The Obama administration should set a positive example by ensuring that the regulators it leads do the right thing by giving the public a clear, detailed and relevant picture of how well or not the largest U.S. banks are doing.

The results of their probe into banks in the form of stress tests due on May 4 must contain enough information so that market participants and the general public can adequately assess their viability.

Any future efforts by the administration to help relieve the nation’s financial situation will be helped or hampered by the way these tests are conducted. The administration, if it wishes to bring light to the banking system, accelerate economic recovery and improve functionality in financial markets, should do its best by the appointed date to lay out an honest, transparent account of the banks’ status.