NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Whether you credit the taxpayer bailout or believe that top banks never needed one, this

exclusive analysis by TheStreet

shows that the biggest U.S. banks are more profitable now than last year.

As we head into the third-quarter earnings season, with high expectations for company profits, this review of the second-quarter financials sets the stage:

JPMorgan

(JPM) - Get Report

produced $2.7 billion in earnings in the last quarter compared with $2 billion the year before.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

nearly doubled earnings in the second quarter to $4.3 billion from $2.3 billion a year earlier.

Goldman Sachs'

(GS) - Get Report

second-quarter profit jumped to $3.4 billion from $2.1 billion in the same period of 2008.

The only laggard is

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

, whose profit slipped to $3.2 billion in the second quarter from $3.4 billion the year before.

In one of those great historical ironies,

trading has emerged as an outsize component of bank earnings

after the wreckage in the markets caused in no small measure by the big banks themselves.

Meanwhile,

smaller banks are struggling.

Regional banks listed in the

S&P 500

are expected to post a cumulative net loss of $1.23 billion for the third quarter vs. an equivalent profit of $1.45 billion in the year-earlier period, according to Thomson Reuters.

The index holds the largest regional banks including

Comerica

(CMA) - Get Report

,

Fifth Third Bancorp

(FITB) - Get Report

and

KeyCorp

(KEY) - Get Report

, among others.

If President Obama is serious about shifting power away from big banks to prevent a repeat of the past year, then he better get busy.

--Written by Glenn Hall in New York.

Glenn Hall is the New York-based Editor in Chief of

TheStreet.com

. Previously, he served as deputy editor and chief innovation officer at

The Orange County Register

and as a news manager at

Bloomberg News

in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. As a reporter, he covered business and financial markets, worked in both print and television in the U.S. and Europe, and conducted in-depth investigative coverage at

The Journal-Gazette

in Fort Wayne, Ind. His work also has been published in a variety of newspapers including

The Wall Street Journal

,

The New York Times

and

International Herald Tribune

. Hall received a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from The Ohio State University and a certificate in project and program management from Boston University.