"What investors need to understand is that even over the long term, a sector cannot do well," Eddy Elfenbein of the "Crossing Wall Street" blog commented in a Friday interview on CNBC's "Trading Nation."
Those who bought the banks back then have proven especially unlucky, however. Even the hammered energy sector has nearly doubled over the past two decades.
Some particular names have fared even worse. Bank of America shares, for instance, are down 42 percent since October 1996. Citi shares have fallen 65 percent in that time.
Recent concerns for bank investors have included exposure to energy loans, as well as interest rates that may continue to be low for the foreseeable future, pressuring margins. But more generally, the big banks haven't gotten back the mojo they lost in the financial crisis.
Thus far in 2016, the bank industry group has fallen 19 percent, making it the market's worst-performing group save for automotive stocks. The banks are shedding 3.5 percent of their value on Monday alone.
If there's a bright spot, says Elfenbein, it's that "valuations are really cheap" at present.
Small consolation, that, for those who haven't seen their stocks rise in the time since America was doing the "Macarena."