Traditional banks are on the front lines of the economy. When consumers hurt, banks hurt. When businesses hurt, banks hurt.  If money is tight in America, banks feel the pinch. It doesn't matter if the pain is cyclical or the result of "vampire squid" behavior, banks who rely on lending ride the fortunes of everyday Americans.

This is true even if a bank is over $1 trillion in assets, like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), or is a smaller regional player like U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) or People's United Financial (NASDAQ:PBCT).

It is this reality that has Motley Fool contributor Jay Jenkins concerned. In the video below, he explains how the confluence of rising interest rates, tapering Quantitative Easing programs, and a still-weak labor market could make for a tough time for banks.