WASHINGTON — As the stock prices of the big banks cratered on Monday, particularly for Bank of America Corp., pundits and industry observers began worrying that a second financial crisis was in the offing, including the possibility of the failure of a large financial institution.

The banking sector suffered a triple hit as Standard & Poor's downgraded the United States' debt rating, American International Group Inc. filed a $10 billion lawsuit against B of A, and investors continued to fear the risk exposure of big banks to the European debt crisis.

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