"because of the banks". NO. Because of people's faith in the money system as designated by the US government. Banks are merely middle men making interest money on both sides of the trade. on top of it, they risk YOUR hard earned money into complex derivatives and CDOs and other mumbo jumbo investments to fatten their personals bonuses, leaving you holding the losses. At least this has been my understanding of the 9:1 ratio leverages and 30:1 leveraged US banks and investment banks.
Maybe PNC, WFC , US Bank and some others were different, but not the big name banks. So stop being in denial mode.