NEW YORK — This is turning into a rough year for Wall Street banks.

Bank of America’s stock is down more than 20 percent so far this year, and Goldman Sachs is off about 16 percent. Morgan Stanley, which has seen its shares tumble 22 percent, has cut more than 1,000 jobs in its business focusing on investments that generate a fixed income. Many of the major banks have indicated they will cut the amount of money they set aside for bonuses this year.

On Thursday, with the market flat, financial stocks were among the weakest.

The industry is under pressure after lending billions to energy companies that are now grappling with falling oil prices and plummeting profits. A bet that the Federal Reserve would increase key interest rates several times this year – allowing the banks to increase their profit margins – is also turning bad. And investors have grown concerned that if weak economic growth overseas continues to weigh on European banks, the fallout could seep onto the balance sheets of their U.S. counterparts.

It is Wall Street’s biggest challenge in years and a potential test of whether reforms put in place after the 2008 financial crisis are strong enough to withstand new market pressure.

This comes as Wall Street has become a punching bag in the 2016 presidential election. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders often rallies his supporters with calls to break up the big banks.

“There is no doubt that the rise of populism in the presidential race is creating further market uncertainty,” activist investor Dan Loeb told his investors in a letter recently. “The 2015 market we dubbed a ‘Haunted House’ feels about as scary as the Disney kids’ ride ‘It’s a Small World’ when compared to 2016.” (Loeb’s hedge fund, Third Point, has a $14 billion portfolio.)

This week, Neel Kashkari, who managed the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program used to rescue banks during the crisis, piled on. “The biggest banks are still too big to fail and continue to pose a significant risk to our economy,” Kashkari, who is now president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said in a speech at the Brookings Institution. Kashkari, a former Goldman Sachs banker, said the bank would issue proposals by the end of the year to prevent another financial crisis.

Any such proposals would probably face an uphill battle in a Republican-led Congress, which has made rolling back financial reforms a priority. And industry analysts note that banks have much more capital and are much better prepared for financial turmoil than they were in 2008. More regulations, they say, would suppress the risk-taking that makes Wall Street the center of the financial world.

“The Fed’s stress tests show that large financial institutions can withstand a crisis far worse than 2008, and the largest banks have ‘living wills’ to guide an orderly wind-down without putting taxpayer money at risk,” said John Dearie, acting chief executive of the Financial Services Forum, an industry group.

Much of the industry’s troubles can be traced to low interest rates. The Federal Reserve kept rates low for seven years before raising them modestly in December and indicating that rates would be raised again several times in 2016. With higher interest rates, banks would be able to charge more for their loans and secure bigger profits.

But in the face of market volatility and global economic weakness, those potential interest-rate hikes appear less likely. And U.S. banks, already weathering one of the most volatile starts to the trading year in history, can no longer look forward to fatter profits from increased rates, analysts said.

“The fear is that low interest rates could be here indefinitely,” said Erik M. Oja, banking analyst for the market research firm S&P Capital IQ.

Investors also have become concerned about the billions that Wall Street lent to oil and gas companies over the past few years. The industry is faltering as a glut of crude drives down prices and sends dozens of energy companies into bankruptcy. The number of energy-sector bankruptcies during this downturn could surpass the level reached during the financial crisis, according to Deloitte, the auditing and consulting firm.

But even these concerns may be overblown, analysts say. Despite significant growth over the past few years, energy-sector loans still comprise a small part of the industry’s balance sheet. About 2 percent of outstanding U.S. bank loans are with energy companies, according to S&P Capital IQ.

Even if Wall Street is prepared to withstand weakness in the U.S. economy, falling oil prices, or low interest rates, analysts say, the bigger threat may lay overseas. European banking giants Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse recently reported their first full-year loss since the financial crisis, sending their stock prices down 25 percent and 36 percent, respectively, so far this year.

Both banks have been saddled with billions in charges related to legal settlements and are still restructuring to reflect a post-financial crisis regulatory environment, analysts said.

“The U.S. banking sector adjusted faster, earlier and more successfully,” said Brian Lawson, economic and financial consultant for IHS, the research firm.

“We do not think that a major credit event is likely in Europe. However, worries over European banks impact global financial markets, including leading U.S. firms, because the financial system is all interlinked,” Lawson said. “This is not another Lehman-like moment, but the market has treated it as it were.”