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I wouldn't touch either of them with a ten foot pole. All the issues exposed during the financial crisis have not been resolved... nothing has changed.

  • their books are still opaque
  • you can't figure out what the hell they actually invest in or where their risk exposure lies
  • they still have massive derivative exposure
  • they carry various forms of toxic debt with poor disclosure and risk controls
Because you can't trust their books, investing in American (and Canadian banks imo) is a faith-based investment. If you really trust Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, that's another matter (I don't trust them)

You don't have to take my word for it. The Atlantic magazine ran a now famous article on exactly this issue of the complexity / untrustworthiness of bank financial reporting.

I am not alone in my criticisms. In fact it appears that most financial experts agree with me at least with respect to disclosure of risk exposure. Quoting from The Atlantic:

A recent survey by Barclays Capital found that more than half of institutional investors did not trust how banks measure the riskiness of their assets. When hedge-fund managers were asked how trustworthy they find “risk weightings”—the numbers that banks use to calculate how much capital they should set aside as a safety cushion in case of a business downturn—about 60 percent of those managers answered 1 or 2 on a five-point scale, with 1 being “not trustworthy at all.” None of them gave banks a 5.

At the heart of the problem is a worry about the accuracy of banks’ financial statements. Some of the questions are basic: How do banks account for loans? Can investors accurately assess the value of those loans? Others are far more complicated: What risks are posed by complex financial instruments, such as the ones that caused JPMorgan’s massive loss? The answers are supposed to be found in the publicly available quarterly and annual reports that banks file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board, an independent private-sector organization, governs the accounting in these filings. Don Young, currently an investment manager, was a board member from 2005 to 2008. “After serving on the board,” he recently told us, “I no longer trust bank accounting.”
Invest at your own peril. Personally I don't recommend investing in large banks, and the article describes why.
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