creating a loophole for exempting foreign trades. Since JPMorgan was the role model for risk management that financial-reform opponents had been continually citing, it's starting to look a little less likely now that Wall Street will be able to block or delay as much of financial reform as many thought.

Although Bank of America does some trading, its investment-banking division makes up only about a quarter of total revenue. JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) would be two of the biggest losers from a thorough implementation of certain contested parts of financial reform, like the Volcker Rule crackdown on proprietary trading and investment-banking conflicts of interest.

Large banks may be cheap, but they're still a black box. But there's one small bank that's flying under the radar, and it has some of the best operational numbers you'll ever see. The Motley Fool featured it in its brand-new free report: "The Stocks Only the Smartest Investors Are Buying." We invite you to download a free copy. To find out the name of the bank Warren Buffett would probably be interested in if he could still invest in small banks.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.