Here today, gone tomorrow. Or maybe in two hours. That's market capital. But is that any way to judge a bank?For those who believe that banking companies have an inherent worth, one not tied to the whims of investors but based on a more tangible reality, the answer is not market capital but book equity. On that basis, five banks stand out among the nation's hundred largest commercial banking companies: Silicon Valley Bancshares of Santa Clara, CA; Firstar Corp. of Milwaukee; National Commerce Bancorp in Memphis; Synovus Financial Corp. of Columbus, GA, and Provident Financial Group of Cincinnati, OH. U.S. Banker calculated its rankings based on data provided by SNL Securities of Charlottesville, VA.

The top-ranked companies have good earnings and super equity strength that enables them to make bold moves if they so choose and gives them a fortress-like balance sheet to withstand any ill winds.

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