The big sign on your neighborhood bank might tell the time and temperature. But it won't tell you how your bank is weathering the credit crisis.
It's up to consumers to hunt for that information. The industry and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the collector of bank financial reports, don't make the hunt easy.
That's unfortunate because the answer would ease the minds of almost all bank customers, as should federal protections. The Wall Street crisis is wiping out some storied investment banks, but commercial banks, with the more humdrum business of taking deposits and making loans, are doing fine.