US President Donald Trump speaks during a NEC listening session with CEOs of small and community banks in March. Photo: AFP, Jim Watson

Regional bank stocks soared on President Trump’s comment that the administration is considering splitting banks’ commercial and investment functions on the model of the old Glass-Steagall legislation.

The top performers in the BKX bank index are Keycorp, SVB, Suntrust, Zions Bank, Fifth Third of Ohio, and First Republic. The largest banks are among the worst relative performers, although most of their stocks rose in absolute terms.

The breakup would give regional banks a better chance to compete. It would also make the financial system safer. The 2008 crash was caused by large commercial banks packaging dicey mortgage loans and other risky assets into securities, and buying many of the securities they created with high gearing.